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November 2015 Archive   |   Submit a topic

Trademark Tim again

In the Australian equivalent to the FA Cup final FFA Cup final Tim Cahill scored the winner.

This local report says it all.

"Franjic’s perfect delivery provided the platform, and Cahill rose in his indomitable style, freeing himself of marker Matt Jurman to head past Danny Vukovic."
Dick Fearon     Posted 30/11/2016 at 13:38:16

Verdao – The Big Green

If I may, I would like to take a 'time out' and write a little about the tragedy the world woke up to yesterday, the plane crash carrying Brazilian football team Chapecoense to Columbia.

The tale has a tenuous Everton connection also.

Chape, or 'Verdao' — 'The Big Green' as they are affectionately known by their fans (reference to their green shirts) is a remarkable story.

Formed only in 1973 in (for Brazil) the small city of Chapeco (pop. 200,000) in the small state of Santa Catarina, the club's rise has been a remarkable one.

Far removed and isolated from the financial centres of Sao Paulo and Rio, and starting life in effectively the 5th tier of Brazilian football - playing in the Santo Catarina state league, rather than the national leagues.

Typical of a small provisional club, they bounced around the national leagues - Serie B, C and D until finally arriving in the top tier in 2014.

Until now, their only triumphs have been winning the Santa Catarina state championship — the equivalent, if you like, of Everton competing for and winning the Lancashire Senior Cup.

So nobody was expecting much from them this season when they sneaked into the equivalent of South America's Europa League, Copa Sudamerica.

They defied all logic and in the early hours of yesterday morning, they were flying to Columbia to compete in the 1st leg of the two-game final. It is the equivalent of — say, Scunthorpe — achieving the same in English and European football.

Now 'o Verdao' share a very special relationship with their fans. There is tremendous civic pride in what the club has achieved in their short history.

Cruelly, without this week’s tragedy, they wouldn't even have hosted the second leg of the final in their own stadium, with its 22,000 capacity whereas the continental federation says such big profile games must be played in stadiums with a minimum of 40,000 capacity.

What should be the greatest week in the club's history — possibly the city's history — has plunged not only Chapeco into mourning, but the whole of Brazil.

As recently as Sunday, ahead of Wednesday's scheduled 1st leg, they played a vital penultimate game of the season in Serie A against Brazil's most successful club Palmeiras, away in Sao Paulo. Palmeiras need to win to ensure the title. Many expected Chape to rest key players and not put in much effort ahead of Wednesday's final.

Not at all. They played a full strength side, performed with integrity and were only beaten by an exceptionally worked free kick.

The whole of Brazil was rooting for them in their final. And now this.

And the Everton link I mentioned? Brazilian TV is reporting that just 3 weeks ago the Bolivian chartered plane they were flying on carried the Argentinian national team, including Messi and, of course, our own Funes Mori.

There but for the grace of God, 'n all that.

So heartbreaking for the families, the club, the fans, the city.

Jay Wood     Posted 30/11/2016 at 12:07:20

The long and painful road

The question we have to ask ourselves is: What is causing this collapse in form? In my opinion, it is as bad as Roberto Martinez’s last 6 months with us, if not worse. At least he had a plan, but it wasn’t working... whereas I fail to see what Ronald Koeman’s plan is at the present time.

Is the collapse due to:

  • A temporary loss of form?
  • A tactical gameplan they can’t play to, for whatever reason?
  • Certain players are past it and are being found out?
  • Certain players know they don’t fit and are out in 3-9 months and have thrown their towel in?
  • We’ve hired a dud manager?
  • Or a deep unrest in the squad themselves, either by players to other players or an overall hatred of Koeman?

Like most problems, it’s probably not down to just one item, unless you firmly believe the “We’ve hired a dud manager” excuse above. If that truly is the cause then we are well and truly buggered as there is no way at all that Farhad Moshiri and Co will put their hands up and admit it and do the necessary act and sack him. Koeman is around for at least 2 seasons, to allow him the time to try and turn us into a Champions League team. The worst thing that can happen is the crowd turns on him, which in Moshiri’s eyes he could see as an act against himself and he could bugger off, taking his billions with him and bang goes everything we dream of.

I personally think Koeman can be a good manager. I’m not saying top class as he just hasn’t done enough elsewhere to demonstrate that he can compete with the top brass of Guardiola, Conte, Klopp (has to be said), and a Mourinho from 4-5 years back. He showed that he is capable of getting a team onto the fringes of Europe and playing attractive football to boot.

I think the problem we are facing is that he has inherited an ageing team, a lazy team, a team completely incapable of playing the game at the intensity he wants and seems to be the vogue at the moment. Players like Jagielka, Baines, Barry, and Williams can’t press, close down, and haven’t got the pace required in today’s game. Players like Barkley, Lukaku, and Deulofeu just won’t press, wont work at the rate Koeman requires from his forwards. The permanent crocs of Gibson, Besic, and McCarthy will be given short thrift and will be on their way as soon as possible.

We basically have left just Gana and Coleman who have the energy to put the shift in Koeman wants, and Bolasie who has the energy and strength but for some reason seems to be in a world of his own, we just don’t know which one we will see. I also firmly believe there is unrest between players, mainly targeted against Lukaku for his total lack of spirit, fight, movement, but Lukaku is our £60m major asset, a proven goalscorer, and will be shielded by Koeman and won’t be dropped.

I believe Koeman now fully realises that he faces at least another 2 or 3 if not 4 transfer windows to radically change the players for those he knows or believes can play to his instructions. It’s a major clearout, not an additional 3-4 players. The major issue he will face is that today’s quality players want European football now, not hopefully promised in 3 years, not a maybe but now. The one downside I see to Koeman is that he wants experience, he wants physically strong players and therefore he just won’t experiment and give youth a chance. I can tell you now that the youth players – Walsh, Dowell – won’t come near the first team and we might see the likes of Davies, and Browning sometime on the bench.

It’s going to be a long and painful ride and I’m not sure the Goodison faithful will put up with it easily. Koeman and Moshiri will need to get used to the crescendo of boos ringing around the ground.

Mike Oates     Posted 29/11/2016 at 10:01:29

The Next Game

The next game of the season is home to Man U and what a huge one it will be. A win could see the Blues stop the slide and go into sixth, which is amazing considering the dross of the last few weeks.

Depending on results of the teams in the three places below, we could be sat in ninth come Sunday evening. WBA v Watford means a drop to tenth is not possible this weekend.

The first quality performance of the season is needed from our team of 'pros'. I am trying to think of the last time we actually saw the players put in a shift worthy of the shirt in terms of passion and skill that left the fans applauding. Maybe someone can remind me when that was?

I doubt any fellow Blues are confident of a result. The pain continues...
Gary Russell     Posted 29/11/2016 at 01:34:01

Scouseless Everton

The 83rd minute of the Southampton game was a sad one for me. After Leighton Baines was substituted, we had an Everton team on the pitch without one player from Merseyside.

Has that happened before? Probably. I don't know... but I would love to know. If the answer is Yes, how often in modern times?

Does it matter? I think it does.

Even in these mega-money days, I think a club should have some local players if it wants to be considered part of the local fabric, as a standard bearer for the area in which it is based.

It also helps many of the supporters, the lifeblood of the club, identify better with the team that they cheer on and encourage.

I also think a team that includes Merseysiders is likely to have more spark and fight in it.

Unfortunately, as our desire for progress and success intensifies, there is also greater pressure on local lads who do make it into the first team. I believe it is tougher for them than it was for local players a decade or two ago.

Some may mention other clubs. Okay, but I'm not interested in them.

Everton without Merseysiders? It's a contradiction in terms.

Mike Owen     Posted 27/11/2016 at 21:13:35

Jonathan Cafu

Hi guys, I haven't been active for the last couple of years on ToffeeWeb but I have a nice story for you and it's not a Football Manager rumour either.

Everton have submitted an inquiry about Jonathan Cafu — he is a 25-year-old pacy right winger, very tricky with an eye for the goal. He can score goals, provide assists and is a constant torment against any defense. Furthermore he is willing to take on defenders and is very direct; but the downside as with every Brazilian is his work rate.

He plays for the Bulgarian champion Ludogorets Razgrad and this season he is impressing in the Champions League. He is rated around €10M by Ludogorets and will be available in the winter transfer window if they are out of both the Champions League and Europa League.

In the compulsory YouTube compilation from this season's Champions League are his goals against Red Star Belgrade and Basel. Against Arsenal, he scored the first (from a set-piece) and provided the assist for the second when he left the Arsenal defender for dead.

Personally I think he will be a bit of a gamble at this price but at the same time he was decent against Arsenal and PSG in Champions League and he definitely won't be worse than Bolasie or Lennon. Lazio and Leicester also have submitted inquires for him but my sources are claiming that Everton are considering a firm offer.
Stefan Tosev     Posted 26/11/2016 at

Thunderbolt and Shitefoot

"There are no great strikers out there now because there are no great strike partnerships."
Dennis Bergkamp

"You have to run the channels, hold the ball up, bring team-mates into play. When the ball goes wide you get into the box, in a good position. The most important thing is holding the ball up, though, because if you can’t do that, it brings pressure on the team."
Wayne Rooney on playing as a lone striker

"The post-apocalypse often makes for strange bedfellows, and you can’t always choose who you team up with after the end of civilization. But Don Johnson’s bond with his telepathic dog is one of the strangest buddy relationships we’ve ever seen."
Review of A Boy and His Dog (1975)

Having just read the thread about Idrissa Gueye looking to notch his first for the club, I was struck by the comments regarding this current crop's lack of goalscoring potency. There seemed to be general agreement that if you stop Lukaku scoring then you're almost all the way there to stopping Everton.

Solutions and reasons? They included 'defensive midfielders should be doing more to get on the score sheet', 'central defenders and full backs aren't pulling their weight when it comes to putting the ball in the net' and 'Yannick Bolasie has a shitter shot on him than Yosemite Sam and should sort it out. Right now'.

Well, back in the days when any self-respecting manager referred to as 'Big Ron' would have been rocking around wearing a skinned wolverine for a winter coat or brazenly tanning his testes with a Breville toastie maker whilst sat on the Man Utd bench, the simple answer would have been to sign another striker and whack him upfront with your main man.

Outdated, old fashioned? Fuck it. I'll take obvious over obdurate when something's clearly not working out.

We play with a lone striker and two holding midfielders every single week. It's an overly defensive way of setting up a side and we've stubbornly persisted with it for almost three and a half seasons, under two different managers, despite it only ever producing decent results in the first six to seven months. It's like Joe Pesci continually playing up his psychotic mob midget schtick just because it worked once in Goodfellas, gradually becoming an ineffective caricature of himself in Casino before making a complete cock of himself with 'Wiseguy' (although, to be fair to Joe, 'Wiseguy' will for evermore be played at least once a week in my house).

With one up front you really need two wide men willing to work their nuts off, cut in and offer support at every opportunity and have a pop at goal themselves, or an attacking midfielder (aá la Tim Cahill) capable of running beyond your striker and arriving in the box at the right time. I don't see players with those characteristics anywhere in our squad.

To make matters worse, we have those two defensive midfielders previously mentioned winning or collecting the ball in their own half, but then looking to release it the moment they breach the safety barrier of the half-way line. This results in Ross dropping deeper to pick up the ball in return, leaving Lukaku utterly isolated and struggling to hold things up.

We end up with aimless possession, going sideways and backwards with nobody ever looking to break beyond the striker. It bores the living daylights out of me and has done for ages.

That's before you even get to Lukaku and the fact that, despite his goalscoring record, he doesn't comfortably fit the profile of what you would look for in the ideal lone centre-forward.

A striker who is comfortable with his back to goal, whose hold up play is a strength rather than a hindrance, can retain the ball and allow runners from midfield to transition to attack. To make it work, a striker needs not only physical strength, but also the willingness to use it and a decent first touch that doesn't act as a fucking deflector shield half the time.

Whilst Lukaku has shown some improvement in that regard, his bang on impression of big friendly soft bastard Baloo bobbing about on the spot during his 'Bear Necessities' bit as the ball bounces off and away from him, still causes way too many moves to break down before they've even begun. 

The second type of striker capable of making a lone role work for the team would be one whose speed and movement constantly stretches a defence, opens up the pitch and makes space for onrushing midfielders to move into and exploit. It's no good making a run now and again, when you can be arsed, or making the exact same run every time. You need to be at it consistently and mixing up your movement to make life uncomfortable for defenders. Check back, burst forward, spin off the shoulder of the last defender, make a diagonal run toward the corner. Don't just trudge back and forth in an area the size of sixteen slices of toast laid flat that you've seen fit to christen fucking 'Lumania'.

Thus far it might seem like 'have a pop at Lukaku' time, but that really isn't the intention. We all know he's an extremely talented player and the team's one reliable source of goals. Rather, the point I'm trying to make is that playing him as a lone striker in this particular team... a team set up with two 'stoppers' in midfield... may (ultimately) be counter-productive as, while he may continue to score his fair share, it conversely prohibits the rest of our players from functioning properly as an attacking unit. 

If Lukaku lacks some of the tools you would look for in a lone striker,  but Everton seriously lack goals without him, then what is the answer? It's obviously not to replace him and you can't just replace everybody else en masse (despite what some seem to think).

For me, you first remove the needlessly negative hand brake of a second holding midfielder and instead select someone to play alongside him as a strike partner. Obviously, that is going to necessitate a dip into the transfer market in January but I'd happily swallow the bullet even before then. 

Now, some might say "Oy nob'ead, our other striking options are utter shite and it would be sheer stupidity to start with any of them". Ok, but the same people probably said Clint Eastwood was off his head when he chose to hang out with an Orangutan called Clyde and look how that shit turned out. The best 'bare knuckle boxing meets latently gay biker gang meets monkey guzzling lager and giving Granny the middle finger whilst making loud fart noises with his mouth' movie you're ever likely to see (if you haven't seen the sequel or... err.. watched Sons Of Anarchy). 

It could be Mirallas, it could be Valencia, it could be Calvert-Lewin. It won't be Niasse. Doesn't much matter to me at this point. Just the presence of a second striker on the pitch (particularly at home) would signal a more positive, attacking  mind-set and could help ease some of the problems Koeman currently faces.

He's mentioned (by 'mentioned' I mean never stopped banging on about) his team pressing from the front and wanting his attacking players to work harder at it. Well, again, whether by reason of physical or mental make up, it's not something Lukaku is ideally suited to. Two strikers pushed right up to occupy the opposition centre-halves could provide an instant short cut to achieving this stated aim. The problem posed by two strikers requires both central defenders to mark their man rather than one remaining free to bring the ball out at will. 

In addition, it doubles your midfielders options for an out ball, increases your chances of launching a swift counter-attack, means an extra body in or around the box when a cross comes in, and having someone always in relatively close proximity would help cut down on the amount of thankless/unsuccessful hold-up play Lukaku is required to get through in a game.

As for being outnumbered in midfield or losing the battle for possession as a result? Well, having seen him play prior to moving to Aston Villa and nothing he's produced in an Everton shirt since signing convincing me otherwise, I'd say Gueye has the necessary energy and nuisance factor to get about the opposition and negate the loss of a second defensive midfielder. Not like he would now be expected to do double the work as 'breaking things up' never really merited being a two man job to begin with. 

Martinez's time in charge hammered home the fact that possession in the middle of the pitch, without a cutting edge, counts for nothing and Koeman himself doesn't seem to put too much emphasis on it. In fact, if anyone can fathom Koeman's preferred style of play from what we've seen so far, I'd love them to enlighten me.

To me, it's amounted to little more than make an effort to win the ball back and launch it forward. If that's going to be the case then at least add an extra body up front to aim at.

The only way his side has seemed to think it can achieve a breakthrough is by getting it out wide and slinging a hopeful cross in toward a single blue shirt in the box. If that's going to be the case then at least double up in there and have two looking to get on the end of it.

What have we got to lose? (apart from games, smart arse).

John Daley     Posted 24/11/2016 at 03:15:05

A General Feeling

I want to keep this as upbeat as possible, as my previous posts on other articles have (on reflection) been down-beat and negative.

The arrival of Koeman, to me, was neither excitable nor ponderous – it was met with a feeling more akin to relief than anything else.

At the time, my head said Koeman as he'd be able to attract a higher standard of player to the club. My heart said Unsworth, who I believe loves the club and displays a passion which garners professional respect. However, I like Koeman. He's an honest (to a point) manager. I'd suggest his honesty does not stretch to his own shortcomings, not in public at least.

The downside to Koeman, as recent articles have pointed out, is his stand-offishness. Not a major downside and one I could ordinarily live with. Still it is a huge difference to Unsworth's passion.

However, when you couple Koeman's stand-offishness (yep, I've used this non-word twice now) with diversive attitudes from some of the players that they either do not want to be here, are too good to be here, or they cannot believe their luck to be here – it has created a general feeling of disconnectivity.

I feel disconnected from the club, players and management.

There are plenty of things to be positive about including the prospect of a new stadium, investment in players (maybe without actually selling someone first) EitC and possibly new commercial deals.

I just cannot shake this general feeling.

During pre-season, I wrote an article about player transfers and was shouted down about letting a mass of players go. I understood the view that mass wholesale changes rarely work out, but I still stand by what I said then... this club needs to get players who can connect with the fans, who don't believe they are doing us a favour by putting the shirt on, and who are actually not scared of winning. This rules out the majority of our current players.

And for God's sake, play Tom Davies more!

Winston Williamson     Posted 22/11/2016 at 14:04:20

The best goal at Goodison?

I have seen some cracking goals over the years at Goodison Park. Memorable ones to me are those scored by Wally Fielding, Joe Harris (a header from outside the penalty area in one of his dozen or so games for the club), Fred Pickering, Duncan McKenzie, Graham Sharp, Andy King, Trevor Steven, Duncan Ferguson, Tim Cahill, Romelu Lukaku (via television). The list is endless and, of course, everyone has and is entitled to his own opinion.

However, my most memorable goal at Goodison Park was one scored by the opposition in the early 1960s. It was in a match against Burnley. The incomparable Jimmy McIlroy took the ball out of defence at the Gwladys Street end and started down the field. He passed it to Ray Pointer who, in turn, passed it back while still going forward. They went the whole length of the field just passing the ball to each other before Pointer pushed it past (I think) Albert Dunlop into the net.

The Goodison crowd was stunned into silence and then suddenly burst into a round of well-deserved applause. I have never seen the like and remember the play as though it were yesterday. It is a fitting tribute to Ray Pointer who died earlier this year.

What is your memory of the best goal at Goodison Park?
David Peate     Posted 21/11/2016 at 14:01:02

How realistic are Everton’s chances of finishing in the top six?

There was a time when Everton were regularly knocking on the door of the top 4. During David Moyes’s 11 year tenure at the Toffee’s he would often be finishing above their Merseyside rivals, losing his biggest players to the top 4 clubs, and many believed that if Everton had money they’d be a serious threat to the title. Few would have imagined that Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement from Manchester United would have such a knock-on affect for Everton when they also lost their manager. The appointment of Roberto Martinez seemed like an intelligent one, especially as Martinez had recently won the FA Cup as Wigan manager.

Life Under Martinez

Martinez’s first season was very impressive overall and included a seven match winning streak towards the end of the season that included making victims out of Arsenal. They also defeated Manchester United, causing former manager David Moyes to lose his job, and finished 5th in the Premier League. The following seasons weren’t as impressive with two 11th-place finishes in the next two seasons, and Martinez was eventually sacked with a game to spare.

Enter Koeman

Dutchman Ronald Koeman is the latest to be handed the keys to Goodison Park, and has made a promising start to life in the North West. There was a number of shrewd business decisions made at the start of the season, with the sale of John Stones to Manchester City for £47½ million funded the acquisitions of Ashley Williams (a natural replacement for Stones with more experience), Yannick Bolasie and Idrissa Gueye, with cash to spare. Fellow Dutchman, and experience goalkeeper, Maarten Stekelenburg was brought in to replace Tim Howard as first choice between the sticks. This was hardly a surprising move as Koeman had previously taken Stekelenburg on loan when he was Southampton manager too.

The Season So Far

Early results have gone Koeman’s way as he went unbeaten for five games, picking up four consecutive wins. They also unexpectedly scored first at the Etihad, holding City to a 1-1 draw. They’ve only lost two games in league from ten games, putting them at a very respectable 6th place, which is much better than where they were positioned at this stage last season. Koeman’s side face a stern test this weekend when they make an away trip to Stamford Bridge, where after a shaky start, Antonio Conte has his new Chelsea side performing very well. 888sport currently list Everton as the underdogs, but it wouldn’t be the first time Everton have beat the odds and knocked off a giant.

Future Fixtures

The festive fixtures usually go a long way to dictating the final Premier league standings, and Everton face a number of sticky fixtures over the Christmas period that includes back to back matches against Arsenal and Liverpool. The return game against City awaits in January, but after that there are no seriously challenging fixtures in close succession. Potential transfer business in January could also go a long way for the Toffees, but under Ronald Koeman, things look very promising.

Gary McCarty     Posted 17/11/2016 at

The Singing Winger

He had appeared on television (presumably in a recorded programme) on the Friday evening before the match on Saturday. The Goodison crowd had no idea that he was a singer but they did after his television debut. Of course, it had to be Goodison where his next footballing appearance was.

As soon as the left-winger ran out with his Sheffield United team mates, the leg-pullers in the Everton crowd were onto him like a flash. This was some time in the late 1950s. The singing footballer was Colin Grainger. He took the Goodison stick with apparent good humour. Grainger filled in the vacant summer months by entertaining and he made a career of singing when his footballing career ended. I don’t think that he will ever have forgotten that Saturday afternoon playing against the Blues. I know that I haven’t.

There was little or no foul language in those days although it was soon to creep in. The stick given to Grainger was just good banter and fun. In fact, the worst language I had heard at Goodison was from one man in the latish 1950s whose favourite moan was, ‘Oh, you clown, Harris’. He was referring to the much underrated Jimmy Harris.
David Peate     Posted 16/11/2016 at 13:28:39

The Mighty Jock

Being a relative newcomer to this site, I do not really know what should be or should not be a talking point. I have noted that some contributors become quite heated about some of the points raised previously on the various other ToffeeWeb pages. However, I will plough my own furrow. For fun rather than for fury.

I don’t think that many Everton supporters nowadays will recall this incident. Nonetheless, it is still worthwhile relating. This match was almost certainly in 1947. Everton were playing Manchester City. I think that it must have been that game on 27 August 1947 in City’s first season back in the old First Division. The home team won 1-0 with Wally Fielding scoring an astonishing long distance but solitary goal. Whichever match it was, Everton had a penalty at the Gwladys Street end.

Ephraim ‘Jock’ Dodds had been with the Toffees for less than a year. He had arrived as the usual big, bustling centre forward as a replacement for the brilliant Tommy Lawton. The Blues were facing the second-best keeper in the land, the ill-fated Frank Swift, the man with the huge hands. Ted Sagar was, of course, the best keeper. The mighty Jock Dodds came forward to take the kick. He took a short run up and wham.

He hit the ball extremely hard. Frank Swift was rooted to the spot and could not get his hands on the ball in time and it struck him full in the stomach knocking him down while still cradling the ball. Swift was on the floor winded for a few minutes before the game continued. The game should have carried with Swift having the ball in his hands but the referee gave a free kick to City. Bizarre to say the least! Reminds me of another bizarre refereeing decision. Would this, by any chance, have been made by Clive Thomas?

This bash bang wallop method of taking a penalty brings to mind the way Tommy Clinton approached spot kicks. No finesses, just wham. He had obviously never watched the Hungarian Hidegkuti stroke the ball into the corner of the goal. Wham worked exceptionally well for Tommy except on that one very important and unforgettable occasion against Bolton Wanderers.

Jock Dodds’s ratio of goals per game was exceptional though not quite as good as Dean and Lawton. The Scot scored 37 goals in 58 games for the Blues. I wish Everton had him now. Why The Mighty Jock is not included in Gwladys Street's Hall of Fame is a complete mystery.

There is a great story that I read somewhere or other about Swift and Dodds. Frank Swift was out shopping one day when he came across Jock Dodds. Jock said, ‘Hello’, and nodded. Frank dived to his left through a shop window! My father related this same tale from the 1920s but the protagonists then were Dixie Dean of Everton and Elisha Scott of Liverpool.

David Peate     Posted 13/11/2016 at 14:44:42

Koeman commands respect but needs time

When I heard our new owner stating: "He's Koeman, he does what he wants, there is no sentimentality there," I thought to myself, "Brilliant... and about time".

We've been fed a diet of "Uncle Cyril's handlebars" for nearly 20 years. Sadly, some Blues lap this type of sentimental tripe up. They go all misty-eyed along with the story teller and believe it somehow makes us 'special.'

Like that time you meet your old pals in a pub somewhere and realise the stories from your youth are no longer that funny, or the girls weren't really that pretty. You feel sorry for the one lad still hanging onto those times as the best part of his life 30 years later. I never missed a game in the '80s, home or away. I look back on those times as a benchmark for heights we should be aiming for again, I always have done. That doesn't mean any club should be looking back on those times as their pinnacle of success. Arsenal or Liverpool don't, why do we?

Getting back to Ronald Koeman. He doesn't care about the '80s. He doesn't care about Uncle Cyril. He probably sees a fallen giant, who are hoping to get back amongst the elite, but I doubt he'll be here to witness a new stadium being built. However, he can walk into that dressing room of international players and tell every single one of them they will never achieve the heights he reached as a player.

18 major honours including four La Liga titles in a row and a European Cup. Schooled under Johan Cruyff, don't you think we should be showing a little more respect to a man who has achieved everything in the game?

Not since the great Howard Kendall have we had someone in charge who could walk into a club and command instant respect. Smith, Walker, Moyes, Martinez – all no-mark players who couldn't command the respect of an Under-16s side!

The first thing players ask when a new manager walks through the door is "Who is he, and what's he ever won?" That's why Moyes fell right on his arse at Manchester United, the players (all winners) had no respect for him whatsoever.

It's going to take Koeman at least 12 to 18 months before we can judge him on his signings and management record. Martinez left behind a broken dressing room. We could only dream of an appointment like Koeman in the recent past.

Apart from the money, Uncle Cryril's nephew only wanted lower League managers on whom he could rely to keep their traps firmly shut, and to be forever grateful to get a chance at a club like Everton.

Koeman may upset a few of us during his time here. He was wrong to talk about Lukaku in the way he did. But I firmly believe he can start putting us back on the football map. Until he does, we can all look misty-eyed at the giant pictures hiding the rusty windows and cladding on the Main Stand that have gone untouched since the '70s.

Kevin  Tully     Posted 13/11/2016 at 12:13:17

Pre-season friendly against Bangu in the early '60s?

The first time I went to Goodison Park was sometime around 1960-62, when my dad took me to a friendly (I assume it must have been pre-season) against a Brazilian club called Bangu. I remember they played in red-and-white stripes and it was a floodlit game. I think the result was 2-2.

Being very young, I also remember watching our goalkeeper Albert Dunlop during the pre-match kickabout letting various soft shots go past him and thinking "He's not very good!" Whenever I have looked for any reference to this game, I have been unsuccessful – but I know I'm not making it up because I remember it so clearly.

Can anyone else confirm my memory or am I really deluded?

Paul Newton     Posted 10/11/2016 at 17:44:29

Safe Standing Survey

Everton Supporters Trust (EST) have taken the decision to survey the Everton fan base on their thoughts and feelings around “Safe Standing”.

In recent weeks, with the successful installation of “Rail Seating” in Celtic Park, the debate around “Safe Standing” has increased within the national game, with Clubs like Manchester United showing an interest and the Liverpool Supporters Union recently passing a resolution at their latest AGM to investigate their own supporters' thoughts and feelings on the subject. Safe Standing is an emotive subject for football fans and non-football fans alike within this City and EST intend to take an approach to the subject in what we feel is a respectful and inclusive manner.

For Evertonians in particular, a potential new stadium has been a hot topic in recent weeks with the Board of Directors and Mayor of the City meeting regularly and viewing potential sites for a new build. EST believe that the time for Evertonians to discuss and debate “safe standing” is ripe and are keen make the first steps in this process.

To achieve this, EST has worked closely with the Football Supporters Federation (FSF) to come up with a number of questions in a short survey which should hopefully give EST a better understanding on Evertonians' opinions on the subject of "Safe Standing".

The survey will run online for a month, encompassing both Swansea and Manchester United home games at which EST representatives intend to also personally gauge the opinions of match-going Blues, with the results of the survey to be fully released and shared with the Club in the weeks that follow.

EST would like to encourage as many Evertonians as possible to take the time to fill in this survey so both the Trust and the Club have a better understanding of the opinions that Evertonians have relating to the subject.

The survey should take no more than a couple of minutes to complete and can be found by clicking the link below:

Thank you for your continued help and support.

Simon Magner     Posted 10/11/2016 at 13:54:08

A million miles away but...

We are a million miles away from being a really good side at the moment but I still believe the potential is there; it's a question of balance and keeping a settled team which is where we turn to the manager. Koeman has already made big mistakes in my opinion and I am very worried that he may be another dud.

Making changes for the Norwich game was stupid as it was far too early to change the team that had started the season well but still needed more time for everything to knit together... but changing the formation of the team for a difficult away game at Chelsea was reckless.

Since the days of Howard Kendall's second reign, I've seen our managers try the three at the back (or five eat the back, depending on opinion) and it never seems to work. Packing the midfield is a far better way of stopping the opposition from getting into their rhythm. We had problems enough with Gueye missing so Koeman should have solidified the midfield – not mess up the defence.

I feel we can have a strong back four and midfield with the players we have but it is the flair players who are overrated and who have consistently let us down with poor decision-making and lack of effort over the last 4 seasons.

Lukaku can come up with something special now and again but his lack of effort in most games is a serious problem. There is no closing down of defenders when they are in possession and, when the going gets tough, his ball control goes to pot and he hides. His attitude has been a constant menace to the progress of the team, and I don't think we get the best out of Barkley with Lukaku there. We need a striker who will score goals and who will put a shift in for 90 minutes in every game.

The manager from across the park now has his forwards working hard and defending from the front and they press the opposition defenders in their own half. This is the modern way and Lukaku, Deulofeu and Mirallas won't or can't play like this which is causing massive problems for us. They also keep giving the ball away cheaply which just adds to the problem, causing our defence to be put under more pressure than necessary.

So, in my opinion, we need a new set of strikers before we can start being a force in the Premier League... and a manager who will keep a settled balanced team with a 4-4-2 formation a must!

Jim Wilson     Posted 08/11/2016 at 18:37:46

EFC is broken beyond repair

In his most recent book, The Secret Footballer talks of clubs that are simply happy to be in the Premier League. That’s where Everton are. There is no ambition beyond that and this situation entirely suits the owners. To advance beyond mediocrity requires investment that just won’t happen.


The only area that Everton excel in is propaganda. They are geniuses for this. Amongst the best examples of this is that Bill Kenwright was all along looking for a suitable partner to sell to, one that had Everton’s best interests at heart. The reality is that Kenwright’s aims were to get as much money as possible from a partner that allowed Kenwright to stay totally involved.

So good is the propaganda that a very convenient rumour even managed to surface about Kenwright’s declining health — this came at the height of the plane campaign against him.

The other story that keeps coming back is that Everton are looking for a new ground. Every few years, the club trots out this story again. Either the club is just plain rubbish in its search or, more likely, there is no serious intent to move ground.

The club also managed to orchestrate a summer story that we had £100m to spend. Nice one. Most of never believed that one for a second but it’s the kind of thing that sells season tickets.

The Manager

Ronald Koeman is a man on a mission. He wants to manage at the top level. Everton will prove to be a very short stopping-off point when Koeman realises that his time at Everton proves to not exactly strengthen his CV. However, given that Koeman managed to be part of a regime that sent us yet again into battle without a goalkeeper worthy of the name, may not be that great anyway.

The Squad

Having followed Everton since 1967, I am in a decent position to compare the current staff with players over nearly 50 years. We still don’t possess a goalkeeper. Ovideo is one of the worst players to have ever played for us. Cleverley is possibly the most anonymous player we have ever had.

When Funes Mori signed, the BBC South American correspondent said he was worse than Alcaraz. Clearly, nobody told Martinez this. I could go on. Most of the squad is mediocre. Overall, the squad strength is dire.


Given how good Kenwright and his new best mate are at making money – for themselves – it is astonishing how bad Everton are at marketing themselves. Manchester United get more money from their bed partner than Everton do from the shirt sponsor.

Everton last won a trophy in 1995. I don’t believe there is any intention of winning anything in the near future. I feel really sorry for the proper fans. I am not one, I merely observe from afar because the people that go to the games maybe believe something good can come out of all this.

Nothing will happen until the current owners depart and that won’t be happening anytime soon.

The above is merely a summary of my opinions. The malaise has gone on so long now that I am immune to the pain. I hope, for the younger fans, that something changes soon.

Jonathan Tasker     Posted 05/11/2016 at 19:33:38

The Hand of God

I am convinced that I saw this goal but I cannot find any reference whatsoever to it. It occurred in a home match in the mid-1940s at the Goodison Road end. I used to always stand under the clock by the half-way line and had a good view of the incident.

The culprit was George Antonio (the Shropshire Lad) of Stoke City yet I can discover only one game that he played for Stoke City at Goodison post-war. This was a 2-2 draw when the scorers were Wally Fielding and Tommy Eglington for the Blues and Syd Peppitt and Frank Baker for the Potters. This match was on 29 March 1947 when Ted Sagar was in goal. It was probably George’s last match for Stoke City before joining Derby County.

I remember quite vividly seeing Antonio scoring with his hand and the goalkeeper protesting vigorously to the referee that the Stoke man had punched the ball into the net. But Antonio does not seem to have ever scored against Everton at Goodison in a post-war match.

Have I got this all wrong, man, team, match? Was it all a dream? Any views?
David Peate     Posted 05/11/2016 at 10:28:14

61663 - EVERTON - the Steam Loco

I have some corrections for your Everton Memorabilia feature showing the LNER class B17 locomotive 61663 'EVERTON'.

The LNER class B17 locomotive 61663 'EVERTON' was allocated to the ex Great Eastern lines and did not ever visit Liverpool Central. It did however serve routes to Norwich and Harwich, but from London (Liverpool Street) station.

Whilst unfortunately none of the B17s made it into preservation, it is good that many of the nameplates found homes with the football clubs they represented.

Good luck, Toffees, my son must be among your furthest flung supporters, now living in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

David Drury     Posted 02/11/2016 at 161102

The one that got away

Everton have long been noted for their superior goalkeepers. There is one of them that did not shine in the old First Division and, in fact, did not even play in it. I think that it was a player named Archie McPeake who recommended the keeper to the cub.

It was some time in the early 1950s. The goalie was Bob Bissett who could well have been their most expensive player ever given the amount of time that he played for the club compared with the cost of bringing him over from Canada. Bob played in just one reserve game.

He performed exceptionally well and his accuracy in throwing the ball to Everton players was unbelievable. Unfortunately, there was obviously some ill-feeling on the field between him and the right full-back who was (I think) Rankin.

Anyway, Bob Bissett threw the towel in and returned the following week to Canada never to be heard of again. What a pity.
David Peate     Posted 01/11/2016 at 09:11:46

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