The Rot Starts at the Top

Steve Hogan 06/10/2019 66comments  |  Jump to last
Just finished watching a spirited Newcastle team beat a poor Man United side full of ordinary players and youngsters. Newcastle deserved to win, not because they were technically better, but they showed passion and aggression and wanted it more.

So, as a result, we sit nicely and deservedly in the bottom three of the Premier League.

It shouldn't really surprise us though, an ordinary pre-season saw us struggle to score goals against a bunch of local part-timers, and some mediocre professional teams.

I've posted an article previously on who I hold responsible for the current mess, but I believe the malaise starts much higher in the food chain. I was unsure about Silva's pedigree before he was appointed, but if you scrutinise his CV, it's definitely a case of 'Buyer Beware'.

At some stage, his team or teams will put a good run of results together, and look a formidable outfit. But, pretty soon afterwards, their results will tail off alarmingly and he will lose his job. I should have done my research better, but I'm pretty sure he's never completed more than two season's with any football club he has managed in the last six years.

It's a mirror image of what is happening now at Everton. What doesn't help, of course, is the man's nature. Passive, outwardly moody and not very demonstrative on the touchline, it seems. He also seems incapable of engaging with the fans.

Of course, many managers can have the same traits, but you can only get away with that if you have won a few trophies in your past employment. One of the reasons Martinez managed to keep his job so long was his utterly charming, engaging nature, both with the press and the fans. However, even Bobby Brown Shoes ran out of credible things to say.

Sadly, Silva portrays a busted flush on the touchline, arms folded and a look of resigned inevitability when we fall behind in a game. Coupled with the lack of a real leader on the pitch, it's not a great combination to get us out of this mess. Meanwhile, an icy silence from the club. I'm sorry but until we have a complete change of hierarchy at the top of the club, nothing much will change.

The 'soft centre' we have runs right through the club like a bad apple. Kenwright's benevolent nature means we fail to recruit even the best coaching staff. Unsworth apart, who seems to be doing a great job with his young developing teams, why do we have to employ ex-blues onto the coaching staff? Jeffers, Ferguson, to name but a few, all seemingly guaranteed jobs when they return to Merseyside. Why not scour Europe for young emerging football coaches?

Even within the football club itself, we can always find jobs for Van Den Hauwe, Sharpe, Snodin, Stuart… talk about jobs for the boys. It's almost like a rest home for old soldiers:

"Come back to Goodison Park, boys, we'll always find a place for you."

Extending the contracts a few years ago of Hibbert (three first team games in three years), Osman, and one of our highest earners, Phil Neville all have one man's fingerprints on them: Bill Kenwright.

I honestly thought when Moshiri bought his controlling share interest a few years back, things would change; sadly not, he's still controlling things behind the scenes.

His appointment of Denise Barrett-Baxendale as the new CEO of our club – he labels her 'little miss dynamite' – had all the hallmarks of a 'Bill' selection from within. This despite her impressive CV in the charity sector, but having NO experience in the cut-throat world of the Premier League, financially the world's biggest football competition.

When Silva gets the bullet, not if, it will be interesting to see who within the club, produces the final coup de grace: good old Denise or Marcel Brands… not sure Uncle Bill will want to get his hands dirty.

And so, whilst we continue with the current regime, nothing much will change. Hopefully Brands, who seems to know what he's doing, will be instrumental in the selection and recruitment of the new manager. Up the blues.

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Terry White
1 Posted 07/10/2019 at 03:58:03
I wonder, Steve, if your nom-de-plume is Don Alexander, or maybe Gerard McKean, or maybe both?
Darren Hind
2 Posted 07/10/2019 at 05:08:53
or maybe he is just speaking for the majority, Terry.

The responses that will surely follow will tell you everything you need to know

Mike Gaynes
3 Posted 07/10/2019 at 05:48:27
Terry, at first glance I'm inclined to believe Steve is Steve.

The other posters you mentioned have always been very open about their views -- obsessively so in my opinion -- and I'd be surprised if either had felt a reason to resort to a nom de plume.

So I think Steve just shares the views of the other two.

Jerome Shields
4 Posted 07/10/2019 at 06:21:57
I agree totally with this article. Everton are not a professionally run Club and the Cu!ture that results, eventually ends up reflected in performances on the field.

The golden rule of a takeover of a underperforming organisation is that the Culture of the takeover party or organisation has to impose a better performing Culture on the taken over organisation.

What Moshiri did was to take over a underperforming organisation agreeing to allow the existing Culture to continue, providing the funds, which the failed Culture was not capable of funding itself. and continued to underperform in the utilization of the funds provided. Mohsiri partly tried to retract his takeover strategy, by withholding funds and succeding in the appoint of Brands to partly control the utilisation of future funds and redress the performance of previous funds. The problem is that three quarters of The organisation is still operating the underpeforming Culture.

The Stadium Project was intiated round about the same time as the start of the utilisation of funds provided on the football side, as yet there are not sign of a plan to provide sufficient Funds to fund such a project.

As long as the underperforming Culture is allowed to continue it will continue to underperform, and the team will continue to underperform as well.

This will not change by just getting rid of the Manager.

Kunal Desai
5 Posted 07/10/2019 at 07:22:04
Nothing more to add. 100% in agreement. The leeches need removing once and for all. Sentiment is ingrained in this club. Bring in those from the corporate world and start changing mentality as opposed to a bingo club.
Steve Hogan
6 Posted 07/10/2019 at 09:08:24
Terry (1)

For the record, I've never used a non-de-plume in my life. I live in the same village in Cheshire as an evertonian mate of mine, Brendan Connolly, Chairman of the Everton Heritage Society.

I'm happy to stand by my comments by the way.

Derek Thomas
7 Posted 07/10/2019 at 09:21:26
The name on the Funnel may have changed, but the old Capt. and most of the crew are still the same...just swap the Silva deckchair and repeat.
Dave Abrahams
8 Posted 07/10/2019 at 09:22:55
Steve (6), “I’m happy to stand by my comments’ why shouldn’t you be, you speak for many Everton fans with your comments and I’m absolutely sure Gerard McKean and Don Alexander have no problems speaking for themselves using their own name.
Gerard McKean
9 Posted 07/10/2019 at 12:34:58
Cheap shot, Mr White #1, or was it just a misguided attempt at "humour"? I write in my own name. I try to contribute fresh perspectives to any debate going on. Occasionally I write an article, for which I seem to be labelled "obsessive" by your mate, Mr Gaynes #3, but at least I write from the heart and I'm not just sitting there like Stadler and Waldorf criticising others.

There are people who have sold whatever integrity they ever had just so they can sit near to the top table at Everton and devour whatever crumbs might fall their way; free tickets, show their importance by arranging tours for friends around Goodison or the Liver Building, serve on "boards" etc. They know who they are, and they know me, they know I speak and write in my own name, they have my number and they know the unpaid work I put in for EFC. They do not dare to take me on themselves from their bases in places like Crosby and Manchester but it's always useful if you can find an apologist to make snidey comments about me on their behalf. I suspect that's where you come in.

Do I feel offended by your nonsense? No. Surprised maybe that anyone calling himself an Evertonian could be so daft. I don't know Steve or Don personally but I feel offended on their behalf and I think you owe Steve, in particular, an apology. It takes a little bit of courage as well as creativity to write an article for TW and as the author you have to accept that not everyone will agree with you. What is not acceptable is throwing cheap shots and slurs in lieu of a reasoned argument if you disagree with the author's view.

My thanks to those who felt irritated enough with Mr White to write in to defend Steve, Don and myself as Evertonians who have no need to hide behind anyone.

Paul Tran
10 Posted 07/10/2019 at 12:43:44
Everton has all the hallmarks of a badly run organisation with incompetent people preferring to keep their quiet life than take part in any meaningful change in the organisation.

In my experience, this kind of culture change takes at least three years.

So I will happily defend Steve & Ged in their deservedly withering criticism of the people running the club.

Steve Ferns
12 Posted 07/10/2019 at 12:50:06
Gerard, you certainly are not lacking courage. I advised you to be more cautious as I would not want to open my self up to litigation if I was in your shoes. Unlike 99.9% of people who post on here, you're someone that certain people in the club would want to shut up, know who you are (for it's not a fake name you use), and can easily take you to court to try and ruin you.

I know you'd probably relish that day, seeing it as a chance to prove what you say. Regardless, it would take courage, and you have that in abundance. Anyone who knows you, knows you would always put your own name to things.

Jack Convery
13 Posted 07/10/2019 at 14:10:34
If Kenwright has any say on the next appointment look out for a Neville / Moyes combo. My preference would be an Arteta / Cahill combo.
Don Alexander
14 Posted 07/10/2019 at 14:37:44
I'm not Steve either, honest!

I appreciate the input of Steve and especially Jerome at #4 because he more succinctly says what I've been ranting on about for years. Why Moshiri seems to still rely on these un-achievers mystifies me.

John McFarlane Snr
15 Posted 07/10/2019 at 15:08:14
Hi all, I fought the urge to be drawn into the threads that exist concerning the plight we find ourselves in at the present time, but I'm afraid that I couldn't resist, and that this thread appears to be the ideal way for me to give my 'two'pennorth'.

To begin with I admire Gerard [9] for his strength of character in expressing his views, and although I have met Gerard, I have never learned his version of events, and to be brutally honest there is no need for me to do so.

My reason for joining the discussion is to give my opinion on the position we find ourselves in, I'm as concerned as any other Evertonian but I do feel that with 30 games left, the Board must be working on contingency plans.

There is [in my opinion] no one person to blame, the Manager, and the players must take their share of the blame. The Manager if his selection, substitutions, and tactics are questionable, the players if they are not playing to his instructions.

If the problem is, that the selections or tactics, are failing then the Manager must devise an alternative approach. In defence of any Manager, it would be churlish to criticise him, for the fact that international footballers can't pass a ball to a team-mate from a distance of 10 yards. I can't do anything but give my support to the team, [and Manager] and hope for a change of fortune.

George Carroll
16 Posted 07/10/2019 at 15:19:46
I have supported Everton for longer than most of you, known the highs and lows watched us becoming a shambles of a club. There are many reasons for the decline but the quickest descent into mediocrity has occurred under Kenwright and unfortunately our new owner didnt get rid of him. I totally agree with Steve Hogan, the appointment of the CEO no doubt excellent at running a Charity but no experience of the cut throat world of football has Kenwrights hallmark, and whilst its nice that ex players support the Club what expertise do they bring to it.Ferguson as a first team coach must be a joke.However we now face the problem of Silva, do we stick with him or sack him. But who would we get to replace him, lets not go down the road of Big Sam or Unsworth again frankly we are not an attractive opportunity for any top class coach. Lets stick with Silve and hope he can keep us up and give Brands time to sort the mess out and find us a good Manager
Mike Gaynes
17 Posted 07/10/2019 at 16:12:51
John #15, thank you for chiming in with some welcome perspective. Your tuppence is always worth a fortune.

Gerard #9, I enjoy and learn from your well-informed articles, and having spoken with others here who have met you, I know your views to be sincere and profoundly felt, which is why I spoke up. I'm sorry you are offended by the word "obsessive", but I have used it before in posting a response to an article you wrote about DBB, the one that was controversially edited by Lyndon out of concern for TW's legal liability. The word characterized my opinion of the intense language you used in that article.

Mike Doyle
18 Posted 07/10/2019 at 16:27:19
For those speculating on various threads yesterday about who would be rolled out today with the usual “we must pull together/ do better blah blah. ” message... it was Gylfi’s turn (faithfully reported by the Echo of course).
Kieran Kinsella
19 Posted 07/10/2019 at 16:47:12
While like Ferns, I'd urge Gerard to be cautious, I seriously doubt anyone at the club would actually take him to court. Whatever negative publicity they get from Gerard would be magnified greatly. Just imagine the headlines "struggling Everton sue loyal fan for criticizing club."

The other element to it would be discussing in court whatever charges Gerard has made about the club and or individuals. Even if the court said Gerard was a fantasist, there would be a lot of people who see headlines about his allegations who assume there is no smoke without fire.

Again though, I am not advocating public dissemination of allegations I am just looking at it pragmatically.

John McFarlane Snr
20 Posted 07/10/2019 at 17:51:09
Hi Mike [17] like Dave Abrahams and others of our generation, I have experienced the highs and lows of what following a football cub brings, Championship's and Relegation, FA Cup wins and FA C up Final defeats. It is my opinion that we supporters, are unaware of any activity behind the scenes at this worrying time, we can only hope that the Board make the right decision for the club.

I also feel that no matter what conclusion they arrive at, there will be some dissenters, judging by the preferred courses of action, and names of potential successor's to Marco Silva, should his services be dispensed with. The Board could find themselves 'burning the midnight oil' for a lengthy time and still come in for criticism from some fans.

Knowing that I can play no active part in proceedings, enables me to sleep peacefully in my bed, but I must confess that only age and experience has allowed me to adopt that attitude, I wasn't always so laid back.

Paul [The Esk]
21 Posted 07/10/2019 at 17:59:44
Steve is wholly accurate in his comments in his article, the long term decline of the club will not be arrested until true leadership and vision come from the owner, Chairman and CEO.

The lack of progress on and off the pitch is a reflection of years of muddied strategy and poor execution by people with lesser abilities than their peers in other clubs.

A decade ago we were considered well run (largely through the onfield efforts of Moyes) but with no resources. Now we are seen as having plenty of resources (a falsehood, we've spent our windfall) but with a lost identity and sense of purpose.

Moshiri has to bring about change in the boardroom allowing directors to properly direct those charged with running the footballing and non-footballing sides of the business.

Well said Steve.

Mike Gaynes
22 Posted 07/10/2019 at 18:11:16
Paul #21, would you please explain your aside that "we've spent our windfall"?

What windfall are you referring to and why do you believe it has been expended?

Tony Abrahams
23 Posted 07/10/2019 at 18:20:07
This article although written by Steve, has simply got the Bill Kenwright regime written all over it imo.

The reason is simple, because a split in the fan-base occurred once, at least half of us realised that our chairman was the root of Everton's problems.

Eleven years with Moyes, jobs for the boys, but he kept us in the Premier League, and for that, the other half are eternally grateful.

Don't criticise, he's done his best they say, but his best was never good enough for the Everton I remember, although he's definitely brought us down to his own level, and to think people called Peter Johnson an agent of LFC?

Gerard McKean
24 Posted 07/10/2019 at 18:27:21
Thanks for your concern Steve, Kieran and others.

To be clear: the people I referred to as having sold their integrity are not actually employees of EFC, they are more what I would describe as hangers-on.

In terms of my criticisms, it really boils down essentially to one thing: as a club Everton needs to do more to live up to its own motto. That is not something you can be put on trial for saying, as far as I know. Like Kieran, I doubt they'd bother suing me because it would turn out badly for one or two people if I went for the "nuclear option."

If I am being brutally honest though I'm losing interest in talking about ineptitude and herewith I'm shutting up shop on the subject. I think I have proven in the past that I am not a one-trick pony and the article I wrote on legacy and pride in the shirt seemed to be well received, so in response to Andy Crooks on another thread I'll try to come up with something thought-provoking but not controversial: so don't get me started on SportPesa!

Mike Gaynes
25 Posted 07/10/2019 at 18:44:07
Gerard #24, appreciate your clarification -- I for one did think you were referring to people who work at the club.

And I'd be very interested to read your views on SportPesa. It's a topic that has rarely been addressed here.

Paul [The Esk]
26 Posted 07/10/2019 at 19:01:43
Mike @22, thanks for asking. I mean we've spent the money Moshiri was prepared to invest in the squad. Alhough he contributed to the summer spending, he won't be doing so in the future. We are, as I have written about previously, up against our regulatory limits re spending, and we have limited player assets to sell in future windows.
Tony Abrahams
27 Posted 07/10/2019 at 19:07:36
I’m grateful to Terry@1, for his response though, because although I don’t like reading what you’ve got to say Gerard, that’s only because of the ineptitude you usually write about mate, and you have been quite quiet lately!

Jerome@4, gets it right when he talks about an underperforming culture, and that’s why the last transfer window was a mystery imo, because I’m not sure Silva would have picked the players that came to Everton, unless he had also been given both an experienced striker and a pacy defender, and possibly a box to box midfielder as well?

Tony Abrahams
28 Posted 07/10/2019 at 19:15:36
Paul @26, if this is true then it looks like Silva, is telling the truth when he says he's not worried.

The only threat to his job might be Unsworth, because I'm not sure a sensible manager would come to Everton, if there was very little money to spend, because this squad is only half-way complete, at best?

Paul [The Esk]
29 Posted 07/10/2019 at 19:18:07
Tony, I don't think Silva is going anywhere soon, certainly not during this break. I think Watford is a bigger game for him than West Ham. All the chips appear to be on the Carabao Cup.
Tony Abrahams
30 Posted 07/10/2019 at 19:23:02
I can't agree with that Paul, but only because the position in the Premier League is so much more financially important. Although, as a very long-suffering fan, I'd take 17th now, especially if it meant that the younger generation of fanatical Evertonians could finally see us running round Wembley with a cup mate!
Mike Gaynes
31 Posted 07/10/2019 at 19:27:18
Paul #26, thanks for responding. I didn't see what you previously wrote about regulatory limits on spending, and I have only the fuzziest grasp of the issue. If at some point you could find the time to re-post that information, I'd really appreciate it.

Tony #27, Terry at #1 was being satirical, not genuinely accusing anyone of misrepresentation. He has a dry sense of humor.

Paul [The Esk]
32 Posted 07/10/2019 at 19:34:50

Any questions please ask

Mike Gaynes
33 Posted 07/10/2019 at 19:47:49
Cheers, Mr. Esk!
Tony Abrahams
34 Posted 07/10/2019 at 20:05:18
Fair enough Mike, some things sound funny when spoken verbally, but not so good when written down in print, and sometimes it’s the other way around.

I can understand Terry, he likes Kenwright, and what’s happening out on the pitch is definitely not down to our loveable chairman, but the fact that Bill’s still here, makes loads of people think that very little has changed behind the scenes, but hopefully it’s all getting stage-managed whilst we wait for “BIG AL!”

Phil Lewis
35 Posted 07/10/2019 at 00:08:36
I was at school with Gerard McKean. I hadn't seen him for some 50 years until I introduced myself to him at Goodison a few years back. I was accompanying my disabled brother and Gerard was doing his steward's job.

Unfortunately, we only got to speak briefly. We were team mates for the first-ever Cardinal Allen Grammar School football team, as I recall Gerard was our skipper. Previously, it had been an all-Rugby playing school.

I have read some of his highly informative posts on here and have been intending to reveal myself to him for some time. His critics have compelled me to do so.

The Gerard McKean I grew up with, as I recall, was a highly intelligent, trustworthy, straightforward, no-nonsense boy, of the highest integrity. Well thought of by pupils and teachers alike. Nobody's fool, a thoroughly decent young man. A worthy Captain.

To all of his doubters, I am happy to testify that the passage of time has not diminished his courage, fortitude and perception. Keep fighting the good fight, Gerard.

Mike Gaynes
36 Posted 08/10/2019 at 00:45:26
Tony "BIG AL"??

Tall striker I hope?

Phil Lewis
37 Posted 08/10/2019 at 00:57:03
ps: Gerard,

That commendation is going to cost you 4 Walkers, 4 Mojos, 4 Black Jack's, 4 Fruit Salads, a DC Superman comic, and back issues of The Valiant, Victor and Hotspur!!

(Alas, some things never change, mate!)

Michael Kenrick
38 Posted 08/10/2019 at 01:47:43
Great post, Phil, re Gerard. Good of you to step up with a character reference.

It is illuminating reading ToffeeWeb, seeing post after countless post from people who know absolutely nothing about the inner workings of Everton FC (that includes me). But where we differ is so many are quick to provide their particular solution for what is amiss inside the club, or at Finch Farm.

Yet what happens when someone steps out of the shadows with real knowledge of the inside workings, and (I feel sure of this) first-hand experience of where things appear to be going awry. Yet the response to this particular ITK can be quite dismissive. I just don't get it.

You'd think ToffeeWeb readers would feel like me: incredibly appreciative of the insight and narrative Gerard can provide. I'd love to hear more from him, a lot more, but I know he has been made very wary by the astounding reaction from some to his revealing posts... such that they are now nowhere near as revealing as they could be.

Tony Abrahams
39 Posted 08/10/2019 at 11:48:55
Couldn’t agree more with that last paragraph of yours Michael K, and Big Al, is Usmanov, Mike G, hopefully signing strikers galore!
Dave Abrahams
40 Posted 08/10/2019 at 12:01:21
I like to think that the people at the top inside Goodison will let themselves down and some of the things that has happened in the past will become obvious to everyone.

There are plenty of rumours doing the rounds now, I stress they are only rumours, but coming from quite a few directions.

Alan J Thompson
41 Posted 08/10/2019 at 13:56:54
Steve(#6); Are you absolutely sure you've never been called "Hulk" and I must warn you, barmaids don't count!
Steve Hogan
42 Posted 08/10/2019 at 16:08:34
Alan (41)

Been called Hulk many times and I'm glad you brought a bit of humour into the debate, a bit heavy at the moment.

Alan J Thompson
43 Posted 08/10/2019 at 17:04:45
Steve(#42); You're most welcome and as Mr Ferns once said in a snooker room, "I case my rest."
Steve Ferns
44 Posted 08/10/2019 at 17:06:53
Nice one Alan!
Alan J Thompson
45 Posted 08/10/2019 at 17:29:52
Nice to see a couple of Steve's bearing up under the flak.
Nil Desperandum, I think.
Kieran Kinsella
46 Posted 08/10/2019 at 17:41:12
Paul "The Esk"

I agree on the Watford cup game being of prime importance. Although, I feel like I've seen this scenario play out before. It was March 2002, and all of Walter Smith's eggs were in the FA Cup quarter final basket. Hopefully it works out differently this time around.

Steve Ferns
47 Posted 08/10/2019 at 17:52:51
Alan, were Everton fans, were used to the flak. Especially if you’re from the city and have kopites in the family.
Gerard McKean
48 Posted 08/10/2019 at 17:52:52
Phil Lewis, I don't deserve your kind words but they are nonetheless very much appreciated.

Just by way of anecdote I remember the match when we bumped into each other for the first time in so may years because I was being a bit naughty in "bunking someone in." That person was the late, great Evertonian and gentleman, Freddie Armstrong. The reason I was in the disabled section in Gwladys St was that Freddie had not long since had a leg amputated, but nothing so trivial was going to stop him going to the match. As far as I remember some of his mates had helped him escape from hospital and one of them phoned me to see if I could arrange for him and his wheelchair and his carer to get into Goodison!

Getting a deserving person into the ground was one thing, not that I would ever have committed such a heinous crime, but a wheelchair and carer as well? Disabled spaces are in very short supply at Goodison unfortunately so I had to enlist the help of a senior member of EFC staff (they are not all bad, far from it) who was aware of Freddie's predicament and who helped me to do the right thing and get this passionate Blue in, wheelchair and all! Everyone in the section did whatever they could to make room for Freddie and although you can't move a mountain this mountain of man was moved to tears of gratitude for his fellow Evertonians that day.

Phil, I also remember that first match; we lost 1-3 to SFX Bilateral. I scored our goal and at this point I'm supposed to say how it meant nothing to me because the team lost, but I've dined out on that goal ever since! And even though we were primarily a rugby school, Cardinal Allen did produce the great Colin Harvey.

I can't pay you all the items you demand but I'd love to buy you a pint, if you fancy. Thanks again.

ps Michael K., I agree!

Darren Hind
49 Posted 08/10/2019 at 18:14:06
Michael K @38


My eyes light up when I see a post from Gerard.

Stan Schofield
50 Posted 08/10/2019 at 20:41:42
I agree totally with Steve Hogan, the culture begins at the top, as with all organisations. Jerome@4 provides compelling logic as to why the current EFC culture is lacking.

Regarding Gerard McKean's past posts, so far as I can see, his comments on details of EFC culture are based on particular experience, which to my mind provides valuable food for thought compared with many other posters that look more like ranting borne of frustration. I would be disappointed if he stopped providing such insights, since it is rare to get any 'inside information'.

Everton have deep rooted issues that are unlikely to be solved by yet another change of manager. EFC needs to change more radically than that, otherwise it's a recipe for continuing mediocrity or worse.

Phil Lewis
51 Posted 08/10/2019 at 23:33:39
Thanks, Gerard, for acknowledging my post, great to connect again.

Some people find the truth unpalatable. I'm certain that your past allegations and revelations on here have been totally truthful. I would expect nothing less from the lad I knew all those years ago.

Colin Harvey was an old boy of our school and as Blues, we were all rightly proud of the fact. Unfortunately, Colin was about five years older than us, so we were just starting as he was leaving. We could have done with him being a bit younger, if he'd played for us we might have won a few more!

I remember a teacher once telling me that Colin used to hone his skills, endlessly kicking a tennis ball against a playground wall alone, for hours on end. The story often came to mind, when I would hear reports of Brazilian wizards initially playing their beach football on the Copacobana, or youngsters in third world countries kicking around makeshift balls in their villages, then going on to become superstars of World football. Colin could hold his own with the best of them and to think it all started for him in our school playground.

Actually, virtually all of the professional British and Irish players of our generation and older, were working class kids, whose natural footballing talents were created and harnessed in the street. Or if you were a bit posher, the park. No academies then, or coaching classes. Just huge matches going on everywhere, everyday. You'd stroll up with your mate to a game already in progress, one of you would go pudding, the other beef and there you were, on opposing sides. Halcyon days.

I'll watch out for you on here Gerard and hopefully hook up sometime soon for that drink. Let's hope we are celebrating rather than commiserating our beloved Blues. We live in hope!

Andy Crooks
52 Posted 08/10/2019 at 23:41:58
I have been lucky enough to meet Gerard. A top, unassuming guy. His posts are informative, heartfelt and pertinent. Like Darren, I welcome his posts.
Ged, I suggest you send an article to Mike and Lyndon and shine a light on Everton. Don't worry, Steve Ferns will be by your side when you are in the dock.
Brendan Connolly
53 Posted 08/10/2019 at 23:46:34
Late to the party, but I can confirm that Steve Hogan is actually Steve Hogan. My view, for what it's worth, is that the players have to take a massive amount of responsibility.

It's being said that the players are no longer playing for Silva, which rings some bells. I'm sure that was said of Martinez and Koeman and Allardyce. At no stage did they perform for Unsworth, unless you count the West Ham game when his successor had been appointed and was sat in the stand.

On an average salary of around £100k per week, surely it's not too much to ask that they perform for ninety minutes, either for the supporters or their own self-esteem?

Dave Abrahams
54 Posted 08/10/2019 at 23:47:59
Gerard (48), well I owe you a pint, for looking after Freddie, what an absolute beaut of a man, also a great Bluenose, loved Everton and would do anything to watch the Blues, anything.

I met him in the drop in centre in Everton Road, Freddie in his wheelchair, not long after losing his leg, he shouted over to me ‘ Dave are you okay mate, what’s wrong’ ‘ Fuck worrying about me, how are you Freddie’ I answered.

He loved our Tony, would do anything for him, a giant of a man, well liked as was shown at his funeral in St. George’s, Heyworth Street, a few ex Everton players there as well as Bob Penlington the Everton scout who brought Wayne Rooney to Everton, couldn’t get in the church, it was crambed tonthe door with loads outside.

You helped a goodun’ that day Gerard, well done, keep those letters coming, you have a good insight into the game of football as well as the other stuff, always nice to read them, I hope you are keeping well.

Lenny Jameson
55 Posted 08/10/2019 at 23:49:15
Phil (51)
You've got to be the Phil Lewis that was in our class with Steve Hennessey, John Hall and the rest?

We were good mates but haven't seen each other for years. We met at the match a few years ago but lost touch again.

Made up to see your well and still going. God help us.
All the best, Lenny

Phil Lewis
56 Posted 08/10/2019 at 00:10:00
Lenny #55,

Jamo!! Brilliant to hear from you, another blast from the past!

We bumped into each other many years ago outside the ground before the first match of the season. We hadn't seen each other for years. I was in a distressed state as my teenage son, who had accompanied me to the match since he was a toddler, had passed away that summer. I told you of my tragedy. I was upset because I didn't have a ticket and I wanted to get in to stand in the speck we'd always stood in.

Without hesitation you snatched your mate's ticket off him, gave it to me, saying to your friend, "He needs it more than you". I've never forgotten that. Len.

I've kept in touch with Mike Hessey and he's organised a couple of get-togethers with 'old boys'. As I've suggested to Ged McKean on here,, it would be great to catch up again.

Best wishes, old friend.

Lenny Jameson
57 Posted 09/10/2019 at 00:32:13
Brilliant Phil. i net Mike Hessey a few years ago. He was with a mate of mine who's just passed away. God lad, Mike.

Be great to meet up sometime. I'm always opposite the Main Entrance about 30 mins before the game.

Some flashbacks on here tonight. Freddie Armstrong. The best Evertonian ever. Went all over the country on Freddie's tours. Great days.

Hope we can meet soon mate.

Paul [The Esk]
58 Posted 09/10/2019 at 00:42:22
Brilliant stuff above
Alan J Thompson
59 Posted 09/10/2019 at 06:22:44
Steve(#47); The only red in my family was my mother and when asked why as the rest were/are Evertonians she replied that it was because she felt sorry for them always in the 2nd Division.
Gerard McKean
60 Posted 09/10/2019 at 11:09:49
Phil, Lenny, I’m aware we shouldn’t turn this into a Cardinal Allen Old Boys discussion as everyone else will be getting mighty fed up with us, but I’d be up for a pint after the WHU game? Other good lads mentioned such as Mike Hessey and Steve Hennessy (lovely footballer) would be welcome, of course, and anyone else for that matter!

I’m glad my mention of Freddie stirred so many memories of the great man, and Dave A I’ll take you up on that pint! Phil, I was deeply moved to hear about your son, my prayers are with him and your family. I noted though that Lenny snatched his mate’s ticket rather than give you his own. Typical of someone not in Arrowsmith!

Lenny Jameson
61 Posted 09/10/2019 at 11:35:23
Alright Ged.

Typical Arrowsmith boy, trying to take the shine off a Johnson lad's generosity!! I love Phil Lewis but give him my ticket??? Anyway, it was only Tommy Mac's. He'd have got in somehow.

Steve Hennessey was my best man. The last I heard, he was living in New Zealand. Be great to meet up if we could arrange it.

Steve Ferns
62 Posted 09/10/2019 at 11:37:33
Alan, my Dad's family were all Blues. My dad and his two younger brothers, and his dad.

My grandfather used to regale me with stories of Dixie, but being born in the early 1920s he couldn't have seen him, and instead I think he was relaying stories from his own father who was also a blue.

Down the paternal line, there's not a Red in the family. The reds are all on my mother's side, later arrivals to this country (Irish immigrants) and split down the middle, with 3 Reds and 3 Blues.

Phil Lewis
63 Posted 09/10/2019 at 13:40:41
Ged, give us a venue for after the West Ham game and I'll do my best to be there. I'll pass the message to anyone who might know you from when we were kids.

Fella's, enough CAOB stuff for now, back to the article thread, where do we start with this lot?

Like everyone else I'm totally unconvinced by the manager, but what about the eleven on the pitch? Where's the pride and passion? We are becoming a soft touch. I know the game has changed. It's less physical. Referees are being overruled by technology etc.

But what price a Bally, a Peter Reid, or more recently even a Tim Cahill for their winners spirit? All consummate pros. But to those men, it was never just about the money or the lifestyle that came with it.

Tony Abrahams
64 Posted 10/10/2019 at 09:29:43
Turned into a very nice thread since Steve said it was getting a bit heavy, especially reminiscing about one of the greatest Evertonians of which there are many.

God bless Freddie Armstrong, who I'm sure will be constantly asking “our lord” to give us Evertonians better days.

And I hope you Cardinal Allen Old Boys have got something more than friendship to celebrate on your trip down memory lane next Saturday afternoon. (It should be a funny day that, gentlemen!)

Lenny Jameson
65 Posted 10/10/2019 at 23:04:19
Tony (64),

Thanks for understanding our nonsense and you're so right. There are many great Evertonians. I've just got back from the funeral of another one!!!

But what I'd like to say to Phil Lewis and everyone else on here really is that I was with a member of the first-team staff today and what he told me was enlightening.

This man is a proper Evertonian. Loves the place and always has. He said that, as much as we don't like or trust the manager, we need to take a closer look at the players. I only wish I could say on here everything he told me but I'd hate for things to come back to him.

Just to say that there's no quick fix. If a new man comes in, the problems will still be there. And yes, we spoke about defending corners and everything else.

The only good thing from my point of view is that there wasn't an oven handy that I could put my head in!!!

Phil Lewis
66 Posted 11/10/2019 at 19:51:26
Lenny #65,

Good to hear from you Len. (I thought everyone had gone quiet on meeting up!)

Managers aren't allowed to manage in the way Catterick, Shankly and Co did. Money rules more than ever. Players dictate at the top now. Mourhino even recently experienced it with Pogba and others at Utd.

As much as I hate to say it, Klopp weeded out a couple of 'stars' who he identified as bad for team spirit when he arrived and sent them packing.

I wouldn't be in the least surprised to find that all is not well behind closed doors with our squad. Because it's certainly looking that way with performances so far this term.

Anyway Len, Gerard mentioned a meet up after the West Ham game. Where do you suggest?

Gerard McKean
67 Posted 12/10/2019 at 17:16:06
Phil, Lenny, something may have gone amiss but I did write into the info@TW address requesting that my email address be forwarded to you both with a view to then sorting out a meet-up. If you could each drop me a line, I'll send one reply to both addresses so that we are all then in the loop.

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