Benitez and Rodriguez

by   |   17/02/2022  240 Comments  [Jump to last]

I think any good manager operates and augments what players he has available to him.

Benitez is the antithesis of this. He had his system and he wanted to select players who could do the specifics of what he required. It's why James Rodriguez was immediately admonished and rejected by him.

By my logic, the best players have to start and then you go from there. This will comprise in terms of priority:

A) Ability and form
B) Ability
C) Form and lesser ability
D) Potential and Form
E) Potential

It's a simple hierarchy.

A good manager would've embraced the rare match winning quality that Rodriguez offered and supplemented that with players to compensate for his shortcomings. That's why a side featuring him was able to go to the home of the reigning champions and win there for the first time in over 20 years.

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Tony Abrahams
1 Posted 16/02/2022 at 20:11:21
So you would have kept Rodríguez, and carried on paying him his £200/250 grand a week, Tommy, even though the club is sailing close to the wind with regards FFP?

Tommy Carter
2 Posted 16/02/2022 at 20:25:39

I have to believe that any starting XI that Benitez fielded for Everton until he was billeted would’ve been better with James Rodriguez in it.

FFP is a different matter and not my concern. FFP is the concern of the Football Club and those who run it. And from what I understand, unless anybody can tell me otherwise, the sale of Rodriguez was initiated and instigated by Benitez.

Are we saying Dele Alli is on a pittance? And in that case what’s changed?

Barry Rathbone
3 Posted 16/02/2022 at 20:53:40
Tommy Carter,

You missed a vital ingredient in your criteria:

F. Fit/wants to play.

On that basis James cannot figure.

Tommy Carter
4 Posted 16/02/2022 at 20:57:18

James played the same amount of games as Allan last season.

What’s your point?

Barry Rathbone
5 Posted 16/02/2022 at 21:00:15

Neither are dependable fitness wise but Allan gives the impression he wants to play for us – capiche?

Tony Abrahams
6 Posted 16/02/2022 at 21:04:02
I think the blueprint during the Benitez reign was to bring the wage bill down, Tommy, so I’m just glad that Frank Lampard never got the job last summer.

FFP is not my concern either, but Everton are though, and if the club were in danger of breaching the rules, then I think needs must, had to become relevant, especially with regards a player who was on an absolute fortune, but was always going to miss as many games as he played, meaning he just wasn’t value for money, under the circumstances.

Tommy Carter
7 Posted 16/02/2022 at 21:09:26
@ Barry. Some evidence please of Allan wanting to play for Everton more-so than James Rodriguez. Because he runs around with a scowl?

@ Tony. See my point re Dele Alli. You are addressing the Benitez decision to sell James Rodriguez. I've cited the fact he played as many games as Allan and I would personally say that his influence upon the team was more tangible than that of Allan. Then add to the mix that Allan cost a huge transfer fee and I doubt he is paying subs to play for us.

Then consider the wages of Alli and Donny van de Beek. Again. Must be huge money. And within 6 months we are complicit with FFP with these two players than we were with James Rodriguez. I don't believe that and won't have it for a second.

Benitez used the wage and the phantom of FFP to justify his decision making. There's nothing more to it.

Correct me if I'm wrong. Please. As I like to remain informed.

Barry Rathbone
8 Posted 16/02/2022 at 21:19:18

One source of evidence could be James spending more time taking pics of himself on a plane than Allan - only Judith Chalmers presenting "Wish You Were Here" comes near.


Mike Gaynes
9 Posted 16/02/2022 at 21:30:57
Tommy @7, evidence?

How about that Allan has played the second-most minutes of any field player on the club this season (behind Keane)?

How about that he was leading the league in tackles when he was injured in December, and still has 11 more tackles than anybody else in the club?

How about that he never takes a minute off?

That good enough?

Tommy Carter
10 Posted 16/02/2022 at 21:33:33

Although social media and the usage thereof by footballers who command millions of people interested in their updates, may be unpalatable to you, I would rather focus on what the players did on the pitch.

He played as many games as Allan. He cost £25M less in transfer fees. Their respective weekly wage is only reported.

Jame Rodriguez offered more to Everton than Allan did or does. That is my opinion.

I’m not suggesting that he was amazing. But I am suggesting that, in terms of ability (original post) he was probably one of the best we had, then he should’ve been retained. And it was only the pig headedness and arrogance of a certain crimson cheeked, vile and vindictive man that stopped this from happening.

Brent Stephens
11 Posted 16/02/2022 at 21:34:38
"Some evidence please of Allan wanting to play for Everton more-so than James Rodriguez. Because he runs around with a scowl?"

I think you got it in your reference to "running around", as a start.

Tommy Carter
12 Posted 16/02/2022 at 21:41:47

He hardly broke into a jog in order to place a first time pass to split a championship winning defence in two at anfield to assist a goal that would contribute towards us winning a game there for the first time in 20 years. Plus their targeted treatment of him in the Goodison Derby told a story in itself.

Or perhaps you’d rather we had one of the lads on a lower weekly wage running around loads like they did between 1999-2021?

Barry Rathbone
13 Posted 16/02/2022 at 21:42:11
Tommy Carter,

You boxed yourself into a mad corner. Nobody disputes what a great player James was but he wasn't arsed about being here.

You conceded James absence issues by drawing comparisons to a similarly absent player. the problem is Allan's injuries seem legit whereas the eye-rolling excuse of "fatigue" from James almost beggars belief.

Pop in his legging it to the airport despite the season still being "live" and the conclusion is inescapable – he really wasn't that arsed about being here.


Brent Stephens
14 Posted 16/02/2022 at 21:51:40
Tommy, I actually loved James, mate. But I just think that Allan does want to play more for us (as opposed to Carlo) than James did.
Tony Abrahams
15 Posted 16/02/2022 at 21:53:00
I don’t know if you are right or wrong Tommy, but Moshiri had given every single Everton manager money to spend except Benitez, which was very, very unusual, when you consider he was such a divisive appointment, who needed to hit the ground running, to stand even a remote chance of being accepted by Evertonians.

Tommy Carter
16 Posted 16/02/2022 at 21:57:47
@83 Barry

Typical over emotional Evertonian.

Who cares if he wanted to be here? He was world class.

In an ideal world you would want the buy in but in reality you take class as and when you can get it.

If there was a player who was half as effective in terms of creativity, who really wanted to be here, then where is he? Does he exist? What kind of fee are you paying for someone like that?

Every one of us would take a half-arsed Rodriguez ahead of a fully committed John Oster... all day long. And you’ll never convince me otherwise.

As for you, Mike. Those statistics you cite are for a team in the relegation places. And although impressive against the context of his dreadful team mates, they are abysmal amongst the bigger picture.

Some stats re James Rodriuez if you’re so interested

We never lost a cup game with him in the team

8 defeats in 26 premier league games when he played.

5 defeats in the 12 he didn’t play.
6 goal

Only Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison scored more goals than him in the Premier League.

Only Gylfi assisted more.

11th in the league for chances created in 20-21 season.

Tommy Carter
17 Posted 16/02/2022 at 22:03:12
By comparison

Ancelotti didn't spend anything in his first transfer window.

Benitez spent £29 million on unproven full backs about 6 weeks ago.

Maybe Moshiri thought that Benitez could get more out of a squad (that included James Rodriquez) which finished 10 points behind 3rd placed Liverpool last season?

Tony Abrahams
18 Posted 16/02/2022 at 22:09:45
Tommy, you say you like to be informed and the information I received from someone who is close to Rafa Benitez, is that he didn’t want any of the three players Everton signed, in January.

He also got rid of Digne, who was obviously breaking his back to stay, and I’d argue that the one thing that definitely happened under Benitez, was that Everton reduced their wage-bill?

Mike Gaynes
19 Posted 16/02/2022 at 22:16:14
Tommy, you asked for evidence that Allan wanted to play for Everton. Those stats indicate heart and desire. So job done.

As for Rodriguez, there's nothing you can tell me about him. No bigger James booster on TW than yours truly. Barry's not wrong, but his less-than-wholehearted commitment didn't bother me one bit. Arsed or not, I loved what he did.

Brian Williams
20 Posted 16/02/2022 at 23:02:41
I see you're still starstruck over Rodriguez, Tommy.

That defence-splitting pass against them lot? Yeh, it was great. It was one of the four assists he made in his 23 appearances, along with his 6 goals.

Remember when he left and you asked me the question who would we get to replace his goals and assists? And how you bet me that Townsend (who I suggested would replace them for a lot less outlay) would score 5 or less?

Townsend has made 22 appearances so far with 7 goals and 3 assists. Works a lot harder than Rodriguez ever did but I admit his hair's not as nice and he's not as nice looking.

Time to replace the poster on your wall, Tommy. 😉

Kieran Kinsella
21 Posted 16/02/2022 at 23:21:28

Good post. I recall that debate.

I too thought Andros would do okay as his creativity was stifled at Palace.

Certainly James produced some nice moments but for £250k a week? I more savor the industrious types who score the important goals, eg, Kevin Campbell when he arrived, or Pat van den Hauwe at Norwich.

Mike Gaynes
22 Posted 17/02/2022 at 01:02:34
Kieran, you gotta let that fable go already.

James wasn't on anything close to £250k a week. That figure was published by the bullshit vendors at Football Insider. And it was glommed onto by a lot of folks here, but it wasn't true.

Kieran Kinsella
23 Posted 17/02/2022 at 01:27:47

Haha – to be honest, I threw in that figure just to wind-up a few folks...

Mike Gaynes
24 Posted 17/02/2022 at 02:58:04
Yeah, me specifically, Kieran!
Kieran Kinsella
25 Posted 17/02/2022 at 04:32:07

I only tease you cause I love you, mate – lol. I couldn't resist.

Tony Abrahams
26 Posted 17/02/2022 at 08:20:41
Interesting Mike, but many of us were led to believe Rodriguez was on over £200k every week. Maybe this was because his signing on fee would also have been getting paid over the length of his contract?

But if this isn’t true, I wonder what was his real wage was every week, mate?

Brian Williams
27 Posted 17/02/2022 at 09:37:18
Tony. If you sift through the garbage and use several different "reliable" sources then it's anything between £120k and £150k a week.
I'd have expected him to have parity (at least) with our highest paid player at the time so at least £120k.

I'm of the opinion that Townsend and Gray's salaries combined wouldn't come anywhere near that but their combined goals and assists of thirteen goals and six assists offer much better value.

It's difficult to quantify (though I'm sure Jay Wood could find the stats) how much both of those players offer in effort, workrate, and overall contribution to the team but again I'm of the opinion that both would outweigh that of Rodriguez.

I have/had nothing against Rodriguez and some of the things he did were sublime, which I loved, but for me, they were far too seldom and he was a luxury we just couldn't afford (and not just financially),

Raymond Fox
28 Posted 17/02/2022 at 10:47:41
What's the point of making a thread about Rodriguez when he's not now our player?
Barry Rathbone
29 Posted 17/02/2022 at 11:09:01

Typical over emotional Evertonian.

Who cares if he wanted to be here? He was world class.

In an ideal world you would want the buy in but in reality you take class as and when you can get it."

If not overly emotional about Everton, perhaps you should find another club or sport.

I care if a player wants to be here for the simple reason, if he doesn't, when the going gets sticky, he is more likely to hide, or in James's case, simply not turn up.

And no, you don't take class as when you can get it.

Plenty of reasons exist for supporters being more discerning than that. This is just another ill-considered platitude demonstrating you aren't actually aware of basic elements of football fandom. "Does the player actually want to play for us" is front and centre of the fan - player contract – hence the popular homily "No-one is bigger than the club".

Not that I expect you to understand; your wittering so far suggests footy might not be your first-choice sport.

Nicholas Ryan
30 Posted 17/02/2022 at 11:47:07
James Rodriguez came here with a genuine intention to succeed. He is a truly World Class player on any measure. He can do things that the others can't. His statistical record stands comparison with most others.

I think the weather didn't suit him [I know how daft that sounds].
I think he struggled [a little] with the pace and relentless intensity of the PL.
I think he got niggling injuries through being kicked and pushed around; this led to him becoming frustrated and less willing to be 'on the ball'.

I think he would have relished being in Frankie's more attack-minded squad.

As for not 'tracking back' I remember an interview with Gerard Deulofeu when he said 'I was at Barcelona from age 8; for 10 years, every game I played we had 80% possession - what would I know about tracking back?!'.

Imagine the reaction of the Leeds defenders, if James had come on as an 'impact sub' at 60 minutes on Saturday? "Oh, Shit" would be the polite version.

I apologise [yet again] for using a cricketing analogy, but James reminded me a lot of Kevin Pietersen; often questioned for commitment; loved the high-life; could be a prat sometimes; but he could turn a 5-match series in 20 minutes... which no-one else could.

The word 'genius' is so often preceded by the word 'flawed'. We have to put up with some nonsense, in order to get those moments, that we will remember forever.

Danny Broderick
31 Posted 17/02/2022 at 14:40:27
The fact that Rafa sold Rodriguez and Digne, and ended up playing a 5-4-1 with Rondon as the 1 speaks volumes. Rafa is a negative coach. He stifled any players with attacking flair. Even Richarlison looks like he is enjoying his football again, and he’s a miserable sod at the best of times!

Rodriguez is in the top 5 players I have seen for Everton in the PL years. Up there with Kanchelskis, Arteta etc. A forward thinking coach would have played him as the number 10 in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with plenty of legs around him. The fact that Benitez couldn’t accommodate him says more about Benitez, in my opinion…

Steve Brown
32 Posted 17/02/2022 at 15:04:15
Interesting that the discussion pivoted to the merits of Allan v James. I like Allan a lot, but loved James. Frankly, I didn’t care if he tracked back or not and his goals/assist ratios to games played was excellent. We were simply a far better team when he played.

We have not often seen truly world class players in an Everton shirt over the last 30 years - Kanchelskis, Rooney and James are the only three. It is all a bit ‘roundhead’ to complain when we do have a gem like him in the squad.

Tony, interesting that Benitez didn’t want to the three signings during the winter transfer window. Who decided to spend £30 million then on Patterson and Mykolenko? It wasn’t the DoF or Head of Recruitment as those roles were vacant. Selling Digne during mid season to our nearest rivals whilst in a relegation battle was all him though.

Brian Williams
33 Posted 17/02/2022 at 15:12:13
Frankly, I didn’t care if he tracked back or not and his goals/assist ratios to games played was excellent.

Then you must agree that Townsend's and Gray's are excellent too?

It's true that Rodriguez WAS a superstar but he certainly wasn't at SUPERSTAR level when he came to us. It can't be argued that he did some great things but he didn't do them often enough. I think us Evertonians have been that starved of quality that some have gone a bit gooey eyed over Rodriguez and as we all know once some players leave Everton their performances for Everton (while they were here) improve as time passes.

Selective memory/rose tinted specs spring to mind.

Jay Harris
34 Posted 17/02/2022 at 15:40:14
Ive no wish to engage in the debate on James but just wanted to post that Steve Burtenshaw has passed away and I believe it should get some coverage on this site. Condolences to all his family.
Mark Taylor
35 Posted 17/02/2022 at 15:43:08
I was pretty excited about having James here and he did show some genius touches but overall he didn't live up to the billing, not reliable and consistent, especially fitness wise.

I appreciate some, including the author of this piece might have a different opinion but surely the most telling evidence of his status is that not one major club came in for him after he left us. Not one. That's an awful lot of very good, experienced managers' opinions to ignore if you take the opposite position. Last time I looked, he was playing in an Arab league, which tends to be your destination before retirement.

Mike Gaynes
36 Posted 17/02/2022 at 15:49:08
Brian #33, yes, Townsend's and Gray's are excellent too. And they both track back.

But you've hit on a key point -- James came into a side that was utterly bereft of technical quality and brought truckloads of it. He made passes and dribbles that hadn't been seen at Goodison in years. And he won at Anfield. So of course some of us would be starry-eyed.

But not everyone. Even after Anfield there were still people here sneering at his lack of defensive effort. The devotion to industriousness here is equally starry-eyed. Players from decades ago I barely recall are still lauded for their work rate and declared underrated gems we'd love to have in the side today. Yesterday posters here were insulting Rodriguez while the podcast was paying tribute to Scott Gemmill.

Confuses the hell out of me.

Mike Gaynes
37 Posted 17/02/2022 at 16:05:17
Mark #35, both Napoli and Atletico were reported as interested. But they weren't going to pay him €12m a year. That was the offer from Qatar.
James Lauwervine
38 Posted 17/02/2022 at 16:18:09
James's new club, the mighty Al-Rayyan, are 9th in the league table of 12 teams. James has played less than half the games, scoring 3 goals in 8 appearances. All for a £10m a year salary. I was disappointed at the time when he left as he's clearly an exceptionally-talented player, but we've moved on and I'm glad now that he has.
Joe McMahon
39 Posted 17/02/2022 at 16:28:27
Tommy, James didn't start many games, or play 90mins. He didn't seem interested in the club, but was to collect his 1 million a month, and doesn't like the cold and rain (boo-hoo). He was living off his form from the world cup years ago. Private Jets, Bikini Babes on yachts lifestyle certainly does not match with Walton, Liverpool, Merseyside or even the North West of England.

The guy stands for many things that are vulgar about the money driven modern global Game, and money doesn't have to change you that much. The best player in the world came back for a season at Manchester in 2021. Our current manager is a respected name in European football, and he is a born and bred southerner that wanted to managed Everton.

James Rodriguez (talented or not) is a tosser. I'd rather another club pay his obscene salary. Good Riddance!

Mark Taylor
40 Posted 17/02/2022 at 16:45:54
Mike 37

That being so I would conclude that either a) neither were willing to come close to that sum thus indicating their appraisal of his value, especially given he was effectively 'free' or b) they did come close but James priority is money over playing serious football.

Either way, it does not suggest we were wrong to get rid, however captivating he could be at times. Value for money is an issue here, you can't spend all- or too much- of your resources on one individual. Give me Gray any time on that basis...

Will Mabon
41 Posted 17/02/2022 at 16:49:31
"Yesterday posters here were insulting Rodriguez while the podcast was paying tribute to Scott Gemmill."

...and what's worse, nobody mentioned Mark Pembridge. Sacrilege.

Mike Gaynes
42 Posted 17/02/2022 at 17:02:08
James #38, I'd say three goals and four assists in 8 appearances (7 starts) isn't bad at all. And he's missed those other games due to World Cup qualifiers and required Covid quarantines, not injuries.

He also helped save the life of an opposing player who suffered a cardiac arrest. Positioned his head and cleared his airway while the medics were still on the way. So he's doing OK over there. Not exactly a "tosser".

Mark #40, yeah, at this point it looks like a good move. But in the final two months of Rafa, the wreckage in our midfield made me wish many times that he was still with us.

Brian Williams
43 Posted 17/02/2022 at 17:42:19
I take the points you make Mike and I enjoyed the fact that He made passes and dribbles that hadn't been seen at Goodison in years. And he won at Anfield.

But, and here's the part I think I'm having trouble explaining properly but I'll try again.
Overall I don't believe the odd piece of magic he performed was/is as valuable as the overall performances of the likes of Gray and Townsend. True he "may" have done things that neither of those players could do ( and I loved seeing him do it honestly) but I still maintain that if there was a way of valuing (to the target of earning points) what he did then the two players mentioned are more valuable overall.
Last word on it though coz I'm even boring myself!!!! x

Tony Abrahams
44 Posted 17/02/2022 at 17:58:25
Steve@32, if I knew who it was that decided Everton, would sign those three players, then I would have said it in my previous post, when I posted that Id heard Benitez didn’t want any of them.
Mike Gaynes
45 Posted 17/02/2022 at 17:58:35
Brian, no argument with any of that, but I wasn't viewing it as an either/or situation. During the dark days of early winter I was dreaming of what it would have been like had Gray and Townsend been able to run onto passes from James, instead having to largely create their own opportunities.

And if we'd been able to put in some decent free kicks once in a while!

Brian Williams
46 Posted 17/02/2022 at 18:05:52
Tony, have you heard anything about the Digne sale mate because I heard (from a club employee) and I'm just putting this out there without giving it merit or saying it's Gospel. The person said that Digne was a bit of a horror in training, thought he was too good for us, and Benitez called his bluff and said "Well if that's the case, you can go."
Have you heard anything along those lines mate?
Kevin Prytherch
47 Posted 17/02/2022 at 18:10:38
I don’t always understand those who say that he had a poor work rate. True, he didn’t contribute much defensively, however when we had the ball he was everywhere on the pitch. You’d see him drop right back to get the ball off the centre backs then dictate play going forward and end the move around their penalty area.

The first few games of the season, he was brilliant, then Ancelotti spoiled him with his increasingly negative tactics after being scared following the Southampton defeat. Some of the early link up play between him and Digne (when Digne was playing as an overlapping full back and not being spoiled by the great one at wing back) was sublime. Which creative player wouldn’t look poor when playing with 8 men behind the ball and 35% possession?

Every team needs graft, but the top teams also have players who have that bit of magic.

Brian Williams
48 Posted 17/02/2022 at 18:14:52
Thing is Kev, and it's an important thing.
Top teams can afford to have a bit of magic.
We're not a top team.
Tony Abrahams
49 Posted 17/02/2022 at 18:24:12
I heard very early in the season that Benitez, didn’t really rate Digne, Brian, but thought no more of it at the time.

I heard that Donachie, was allegedly heard saying we will get this fella the sack, regarding Benitez, and I heard that Digne who was allegedly close to the physio, wasn’t very happy, when it was his mate, who went first.

It’s all water under the bridge now Brian, and although I backed Benitez, I’m glad he’s gone now, because he got the blame for a lot of things that had nothing to do with him, and looking back I think it was impossible for Everton to move forward, with such a divisive figure managing our club.

It’s early days, but Lampard seems to have United our football club, and my feelings are that Everton, are a much more powerful football team, when the crowd gets right behind the team, so let’s hope this is the beginning of something special, because my favourite place in the world, (Goodison) definitely deserves to go out with a bang!

Jerome Shields
50 Posted 17/02/2022 at 18:35:21
As soon as Ancelotti was gone Rodriguez was looking a move, though he did not come out with it directly. He had to give his agent time to pedal his wares. Rodriguez wanted nothing to do with Benitez hardwork training and definitely did not want to start during the Summer. He probably was 'a little tired'. He eventually got the move he wanted from the start. He definitely was not going to play for Everton again.


The whole of Finch Farm was mobilized against Benitez. It all came to a head that first International break. Benitez went when he realized he was not involved in transfers, which effectively took the road from under him.

Would they try to slip Donachie back in for a second time?


That is the million dollar question regarding transfers. I even think Lampard Oked the last loan with no other involvement.

Bill Gienapp
51 Posted 17/02/2022 at 18:46:36
For what it's worth, I never saw any evidence that James desperately wanted to leave. His stance was always "I want to play where I'm wanted." Benitez made it clear from Day 1 that he didn't want him. What's he supposed to do, beg?

Benitez then trying to spin the entire situation by claiming James wasn't fit for purpose – while sending a broken-down Rondon out for 90 minutes week in and week out – made a complete mockery of things.

Just as it did when he tried to drag Digne through the mud to save face. I'm just glad we've seen the last of him. And to think, if he'd just been marginally less terrible (ie, at least a draw against Norwich), he might very well still be here.

Christine Foster
52 Posted 17/02/2022 at 19:03:44
It's rather depressing reading the responses to Tommy's post and, I admit from the start, I was disappointed when James left, but I was more disappointed with what can only be described as a smear campaign by the club, the media and Benitez in justification of getting rid. Worse still, many on here still believe it.

James came to Everton to play for Ancelotti, who he saw as his mentored with mutual admiration. If Ancelotti was at Watford, he would have gone there. As I have said before, probably many times on here, he was a fading superstar but still had more ability and class than anyone, then or now, at the club.

Do I watch football because of players who give everything they have got? No, I enjoyed watching someone with skill who can turn games and make you sing with delight. We used to be known as the School of Science, the place of skill. Under Benitez, it was more akin to a workhouse. Effort and desire will only get you so far; combine a skilful player with a team of committed players and you have a winning formula.

There was bad blood with the pair and only one was going to win; Moshiri had backed Benitez and could not back down, so it would have been a point of discussion at the selection interviews – how could it not be?

I read too that, as he came on a free, half his already agreed wages under his previous contract were being subbed by Real Madrid; that was the deal. And when Benitez came in, he was into his second year and Everton, now with Ancelotti gone, had a player who probably didn't want to be there – especially under Benitez – and a club who didn't want to foot the new bill – especially with a new manager who didn't want him. So it was always going to end in tears once Ancelotti walked.

But his value to Everton and the club's standing worldwide was immense, his skill raised others and won games. Everton with James under the current manager would have been a class act, but we got Benitez and a massive dollop of justification for getting rid of a No 10 by a dreadful manager as a money-saving exercise.

James was never replaced and ultimately, in my opinion, was the very reason Benitez failed and got the sack. His teams lacked the skill of a player to unlock other teams. The very thing James had.

He was never going to be a long term solution but he would have raised others around him, made Everton attractive to other good players and raised the profile and standing of the club in the football world.

Something Townsend or anyone else in Benitez's team could ever do. This is football, a business. Not entertainment.

Jerome Shields
53 Posted 17/02/2022 at 19:05:25

Since they got Lampard by default (selected by fans), could it be that the January Transfer was also by default?

After all, every time they tried to look professional, they cocked it up, so maybe it all fitted together by default. The players that have come in are exactly the type of players that Lampard would want.

That January Transfer window was the best in over 20 years and cost nothing.

Dave Abrahams
54 Posted 17/02/2022 at 19:23:30
Christine (52), was your post a pro-Rodriguez post or an anti-Benitez one?

Christine you make a lot of presumptions in your post without knowing the actual truth of many of them. Not like you, Christine; there are two sides to every story.

I think you are concentrating on just one of them, following your heart and not giving your considerable brain a look in.

Brian Murray
55 Posted 17/02/2022 at 19:24:23
A fading player like James I agree has more ability than most or all of our players but it was a perfect storm. A has-been manager totally out of his depth who holds grudges and a player who only came here for another past-it manager out of his depth at a club like Everton, where it's not all cherry-picked low-hanging fruit but somewhere you have to really start from scratch, as Frank is doing.
Tony Abrahams
56 Posted 17/02/2022 at 19:26:05
I'm not sure, but I definitely hope you're right Jerome!

I'm definitely one who believes that Everton needed the Rodriguez wages taken from the wage-bill, Christine. My reasons are that, for such a divisive manager to be given less than £2 million to spend last summer, then this definitely points at cost-cutting measures being implemented at the start of the Benitez reign.

Geoff Lambert
57 Posted 17/02/2022 at 19:33:31
Jerome, I think it's a bit early to say it was the best transfer window.

Donny van de Beek has looked decent in his one start, Dele Alli in his two short appearances has to refind his form of 3 years ago. The two young fullbacks have not set the world alight and El Ghazi has had about 15 minutes of football.

Tony Hill
58 Posted 17/02/2022 at 20:03:59
Of one thing we must be absolutely clear : Demarai Gray joining Everton had nothing whatsoever to do with Benitez. No, Sir, absolutely not, for that would spoil the narrative. And Townsend, he’s been poor really too, hasn’t he?

Thank God Frank’s joined to cure all that damage that Rafa did in 6 months, after all those years of success before the Kopite shithouse ruined us.

It’s important for us Blues to keep a sense of perspective and to look reality in the face.

Lampard is going to be a proper manager for us because he has the full support of the players and the fans (and because he’s very talented). Shame that neither we nor the players could be bothered to extend the same courtesy before now.

Michael Kenrick
59 Posted 17/02/2022 at 20:15:04
Brave post, Christine. I felt the same way about James Rodriguez, who I absolutely loved to see playing for Everton. But, like with Rooney, there so many haters all too keen to come out of the woodwork.

Things were falling apart in the last weeks (months even) of last season, and the signs were being picked up and splattered all over social media and the world of clickbait well before the end of the season.

I thought that subsequently there was a story floating around that confirmed James Rodriguez had had enough of Everton and wanted to leave well before Ancelotti jumped ship into the Real Madrid lifeboat? So there was never any chance of him playing seriously for Benitez.

Although, to confound this picture, Rodriguez played in every pre-season game and seemed to be doing everything he could to show that he was a team player, maybe in response to the stinging criticism of him; it might have been more in character if he had gone AWOL at that point.

We'll probably never know the real story and, even if we do, it won't matter by then; the relevance of such things lies in their immediacy, in the moment. And when that moment is gone, it's gone forever.

Michael Kenrick
60 Posted 17/02/2022 at 20:22:57
I said "We'll probably never know the real story" – But Dave Abrahams, the Godfather of TW, appears to suggest otherwise. I expect his alter ego to predominate and keep this a closely guarded secret.
Stan Schofield
61 Posted 17/02/2022 at 20:53:52
Tony @58: I must correct you there mate. When Benitez was appointed, on ToffeeWeb most were supportive of him, any reservations being based on him not having done anything outstanding for some time. A minority didn’t want him via his history with LFC.

Criticism of him escalated because our results were particularly shite, the worst run for some time. And his man-management relating to Rodriguez and Digne was very questionable. But throughout his short tenure here, most people openly recognised the positive effect of his bringing in Gray and Townsend, whilst also criticising the signing of Rondon. Based on performance.

Best not to rewrite what actually happened. If you didn’t extend a courtesy to Benitez, say so, but don’t put everyone in that category.

Dave Abrahams
62 Posted 17/02/2022 at 21:00:47
Michael (59), I don’t think I have any sort of ego, my side of the story will be the opposite of Christines to many she offers but the truth could be halfway between the two of us.

Michael, your second and third paragraphs @ (58) indicate a different story to the way Christine blamed Benitez for James leaving Everton, my own belief was that James, as Christine acknowledges, was a fading star and no club of any top stature was interested in signing him and he finished in a no man’s land of football but where he wanted to be financially, money is his goal and has been for the last few years football is not his priority, doesn’t make me right but that’s what I believe.

As for his time at Everton, he got me off my seat a few times when he showed real quality but never did it often enough throughout the season and I thought at the end of the season he took Everton and Ancelotti for granted and threw his hand in like he did when decided he was injured versus Newcastle and walked off the field.

For those who mention the Liverpool game at Anfield, yes he was very good for the time he was on the field and he helped us win the game with the rest of the side because it was a team effort with everyone who played that day contributing to the victory, he did more than make the pass for the opening goal just as Pickford and his defence did for the ninety minutes or more they were on the field.

The Colombian has gone without a backward glance but the arguments will linger on long after Goodison Park has gone and Bramley Moor continues our story.

Dale Self
63 Posted 17/02/2022 at 21:10:56
Tell 'em Grandpa!
Christine Foster
64 Posted 17/02/2022 at 21:12:48
Dave 54* I guess we will never know will we? Facts are notoriously absent in all things Everton but I hold with my opinions until something, somewhere comes to change them! My heart ruling my head? absolutely.. because when you are in love with something as wonderful as EFC your heart will always see things through rose coloured glasses, that is until you come on ToffeeWeb of course, a massive smack of perspective but as always, totally lop sided views one way or the other!. As I said in the end of my post, its business not entertainment, the money drain had to be stopped and cuts made but I would rather that was the case and that was the stated reason for his departure and move on instead of the snide comments from a manager who personally disliked the player and a constant focus by the media on his lifestyle or ballooning wage quotes. The club wanted rid, the manager wanted rid, but it had to be made palatable so the fans would accept it. Fact or presumption? I have no facts other than what I saw and read Dave.. the rest is my assumptions, in other words an opinion, but if we can never aspire to having world class players in their prime or fading, if we are happy to forever play second fiddle to the like of Man City, Man United or Liverpool, Chelsea Etc.. then play Rondon, buy Townsend, Keane, Holgate, Coleman, or whoever and sell the Rooneys, of the world to get by.. it may be reality but its not my Everton, not my Vision. Its about who we are and who we want to be.. we have sunk so low that we have to be grateful for what we have? Never...
Colin Metcalfe
65 Posted 17/02/2022 at 21:14:28
Tommy 100% in your corner, been supporting the blues for well over 45 years and James was without doubt one one of the most talented players to pull on an Everton jersey furthermore I reckon he was one of the few Everton players that would have walked into any top six premier side I get the feeling he didn’t get picked up by one of them was due to his fitness record.
I have no idea what his salary and to have such a talented player at our disposal I don’t care but for one strange COVID season we had a truly world class player.
Tony Hill
66 Posted 17/02/2022 at 21:27:01
Stan @61, that’s just not the case. There was a significant core of resistance to Benitez before he started, and it never went away. There was never a voice or song raised in support of the man at Goodison (I know cos I was there). He was hit by injuries - and he was disastrously fixated on Rondon - and as soon as it started to go wrong, he was shot to pieces.

I think Lampard is the right man for us but I thought the response to Benitez’s management was graceless and, therefore, most unEvertonian.

Billy Roberts
67 Posted 17/02/2022 at 21:29:31
Tony Hill @58

Maybe it's better you post without irony or sarcasm because I can't understand the point you are making?
Stan, well done for your reply.

Still like to hear what Tony is actually getting at.

Peter Warren
68 Posted 17/02/2022 at 21:31:23
Everybody loved Rodriguez skill but his calves were fucked and he wasn’t fit for purpose and clear he couldn’t complete in the premiership the longer he was here.
Barry Rathbone
69 Posted 17/02/2022 at 21:32:51
Christine 52

"He was never going to be a long term solution but he would have raised others around him, made Everton attractive to other good players and raised the profile and standing of the club in the football world."

Disagree entirely.

Imagine being an Everton player hearing James isn't playing again because of "fatigue"? I've been in enough dressing rooms to know indulgence or special treatment of players is a prelude to toxicity the changies would be a war zone in no time.

If he couldn't attract a decent club on his exit how could he attract "other good players"? Within the football world his card had been well and truly marked.

Undoubtedly a joy to watch but fragile physically and mentally as demonstrated by Carlo not taking him back to Madrid.

He just wasn't up to the job as he wasn't in Spain and Germany.

Dave Abrahams
70 Posted 17/02/2022 at 21:38:10
Christine (62).I agree we should never be grateful for what we have concerning Everton but I wouldn’t consider signing fading stars like Rodriguez and Rooney who were not worth the wages they received and did not give value for money for the time they were here, in my opinion players like Gareth Barry and the ageing player Kendall signed from ManCity Power who helped us to win the league, thorough professionals who looked after themselves, are the older players we should be looking at if we can’t afford the best.

Christine, keep looking through your rose coloured glasses at times, especially these days, you’ll see a much better view than we’ve seen for most of this season, maybe Lampard will enable us to throw glasses away because I have used them a few times myself. Best wishes girl hope your health is improving and victories like last Saturday gives you a welcome tonic.

Stan Schofield
71 Posted 17/02/2022 at 21:39:00
Tony @66:

Yes, the initial resistance was ‘significant’, but not as significant as the broad acceptance of his appointment. Acceptance without enthusiasm from everyone, yes, but acceptance nonetheless.

For you to focus solely on those who vehemently didn’t want him from the outset is very unfair to and unrepresentative of the majority of fair-minded Evertonians who were happy to give him a chance based on results.

Indeed, the first few games had decent results, and most comments on this site were supportive, quite a proportion being enthusiastic. Support dwindled and turned to criticism because of bad results and questionable man-management. That’s a fact.

Tony Hill
72 Posted 17/02/2022 at 21:47:36
Stan, Billy, my point is that Benitez was never given a proper chance or support and I resent that because it was cheap and unpleasant; those are things which I have never associated with our club.

I say the same about Allardyce’s tenure. I appreciate, however, that I am in a tiny minority and I will not comment again in this vein.

I fully understand that we have moved on and that we are united behind Lampard. Let it be so.

Stan Schofield
73 Posted 17/02/2022 at 21:53:41
Tony, no, you’re wrong, most did give him a fair crack of the whip, but he failed on results, that’s it. Whoever the manager is, if he gets good results he’ll get good support, and if he doesn’t he won’t, whether it’s Koeman, Silva, Allardyce, Ancelotti, Benitez or Lampard.

Yes, a minority of supporters can disappoint in their actions, and it’s fine to say that. But it’s not fine to tar all with that brush.

Jerome Shields
74 Posted 17/02/2022 at 21:56:51

I could be premature, but in the context of Lampard's style of play they fit in well. Other transfer windows hadn't the potential to change Everton for the better as these additions do.

It remarkable how good that transfer window was imo. Of course the proof is in how they fit in. I am expecting that they will. There will be hiccups like Newcastle as Lampard finds the strength and weaknesses of players. But he does have the chance of finding the right balance in the team and developing a effective team.

I have never felt as hopeful since I watched Arsenal v Everton in Oct 1984 at Highbury.

Robert Tressell
75 Posted 17/02/2022 at 22:01:09
Whilst we all love Everton, many of the players really don't. It was a real step down for Rodriguez to play for us - showing just how far his star had fallen (and fitness declined) despite being relatively young. I can't imagine why he'd want to hang about in cold, wet, physically demanding mid-table obscurity when he had the chance to earn his money on easy street in the Gulf.

It was fun to have him. Bit embarrassing to treat him like a coup though when no-one else wanted him.

There are up and coming versions worth taking a risk in in their teens, but I'd rather we don't pick up any more broken ones.

We move on.

Barry Rathbone
76 Posted 17/02/2022 at 22:12:20
On the Benitez appointment he had to rip up trees from day one to stand any chance and in fairness he made a good start. A couple of decent signings, pacey togger and good results were undone by a remarkable injury list allowing the vultures to circle as predicted.

If Frank transforms results with essentially the same players criticism of Benitez will have proven correct if not perhaps Benitez was right to ruffle a few feathers as a prelude to change. We will soon know

John Raftery
77 Posted 17/02/2022 at 22:43:15
Tony is not the only one who considers the response of a lot of Evertonians to Benitez’s management lacked class. Who knows what might have happened to our season if the squad had not been hit by injuries to key players so early in his tenure?

The wall of silence and absence of tangible support from the board left the manager isolated and undermined. Hopefully the lessons will be learned and when Lampard runs into problems, as he certainly will, the club and supporters will stay firmly behind him.

We are far from the only club hard hit by injuries this season. You only have to look at how Leeds and Leicester have struggled without key players. Plainly the smaller the squad the more likely it is injuries will have an impact on results. We started the season with a smaller squad than we needed. Belatedly that was addressed in January with the addition of five outfield players.

Rob Dolby
78 Posted 17/02/2022 at 22:44:46
I appreciated Rodriguez for what he was. A top quality luxury player.
I regret that I never saw him at GP.
I love watching players that are on a different level and he was well above anything else on the pitch when fit.

The goal at anfield only happens because we had the quality of Rodriguez. We have been on the wrong end of results against the top teams due to them having players that can do something that others can't. It was nice to have him in the team knowing we had a match winner.

A team is made up of many parts. I appreciate players like Paul Power, Dave Watson, Barry, Neville and their level of professionalism but players like Rodriguez, Rooney, Beardsley, Sheedy, Kanchelskis get bums off seats and add the X factor I just wish we had more of them.

Regarding Benitez, He was a disaster on so many levels. He might well be a great bloke but totally the wrong person for the club.

Dale Self
79 Posted 17/02/2022 at 22:45:31
What is another shovel of dirt on Benitez's grave going to get at this point? Good statements Tony and Barry.
Andrew Keatley
80 Posted 17/02/2022 at 23:36:20
Mike Gaynes (22) - While I do not know for a fact that James Rodriguez was on £200k per week (or more) at Everton, I am confident that - whether we were paying it directly to him as per his contract, or whether Real Madrid or some other source were also supplementing his income somehow - that he would not have agreed to leave Real Madrid to come to Everton (even with Carlo Ancelotti at the helm) and also accepted a pay cut. It is just not realistic to assume that a player of his status and wealth would do that, even if there are websites out there that supposedly publish player salaries and suggest he was on much closer to £100k per week.

What makes you think he was not our top earner? What sort of agent do you think would allow that to happen to one of the most decorated 29-year-olds in world football?

I don’t know what the structure of the deal was, but I am confident that the decision to bring James Rodriguez to Everton was ultimately a risk that backfired (or was about to) - financially as much as anything else - and that Benitez was basically told that, whether he wanted to use him or not, James needed to leave the club before he kicked another ball for this club.

Tommy Carter
81 Posted 17/02/2022 at 23:37:58
@ Tony 56

You and others seem to have forgotten that we finished just 10 points off automatic qualification for the champions league last season.

That what Benitez inherited.

The summer was not the result of a failed regime, it was the result of Ancelotti leaving us high and dry. Many would agree that the recruitment under Ancelotti in the summer of 2020 was largely successful.

Maybe there was an expectation that this self proclaimed world class manager Benitez would be able to consolidate our standing with the squad he inherited. Perhaps the board wanted to stop spending on transfers when it had just seen the squad finish 10 points off 3rd place.

Maybe there was an expectation that under Benitez that form would not tail off towards the end of the season (because Ancelotti was already being lined up for the Bernabeu) and that he may do even better with that squad of players. They may have even had the expectation that Benitez may have even had a pop at a domestic trophy with that squad.

Instead, without knowing the reality of the situation, some on here assume that Benitez could not spend in the summer because of James Rodriguez and his weekly wage.

The same summer that saw the offset of huge wages in the form of Besic, Bolasie, Walcott and Bernard.

Even if the stats being quoted for Andros and Gray are designed to be impressive and defeating of the effect of JR at Everton, the reality is that their stats have only contributed to one of the worst 6 months of top flight football in Everton history. Compared to the first 6 months of JR at Everton which may take us to roughly the beginning of March 2021 and us defeating West Brom to put us briefly 4th in the table.

I believe that financially Gray and Townsend could well have been purchased with Rodriguez remaining at the club. Under a better manager and maybe under a more dignified man, he may well have done.

But it had to be the Rafa Benitez show. It had to be his horrible system of ultra defensive and ineffective stodge, looking to grind out results on the off chance his team is able to launch one successful counter attack per game. It’s not the first decade of the 21st century and honestly and thankfully, the game has moved on and evolved far beyond anything he could be successful amongst.

Regretfully, this man denied me the opportunity to watch James Rodriguez at Goodison in an Everton shirt. Regardless of others opinions on the player, I am very certain of my own and I would’ve loved to have seen this.

Regretfully still, we haven’t received and I think we are owed, as a fanbase, an apology from whoever sanctioned the appointment of Rafa Benitez as manager of our football club. We really do deserve an apology for this.

(I do consider the signings of Gray and Townsend to be successful).

Derek Thomas
82 Posted 18/02/2022 at 00:16:27
I was totally against Benitez, tbh, the rs stuff was enough but notwithstanding that, I plain didn't rate him as like Mourinho he was mostly yesterdays man...I mean Bruce matched him stride for stride at Newcastle.

But he was Moshiri's pick from a very small, poor, pool.

I said if he got results I wouldn't hold the rs stuff against him - well how could you, it's a results game after all.
But from day one, the rs brother in law marked his card and more or less predicted how he'd roll - Zonal, Stubborn, etc and added then again you might get lucky, but his heart wasn't in it.

Which we did for a few games.

He didn't get sacked for being a rs, he got sacked for being totally shite...even for a rs.

It all ended, as most predicted - tears.

Steve Brown
83 Posted 18/02/2022 at 00:58:41
Tony @ 44, I wasn't questioning what you said at all.

It seems entirely plausible to me that Everton decided to sign players that the manager didn't want when we didn't even have a DoF or Head of Recruitment in place. Perhaps Moshiri and Joorabchian made the decision.

That is how dysfunctional we have become. We need a 2-3 year spell of normal thinking by adults to get over it.

Steve Brown
84 Posted 18/02/2022 at 01:06:24
Brian @ 33, I think Gray is better than expected and Andros is as average as expected, despite his bright start. It isn't rose-coloured spectacles; it is the ability to identify talented players compared to average players.

Players like Gray and Townsend get you into the top half of the table, whilst players like James get you into the Champions League. There is a vast gulf in talent between them.

The fact that fans applauded the sale of James and welcomed Andros Townsend as his replacement shows the extent to which our expectations have declined.

I think we as fans have been so conditioned by the average, sweaty dross that we have seen filling Everton shirts for 30 years that we are uncomfortable seeing true talent in the team.

James Lauwervine
85 Posted 18/02/2022 at 01:21:39
Mike #42,

You obviously follow his career closer than I do, fair enough. I merely looked up his stats for his new club and thought, hey ho.

I stand by my comments all the same and 3 goals in 8 appearances in a very minor league is hardly anything to get excited about for a player of his undoubted ability.

And I didn't call him a tosser. I don't do personal insults.

Don Alexander
86 Posted 18/02/2022 at 01:37:17
Steve, due respect but Andros Townsend has already overtaken your idol in terms of goal contributions, and I'm sure you'd agree that the corner flags make more of a defensive contribution than your exalted one, unlike Townsend who effectively puts himself about in every game.

What pisses me off is that we have a squad unable for years to even get close to the enterprise regularly shown by Andros and Gray in shooting with venom from distance.

Cue the perennial questions of Finch Farm – just what the fuck do they do there, and why?

Your anointed one is to me so very redolent of Duncan McKenzie, another expensive bizarrely gifted player almost always unable to impose himself on a match of any real consequence.

(And just how the hell McKenzie has a place in our so-called Hall of Fame is totally beyond me, to say the least.)

Mike Gaynes
87 Posted 18/02/2022 at 02:22:29
Dave and Christine, two of my very favorite posters... I have enjoyed your debate immensely.

Andrew #70, I didn't say he wasn't our top earner (of course he was). I just said he wasn't making anywhere near 250K. And yes, I would say it's entirely credible for a player in danger of losing his cherished national team place to take a pay cut and go to a "lower" club in order to play for an idolized manager who might help him revitalize his career. I've seen older athletes do it many times, most recently in the NFL where two such examples helped the Rams win the Super Bowl.

James #74, I know you didn't. I was addressing that particular remark from Joe at #39. Wasn't blaming you.

Barry #65: "I've been in enough dressing rooms " Really? What pro sports dressing rooms have you been in? Having spent a fair amount of time there myself in my "journo" days, I would say that special treatment of players is the norm, not the exception, and when properly handled causes no such "war zone".

Christine Foster
88 Posted 18/02/2022 at 02:35:25
Steve Brown @73, absolutely right.

Don Alexander @75: Nothing to do with idols, Don, more to do with quality. If the measure of a player is solely to work hard but never inspire, then look at Everton, although it has to be said that, even on that particular measure, they stopped working.

On fading stars, Dave, Rooney came back and was the highest scorer in the club and he only played half a season. He should never have come back but he did and his class was still better than anything we had. Which brings me on to the next little one...


This club is a direct reflection of the way the club has been led, managed and controlled for the past 20 years. The culture that has been allowed to grow is one of entitlement of the previous owner and incompetence of his successor. As a direct result, we have seen the quality of players joining the club, and wanting to join the club, drop like a brick.

Which is why, and sorry Darren but this one is a long time coming, Ancelotti was a statement of intent; James coming in was a confirmation that Ancelotti would bring European football, the profile of the club would be high, players would want to be a part of it and would see a club on the rise.

It didn't happen, Ancelotti left (bad grace in my opinion), leaving James behind. James was never good enough to go to Real Madrid with him, but he was certainly good enough for Everton. (Light years away from Real Madrid, aren't we?)

That's the problem... we have fallen so low, we are not going to get established stars in their prime. A raft of journeymen and those on their way out; not the top table.

Ancelotti didn't have enough quality in the team we had to get us into Europe; we still don't. But where we are now is not Ancelotti's fault, or Benitez's, or Koeman's (I bit my tongue then) but the management and control of the decision-making in this club.

Half a billion pounds down the toilet and we are worse now than 5 years or 10 years ago. There is no getting away from that and, despite Lampard being appointed, with relegation threatening, we should not be losing sight of the reason we are where we are – and why.

I have been posting and writing articles for nigh on 17 years on TW. It's been sodding depressing looking back. And I am fed up with it because, no matter how badly we are treated, we are taken for idiots every time. James was never the answer to our prayers, but he was a reminder why we were once called the School of Science.

There is nothing joyous or pragmatic accepting where we are today. We can only look ahead to the days when hopefully we can attract quality once more.

Christine Foster
89 Posted 18/02/2022 at 02:55:14
Dave @66,

Thank you for the best wishes. Healthwise, I had encouraging results from cardiology this week so, as long as I stay stress-free, I should be okay...

So, stuff that for a game of soldiers, I am an Evertonian. Even my GP (from Liverpool and a RS fan) had mocked me in his diagnosis report with respect to staying stress-free, not a hope in his opinion unless I stop supporting Everton. Well, that's never going to happen, so rose-tinted glasses it is.

I think it's heartbreaking that for 27 years we have had to endure the crap that's been served up to us. That a whole generation has never seen a trophy, that a chairman thinks and says in response to questioning, we have had good times.

That we have come to accept mediocrity as the new level of acceptance as fans. I haven't and never will. I don't care if a player is on mega bucks or peanuts, he is playing for Everton. I want him to perform to the best of his ability, be played in the right position, to have the support of his manager. I want a team that has star quality as well as older players who can do a job.

I don't want a team that when a transfer window comes around no other club is interested in them. (How many Everton players were on other managers' wanted lists? One? Two? None?)

I want a fanbase – so long devoid of quality to watch – to delight around players who excel and understand that a team is made up of squad players who support and do their job too.

I want to go to the match and smile and, if and when I die, someone sends the funeral costs to Bill Kenwright. He put me there!

Steve Brown
90 Posted 18/02/2022 at 04:39:47
Christine @ 78, I completely agree with you.

On Matchday 25 last season, a James-inspired Everton beat Liverpool 0-2 at Anfield to reach 6th place on 41 points – one more than Liverpool. After 25 matches this season, we are 16th on 22 points – 32 points behind Liverpool.

It is self-evident we were a much better side with James in the squad.

Jamie Crowley
91 Posted 18/02/2022 at 05:02:39
Michael @ 59 -

"But Dave Abrahams, the Godfather of TW..."

I'm flattered my moniker stuck!

The Patron Saint of TW, The Mage of Merseyside, Harold Matthews, smiles down.

And Christine "Holy Mother of TW" Foster, I hope you're well. Your heart actually is wonderfully bipolar. It has to give up Everton to reduce stress, while simultaneously loving Everton and unable to let go.

This thread has pitted the archetypical Father against the archetypical Mother, and I've no clue who won the argument.

Godfather vs. Holy Mother respectfully debating. Might be the best thread ever.

ps: James was a continually injured man who was wonderfully gifted and a joy to watch, but in the end didn't have the heart to soldier on, and left me thoroughly disappointed and bitter at what could have been.

Derek Knox
92 Posted 18/02/2022 at 05:17:10

"What is another shovel of dirt on Benitez's grave going to get at this point?"

A chance for fresh flowers to grow and flourish, and that includes Forget-Me-Nots! :-)

Steve Brown
93 Posted 18/02/2022 at 05:48:52
Dave @ 66, sorry to point this out but your support and advocacy of Benitez could be framed in the same way as Christine's support for James.

Was it your heart, your head or rose-coloured spectacles at play when you backed him as he led the club on the worst run since Mike Walker?

Christine Foster
94 Posted 18/02/2022 at 06:08:49
Jamie @80,

No winners in this debate for I fully understand Dave's perspective but look at it differently. What could have been.

For me, we cannot make the leap to the top table without the right ladder to get us up there. That means the right manager and the right players, of course, but there are half a dozen rungs on that ladder, and at each one, we have to improve the playing staff. At each rung too, we know that the players have to improve or be replaced with something better.

James for me was another rung on the ladder, not worthy of a place at the top anymore but still far in advance of what we had.

Jamie, thank you for your best wishes, much appreciated! But to paraphrase a line from Peter McGovern's "In my Liverpool Home" with reference to my heart while debating all things blue... "The spirit was willing, the flesh it was weak!" You need a stout heart to be a blue!

Gary Jones
95 Posted 18/02/2022 at 06:14:42
D should be B. FSW got that wrong too.
Christine Foster
96 Posted 18/02/2022 at 06:15:45
Steve @81,

I have to admit I so wanted Benitez to succeed but never thought he would. As often said here, it's the hope that kills you.

He was right in some things: the club needs shaking up and becoming more accountable, but his methods were outdated, his attitude arrogant, and he lost the fans and the players with the results. We all want to believe but hope is never enough.

Terry Farrell
97 Posted 18/02/2022 at 06:54:52
Dear all, Rafa got himself sacked because he continued to play Rondon, week-in & week-out, like he was right and what we all saw with our own eyes was wrong.

Even against Norwich, you cannot play with 10 men and we were punished. Sure he had a volley last week when 3-0 up but he has no future at Everton; he is past this level. El Ghazi has never been at this level and will be sent back at the end of the season.

I love the way Frank has gone about his business; he will sort the wheat from the chaff and bring in more quality. Like all managers we have, I support them while they are here but I have much more belief in Lampard. The irony is Digne would have been an exact fit for his style of football and we lost him due to Rafa's stubbornness.

Jeff Armstrong
98 Posted 18/02/2022 at 07:14:51
Terry, spot on with all that, even those of us who were prepared to give him a chance were left exasperated by his continued selection of the clearly unfit, best days behind him, Venezuelan.

Benitez gave the fans the finger when it was clear the likes of Dobbin and Simms needed bringing in, even off the bench. He was probably gutted when we drew at Chelsea with the kids.

Tony Abrahams
99 Posted 18/02/2022 at 07:41:42
Tommy, look at the Championship winning central defence that Liverpool had out against us in that game. It was still top quality by Rodriguez though. Then look at where Everton were around Christmas, then look at where they finished. (27 points behind the Champions. Fuck 3rd place, Tommy!)

The team got results playing a certain way, but got footballed off the pitch against Burnley and relegated Fulham, then lost to the worst team in the Premier League in another appalling “home” game.

You like Rodriguez, I get it, Tommy; you hate Benitez, I also get that... but I think Everton would have been around mid-table at least (where Ancelotti left us) but for the dreadful run of injuries we got to some of our best players, and I dread to think where we would have been without the goals from Townsend and Gray.

Yesterday has gone; I just hope it doesn't return with regards to our transfer policy, Steve B, and after reading what Lampard says about a Director of Football, then hopefully we have better and much more professional times ahead.

Bobby Mallon
101 Posted 18/02/2022 at 08:34:16
Tony Hill. Benitez got exactly what he deserved: the sack. He should never ever have been employed at this club. His appointment split this fan base. He didn't deserve a song and Rondon was shite.
Eddie Dunn
102 Posted 18/02/2022 at 08:46:08
On Benitez, his dependence on Rondon, who was so unfit, made him look like a fool. If he had thrown Simms or Dobbin up front, the fans may have got more behind him His stubbornness was his undoing along with unsurmountable injuries.

He was disliked at Chelsea but still got success without being embraced by the supporters and I hoped for a similar outcome. He is set in his ways but outdated, a marriage of convenience, never a love affair.

Regardless of the coach, it will be interesting to see if this squad can maintain a run of good performances. Lampard is making all the right noises but many of these guys have shone fleetingly only to fade for various bosses.

Competition for places and a meritocracy with reward for good training will hopefully keep them all keen.

Gary Jones
103 Posted 18/02/2022 at 09:05:06
For fuck's sake, people, time to move on from Benitez, especially on the matchday thread. He's gone, rightly so, and even the tiny minority who supported him are saying “unite behind Frank”.

For me, all players have a fresh start. Keane, Holgate, Kenny, Iwobi and (even) Rondon looked the part last week. If Frank's picking them, then at the moment that's for good reason. If they play shite for 2-3 games (from here) and still get picked, I'll have a different view. Let's see how they do under a less micromanaging coach.


Dave Abrahams
104 Posted 18/02/2022 at 10:13:57
Christine (78),

Yes, I think we understand each other perfectly where our love of Everton is concerned and those 27 years you speak of have taken their toll on both of us.

If in the future we get that meeting watching Everton, we can cry on each other's shoulders for about 10 minutes then watch the game. It's got to be a win and then we could settle down with other Blues at a ToffeeWeb meeting and enjoy the rest of the night, having a good happy time.

I'll put my shawl on and we'll have a good gab about life in Liverpool and all the mad, crazy happy times it was to be with lovely people in a mad crazy city that was Liverpool. So glad you are getting on with your life and not letting things get you down.

Steve (81) yes you could be right about me wearing rose-coloured glasses over Benitez, but to be truthful, he came with a job to do and a mandate agreed with Usmanov more than Moshiri; he started decently against moderate or low-placed teams, it must be said.

Then injuries and suspensions hit the squad badly. He made many mistakes, playing an unfit Rondon a big one, but he never made as many mistakes as the players, they cost us more points than he did, IMO, ultimately he wasn't backed by the owners and was sacked.

Who knows who he had lined up in the January transfer in window? That's gone so no use worrying about it. I'm happy that Lampard and his back-up coaching staff are in place; let's see if they can finally get us on the road to recovery.

By the way, Steve, I stood by Benitez because I think he is a genuine man and deserved backing, the backing he never got off the people who knew how he was going to go about managing Everton; again that is in the past.

Tony Abrahams
105 Posted 18/02/2022 at 10:25:05
I'm not holding my breath but, if the club has ended up getting its very long overdue shake-up, then I'll consider the Benitez era a success!
Barry Rathbone
106 Posted 18/02/2022 at 10:56:42
Mike Gaynes 76

"Having spent a fair amount of time there myself in my "journo" days"

So you were visiting rather than participating - great insight - almost as good as me visiting 20+ pro changing rooms as a contractor.

It matters not a jot whether a team is pro, amateur or pub league esprit de corps is essential. A champion player putting it in week in week out may well be the unofficial king of the changing room but once he starts taking the piss (James took the piss here) someone is eventually gonna put him up agaist the wall.

Not that you would see that waltzing in for a few mins with a notebook wittering "great game, Chuck, now the readers want to know what's your favourite colour?"

Get real ffs

Steve Griffiths
107 Posted 18/02/2022 at 11:08:44
Tony (58) irrespective of any opinion on Benitez, he was sacked because of results – end of. I don’t know anyone (apart from the top two managers) who would survive a run of 1 win in 12.
David Midgley
108 Posted 18/02/2022 at 11:11:54
Regarding Rafa Benitez, my mum used to say:

"If you keep picking, it'll never get better."

Hindsight is wonderful.

Turn the page...

John McFarlane Snr
109 Posted 18/02/2022 at 11:57:07
Hi Dave, various posts but particularly [60] I think that it's fair to say that the 'God Father of Tofferweb' was not something you claimed, but was bestowed by another contributor. I also think that it was a cheap shot by the editor/moderator, [59] something I have been subjected to in the past. Age alone does not merit any plaudits, but coupled with knowledge and experience deserves respect.
Dave Abrahams
110 Posted 18/02/2022 at 12:22:28
John (90), to be perfectly honest I took it as a bit of banter by both Jamie and Michael and I’m to old to get upset by anyone having a real go at me. It wouldn’t go deep as it might have done when I was a lot younger, these days I think we all have a lot more to worry about especially “ Sticks and Stones”.

I hope you are keeping well John I know you have had plenty of medical problems over the last few years but still manage to get to see the Blues and the ToffeeWeb meetings whenever they are arranged, well done there John, very best wishes.

Iain Latchford
111 Posted 18/02/2022 at 12:45:26
The blue tinted glasses are on again for Digne. I didn't think he offered much in his first game against us. It was poor game generally. Then Villa let 3 in at home against Leeds, whereas they scored zero against us with a right back (who most don't rate) playing left back. Against Newcastle he was poor again. I watched him smash a freekick from the side of the box into a two man wall. He was coming up to 29 and on £120k per week. Villa have given him a four and half year contract, on what I am guessing is at least what we were paying him. Good business for us, and poor business for them in my opinion.
Jerome Shields
112 Posted 18/02/2022 at 12:54:18
Benitez was effectively worked out of job by Finch Farm, with the help of some players and the Everton Club Management. It was always going to be easy to turn the fans considering Benitez's history across the park.

Benitez was a soft touch to get rid off compared to Ancelotti, Silva, Big Sam, Koeman and Martinez. In the case of Benitez, they were prepared to risk the destruction of Everton in the Premier League in their quest.

Lampard has full fan support and the capablity was always there to avoid relegation at Finch Farm. Though the turnaround will not be immediate this time. But, if Lampard shows ambitions of progressing beyond midtable without enough changes in players with loyal ones and being able to effect change at Finch Farm, he too will struggle.

Hopefully he has learnt from his Chelsea dressing room experiences.

Tommy Carter
113 Posted 18/02/2022 at 12:54:24
@88 Tony

A nice way to look at it.

Also. Not sure how my comment on another thread became a thread of its own here.

Can anybody shed any light?

Jamie Crowley
114 Posted 18/02/2022 at 13:12:48
John @90 and Dave @91 -

I've named Dave Abrahams in many previous posts "The Godfather of TW" not as banter, but a sign of respect - to be crystal clear on that point.

Michael somewhere picked up on it.

There's no banter in that "title". Dave is a trough of wisdom, I love his posts, and he's been on TW forever and is wise beyond his years.

John McFarlane Snr
115 Posted 18/02/2022 at 13:16:47
Hi again, Dave [91].

I have often said that we could both go to a match and see a different game, and I suppose that can be said of the written word.

Yes, Dave I still manage to get to the games, the difference is that Josh, who I looked after for the last 10 years, is 17 and now looking after me... where have the years gone?

I have been fortunate enough to attend every get-together, 5 in all, and [if you can allow me to boast] I am the only ever-present since we celebrated my 80th birthday in the Central Hotel on World Cup day in July 2018.

My ambition used to be to wake up tomorrow; it's now been amended to 'Watch the first match in the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock' – ideally, in the next seat to you, in the "Old Boys Pen".

Jamie Crowley
116 Posted 18/02/2022 at 13:18:07
The exact same thing applies to Christine and my saying "The Holy Mother of TW" for the record.

Written words can be difficult to decipher the tone in them sometimes.

These titles I've used in the past for Dave, Christine, and Harold Matthews (RIP) are, for me, a sign of respect. They're the only three people I've messed around and slapped a title I see as fitting on TW. Their contributions, in the main, are my favourites, spoken with intelligence, wisdom, dignity, and class almost always.

No-one reading these should think otherwise. If the reader deviates from my meaning and intent, they're dead wrong.

Again, just to be crystal clear.

Stan Schofield
118 Posted 18/02/2022 at 13:28:23
Barry @89: Do you have evidence that Rodriguez ‘took the piss', or it simply an assertion?

I ask because I seem to recall in a past debate that you said you tried to base your remarks on evidence rather than emotion (and I agreed with you that that's a good thing to do), and also because I haven't seen any evidence of Rodriguez ‘taking the piss'.

On the contrary, I saw this player causing some excitement amongst Evertonians, possibly because of our getting brassed off watching mediocrity for so long.

Dave Abrahams
119 Posted 18/02/2022 at 13:39:29
Jamie (94- 96), regarding your posts, I absolutely knew that there was nothing nasty meant in your posts and from your previous posts over the years I know you have the same respect I have for Christine Foster who puts plenty of us to shame with her love and knowledge of Everton FC.

As for the late lamented Harold Mathews, I think a lot of us miss his well-read posts, one of the stand-outs was when he was in the army and attended a show which had the famous “Memory Man", Leslie Welsh, answering questions on any sports, Harold caught him out and Leslie failed to answer Harold's question.

Harold wrote home to his mother about this and she told all the family and the rest of the street about this and it was coming on the radio pretty soon. The whole street listened in to the show but they bleedin' cut the part out with Harold and his question!!

I still chuckle now and again about that post of Harold's who was a very good amateur footballer and certainly had a vast knowledge of the sport he loved.

Dave Abrahams
120 Posted 18/02/2022 at 13:49:37
John (114), yes we all see the game differently and words can come across differently to different people.

Glad to see Josh is looking after his grandad, I liked Josh from the couple of meetings we had together, I don’t have to tell what a well mannered boy he was and he used to quietly smile to himself listening to the stories you’d tell me about following the Blues over the years.

How is he regarding the bad injury he suffered last year, is he back playing again? Hope he is okay, tell him I was asking about him and wish him well.

Tony Abrahams
121 Posted 18/02/2022 at 14:23:23
I think your post might have started off an interesting debate Tommy!
Barry Rathbone
122 Posted 18/02/2022 at 14:26:46
Stan Schofield @118

I gave the evidence earlier but to recap he didn't actually play very much for us and one of his excuses was "fatigue". I don't think I've heard that from any pro footballer, particularly one who hardly played from other alleged injuries...

Allied to the fact he was on jets photographing himself during his maladies as the season was live, I can't see how his actions can be interpreted any other way.

Lovely player but with a history of not playing in Spain, Germany and now here. The idea he could be pivotal whilst not playing is almost a definition of madness. But the real rationale behind the martyrdom of James is it can be used as a stick to beat Benitez. Weirdos.

John McFarlane Snr
123 Posted 18/02/2022 at 14:26:57
Hi Dave [120],

Josh is well on the road to recovery, he was injured on 10 November and had to attend several hospital appointments, he was discharged a couple of days before Christmas, and is now undergoing physiotherapy.
He missed a few home games but returned for the Brentford FA Cup game, and is going to Southampton tomorrow weather permitting. I will pass your message on to him, meanwhile I would like to thank you on his behalf.

He returned to his college to watch their game, and the referee on the day he was injured was there, and said that it was the most reckless challenge he had seen in 20 years of refereeing.

It's a different game from our playing days, we tackled with the inside of the foot or the instep when in playing distance; nowadays, they are launching themselves from yards away with the studs showing. I'm not surprised that so many players are injured in training.

Mike Gaynes
124 Posted 18/02/2022 at 14:44:53
Barry #106...

"It matters not a jot whether a team is pro, amateur or pub league esprit de corps is essential."

Maybe in your fairy-tale amateur world, pal, but in the real world it matters one hell of a lot that there are millions at stake rather than postgame suds.

Yes, I've spent plenty of time as a participant (probably more than you since I played regular league footy from 1972 to 2019), and giving people special treatment in an amateur or pub club where everybody's equal and there's nothing at stake is NOT the same thing as giving top players special privileges in a professional locker room.

Pros understand that their chances of winning titles and making big money not only allow for but may actually rely on treating the stars differently, on an individual basis. The Chicago Bulls gave Michael Jordan days off to go play golf and gamble. He won them six championships. Did the other Bulls rebel? Fuck no. He was making them rich and famous.

NFL quarterback Tom Brady won 7 Super Bowls, the last at age 43. He barely practiced the last ten years of his career. Did it injure his teams' esprit de corps? Not according to the way they were dancing at their championship parades. And in their next contract negotiations.

Did the other Everton players resent James because he was handled with kid gloves? Maybe, maybe not, but you haven't the slightest fucking idea. You can sneer and snark all you want, but the fact is you don't have a clue, do ya? And if you really, truly believe that the social dynamics are the same in a locker room full of millionaire professionals as they are in your porky pub club, you never will.

So take a hike, pal.

Barry Rathbone
125 Posted 18/02/2022 at 14:56:26
Mike Gaynes 124

You are utterly clueless. "A champion player putting it in week in week out may well be the unofficial king of the changing room" is what I said negating every sentence of your overlong bluster.

Even my limited knowledge of American sport recognises the value and effort of Jordn and Brady compared to James at Everton.

Stop embarrassing yourself you really have no idea and refrain from refencing my football history you definitely have no idea about that.


Pete Clarke
126 Posted 18/02/2022 at 14:58:06
Just a few thoughts to throw in to the discussion.
James Rodrigues was a joy to watch but unfortunately for him at Everton he was mostly surrounded by donkeys so his game was always going to be restricted as well as his game time due to injuries. Ancelotti leaving was also the end for him but even that could have been different if Lampard would have followed instead of Benitez.
Benitez appointment was absolutely disgusting for me and not even the threat of relegation should have been reason for his appointment.
The sale of Lucas Digney was tantamount to treason by Benitez given the way we were heading in the table. Even on a poor day he was generally one of the better players and one who definitely gave his all.
Rondon being signed and played when totally unfit was a massive two fingers to all of us blues and more so to the youth who are awaiting their chance to break through.
All of the above mentioned mess has been under the guidance of two absolute football
Dunces that have somehow come through all of this seemingly unscathed mainly because the Belgian FA would not let them have Martinez and the supporters finally made themselves heard and we got Lampard instead of Pareira.
Lampard may not give us what we need but I loved him as a player, I love him as a gentleman and he is a total breath of fresh air that this club has needed for a long time. A winning mentality is built into this mans genes and I can sense good things happening at our club.
Let’s just hope the two dunces just back him and stay out of his face ( and ours )
Tony Abrahams
127 Posted 18/02/2022 at 15:14:22
Good point John Mc, I learned how to tackle watching Peter Reid, and tackling with the instep was the best way to win the ball. When I started playing Sunday football again, I couldn’t believe how reckless the tackling was. It was 80% reckless and 20% skill and bravery, and because tackling has always been a fine art imo, I used to think the pretend hard men, wouldn’t have lasted ten minutes playing against hardened professionals.

We still get together occasionally, and one of my lunatic mates, who I’ve seen fly into some of the most ridiculous crazy tackles, always gets Pat van den hauwe, and tries to get me to tell Pat, that he’d have destroyed him in a 50-50 tackle.

Pat just shakes his head and shrugs his shoulders, whilst I tell my mate, he wouldn’t have stood a chance the way he used to tackle, but it’s all good fun, even if my lunatic mate is genuinely convinced he would have put Pat, in hospital😂

Brian Murray
128 Posted 18/02/2022 at 15:15:31
Pete. Does one of these dunces you refer to get emotional if you offer to put the kettle on. Just making sure I’m on same hymn sheet
Stan Schofield
129 Posted 18/02/2022 at 15:30:14
Barry@122: So you’ve no evidence that Rodriguez was ‘taking the piss’, it’s merely an assertion on your part.

I think that you’re the only one to have used the terms ‘pivotal’ and ‘martyrdom’ in relation to Rodriguez. Me, I’ve focused only on the evidence that was before my eyes, that he was a very good (unusually entertaining) and useful player for us.

Why do social media debates often involve polarised extreme terms and phrases? Like ‘taking the piss’ and ‘martyrdom’, with a dash of ‘pivotal’ and ‘weirdos’?

Mike Gaynes
130 Posted 18/02/2022 at 15:36:00
Barry, great job of quoting yourself -- in bold, no less. But the words you really should have bolded are "limited knowledge".

I spent hundreds of hours in conversation with professional athletes, coaches and managers. What you call "waltzing in" is something I did 60 hours a week for 15 years.

You didn't.

And you've never spoken to anyone in the Everton locker room about the reaction to James there. So you're the one with absolutely no clue about what you're asserting about him and the club.

And yes, I'm pretty confident that 47 years of amateur football gives me a bit of insight into that too. How long you play?

You probably should cork it at this point. You're not looking good, pal.

Barry Rathbone
131 Posted 18/02/2022 at 16:57:05
Stan Schofield @129,

Sorry, Stan, but it is your assertion that his absence from games quoting fatigue and jetting off whilst the season is still on is not evidence of taking the piss?

I feel quite safe in suggesting you are in a very small minority.

Stan Schofield
132 Posted 18/02/2022 at 17:07:17
Stay safe Barry.
Darren Hind
133 Posted 18/02/2022 at 17:09:22

Even when I don't agree with you, you always put forward your views in a well-reasoned way. I doubt the day will dawn when you need to apologise for expressing your point of view.

As you already know. I do disagree with you on several points here, although the ability of James to delight isn't one of them.

I don't believe there is a cat's chance in hell of James following Carlo to Watford. They simply could not have paid him enough – come to think of it, they could not have paid Carlo enough either. Anyway. This thread is more about the player than his managers.

I believe James Rodriguez did what James Rodriguez does when he signed for Everton: he took the best offer on the table. He may have taken a pay cut to come here, but the contract was new and therefore better than the one he had which was running out and not going to be renewed.

I think the contract has long since been more important to James than the football. He wouldn't be where he is now otherwise. Sure, he loved the game one time and Carlo's gamble in signing him was one worth taking. Unfortunately, he was already making the transition from part-time world-class footballer to full-time Champagne celeb.

I have no axe to grind with Rodriguez. His body had started to let him down so he started to trade on his name... Fair play to him.

I have a feeling that, if we were having this debate in the wedding house 40 years ago, the towel would have been long since on. The doors long since locked and you and Dave would be having this debate in a less than sober state.

I believe Dave is right in this instance. If the debate ever happens face to face, I think your best chance would be to go for the early surrender.

Make him pay for the drinks.

Barry Rathbone
134 Posted 18/02/2022 at 17:19:25
Mike Gaynes 130

"And you've never spoken to anyone in the Everton locker room about the reaction to James there"

Neither have you. What a bizarre chap you are

"And yes, I'm pretty confident that 47 years of amateur football"

Ahh! thanks for confirming your pro changing room experience really is just a walk-on part as a scribe and your actual footy experience is akin to most – amateur!!

For a fleeting moment the gist of one of your previous buffoon moments suggested you were going to regale the class with tales of your time as a top-level pro. Perhaps more fantasy about being just a dodgy metatarsal from a golden boot ??

Stand down, sailor – you are hanging yourself with your own petard. Funny though.

Barry Rathbone
135 Posted 18/02/2022 at 17:23:52
Stan 132

Armour plated

John McFarlane Snr
136 Posted 18/02/2022 at 18:46:07
Hi Tony [127] as a self-confessed fully paid up Dinosaur, it's my opinion that footballers are quite often over-trained. I use the injuries sustained during the pre-match warm-ups as evidence.

I liken the hamstring to an elastic band, something that can only take so much tension. In earlier times, hamstring injuries were few and far between and, apart from broken bones, the cartilage was the dreaded misfortune, taking months to be remedied – matters have improved greatly in that regard.

Toe injuries were non-existent, the first time I came across the word 'metatarsal' was when boots were exchanged for the slippers of today. Apologies but I did warn you that I am a member of the elite fully paid up Dinosaurs.

Stan Schofield
137 Posted 18/02/2022 at 19:48:30
John @136: My first boots in the early '60s were hard toe-capped ones, I think quite handy when trying to kick a wet and heavy lace-up case ball. But everything seemed to change in the mid-'60s, and then (as you say) the boots were like slippers. The advantage was you could actually feel the ball better, and the case balls had also become more waterproof, and lighter, and free of laces. I think the forerunner of today's blightly coloured boots were Alan Ball's white ones circa 1970.
Kieran Kinsella
138 Posted 18/02/2022 at 20:19:49

You think the 60s ones were like slippers, my last pair of adidas about 4 years ago were pathetic, like silk slippers. I took to just playing in my socks until I did my metatarsal which may or may not have been related to that choice. That was the end of my illustrious career though I never hit the dizzy heights of Baz Rathbone.

Dale Self
139 Posted 18/02/2022 at 20:35:51
You know, I've not found myself in agreement with Mr Carter ever to my recollection but a damn fine job of stirring it up here with very few words, mind you. Good job, you football Bastard!
John McFarlane Snr
140 Posted 18/02/2022 at 21:01:59
Hi Stan [137],

I remember saying, "You've got be good to wear white boots" at the time. Now it appears that, with the multi coloured boots that are the norm, I think it should be amended to "You've got to be good to wear black boots."

Laurie Hartley
141 Posted 18/02/2022 at 21:19:18
John Mc Snr# 140 – agreed and I would add to that “You have to be good to wear your shirt inside your shorts”.
Brian Williams
142 Posted 18/02/2022 at 21:20:50
Tommy's succinct offering (IMO) are the words of an idealist dreamer put together to support his naive view of what one player could do.
Shame that dreams aren't reality.
Stan Schofield
143 Posted 18/02/2022 at 21:23:13
Kieran @138: Because of the ‘slippers', I preferred using a Wembley Trophy ball (Regulation size 5), coz it was more comfortable than kicking a casey, even the newer waterproof casies.

John @140: I remember when we signed Gana, when Koeman was manager, and there was a comment on ToffeeWeb that you could tell he was an honest no-nonsense player, because he wore simple black boots unlike the fancy ones other players were wearing.

Don Alexander
144 Posted 18/02/2022 at 23:23:11
Christine (#88), well said indeed ma'am. I envy your eloquence in literally spelling out with whom the guilt lies on account of nearly all of our Premier League existence and, compared to every other founder member, it has been only "existence".

I suspect the chances of us signing an aging superstar with a still indefatigable willingness to compete (as Andy Gray had when he joined us) are by now virtually nil. Rodriguez wasn't that player that's for sure, delightful as he occasionally was when he was (rarely) in the mood.

I'm hoping Lampard and his coaches are allowed by the Gruesome Twosome still allegedly in charge of the club to re-shape it into something recognisable as genuine competitors against any opponent. Leicester did it devoid of any mega-famous signings but with a fabulous esprit-de-corps throughout that and following seasons. If we can start to emulate them, avoid relegation and move into the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock, it might just be that, in 5 years or so, we can be trophy contenders again. It'll take that long at least IMHO.

I'll be turned 70 by then, my football enjoyment throughout my 40s, 50s and (thus far) 60s having been stolen from me by a bloke who claims to have achieved "good times" in those decades.

He makes Boris "Liar" Johnson seem credible in comparison.

Michael Williams
145 Posted 19/02/2022 at 01:58:35
If James was so great, why did every good club in the world pass on him before he came to Everton and after he left? Certainly none of the Champions League or Europa League teams wanted him. He is an over-the-hill, left-over player with moments of brilliance.

James reminds me of one of the fathers of a player on our high school soccer team. He played on our pick-up team when we played against high school kids from other cities when we got together for fun. He often had one or two moments a game where you went "Wow! We can't do that!"

Then the other team would start running right past him and running him into the ground. It was nice to have him on the team because he was a good guy and playing with a dad is kind of cool but we always felt a man down when he was in. He really hurt us in midfield.

Christine Foster
146 Posted 19/02/2022 at 04:25:34
Michael Williams @145,

James was not world class when he joined Everton, not in my book... but he was at a level still far higher than what we had.

The "good" teams as you state, had no need of him, with players who generally were going to be part of a Champions League contenders team. And you are right: he could not consistently play at that level anymore.

So, in answer to your question, why should Everton be interested in a has been?

● Because he wanted to play for a world class manager he respected.
● Because his very presence increased the club's standing in South America and worldwide.
● Because on his day, and there were still quite a few of them, he would have raised the roof off playing under a full Goodison park, something we never got the chance to see.
● Because his moments of brilliance are greater than effort alone.
● Because we started the season without him and no No 10, which in the end caused the whole team to suffer.
● Because he was replaced with no one.

So Michael, in some respects you are right to say he was not up to the better teams' level, but he was certainly up to Everton's. As I said before, we have a few rungs on the ladder before we can compete with the best teams; we cannot go out and buy a Champions League team of players, so we have to climb the ladder a rung at a time, constantly finding better players to help us get there. If that means a James or two, that's okay with me.

Christine Foster
147 Posted 19/02/2022 at 04:43:07
Darren @133,

I think many a lock-in at the Wedding House did indeed end with many very vocal debaters much the worse for drink!

I seem to remember though I was always on the sharp end of it as my mum and dad, together with my other sisters, were all RS fans, so debate about the Blues often descended into derision and me copping it! Although, by the mid-80s I did get my own back!

No matter the specifics of any debate though, Darren, the facts speak for themselves. We have been badly run since the introduction of the Premier League, left to the sharks in the British Virgin Islands while our luvvy chairman extolled the financial virtues of Sir Philip Green to one and all, that financial wizard!

I doubt any manager since Moyes, or even including him, has had full say on recruitment and still it's an unsaid truth that players are bought at the whim of the owner without the input or request from the manager. We are dealing with a dysfunctional senior management team and owner no matter who selects the team.

We can blame managers, players, the owner, the board when in truth it's all of the above. But responsibility lies with the owner and board to give the manager the tools he requires. Accountability for players' success is with the manager; sadly, accountability for poor managers should be, but never has been with the board.

I guess what I am saying is we got every aspect wrong and no-one took responsibility for it. Of course, we did have a patsy...

David Currie
148 Posted 19/02/2022 at 05:46:07
Glad that both Benitez and James are no longer at our club. Both are past it.
Steve Brown
149 Posted 19/02/2022 at 16:43:28
Here is what Richarlison says about the impact of the sale of James and Digne:

“When I arrived from the Olympics, I was even surprised at how much he was running and dedicating himself to training, training well. And out of nowhere, the coach said he didn’t count on him anymore. And nobody understood anything,”

“So I think that also weighed a little on the group. Because we know about James’ quality. Also from Digne, who we ended up losing. So it weighs, it weighs. Like it or not, it weighs on the group. We had a united group there and ended up losing two important players. So I think that’s it. James, we wish him all the best.

“And that’s it, we lost, we lost Bernard too, who was an important player. And it’s like I said, we had everything to reach the Europa League or the Champions and we lose players so easily. Lose players through injury too. It ends up making competition difficult.”

Michael Williams
150 Posted 19/02/2022 at 16:44:20
Christine - 147.

* "Because he wanted to play for a world class manager he respected."
He sure did not look like it be the middle of the season with all his niggling injuries and leaving the team before the season ended. He could not be counted on.

* What tangible result came out of that. So Everton was on hos twitter feed. I saw nothing out of that. If we want to increase our standing in SA maybe we should someone who actually played often and gave two cents about the team.

* "Because on his day, and there were still quite a few of them, he would have raised the roof off playing under a full Goodison park, something we never got the chance to see."
True - but those moments were few and far between and disappeared by the last third of the season. We also had to suffer getting overrun in the midfield when he did play.

* "Because his moments of brilliance are greater than effort alone."
Basically a repeat of above.

* "Because we started the season without him and no No 10, which in the end caused the whole team to suffer." I'm not sure what this even means. Yes not having a 10 sucks. It also sucks having a 10 that leaves a gaping hole in the midfield. Why do all great number 10s in the EPL play offense and defense.

* "Because he was replaced with no one."
That has nothing to do with James just the ineptitude of the club.

You basic arguments is that his moments of glory were so exciting and he was good enough for Everton and he was better than what we had.

The proof in the pudding is that after Everton he did not get picked up by any team of consequence in any league of consequence in the entire world. No other decent team on the PLANET wanted him for the reasons that have been stated by many above.

I agree he was fantastic at moments but the league was too physical for him, he was an absentee player, and he mostly cared about living his lifestyle. He left our midfield as empty as Gomes does now which resulted in us playing with ten men when the other team had the ball.

Peter Neilson
151 Posted 19/02/2022 at 16:54:12
They were both part of the same problem, neither were part of the solution (thanks MC5). An owner with no plan and absolutely no idea on how to run a football club. All appointments made up on the hoof. Plenty of time to debate next season maybe before playing the likes of Blackpool and Bristol City.
Colin Metcalfe
152 Posted 20/02/2022 at 12:39:03
Barry Hesketh
153 Posted 20/02/2022 at 12:49:56
Colin @152 I read that article iin the Echo and elsewhere, I suppose this interview with Richarlison must have taken place in the last few weeks, following the dismisal of Benitez.

Striker Richarlison has said that the untimely exit of star forward James Rodriguez seriously disrupted Everton's season.

Colombian Rodriguez left Goodison Park in September, joining Qatari side Al-Rayyan for an undisclosed fee.

And Blues favourite Richarlison admitted that his departure, along with the exit of other key players, contributed to the unravelling of Everton's campaign, eventually leading to the sacking of manager Rafa Benitez.

Speaking in an interview with TNT Sports, the Brazilian said: "When I arrived from the Olympics, I was even surprised at how much he (Rodriguez) was running and dedicating himself to training, training well.

"And out of nowhere, the coach (Benitez) said he didn’t count on him anymore. And nobody understood anything.

“So I think that also weighed a little on the group. Because we know about James’ quality. Also from (Lucas) Digne, who we ended up losing. So it weighs, it weighs. Like it or not, it weighs on the group.

"We had a united group there and ended up losing two important players. So I think that’s it. James, we wish him all the best.

“And that’s it. We lost Bernard too, who was an important player.

"And it’s like I said, we had everything to reach the Europa League or the Champions League and we lose players so easily. Lose players through injury too. It ends up making competition difficult.”

That sounds like a poor excuse to my mind from Richarlison, obviously, the players have no idea about the financial restrictions that Everton has been operating under since the summer, there's no way on God's green earth that Everton could have justifed keeping James even if it had wanted to.

Injuries have been a legitimate reason for the teams bad form, but the loss of James in September cannot be used as a reason.

Michael Kenrick
154 Posted 21/02/2022 at 09:01:51
And the man himself, James Rodriguez, now chimes in to confound the claims that he had no desire to play for Everton:

“I would have liked to have been at Everton for much longer. It's a spectacular club, the fans are incredible, but I ran into a coach who didn't want to count on me. I wanted to be there. Unfortunately, the coach didn't want to count on me. “

At least that's Fabrizio Romano. He does say he wanted to be here… but what he doesn't say is that he actually wanted to play for Everton. Oh dear…

Ernie Baywood
155 Posted 21/02/2022 at 09:14:19
I think stating that he wanted to be at Everton implies that he wanted to play for Everton.

I struggle to believe that he couldn't improve this team.

Yes, he might have needed to be managed through the fixture schedule, but who hasn't needed that in our squad?

Tony Abrahams
156 Posted 21/02/2022 at 09:19:20
Maybe Everton can try and re-sign Rodriguez in the summer, now the coach has gone?
Geoff Williams
157 Posted 21/02/2022 at 10:45:24
Benitez's appointment was a huge mistake, he created a toxic and divisive atmosphere within the club. He is responsible for the mess we are in.

It was Benitez who said James didn't want to play for the club and again it was Benitez who said Digne didn't want to play for the club. He was attempting to get the fans on-board to justify his irrational dislike of the players and sadly many foolishly bought into this.

James is the best footballer the club has had in years and was very influential on the pitch. Benitez was totally clueless on how to make the best of the players at his disposal. He was making players take on roles for which they were unsuited rather than playing systems which took advantage of their strengths.

He was a control freak. Just read Richarlison comments on returning to the club after the Olympics, they are very illuminating.

Steve Brown
158 Posted 21/02/2022 at 11:40:33
Barry @ 153,

Are you really still trying to peddle the line that it was FFP restrictions that caused the sale of James?

Van de Beek earns £120,000 a week and Alli earns £100,000, to which you can add on the salaries of Townsend (£48,000), Rondon (£43,000), Begovic (£43,000), Gray (£42,000), Mykolenko (£58,000) and Patterson (£28,000).

It has been claimed on this thread that we were wise to get him off the salary bill because he earned £250,000 a week (he didn't), he wanted to leave (he didn't), and that we are better off without him (we're not). As Richarlison makes clear in your own post @ 153, the sale of James and Digne had a bad effect on the morale and unity of the squad.

So why was he sold? In his own words "It's a spectacular club, the fans are incredible, but I ran into a coach who didn't want to count on me. I wanted to be there. Unfortunately, the coach didn't want to count on me."

He was sold because of the disastrous Benitez.

Barry Hesketh
159 Posted 21/02/2022 at 11:49:50
Steve @158,

I'm not trying to peddle anything, I was merely airing my view about the financial restrictions that were in place during the summer.

I don't have any time for Benitez, and it may well be the case that he was responsible for the sale of James, due to some past conflict with the Colombian.

My main point was that Richarlison and his team-mates can't argue that James's sale was solely responsible for the terrible form that followed his departure.

If any or all of the players failed to give of their best for Everton FC because one of their mates was sold, I can't forgive them for that, no matter which player it was or how good he was.

Jay Wood

160 Posted 21/02/2022 at 12:34:11
This reads as a weird and redundant thread to me. Rodriguez and Benitez are now irrelevant. They're gone.

James Rodriguez left Everton 5 months ago without featuring for the first team this season. Everton binned Benitez mid-January.

James's last competitive game of football for the Blues was playing 78 minutes in a 1-0 home loss to relegated Sheffield United on 16 May last season.

Yes, he is the type of player we should aspire to have playing for us. In his prime.

He started like a house on fire. 3 goals, 3 assists, in his first 5 Premier League games. He missed just one of our first 11 Premier League games last season but then, of the remaining 27 Premier League games, he played in less than half of them - 13 (many not even full games) – adding just 3 more goals and 2 assists.

He wasn't a game-changer in those 13 games. We lost 5 of them (West Ham Utd, Newcastle, Fulham, Man City and Sheff Utd – all at home), won only 3 (away to Wolves, Liverpool and Arsenal), drew the other 5. He got 4 more assists in cup games v West Ham in the League Cup and Rotherham and Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup.

His pass for Richarlison's opening goal in the 2-0 win at Anfield has, for some reason, taken on mythical status. It was good, but not the pass of the century.

It is more than reasonable to speculate, given the near-zero transfer spend in the summer, that his salary and retention for such an injury-prone player was a luxury the club simply could not afford.

Sorry he never got to strut his stuff before a full stadium of Blues to be 'touched' by Alan Ballitist, but to me his (and Benitez's) presence or absence is a totally moot and redundant point now.

It's Frank Lampard and his actual squad which will determine our fate this season.

Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
161 Posted 21/02/2022 at 15:47:31
And I have to wonder, Jay, if it's weird and redundant as you state, why it has attracted 160 posts – strangely including your own? Presumably you read them all in order to reach your masterful conclusion?

Moreover, your post in itself is moot and redundant because it just recites what we already know about Rodriguez and his Everton career. Nothing more. And we already know he and Benitez are no longer with us.

The thing is, people will discuss topics that they have something to say about. (I think you know that already, so perhaps I am being moot and redundant!)

I wouldn't go so far as to say the thread produces any great revelations but people do have opinions on various aspects of the subject matter and it is relevant insofar as it covers an aspect of very recent Everton history. All things considered, those opinions don't warrant the kind of blanket denigration from you that we usually associate with the keyboard of Darren Hind.

The thread includes recent comments from your folk-hero, Richarlison, as well as words from James Rodriguez himself that are featured in the news today, providing his own personal take on the subject of Benitez and his departure from Everton. Redundant? Perhaps. But also relevant to our readers who are interested.

Jay Wood

162 Posted 21/02/2022 at 16:17:43
I don't begrudge anyone expressing any view on anything they like, Michael. In that I am certainly more liberal and less draconian than you are.

Nor am I given to the gratuitous personal denigration towards other posters without provocation you (falsely, I believe) accuse me of. You might like to look back through this very thread at other posters who most certainly have done that.

What intrigues me (and why I commented) is the phenomenon of looking backwards and the pining for or the criticizing of two ex-employees of the club that will never return and will have no bearing on the remainder of what is clearly a very critical and pivotal season.

And that is why I consider the subject matter of this thread a moot and redundant one. Not fessed one way or t'other how you or others interpret my post.

Michael Kenrick
163 Posted 21/02/2022 at 16:55:49
But Jay, you're saying people shouldn't be discussing this, even though it is contemporary news – a point I clearly made that you have equally clearly ignored.

And it seems both moot and redundant (yet again) for me to point out that one of the abiding themes on ToffeeWeb – reflected constantly in the posts on many threads – is "looking backwards and pining for or criticizing" previous employees.

If it's not something you want to do, then why get involved at all?

Michael Williams
164 Posted 21/02/2022 at 18:03:39
Michael #154 - Of course what else is Rodriguez going to say - "Yeah I really didn't want to be here after December. I could not be counted to play but I sure told the national team I could play for them."

All the arguments for James boil down to this: "One of the best players we had since forever, had moments of brilliance where his play took our breath away." All true.

However he had the same problem here he had in La Liga and the Bundesliga. He left his teams wide open in the midfield, he did not play defense, rarely tracked back etc etc etc. Despite his "super greatness", those teams decided he was not worth playing and was even then rarely available to play because of a myriad of injuries, just like with us.

I'm not saying it's better to sign some grafter and let him bulldoze the midfield. There are many midfielders in the Premier League that have real offensive talent and and work their asses off in midfield.

I've said this before and I'll say it again, if James was so fantastic why couldn't one team in Europe, just one, sign him? In fact, every decent football team on the planet knew James was available and expressed a collective yawn.

Jay Wood

165 Posted 21/02/2022 at 18:09:06
Michael, as the author of the opening post himself references, you (or Lyndon) took the editorial decision to take his (contextual) post from another thread and make it a standalone thread here, which puzzled him.

Simultaneously you lifted responses to his post from the original thread to here, as well as applying the title you did.

No issue from me for you doing so. You've done the same with some of my own (and others) posts.

And I hate to correct you on two things Michael, but firstly, nowhere at all have I said people shouldn't (your emphasis) be discussing this. My very first sentence in the post you take exception to clearly makes clear I am offering my opinion, without denigrating individuals or attempting to suppress peoples' right to comment:

'This reads as a weird and redundant thread to me.' I then explain why.

Secondly, the original post is 4-5 days old and was not intended as a 'standalone' thread that you made it. To now claim it is 'contemporary news' is to use a wee slight of hand Michael.

The two sources you quote referencing Rodriguez' leaving of Everton - Richarlison's ESPN interview and James' own comments reported today - were NOT in the public domain and 'known' at the time of the author's original post or your own creation of this thread.

Ergo, those two stories are standalone contemporary news, which you have retrospectively associated to this thread in an attempt to bolster your position.

Finally, if it's all right with you Michael, I hope I am allowed the same courtesy as other posters within TW's terms & conditions. Namely, deciding for myself how and when and IF I post, or ignore, entire threads or individual posts.

Sounds fair?

Nicholas Ryan
166 Posted 21/02/2022 at 18:22:29
James Rodriguez; or Alex Iwobi? ... Exactly!
Michael Kenrick
172 Posted 21/02/2022 at 20:42:53

Let's go back to your original premise:

"This reads as a weird and redundant thread to me. Rodriguez and Benitez are now irrelevant. They're gone."

The original post was taken off another thread because the volume of posts it had generated were derailing that thread. To our way of thinking, this is a reasonable way to manage a new off-topic that develops spontaneously and generates a lot of posts, reflecting interest among our readers, rather than leaving them on the 'wrong' thread or deleting them entirely.

Extrapolating from that, you appear to be questioning why anyone is concerned about the issues discussed, why anyone would be interested in this topic. Perhaps you should address the fact that there were over 160 posts on this thread before you provided your negative critique on the thread's existence. It's that uncalled-for negative assessment that I was challenging.

As for the contemporary nature of the recent items I cited, this is what happens on many threads. They were not cited by me as justification for the thread itself in the way you have mis-stated, but to demonstrate the relevance of contemporaneous interest in the topic, even though it relates to past events.

My preference is always to keep things to one thread if possible, and to avoid having multiple threads on the same topic. A comparable example is the Gbamin rumour mill story of a few days ago, which has now morphed into a real story of his loan move – with the discussion preserved on one thread.

It seems your finishing touch is a rebuttal of my question: why get involved if it's something you're not interested in? I'm not in any way questioning your freedom to post, but instead your desire to denigrate the existence of a thread that developed spontaneously, and thereby to denigrate by association all the posts made to it, and the opinions of the individual posters.

On a point of principle, you appear to be denigrating what we are providing. That is at best disingenuous.

Ernie Baywood
173 Posted 21/02/2022 at 21:06:06
Multiple posts discussing whether the original topic is worthy of discussion. Can I chime in with a third topic as to whether that secondary topic is worthy of discussion on this site? Or is that getting a bit meta?

As for the idea that we should be aspiring to having players like James in their prime... yes please. But let's face reality. If we want quality we take a chance on them when they're either young or damaged. That's our reality. James didn't play enough games but, as a fan, he produced some of our best moments. He's unbelievably talented – and yet I've watched Alex Iwobi start our last two matches.

The confirmation that the summer saga was all Benitez shouldn't be a surprise. Just as the Digne situation wasn't. What a shit-show this club is. From the point of appointing Benitez to the point of sacking him, we were about as shambolic as a club can be.

Tony Hill
174 Posted 21/02/2022 at 21:53:26
Despite Jay Woods's depressingly fact-based analysis of Rodriguez's contributions @160, I think the more serious commentators above have demonstrated that it is all Benitez's fault. No wonder we've been so shite for so long.

If only we'd got rid of the catastrophic old fool before he'd started, we'd probably be 6th with James banging them in and Digne soaring up the wing to deliver those fabulous crosses he kept producing so consistently. Even Richarlison might have learned to control the ball and not fall over on his personal skid pan.

Stands to reason.

Barry Rathbone
175 Posted 21/02/2022 at 22:17:25
The thread is required because James is the last chance to vent over the Benitez reign – it's a mental stability thing.

As the new regime continues with equally crap performances, the terrifying idea that it's the players – not the manager – gains credence. Hopefully the "change the manager" crew will be proved right and miraculously Frank transforms things but, if not, getting a scapegoat prepped makes great sense.

Certainly preferable to admitting they were wrong.

Mike Gaynes
176 Posted 21/02/2022 at 22:18:12
Interesting comments by Rodriguez and Richarlison in this article:

James Rodriguez open to Everton return after being forced out by Benitez

Tony Hill
177 Posted 21/02/2022 at 22:32:35
Do you think Frank will be hastening to get him back, Mike? Or that other major contributor, Bernard?

Have to say I think our current manager may disappoint us in both respects.

Mike Gaynes
178 Posted 21/02/2022 at 23:35:09
Tony, no, of course not. But it sure does make fools of the many folks here who accused James of not being "arsed" about Everton, or who thought his salary and frequent absences were causes of resentment in the changing rooms -- "war zone", I believe, was the phrase used on one occasion.

If you believe what James says, he loved Everton and very much wanted to stay, even after Carlo departed.

And if you believe what Richarlison says, James was a popular guy in the changing rooms.

Of course, they could both be lying...

Derek Thomas
179 Posted 22/02/2022 at 00:12:08
The answer lies, as it mostly does, probably somewhere in the middle. But as I'm not a big fan of Benitez, I'm probably in Team Rodriguez.

Given our general poor form though, could we have afforded to carry him? That said, Gomes – and a few others – seem to get carried most weeks.

Did we 'sell' him though or is he on loan? If loan, why not bring him back? Or is FFP the big factor?

Kieran Kinsella
180 Posted 22/02/2022 at 01:06:51

It was permanently brokered by Tim Cahill apparently. Can't see us bringing him back having taken on Dele Alli.

Don Alexander
181 Posted 22/02/2022 at 02:40:39
Just occasionally, a well-run successful club will sign a player of former distinction but clearly declining talent to try to add that little extra magic the distinguished player once had in abundance, to try to infect the entire team with brio and success.

Andy Gray (prime dickhead that he's shown himself to be in recent years notwithstanding) was just such a player for us, as was Paul Power. The level of performance the two of them instantly injected into the whole squad was visible, week-in & week-out.

James Rodriguez had none of their durability or impact. The fact that Mike Gaynes and other Toffees go on all but eulogising him just tells me they're still on the Kenwright Express to recognising "good times". I don't recognise any facet of Kenwright's alleged recent "good times" shite.

Fans eulogising the "wonderfully positive" impact of James Rodriguez on our club performance is precisely what sustains our owner, accountant and chairman in their never-ending smoke and mirrors response to true, credible accountability to us mere fans.

Mike Gaynes
182 Posted 22/02/2022 at 03:46:15
Ummm so if you liked James, you like Kenwright.


I'm sure that makes sense on whatever planet it came from.

Kieran Kinsella
183 Posted 22/02/2022 at 04:01:09
Last summer, we heard Danny Donachie developed a specific fitness plan for James. He did seem pretty sharp in pre-season but Rafa came in with his huge ego and dispatched both.

Maybe the James plan would have worked but the red flag to me is that Carlo, who was James's champion, called up Real Madrid and begged for an exit strategy. That suggests to me Carlo wasn't convinced things would work out. But we will never know.

Rafa took a mediocre team and made them worse; now Frank has to pick up the pieces.

Christine Foster
184 Posted 22/02/2022 at 09:22:43
Why is it all of interest? Why is it important? History never repeats, the song says, but too often we are left feeling Déjà Vu continues in a time loop at Goodison Park.

Smoke and mirrors manufacturers have made a living at Everton, Kenwright and Co must have their number on speed dial...

Jay appears to think that what's happened has gone and doesn't matter, but it does because decisions made at this club have taken us to the brink of relegation. If we are to survive, the people making the decisions cannot be allowed to go on without assuming responsibility.

James never dissed the club or its players. We had a glimpse of what he was but failed to mix and match him into a team that could compliment his skill and compensate for his work rate. That's what good teams do. We were not a good team and we are a poorer one now.

Benitez's issue was personal with James, it wasn't wages or FFP, it was vindictive. Was he good enough? That's another debate but, in the right formation with players who complimented him, protected him, we could have brought the best out of him.

It was not to be, but that decision was down to a personal dislike by Benitez. The scary thing was that someone, Moshiri or Kenwright, must've signed off on getting rid during Benitez's interview process...

Dave Abrahams
185 Posted 22/02/2022 at 09:38:09
Mike (178), footballers telling lies and bulling each other up? Never heard of it.

I saw how much the Colombian wanted to play for Everton in the last few weeks of last season with my own eyes!!

Brian Harrison
186 Posted 22/02/2022 at 09:59:59
I don't think anyone really knows other than James himself if he wanted to stay or not. But I think what I take from Richarlisons comments was that he said they were all shocked and couldn't understand why he was sold. So, even before a ball had been kicked, Benitez had caused some scepticism from his players with the selling of James.

Benitez then went on to replace the DOF and most of his scouting staff left, not content with that Benitez then removed most of the medical team. I know some posters were pleased with these changes and hoped he would be the catalyst to the removal of Kenwright.

For me, a manager first and foremost needs to get his first team winning games and developing a style of play. But we all knew from his history Benitez had become known for causing trouble at every club he had managed, and the real problem was that, when he left these clubs, they were usually in a worse place than when he arrived.

Thankfully his results were so bad that even Moshiri had to see we were only heading in one direction, and the threat that posed to his and Usmanov,s investment.

Thankfully we now have a young coach who unlike Benitez has forged already in his short time an empathy with the fans. There is no split in the fanbase we have someone along with his coaches who wont be creating any animosity around the training ground. I think most can agree that, had Benitez been allowed to stay, he would have done to us what he did to Newcastle and get them relegated.

Stan Schofield
187 Posted 22/02/2022 at 10:00:23
Dave @185:

No you didn't. You might think you did, but you didn't. None of us did.

Brian Murray
188 Posted 22/02/2022 at 10:40:24
Rodriguez's latest comments, saying he would now come back to us, show how toxic and out of date with the modern game Benitez was.

Not that I'd want him back because it smacks of Gazza, Ginola, Rooney – the short-sighted Everton cack-handed way. He probably still has more to offer than them. Next!

Let Frank limp us over the line and do his thing after May.

Dave Abrahams
189 Posted 22/02/2022 at 11:35:51
Stan (187),

That was a large dollop of me being sarcastic – just as Rodriguez is talking a large dollop of nonsense about wanting to come back and play for us. He should have wanted to play for us at the end of last season, smarmy little money-grabbing playboy!!

Stan Schofield
190 Posted 22/02/2022 at 13:03:34
Dave, having never met him, I wouldn't know if he's smarmy or a playboy. I do know I enjoyed watching him play for us.
Michael Williams
191 Posted 22/02/2022 at 14:03:51
I find it interesting James said he would come back to us. Of course he would because no other decent team on the planet has shown any interest in him. That's why he is wherever he is.

The entire world of soccer has realized James is finished, or at least just not worth it, yet a brigade of ToffeeWebbers want him back.

Don Alexander
192 Posted 22/02/2022 at 14:18:07
Brian (#188), your mention of Gazza, Ginola and Rooney is confirmation of what I'm trying to get across regarding Kenwright throwing us the odd glorious has-been who can very occasionally do something remarkable that seems to be forever cherished by a few of us, as the club declines.

I find it very strange that some of us allow ourselves to so distracted from the big, big problem still infesting the club whilst going on about a player who was a brief mere flash of talent, but only when he felt like it.

Oh well, that's the news from Planet Reality!

Barry Rathbone
193 Posted 22/02/2022 at 14:35:15
Mike Gaynes 178

"Of course, they could both be lying..."

Phew!! you saved yourself from being a news item right there.

Having had 3 storms in the UK, your desperate rationale prior to the above goal line clearance was in danger of being reported as "laughter storm, Mike".

Wow! 4 in a week – this could be interpreted by cult "dangerous man-made climate change" as evidence. You do realise you might have to glue your tit to the tarmac now?

Mike Gaynes
194 Posted 22/02/2022 at 15:17:16
Michael #191, not one person here has said they want him back. Some wish he hadn't been forced out, some are glad he was, but everybody agrees the boat has sailed.

Barry #193, didn't comprehend a word of that. I even tried running your post through Google Translate but it crashed the program.

Brian #186, those are the salient points for me. Good summary.

Dave #185, my default position when I read a footballer's comments is to believe them, unless they have a past record of speaking falsely or saying something else. I never read a negative quote from James about Everton or not wanting to play, and I never read a negative quote from anyone at Everton about James, even a hint that any of his mates were discontented with him. If it makes me naive to take Richarlison's comments at face value, so be it.

Brian Murray
195 Posted 22/02/2022 at 15:47:15
Don @192.

You are preaching to the converted, brother. Still amazed some Blues can't or won't see the never-ending white nelly in the room, holding us back. He's got more lives, after all the ineptitude, than a moggy in the Zouma household.

Let's hope we live to tell the tale by May... The unthinkable would finish us.

Dave Abrahams
196 Posted 22/02/2022 at 15:52:29
Stan (190),

Yes, I enjoyed him playing for us now and again but didn't enjoy the half-hearted attempts plenty of times.

Of course you wouldn't know if he was smarmy or a playboy – although there is a lot of photographic evidence that he was a playboy and I thought he was smarmy with his ridiculous reasons for him not being fit at the end of last season.

Maybe you just like to see the good side of people, and accept that, if he says he isn't fit, then you believe it!!

Dave Abrahams
197 Posted 22/02/2022 at 16:02:55
Mike (194),

Every week in the Premier League, the opposing manager will praise the other team and their manager, bulling them up – patently a load of nonsense.

You've been in that game for many years in the past so you know the score, they may not be lies but definitely a load of bullshit, whether they say it at the time or 6 months later, like Richarlison has just done.

Mick O'Malley
198 Posted 22/02/2022 at 16:32:23
And we'll always be little old Everton when sections of our fans would sooner have Andros Townsend, who is absolutely bang-average, playing instead of the likes of James.

Give me 20 games of Rodríguez instead of 40 games of what Townsend brings.

I'd have James back, all day, every day – a fantastic footballer.

Dave Abrahams
199 Posted 22/02/2022 at 16:43:03
Mick (198),

I think Everton – or any team – would have more success with ten Townsends as a team than ten Rodriguezs. To be fair, just over the 20 games the Colombian was able to turn out in, although there would be a lot of fun watching the goals going in at both ends and a lot of appreciation watching the Rodriguez team attack, but much more hilarious laughter watching them defend.

Christine Foster
200 Posted 22/02/2022 at 16:47:52

Could be that 99% of the stories that floated around during his time were bullshit too, or that they were deliberately concocted to show the player in the worst light, but that's probably only 50% true... Certainly it became a "back the manager" issue but it's a shame that some people believe everything they read in the newspaper headlines, never reading on to find the actual detail… you know, the truth?

What is true is that James never really helped himself with some of his actions. Some of his social media and his inability to understand humility when a club's supporters are crying out for someone to have pride and saw only arrogance.

We have never had a superstar in the modern era and we certainly don't know how to handle one. A large spoonful of castor oil should be dished out to those unable to stomach the media that goes with it.

When it's over, he is gone; the moment, like adulation for brilliance, all too fleeting, and we are left with a what could have been. A fading talent indeed... but still capable of quality that still we do not possess.

For an eagle to soar, don't fly with turkeys.

David Currie
201 Posted 22/02/2022 at 16:51:40
Mick @198,

Andros has scored more goals for Everton than James ever did and the goal against Burnley was far better than James ever scored for Everton.

Andros is playing in the best league in the world and James is playing in a far, far weaker league in Qatar.

Dave Abrahams
202 Posted 22/02/2022 at 17:01:17
Christine (200),

There were also plenty of stories that came out and showed Benitez in a bad light and a lot of them could be read as bullshit. Yes, the headlines are always remembered but the content sometimes not even read, that's life.

I know that people who Benitez knew – both Everton fans and others – warned him not to take the job but he thought he could make it work. It didn't work out but I still think and say that the players made a lot more mistakes than Benitez did; mistakes he admitted.

How many players come out and put their hands up and admit their many individual mistakes –except for the token ones after each defeat, when they take turns to admit the team didn't perform the way they did?

James was a star once upon a time but, even then, lacked consistency; that was years before he joined us, for the money, Christine.

Dale Self
203 Posted 22/02/2022 at 17:02:16
There is no doubt that James was a level or two above anything Everton has had in a while. As has been noted by Professor Tressell, James and the one who cannot be mentioned by name were the only two that understood how to unlock defenses with a pass that is on target. That ability to place the pass gives a lot of time to players who are uncomfortable on the ball and makes the difference when it counts most.

The downside is the only real discussion here. What happens when he doesn't play? Does it leave an elevator shaft of confidence for the side that then must be cobbled together? Can he keep himself from being a further distraction when the club struggles without him or will he need some media time?

All of that comes with the James Entertainment Package and some of us just saw all we wanted. No knife in the back, no looking for backstories, he just wasn't providing the upside to balance out the rest.

Christine Foster
204 Posted 22/02/2022 at 17:09:50
Dave @199,

Nothing hilarious in an inability of management unable to blend a team so that they complement each other's skills and compensate for their deficiencies. You need players like Townsend as well as James to be a great team; get the wrong manager or the wrong blend and it will fail.

In Benitez we had the wrong manager for James; in Ancelotti, we had what we have now – a group of players who on their day, are capable of excellence and high workrate but, more often than not, can only do it every now and again. Totally lacking in quality and consistency.

The current Everton squad is a mish-mash of previous managers' attempts to stamp their ethos on players and, as we all agree, in the end, many will have to go if Lampard is to build his vision of Everton Football Club.

Baby and bathwater spring to mind re James. No matter how good or bad, the sad thing is that we never got the best of him.

Mick O'Malley
205 Posted 22/02/2022 at 17:18:18
Do me a favour, for fuck's sake, Andros Townsend isn't fit to be on the same pitch. Notice there wasn't a long cue of clubs banging down his door to sign him. He was on TalkSport for weeks without a club until Benitez signed him.

There should always be room in a team for a James type player. I loved his time at the Blues, a fantastic footballer.

Ray Roche
206 Posted 22/02/2022 at 17:32:54
Mick, I too loved watching James play, when he was fit, but in all fairness, ''there wasn’t a long cue (sic) of clubs banging down his door to sign him'' when Benitez got shut of him..
Mike Gaynes
207 Posted 22/02/2022 at 17:38:42
Mick #205, to be fair there was no demand for either Townsend or Gray, but there are probably a couple of teams that wish they'd stepped in ahead of us, particularly at those bargain prices. And Townsend has scored our three best goals of the season IMO, all at critical moments.

I think we can appreciate James without slagging Andros.

Jeff Armstrong
208 Posted 22/02/2022 at 17:39:25
You're right, Ray @199,

James was snookered when it came to choice of clubs, he just had to take pot luck on the Qatari offer.

I'm sure the massive salary cushioned the blow though, him and Townsend? … chalk and cheese.

Andrew Keatley
209 Posted 22/02/2022 at 17:45:36
Mick (205),

As I understand it, Townsend had several offers and chose to come to Everton, joining up with the squad at pretty much the earliest possible point, which was the beginning of pre-season in July 2021, after his Crystal Palace contract ended in June 2021.

I enjoyed watching James Rodriguez in those first few games of the season. But it quickly became apparent that we couldn't capitalise on his occasional brilliance enough to mean that his defensive shortcomings, fitness issues, huge salary, and off-the-field distractions were worth stomaching.

If we'd had a functioning team that meant he was the missing piece of the jigsaw, then so be it – but we weren't and he wasn't. Next...

Colin Metcalfe
210 Posted 22/02/2022 at 17:56:18
David #201,

I would watch Rodriguez's goal against Leicester.

Not saying it's better but certainly on a par.

Dave Abrahams
211 Posted 22/02/2022 at 18:01:03
Christine (204),

I think Frank Lampard, very early days I know, is having the same problems trying to fathom this squad out from one game to the next. Most of us knew it was a weak squad but it became a lot weaker with the injuries and suspensions quite early for Benitez, and now, of course, for Frank.

I think Benitez was in the same league as a few managers trying to get the best out of James, he hadn't done much for any of them before we landed him or, in my opinion, were landed with him.

You could be correct in that “we never got the best out of him”. I'd ask, “How hard did he try to give his best in a lot of those games?”

Eddie Dunn
212 Posted 22/02/2022 at 18:07:57
Mike @207 nails it.
Danny O’Neill
213 Posted 22/02/2022 at 18:15:10
I could have watched James all day but it was never going to happen for reasons we've all been through. Had he come into a better team surrounded by better players, we might have got more out of him. I suppose we'll never know.

I've always believed that most teams need a blend of flair and graft. Experience and youth. Leaders and those who need to be led. Every now and then you'll get a freak like Pep's Barcelona and Pep's City, but most teams are a blend.

But even the talented players who made up / make up those teams I reference had one thing in common. They worked incredibly hard; continuously and consistently. Both as individuals and as a collective.

We do need players of that quality and we do need players who work hard to support them and the team. But those quality players also have to work as hard as their lesser talented team mates.

Bill Gall
214 Posted 22/02/2022 at 18:17:50
James would have been fine in a team fighting for a place in Europe or the Top 4, where you would have had the rest of the team fighting for their place. Unfortunately, he was in a team that was carrying other passengers, and he became a luxury.

James is the kind of player that can turn a game around, but usually had top class players around him and comparing him to other players in different positions will not prove anything.

He may have been able to help Everton in the future but, at the moment, with the management changes and different formations, fighting relegation after practically the first 2 months of Benitez coming in, he was a luxury player on a high wage and not in the manager's plans.

Going on his pass against Liverpool, saying it got Everton the 3 points, is ridiculous. It was the team effort that got the 3 points.

Brian Williams
215 Posted 22/02/2022 at 18:37:55
Danny #213.

I could have watched James all day but it was never going to happen for reasons we've all been through.

Thing is, Dan, you'd have been unimpressed for 23 hours and 55 minutes of that day, mate.

Danny O’Neill
216 Posted 22/02/2022 at 18:47:20
Valid point in your last paragraph, Bill. It was a sublime pass that put us on the way to victory, but there was still a lot of work to do.

You could make a case for Tom Davies's swivel near the edge of our own box, his early pass into the path of Richarlison who then passes in to Calvert-Lewin gets us a penalty in 3 passes and about 4 touches from our own 3rd. It was a team performance. Let's have one Saturday, please, Everton.

To repeat myself and agree, we'd have seen more out of James in a better Everton team surrounded by better players, although I still think you're only getting half a season.

He is gone, but it's good discussion.

Barry, come on. Give me 15 minutes!!

Michael Williams
217 Posted 22/02/2022 at 19:20:14
No manager since arguably 2015 knew "how to get the best" out of James. Below are league games played going back to Real Madrid. For whatever reason (injuries or manager's decision) he could not be counted on. Many of these were DNP Manager's Decisions by the way.

Real Madrid - 2014-15 - 29 - 76%
Real Madrid - 2015-16 - 26 - 68%
Real Madrid - 2016-17 - 22 - 61%
Bayern Munich - 2017-18 - 23 - 64%
Bayern Munich - 2018-19 - 20 - 56%
Real Madrid - 2019-20 - 8 - 21%
Everton -2020-21 - 23 - 61%
Everton - Benitez manager so ignore for argument sake
Al-Ryyan - 2012-22 - 8 - 44%

After two years, Bayern Munich did not pick up 28-year-old James's option to buy for £35 million. Real Madrid got rid of him twice and no-one wanted him after Everton. He has only played 8 of 19 games for his current team. James will leave a hole in your midfield bigger than Gomes while not being available to play too much of the time.

Whoever said James is your "final piece of the puzzle" is right (and you better have 10 other players who make up for his lack of effort on the pitch). He is not a player you build with.

Rob Dolby
218 Posted 22/02/2022 at 20:17:23
Michael 217.

Your stats are proof that Rodriguez when fit plays for the best teams in world football.

Have you got similar stats for Gbamin, Gomes, Calvert-Lewin, Mina or Allan? Wonder how many appearances the list above would get at Madrid or Munich?

Stats can be twisted whatever way to suit.

Michael Williams
219 Posted 23/02/2022 at 03:34:09

The only reason he stayed with Real Madrid so long was because he signed a long contract they could not get rid of until Everton called.

They tried to get rid of him to Bayern and Bayern refused to pick up his contact when James was at the prime age of 28. In fact, in James's last year at Real Madrid, Zidane only played him in 8 games and told him he no longer had a place on the team.

What am I missing? The whole world of soccer saw what we saw when James was at Everton. Let me repeat. Every football team on the planet knew James was available from Everton and guess what? Not only did the "best teams in world football" as you say pass on this super-creative football genius, so did every other decent team on the planet.

Michael Williams
220 Posted 23/02/2022 at 03:39:42
By the way from Sports Illustrated (one of the largest and longest running sports outlets in the US - most reputable)

February 1, 2022 1st paragraph:

"Luis Diaz has finally joined Liverpool from FC Porto. However, a lot of credit could go to former Manchester United striker Ramadel Falcao and former Everton midfielder James Rodriguez, as they persuaded their fellow Colombian to reject their ex-clubs for a move to Anfield."

Steve Brown
221 Posted 23/02/2022 at 04:10:23
Michael, James helped torpedo the possible transfer of Diaz to Everton?

His transfer fee to Liverpool was £37.5 million + £12.5 million! The fee, plus the fact that Liverpool are 2nd in the Premier League and play Champions League every season, were perhaps more relevant factors.

As Rob points out, he has played for the best teams in the world for a reason. Everton were a good fit for him and he wanted to stay. If you truly believe we are better without him, then take another look at the league table or watch last Saturday's game on a repeat reel. Noting that last season, we beat Spurs, Arsenal, Liverpool, West Ham and Wolves away and drew with Man Utd. Those by the way are 6 of the current top 8.

I can't remember if you were pro-Benitez – you can advise – but reading back through this thread there is a correlation between supporters who told us we were lucky to have Benitez and supporters telling us we were lucky to get rid of James.

Don Alexander
222 Posted 23/02/2022 at 05:09:35
I've posted previously on my take that Rodriguez, for all his gifts, was a luxury we couldn't afford on account of his defensive lassitude, but just above there's mention of Luis Diaz, the latest signing for Liverpool.

They paid what we paid, more or less, to sign the much-lesser-sought-after Iwobi, still with years to go on his contract.

Diaz is a diamond. Iwobi is dust. Who's accountable?

Christine Foster
223 Posted 23/02/2022 at 05:21:56
Michael Williams @220... Context.

"Not only did the "best teams in world football" as you say pass on this super-creative football genius, so did every other decent team on the planet."

James was past his best, no question, so no top team was ever going to come in for him. This is Everton! Not only are we not at the top table – we are a basket case and have been for god knows how long!

He may not have been good enough for the top table anymore but he was certainly good enough for Everton and if that hurts then you haven't been watching the last 5 years!

The fact is you don't know who was interested in him and, if someone comes along at the twilight of your career and offers you a shed load of cash, are you going to walk away from it?

When are some fans going to realise that top players are not going to break the door down to come to Everton when they can earn two or three times more than any player we have? Never mind the fact that it's 27 years since we last won anything, let alone compete for anything either!

It's like Ronaldo going to play for Derby County... it's never going to happen.

Mike Gaynes
224 Posted 23/02/2022 at 06:02:50
Michael #217: "He has only played 8 of 19 games for his current team."
Incorrect. He has played 9 of 16 since signing, so he has missed 7 games. And 6 of those were because he was playing for Colombia in World Cup qualifiers or stuck in Covid quarantine coming back from an international.

As Christine #223 points out, your statistics lack context.

Robert Tressell
225 Posted 23/02/2022 at 08:55:50
Christine, you are absolutely right. Top players are not going to come to Everton. It's as simple as that. Which is why we've spent very large sums of money on players like Tosun.

And we cannot change that by giving 2-year contracts to people who used to be top players but are physically shot, despite some beautiful moments.

Unfortunately, there is a real danger we've made a similar mistake with Dele Alli and deep down we all know it.

We can, however, speculate on talented young players playing in South America, the Balkans, Scandinavia etc where exceptional players crop up with reasonable regularity and are available at pretty low cost. Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal, Greece and France too.

These players exist and end up getting picked up at relatively low cost before being developed at clubs like Ajax, Lille, Lyon, Atalanta and Brighton. We can certainly compete with these clubs financially. What we struggle to do is attract the stars of these clubs once they've started to really perform – like Bissouma for example, who is extremely unlikely to be interested in a move to Everton.

It seems strange that a club as hard up as we have been (and now are again) persistently ignores the parts of the market which offer best value.

We're a very proud, old-fashioned sort of club and it's got us absolutely nowhere.

Dave Abrahams
226 Posted 23/02/2022 at 09:02:34
Mike (224), nit picking there Mike.
Stan Schofield
227 Posted 23/02/2022 at 10:12:17
Dave @196:

It's actually very simple. When I don't know something, I say I don't know. More people should admit to not knowing, when they don't know, rather than pretending they do know, when they don't know.

Christine Foster
228 Posted 23/02/2022 at 10:18:05
Yes, Stan, but if we knew what we didn't know, we wouldn't know what we don't, so merely saying we don't know what we know, we may actually know more than those who don't know...
Tony Abrahams
229 Posted 23/02/2022 at 10:32:43
Who knows the full story of why Benitez wanted rid of Rodriguez?

Could it have been because he didn't trust him, or because Everton needed to reduce the wage bill?

I have a mate who knows Benitez, and he told me last week that Benitez told him that he had a deal lined up for Diaz that would have cost Everton £36 million in the summer.

All this talk about the past when we should be concentrating on the here and now, and the future. This club needs a proper CEO (and not because ours is looking for different employment!) and a proper chairman, unless Moshiri is suddenly going to devote a lot more of his time to Everton?

Michael Williams
230 Posted 23/02/2022 at 12:06:31
Mike Gaynes @224,

You are wrong about why he missed games before the Colombia call-up.

James Rodriguez returns to Colombia squad after 12-month absence

"The 30-year-old has made just three appearances for Al-Rayyan because of a lingering calf problem."

Same as it ever was.

He also got himself suspended for a few games for a double yellow dissent in a very bad display against the referee.

Did you see what percentage of league games he played for his clubs over the years? He never plays a real season.

Dave Abrahams
231 Posted 23/02/2022 at 12:13:32
Stan @227,

I think, in a lot of cases, some people will see what pleases them and comment on it. If they don't like what they see, they turn a blind eye to it and say nothing – especially when it concerns a player who they like.

Danny O’Neill
232 Posted 23/02/2022 at 12:17:19
Dare I say Robert, the model our cousins turned to after a couple of dodgy £100M + spending sprees that included overspending on Andy Caroll and buying Southampton one year (tongue in cheek!!). It even involved selling star players, but at significant profit, then reinvesting.

Buy hidden gems for relatively moderate prices and gradually climb the stairs to a higher position, after which, you can attract top players.

I also like the Leipzig model. Rarely (if ever) spend more than €20M, but build a fantastic Champions League standard team.

Michael Williams
233 Posted 23/02/2022 at 12:18:53
Steve Brown 221 - My argument has nothing to do with Benitez. They are only about James. James is a "luxury" player. As someone said above, he is not a player you build with. He is the last player you bring in when you need that "one more thing" to put you over the top.

The top teams in the best leagues have 11 players who play hard for the team on both sides of the ball. Conte, Pep, Klopp, Tuchel and all the best managers suffer no passengers – no matter how good they are.

Dave Abrahams
234 Posted 23/02/2022 at 12:35:56
Steve (221),

The debate over Rodriguez was going on while Ancelotti was managing Everton. A lot of fans were very happy with him and quite a few thought he was very good in spells and very poor in longer spells.

Off the field, I think most fans thought that, if Ancelotti hadn't been manager, he wouldn't have come here. Whatever the reason he left Everton, I was happy that he went, and it had nothing to do with Benitez, whether he liked him or not.

Michael Williams
235 Posted 23/02/2022 at 12:49:51
Christine 223 - Here's the crux of disagreement between most people here:

"He may not have been good enough for the top table anymore but he was certainly good enough for Everton."

True in a way. His skill level was obviously the best at the club and the best Everton had in many years, no doubt. Greatness at times.

You do not build a winning club by recruiting passengers, no matter how good they are. Throughout his career, James has never played a real season through injuries or manager's decisions.

Character is the first aspect that should be looked at when recruiting. Will they work both sides of the ball, work hard and for the team? Without that, other players become resentful at the one who does not work and it hurts the club. Also, lorry-sized holes in the midfield hurt. No-one has ever accused James of being a hard worker.

A player must also be available. It's clear James has always had injury problems. It's like having half a great player.

I'm not saying he is a bad guy. He seems to have an enjoyable way of looking at life and must be fun to be around. I would certainly like to party with him.

Kevin de Bruyne is my favourite non-Everton player. Despite his astounding greatness, I do not believe Pep would play him like he does if Kevin did not play defense. Pep and the other great managers do not suffer passengers.

If we want to become a great club, we need to instill a culture that demands excellence at every single level of the club – from board, to players, to ushers and dishwashers. No matter how talented you are, you work 100%. You make sure those players have the necessary talent and you have the beginning of a winning formula. All the great clubs do this. That is what I want.

David Currie
236 Posted 23/02/2022 at 15:20:35
Michael @219 and @233,

Good posts – you are correct, James is playing in the right League that suits him physically and financially.

The Premier League was too physically demanding for him which is what Benitez probably thought and he didn't want any passengers on his team.

Benetiz is getting a lot of flak over James leaving but I believe James wanted to leave Everton once Carlo left.

Barry Rathbone
237 Posted 23/02/2022 at 16:07:54
James just doesn't play enough games wherever he goes whether through injury (physical or mental) or the manager doesn't trust him.

It totally bemuses me why people keep banging his drum despite such a humungous issue.

Christopher Timmins
238 Posted 23/02/2022 at 16:38:52
The guy is talented but he simply does not play enough games to warrant the kind of salary he was being paid during his time at the club.

Not an obvious choice in a relegation scrap. Unfortunately, the Club still have many on their books who fall into that category.

Christine Foster
240 Posted 23/02/2022 at 17:17:16

No, it's not about passengers because, as I said, what Everton failed to do was utilize his skills in a team that blended individual skills to create an effective and consistent force.

No, the real "crux of the matter" is how a club like Everton, who have fallen so far, can bridge the gap and get back to the top table. The gulf in class, ability and resources is so big that any piecemeal initiative is doomed to fail.

It's taken a generation to fail as badly as we have, decisions made in how this club is run have finally come home to roost. The so-called review of the club needs to address this issue more than anything else. For without that vision no plan will succeed.

The absence of any shared vision has, in my humble opinion, been the legacy of one man, who sold the Tower of London to a man with more money than sense.

It's a long road back to greatness, and I hope that we never accept the mediocrity of the so-called "good times" that our chairman extolled as a defence of his involvement in the club. He is that far away from the reality of our situation and the bar has been lowered so far that "good times" equates to mere survival in the Premier League.

That is the "crux of the matter", Michael, how we can become great again.

For me, it's the ruthless pursuit of excellence at every level in the club. The very best people you can get, held accountable for delivering on tough objectives. It's the difference in approach between Man City and Leicester City, a winning club as opposed to a consistent winning team.

Does that mean the end of the family club? I hope so.

Mike Gaynes
241 Posted 23/02/2022 at 17:17:27
Michael #230, that link is to an English translation of a Chinese website reporting on a Spanish-language news story, with no byline or attribution.
Transfermarkt says otherwise.

He was NOT "suspended for a few games" and it wasn't a "very bad display", it was fully justified and quite gentlemanly under the circumstances -- which were an opposing player trying to take his head off, followed by the referee shoving him.

And the simple fact is that the only two league games James has missed in the last four months were because he was with Colombia or in quarantine. And the only league game he hasn't started was because he had just flown in from Buenos Aires. I know, I watched the game two days earlier.

You don't rate him, fine, but it's not necessary to make stuff up.

Geoff Lambert
242 Posted 23/02/2022 at 17:38:18
Some people love a team of Lee Carsleys or Tony Hibberts running themselves into the ground every game, week-in & week-out.

Never got us anywhere and never will. We will always be a mid table team until we can change the class of player we have in our squad.

Give me a bit of class over a lot of gas any day of the week.

Dale Self
243 Posted 23/02/2022 at 17:40:42
Dudes pulling out of tackles and walking back from being dispossessed just doesn't seem very Everton to me. It can be tolerated to an extent when the goods are provided but as a regular feature dulls the shine of other achievements.
Robert Tressell
244 Posted 23/02/2022 at 17:58:47
Geoff, you'll have noticed surely that Rodriguez never got us anywhere either. In fact, we finished further off the pace with him than we did with Carsley and Hibbert.

What we really need are attainable players with class, like Michael Olise, Andy Robertson, Neto, Ruben Neves, Bissouma, Lamptey, Sarr, Livramento, Soyuncu, Ndidi, McGinn, Luiz, Soucek, Bowen, Raphina, St Maxamim etc – all of whom were very easily within our price bracket when bought.

You don't just find talent in the treatment room at Real Madrid. And it's not a choice between stars and crap.

Rob Dolby
245 Posted 23/02/2022 at 18:22:34
Michael 235.

I remember us taking a gamble on a couple of players in the mid eighties that had a terrible injury track record. Gray and Reid, without either there are no trophies in the eighties. We bought an old guy from Man City who helped us win the title in Power.

A successful team is made up of many elements. Experience, organisation, hard work, speed and quality. Rodriguez falls into the quality bracket.

Nicholas Ryan
246 Posted 23/02/2022 at 18:53:19
Re "the salary he was being paid" – I've seen every figure from £50,000 per week to £250,000 per week and all points in between: so, what salary was he being paid?!
Geoff Lambert
247 Posted 23/02/2022 at 20:52:43
Robert you'll have noticed surely, That long list of players you mention have not won as many trophies put together as Rodriguez has.
Stan Schofield
249 Posted 24/02/2022 at 20:16:48
From Rodriguez's reported comments today, he never wanted to leave Everton, wasn't wanted by Benitez, and would welcome a return to Everton.

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