Gray: Reaction against Chelsea shows character shift

20/03/2023 134comments  |  Jump to last

Demarai Gray has echoed the thoughts of his manager in highlighting the change in mentality that has under-pinned Everton’s recent uptick in results under Sean Dyche.

The Blues have collected 11 points from eight games to lift themselves out of the relegation zone and into 15th place heading into the current international break and give themselves a solid platform of belief from which to approach the final 10 matches of the season.

The bottom half of the Premier League remains unprecedentedly tight, with just four points separating Crystal Palace in 12th from Southampton in 20th but, as one of the form teams in that compressed clutch of clubs, there is growing confidence that Everton can avoid the dreaded drop.

"I think we've shown our mentality over the past few games,” Gray told evertontv after Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Chelsea where the Toffees twice came from behind to grab a draw with Ellis Simms’s 89th-minute strike. “[In] the 1-0 [win] against Brentford, we had our backs to the wall for a lot of that second half but rode it out and got the win.

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“Over the past few weeks, I think there have been a lot of improvements. There is still a lot of work to be done but we want to build a foundation and I think we're getting that. Then it's about working on other little details that will make us an even better team.

"Our reaction [against Chelsea] shows the character shift and mentality change and I think as long as that continues we'll be a problem for any team."

With the exception of the hour he managed in Dyche’s debut game as head coach, Everton’s relative revival in fortunes has occurred without Dominic Calvert-Lewin who continues to struggle with injury.

With the club’s hierarchy failing to bring in any striking reinforcements during the January transfer window, Dyche has been forced to experiment in order to find the best solution up front for a team that had struggled to score goals before he arrived.

Simms and Neal Maupay were both tried as lone strikers before Gray was deployed to lead the line where his versatility and eye for goal have made him the most suitable option.

Concerns over the former Leicester and Bayer Leverkusen man’s work-rate have been dispelled, with Gray certainly putting in the “hard yards”, as Dyche so often puts it, to support the team’s cause.

"It's a shift!" Gray admitted. "I'm enjoying it. For me, it's just about being on the pitch, trying to help the boys and contribute where I can. It was a bit different today playing against a back three who were big guys but I did my best.

"I always try to contribute with goals and assists but it's about working hard wherever I'm asked to play, whatever role I'm given, I'm going to give 100%."

While Dyche has been the catalyst behind some much-improved performances, the admirable support from Everton’s fans has been a key element in achieving results and they were both numerous and vocal at Stamford Bridge at the weekend despite the fact that the Blues haven’t won there in 29 years.

Simms’s late goal was the next best thing to a winner and the players joined in the post-match celebrations with the supporters in the away end after the final whistle.

"The fans travel with us everywhere," Gray acknowledged. "They travel long distances and make noise for us until the end. We have to give them a lot of credit and we owe them these type of performances. Me, leading the line, I want to work and show them that commitment.

"I'm grateful for them. It's a collective — staff, players and fans and, maybe even more so when times aren't good, it's about sticking together and we're doing that."

Quotes sourced from

Reader Comments (134)

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Tony Abrahams
1 Posted 20/03/2023 at 18:02:06
Long may it continue and even prosper. Everton's players have been indirectly told that they lack character by the last few managers but it seems like this latest manager, has stripped everything right back to the basics.

This is definitely something that has been needed when you analyze the whole club and the way it has been allowed to get progressively worse because of the constant chopping and changing.

Suddenly, it seems that we have got a manager who is treating his players like men and, for the first time in a long time, Everton have begun to play like men.

Keep it going now, Blues, because, as Demari Gray has just said, we have suddenly become a much harder match for teams, which should be all the incentive we need.

Nigel Munford
2 Posted 20/03/2023 at 18:09:53
Just as we get an uptick, there's an international break, how inconvenient.
Dennis Stevens
3 Posted 20/03/2023 at 18:20:33
If we keep this form up, we'll soon be in control of our own destiny, which will be a slightly less uncomfortable position to be in.
John Williams
4 Posted 20/03/2023 at 18:21:55
Anyone know why Conor Coady was not in the squad?
Barry McNally
6 Posted 20/03/2023 at 18:25:42
John, he was on the bench according to reports.
Dale Self
7 Posted 20/03/2023 at 18:31:25
Again hitting the high note, Tony, treating them respectfully is the key to getting any return to form.

That is the main criticism I have of Carlo. The ‘I am not a magician' position made clear the situation to management but left the team soulless when he left.

Since then, there has been some grifting on their reputations. Dyche seems to be cutting through that and it is not an approach, it is a principle. It could be why Keane got such an early look, to all our surprise, he is our player – not a loan.

This international break is a damn good one. Rest, extra time to get the lines right, get Simms some touches with the first 11 and more time for that Spurs pimple to fester into a boil… this is a good thing, I think. UTFT!

Lee Courtliff
8 Posted 20/03/2023 at 18:40:45
This lad has been our best value-for-money signing since Seamus. One of the first names on the teamsheet, for me.
Tony Everan
9 Posted 20/03/2023 at 18:48:32
You can see it with Demarai Gray, he is giving his all and often looks knackered in the last 20 minutes because of it. It's a hard shift playing the lone striker. (Calvert-Lewin doesn't get enough credit for the selfless, grinding shifts he put in a few years ago that have taken their toll.)

Sean Dyche has brought stability to the team, crucially a formation the players can understand and much better execute the game plan week after week. Teams and opposing managers, Arsenal, Brentford etc know what to expect and still struggle against us. That is a great credit for Dyche and the players.

The players are looking harder, fitter and more competitive, also, maybe coincidentally, picking up less injuries. The training regime and backroom staff are contributing to this upturn.

Life has got a lot tougher for the players under Sean Dyche, but at the same time they look like they are really enjoying training hard and being pushed to the limit.

We are now physically ready on matchday, and that automatically brings with it a better mentality, and the confidence to compete and win.

Eddie Dunn
10 Posted 20/03/2023 at 18:56:40
It's not a "collective" at all.

The fans pay to travel long distances and pay for their seats. The players and staff are paid, some of them well, and others fantastically.

It's good that Gray is up for the fight, but him and his mates have let the travelling fans down so many times this season that it would be better if he waited till he scored a few goals and we were safe before spouting the club's latest soundbite.

He had a face like a smacked arse when he came off the bench the other week, looking like the proverbial Billy Big Bollox, and put in a cameo of classic "going through the motions" proportions.

Now he's playing his part in a collective!

I might sound a bit grumpy after that latest point was grabbed but Gray is a kid with tons of ability, marvellous skills, and he is quick. He should be scoring 10 goals a season and pinging in crosses and free-kicks for fun.

I want to see him getting into the box and winning penalties or scoring goals, regularly – not a worldy twice a season.

I hope this is the start of him being more consistent.

Danny O’Neill
11 Posted 20/03/2023 at 19:01:32
Come on, Eddie. Maybe he is being coached into and mentored by a new regime?

Fine words from the young man in my opinion. I thought I was coming down but his closing statement has made me emotional again.

We were in unison with the players at the end on Saturday and, as Demarai said, the players could feel it and joined in. Even though we hadn't won, we were together with the effort on the pitch and those supporters in the corner of the Shed End.

I'm just gutted there is an international break.

Bring on Tottenham.

Eddie Dunn
12 Posted 20/03/2023 at 19:11:11
Sorry, Danny – you were on such a high!
Barry Hesketh
13 Posted 20/03/2023 at 19:12:48
Whilst it was a positive result last Saturday, the fans and players mustn't get sucked into the narrative that everything is hunky-dory.

Dyche started off from a hamstrung position and he has managed in his short time to put a few valuable points on the board, which has given Everton a real fighting chance of avoiding the dreaded drop, but I believe the real hard work starts from 3 April onward as the stakes get higher and the pressure builds with each game played.

Spurs at home followed by Man Utd away wouldn't be the games of choice in our position, so if we can beat Spurs or at least draw both matches, that would be fine; anything more is a bonus, anything less and we'll be back in the brown stuff, due to having played a game more and the terrible goal difference.

We can all have a rest and lower the stress levels during the International break, but come the first week in April, we'll all – fans and players – have to step up to the plate and give our everything for the final couple of months of the season.

I'm off to bed now and won't be available until the first Saturday in April. :)

Tony Abrahams
14 Posted 20/03/2023 at 19:57:16
Maybe Dyche told Gray something similar to what Eddie has just posted. The latter part of his post made a lot of sense to me.

Maybe I'm wrong; football is a lot harder out on the pitch than it is watching from the sidelines but I agree that Demari Gray definitely has the potential to be reaching double figures and also creating more goals.

Mark Burton
15 Posted 20/03/2023 at 19:59:40
I must say the away supporters were great and I saw a comment that I have to borrow: "Everton supporters created an atmosphere but the Chelsea supporters preferred an ambience."

It was really a great point and we'll deserved.

John Raftery
16 Posted 20/03/2023 at 21:07:53
Gray is more effective playing from a central position. Playing there, I believe he would reach double figures over a season.

I agree with Barry – we must not get carried away. Progress has been made but two consecutive defeats would probably see us return to the Bottom 3.

Mick Davies
17 Posted 20/03/2023 at 21:16:40
Gray has been taking the pressure off others by occupying a couple of defenders at a time through his work rate, and their fear of his pace.

He may not be scoring as many as he has in the past but, as recounted above, he is playing in an unfamiliar position in an unfamiliar system, and as soon as Calvert-Lewin is back on track, he will be able to assist him and share the goalscoring responsibilities (or with Simms).

McNeil has been finding much more space since Demarai was reinstated, and if he did nothing, it would still be an upgrade on the paltry efforts of Maupay.

Eric Haworth
18 Posted 20/03/2023 at 21:48:01
Barry #13 & John #16

We should heed the caution being recommended by both Barry & John. A look at the weekend fixtures following the break, it's perfectly feasible given how the results fall, that we could be next to bottom even before we play Spurs on the Monday.

So clearly no room for complacency on anyone's part, particularly as the majority of those around us have games in hand. Consequently, make no mistake this is going to be a dogfight to the bitter end.

Tony Everan
19 Posted 20/03/2023 at 22:32:15
Barry @13,

Wise words, no room at all for complacency. Normally, there are one or two basket cases who are near certainties for the drop. This season, there are nine teams all of whom can win games but are inconsistent, all to the same degree.

The little bit of momentum we have got feeds some optimism; others are currently in negative territory and it's hard to turn that around. I still think it's going down to the last two games, a total of 2 points needed from Wolves away and home against Bournemouth.

Phil Gardner
20 Posted 20/03/2023 at 22:35:30
John @ (4).

I'm not sure how valid this is, but there was a very strong rumour at Finch Farm that Conor Coady had been disciplined for ‘over-indulging' whilst celebrating his recent birthday party.

Mike Gaynes
21 Posted 21/03/2023 at 00:35:59
Tony #9, great comment, agree with every word.

Eddie #10, I think your hopes and expectations are wildly out of line if you want to see Gray "getting into the box and winning pens or scoring goals, regularly" and bagging 10 goals a season. He has never done that, never even come close.

In 11 professional seasons, his peak is 6... for us last season. Yes ,he has talent, but please, man, keep it real. (Tony #14, same comment, mate.)

Don Alexander
22 Posted 21/03/2023 at 03:22:54
We're in the shit – end of.

Dyche has conjured something from somewhere that was previously wholly absent (and thanks for that) but we'll do well to survive (as will six other way smaller clubs).

Mike Gaynes
23 Posted 21/03/2023 at 03:56:11
Now I feel very confident we'll be fine.
Jerome Shields
24 Posted 21/03/2023 at 04:37:46
The more players who threaten the opposition defence, the better. Both McNeil and Gray have been a constant threat and fortunately Doucouré has returned to his old self, making the midfield runs into the box that are necessary.

Hopefully Onana can turn the corner in getting up to Premier League level. Tarkowski is providing the defender coming forward threat, which was missing, and Keane is trying to follow that example. Simms scoring has added a further dimension.

I am nervous of the International break and would have preferred that Gray had not been wheeled out. It has now become a habit with me to drawback at this stage as my confidence in the team drops at the prospect of no match practise is replaced by questionable time at Finch Farm. Such has been my experience.

But I do feel that Dyche has built his foundations slowly and purposely and may have the team now sufficiently motivated, as they see progress around them, to keep the momentum of change going. If he has, there is little to fear in the next two matches.

Steve Brown
25 Posted 21/03/2023 at 06:22:11
Tony @ 9.

"The players are looking harder, fitter and more competitive, also, maybe coincidentally, picking up less injuries."

That is a great point and something that I hadn't really thought about. The conditioning of the team has definitely improved since Dyche took over, as you can see the intensity on the pitch.

I hadn't really considered our injury list of late, but there are only really Townsend and Calvert-Lewin. Patterson is very close to being ready.

I did notice that Townsend joined the squad for the Chelsea game, so hopefully that is a good sign that he can work his way back into contention before the end of the season. Having his experience available for the last 5 games would be invaluable.

Derek Knox
26 Posted 21/03/2023 at 06:59:15
We could have well done without this International Break, when it seems we are turning that corner, and it is very encouraging to hear from Demarai that he feels rejuvenated. He has rightly or wrongly been accused in the past of being a bit sulky if things haven't been going too well, both for him personally and for the team as a whole.

Like a few posters have alluded, if he plays regularly and consistently, as we all know he can, we have a real bargain player on our hands.

Let's not forget too, it was Benitez who brought him into Everton, so thanks, Rafa. I'm no great fan of Rafa but give credit fairly where it is due. I just wish Andros Townsend could get back on the bench at least from his long lay-off, now there is a player who does give 100% and is also capable of scoring much-needed goals.

Steve @ 25, good to know that Patterson is on the verge of return, but how can Seamus be dropped after his performances of late?

Perhaps playing Patterson further forward, or, let Seamus condense his 90-minute battery into a 45-minute one, and swap at half-time. Worryingly though, Nathan's injuries have usually been picked up on International Duty. Fingers crossed.

Jerome Shields
27 Posted 21/03/2023 at 06:59:30
Phil #20,

Connor Coady is on loan and it did cross my mind he wasn't taking any chances in his play, thinking next season he would be somewhere else.

Keane, an ex-Burnley player, has bought into Dyche's mission. Maybe things have not gone as Coady expected, with his England call-up and all that.

Ian Bennett
28 Posted 21/03/2023 at 07:28:27
Dyche has simplified the centre-back roles. If you look at the stats, Keane leads the way in aerial duals and blocks, Tarkowski takes everything on the floor. There is a distinct break down of roles.

With Coady in the team, Tarkowski was doing the work of two men… badly at times.

Tony Abrahams
29 Posted 21/03/2023 at 08:06:16
Asking a very talented kid to go and find the consistency which might just enable him to fulfill his undoubted ability is how a player might just improve, imo, Mike.

Demarai Gray is now at an age where he should no longer just arrogantly believe that, just because he's got ability, he's doing enough, and instead should be made to realise that he can get a lot more out of himself.

Telling him the truth is surely much better than just accepting him for what he currently is, although I'm sure this depends on what we already see in the player.

Paul Cherrington
30 Posted 21/03/2023 at 08:54:06
I think Dyche is doing a very good job so far, considering what he came into and what he has to work with in terms of the squad overall.

I think the focus he puts on the mentality of the side and mental resilience has been needed for a long time. For me, it is his work in this area (along with getting the side fitter) which is behind the improvements we are seeing.

Lots of people have said we have looked too weak mentally or lacked character in the past - but no recent manager has ever seemed to really tackle it properly before Dyche. Formations and tactics are great but the mental side of the game is key too.

I also think Dyche is an excellent and very clever man-manager. This is also why we are seeing the players putting in better performances and looking more motivated. From watching him speak, he has that knack of giving it to you straight but in a way that does not annoy you. The players are obviously responding to that.

Peter Warren
31 Posted 21/03/2023 at 08:54:09
I don't like these sound bites. We have done better but still only 5 points out of 9 and could have easily dropped points in all of them.

I still consider, with these players, Dyche will do well to keep us up.

Ernie Baywood
33 Posted 21/03/2023 at 09:01:47
I agree, Peter. We're still a team where our available strikers are Gray (not really a striker) and Simms (not proven at this level despite his great contribution against Chelsea).

We have a midfield who struggle to pass a ball.

We're seeing good fight, just as we did at a similar point last season once we realised we were well and truly in the shit.

We're still in a similar position to last season but with fewer attackers. It's squeaky bum time. That hasn't changed.

Robert Tressell
34 Posted 21/03/2023 at 09:06:39
I think the better mentality comes from better organisation. The players believe in what Dyche is doing and so it's easier to believe in themselves.

As for Gray, he's done surprisingly well as a striker. Even some sturdy back-to-goal work defending the ball from big centre-backs.

I'm hoping it's a lesson to Dyche too (if he needed it), that his tactics don't need to revolve around a traditional target man. We can play more modern, versatile, technical forwards and still benefit from direct play and getting the ball in the box early.

Danny O’Neill
35 Posted 21/03/2023 at 10:05:04
Robert, I agree on Demarai Gray.

He's stood up to what has been asked admirably and led the line.

In the last two games, I've watch him work himself to near exhaustion. You can't ask for more than 100% effort and hard work to complement the quality.

I'd be interested to see him play off Simms as that looks to be the forward option now in the continued absence of Calvert-Lewin.

But realistically, I'd rather see him pushed back wide with Iwobi playing off the forward in what I think is his better position.

Martin Reppion
36 Posted 21/03/2023 at 10:44:17
I can't agree with the idea that the international break has come at a bad time.

An extra game-free week to work on the fitness of Calvert-Lewin, Andros Townsend and young Patterson can only add to the squad depth. I'd be delighted to see a couple of them on the bench for the Spurs game.

As for Demarai Gray, he has always had talent. He now has a manager who won't let him waste it. In all sport there is a simple formula:

Talent x Effort (x A Little Luck) = Success.

Good players who don't put in the effort can be beaten by poorer players with more work rate. But good players who put in a shift are unbeatable.

I always cite David Beckham as an example of this. Loads of talent and always grafted too. Dyche got the best out of a prosaic squad at Burnley. He can get more out of better players given the chance.

Jim Lloyd
37 Posted 21/03/2023 at 11:01:00
I like Demarai Gray. He's a good player, and scores some beauts as well. I think, in the past, he lost heart if the team weren't functioning. He's got lot's of skill, and I think Sean Dyche is getting him to enjoy his football.

And Sean seems to be doing it throughout the team. I thought Keane has done really well, since coming back into the team and I put his improvement down to the manager as well.

I agree with Martin above. An extra week will work in our favour this time. We've got good players near ready to play, this week might make all the difference.

Tony Abrahams
38 Posted 21/03/2023 at 11:12:16
I'd also love to see how Gray performed in that role you suggested for him, Danny, before you preferred Iwobi, Danny!
Dave Abrahams
39 Posted 21/03/2023 at 11:27:27
Peter (31),

Yes you are right to ask for a bit of caution regarding our position but 5 points from three games against Brentford who were unbeaten for 12 games and two draws away from home is not bad.

If we continue in the same vein, that will take us over 40-points mark. And you are right: we could have lost some points but we might have got a couple more from the games at Forest and Chelsea.

Sam Hoare
40 Posted 21/03/2023 at 11:34:17
Dunno where to put this but Niels Nkounkou has been called up to a very handy France U-21 team. A sign of how well he has been playing in Ligue 2 for Saint Ettienne where he has 2 goals and 4 assists.

I wonder if he'll get a chance at Everton next season? Probably not but he's a good young player and will probably fetch a decent little fee now. Great athlete. Only 22.

Ernie Baywood
41 Posted 21/03/2023 at 11:50:41
I'll give you the Forest game, Dave, but we managed 3 shots on target against Chelsea in a game we were chasing for the majority of the second half. It would have been a freak result for us to get any more than we got.

I'm all for crediting the players' efforts but some people are getting very carried away. It's the same bunch who have been crap for most of the season. They will be crap again. At the moment, hard work and a show of resilience is scraping the points needed to stay in contention for a place in the Premier League next season.

40 points in 10 games' time will mean we've maintained what people seem to view as a rich vein of form under Dyche. That's a lot to expect.

We're 3 points off bottom of the league and most of the teams below us have at least one game in hand.

The games against our rivals will be huge. We've faltered there plenty of times before.

I'm more hopeful than I was at the end of January, but still nowhere near optimistic. Whether I'm a pessimist or a realist depends on your own level of positivity.

Eddie Dunn
42 Posted 21/03/2023 at 12:05:15
Dyche is certainly getting more out of the players and it is because of this "collective" spirit with better organisation and a higher fitness level.

Doucoure has looked unrecognisable in his role further forward. The conundrum is Iwobi. I see a lad who has vision and can pass, a good engine but he unfortunately is brushed aside too often.

The stark difference in the team exposes Lampard's tenure as being far too long. Earlier action would have given Dyche more leeway. Now we have little room for any cock-ups.

All the lower teams are capable of taking points from anyone and the spectre of facing Bournemouth on the last day is a haunting one.

I want us safe before that game. They showed at Arsenal that they can cause problems and we have lost twice to them already. We need to continue to pick up points as it's going to be very tight.

I also saw Townsend was at Chelsea. He was on the pitch before kick-off... I do hope he is nearly ready.

Ajay Gopal
43 Posted 21/03/2023 at 12:19:08
Danny (34),

If you have a forward (Calvert-Lewin or Simms, presumably) and Iwobi and Gray, then who would you drop? Not McNeil and Doucoure surely, given their current form.

Gana (or Davies, who I like a lot) is required in front of the Back 4, which means that Onana would need to be dropped. Is that what you are suggesting?

I actually like that team, which would be more hard-working than with Onana in it – who presently (from my TV view) seems to be cruising through games.

When Dyche gave his first press conference, when asked if he was disappointed not to sign any new players in the January window, said that "there are some very good players in the squad".

I scoffed thinking that this was his way of motivating the players. But all credit to him, he really has managed to squeeze the most out of the players at his disposal.

We have all seen the struggles that Chelsea are going through with their bloated squad, similarly Nottingham Forest. We do have an overload of centre-backs, and are definitely light up front, but this squad may just be tight-knit enough to see us over the line along with Dyche's fine man-management skills.

Dave Abrahams
44 Posted 21/03/2023 at 12:21:04
Ernie (41),

Yes, we were definitely crap for most of the season but we are much less crap under Dyche than we were under Lampard and so are the players under Dyche.

You have even picked up yourself being more hopeful rather than optimistic but less pessimistic than you were, two or three players are coming back from injury, Simms could improve our attacking movement and Dominic could still play a part and add a few goals plus his hold-up ability.

No, obviously we are not yet safe and even when we are there is a huge job to be done to get us out of the mess we are in but, on the playing side, I believe we have a pragmatic manager and coaching staff who will bring stability to the squad and start rebuilding the team from next summer.

Danny O’Neill
45 Posted 21/03/2023 at 12:28:28

Even for an ever increasingly older '80s veteran like myself, this is not Howard Kendall's XI that, when fit, picked itself backed up by the very capable Kevin Richardson and Alan Harper.

The modern game is one of squad rotation. Both in terms of who plays and who plays where.

It's why I tend to mostly stay clear of team predictions. Come matchday, I'm only interested who is on the pitch.

I made a suggestion about where I think Iwobi and Gray could be effective in the current squad.

I don't pick the team. I just support them.

Sam Hoare
46 Posted 21/03/2023 at 12:39:37
I don't think we will see a vast amount of rotation from Dyche now. This team is playing well and getting decent results. Why change it?

I don't expect Garner to get a starting place as he is no better than Onana and nor is Davies. Simms scored a great goal but may well be better as an impact sub than starting as he struggles to stay involved in a game over 90 minutes (just ask Sunderland fans).

The only thing that would change it in my opinion is injury or a downturn in results or if Calvert-Lewin comes back. Hopefully the latter is the most likely!

If that happens, then I expect he would be a straight replacement for Gray (though possibly Gray comes in for Iwobi for easier home games).

Gary Brown
47 Posted 21/03/2023 at 13:15:23
Sam@46 spot on. Team picks itself now, and these are the boys who’ll be remembered in history as heroes or villians. Can’t even see DCL being rushed back in, Gray in the false 9 looks ok for now.

Would like to see more use of Subs though. DCL, Simms, Patterson, Garner, Mykolenko, Maupay, Davies and even the likes of Mina and Coady all capable of coming on and playing a part in seeing out a win or coming back from behind.

If we want the other 11 to last through the season we’ll need to see more of the above from 65-70 mins….but with 11 points in 8 games, right now: In Dyche I Trust.

Stuart Sharp
48 Posted 21/03/2023 at 13:38:53
I agree we probably shouldn't change the team, but Sam @46 - how do you know that Garner is no better than Onana? I watched him a few times for Forest, but still wouldn't be sure. Personally, if there was to be a change, I'd swap Iwobi for Gray and then put Simms up front, but now is not the time given we're on a wee unbeaten run.
Frank Crewe
49 Posted 21/03/2023 at 14:21:30
We had this after we scraped home by the skin of our teeth last season. This season it was all going to be different. No more relegation battles for us. Well here we are up shit creek without a paddle once again. It will take a lot more than a draw against Chelsea to convince me things are getting better. Next two games are Spurs and ManU. By mid April we could be rock bottom. So lets not get carried away by one decent result. After all we also drew with the Reds and Man City this season but things got worse after that.
Frank Crewe
50 Posted 21/03/2023 at 14:21:30
We had this after we scraped home by the skin of our teeth last season. This season, it was all going to be different. No more relegation battles for us. Well, here we are — up shit creek without a paddle once again.

It will take a lot more than a draw against Chelsea to convince me things are getting better. Next two games are Spurs and Man Utd. By mid April, we could be rock bottom.

So let's not get carried away by one decent result. After all, we also drew with the Reds and Man City this season but things got worse after that.

Peter Carpenter
51 Posted 21/03/2023 at 14:40:11
Bloody hell, Frank. Just when I'd allowed myself a few hours of optimism.
Tony Abrahams
52 Posted 21/03/2023 at 14:42:59
Up shit creek without a paddle was the reason a lot of Evertonians were quietly preparing themselves for the Championship, Frank.

We were sinking without trace, but anyone who is watching Everton now and still having those same thoughts must be someone who has pessimism running right through their veins.

Of course we are not out of danger but we are playing like a team now and also playing like real men offering loads of fight. This has suddenly given a fanbase that was lost massive belief.

Don't listen to him, Peter!!!

Peter Carpenter
53 Posted 21/03/2023 at 15:18:35
I won't, Tony. Can I block him?
Colin Malone
54 Posted 21/03/2023 at 15:21:31
Gray. It would be helpful if you got rid of the ball when there is a pass on. Instead of the "I am Ronaldo" performances.
Rob Dolby
55 Posted 21/03/2023 at 15:24:47
Is it mentality? Under Lampard, I thought the players tried hard but looked confused with shape and tactics.

Under Dyche, tactics look simplified. Doucoure's workrate has replaced Iwobi's down the centre. Gray's pace and all-round ability has replaced Maupay.

We have a threat from set-pieces. After conceding back post headers for what seems like years, we now have that threat ourselves. Why has it taken so long?

Keeping things simple in football works most of the time. We aren't out of the mess but we have given ourselves a fighting chance now.

Danny O’Neill
56 Posted 21/03/2023 at 15:27:05
We are fighting and looking like a team again.

We are fighting in the stands with spirit and soul again.

I don't think anyone is getting carried away.

But none of us are giving in. And we won't.

Alan McGuffog
57 Posted 21/03/2023 at 15:38:04
Without doubt we've had a bloody good rummage and located our cojones. My only fear is that we may be running out of games. Just wish this new spirit had been found five games earlier.
David West
58 Posted 21/03/2023 at 16:01:53
Gray deserves credit. The lad was kind of overlooked or left out when Dyche first arrived. He hasn't sulked or caused a problem, it's probably focused him on what he needs to concentrate on in games and training.

His effort can't be denied, imo. He always tries to make things happen, always willing to make runs, take on a man, which in this team is rare. Not afraid to take responsibility. Yes, his end product is wanting sometimes, but what a worse position we would be in without Demarai Gray this season.

As a couple have said, the next two games may make the table look worse for us with Spurs and Man City on the way, but I'm optimistic. Same as Arsenal, they are free hits as no one expects us to get anything but we may surprise some people. A bit of a rest, then getting 3 points from one of them games would be a big relief.

A settled team can work in our advantage and then hopefully Simms getting stronger, Calvert-Lewin and Garner to help out too.

Robert Tressell
59 Posted 21/03/2023 at 16:19:19
I can see Gray becoming a good Number 10 or second striker in a 4-4-1-1. He's managed to get more involved centrally than he seems to starting out wide. Or that's my perception anyway.

For me, that means we can focus on striker reinforcements for Calvert-Lewin (who knows, maybe Simms too) and a right-sided midfielder to take over from Iwobi.

Rob Halligan
60 Posted 21/03/2023 at 16:50:11
Frank # 50,

I'm very confident of 4 points from the next two games. I fully expect a win against Spurs and a draw at Man Utd. We will finish on a minimum 42 - 43 points this season.

Lovely sunny warm weather down here on the Costa del Sol by the way!

David Currie
61 Posted 21/03/2023 at 17:19:26
The changes Dyche has made to the 3 central areas of the field have improved us. Keane, Doucoure and Gray have all stepped up. I hope Paterson, Calvert-Lewin, Garner, Townsend and now Simms can help us to get some more points to safety.

I think switching Keane for Coady was the correct decision and, as a result, Tarkowski has looked more comfortable.

Mike Doyle
62 Posted 21/03/2023 at 17:27:01
Rob #60,

Nice to hear you are matching the players and taking an international break.

Back to Saturday. Our company bookkeeper is a Chelsea season ticket holder. Reckons the Everton support was the best (and loudest) he's seen from visiting fans at the Bridge this season – and possibly longer. Congrats to all involved.

Mike Gaynes
63 Posted 21/03/2023 at 17:45:38
Sunblock, Rob. Sunblock.

Sam #46, I agree to an extent, but I'm also convinced that if a healthy Garner gets a start -- say Gana rolls an ankle or commits another brain fart, or Onana has to sit out a yellow card suspension -- he will never be out of the starting lineup again. I think he's that good.

I also believe that Seamus will wear down and eventually lose his position once again to a healthy Patterson.

Robert Tressell
64 Posted 21/03/2023 at 17:55:42

I am also very optimistic about Garner. I think he's a Dyche-type player and will nail down his position once he gets a run of games.

I'm also optimistic that Dyche will get another level out of Godfrey and Patterson once he's had a chance to work with them properly.

Peter Warren
65 Posted 21/03/2023 at 18:03:00
One thing I will say is the change in set-pieces is outstanding in the short time Dyche has been here.

I don't doubt he's a far better manager than Lampard but I still consider our team as one of the worst three teams in the league, hence not being overly optimistic.

Mike Gaynes
66 Posted 21/03/2023 at 18:18:59
Peter, we may be one of the three least talented teams in the Premier League, but that doesn't necessarily equate to being one of the three worst.

And my optimism has been enhanced by the fact that a club just above us has replaced one of the best managers in the Premier League with, in the words of The Guardian, 'a 75-year-old man who has won just six of his most recent 34 top-flight games.'I think by the time we see Palace in late April, even their mushy-soft upcoming schedule will not have saved them.

David West
67 Posted 21/03/2023 at 19:09:10
Dyche has managed to get 1.38 points per game up to now. If we can maintain that level, we should reach 40 points.
Imo, I think 40 may be more than enough this year.

Considering we have played Liverpool, Arsenal twice, and Chelsea in that period, it's not being too optimistic to think we could maintain that rate or even better it with the fixtures we have.

I'd rather have the points on the board than the games in hand so these are my reasons for being optimistic. Or do I need to take off my blue-tinted glasses?

Joe Hurst
68 Posted 21/03/2023 at 20:24:05
Don't take them off, David – many of us have them.
It's a sign of how so many of us love this club

#UTFT (I know that's a Twitter ‘thing', but another sign of our affection).

My wife is also a Blue, she has always been (she saw them at The Dell when Everton played against Southampton long before we met).

Peter Warren
69 Posted 21/03/2023 at 21:51:14
David, we have 4 out of top 5 to play still and Brighton away. That’s half the games were extremely tough to get any points.

That could leave just 15 points left to try and pick up as much as we can. Can we get 3 wins and a draw so 10 points out these possible 15 points. Unlikely in my view.

Last year I pinpointed Newcastle at home as a must win. I remember when down for 10, playing shockingly bad and people saying to me, hope we don’t lose and going mad and saying we MUST find a way to win if we are to have any chance of staying up. What a game that was, I i recall it more vividly than the Palace game because I was even more terrified before that game. Personally, I consider Spurs at home next exactly the same and just as critical as Newcastle match last season.

I admire the optimism but just don’t share it. I’m not overly negative, but do consider (I hear what Mike says) we are one of the three worst sides. I can’t get over we left ourselves so vulnerable with no signings. I repeat if Dyche keeps us up, what an unbelievable job he would have done.

Let’s hope I’m badly wrong and we get 40 odd points.

Peter Warren
70 Posted 21/03/2023 at 21:55:47
I’m harping on but beat Spurs, I think 7 additional points thereafter will be enough and we will do it out of those five other games.
Danny O’Neill
71 Posted 21/03/2023 at 22:04:15
Some thought Forest would overrun us.

Some thought Leeds would outpace and have too much for us.

Some predicted an inevitable defeat against Chelsea.

Well, we took 5 points from those 3 games.

We can beat Tottenham at Goodison. We can get enough points to do this.

Mike Doyle
72 Posted 21/03/2023 at 22:16:51
Sam #46,

Slightly off topic. Just watched the first episode of Grace. We know it's set in Brighton, but was your character's reference to “the Seagulls” in the script or clever football-related ad libbing?

Will be watching future episodes closely to see what other football references you work in - so no spoilers please!

David West
73 Posted 21/03/2023 at 22:19:40

I think Spurs and all our home games can be the key. Spurs, Fulham, Newcastle, Man City and Bournemouth. Fulham won't have their main man due to suspension. Spurs are not to be feared.

Not one of them teams will enjoy coming to Goodison with a full house rocking. like the back end of last year, when we all knew what was at stake. Make it hell for them to play here. Every foul, every tackle, every decision we need to hear that Goodison roar – it's frightening for opposition players.

I mean Palace last season was something else, but the Old Lady can still play her part in this season.

Barry Hesketh
74 Posted 21/03/2023 at 22:38:02
it'll be a real cliff-hanger if my rough estimate is anything to go by, but if every team in the league maintains their current seasons points per game tally,

Southampton and Bournemouth will go down with 31 and 34 points respectively, whilst Everton, West Ham and Leicester will each have to rely on Goal Difference to keep them in the division, ending the campaign tied on 35 points.

Not very scientific, I admit, but it shows how tight it might be at the end of the season. The other four sides embroiled in the battle at the bottom, Palace, Wolves, Leeds and Forest would end the season on 37 points and safety.

Sam Hoare
75 Posted 21/03/2023 at 22:48:13
Mike @72, in the script I'm afraid!

Not a show I get to make lots of ad-libs in so far. Though I often try and get an Everton reference into the things I'm writing!

Neil Copeland
76 Posted 21/03/2023 at 22:55:20
We are improving game by game under Dyche. There is a belief from the players and the support that was very evident against Brentford and even more so against Chelsea.

The connect between the players and the fans gets stronger and is a major factor,

We refuse to give in.

We can do this.


Rob Halligan
77 Posted 21/03/2023 at 23:08:53
Fuck me, there's one or two people on here fearing some clubs in the run in.

Let me assure you, there is only one club, at home anyway, to fear heading towards the end of the season, and that is Man City.

Spurs and Newcastle are nothing, anyone who fears those two no-mark clubs needs help! Why on earth should we fear either of them two? They are nothing, never have been, never will be top, top sides.

Sam Hoare
78 Posted 21/03/2023 at 23:10:49
Mike G @63,

I liked Garner a lot in The Championship but have yet to see if he's capable of the step up. I agree he could well be and may prove a very Dyche-type of player. But he certainly doesn't have the athleticism that Onana has and I'd be surprised if the Belgian does not go on to have a career at the highest levels.

And yes, Coleman will presumably slow at some point. Patterson could benefit a lot from coaching under Dyche.

Mike Gaynes
79 Posted 21/03/2023 at 23:42:20
Sam, he's played less than 200 minutes for us, so nobody knows yet, but I'll stand by what I saw in the promotion playoffs.

You a scriptwriter? Producer?

Andy Crooks
80 Posted 21/03/2023 at 23:58:46
Mike, Sam will be too modest to reply but check out "The English Game". Top stuff indeed.
Mike Gaynes
81 Posted 22/03/2023 at 00:31:46
Andy, I saw a couple episodes of that, last year or the year before. Didn't know that was Sam's work!
Peter Carpenter
82 Posted 22/03/2023 at 03:41:17
There's a nice piece on the BBC website about Abdoulaye Doucoure. We may not be very good but we do have some nice people playing for us.
Jerome Shields
83 Posted 22/03/2023 at 05:14:16
Sam #78,

I agree regarding Garner. When asked about Garner's and Patterson's availability, Dyche has only said that they are "in and around it''...

Garner has made the subs bench. He really has not played that much yet to make a judgement and would need match time, against the background of other priorities.

I must admit, coming from Man Utd and being injured is a concern for me, given the past fruits of that relationship.

Onana is doing okay. With his runs into the box, he could be a further threat. He has the physicality too.

Patterson is not on the bench and Seamus is doing okay, with the forward threat improving. It will be a while before Patterson is under consideration.

Colin Glassar
84 Posted 22/03/2023 at 07:06:35
Very good article, Peter #82.

We seem to have our very own Muslim brotherhood. They (Doucoure, Gana and Onana) feel at home and welcome here which is a great thing and reflects well on the club and the city.

Tony Everan
85 Posted 22/03/2023 at 07:28:48
Garner's chance will come, and I suspect it won't be in place of Onana, more likely Gana because of an injury or drop in form. As Mike says, no one really knows yet what he can bring to the team and whether he can make the step up.

He will need a run of games but I'm on the side that he will become a crowd favourite and fixture in the team.

Tony Everan
86 Posted 22/03/2023 at 07:56:26
Other news: Nkounkou has been called up to the France U21 team.

“After a shaky start, he's been impressing in Ligue 2, establishing himself in the starting 11 and featuring in 89% of the minutes available thus far.

"He's earned that playing time too, racking up five assists and two goals in ten appearances so far and rave reviews from those who have been watching him.”

Danny O’Neill
87 Posted 22/03/2023 at 07:56:38
Thank you for that link, Peter.

He seems a very spiritual person.

Not that it is relevant, but an all-Muslim midfield. I hadn't realised or even thought about that, but I don't judge people on religion. I don't wish to distract this thread, but I done an Open University module on Religion and it's influence on conflict a few years ago.

What struck me is that when you study it, the irony is how closely the 3 religions of Islam, Christianity and Judaism are linked. Both in terms of roots and even to this day, beliefs. Just separated by different practices and interpretation. Jesus is recognised as one of the Islam prophets.

I'm Catholic, but I always recall how therapeutical the call to prayer sounding out from the minarets in places like Afghanistan was, even if it woke me before I intended to rise!

The comments about Salah and Mane show how the off-field relationships between players amongst on-pitch rivals continue, as they always have. As I like to say, keep the professional separate from the personal.

Great to see the club being supportive of their dietary requirements during Ramadan, as I'm sure others are.

He sounds like a well grounded individual as well as a decent footballer.

Really good article. I also like his reference to the UK / England. I don't hide from the challenges or issues facing our country, but we often beat ourselves up in my opinion. Reading between the lines, he feels more comfortable in the UK than in the country of his birth. France has a lot of issues and are not as integrated as we are.

David West
88 Posted 22/03/2023 at 08:01:46
Barry 74,

Yes, very tight indeed. Are your calculations based on our season points per game or our points per game since Dyche arrived?

I see us improving, so I'm hoping we can manage an upturn in our figures and who we have already played under Dyche.

Even the smallest improvement could be crucial. A couple of draws where earlier in the season we were losing. Another victory against one of the Top 5.

These two games against Man City and Spurs will tell us just how close to the end of the season it's going to go…

Eric Haworth
89 Posted 22/03/2023 at 10:04:57
Peter #82

Thanks for the link. Gives a real sense of Doucoure the man, which we as fans seldom get to see and reflects well on him.

Although the commencement of Ramadan today is a real concern. Because the fasting element creates a real difficulty for all elite Muslim athletes in maintaining their normal high fitness levels.

Given that it could impact our entire midfield, we can only hope they don't run out of steam during this critical phase of the season, particularly as you can't get a feeler guage between the whole bottom half of the table. 🤞

Dennis Stevens
90 Posted 22/03/2023 at 10:13:47
I wonder whether Ramadan will impact on our midfielders' performance levels?

I see we have three matches during Ramadan: Spurs [h], ManUre [a], Fulham [h], and then we visit Palace the day after Ramadan ends. I'm sure Dyche will be monitoring the players & may need to make more changes to the midfield before or during matches.

Sam Hoare
91 Posted 22/03/2023 at 10:26:19
Mike G @79, I do screen and stage writing and acting. Neither especially well.

Yes, Garner's not had much chance to shine yet in the Premier League. Personally, I think he has slightly less potential than Onana but, if he does well, he could become our own Ward-Prowse.

I'm not totally convinced he will become a Top 10 player but then we are not a Top 10 team yet so it could be a match made in heaven.

David West
92 Posted 22/03/2023 at 10:41:56

I think Garner may struggle to have an impact this season now, as Dyche seems to have settled on his first XI. Calvert-Lewin may change that, yet I don't see him changing his starting midfielders unless injuries or suspension force it on him.

It takes game time to get fully fit for the Premier League, games that we are running out of. Yes, he may be used from the bench, but I think it will be next season we see a fully fit Garner.

Mike Doyle
93 Posted 22/03/2023 at 10:58:10
Andy, Mike (& Sam) I watched The English Game before knowing of Sam H's involvement. Of course, when the lead character turned out to be a clone of Leighton Baines, I should have twigged.

I'll be watching the TV schedules closely over Easter. Any mention of “The Holy Trinity” and I'll know Sam has been involved.

Similarly, any programmes with titles such as “knife to a gunfight”, “A boys pen” or “You've had some good times” and we'll know who is responsible without checking the credits.

Barry Hesketh
94 Posted 22/03/2023 at 11:19:47
David @88,

There is little doubt that since Dyche's arrival, our prospects have improved quite a bit. For example, after Lampard's last game in charge, we were heading – using points per game earned up to that period – for a final total of 29 points which would have put us in the Bottom 3.

Southampton were heading for the same total, with Bournemouth and Wolves tied on 32 points. Crystal Palace and Forest are the biggest fallers since that weekend, as they were set for 46 and 40 points respectively.

Hugh Jenkins
95 Posted 22/03/2023 at 13:23:47
Tony (86), Hopefully, this will eventually lead to a successful return to EFC.
Tony Everan
96 Posted 22/03/2023 at 13:51:43
Yes, Hugh, he's contracted until June 2024, so it will be interesting to see if he can produce enough evidence to stake a claim.

A big issue for him will be whether he is solid enough defensively in the Premier League for a tough, hard-to-beat Sean Dyche Everton team.

Christy Ring
97 Posted 22/03/2023 at 14:04:14
Reading Goodison News, a sports therapist and sports scientist was saying that playing Calvert-Lewin at the start of last season with a toe injury led to multiple injuries and had a knock-on effect.

Garner and Patterson are in the England U21s and Scotland squad and should have a couple of more games under their belts. I'm hoping Patterson comes back unscathed, considering most of his injuries have happened on international duty.

Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
98 Posted 22/03/2023 at 14:48:22

I take issue with your assertion that all three religions are linked in beliefs.

Yes, Islam regards Jesus as a phrophet, but for Christians he is God incarnate and to lower him to the same as any other human is an insult.

But while Jews and Muslims see salvation (being in heaven after death) as something that you earn by doing good things and not doing bad things, salvation for a Christian is solely based on the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and nothing that we do of ourselves, except accept that salvation and therefore a totally different belief to the other two.

As a Christian, I am trusting in what I believe and the promises of the Bible and therefore will die knowing I am going to heaven (and if it is all untrue, what have I lost?) but our midfield will die wondering, have I done enough?

That food I ate in April 2023 so I was carb-loaded before that match with Spurs, will that stop me getting to heaven? I am glad the God Christians worship is one of Compassion, Grace and Love.

Shame so many of his followers mar his image but we are humans and singular which is why Jesus needs to save us.

David West
99 Posted 22/03/2023 at 14:50:24
Barry 94.

Yes, hopefully, we are heading upwards as the likes of Forest, Palace, West Ham, and even Leicester are heading downward.

Just Dyche getting a tiny bit more from what he has already improved on would be sufficient, in my opinion.

Danny O’Neill
100 Posted 22/03/2023 at 15:37:04
I don't mind a difference of opinion Phil. I'm just going off what I studied.

Like football, religion is contentious and divisive.

Everton fans argue like the People's Front of Judea and the Judean People's Front. All on the same side with different views.

Catholics, Protestants and Eastern Orthodox.

Sunni and Shia.

Jesus was a Jew long before Christianity was recognised and was called a Rabbi.

The religions are historically linked. They and their various different flavours went different ways, but they are linked.

Lent, Yom Kippur and Ramadan. They all have, or traditionally had, a form of fasting.

Anyway, I do enough fasting on match day when I barely eat.

Alan McGuffog
101 Posted 22/03/2023 at 17:11:38
I don't think Joe Harper went in for fasting. 🤔
Derek Knox
102 Posted 22/03/2023 at 17:31:47
Danny @ 100,

Are these Yom Kippurs anything like Manx Kippurs? I'll have some of them if they are! :-)

Stephen Vincent
103 Posted 22/03/2023 at 17:51:10

The only Manx I know are the ones that used to worship on the Kippurx.

I will definitely need my coat.

Mike Gaynes
104 Posted 22/03/2023 at 18:07:13
Sam #91, mazel tov and respects. If people are writing you checks for something, you are automatically good at it.

Phil #98, a bit inaccurate there... "salvation" is not a Jewish concept. We do traditionally believe that mitvahs (good deeds) get you into heaven, but we don't need to be "saved" if we don't perform them. (I wish I could believe that Netanyahu will deep-fry in hell, but Judaism doesn't allow for that.)

DK #100, Yom Kippur is about repenting your sins. It's just one day, but from what I've heard, if you decide to convert, you'd better call ahead for at least a week's reservation. ;-))

Danny #87, as a Marine AFC supporter I am reveling in the fact that the club's leading scorer this season is the brilliant Sol Solomon. With 13 goals, he is an absolute lox for player of the year. (I'll get me coat, or rather my talis.)

Colin Glassar
105 Posted 22/03/2023 at 19:05:17
Only on ToffeeWeb can you go from our players character and work ethos to religious dogma and ritual observance.
Alan McGuffog
106 Posted 22/03/2023 at 19:05:37
I don't think Joe Harper went in for fasting. 🤔
Christy Ring
107 Posted 22/03/2023 at 19:43:50
I think we'll leave religious beliefs alone, remember the arguments about the rainbow emblem on the jersey!
Brian Williams
108 Posted 22/03/2023 at 19:49:16
That's a good idea, Christy, or we'll have all manner of fairy tales next.
Neil Copeland
109 Posted 22/03/2023 at 20:18:34
Alan #106, we have had our fair share of players who didn’t fast. Talking of which I remember a game where Kenny Samson was playing for us and someone shouted “hey Kenny, you can come and roll our lawn when you’ve finished out there mate”.
Peter Mills
110 Posted 22/03/2023 at 23:05:38
It’s good that we have decent characters within the club.

I hope someone amongst them is trying to help Dele Alli, as he seems to be a troubled soul.

Jamie Crowley
111 Posted 23/03/2023 at 02:15:27
Sean Dyche's pre-game talk to the squad:

(Explicit language)


Mike Gaynes
112 Posted 23/03/2023 at 02:19:04
A man after your own %&@#-ing heart, Jamie!
Jamie Crowley
113 Posted 23/03/2023 at 02:21:58
Were I a player, that would be exactly what I'd want from my coach / manager, Mike. 100%

I'd run to the ends of the earth and rather die than lose after hearing that pre-game talk.

Defo a man after my own heart. Go fuck their shit up!

I do think Sean Dyche is doing this, in his own way, with this squad and I love it.

James Lawton
114 Posted 23/03/2023 at 14:32:11
Re Link @ 111. I much prefer somebody like John Wooden. No drama, bull, profanities, or ego from him, just quiet understated team talks, leading to unprecedented success, success that's never been equalled.

I don't hero worship anyone, but if I did, he would certainly qualify.

Jamie Crowley
115 Posted 23/03/2023 at 20:34:46
James @ 114 -

Completely understand that sentiment and viewpoint. Wooden was an absolute legend. Mike Krzyzewski is another in that mold I'd think, and he was equally brilliant.

Different strokes. I just love it when a coach fires his players up with a slew of obscenities and a kill or be killed message. Just gets my blood pumping.

Peter Mills
116 Posted 23/03/2023 at 23:20:02
James#114, I had never heard of John Wooden, but thanks to your post I tuned in to his Ted Talk about the difference between winning and success.

Superb stuff, he expresses what my son and his mates are achieving in coaching their sons - effort, determination, respect, perspective.

Thank you.

James Lawton
117 Posted 24/03/2023 at 08:13:41
@Jamie 115. Yes, we all respond in different ways. I wonder if "rabble rousing" speeches might lose their effectiveness after a period of time, or maybe those types of coaches only use them on special occasions.

Another quiet coach I liked was Bob Paisley (yes, I know). Incredibly successful, and a bit forgotten by the football masses. Of course, he was from the period before football was invented by Sky.

@Peter 116. Glad you looked him up, and very pleased that your son and friends are concentrating on instilling good values in their coaching, just as Wooden did. I wish them success.

It's early days, but I feel that Sean Dyche is the type of coach who incorporates similar messages in his coaching, and we will reap the benefits. I am very confident we will be safe at the end of the season.

Tony Abrahams
118 Posted 24/03/2023 at 09:05:07
I think that most rabble-rousing speeches belong in the movies with my reason being that it's all about keeping calm.

I'm sure I heard a story about Don Howe putting a fresh kit for every player in an ice box when Wimbledon were playing Liverpool, at Wembley and the pitch-side temperature was allegedly around 100 degrees.

When the players came in at half-time, he then told everyone to strip off and sit there quietly for 5 minutes before he introduced this nice freezing cold fresh kit.

Innovation and calmness wins the day because, if you haven't got a natural fire within, I honestly don't think you would be in the position in the first place.

James Lawton
119 Posted 24/03/2023 at 09:14:30
@Jamie 115. Must admit, not heard of Mike Krzyzewski. I just had a quick glance on the Web, and he does seem to be a similar type of coach to Wooden. I will research his history with great interest. Thank you.

As a further thought on the ethos of different coaches, I wonder if players going on to the field of play "pumped up", would have control of their emotions, and be prone to unacceptably aggressive behaviour. I would prefer them to be a team of ice cold assassins during play, saving their extreme emotions for appropriate moments, scoring goals, winning games, and trophies.

Just my view, of course.

Tony Abrahams
120 Posted 24/03/2023 at 09:30:39
Echoing what Peter Mills, has written @116, James, could you tell me what would be the best book to read with regards to John Wooden, please, mate? I have just briefly read about his beliefs, which echo my own, and I just wish I could have understood this better about 35 years ago!

Howard Kendall was a man under severe pressure when he opened the window of the Stoke City changing rooms and told his players to listen to the thousands of Evertonians who had come to cheer on the team. This period then turned into the most beautiful time of our Evertonian lives for many of us!

James Lawton
121 Posted 24/03/2023 at 09:49:27
Tony @120.

Oh dear, where to start! I have several books about John Wooden, and they are all worth having. Perhaps you could research these and get a feeling of those that appeal to you.

Wooden - A lifetime of observations and Reflections on and off the Court.

Wooden on Leadership.

Wooden with Jack Tobin - They call me Coach.

The Essential Wooden. (My favourite)

Ironically, just perusing the books while typing, I came across one of his quotations that related to the original subject about pumping up the players – "If you let your emotions take over, you'll be outplayed".

To be honest, I think any book on John Wooden's life and philosophy is worth the cost and effort.

Hope you find something you like.

Dave Abrahams
122 Posted 24/03/2023 at 10:05:54
Several posts on John Wooden on this thread and nobody mentioned what sport he was involved in. Basketball doesn't make him any less a coach but it would have been nice to know what sport he was connected with.
James Lawton
123 Posted 24/03/2023 at 10:21:22
@ Dave 122. Apologies for the omission.
Tony Abrahams
124 Posted 24/03/2023 at 11:45:35
I know you’re a busy man Dave, but alls you have got to do is type the man’s name into your iPad. Courtesy of Peter Mills, I was told to type in John Wooden, Ted Talk,, so when you get a bit of spare time, hopefully you will try this yourself!

I’m busy myself I’ve only watched the first few minutes, but Wooden comes across a bit like Arsenal Wenger, another great man who I think is full of intelligence?

Thanks James, another common sense quote imo, and it probably explains a lot about Brian Clough, although because Clough never usually said much, (didn’t believe in filling a players brain with too many instructions) you had to work it out for yourself.

James Lawton
125 Posted 24/03/2023 at 12:03:57
@Tony 124. Brian Clough! He reined in a few aggressive characters, and they became excellent players. Kenny Burns and Larry Lloyd come to mind. To think he won the European Cup with Nottingham Forest, twice! No disrespect to Forest, but that was some achievement.
Tony Abrahams
126 Posted 24/03/2023 at 13:23:28
I think Mouriniho winning it with Porto, was an unbelievable achievement James, but I honestly don’t think anything eclipses what Clough achieved by winning that trophy twice with Forest.

It was the bit about not letting your emotions take over which resonated the most with me though James, because I remember when my old school mate Eddie Youds, who played for Everton a few times, told me he always hated playing against Forest.

When I asked him why, he said it was because you could never get any Forest players to engage. When you’re not playing well, and the other team is on top of you, sometimes a hard tackle or a dirty foul, is enough to engage most teams, but not Forest he told me, because whilst you’re preparing for a little argument or a shoving match, someone else had already taken the free kick.

It’s all about discipline, and when you have discipline, you will always find another way to skin the cat, and staying on this subject, I think it’s noticeable how much more disciplined Everton have suddenly become under Sean Dyche.👏

Brian Harrison
127 Posted 24/03/2023 at 14:14:54
Tony 126

Brian Clough, the things he achieved at Derby and Forest was quite simply remarkable. While other clubs could outspend both Derby and Forest, the football his sides produced given most of his players were cast offs from other clubs was exceptional. I don't think you can mention Brian Clough without mentioning Peter Taylor, who had a good eye for a player.

Clough never ever used poor refereeing decisions as an excuse as to why his team may have lost a game. which is very rare in managers today, who tend to blame everybody rather than themselves when their team loses. Thats not to say Derby or Forest didnt get physical at times, but his players knew if they were sent off Clough would never appeal it.

My biggest regret is that John Moores wasnt brave enough to sign Clough, as he would have laid down a legacy similar to what Shankly and Paisley did at Liverpool.

Dave Abrahams
128 Posted 24/03/2023 at 14:27:03
Tony (124), Tony how do you think I know John Wooden was a basketball coach did you think I guessed?

James (123) No need for apologies James it’s just an age thing and I’m a nuisance for attention to detail so no worries there James.

Dave Abrahams
129 Posted 24/03/2023 at 14:37:35
Brian (127) I’ve got to echo your sentiments about Brian Clough, to take one team from the second division to champions of the first division was brilliant to do it with two different teams was exceptional not to mention being European Cup winners twice with Notts Forest and I think nobody should underrate the huge help he received from Peter Taylor as his assistant especially in scouting and bringing many players to Clough’s notice, in fact I think Brian regretted the fallout he had with Taylor, which was never mended, but Clough was an outstanding manager up there with the very best of them and I think alcohol had a major part in his downfall in the end.
Tony Abrahams
130 Posted 24/03/2023 at 14:47:09
No Dave, you’re explanation told everyone that you had already found this out already, but as you said to James, it’s just because of your attention to detail! Or you have suddenly decided to become a moaning old?
Dave Abrahams
131 Posted 24/03/2023 at 14:58:31
Tony (130):A moaning old what? See what I mean with attention to detail?
Tony Abrahams
132 Posted 24/03/2023 at 15:01:42
I think Clough would accept you being sent off for a bad tackle Brian, but he was all about simplicity and discipline. I never came across Peter Taylor, who I assume might have been the bad cop, but it was obvious that they had a very special relationship, and achieved great things between themselves.

Clough was clever, very clever, and if he didn’t criticize referees, it must have kept him in a lot of officials good books?

Remember that fraud Clattenberg, and the minute Ferguson left United, Liverpool got three penalties in one game at old Trafford?

Actions always speak louder than words, but whilst Ferguson was more abrasive, I think Clough, just skinned the cat in a different way, and was probably a lot more subtle, with the way he respected the referee.

My players won’t give you any problems ref, so don’t give me any please!

Dennis Stevens
133 Posted 24/03/2023 at 15:10:49
Notts Forest? Attention to detail? Pah!

What next, Northants. Town?!

Dave Abrahams
134 Posted 24/03/2023 at 16:26:58
Dennis (133), Notts. Forest? Yes well spotted Dennis that was my well planned deliberate mistake!!
Brian Harrison
135 Posted 24/03/2023 at 16:43:56
Dave 129

I think you and I have similar views on football, and I think we are around the same age actually today is my 75th birthday. I wont do a Yaya Toure and ask where my cake is. Dave I think our age group have witnessed the best of Everton, I just hope the youngsters in a few years to come get to at least see us win one trophy.

Dave Abrahams
136 Posted 24/03/2023 at 17:02:27
Brian (135) Happy birthday Brian, “ If I knew that I’d have baked you a cake” to misquote a song from long ago.

I’m a bit older than you Brian but you are correct we have both seen the very best of football from Everton and we do have similar views on how game is played or should be played and like you I wish the very best for our brilliant younger supporters who have never seen the Blues win a trophy and some of them are thirty or even older, the longest period we have ever gone without looking at a cup at the end of a season.

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