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The Mail Bag

August 2010 Archive
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Is this a coincidence, Landon?

I know the whole Landon Donavon thing has been done to death on here but I just wanted to point out something I noticed on Deadline Day.

Mr Donovan has been proudly sporting the picture of his number '9 Donovan' shirt on his twitter profile ever since he left us; I notice today it has changed back to him in a Galaxy shirt.

It's no secret he wanted to join the Blues permanently... maybe he was secretly hoping Bill would dig deep into those empty pockets of his. Or maybe it's just a coincidence!

Either way, I hope he comes back on loan in January because we sure look exposed over on the right... Let's be honest: Rodwell is no winger!
Matt Brown     Posted 31/08/2010 at 23:02:04   Comments (20)

Bye Joe

Mixed feelings today with the departure of Joey Yobo. He gave us great service, but was allowed to go in search of more regular first-team football.

Who could forget the 'calamity' errors against the likes of Man Utd when he passed straight to Rooney? But then there were great moments, like some last-gasp tackling, and of course his goal against Chelsea.

But overall a great servant of 8 years, which is quite a long time these days. I wish him well in Fenerbahce.

Best of luck, Joe.
Brendan O' Doherty     Posted 31/08/2010 at 19:51:39   Comments (62)

Shut that Window, and open the door

Now all the nonsense is behind us and we haven't been able to snare DJ Campbell or Grafite, can someone give us some info on Gueye and the Portugese lad, da Silva? Is there any possibility either of these two can do something for us this season?

We now have to work (well, Davey or his replacement does) with what we have got. What about the defender we got from Hamburg (Mustafi)?

Should Yobo come back into the picture if Jags is crocked for a while? Can Coleman cement a place in the team ahead of Pip? Questions,Questions, so many questions. Oh, I'm so tired after todays speculation, just... so, you know... tired.
John Brennan     Posted 31/08/2010 at 18:41:05   Comments (33)

Ladbrokes suspend bets...

Ladbrokes suspend bets on Moyes becoming next Villa boss! Whats going on?!
Rob Hackett     Posted 30/08/2010 at 18:15:47   Comments (145)

Where the Sun don't shine!

Given this publication's long, inglorious history of printing idiotic guff designed to wind Scousers up, The Sun's latest taunting headline comes as no surprise: Rodwell to Man Utd for £10 million plus Carrick.

Is this April Fools?! Our best academy graduate since Rooney, swapped for a deteriorating centre-midfielder and some magic beans?! The nerve!

Questions: Why would we want to add to an already over-subscribed position? Are we financially robust enough to keep him? Do our ambitions match those of Jack's agent? Even if the story's bullshit, will it turn his head? If not this time, is it inevitable he'll venture up the M62 sooner rather than later? And just how much of a slap in the face would it be to Evertonians?

For me, he's a future Everton captain, and I would lose so much faith in the club if a switch came to pass. I pray that we would respond to any future bid by telling them where to stick it...
Kevin Hudson     Posted 30/08/2010 at 13:41:48   Comments (35)

Great Football - Just not Good Enough

Let's start on the positives ? I was actually proud today; we played some really good football and, as Ken Buckley would say ? it was all joined up. Even my Southern mates said it was a great technical football display. Arteta and Fellaini, as we all thought, completely controlled the middle; Baines was like a flowing Ashley Cole, or Roberto Carlos, and finally finally(!!!) Coleman showed he can cut the mustard as a right midfielder.

Negatives to me were that Beckford isn?t at all ready ? he may be a great finisher but he can?t participate in build-up play ? his first touch is still in the League One standard. Also, contrary to what I?ve read elsewhere, I didn?t think Rodwell played well on right hand side. Not his fault, he is a central midfielder and that?s where we need to start to play him when the time is right. Distin and Jags aren?t a good combination ? full stop. Nothing else to be said ? they will cost us a goal every other game.

But the biggest negative is that we have no PACE at all. Football technically is great but when it takes a minute to get from our box to our opponents box then we know we will be faced with about 10 men behind the ball ready to throw bodies in our way, ready to win every cross, and ready to block every avenue we try.

Our problem is that our play tends to so easy to read :- Hibbert ? to Arteta ? to Baines ? to Pienaar ? to Arteta ? to Hibbert ? to Arteta ? to Baines ? to Pienaar ? to Baines ? low cross cut out. Let's start again... well I wont bore you but you know what I mean.

Teams against us will quickly load their defence with bodies and when we even get round the back our crosses are invariably cut out by the defenders. We do not have a controlled quick through ball, our midfield men and forwards are either slow or have a poor first touch. These type of forwards tend to cost about £15-£20M to buy and we will never be in a position to buy one.

As I said in an earlier mail ? to get to 4th we need another 20-goal man and a defence who only on average gives a goal away every other game. We can do neither at the moment.

What we can do is to dominate teams Barcelona style ? but we won't score many or win enough games... I DO HOPE I?M WRONG !
Mike Oates     Posted 29/08/2010 at 20:42:53   Comments (43)

The Beckford Project

It may only be three games into the present campaign and I am not singling Jermaine Beckford out for undue criticism; however, it must be asked is how we can be pinning our offensive hopes on a player cutting his teeth in the rigour of the Premier League and making the massive step-up of two levels from League One?

We now have a roll call of Yakubu, Saha, Beckford, Vaughan, Anichebe, Silva and Gueye... I guess the combined salary of such being in excess of £100k per week, and it appears from the evidence so far that we are both toothless and impotent in front of goal. I am praying that Moyes is able to 'wheel and deal' in the coming days in the transfer market and find a goalscorer ? either that, or Yakubu finds a miracle sometime soon and is restored to the team and starts firing.

To have so many strikers on the books is criminal when, for all our midfield superiority, there does not appear to be anybody capable of stepping up to the plate.
Peter Laing     Posted 29/08/2010 at 18:45:58   Comments (43)

The Pink away kit... why pink?

The followng quote has been lifted from the BBC website:

"Wigan manager Roberto Martinez has identified the reason for the Latics' dismal away form last season, putting it down to a fashion faux-pas. "We always blame the orange kit for our away performances last season," he said. "We never won a game with that kit."

Some may say Martinez is on the final chapter of his "Why Wigan are Crap" excuse book, or maybe this highlights the need for a player to feel comfortable and confident in what they are wearing.

When the Pink kit was released, I just couldn't believe it. What was the thinking behind it? Show me a man who would feel comfortable going out on the town wearing a shirt that colour.

An easy away kit colour for us has always been a safe White or Yellow. So why automatically put the team on the backfoot at an away game in a bloody fluorescent pink kit?

Some may say, "Shut up, these are professional footballers and it shouldn't matter what kit they are wearing". But given the sports psychology of wearing something that bloody bad, coupled with the hostile ridicule the player will ednure at away grounds, surely Le Coq Sport should be made to question the logic of such a bad design decision.

I just can't bloody understand it!
Daniel Johnson     Posted 28/08/2010 at 15:37:45   Comments (53)

Michael Arteton?

Fabio Capello has apparently spoken to Mikel Arteta regarding the possibility of him playing for England

Other threads have revealed divided opinion (though with a negative majority) about whether a reasonable chance of playing for his adopted country is preferable to clinging to the hope that injuries or a catastrophic drop of form to players might open the door to him playing in Spain.

The article states that gaining a UK passport, even after the statutory five year stay in the country, would normally take nine months. However it can be fast-tracked...Why, with net immigration up 20% from 2009, might this be allowed to happen?

Two reasons: a desperate national football team...with the cogs greased by an Anglised name to appease the nationalist / patriotic / xenophobic element of the Three Lions Support...?

I give you: Michael Arteton
Ben Patchesa     Posted 27/08/2010 at 22:38:20   Comments (52)

A Good Start Still Possible?

The defeat at Blackburn and the draw to Wolves have been a very disappointing beginning to Everton's Premier League season but I still believe that it's too early to start calling this a bad start to the campaign.

My opinion is that you have to look at say 5 games before you can claim if a team started badly or good. Imagine if Everton won the next 3 games... 3 wins, a draw and a loss would be a pretty decent start to the season I would argue. It's too early to judge how well Everton have started. Let's give it another 3 games then have a look. So who are the next 3 games against?

First up is Aston Villa. They are managerless and hurting after a 6-0 drubbing by the barcodes. Villa's European campaign is also on the verge of collapse after losing 2-3 last night to Rapid Vienna. But let us not forget Villa have some great players and finished a Top 7 side for the past three seasons. Chances are Villa will be desperate to bounce back and its not going to be an easy away trip for Everton.

After that we have a home fixture against Man Utd. Last season goals from Bilyaleletdinov, Rodwell and some other guy saw us roll over Rooney and company 3-1. You can never count on a result against Man Utd but we did it last season, so why not repeat it?

Then it's another home fixture against Newcastle. They may have slaughtered Villa but I still think they are going to be relegation contenders this season. They actually have a weaker team now then they did when they got relegated. Are Everton going to fear a team whose best players include Joey Barton, Kevin Nolan and Alan Smith?

So that's Aston Villa (a), Man Utd (h) and Newcastle (h). Personally I think all three fixtures are very winnable.

But we have to beat Aston Villa first. For me this is a must win game. If Everton want to claim a good start to this Premier League campaign then they need to beat Villa and get something of a run going.

Villa are in a bad way. Sure they will be looking to bounce back but we have to stop them and hopefully complete a miserable week for them.
Dick Anderson     Posted 27/08/2010 at    Comments (36)

Leon Osman: Future Everton Legend!!!!

We see Radcliffe, Sharp, Horne, Kendall et al around the club regularly and read pieces in papers, websites, all over the place from these ex-players & managers, and they are known as legends to us all. Well, I predict that in 10 years Osman will be one of the players writing about us, speaking at dinners and looking after us at Goodison. Why? because he is a modern day Everton legend.

Legend is used all too frequently in the modern game, I know, and if you compared him against Ball, Steven, Southall, then no, he is not... but we all seem to think Cahill is a Legend, Jagielka and Arteta too ? well, what about Osman? 210 senior starts and netting 34 goals in that time is a very good record for someone who came through the youth system at a time when teams except United didn't use their young players very much.

He will start on Sunday, I'm sure of that ? especially reading Rounds quotes on the OS... and he will give his all because Everton is his club, he's a blue and always will be and that shows through to fans like myself who don't look for the negatives but look for the truth. He's a good footballer with great awareness and skill and best of all he's a true blue. All hail King Ossie, modern day legend.
Andrew Fair     Posted 27/08/2010 at 13:31:48   Comments (53)

Aren't we all frustrated, Bill?

After reading about Bill Kenwright's frustrations regarding disappearing investors in the Echo and on the Official site last night, I have to say it left me feeling just a little uneasy.

Not at the failure to attract investment so much, but rather the fact that Everton seem, according to Bill, to attract a disproportionate number of timewasters. I am quite happy to agree that there are a lot of dodgy characters in and around football today but, if dodgy 'investors' are attracted to Everton so frequently and so readily, then maybe the Club needs to examine how it behaves in it's own right when such approaches are made and to research just why those potential investors disappear.

If a business continually fails to win contracts, it will have no option but to re-examine its business methods. If an individual is consistently refused finance, then he or she will inevitably have to consider why this is the case. It has to be the same for the Club.

It seems very unlikely to me, even if only statistically, that every potential investor interested in Everton is an unsavoury character and a timewaster and I can't help wondering whether the real reason for their constant withdrawals is that there is something wrong with what Everton, or Bill, are asking for.

Bill constantly talks about investment as opposed to the selling of the Club and I do wonder if this is the sticking point and the reason for the breakdown in negotiations. Could it be that they want to buy and he wants them to pump money into the Club while leaving everything and everybody else in situ?

I personally have no great desire for a Sheikh to aquire this Club; all I would be satisfied with is an improved stadium and a transfer pot each summer sufficient for us to keep moving forward. But Bill has to remember that supporters are investors too, and the most reliable ones at that, and while we don't have a 'legal' right to know what the Club's intentions and wishes are regarding investment, he should consider and decide that supporters do have a moral right to such information. Otherwise, in the firm belief that not every investor who approaches the Club can possibly be a lying, cheating gangster, I will have no choice but to consider that the Club is run by a gang of idiots.

Come clean Bill. Exactly what kind of investment are you looking for and is it your wish to be carried out of Goodison feet first or not at all?
Dave Roberts     Posted 27/08/2010 at 09:59:31   Comments (46)

Best team, always

In these days of mass media, micro-scrutiny of football matches, there has (and only ever will be) one way of best management practice of a football team ? that simply being to pick your best players in the right positions!

This may be a simpleton's guide to football management in today's era of player power, with egos inflated to the size of Buster's nads, but the best team in Europe in the 80s played in Royal Blue! We knew their names and what positions they played in.

Alan Harper and Kevin Richardson, when called upon, never let anyone down... at times putting in Man of the Match performances, they knew and we knew that Kendall would drop the axe the minute the player they were covering for was back from injury or suspension ? that's the way it was and it made for a winning machine.

Today's squad is the best since that time; the best eleven may not pick itself at the moment, but in my opinion the best players at the club should start every game. I'll stick my neck out here and say who I think should start (4-4-1-1):

Howard; Coleman, Jagielka, Distin / Heitinga, Baines; Rodwell, Fellaini, Arteta, Pienaar; Cahill; Saha / Beckford.

So that has Distin & Heitinga fighting for centre-back, Saha & Beckford fighting for centre-forward. Change the system to suit the game, but put your best players on the pitch always.

Rodwell may become the best centre mid in the country one day; at the moment, let's see him on the pitch, likewise Coleman!! Get them on the pitch playing regularly. No favourites, no players for certain games, just the best players on the pitch for all the important games ? ALWAYS!
Barry  Hughes     Posted 26/08/2010 at 17:34:45   Comments (40)

It Should Have Been Us!

Although they made it predictably difficult for themselves in the first leg, last night I watched Spurs cruise into the group stage of the Champions League with mixed feelings. Great as it is to have anyone other than our neighbours entering this annual football Shangri-la, this plus-point is more than tempered by my feeling that Spurs, already in a much better financial state than us (isn?t everybody?) will now start to leave us trailing in their monied wake.

Last night I found myself actually wishing it had been the reds in that game, as at least the money they would make from the CL would be swallowed up by their massive debt burden, whereas ?Arry will probably be given bucket loads of dosh to improve an already strong team.

The points of my ramble are that IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN US, and years ago at that, and that this is the season where Moyes has finally to achieve something (4th or better or a cup) or it?s time for a change in manager.

I have always been a Moyes supporter ? not ?apologist? as some permanently downcast pessimists here would have it ? as I cannot see how anyone else could have done better up to now. Remember, he got a team that was lower mid-table at best in terms of talent into the same stage Spurs were at last night, and since then has assembled a squad that is better than any other we?ve had for twenty plus years.

I would have made the same point at the start of last season, but the decimating injuries put paid to that; however, this season everyone is fit, we?ve kept our best players (it doesn?t look like Pienaar is going now), so this is the make-or-break season for Moyes for me.

Despite our lethargic start, we all know what this squad is capable of; it?s now up to Moyes to loosen his mental shackles on the team and actually let the players express themselves on the pitch to the extent where we brush aside the likes of Blackburn or Wolves. Hopefully last night?s practice match will prove to be the jump start our season needs.

If we fail to achieve something this season, then I?m afraid the good ship Goodison will need a new captain.

COYB!!
Roger Trenwith     Posted 26/08/2010 at 10:24:00   Comments (36)

Coleman's Mistakes

Wiser people than me have pointed out that Seamus Coleman is not ready to take over from either Hibbert or Neville because he is subject to the odd defensive lapse. I understand this.

It is perfectly understandable that people want a watertight defence and that they require a full back whose first talent is defensive capability.

Could an increasingly confused oldster ask one question? It's this: which of the current starting eleven doesn't make mistakes? Which of them has such a perfect definition of his role, that we are never exposed to a gasp of incredulity when he gives the ball away; fails to take up the right position; presents the ball to the foot of an opposing attacker?

Seamus may have an unrefined knowledge of defensive duties at present, but seems to possess something the team has lacked for too long; the offensive flair which frightens defenders. In my, perhaps unwise, estimation, attack is the best form of defence, and were it not for a Manager who is ultra-cautious, we might have within our ranks the man who could do the "Bale" role equally as well as Bale himself.

This is not an anti-Moyes rant by any means. It is simply a request for a more in-depth analysis of why Seamus should be sitting on the bench rather than owning the arses of opposition full-backs.
Mike McLean     Posted 26/08/2010 at 08:08:39   Comments (59)

'Watch the Countdown...'

I was just reading Steve Round's ramblings in the Echo and was rather surprised to pick up on a comment he made.

He was going on about Yobo and Yak staying at the club and recovering from their world cup endeavours.

He then did a "Bill Kenwright" while saying he thought Moyes was fairly happy with the squad he made the following statement:

?Something might break this week but I think the manager is pleased with his squad. I think he is pleased with where he is at. That?s not to say nothing will happen, you never know. Watch the countdown.?

Reading between the lines will we be surprised with the wide pacy player most supporters are craving, or will it be a quality CB like Taylor of Newcastle or are we going to get a top quality striker.

Or more likely will it just be a club announecement that we ried really hard to bolster the squad with new addition but it just didnt happen.

Remember the new catchphrase "Watch the countdown"
Jay Harris     Posted 25/08/2010 at 14:03:44   Comments (38)

Diamond Formation

I would just maybe like to add another insight into the various discussions on Toffeeweb, whether it is 4-4-2, 4-4-1-1, 4-3-3 formation, etc.

It is clear that the middle of the park is the strongest area of the team. Our wings look very weak at the moment and people like Pienaar and Bilyaletdinov are more natural central attacking midfield players playing on the wing.

I would like to see Everton play a 4-1-2-1-2 or a diamond formation, just as Chelsea did at the start of last season. In my opinion, it would work because of the amount of good midfielders we have.

Defensive Mid: Heitinga or Fellaini could easily play here, maybe Rodwell or Neville if we're desperate.

Two Central Mids: A number of players could play here: My first choice would be Arteta and Rodwell, but we still have Fellaini, Bily, Pienaar and Osman just to name a few.

Attacking Mid: My favourite would be Pienaar, but again Cahill or Bily could play there.

This formation would then sort out people's persistence to play two strikers: Saha and Beckford, I can see this pair perhaps working quite well together, with Yakubu and Gueye as back up. Yes ideally, I would rather see another top class forward but we do not have the luxury.

The only problem is the lack of width, which the full backs would be trying to provide. But we do not have a good right back to do this. Baines is sorted on the left. Coleman is great going forward and would potentially fill in this position but isn't good enough defensively. Neville and Hibbert might, but probably would not work.

Even so, this would be the only problem. I can see Everton having more success than not with this formation.
Ben Jones     Posted 25/08/2010 at 10:39:59   Comments (23)

Goals

I see many comments in other threads on the need for a 20/25-goal-a-season striker. Whilst this should always be the aspiration, the reality is that there are very few of these players around (Drogba, Rooney, Torres) and those that do exist are way out of our price range. The solution of course lies elsewhere with a team contribution to the 'goals for' column, particularly from the midfield.

This is one source of our current travails as, with the notable exception of Cahill, we just do not generate enough scoring opportunities and, therefore, goals from this area. I think the single best way to address this within current resources, other than Moyes exhorting Pienaar and Arteta to be more aggressive from the edge of the box, is to play Rodwell in an advanced role within the midfield.

He makes strong and powerful runs, has a good shot and seems to have the knack of being in the right place at the right time. I would definitley have Rodwell, with Arteta, Fellaini (holding midfield), Heitinga and Jagielka (centre-backs) as the first names on the team sheet as the spine each week. Everyone else should fit around this.
Dave  Hutchinson     Posted 24/08/2010 at 20:16:54   Comments (47)

Crouch for Pienaar - The long and short of it.

In light of the recent reports about a possible swap for Pienaar and Crouch, if true, I've been thinking about how positive a move this would be.

There are several key factors, the main one being if we don't offload him in this window, we won't be getting any money for him. If we sell him now we aren't likely to get enough money to find a decent replacement and we haven't any money to supplement a transfer fee. For this reason, I believe this has to be seen as a good option if Crouch is surplus to requirements at WHL.

Crouch may not be everyone's cup of tea but he is effective and more often than not does the business. People may be worried about the return of hoofball but Crouch has more quality than just being a target man and is very good at linking up with the wide men feeding the ball into decent channels.

The major concern is how will it affect the balance of the side which is already questionable. We have several options on the left, Bily, Gueye and Osman (ducking my head for the abuse at such a suggestion already but hear me out).

Pienaar is not an out-and-out wide player and I personally think that the reason our left side is as strong as it is, is mainly due to Baines's overlapping of Pienaar.

If we managed to get Crouch, I think Moyes will be looking at offloading two strikers. Yakubu being one to West Ham but what about Stoke?? They are still in the market for a striker and are being frustrated elsewhere and clearly they have money to spend. So we may after all get circa £7-8m for the Yak. Vaughan may also see his days at Everton numbered and I feel we could realistically get £1m for him.

Would £8-£9m be enough to land Donovan? I think it would be and hey presto the signing of Crouch facilitates the signing of Donovan.

Landon Donovan changed our side last season when he was here, not always because of his performances but the genuine balance that he gave the side, and it is clear to see that when he left our performances dropped somewhat and our challenge for Europe faltered.

So, if we can sort these dealings out the right hand side is sorted so let's look at the left again. Whilst I haven't seen enough of Gueye yet, from what I have seen, I think there is definitely potential there. Bily would be a decent enough replacement for Pienaar, allowing Baines to overlap as effectively leaving Bily to play a bit narrower, which is also a job that Osman can do.

Maybe Crouch holds the key?
James Cadwaladr     Posted 24/08/2010 at 10:35:44   Comments (56)

InterNev

Is this what footballers do these days in their spare time?

http://www.offthepost.info/2010/08/phil-neville-has-his-own-iphone-app/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+offthepost%2FTLAa+%28Off+The+Post%29

I agree with the author of the piece when he suggests that Phil Neville (gawd bless 'im, the Queen Mum of Goodison) would not be the first footballer you'd think of if you were asked to guess who has their own iPhone app offering fashion tips.

I haven't downloaded this as I don't have an iPhone but it's only 59p apparently so if anybody does then I'd love to know what it's like
Les Green     Posted 24/08/2010 at 10:08:12   Comments (9)

How Should We Approach The Huddersfield Game

Apart from trying to win it of course...

Is this a game to play both Rodwell and Fellaini in midfield for respective fitness and experience? Maybe also Gueye, Coleman, Vaughan and The Yak should be handed starts and told to play themselves into the thoughts of the manager for the weekend.

This is a strategy we have not been able to afford over the last number of years. Well, now we can.

Having said that, however ? it's a hard job being manager. One other argument is that Moyes should stick with what he feels his best team is and let them 'click.' That would mean sticking with the same spine of the team with one or two minor changes.

I personally would like to see Fellaini in the team to work on his fitness ? and I would also like to see Yakubu start... I want to see the hunger in his eyes. We don't have a more natural goalscorer at the club. But whether he still retains that ability is another matter.
Ped Pearl     Posted 24/08/2010 at 00:31:06   Comments (42)

Rights Issue

With the news that the club has supposedly raised another £14 million via a loan, surely the time has come for the Board of Directors to at least explore an untapped source of funding via a share issue.

I am not well up on these matters but I am a small shareholder and would be willing to increase my investment in these times of almost zero interest on deposit accounts. I am sure others who are not shareholders would be willing to put up modest amounts for a stake in their club.

What do others think?


Andy Riley     Posted 23/08/2010 at 21:16:00   Comments (24)

Every season is pre-season

I have been reading comments of why Moyes keeps players on the bench, the team having bad preparations for the season etc etc...

There's something that puzzles, irritates, frustrates me: that is Moyes's approach to his style of managing the team and his players. When you have the players available, when you have the youngsters who are playing well and so damn willing to play for the team, when it is obvious some 'other players' are not performing, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know which is the best 11.

This team which Moyes currently played, is last season's team, or maybe two seasons ago. After seeing them played week-in, week-out, he still doesn't realize that they are only good enough for 5th to 10th position in the league? (Honestly, that 4th we got was just one off, we were just lucky.)

His reason is, it will kill the new players and youngsters if they are put into the team too soon. But what is he waiting for? Till it starts to piss off Pienaar, Arteta and Heitinga when they realise it is not happening? Or maybe Baines and Jagielka? Waiting for another club to come buy our stars and youngsters?

He is just too conservative. Maybe he was a defender, never liked to gamble. He has been playing the waiting game for seasons. Rodwell... please wait. Coleman... wait. Silva... wait. Gueye... wait. Be aggressive and play 2 strikers... wait.

Eeer...what are we waiting for? I KNOW! NEXT SEASON!! COS IT IS STILL PRE-SEASON! DAMN!
David Duffy     Posted 23/08/2010 at 11:35:52   Comments (14)

Lack of Drive

Watching Match of the Day 2, Robbie Savage was talking about Mark Hughes's Fulham side against the Mancs... He pointed out how, every time they get the ball they look to pass and drive forward.

This is what has been lacking in what was meant to be a promising start to the season. Especially against Wolves, we had nice spells of passing in the middle of the park but completely ran out of ideas in the final third.

A player that could offer us this drive is Rodwell; I like most have no idea why Moyes is reluctant to play him from the off. The lad was as impressive as any ifthe other midfielders in pre-season aswell as the under 21 international.

We have missed out in what should have been a relatively easy start to the season. There is no chance we can play how we have been in our upcoming games so I hope Moyes is thinking about changing it up. Rodwell, and what I've seen of Gueye, would offer a more direct and postive approach to our play, but we need Moyes to show a bit of faith in them rather than ferrying to type with the likes of Neville, Hibbert and Osman (who will all play the part at some point, but not whilst trying to get some momentum).

I hope the start was a hiccup in what could be a good season! Have faith Moyes! COYB!
Mike Cow     Posted 22/08/2010 at 22:19:46   Comments (12)

Sacrafice Rodwell

Would anyone else like to see Moyes cash in on Rodwell? £20 million and take the £6 million for Yakubu and invest in a quality striker, right winger and cover at left back... I wouldn't mind Andy Carroll or Carlton Cole, Donovan and a decent left back. I thought we should've bought Shorey as cover.
Chris  Hannon     Posted 22/08/2010 at 20:22:13   Comments (70)

The way forward

I think we need to change our strategy and style of play to have any chance of winning the title wth this squad of players.

In my honest opinion, we are too weak where it matters, central midfield.

If you look at Chelsea with a 4-3-3 formation, Lampard, Essien and Mikel, and swap them for Heitinga, Rodwell and Fellaini, to me we look evenly matched.

With their back four including Terry and Cole, our back four including Jagielka and Coleman, again there's a common feel about it.

Substitute Drogba for Saha, then there's only the wide positions to contemplate. Pienaar or Bily or Osman for Malouda, Anelka, doesn't seem to work.

Maybe Gueye, Anichebe, Beckford, might be nearer.

The point I'm making, and will probably get slaughtered for saying it, is we need to play without Arteta, Pienaar, Osman, Cahill, Bily, because they're not strong enough collectivelly to win us a title or trophy.

Man Utd play with Carrick and Fletcher, even the Shite when they looked like they may do something played with Gerrard, Alonso, Mascherano.

Arsenal haven't looked like winning a title since they started playing with skillful but fragile midfielders.

Rodders, Felli, Johnny, is the answer ? our new holy trinity!

Build the rest of the team arround them and we won't go far wrong.
Robert Daniels     Posted 22/08/2010 at 18:21:37   Comments (42)

How much longer?

No Coleman, Hibbert preferred? Distin ahead of World Cup Final centre-half Heitinga, no Rodwell? Beckford taken off for the ever lazy looking Saha ? when was his last goal again?

And if that wasn't bad enough, Davey's love child, Osman, gets a chance to turn the game!? How much longer are we to be expected to put up with Dithering Davey's puzzling team selection?

Ok, not pushing the panic button, but how many of us got the opening two fixtures and thought, hhmmmm 6 points to start the season? My solution is simple: play the best players in their best positions! ie, Coleman is our best right back, so... PLAY HIM!! Distan is a good centre half, but Johnny is better than him so... PLAY HIM!!! Rodwell is better than Neville and Osman so... you get the jist by now!

I am sorry if it upsets anyone but Neville, Hibbert, Osman, Distin etc should only play if we have injuries ? surely its not just me thinking this?!
Matt Boden     Posted 22/08/2010 at 10:37:06   Comments (70)

Rodwell and Rooney

Does anyone else see the similarity between these two young footballers warming the bench, when it's obvious that there's lesser talent on the field? Rodwell will get fucked off just as Rooney did and will leave and rightly so. How can Rooney need protection at his age and not be in the Everton 11 each week, but play almost every game for United?

For fuck's sake Moyes. Please give the youth a chance and dismiss the old guard, before we lose another diamond.
Liam Reilly     Posted 22/08/2010 at 02:16:07   Comments (23)

Yakubu??

I wonder... Where is Yakubu? Is he so bad he's not able to get a place, even on the bench? Is he maybe even injured? Why don't the club tell us anything?

Maybe he's up for sale. Or maybe he's on a diet. Perhaps he's on a disciplinary reaction?

But why then... always the silence? Why don't our club have some decent media people? I don't mean for them to say everything, but always this silence.

Don't the people working at EFC know it's allright to say something truthful? I just wonder...
Gaute Lie     Posted 22/08/2010 at 01:01:05   Comments (18)

Here we go again...

Forget the hype, forget the optimism, forget CL ? we are clearly not good enough ? end of.

Our balance is all wrong, we our lob-sided, we have got options on the left, we have options in the middle, but we have no options at all on the right hand side.

All teams know that closing down Arteta will lead to an Everton team playing hoofball from the poorest passers in the Premier League, namely Jagielka , Hibbert or Neville.

We have been sussed out very early on by the league's most physical sides who normally can't put two passes together but have shown how easy it is to outplay Everton with it's multitude of craftsmen ? wait until any of the Top 6 get to us.

Moyes still hasn?t got a clue what his best team is and, more important, what formation he needs to adopt to get the best out of them (see my Article written yesterday).

Selection dilemmas:

FB - Neville or Hibbert or Coleman
DM - Heitinga or Fellaini or Rodwell
Hole - Cahill or Bilyaletdinov or Rodwell
CF - Saha or Beckford or Yakubu
RW - Osman or Pinnear

Clearly there are so many options with so little time to sort out.

Another result like today?s or last week?s at Blackburn at Villa next week and you?ll start to hear comments about lack of confidence , players not prepared due to World Cup etc etc and bingo ? here we go again as the poorest starters in the league.
Mike Oates     Posted 21/08/2010 at 21:09:39   Comments (39)

Pienaar: The final word?

In today's Daily Mail, David Moyes says: 'Steven was made a brilliant offer and it has been on the table for three or four months,' ... 'I've said all along I will keep him and I've not budged.' The Mail goes on to say that Moyes is adamant no offers have been received and that Pienaar, 28, will see out the 12 months on his current deal, rather than be allowed to leave on the cheap. According to the paper, the deal offered was £55,000 a week. With the usual caveats about the veracity of the Mail's story, this is the first time that Moyes has declared that he is prepared to let Pienaar serve out his 12 months rather than cash in now. I know ToffeeWeb contributors have different views on this subject but it seems to me that some real intentions have come out of this story:

1. Moyes will keep Pienaar and make him see out his contract;

2. EFC believe Pienaar is worth considerably less than Arteta;

3. It doesn't appear to be length of contract that's the issue.

I personally would have thought that Pienaar would have been a lot closer in salary (to Arteta).

This whole story begs the question of course: if Moyes sticks to this view, we are definitely going to lose Pienaar for nothing next year. Nose, face, cut?
Tony McDonald     Posted 21/08/2010 at 09:40:36   Comments (16)

What goes around comes around

David Moyes must have choked on his morning coffee whilst reading his newspaper and watching SSN. His best "mate" Mark Hughes was giving an interview on how unjust it was that Arsenal was trying to unsettle Mark Schwartzer, his goalkeeper at the start of this season.

What a bloody nerve the City reject has! Surely he hasn't forgoten what he did to us at the beginning of last season? Or is he just plain arrogant?


Antony Matthews     Posted 20/08/2010 at 23:15:38   Comments (16)

Money money money (or a lack of?)

Reading the article this morning about Steven Pienaar being wanted by Spurs, two things struck me:

First, is this now going to be a regular ploy between competing teams to try and unsettle a rival squad (a la Lescott, Milner and now Rodwell and Pienaar)? Allow the player to keep going through all of the pre-season then feed in rumours that you want to buy them to unsettle the squad? That's a pretty devious trend, methinks.

Secondly, West Ham say we'll offer you £6m for Yak then come back with a revised offer of £5m. Now they're talking about Spurs offering just £6m for Pienaar. Do they know something we don't? Do they suspect some sort of desperate agreement from us (if so, why?) or are these linked to the first point, trying to destabalise the player? For example, 'we'd love to have you play for us and give you tons of dosh if only Everton would be more reasonable' (whilst having no intention of a serious offer)?
Chris Gallagher     Posted 20/08/2010 at 08:11:45   Comments (21)

I'm coming home

The last time I was at Goodison Park, I was 9 years old. I can't remember what the place actually looks like or what way the game went, but I remember the atmosphere, to descibe it in one word it was mindboggling.

I live in Ireland and all my friends support Man Utd or Liverpool. To get over to Goodison has been nearly impossible for me; problems... money, no-one to go over with, girlfriend etc etc. I do have Sky Sports, ESPN, Football First ? and of course ToffeeWeb ? to keep me as close to the action as possible, but it's just not the same.

Now I've finally been freed from my exile!! I've persuaded two on my Man Utd mates to come to Goodison with me, we fly out on the 11 September 2010 (good omen!) and fly back two days later. The whole package was £235 each, we are staying in the Premier Inn, we have tickets for the Main Stand and our flights over... to sum it up ? I can't fucking wait!!!!

Can't wait to stand outside the stadium... can't wait to get in it... can't wait for the Toffee Girl... can't wait for Z-Cars... can't wait to feel the roar of the Goodison faithful on the back of my neck, and hopefully I can give my mates some serious banter if we win!

I'm really going over a bit blind; I don't know where the bars are were Evertonians gather for pre-drinks, what time do the players arrive before kick-off (which is 13:30 Sunday). Any help from youse lucky season ticket holders would be great! Cheers lads, and see you soon.

I'M COMING HOME!!!
Sean McKenna     Posted 19/08/2010 at 18:22:42   Comments (40)

Yobo loaned to Celtic?

Just read that our very own Joseph Yobo has been in talks to be loaned to Celtic. Surely this is a bad move for the club.

Loaning out youngsters to gain them first team experience is one thing but loaning out a player of Yobo's age shows the fact that he's not wanted by the manager or the club and will only lower his valuation. We should just sell the lad to the first club who offers a decent wedge for him rather than farm him out to clubs who are skint! (like us).

Personally, think this is a bad move
Tony Hale     Posted 19/08/2010 at 16:33:59   Comments (34)

Pienaar: Greed Or Value?

"Pienaar neglected to comment on what aspect was stalling the deal, but wages could be the obstacle..."

You don't say?

So negotiations appear then to be coming to a successful conclusion regarding the Bafana boy. I don't dislike this player, but I think his ego is larger than his talent. I wouldn't dwell too much if he left, as at 28 he'll soon be on the slide. Maybe others feel differently.

But set against the backdrop of a stricken L4, it's his comment about "wanting what's right," alongside the cliched, tokenistic and in my opinion, wholly disingenuous & patronising nod to the supporters, that annoyed me. Exactly what has he done to earn top whack?

Not seeking brick-bats ? I think he's a decent player. Just want to know if ToffeeWebbers think he's indispensable, and therefore worth every penny...
Kevin Hudson     Posted 19/08/2010 at 14:59:24   Comments (68)

Time for Young Guns?

I write this post after much deliberation and frustration ? not just at the Blackburn game but also at the no-show against Wolfsburg. Some fans are saying, "Calm down, it's only one game" but if you take the Wolfsburg game into account, that's two.

The worrying thing for me is that there seems to be a lethargy about the whole team that is not normally seen in an Everton team and, following on from all the optimism, it feels like a real letdown. We all have our views on formation, tactics, team selection etc, and I think most of us feel this is the best quality squad we have had for a long time.

My concern is that this is the season when our top young guns will be expecting to play and will get frustrated if they don't. Now we have Rodwell who is being touted for England by our Captain and yet can't seem to get a start for us!! We also have Seamus Coleman who IMO is the most exciting full back we've had since Ray Wilson. Add to that Jermaine Beckford who is promising but as yet untested at this level; Gueye who has looked good pre-season but again untested... together with the regular bystanders Vaughan and Anichebe.

Our manager, who I rate very highly, has a reputation for developing youth but I have a feeling that the energy and determination that youngsters have present a challenge to our supremo that he doesn't relish. Is it time for the Old guard to move over and inject some enthusiasm or are the old soldiers capable of upping their game to prevent the challenge which may mean losing some of our young talent?
Jay Harris     Posted 19/08/2010 at 14:38:43   Comments (44)

Right-wing trickster...

It is my view that other than, as an impact substitution, the day of the tricky winger has, at least temporarily, gone. Lennon. Wright-Philips and Walcott who promised so much have not delivered at the highest level. Now it seems that Izmailov might just be a possible signing for Everton.

Of course,he's not a tricky winger but a quick attacking midfielder who can play wide right. At his best, fit and managed tenderly he could maybe do a job for us wide right. At his worst he could be our new AVDM. Is it worth the risk? I suggest not. I believe the solution to our wide right problem is at the club. Yes, step forward Seamus Coleman.

Many contributors to the site have reservations about Seamus as a defender. I don't, but crucially I think David Moyes does. Most agree that going forward, however, he can be an effective threat. He doesn't beat a full back like the tricky winger but he has pace can run at and unsettle a defender and most importantly he can cross from deep.

If Tim Cahill must play then I feel he will be more effective with Coleman playing. With Bily playing instead of Tim behind whoever one feels is our best lone striker, Coleman still offers an option that was desperately missing at Blackburn. He puts in a shift and would make us solid on the right. Gosling with pace.

Leon Osman is lost on the right, Vic would be a short term fix. The solution is under our nose. Give him a chance.
Andy Crooks     Posted 19/08/2010 at 00:18:40   Comments (40)

Fanshares... anyone share a thought?

I've just read an article on the Telegraph website about a scheme set up by Arsenal fans that allows real football fans like you and me to stake a claim in the shares of their club... it's called Arsenal Fan Share ? funnily enough.

This is news to me... and, not knowing too much about it, I was wondering if anyone knew anything more specific about it.

Also, does anyone know of a similar scheme set up by Evertonians? The article states "Arsenal are already one of the last major clubs in England to have supporters directly involved in their ownership structure".

Does anyone know what this equates to at Goodison?
Joe Carroll     Posted 18/08/2010 at 20:25:26   Comments (9)

Dries Mertens

So we seem to be interested in Dries Mertens. To be precise: Dutch website Elfvoetbal says Everton (and Dutch clubs PSV and FC Twente) told his current club FC Utrecht their interest in the player and have already offered the player a contract. They claim another site as their source: vi.nl (VI is the biggest Dutch football magazine). But on vi.nl I cannot find anything about Mertens and our supposed interest. So probably this is another made-up rumour, although it could be that it was in the paper version of VI, I didn't read last week's edition.

Just for those who are interested in the player: he's an (attacking) midfielder, very skillful, great passing, good finisher. Can use either leg. His best position is a central one, although he has played on the right wing before. He is far more effective centrally as he has a great through ball.

Is he good enough to play for us? He has got the skill and the tactical knowledge/vision. And to me, he seems to have the right mentality. He has a big, big disadvantage though. He's only about 5ft 7in and from time to time gets muscled out by his opponents - in the Dutch league! I think he lacks the physique to really make an impact in the Premier League.

In short he's like an even smaller version of Arteta. I think we shouldn't go after him. If we want to buy a right winger from the Dutch competition, we should go after Bryan Ruiz (Twente) or Ibrahim Afellay (PSV).

Stay tuned for the next scouting report from The Netherlands!
Erik Dols     Posted 18/08/2010 at 08:24:04   Comments (30)

Has Kenwright ever heard of these two?

On the BBC rumour page come two stories about Blackburn being taken over:

1. Blackburn are a takeover target for two wealthy Indian businessmen. Representatives of billionaire Ahsan Aly Syed arrived at Ewood Park on Monday for talks, claiming they will inject £300m into Rovers. They hope to block a bid by rival Saurin Shah, who is due in Blackburn on Wednesday for talks. Full story: the Sun

2. Rovers manager Sam Allardyce will be given £100m to spend on players this season if Ali Syed's proposed bid for the club is successful. Full story: Daily Telegraph

What have Rovers got going on that makes them a better prospect than EFC?
Trevor Powell     Posted 17/08/2010 at 09:28:42   Comments (123)

Everton 3 - 0 Wolves

I've got great news everyone!

Our Kid's just invented this time machine and he asked me where I fancied going. I said Goodison Park, this Saturday, 3pm.

Next thing I know I'm sat in the Gwladys, Z-Cars is ringing in my ears and the boys are running out and the next 90 minutes are, quite frankly, a joy. Here were some of the standout performances:

Howard - not much to do but two blinding saves and keeping the penalty out helped us push on to victory.

Back four - solid, great work down the left by Baines linking up with Pienaar who still not quite at the races put a shift in and set up 2nd goal.

Arteta and Rodwell - what a combination in the middle of the park! Ran the shown and Rodwell's winner must be highlight of MotD...?

Saha and Beckford - did their jobs, Saha getting 1st, Beckford on as sub looking really sharp and clinical final goal.

What were we worrying about\? Blackburn clearly did a job and we weren't ready for them. Oh well, this is the start of our season now, we were brilliant. I've seen the future....

ps: Saturday night's Lotto numbers are 22, 24, 26, 28, 38, 40....
Mike Green     Posted 17/08/2010 at 09:02:21   Comments (25)

Moyes and Tactics

The most disappointing thing about Saturday for me is the negative approach of our manager. If we want to reach the top four, we need to attack teams like Blackburn and definitely go with two up front.

Blackburn's greatest attribute is their physicality and Moyes leaves Rodwell on the bench and plays Osman. Add in the fact that Heitinga is our most physical player and he is also left sitting. He then substitutes Osman for Beckford and we think we now have two up front only to then take Saha of and replace him with Rodwell. What's going on there, I ask.

Then there is Neville. He is totally out of his depth and offers nothing going forward. He makes Hibbert look world class and that's saying something. As for playing Saha as the lone striker is beyond me. He just can't cover that ground and I would imagine he finds it frustrating. I don't doubt he is an excellent man-manager and has assembled a great squad but tactically I feel he is very poor and this will be the crucial if we are to achieve anything.
Micheal  Lynch     Posted 16/08/2010 at 22:34:55   Comments (43)

Loyalty or lunacy but not tactical

Well, I for one believe the loyalty Moyes shows to Osman, Hibbert and Neville could well prove the downfall of our hopeful season. Reading the many summer articles, many people on ToffeeWeb were full of hope, excited that this season, if we had a good start, we could gatecrash the top 4.

Ok, losing the first game is not a disaster, as we recovered well after Arsenal beat us 4-1, we got 4th spot. Let's all be honest and admit that Neville Osman and Hibbert are not players who would get into the majority of Premier League sides and certainly not within the top half of the Prem. I understand loyalty etc but look where that got us with Gosling.

It's not tactical Moyes picked Osman and Neville as we all know there were better players on the bench who, if started, would have performed substantially better. Moyesy, you have 15 days to off-load these three and buy a Mars Bar with the proceeds! Seriously, we could lower the wage bill and get a bit of cash... I mean, for God's sake, Michael Ball is looking for a club and he would piss all over these.
Chris  Perry     Posted 16/08/2010 at 20:20:35   Comments (38)

Everton's bid for Sporting's Izmailov

The 27-year-old is supposedly meant to be injury prone which is his status at the moment; however he is also a winger who pulls the strings. He had a falling out with Sporting directors and coach and has said that he wants to leave. Manchester City bid £10 million for him at some point and due to Sporting's financial problems, we could get him at a cut price. It would be great to have a player who pulls the strings on the wing and is meant to be a great player when fit.
Jayden Pileggi     Posted 16/08/2010 at 14:32:27   Comments (19)

Pre-season preparations

Can anyone shed any light on why Everton are always so badly prepared for the start of the season? I wrongly thought this year would be different. There's no Lescott problem this year, no long-term injuries, no contract situation for Moyes, no midweek qualifying European fixture. Our top players, Pienaar aside, have all signed new contracts each stating their love for the team and manager.

Putting the tactics to one side and the selection of Osman on the right wing, the players didn't look up for it on Saturday. This to me is absolutely criminal. How can our players not be arsed about the start of the new season? This is far more of a fundamental problem than whether Neville and Osman play. If we'd have lost by an awful goalkeeping error but the team had shown some fight, I think a lot more of us would have been a lot more forgiving and left feeling more positive about the Wolves game.

So why the hell can't Moyes get his team properly preprared? Considering Blackburn had a very similar pre-season in terms of the standard of opposition they played (they also went on a tour of Australia), why were their players up for it and not ours? It has to be far more to do with getting the players right mentally, which Moyes obviously has trouble doing.

I've not lost all faith in Moyes because this team will still come good but we may well have lost too much ground on the likes of Spurs and City by that point. I'm getting sick of our season not starting until November and I'm sick of reaching May and saying if only we'd have started the season better.
Alan Clarke     Posted 16/08/2010 at 12:49:58   Comments (31)

A view from across the sea

As this is my first mail bag, let me introduce myself. I have been supporting Everton since 1969 and unfortunately, while I can?t explain why I began my fascination with the club, I can explain why I continue to support Everton today. The "People's Club" best defines it; it?s the values the club espouses, the tradition and heritage of the club, the love of the club by the fans, players, former players, management etc. I?ve been visiting this website for years now and love it so much that it?s my home page!

If Everton were taken over by a billionaire, even though I know this is the wish of many ToffeeWeb readers, I would be appalled. I look on in horror at what?s happening at Man City and regard it as a form of cheating, as it is at Chelsea. Money is destroying the Premier League, but at least this recession is leading to a more level playing field. Now don?t get me wrong, like everyone else, I want Everton to win silverware, it?s just that I don?t want them to buy their way there.

One of my brothers is a big Chelsea fan and I?m always going on to him about Everton, Chelsea, the Premier League in a similar manner that I?ve just done in the opening paragraphs to this article. On Saturday he told me about an article about ?my beloved Toffees?, to quote his words, appearing in the Irish Times written by Michael Walker. Obviously it was written before the disappointing Blackburn match, but the opinions are still valid and it probably says it better than I?ve been trying to do! It?s another view point and I hope you enjoy it. As always I await the many varied comments that I?m sure will arise!

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/sport/2010/0814/1224276818206.html
Gerry O'Riordan     Posted 16/08/2010 at 10:24:50   Comments (10)

Fellaini or Rodwell?

It appears that Moyes is going to persist this season with 4-5-1.

Cahill looks to be the man to play in behind whichever striker is fit, that leaves Arteta and Pienaar in the creative roles with Osman, Bily, Anichebe or A N Other wide right. This leaves us with the defensive midfield role which if we expect Heitinga to slot in at centre-half then it looks like its between Fellaini and Rodwell for the holding role. It's difficult to split them but it looks like Moyes is favouring Fellaini who he selected despite the fact that he doesn't seem to be 100%.
Anthony Hughes     Posted 16/08/2010 at 10:02:34   Comments (19)

Craig Bellamy

Being widely reported that Bellamy is on his way to Everton in a loan deal. He will undoubtedly have a point to prove but keep him away from the golf clubs..??!!
Alex Gibney     Posted 15/08/2010 at 17:31:30   Comments (56)

Victor's unknown injury

The OS states that Anichebe is suffering from an unknown injury...

Brings to mind: "There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we now know we don?t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. These are things we do not know we don?t know. ? ? United States Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld

That's cleared that up then.
Dick Fearon     Posted 15/08/2010 at 12:51:48   Comments (24)

Where does Howard rate?

Short and sweet: where in terms of Premier League goalkeepers do you rate Tim Howard?

For me, there are at least 13 keepers in the Prem who are all better than Howard. Time and again, he makes poor decisions, is painfully slow to get off his line, and does not command his area well at all.

To his credit, he does occasionally make world class saves where I think "How on earth did he get that?" ... but, for me, the fundamentals are much more improtant than eye-catching saves.

If Mucha is genuinely here to challenge rather than play second fiddle, I hope he gets his chance sooner rather than later.
Stephen  Kenny     Posted 14/08/2010 at 23:26:19   Comments (52)

New Season... Same Old Shit

Neville and Osman starting. Listless performance. Players still on the summer break.

Season opener and a crap result and performance. And... a loss.

Sickening stuff really. Those are exactly the types of game we must win if we are to break the Top 4. Tough road trip or not, I expect much, much more of this season's squad. Just a complete let-down.

Suppose I shouldn't be suprised. Opening day, isn't it?

Same shit, different season.
Jamie Crowley     Posted 14/08/2010 at 16:55:07   Comments (119)

Arteta for England?

Steven Gerrard has revealed he would "love" Everton counterpart Mikel Arteta to come into the England fold. He told TalkSPORT's Drive Time: "I'd certainly love nothing better than to see Mikel Arteta available for England.

"You want to play with the best players, and if it makes the England squad better, of course I'd like to see it," he went on. "I think it happens to most national teams [that they pick non-nationals], but it's up to him if he wants to make himself available. You want to play with the best players, and if it makes the England squad better, of course I'd like to see it."

Gerrard added: "Fabio Capello is the man to answer the question because he's the manager, but for me he's an excellent player."
Chris Wilson     Posted 13/08/2010 at 19:49:36   Comments (62)

Fight, Fight, Fight!

As we start the season tomorrow, I find myself not being able to work or think about anything else and I can't stop thinking about going to Stamford Bridge on the last day taking 3 points needed to win the league. Regardless if this is being over optimistic there is a good reason for it.

As a 30-year-old fan, I have not knowingly experienced this optimism and excitement before. I have even been on to other fansites to see what they are all saying about us and as expected Liverpool, Spurs and Man City are all belittling our club and chances. Well fuck them and let's stick it right up where the sun don?t shine.

Let's all of us get that siege mentality for the next 9 months, support our team like never before and help them on to something special.

There is no more together settled and happy squad in the league as Everton's and to our players, all I ask is that you FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT ON THE BANKS OF THE ROYAL BLUE MERSEY! And who knows where we will be come May...

Good Luck to each and everyone of us!
James Cadwaladr     Posted 13/08/2010 at 13:46:59   Comments (38)

Could this work?

Looking at the players we have available, taking in to account the perceived weaknesses we have (Right hand side) is Anichebe good enough to be a regular starter? Is Coleman too defensively naive to be a regular starter at Right back?

The strength of the squad is sought primarily in midfield where we have a depth of talent (everybody fit) that would mean somebody missing out who is definitely good enough to start. I understand changing a system totally is something difficult and realise that it is very unlikely to happen as Moyes?s policy is generally very rigid and will usually set up in a similar manner whoever the opponent.

In order to accommodate both Heitinga and Jagielka both at Centre-Half, like it or not, Distin or Yobo has to be involved. In the modern game there are two types of centre half, one that attacks everything and dominates both in the air and on the floor. The second will drop off in to the space and clear up everything behind. Both Heitinga and Jagielka fall in to this category, Distin and Yobo the former.

As a result, Moyes will play one of each type together in a back four. Which brings me to my point: in order to accommodate as many of our best players as possible in to one system, it would make sense to play a back three. This also utilises the left / right footer on either side and should mean Heitinga should be the spare man and therefore given the opportunity to display his impressive range of passing from deep.

Distin - Heitinga - Jagielka

Playing this system also negates the defensive naivity of Coleman as he could be utilised on the right hand side as a wing-back... with Baines similarly on the left, where arguably he would be more effective. However, this may break up his partnership with Pienaar which has been so effective over the last couple of years.

Baines - Coleman

In Midfield we could then play a three fairly narrow as the width would be provided by the wing-backs. Possibly playing Fellaini holding and giving a platform for Pienaar and Arteta to get forward and create (both of which are arguably better utilised in the middle) without a massive need to get back in and defend. Obviously using the work ethic of Pienaar in particular we would have license to press a lot further up the pitch.

Fellaini
Arteta - Pienaar

Further forward, there is the opportunity to play with either Cahill/Rodwell in ?the hole? behind a main striker. Giving the opportunity to pick the ball up infront of the oppositions back four with options coming from both deep and out wide. Cahill provides a threat aerially and is notoriously difficult to pick up. Rodwell being a lot more technical I would expect could dictate the game from that position and drive forward as he did against Man Utd last season. Without getting into a debate on the merits of who should play, I would expect both would be effective in the role.

Rodwell / Cahill

Up front, there would be less pressure on the frontman to hold the ball up and wait for support as in theory there should be options wide and from deep. Therefore, Saha would probably be best deployed here as he is less adept with his back to goal than the Yak, but has a great touch, his vision and eye for goal are far and away the best we have at our disposal. So he would get the nod in this system. With Beckford able to use his pace and intelligence in behind when called upon. Also the Yak as a target if required.

Saha

Overall It seems a little far-fetched to expect Moyes to drop a system that has been so effective over the years. I just feel that, with the players we have at our disposal, this may suit what we have. I have not ignored the likes of Neville, Hibbert, Osman, Vaughan etc (that would be a different debate) but feel that the players mentioned would be the most effective in the system used.
Lee Armstrong     Posted 13/08/2010 at 11:05:06   Comments (26)

Arteta

A nice little interview published by the Guardian tonight about Mikel. Says he'll officially sign his 5-year contract tomorrow (Friday). Bit it's a nice little glimpse into the secretive world of Everton Football Club.

Interesting Arteta says, "...personally, [I] have been complaining to the chairman about how we need to improve this and that".

http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2010/aug/12/mikel-arteta-everton-five-years
Alex Kociuba     Posted 13/08/2010 at 00:59:32   Comments (23)

What is the sound of one hand clapping?

With the squad that we have and our potential for this season, knowing what you do now by living through his part in our history, and viewing with hindsight, the 8 years of David Moyes; has it been worth it?
Nick Entwistle     Posted 12/08/2010 at 20:37:39   Comments (75)

What will change this season?

As an Evertonian 32 years old, it?s fair to say I?m more used to disappointment than anything else... so, against that background, please understand my question:

What has changed/will change this season from last season so that we win those ?must win? games that we simply didn?t win?

There were numerous occasions last season when it seemed like a win could propel us into Champions League contention but we failed to convert. Was it mental pressure? Was it lack of luck? Something occurred such that not only could we not win those games to contest 4th spot BUT we couldn?t eventually overhaul Liverpool either.

I know we beat Man U and Chelsea but the pressure was off by then. Those wins didn?t mean a lot. And even though it should have meant we were confident enough to win the ?must win? games, we didn?t.

I know there?s a lot of optimism around and I apologise if I dent that but I just want to know why everyone has by-passed this crucial question?

Please help?!


Kase Chow     Posted 12/08/2010 at 17:11:17   Comments (24)

Mr W R Deanovich

So you're on holiday in Benalmedena, a kid's drowning in the sea, you pile in pull him out and save his life, turns out he's the only son of one of the richest men on earth.

The doting father, Mr W R Deanovich, invites you to his palatial mansion above the picturesque village of Mijas he gives you a million quid as reward and asks is there anything more he can do....... then, pointing to the badge on your shirt he asks "What is Nil Satis Nisi Optimum?"

That night at the karaoke, you sing Tony Christies "Amarillo" like never before, for you are now the advisor of your new Blue Brother, Mr Deanovich, he has wanted to invest in football for some time but couldn't find a club of history, integrity, of potential majesty... as he says "Class is never cheap, would a billion be a good start?"......

What would you do first?

I'd clear the area near the top of Breck Road in Everton and commission a multi-use stadium with all the shops, hotel, museum facilities attached, and a removable pitch to ensure a good playing surface. It would be the most prominent building overlooking the Mersey with all the historic connotations nearby; I'd call it "Dixieland".
Charles King     Posted 12/08/2010 at 16:47:33   Comments (18)

Teamsheet for Blackburn

Ok, so excited now that I'm almost unable to do anything else except consider the new season and check all internet sites to do with Everton every 5 minutes.

Kick-off for us is just over 48 hours away and I really hope it's a better start to the season than last time around. I stupidly watched that Arsenal match with some Gooner friends of mine in the pub. After their 5th goal went in, i was so angry and depressed I simply got up and left without so much as a goodbye or backward glance.

This time I'm hopeful of a better outcome! Blackburn are no mugs though and we can be sure they'll throw a lot of balls into the box and big Sam knows hows to grind out results.

With Cahill injured, I am hoping Moyes has been reading Alan Kirwin's article and lines up 4-2-3-1 like so:

Howard Neville Jagielka Distin Baines Fellaini Rodwell Gueye Arteta Pienaar Saha

Brief justification:

Howard: Obviously
Neville: Gonna play somewhere, right?
Jags: Obviously
Distin: not sure Jonny's fit, plus it's gonna be a physical game
Baines: Obviously
Fellaini: If fit.
Rodwell: Did you watch England U-21?
Gueye: Joker in the pack. Always fun to have a new boy in and I hope he's got a bit of pace...
Arteta: Obviously
Pienaar: Obviously
Saha: Our best striker when fit in my eyes.

I think this team and formation should be more than a match for Blackburn so long as we concentrate and don't concede any silly goals. This team should be able to dominate possesion but also have stature enough to stand up to the inevitable long balls.

However, I have a feeling my wish won't come true. I'm pretty sure Osman will start somewhere and have a horrible feeling he will play Neville in CM.

Either way, can't wait!! COYB!!!
Sam Hoare     Posted 12/08/2010 at 13:47:24   Comments (59)

Huddersfield v Everton

Great draw for both clubs.

My dad is a lifelong Terriers Fan. It will be great to bring him to Goodison Park to watch what should be a great match. Huddersfield play good attacking football.

My dad pointed out that Rev Ben Swift Chambers was born just outside Huddersfield. So there is a bit of history linking us.

Here's to a good cup run.

COYB


David Childs     Posted 12/08/2010 at 11:09:37   Comments (8)

Everton or Villa, Mr Brazil?

Listening to TalkSPORT on the way into work this morning and the question was posed to Alan Brazil ? Who is the bigger club, Everton or Villa?

After much squirming and trying not to answer the question, he said that David Moyes would have a better chance at success at Villa due to the resources he would have available.

I can't deny that Villa have more money than us, but player for player and with a fit squad, we have by far and away better resources. I would hand on heart say that only the diver Young and Milner would challenge to get into our starting XI.

Martin O'Neill has wasted countless millions filling the Villa team with mistakes. Heskey, Petrov, Reo-Cocker, Sidwell and Cuellar are approximately £30 millions worth of evidence.

So, this lead me to think that, if only two of their players would get into our team, how much would a new manager have to spend to bring that squad in line with likes of us and Spurs?

This is why David Moyes would never leave Everton for Villa. It would be a 3-year regression for his career.

The fact that they finished above us last season can be argued, but looking at the form displayed by both clubs from November onwards adds credence to my argument.

I like Alan Brazil; I think he talks a lot of sense... but perhaps he wants to rethink this one?

Cant wait for Saturday ? Come On, Blue Boys!!!!!
Matt Barry     Posted 11/08/2010 at 18:41:11   Comments (31)

The Top 7

There has been a lot of optimism here about the new season for the Blues and a lot of it has been due I think to our more stable close and pre season coupled with (with the exception of Man City) a lack of transfer activity amongst the big boys. Also we have not lost any key players and the platform for success looks a lot more secure that in previous seasons.

So this is my prediction for the Top 7:

1 Man Utd
2 Chelsea
3 Tottenham
4 Everton
5 Arsenal
6 Man City
7 Liverpool

Despite Man City's spending spree, I just can't see them breaking into the top 4 this season. Too many comings and goings within their playing staff coupled with an overrated manager should keep them away from the promised land.

But I do think we have a chance to break into the Top 4 this year. I am not sure we can overhaul the top two who I think will still be the two teams to beat this season but, after that, I think we have a decent chance of 4th for sure and maybe even 3rd if Tottenham?s Euro campaign adds stresses and strains to their league challenge.
Alun Jones     Posted 10/08/2010 at 18:37:40   Comments (76)

Yak offer

I've just come in to the delight of the breaking news on Sky Sports. West Ham have bid for the Yak!

This is the second, and obviously a more improved offer, for what surely is a surplus to requirements striker. Now I know it is the obvious question I pose, but will we accept this time around ?

The much needed funds generated from his sale, would then be available to DM. In my opinion it's a question that needs no answer. With the strikers we now have on board, we could then utilise these funds to make the donavan deal a reality, and get pienaar to sign on the dotted line with the remaining funds going towards his inflated wages.

I know this is a debate that has been posted previously, but surely now is the time to act and get rid of a striker who in the eye's of most is no longer needed or wanted.

Everton, please make a swift and positive decision on this offer and don't delay with your response. We could then be starting our season with donavan on board and pienaar tied up for a few more years, and all in the knowledge that the yak has moved on with his best years behind him. I know who will be the winner in this deal and it ain't West Ham.
Craig  Bellew     Posted 10/08/2010 at 18:25:36   Comments (143)

The last word on Steven Pienaar ? again!

Very interesting quote from Pienaar's agent:

Steven Pienaar?s business manager has questioned Everton?s intentions surrounding his client, and cited the move to secure Mikel Arteta?s services as grounds for concern that Pienaar may not stay at Goodison Park.

?It is great news for the club that they have secured Arteta for the next five years, and it shows that they are able to move quickly when they want to, but in the case of Pienaar it is surprising that he is the player with the least amount of time remaining on his contract, yet the last to be tied up with a new deal.

?You have to ask yourself, ?Does this mean Everton actually want to sell him?? But there is nothing we can do about it. Obviously if he does not sign a new deal before the end of the transfer window on August 31 then the chances of him doing so are greatly reduced because he will be in the last year of his current deal and able to start negotiating with other clubs in January. He would be a very attractive proposition for them on a free at the end of the season.

?But the player has never said that he wants to leave and he is not the kind of person who goes knocking on the manager?s door halfway through a contract demanding more money and revised terms. That is why it is frustrating that it is taking so long to sort it out now.?
I was under the impression that EFC had offered him a contract worth £60,000 a week which HE is yet to sign but the agent is suggesting this is not the case. So we have another Mexican stand-off and could lose the player for nothing at the end of the season.

Brinkmanship is all well and good but IMO this situation needs resolving quickly. I get the impression that Pienaar wants to stay but if he is not accepting what the club are offering then we need to move him on and get a replacement in.

It would be a shame because I like the energy and creativity he brings but it would be folly to lose him on a free and IMO it would be disruptive for him to be talking to other clubs in January.

Get it sorted Davy.
Jay Harris     Posted 10/08/2010 at 13:09:54   Comments (57)

The 25-Player Rule

Excuse my ignorance here, but someone maybe able to shed some light on this issue.

Firstly, when does this 25 player squad list have to be submitted by? Is it Saturday?

Also, how does it work for us, let's say:- We announce a 23-man squad, and leave space available for future signings (hopeful I know).

ie, can we change when/if we sign sell someone. Is the deadline running in line with the Transfer window?

Also, we've been here a million times before, with the 'no money' then the 'maybe 1 or 2', surely we will be signing someone, hopefully Landon...
Steve Foster     Posted 09/08/2010 at 21:56:18   Comments (16)

Managerial merry-go-rounds

With Martin O?Neill?s departure, is it just me or did anyone else breathe a huge sigh of relief that in a parallel universe, this could have been Moyes after selling or about to sell one of his star players. Milner, granted, wanted to go... but did they try hard enough in the same way as Bill and Davey did with Mikel? Sometimes an initial pound note gain is outweighed by the destabilisation of the team spirit.

A club in tatters that promised so much ? rewind 12 months and who does it remind you of??? Moyes nearly went ...and again, Bill?s hard work behind the scenes picked him up, then got his contract signed, leaving Hull (away) as our rock -ottom moment. We survived, came back stronger... and are now in a real position of strength to push on.

So us Bluenoses utter "There but for the grace of..." etc etc. With relief, I can now chuckle at the next item on Sky, the potential LFC buyer, a Syrian ex-footballer, who is described as by no means a billionaire but quite wealthy ? or in other words, he?s not the messiah just a very naughty boy. Please let the deal be a financially corrupt Middle East disaster that is secretly funding an invasion of Israel to claim back Palestine. No wonder Yossi got sold...


David Price     Posted 09/08/2010 at 17:54:21   Comments (96)

Ben Arfa

As I'm sure most have you have read, French international Ben Arfa is in talks with Newcastle over a potential Loan move.

This is a player that has been linked with us for a while now and for good reason. He ran rings around us about 2 years ago in a pre-season friendly. He is just the kind of raw talent I believe Moyes could get the best out of.

A skillful winger with an eye for goal available on loan. What's the hold up. It's not too late to nick him from under Newcastle's nose!


Conor Ryan     Posted 09/08/2010 at 17:31:45   Comments (12)

Tony Backs The Blues

For those of you who haven?t seen Tony Cascarino?s Premier League Guide in The Times today here?s what he?s written about us for 2010-11 season?..

?Everton

I expect great things. They were as good as anyone in the second half of the campaign in 2009-10 once their injury glut had cleared. If all the key players are fit, I think they will spring a shock and qualify for the Champions League.

Predicted Finish ? 4th?

I?m not his biggest fan but good effort, Tony ? nice to see a pundit put their cock on the block and back the Blues.

COYB!


Mike Green     Posted 09/08/2010 at 15:24:17   Comments (35)

Amortisation

I wonder if one of our more learned members could help me out with something that has bugged me for a while.

Amortisation is the figure removed from our income every year to compensate for the reduction in the value of every player (at least those we paid a fee for) as they progress through their contracts ? you can see it quoted every financial year in the accounts (e.g. 2009 figures http://www.evertonfc.com/assets/_files/documents/feb_10/efc__1265113120_Everton_Annual_Report_and_Acco.pdf). It is usually around £10-12 million.

This money is deducted from the bottom line (not just assets) but isn't actually spent ? it is an accounting 'artefact' in a way which I presume is there because it is an allowed deduction before tax is payable? There then follows a statement every year that we made a loss on the bottom line even though this money is sitting there unspent and would comfortably push us into 'profit' every year.

To my mind, this money is available to be spent every year ? perhaps on renewing contracts or possibly 'concealed' capital we can make use of any way we like? Or am I completely wrong? Have we in fact been in profit for many years giving lie to the often quoted 'loss making' label?
Graham Atherton     Posted 09/08/2010 at 12:43:21   Comments (15)

Osman to Palermo

I've just read on various sites that Palermo are interested in signing our little Leon. Of course with all the media speculation over the summer, this could be no nearer to the truth than the one about Arteta going to Barcelona... but, if there is any truth to it and a good offer comes in, I would snap their hands off.

I've always thought that on his day he is a skillful and tricky player when used in the middle of the park but in all honesty I see him as a bench player coming on later in games, especially when you look at the type of players we have to fill midfield.

I like and respect any player who loves our club and gives all for the cause and Osman falls into that category for me but in terms of ability; from a purely business point of view, I would sell him. When looking at the squad we have, I (like most of us) have my own opinion on who are our better players and who are the weak links. To make the squad stronger, you improve on the quality of players and get rid of the lesser so.

I know it's good to have a mix of not just skilled players but players who can mix it up and put in a tough tackle, players that can defend, head a ball and so on... but, if Moyes is to continue buying young players with talent and potential and is going to get rid of lesser players and replace them with better ones, then these are the players I would move on:

Osman, Hibbert, Neville, Distin, Yobo, Anichebe and Vaughan.
Richard  Reeves     Posted 09/08/2010 at 11:58:35   Comments (34)

Healing Hands

I may have missed this during the Summer, but who has replaced Mick 'Baz' Rathbone as physio?

Whoever it is seems to be doing a good job thus far as we don't seem to be suffering the injuries this time around (touches wood as he types that!) and I wonder if anybody can explain Mr Rathbone's rather sudden departure?
Karl Masters     Posted 08/08/2010 at 23:29:55   Comments (10)

Best interests, my arse

There's been a lot of debate lately about Chairman Bill's role at the club, and the one phrase used a lot by his supporter's seem to be "he has the club's best interests at heart". This winds me up something rotten!

I'm not going to dredge up all his failings and cock-ups because everyone makes mistakes and I haven't got all day, but I would like to ask his supporters to answer a few questions for me.

1) If he has the best interests of EFC at heart, why aren't we playing in the King's Dock Arena?

2) If he has the club's best interests at heart, why did he try to take us to Kirkby ? based on the lie that Goodison Park could not be redeveloped... something that is now happening?

3) And last, but by no means least, why, if he's "just a fan", is he asking for close to £200 million for the club and having his mate Phil Green handle the sale?

Answers on a postcard...
Stephen Kenny     Posted 08/08/2010 at 20:03:50   Comments (41)

Dan Gosling: Not quite the last word

Here is my take on the Gosling affair: for a moment, put yourself in the man's boots.

He is a talented player just coming into the years when he may stake a claim for a position in the Everton team, possibly not yet as Everton has such players on their books as Arteta, Pienaar and Fellaini... but he should at 20 start breaking through and get some first team action ? after all, he has scored two impeccable goals, one in particular that will be remembered by Evertonians for a long time.

However, the competition for places at Everton is fierce, the midfield is crowded with such names as Neville, Arteta, Pienaar, Fellaini, Cahill, Rodwell, Bilyaletdinov and Osman... to add to this, Jagielka and Hietinga are possible and reliable stand-ins. Right back is covered by Neville, Hibbert and Coleman. Accordingly, your agent enlightens you to your future prospects and suggests that you think of moving to advance your career; what do you do?

Well, if it was me, I would listen to the agent and work out that I had as much chance in this team as Abu Hamza has of winning a wanking competition.

A club like Newcastle, back in the EPL, are looking for new talent, they pay well and have a small squad of average players. This situation may give you an open opportunity to advance your career.

I feel, after reading such derogatory comments on TW about Gosling, it would be worth thinking about the man's situation. Evertonians should take this as a compliment that we have lost a player because he simply cannot get into a quality squad rather than refer to him as a money grubber without loyalty.
Peter Pryor     Posted 08/08/2010 at 07:32:11   Comments (40)

The England squad...

...from our BBC Correspondent

I've just browsed the BBC Sport pages, and happened upon an article by BBC Correspondent Dan Roan. For anyone who's interested the full article is here.

For those that can't be bothered reading it all, the article includes the following statements...

"Michael Dawson and James Milner were arguably the only two players whose reputations were enhanced in South Africa"

Enhanced? Is this the same James Milner who played (and kicked out) like a headless chicken in the first group match? That wasn't commitment or quality, that was absolute rubbish. If a footballer earning in excess of £20k a week can't remember to keep his head and play FOR the team and not be a liability then he should suffer the same fate as those who have been deemed unworthy. Reputation enhanced? Not from where I'm at!

And then things get a whole lot worse...

"Next, in future squads, must come the likes of Jack Rodwell, Dan Gosling, Cattermole, Phil Jones, and Ryan Shawcross."

Jack's qualities are there for all to see, but Gosling? WTF?

Gosling as a *MUST* for the near future... The only thing he's ever done is score a goal while the adverts were on ITV. (I'm glad he did!) But hasn't he just shown a complete disregard for his (ex-)club, and his previous (ex-)club?

He demanded to be played in the centre of midfield for Everton, meaning that David Moyes must drop either Mikel Arteta or Fellaini? Who in their right mind would even contemplate such a move? Ultimately he turned his back on an agreed contract and went on a free, removing the possibility of a much-earned fee for both Everton and Plymouth.

To be an England footballer, you need to have pride, commitment and loyalty. Neither of the recommendations cited here have these qualities at all. Milner has quality, but shows impetuous, arrogant, and ill-disciplined attitude towards the job in hand. Gosling, well there's another story, but what he has ever done to deserve an England call-up I really don't see at all.

What really irks me is that we in the UK have to pay a television licence fee every year and contribute to this prat's salary!


Lloyd Sloan     Posted 08/08/2010 at 03:29:07   Comments (22)

Sligo friendly

As I am planning to travel to Sligo for this game, does anyone know what sort of squad Everton are sending? After playing in Germany on Saturday, surely it won't be the senior squad.
Jamie Carroll     Posted 07/08/2010 at 22:09:01   Comments (23)

Too pretty?

I don't want to overreact to today's poor performance. I wasn't carried away when we beat poor sides and I wasn't too disappointed when we lost to a decent side today. It's next week that counts.

I have some concerns, though. It seems to me that it is much, much more difficult to get out of a Moyes team than to get into it. Despite the relative strength of our squad, I fear that next week we will start with DM's old favourites.

Also, I'm concerned at our coach's post match comments. We were "too pretty" and tried "to play too much" ? This, apparently, is something that is going to be worked on. Heaven forbid that an Everton side should play too much. Get that knocked out of them damn quick, Davey. Nothing is going to change, so I'm expecting the usual negative stuff and enjoying anything else as a bonus.
Andy Crooks     Posted 07/08/2010 at 21:59:25   Comments (18)

Arteta (and Cahill)

I was just preparing some of my betting strategies for the forthcoming season when I came across a video clip offering advice on Everton's forthcoming season from a betting point of view (on the Official Site). I find it quite amazing to learn that over the last 3 years Everton have lost less than 4% of matches and won over 60% of matches with Arteta and Cahill in the same side.

Okay, Okay, before I get shot down on here, I realise Arteta missed about a season in total and I reckon Cahill missed about a third a couple of years ago. But those are still very strong statistics if both can keep fit. Obviously Mikel is our best player and crowd favourite but it just proves how important Cahill has been and will be.

Lots on here are already suggesting Cahill no longer belongs in our strongest starting 11, but strong statistics suggest otherwise.
John Crook     Posted 07/08/2010 at 20:53:53   Comments (13)

Follow the leader

I?ve just read an article regarding our best 11 this season, as well as two others regarding Cahill and Heitinga, two of the most passionate and battling members of the squad perhaps, and I just got wondering...

The main gist of articles concerning Johnny have always been about doubts over his best position, too small to partner Jagielka at centre back, too few slots to fill in at defensive midfield, it?s either Fellaini or Heitinga in the Moyes 4-4-1-1 (or however you want to break it down). And personally I prefer Fellaini at DM due to his height, but can you afford to drop Heitinga?

No, you can?t... so let?s jump to Cahill, his pre-season form has been good, a hat-trick against the canaries and plenty of opportunities for more in other games. But cast your mind back to last season, a lot of people were questioning Cahill?s form and even his starting place, but let?s face it he?s the best supporting attacker we?ve got to a lone striker, isn?t he?

Now I just watched the Leeds v Derby match and both teams lined up in the now fashionable 4-2-3-1 formation that was the only thing more constant than those vuvuzela?s at this year?s World Cup. I know that changing formation in what is our most important season in years (in my opinion, our make or break season) would be suicide but going off some people?s opinions it seems like a decent solution, with Cahill as our Duncan Ferguson carbon copy super-sub (circa our top 4 finish a few years ago), Johnny and Felli dominating the midfield to give Arteta, Pienaar and (Osman/Rodwell/Bilyaletdinov/or anyone from Gueye to Donovan) a licence to create chances and retain the ball.

(Personally though I don?t see a problem with Johnny and Jags at the back, and quite frankly would love to see Sylvain 'Dozy' Distin as far away from the pitch as possible.)


Tom Curtis     Posted 07/08/2010 at 19:23:12   Comments (17)

Mikel Signs for 5 years

At last! The news that all Evertonians have been waiting for. Our influential midfield genius has pledged his future to EFC. So happy to hear that.

He says some very nice things about the club on the OS and praise comes from Moyes towards our much-maligned chairman. All we need now is Pienaar to follow suit...

On this issue, have I got it right in that, if Pienaar doesn't sign before the end of August, we effectively lose the £12-15M or so that's being bandied around as he can leave at the end of the year on a free?

If this is correct and he won't sign, then surely he has to be sold in the next few two weeks.
Tony McDonald     Posted 07/08/2010 at 15:38:23   Comments (72)

Vfl Wolfsburg Vs. Everton

Should be a good test for the blues this today, this game more than the others will show if were ready or not and im looking, well wanting to see if we can sustain our early pre-season form and carry on playing well and keeping our 100% win record and take it into the Premier League next week.

Oh and another thing, any decent links to the game today at all, cheers!.
Aidy Dews     Posted 07/08/2010 at 15:27:08   Comments (58)

15 into 11 wont go !

15 into 11 wont go, that?s the problem facing Moyes this week and what a problem, great to have but I suspect difficult to manage.

The 15 players at this stage who I suspect we all feel are the front runners for a starting place ? Howard, Coleman, Neville, Heitinga, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Bilyaletdinov, Arteta, Fellaini, Pienaar, Cahill, Rodwell, Saha and Beckford.

Let's start with the shoo-in?s: Howard, Jags, Distin, Baines, Arteta, Pinnear, and Cahill and lets assume Moyes will play his favoured 4:1:3:1:1.

So who plays right back ? Coleman or Captain Neville?
So who plays the defensive midfielder ? Fellaini or Heitinga or Neville?
So who plays wide right ? Bily or er... Bily? So Bily?s in?
So who plays the lone striker ? Saha or Beckford?

I suspect that Moyes won't bite the bullet and play Coleman (just yet), he won't play Jags and Heitinga together at the back (too small a pairing) and won't play Beckford just yet.

So I suspect, injuries permitting, Moyes will play the following team at Blackburn ?

Howard
Neville, Jags, Distin, Baines
Heitinga (because Fellaini just returning after 6 months)
Bily, Arteta, Pinnear
Cahill
Saha

Subs: Mucha, Coleman, Rodwell, Fellaini, Beckford , Gueye, and Osman

The real fans' dilemma I believe is that Moyes has given Coleman and Beckford plenty of match time to demonstrate to him they can perform (and they can) but I really can't see him leaving Neville out and he?ll go to Saha as the real class act when he?s on form.

Whatever way you look at it , it really finally looks like a team/squad to challenge the top places. We still have Yak, Anichebe, Vaughan, chomping at the bit in the background as well.
Mike Oates     Posted 06/08/2010 at 22:26:10   Comments (8)

Savage

Apparently Robbie Savage cites not joining Everton as one of his biggest regrets. Well as far as I'm concerned he's the only one who regrets it. Nasty and overrated are my lasting impressions.
Steve Guy     Posted 06/08/2010 at 11:22:47   Comments (37)

Same old moans

I know we've all been over this a thousand times but it riles me so much. I'm reading in the paper today that it appears Stoke, yes fucking Stoke!! are looking to have about £23 million to spend on players. For a club of Everton's standing it's disgusting that we can't even compete financially with that.

We have been in the Premier League since its launch, each season receiving huge amounts of television money from Sky, never really spending large transfer fees unless covered by players going out.

Until recently we have only just started to pay big wages to our top players,we haven't spent any money on building a new stadium, we have had a few seasons of european football,we have regular 35 thousand attendances so could anybody help me as to where does our money go and how can some of these clubs come out of the championship and below and be able to out spend us. Where has it all gone?
Anthony Hughes     Posted 06/08/2010 at 11:03:00   Comments (64)

Stop complaining... for now, anyway

When logging on to Everton TV for the match yesterday, I was astounded and really pissed off having to endure Man Utd live, eventually getting the Everton vs Everton match half way through the first half.

I know from reading TW that we are constantly dissatisfied with the club's reaction to our complaints. In this case, however, credit where it is due, and I would like to thank them for the prompt and generous service reply....

Dear Gerry,

On Wednesday 4th August we had an issue with our live streaming system which meant that a small number of subscription users experienced an issue during the first half of the Everton versus Everton Chile game. We sincerely apologize for this.

Due to an incorrect routing configuration, some of our systems picked up approximately 20 minutes of the transmission of another feed and not the advertised Everton feed. While this was rectified as soon as it became obvious it still meant that you did not get the full advertised game which you had subscribed for.

By way of compensation we are offering you either a £5.00 refund or an additional month to your subscription and the guarantee that all is being done to ensure that this does not happen again.

Regards,
Everton Tv Support

Gerry Quinn     Posted 05/08/2010 at 17:51:27   Comments (9)

Short-sighted retail expansion?

I remember someone on this site saying that the reconstruction of the Park End stand was short sighted as it was an under-development of the only free space around Goodison Park.

Now I've lived in Oz for near 30 years and not been to Goodison for 17 years so perhaps someone can help me understand the proposed new development.

Am I right in saying that this proposed development will take up the best area for any initial stage of an expansion of Goodison.

Now some will say that expanding Goodison will never happen (and this proposal seems to confirm that), but just in case, shouldn't any development on this land incorporate some kind of expansion and moving back of the Park End stand?

As I said, I'm a long way away, and the comments on the OS seem mostly positive, so am I wong?
Keith Edmunds     Posted 05/08/2010 at 10:10:51   Comments (34)

Transfer merry go-round

With more clubs needing to sell before they can buy thanks to financial restrictions and this new 25-player rule (mainly City), plus some long-running pursuits of marquee players (particularly Torres and Fabregas), the transfer season feels a bit like a Heath Robinson machine this year, just waiting for one switch to be clicked before a whole host of interconnected moves are made.

Everton are no exception to this and have several of their own cogs in the infernal machine, notably Pienaar and most recently Arteta either of whom seem to be slotting into the plans of Inter, Spurs, Arsenal and latterly Barcelona. Suffice to say we all hope that neither cog is moved, as they're both pretty integral to our own midfield machine.

Naturally should one or the other move on they would free up income for investments of our own, specifically a right winger, left back cover and potentially an experienced striker.

A more palatable machination however is developing, which looks like this:

Yakubu (West Ham) and Vaughan (Blackburn/Bolton) out for c.£11M combined

Jelavic in for c.£3M
Donovan in for c.£8-10M

Granted there's still a shortfall of £2-3M, but I think even our stretched finances could probably cover that in light of Landon's potential commercial value.

Assuming there's nothing more in the kitty, left-back cover for Baines would have to be done via a loan deal OR by shipping out Yobo. Although as we've not been linked with any left-backs and there's been no word of interest in Joey, this is far more hypothetical.

Either way it's going to be a fascinating few weeks. Hopefully with a happy ending for the blues!
Chris James     Posted 05/08/2010 at 09:00:46   Comments (17)

Right back

The right-back position has often been criticised over the last few years as our weak link. However, I believe this is now one of our strongest positions with Neville and Hibbert seeming to up their game last season (both were even touted as possible England call-ups during last season) and the emergence of Coleman.

Choosing between these three is going to be very difficult as they all look to be at the same level, but for very different reasons.

Phil Neville. Club captain and extremely experienced, we realised how much we missed him when he was injured for a few months last year. Everton are certainly a better side with his leadership qualities in the side. A better right-back than midfielder and not in the same league as Fellaini and Rodwell to be in midfield. Therefore, as we need him in the team, do you play him at right-back?

Seamus Coleman. The highly-promising young Irishman. Seen him referred to as the 'white Cafu'. Blossomed after his loan spell at Blackpool and has looked one of our best players in pre-season after getting plenty of chances. Probably the best footballer of the three and looks great going forward. Still a few questions defensively but looks great for the future if not the present.

Tony Hibbert. Mr Everton and Mr Reliable, turning into a cult figure at the club. If Neville is too old and Coleman too young, Hibbert is the perfect in between. One of the best tacklers at the club and can't really fault him, just unspectacular. Seems to have cut out silly mistakes with gaining experience and gives 100% everytime.

It's a tough call but personally I would go for Coleman to start the season. He's looked very good in pre-season and youth deserves a chance. I certainly think he's good enough at attacking at present to trouble most teams in the Premiership. However, perhaps when we play against an out and out left winger or a top team like Man Utd or Chelsea, I would choose Hibbert instead. The only problem then is how to get Neville into the team?
Matthew Lovekin     Posted 05/08/2010 at 08:59:18   Comments (11)

Come on, Bill!

I had to laugh/cringe at Bill's comments on the OS regarding "closure" to the Gosling incident.

He said: "It was a nine month joke of an episode between Gosling's agent and this football club. If you can't rely on people's word and a handshake in this world then we live in a world I don't want to be in."

He added: "The agent said he would never have signed the contract (anyway) but the compensation would have been nothing like the figures quoted in the papers. It was a sad and sorry situation. This Club has been here for well over 100 years and it has never happened before and it will never happen again.

"Why did David Moyes and I go to a hideous tribunal and hear hideous stuff we did not want to hear about how someone did not want to play for this football club? I apologise to anybody who thinks somebody at Everton let them down but I don't think they did."

I think a slight admission that someone at EFC cocked up "just a little bit" might put an end to this stupid saga but all this does is make us look idiots. I don't know of any business where a simple word and handshake says DEAL DONE.

Its clear to me that whenever Gosling returns he will get torn apart. I agree he and his agent have been poor in this situation but its not ALL down to him.

Honestly Bill get real, everyone involved in this mess has to take some responsibility, at least have the good grace to say "EFC got somethings wrong"

His "Seeking closure" interview just stokes the fire further.
John Audsley     Posted 05/08/2010 at 07:26:27   Comments (17)

Beckford; this season's Rabbit?

I've just seen the goals from our game against the other Everton (weird innit) and this Beckford sure looks like he can finish. That was a top-class header and a particularly difficult skill to effect (ahem) effectively. Can he do it against better defenders at Premier League level? Time will tell. But I don't believe you score goals like that unless you're a natural goalscorer.

Peach of a ball in too by Gueye. Looks like one of them is odds on to be this season's Moyesie Rabbit... :)

Who will it be?
David Gallant     Posted 05/08/2010 at 01:17:55   Comments (26)

One man and his Everton dream

Just a short Mail Bag item to express my warm and genuine appreciation to one man and his Everton dream?.

No, not the founding father of the club.
No, not Dr David France.
No, not David Moyes.

My thanks go to the ?average teenager? as one newspaper article described him ? that teenager being John Shearon.
All of us by now must have read the fabulous story of how he developed an interest in the Everton from Chile whilst in University in Mexico.

It?s a brilliant journey, with, as we can see form todays match ? a brilliant ending.
Anyone who supports ?Everton? will win today ? be they Chilean, Uraguayan, Argentinian or just plain old English.

John; many, many, thanks from one Evertonian living in Texas who knows you have achieved your original dream.
Gerry Quinn     Posted 04/08/2010 at 18:58:51   Comments (7)

How Good Is Rodwell?

With the season about to start, I ask this question; how good is Rodwell? In my 8 months on TW, that Rodwell is, or is about to be, a stud in the EPL is the only thing I can think of that all TWers seem to agree on.

Yet in the discussion for this season, I?ve yet to see any, ?Hey, and don?t forget Rodwell this year. He?ll make a big difference? or ?Boy, the league?s about to find something out with this kid? type statements. If he?s that good (and I?m not questioning he?s talented), why isn?t he talked about more here as an impact player for 2010-2011.

So how good is Rodwell?
James Flynn     Posted 04/08/2010 at 13:27:27   Comments (30)

80 beats 45

I heard from my kid that the team from across the park managed to take a grand total of 45 supporters to their away leg in the Europa League last week.

Today The Guardian reports that Everton Vina del Mar are bringing 80 all the way from Chile for a friendly.

We are a special breed, whether the Merseyside based ones or the Vina del Mar based ones. For the 80 who have travelled, remember Evertonians are born not manufactured, we do not choose; we are chosen, those who understand need no explanation, those who don't; don't matter.

Sorry guys but I will be somewhere between Toronto and Amsterdam when the match is on. My two kids will be there. Enjoy. It is a special feeling to be part of this family. We know what class really means.
Phil Roberts     Posted 04/08/2010 at 03:32:10   Comments (15)

Gary Lineker... love him or hate him?

I'm a regular on another forum and have an Avatar of Gary Lineker on my profile. A member on that forum (who may well be on here) can't stand him and, to qoute him, he's: "probably one of the most unpopular and self-centred ex-Everton players I can think of. Mr 'lost me lucky boots' erased EFC from his cv a long time ago ..."

He also feels tha Lineker "played for himself and himself only. Unbalanced the team and certainly didn't fit in socially. And cost us the league title at Oxford with his shithouse excuses. Won the league again as soon as we unloaded him."

Do others feel same? I personally think he did well for us, 40 goals is a hell of a return for how much we paid, though going to Barcelona after a season put a dampener on things.
Trevor Thompson     Posted 03/08/2010 at 22:34:41   Comments (39)

Programme Subscription U-Turn

I have been as sceptical and critical as anyone of Everton's off-the-pitch antics over the years. To my mind, if they can mess it up, they will always find a way, but last week something rather surprising happened!

I have had the Matchday Magazine subscription since 1982, and I suppose that living ' down sarf ' it has always been a useful source of information for me, even in this internet age. I know it sounds a bit sad, but I have hung on to all of them and have all the Home programmes going back to 1974 when I began supporting the Toffees.

You may not know, but 12 months ago Everton took the publishing and supply deal away from Merseyside based Sports Media (part of Trinity Mirror, I think) and gave it to a company called CRE8 who are based in Gloucestershire and also do the same job for Spurs, West Ham and Celtic. The price fell slightly from £72 for 24 issues ( really annoying when we had 25 or 26 home games in a season as you had to re-subscribe during the season ) to £70 for a whole season regardless of the number of games. This was a good deal, although the programmes started turning up 4 days after the match rather than on match day as with the previous supplier.

Then, 2 weeks ago, I got the renewal notice sent by CRE8 on a wonky, photocopied sheet - up from £70 to £95!!! I e-mailed the Club and Robert Elstone expressing my disgust at a 35% price hike and he replied saying he knew nothing about it, but would investigate. Others at the Club, including Gary Wliton and Dave Biggar also took the trouble to e-mail me to say that they were meeting with CRE8 to find out why they had hiked the cost right up. I must admit it all went quiet for a while and I began to suspect that I was being fobbed off, but last Friday I got an e-mail telling me that they had met with CRE8 and the price was now coming back down to £72 from the frankly outrageous £95. Anybody who has paid £95 will be getting a £23 refund.

Whilst I am still concerned that a Third party supplier can almost get away with ripping Evertonians off seemingly unknown to anybody at Everton, praise where it's due. They sorted it out, and quickly too.

Maybe the times really are-a-changin'. Remember the 24 year rule! Really looking forward to this season.
Karl Masters     Posted 03/08/2010 at 21:36:51   Comments (4)

Arteta: Time to shuffle the deck?

OK, so its looks like the worst may be about to happen as Barca have come a calling for Arteta. We all know he wants to go back to Spain, and this would be a dream move for the lad.

I'm surprised it's Barca as they are well stocked in midfield (and skint!) but as soon as the move for Fabregas fell flat, they have identified a Spanish alternative out of the top drawer, though he may well see out his career warming their bench. If it's his dream move than we can't really stand in his way. Sad for us but that's life!

So what can we get for him? Anything less than £15m is an insullt, but we are unlikely to get over £20m. We will struggle to be able to attract a ready made replacement of that kind of class, but it gives us the funds to stock up in other areas of the team. Landon Donovan for one, cover at centre back and back up on the left of defence are key.

What Arteta brings to the team is irreplacable so we may have to play a different way, assuming Fellaini picks up where he left off last term, Pieenar was excellent in the centre alongside him but will be missed too much on the left, shame! Osman is better through the middle and would get games for sure, but lacks presence and grit.

If we are to remain a good footballing side we are going to have to rely on Rodwell to step up and make attacking midfield his own (defensive midfield or defence was always going to be a criminal waste of his passing and eye for goal, in my opinion).

This could be his time, and room needed to be made for him to get into midfield and blossom as the player he has threatened to become for the last 18 months. Failing all that give Bily a run at it because he sure as hell can't play anywhere else on the park.
Ian Trickett     Posted 03/08/2010 at 20:08:49   Comments (27)

Fair Competition?

Just when we are getting our appetites whetted for the new season with the usual who?s coming and who's going and who's staying within our usual budget of zero spend, up pops the headlines ?Liverpool considering 6 bids to buy the club? and they hope that any deal will be done before the transfer deadline to allow a transfer budget figure of £30m being banded about.

We all knew that to break into the old Top 4 would be difficult, but it has been made worse by Man City and Spurs joining them to become the Top 6 with us and Villa on the fringes.

The thing which gets me down is the realisation that if any of the Top 6 clubs get into money trouble, or if they fail to compete at the Top 4 table there will be some mighty benefactor(s) who will come running in to save them and plunge more monies in to shore them up. I don?t get any feeling that Everton will ever be in that position even if we ever manage to become a Top 4 club in regards to football stats. You could argue that no-one was interested in 2004 when we finished 4th.

And therein lies the problem, we will always be at an enormous disadvantage because for whatever reasons we will argue about ? Bill, no ground, 2nd team in the City, poor brand etc etc?. no-one wants us ? FACT.

Still we all live in the dream world and believe that Everton will this season show the rest how well a club can compete on a shoe-string budget, and how Moyes?s has developed the likes of Fellaini, Heitinga, Gueye, Arteta, Beckford, Coleman, Rodwell etc to become ? World Class? .

The irony will be that if this happens you can bet your last pound that all will be wanted by the Financial Top 6 for the following season with Moyes himself joining the list whilst Bill will be looking round to see how we can again move on with a zero budget.
Mike Oates     Posted 02/08/2010 at 20:56:31   Comments (65)

Chile tickets update

The club has opened another section of the ground for the Everton v Everton game on Wednesday night due to the rapidly increasing demand for tickets.

You can now buy tickets - £10 and £3 - for the Upper Gwladys Street.

Everton from Chile arrived in Liverpool on Monday after changing flights at Madrid where they went for a training session at the Real Madrid training ground.

Our visitors have been given special dispensation by the Chilean F.A. to postpone two games in order to come and play this game, which is being shown live on Chilean TV. When they left their stadium in Vina del Mar, they were waved off by 2,000 supporters.

Tickets for the game are £10 for adults; £3 for juniors and OAPs. They can be bought through the club website, by phone, or at the club box office.

www.theruleteros.com
Mike Owen     Posted 02/08/2010 at 18:25:07   Comments (14)

Rescue Landon Donovan

I am just back from the Galaxy game this evening here in LA. They lost 3-2. Donovan scored two pens. The game itself was a catalogue of errors punctuated by the occasional burst of competence. It was like watching two second division sides. Donovan was the best man on the pitch, but he seemed to be dragged down to the level of those around him.

I don?t think that Donovan will be sticking around here for too long. He has played in the Premier league, he was a star at the World Cup and he is at the height of his career. If we don?t sign him soon, then I think he will sign for somebody else before the end of August.

I would hate to see him lining up against us in September.
Gerry Morrison     Posted 02/08/2010 at 03:49:31   Comments (62)

ThaiBev - True Blues?

It's been widely reported that Thai Bev (no, not the cute girl in the GoGo bar that's actually a bloke) are looking to extend their 8 year association with Everton. The current 3 year deal was slated as being £8m, which putting that in context basically works out as covering the salary of one of our top earners.

In the apparent absence of an alternative, and given it's not like the club needs an excuse to change the strip, it seems logical to extend. Some interesting snippets about what else Thai Bev has done with Everton:

  • Created the Chang-Everton school for orphans in Phuket. This generated a lot of positive PR in Asia about the club. There was a visit of senior players and management in 2005 during the ill-advised pre-season sweat fest in Bangkok.
  • Chang are on a major brand push around Asia. A couple of years back they plastered up a load of buses in Singapore in a joint Everton-Chang branded promotion. In a country that is dominated by the Sky Dahlings, this was kind of refreshing.
  • They hate Liverpool. I got told by someone in "the biz" that Chang and Carlsberg had a co-marketing deal to promote each others brands alongside their own in the respective territories in Europe and Asia (ever notice how the font of the Chang logo is remarkably similar to that of Carlsberg?). Thai Bev upheld their part of the bargain, and no doubt having been influenced by the Dark Side, Carlsberg did sweet FA in Europe. Cultural note: if you piss off a Thai, they'll smile sweetly at you and get their revenge. Unfaithfulness to a Thai girl can lead to a "Bobbit" job, but in this case Thai Bev decided that they would go and sponsor Liverpool's nearest rival. It may not be the best beer, but it sure is better than Carlsberg.
  • They sponsored our night out for us Singapore Blues for the FA Cup Final.
Overall, I think we've actually gotten more than just money out of the deal. Certainly more than I can ever remember from previous sponsors. Those of us who care about our "brand" overseas would hopefully agree.

This is another reason why I hope Everton sign Donovan. I'm sure we'd recoup the fee in brand and merch opportunities in the US comfortably. I know some on here aren't interested in the marketing / commercial side of the game, but it's become ever more important with the increase in TV revenues, and it's a case of having to step it up, or fall further behind.
Matt Traynor     Posted 01/08/2010 at 11:34:12   Comments (14)

Advice, please

I am taking my son to his first Toffees game on the 21st against Wolves. Now, I am asking for advice because I would like him to grab a few autographs if possible when the players get to the ground.

Does anyone know the best place and time to get out side the ground so he can see some of his (and mine) heroes? Many thanks for those that can help.
Craig Taylor     Posted 01/08/2010 at 10:34:10   Comments (7)

Yobo's upgrade

For years now Joseph Yobo has been considered by many Evertonians to be like 'Bambi on ice'. Well, after todays showing it looks like he's taken on a senior role as now playing like Bambi's mum, dead in the first scene!

He is a complete liability and we need to stop playing him in case possible future employers send scouts whose feedback would not be good! Time to get shut...
Rob Wilkinson     Posted 01/08/2010 at 08:45:22   Comments (9)

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