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Talking Points

Formerly known as the Mail Bag — Daily topics from ToffeeWeb readers

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Starting line-up with an Old Squad?

I was reading some articles saying that we have been left with an old squad so I started to write out the team I would play against Norwich, assuming we didn't sign anyone... and no-one else left. My team would be:

Howard 34
Coleman 24 Distin 35 Jagielka 30 Baines 28
Mirallas 25 Gibson 25 Fellaini 25 Pienaar 31
Barkley 19
Jelavic 27

That's an average age of just under 27 and I feel a good first team. I think Duffy could easily play a lot more this year as has looked good when needed; so, if he replaced Distin, that would bring the average down a lot.

This does rely on Jelavic finding his form again but I think he will as long as he doesn't have to chase full backs; I feel Martinez will bring a lot more attacking football to Everton.

I would love us to sign Honda; it's unlikely if Milan are after him... but you never know. Fer before someone snaps him up as I feel he is class and by all accounts wants to play for us. Negredo would be amazing but I see him going to City now... so maybe Bony as he looks good as well. If we did that, we would have a great side.
Ben Hayes     Posted 30/06/2013 at 18:43:06   Comments (36)

Championship Manager 1994-95 & Nii Lamptey!

This post is a complete deviation from the current issues regarding Baines and the general madness of the transfer window.

I think it was Ste Taverse who posted on the Bainsey thread stating that Moyes is playing at Championship Manager and cheating by being at two clubs at once and putting in low offer and then accepting this offer.

Ah – it it brought a smile to my face at the memories! When Championship Manager was introduced in the 90s, it was akin to the invention of Facebook in its addictive qualities! I fucking loved Championship Manager and needless to say went on to win the quadruple on many occasions with Everton – admittedly by becoming the manager of four clubs and then dumping the other three when I had stuffed Everton full of talent at a pittance!!

Those 3 other clubs would usually be Liverpool (how I loved raping their squad and coffers), Man Utd, and amazingly Aston Villa! Now I hear you ask (if you're still reading this drivel) why the fuck would I need Villa as a 'feeder' club?! Nii Lamptey ladies and gentleman. Oh yes, the great Ghanian was – would you believe it – the best player on Championship Manager 94-95. I'd never fucking heard of him at the time and if you look at the background to his career on Wikipedia, it's absolutely tragic. One of the very early victims of greedy agents.

Other players of the day who brought many seasons of glory to my CM Everton team included Jan Molby, Matt Le Tissier, Giggsy, Shearer, Kanchelskis and Stig Ing Bjorneobe (you know who I mean!!), with Tony Adams and Martin Keown as centre backs.

Did anyone ever get addicted to this game back in the day and, if so, what were your best teams?! Remember, this isn't about recent versions – this is when you would sit through a match and every so often a text banner would appear to tell you what was happening – oh such fun!!


Sam Higgins     Posted 28/06/2013 at 10:17:18   Comments (36)

Darron Gibson

Does anyone know if Gibbo has had that operation on his thigh yet? I would have thought it would have been a top priority for him and the club... any news?

Gerry  Killen     Posted 27/06/2013 at 02:37:50   Comments (12)

Where is this site 'close' to Goodison?

Just heard from the EGM that we are investigating closely a site near Goodison Park.

Anybody got any idea where it could be?

Paul Ellam     Posted 26/06/2013 at 21:43:40   Comments (102)

What can we really expect?

Here we are, for the first time in over a decade we have a new manager. The 4th most successful team in English football history, the 6th best team (based on league position) in the most famous league in the world. What can we really expect this coming season? The new boss seems focused on a media barrage of positive messages and grand statements of intent; good news for us if he can deliver, but what realistically can we expect?

The old boss made us solid, gave us hope. A hope that often never delivered quite enough substance. Better league placings, a cup final and a couple of semi finals, but no cups and one very chastening Champions League experience. Roberto Martinez now has the job of trying to take us forwards, but realistically is it possible? Goal difference between 6th and 5th last season stood at 5, points at 9. The difference between 6th and 4th 20 goals and 10 points. How can the new boss change this and make Everton genuinely competitive in terms of Champions League qualification?

From a personal perspective, I cannot see an advancement in league position beyond 5th. The top 5 teams will all improve. To advance, Everton need to invest and not lose too many of our star performers. But, to put it in context, if Spurs lose their best player, they get £60 million plus; if we lose ours, we get £25 million. They could afford to buy three £20 million replacements; we might get £15 million toward ours. The team that finished 9 points and 5 goals clear of us will be in a stronger position, even if they sell their best player; would we?

Arsenal and Chelsea finished very close together. One of them has just re-signed one of the world top coaches, the other seems to be ready to open the long-closed purse and bring in some world-class talent to a team that hasn't missed the Champions League in years. Ominous for those chasing...

The top two are in a league apart; best hope we have is a token gesture of finally getting a win away at Man Utd!!

And what of those below us? Most will not be a huge issue, struggling with the same constraints that have held Everton back. Medium-sized stadiums with moderate crowd base. Even with bigger transfer budgets they don't have a squad of the quality of ours. With one exception: painfully, Liverpool have a squad that on paper probably should finish higher than Everton. They are also investing heavily.

With all this, where realistically can we expect Everton to finish next season? Will remaining 6th be positive or can you see the team breaking into the European places again? For me, this season has 7th written all over it. I would predict the same, old manager or new, but I believe there is a higher chance of a cup this year as Roberto is more likely to go for it — which ultimately means nothing but hope springs eternal...

Jim Harrison     Posted 24/06/2013 at 14:48:42   Comments (45)

To which point will I support Everton FC?

In the recent light of changing Everton's crest, I asked myself to which point of changing EFC's identity I will be able to like it and support it? You know, I "fell in love" with a specified set of symbols and wouldn't be able to feel the same passion if a certain amount of these ones disappear. So I made a list of symbols which must exist in order for me to call myself a Toffees fan.

These are: (1) The Name of Club (Everton); (2) Colours of home kit (Royal blue shirt, white shorts, royal blue or white socks) and (3) if there is a crest on the shirt, it must contain at least one of these symbols: Prince Rupert's Tower, two laurels or "Nil satis nisi optimum".

About the last item, I don't know if there is more "heraldic" symbols of Everton (maybe toffee...), and I think i will continue to be a Toffeeman even if our crest would contain some other things.

Now, I'm interested in how much change some of you can stand and still consider yourself an Evertonian?

Ognjen Mojovic     Posted 24/06/2013 at 13:21:40   Comments (91)

Never mind the quality, feel the width?

As we lumber towards the mad month that is the July transfer window opening, we can only hope that most of our existing squad stay intact... although one or two Evertonians may feel cashing in on Fellaini would be good business.

Rather than joining the rags in naming which players are attracting interest, I wanted to guage opinion from fellow posters as to whether the first 11 is good enough and we just need squad reinforcements or whether we need to add quality into the first 11 and hope the kids can progress quickly enough.

I offer these two polar opposite opinions because I feel if we go for top quality we can only get a couple in given our meagre resources.

For example, if we get a quality striker like Negredo who would cost around £20 million and a quality midfielder like Fer at £8 million, that doesn't leave a lot for defensive and goalkeeping options to be reinforced.

On the other hand, with Mucha and Neville gone and probably Heitinga and Fellaini going, we certainly need to bolster squad numbers.

So which way would you go: A few top quality or quite a few lower cost, higher risk additions to strengthen the squad?

Jay Harris     Posted 23/06/2013 at 17:43:34   Comments (45)

Are First Row and other streams in danger?

Should we worry about this?

Press Association Sport understands the governing body – which agreed a new worldwide television deal worth around £5.5billion over three years to start with the new season – is in the process of requesting a court order which would force ISPs to effectively ban their customers from accessing, a website based in Sweden.

The moves follow on from those made by the music and film industries, which have successfully blocked websites which offer the opportunity to download copyrighted material, such as Pirate Bay, under Section 97 of the 1988 Copyright, Design and Patent Act.

BT is to move into the live broadcast market for the 2013-14 season, having paid £246million to the Premier League for three years – and is set to offer free access to their live sports offerings to its broadband subscribers. Sky also acts as an ISP, and has invested £760million in their football coverage for the next three seasons.

Press Association Sport understands the Premier League has already written to the major UK ISPs, which also include Virgin Media and TalkTalk, to outline its plans to apply for a court order to block, which are expected to be put forwards by the end of the month.

Should the court order be granted, the ISPs would then have to contest the application, or comply and restrict access.

It is understood indications are the ISPs have no plans to go against any such application.

The Premier League has for many years monitored various websites during live matches and enforced the removal of any streaming content which breaches copyright.

Ged Simpson     Posted 23/06/2013 at 11:59:05   Comments (29)

Déjà Vu, anyone?

There was once a football manager, highly respected by many in the game who brought untold joy to his Club and not a little surprise to the rest of us by winning a major Cup competition. This ended a long drought of success for that Club, which was viewed by many as being one of the 'unfashionable' establishments, struggling for both crowds and any sort of kudos in the game as a whole. The Cup win was a little bit of a fairy tale as they overcame much more glamorous and expensively assembled opposition in the final.

Unfortunately, this Club couldn't defend to save its life and after a valiant but ultimately unsuccessful battle against the odds, a short while after conquering in the Cup, the same Club was relegated from the Premier League and faced the next season with huge uncertainty regarding its status and the very real possibility of bigger clubs cherry-picking its best players.

The manager who had overseen the relegation of the Club was still highly regarded by many and instead of being castigated for this event, he was openly courted by other clubs and met regularly with his chairman, who was desperate for him to stay. After considering carefully, he decided his future lay elsewhere and moved to a much bigger club just down the road, geographically (a sleeping giant, I believe they called it).

The manager's name? Alex McLeish... and the club he went to was Aston Villa.

I hate to be the proverbial prophet of doom but does this tale not ring any alarm bells with anyone else? I know a number of Villa supporters and whilst they aren't exactly losing sleep over our situation, they are quietly chuckling into their pints. Please, please may I be proved wrong.

Andy McNabb     Posted 23/06/2013 at 03:10:20   Comments (32)

New stadium – new approach

The stadium, we are told, is the main obstacle to Everton's dreams – or at least to the club attracting overdue investment.

This has been the case for far too long, and things aren't going to improve as long as Bill Kenwright and his Board of Directors are in situ.

And there's the rub: the Catch-22 scenario. The Board will not improve the stadium themselves because that would mean spending some of their own money; yet they cannot secure new investment due to the stadium (a situation which they, by the way, have had 13 years to remedy).

So, thanks to our "can't do, won't do" Board, we have a state of deadlock.

The stark statistic underlying this impasse is that, in 13 years at the helm, Kenwright and friends have invested nothing beyond the cost of their shareholdings. At the same time, some £20 million worth of assets have been turned into more than £40 million worth of debt... in order to keep our "can't do, won't do" Board in control.

So... how to break this less-than-virtuous cycle?

How about Everton putting out an Invitation to tender for the right to build a new stadium, with the club stipulating certain minimum criteria for any new home of EFC... with the incentive being that whoever builds Everton a new ground will receive ownership of a Premier League club in return, and therefore all proceeds of any future sale of EFC?

The current directors – Messrs Kenwright, Woods, Earl, Carter, Tamlin – would be entitled to no more or less than what they have put into the club, ie, they would get back the value of their shares. Everton, meanwhile, would gain a new stadium to boost commercial revenue – and with it a more solid footing from which to move forward.

Surely 'Blue Bill' wouldn't stand in the way of progress?

Patrick Hart     Posted 18/06/2013 at 22:21:22   Comments (240)

Fixture list due out tomorrow!

The new season's fixture list is being released tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it as always.

The opening game of the season is always interesting. As much as I enjoyed the Man Utd game last August, I would much prefer us to be on the Saturday itself.

We usually have a 'month of death' where we play three of the top five in quick succession. We have never had this as our opening set of fixtures and I'm hoping it's the same again. With a new manager and new style I would hope to see us get some of the perceived beatable teams up first. It will give us a chance to get used to a new style of play and get some confidence around it. Some positive results and a good start in general won't hurt either.

I'm also hoping to also get to see a few more games on TV this season. I think we played well enough last season to warrant the TV companies giving us a few more live games at the start of the season. Setanta gave us little or nothing last season and as I have their freeview channel on my cable subscription, I'm really hoping that this changes. Then again, Setanta almost went under a couple of years ago so I can see them mainly showing Man Utd and Liverpool games again, especially given the clubs' Irish connection and the associated viewing figures. My wife is happy enough for me to disappear the odd Sunday afternoon so I may start to take advantage this season if we are on Sky's Sunday billing.

In general I am always happy when the fixture list comes out. It makes the new season seem that little bit closer and I start to get a little bit excited about it.

Kieran Fitzgerald     Posted 18/06/2013 at    Comments (15)

Where He Once Belonged

I was amazed – and somewhat frustrated – to see Jo coming on as a substitute for Brazil in the opening game of the Confederations Cup against Japan and scoring an absolutely sublime goal.

I always liked Jo. When he started off his short Everton career with two goals, I thought, "Happy Days Are Here Again!"

However, I never thought Moyes gave him a chance to settle into the Premier League properly and just do his job. When he was sent back to City over a disciplinary infraction – spending unauthorized time in Brazil with his family – I thought it was an excuse.

If he had been shown half the patience that has been shown to Anichebe I think we would have had a great striker on our hands today instead of an incompetent. Good enough to be playing for Brazil, anyway...

Peter Fearon     Posted 16/06/2013 at 13:39:14   Comments (40)

The truth at last

Mourhino just cant help himself can he? His latest proclamation that he knew many months ago that Alex Ferguson was going to retire at the end of the season, raises the question that if he knew, then surely it stands to reason that the man who would eventually be asked to pick up the reigns must also have known. If Mourhino is telling the truth (that is a big IF with Mr ego), then this casts a huge shadow against the integrity of David Moyes.

How many times last year do you recall him scowling at the journalist who dared question him regarding his refusal to sign a contract at Everton? "Nothing has been decided yet," was his stock answer; "we will sit down at the end of the season and see where we are," was his other favourite answer. On the balance of the evidence, it appears that he had already decided where his future lay.

I am not sure about anybody else, but this has really diminished any grudging respect that I had for Moyes and his move to better things (paraphrasing his own words). Many people gave him the benefit of the doubt in this whole affair. Indeed, some still will. But come on,, this is football we are talking about. It is now obvious that Moyes had probably known about this for at least 6 months. Whether Kenwright knew is open to debate.

Moyes is just another manager who has come and gone. We didn’t win anything under Moyes and I wish him nothing but troubled times ahead at Man Utd. Am I bitter? Damned right I am!

Shaun Sparke     Posted 16/06/2013 at 09:09:44   Comments (50)

Let's Go Back To 2 Points For A Win

Financial doping is continuing to ruin the competitive balance in European football leagues. Much hand-wringing has been made of this, and many attempts to solve it (such as UEFA's Financial Fair Play initiative) have arisen. But so far, nothing has changed. Only clubs owned by oil-rich billionaires, or those with a ubiquitous global brand (Manchester United, Real Madrid) seem to be able to consistently compete at the top level of European football. When even a club like Arsenal — the fourth most valuable in the world, according to Forbes — whine about the money being spent on transfer fees, something is wrong.

However, I don't believe FFP or any similar solution will solve this problem, and EU antitrust laws prevent the institution of a salary cap, I am told. But I have come up with a solution that doesn't involve any sort of financial meddling: bringing back the scoring system where a win is worth two points rather than three.

The reason super-rich clubs top the league tables is because their sheer depth means they can throw talented players in late game situations and turn draws into wins, ensuring precious extra points. Take the case of Manchester City. When they can bring on Edin Dzeko, one of the best forwards in the world who led the Bundesliga in scoring in 2009-10, in the 85th minute against the tired legs of the likes of Norwich or Fulham, that turns 5-7 draws into wins per year. And since wins are worth three times as much as draws, that is the difference between Manchester City finishing with some 80-odd points as opposed to in the mid-60s, along with the likes of Tottenham Hotspur and us.

Or, let's take the case of Everton in this past season. They finished with 7 losses, compared to City's 6, and in two head-to-head matchups beat and drew with City. So you could say both clubs performed reasonably similarly. Yet because Everton had 15 draws, to City's 9, City finished a whopping 15 points ahead. As mentioned before, the reason many of those draws Everton had were wins for City is because of the insane squad depth City has, bringing on the likes of Dzeko or Balotelli in late game situations whilst we were bringing on Naismth. But if wins were worth 2 points, the clubs would have finished much closer and that would have effectively negated City's ridiculous financial advantage over a club like Everton.

Further, it makes logical sense that wins would be worth 2 points. If Team A plays 2 games and draws both, and Team B plays 2 games and wins one and loses one, wouldn't you say they performed reasonably the same? Yet one team has 3 points, and the other has 2. In football, the change to make a win worth 3 points was not done for any logical reason, it was only instituted to encourage more attacking play to please the viewing fan. For most of its existence, football used the 2 points for a win scoring system; it was only changed in the mid-1990s by most major European leagues (and the 80s in England), and adopted officially in 1995 by Fifa for international tournaments. Most other sports that use a points system, such as hockey, award 2 points for a win.

It is clear that, by going back to the scoring system that sport used for most of its existence, the logical scoring system, we would more effectively combat financial doping than FFP or any financial regulation system can.

Clarence Yurcan     Posted 14/06/2013 at 17:04:43   Comments (38)

Flares and football

For many a year across Europe fans have taken great delight in illuminating the terraces and field of play with the use of flares.

The trend never really caught on over here, perhaps due to a lack of interest, perhaps due to more stringent security measures.

Last year, however, travelling Evertonians were among those who saw fit to smuggle them into grounds and cause a scene. I have my own opinions but, after a lengthy Twitter debate about the topic, I'll remain impartial for now and see what kind of support/opposition you folks have.

So, a visual aid for a passionate fan?

Or irresponsible idiocy?

Phil Sammon     Posted 13/06/2013 at 19:38:20   Comments (26)

Possible Free Transfers?

We all know that we’re not a rich club (understatement) and that the squad needs strengthening.

We’ve already lost 3 senior playing staff in Neville, Mucha and Hitzlsperger. None of them played really major roles last season, except perhaps Pip, but it does mean that, in order just to be back where we were at the end of the season, we need 3 new players. And that’s before we even start talking about strengthening.

From what I’ve seen in the press, it appears that Martinez is in an all too familiar sell-to-buy situation.

The BBC football website published a list of players released from their clubs in the Premier League and I think there are potentially 3 or 4 who could come in on a free and do a job, at least as squad players. Whilst, for the better players, wage demands might well kill any potential deal, there are some that are worth checking out.

There’s not too much to get excited about, but in my opinion, the pick of the bunch are:–

Arshavin, at 32 still has a few decent years left and would certainly bring some skill and creativity to our attack. Although he’s been a bit off the boil recently at Arsenal I think that, given a run in the first team, he’s probably the only player on a free who might really improve our first 18.

Benayoun and Malouda from Chelsea, whilst both on the old side, they certainly have the talent and experience to add something. Also Turnbull and Hilario have been released by Chelsea, who could be adequate replacements for Mucha. The obvious sticking point for any Chelsea players would be wages.

Another keeper released is Schwarzer who, despite being the wrong side of 40, would be good cover for Howard, albeit very temporarily.

If Heitinga really wants to go, then perhaps Gallas would be a decent option on a free from Spurs. Again, at 35, he is getting long in the tooth but he would bolster the squad with his experience and leave any money from Heitinga’s sale to be spent on improving other areas, or bringing in a younger centre back. Again wages may be an issue.

One player who may be a realistic option is Franco di Santo, released by Wigan. Whilst his stats aren'’t that impressive, he was in a struggling Wigan side and, at only 24, he has time on his side.

Richard Parker     Posted 13/06/2013 at 07:42:16   Comments (34)

Speed of Signings

One of the things that irritated me most during the Moyes years was how long it seemed to take the club to complete signings, as well as how we often seemed to be caught on our heels at the start of each transfer window, as other clubs swiftly and decisively did their business.

There was often speculation among fellow ToffeeWebbers that this was, variously, due to Moyes dithering and taking too long to scout and decide on targets, Kenwright refusing to sanction signings until near the end of the window to save on wages, the economic reality of prices dropping as the window drew to a close, etc.

I don't suppose any of us can say for sure whether any of those factors were in play, but I think we would all agree that, for whatever reason, virtually every signing we did make was always a traumatic up and down and excessively lengthy drama.

Let's hope that this will change under Roberto Martinez. He seems a business-like character who will identify his targets quickly enough. Of course, it's a little early to judge as he's only just been appointed, but even if you ignore the rich elite already spending big, I noticed yesterday that teams like Villa are busy tying up signings of Bulgarian international midfielders.

Pointedly, the BBC gossip column also has a rumour today suggesting that Chelsea have stolen a march over Man Utd towards signing a defender they both want, because Moyes is on holiday and nobody is holding the fort in his absence. I would not, of course, begrudge a manager his end-of-season break, but that was another thing that often seemed to happen at Everton. Moyes would be away and such was his total level of control, that we could not take signings forward in his absence.

I would like to see RM conclude a signing or two by the end of June at the latest, just to show that we really are dealing with a complete culture change at the club. Time will tell if that is just wishful thinking...

Mark Boulle     Posted 09/06/2013 at 12:11:14   Comments (52)

New Look ToffeeWeb – an Open Letter

Dear Michael / Lyndon

I am writing to express my surprise this morning to find a completely new look ToffeeWeb!

The iconic "quartered" ToffeeWeb crest has gone, Mailbag is now called "Talking Points" and there's also a little character in an Everton kit by my member log in! That's just for starters, I'm sure there's more....

I do not recall being consulted on any of these changes or the new, clean look of the site and could appreciate an explanation as to why this is?

In all seriousness – great work, site looks like it's had a real brush up, love the new look – well done! :)

Mike Green     Posted 09/06/2013 at 07:28:44   Comments (57)

Mirallas as a Center Forward?

Like most of you, the new manager has us excited and optimistic. There are so many variables and possibilities. How he sees the players might be totally different to how Moyes did and how the dynamics work with his personality is all up in the air. Of course it will slowly unfold as the new season develops.

The centre-forward spots seem to be a major area for us. So much good build-up play and possession in the last season with no end product. Jelavic might shine like he did in his first season and Roberto might just play to his strengths or he may want to sell and bring in new blood.

Kevin Mirallas is a forward and I don't see why we can't use him as an out-and-out striker. He certainly knows where the goal is. Is that such a crazy idea?

Gary Russell     Posted 09/06/2013 at 07:23:25   Comments (22)

Moyes 11 from 11

Simple diversion - what do you think the best first 11 is from Moyes' 11 years at Goodison? For me:

GK Nigel Martyn

LB Leighton Baines
CB (L) Joleon Lescott
CB (R) Phil Jagielka
RB Seamus Coleman

LM Steven Piennar
DM Lee Carsley
M Marouane Fellaini
RM Kevin Mirallas

AM Tim Cahill

CF Duncan Ferguson

The striker position was the hardest, we've had quite a few who have been good initially but then disappeared.

In midfield Miralles is the first in a while to get me out my seat when he races forward and I think Lee Carsley has never been replaced.

In defence I think despite Hibbert playing a million games that Coleman provides more. Lescott was immense alongside Jags. In goal I know Howard has had nearly as many appearances as Hibberts million but I think Martyn is the best we've had in goal since Southall.

Anyway, wake me up when the season starts, I hate summer (non) transfer windows.
Barry Earley     Posted 06/06/2013 at 16:33:21   Comments (101)

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