Everton vs Norwich City

by | 14/05/2016  134 Comments  [Jump to last]
Match Preview

Tim Howard plays his final game before departing for Colorado Rapids in July

When the fixtures for 2015-16 were released last June amid optimism that the previous season's slump had been merely a case of second-season syndrome for Roberto Martinez, most Evertonians would have regarded a four-game sequence that included Bournemouth, Leicester, Sunderland and Norwich as the ideal run-in to possible Champions League qualification.

Expectation was high that the Catalan would be able to follow through on his stated primary goal of landing the creative “No.10-type” player that the side had so clearly lacked in 2014-15 and that further top-quality additions would be made to attack to help Romelu Lukaku.

That neither arrived and that the criminally-belated striking acquisition at the start of February was the entirely untested Oumar Niasse goes part of the way to explaining why the Blues will kick-off the finale to their season knowing that, just like a year ago, they will finish in the bottom half of the Premier League.

The rest has been pored over and dissected at length in recent days and weeks — suffice to say that all of it contributed to an awful run of results dating back to early March that eventually ended with Martinez getting the proverbial bullet on Thursday.

The mood has lifted since the Board's decision, one which heads off planned protests at Goodison, so it's an opportunity for Everton's players to relax and, hopefully, end the season on an upbeat note. It's not a meaningless fixture, however. There's also the not-insignificant matter of as much as £6m riding on the outcome, depending on results elsewhere.

A win for the Blues in combination with Swansea City failing to beat top four-chasing Manchester City would see Everton finish in 11th place, either outright or on goal difference depending on whether the Swans lose or draw. In the unlikely event that Everton lose and all four of Bournemouth, Crystal Palace, Watford and West Brom all win, they would end up in 16th which, with £1.24m at stake for each position, makes winning an important goal this weekend. Like severance-pay-for-the-former-manager "important".

David Unsworth and Joe Royle will take charge of the game in concert with Duncan Ferguson and John Ebbrell, an all-Evertonian team sure to boost the atmosphere inside the stadium ever further. Unsworth has already pledged to honour Martinez's promise to give Tim Howard his Goodison Park swansong so one name on the team sheet is already guaranteed and he also committed to selecting a side capable of winning rather than throwing in other veterans who are also likely to be playing their last games for the club.

Of the Under-21 players he has presided over this season, perhaps Matthew Pennington and Kieran Dowell have the best chance of being involved from the start, although much depends in the former's case whether Seamus Coleman is available, which doesn't look likely. The same goes for Phil Jagielka who also has a hamstring injury.

For Norwich, it's merely a question of playing for pride after their fate was sealed by Everton's defeat to Sunderland in midweek. Alex Neill's men must contemplate life back in the Championship but Steven Naismith will be hopeful of getting a run-out on his old stomping ground.

Kick off: 3pm
Referee: Lee Mason
Predicted Line-up: Howard, Pennington, Stones, Funes Mori, Baines, Barry, McCarthy, Lennon, Mirallas, Barkley, Lukaku

Full details ToffeeWeb match page

Reader Comments (134)

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Kieran Kinsella
2 Posted 14/05/2016 at 02:10:56
I wouldn't be surprised if Gibson and Dowell.
Mark Andersson
3 Posted 14/05/2016 at 02:23:32
It's nice to have a bit of hope back. The players done there job of getting shut of Martinez now they need to repay the fans.

Good luck to blues all over the world. Should be a interesting summer.
Darryl Ritchie
4 Posted 14/05/2016 at 02:40:44
The first preseason game of 2016/17.
Jay Harris
5 Posted 14/05/2016 at 04:54:56
For a change I am reallly looking forward to this game and hope the crowd get behind all the lads and see how they play without the constraints of the "Martinez way".

I can see Ross Barkley really putting a show on and would not be surprised to see Pennington, Dowell and Connolly get some game time.


Mark Daley
6 Posted 14/05/2016 at 06:07:09
I'm sorry for Nais and hope he gets a good reception. His hat-trick should go down in Goodison folklore.
Brian Porter
7 Posted 14/05/2016 at 06:08:46
Here's hoping for an almost party atmosphere at Goodison tomorrow. Typical of Tim Howard to come out with his pro-Martinez statement last night, saying it was all the players' fault and not the manager's. Made a few more friends in the dressing room there eh Tim? I think he should have kept silent on the Martinez issue.

So let's hope that wit the shackles off the players can at least make a start on playing with some degree of freedom of expression again.

My only criticism of Unsy's press conference was his continued reference to Martinez's 'fine margins' and him saying repeatedly that ' a good man has lost his job'. Sounds to me as if he was also under RMs spell. I wish he'd just made one quick reference to the man and the talked about a new beginning, starting with the Norwich game. Anyway, we'll see how the team reacts to being in a Martinez-free zone on Sunday and hope it's a positive reaction. I have a feeling it will be.

A friend of mine who lives in Barcelona got in touch last night and told me that Martinez has effectively killed off his chances of ever being considered a future Barca manager by getting sacked from Everton. Apparently they don't like managers/coaches who are not prepared to be adaptable and alter their tactics when needed.
Personally I think it will be a long time before we see Martinez anywhere near a 'big' club except as maybe as manager of a lower grade club in opposition.

Good luck to the lads on Sunday, and hope to see Stephen Naismith make an appearance too, (but no hat tricks eh, Nessie). Another big blunder by RM to replace him with Niasse, but I won't go there today.
Brian Hill
8 Posted 14/05/2016 at 06:33:00
Don't be too critical of club employees who defend Martinez to whatever extent. What do you expect them to say? "Yes, he was a complete idiot and we couldn't wait to see the back of him." Unsworth, Howard et al know Martinez immeasurably better than any contributor to this site and are therefore entitled to express a personal opinion regarding his qualities as a man and a manager.

I freely admit that I wanted him dismissed but take no pleasure in imagining the sense of disappointment and humiliation he must be feeling.
Joe McMahon
9 Posted 14/05/2016 at 06:35:46
Mark (6) "His hat-trick should go down in Goodison folklore" - I'm sure you be able to buy the DVD. I think it's called Everton player scores a hatrick.

I can't believe Norwich paid so much for him, then it's wasted on the biggest 13.5 million waste of space we'll ever see. What a Manager.

Darren Hind
10 Posted 14/05/2016 at 06:51:07
It's a new dawn
It's a new day
It's a new life
for me
And I'm feelin good

I would have been wrong not to honour Martinez's promise to Howard. Hope he enjoys himself and keeps a clean sheet

Nigel Munford
11 Posted 14/05/2016 at 07:37:57
He said a good man had lost his job, not a good manager!! We can make comments mean what we want, so good luck to Rhino and big Joe, let's see a performance from the players, one we've all been waiting for for a long long time. Love a Martinez free zone.
Mike Connolly
12 Posted 14/05/2016 at 07:45:23
The likes of Joe Anderson should do some sort of presentation to acknowledge the work Stephen Naismith has done for the community . Giving tickets and doing Christmas dinners for the homeless. Considering he is not a local lad, he deserves some recognition from the city. I think he will get a brilliant reception Sunday
Joe Foster
13 Posted 14/05/2016 at 07:52:43
Naismith as true gentleman and a great representative of our club. Unfortunately for him, he was just another part of the deliberate dismantling of anything Moyes by Martinez.
Ian Jones
14 Posted 14/05/2016 at 08:07:02
Nigel, was about to say the same about good man, not necessarily a good manager. I think most managers would stick up for their fellow professionals.

I also started doubting whether Martinez was a good and decent man after the way he seemed to treat people. It's how you deal with pressure and criticism that makes people stand out.

I am sure his time will come. Be interesting to see him return to Goodison as an opposing manager.

What a reception.....

As for Norwich. Be good to see some organisation in any team put out. Defend the goal and move on and up the field!

I think the players we have are more than capable to perform at a high level.

Looking forward to the game

Mike McLoughlin
15 Posted 14/05/2016 at 08:07:58
I hope like the rest of you we see an improvement in the way we play, because it's been so long since I looked forward to a game with any conviction or excitement. Since the Bournemouth game I don't get excited when we go a goalk up??? Two goals up!!! It's been a terrible second half to the season even with reaching 2 semi finals. Dread to think what would have happened if we hadn't got all those points early doors. New manager, new money, new vision . Here's hoping for a good performance Sunday and a brighter, more successful 2016/17 season COYB
Sam Hoare
16 Posted 14/05/2016 at 08:10:54
Interesting question on Sunday will be to what extent had Martinez lost the players? Will we see a bit more fight and gumption from the blues or does more of the fault lie with the players than perhaps we realised? I fear we will see a familiar team with familiar failings. Hope I'm wrong.
Jeff Armstrong
17 Posted 14/05/2016 at 08:25:38
Good point, Sam (#16)

Sunday should go some way to tell if some players had downed tools, or where playing under strict instructions to only pass sideways, or backwards (McCarthy); not to tackle or chase back (Barkley); not to defend (Stones); keep giving the ball away (Funes Mori); ... or to look like you've never played before in your life (Niasse).

Over to you, boys.

Charlie Lloyd
18 Posted 14/05/2016 at 08:34:25
Agree Sam

I expect to see more passion as the dark cloud that has presided over the team has hopefully lifted. What we can't expect is Unsworth and co to remove all the failings of the team in 2 days.

I reckon were all up for this though and it should be a great atmosphere.

Be great to see Joe Royle back involved.

Kieran Fitzgerald
19 Posted 14/05/2016 at 08:36:27
I didn't know John Ebbrell was at the club. What job does he have?

Daryl @4. A good way of looking at it. The club needs to make sure that the players don't just walk out the front door of Goodison after the game carrying all the baggage of this season. The squad can't be allowed to dwell over the six odd weeks of the close season on what has gone on.

I would ask the interim management team to hang on to the players for a week and clear the air in every way possible.

I hate to sound like a damned hippie ( shakes fist Homer Simpson style) but we need to do everything possible to cleanse the soul of the club. There has been something cathartic for the fans with Martinez leaving and we need to carry that on with the players and staff at Goodison and the training ground.

Kevin Elliott
20 Posted 14/05/2016 at 08:49:03
Tomorrows game is the first one that I have been exited about for what seems an eternity. Pity it's the last one of the season.
Why oh why didn't they get rid of him sooner ?
Nigel Munford
21 Posted 14/05/2016 at 08:59:50
Ian, it's certainly a refreshing change to hear someone at the club say that wins are what's important, as TM didn't seem worried about winning as long as the stats showed we had good possession. Goals for and not against, wins and points mean trophies not possession, and a winning team must rely on a solid defensive platform to be able to win, Leicester are the living proof of this this year.
Nigel Munford
22 Posted 14/05/2016 at 09:12:01
Sorry should have said RM, fingers to big for keyboard.
Brian Mahoney
23 Posted 14/05/2016 at 09:13:12
To be honest I can't see there being much of an improvement in our performance as some of the players will now have their minds on the Euros and won't want to get any kind of injury.
Phil Walling
25 Posted 14/05/2016 at 09:26:07
It will be interesting to see if the very temporary replacement of the 'Wigan Mob' with a quartet (at least) of ex Everton players can stimulate enough of our dozy players to put in a decent shift tomorrow.

Nobody has been more anti Martinez than me but there have been many occasions when the players should have suffered far more criticism than they ever came in for. Laziness, lack of awareness, bad judgement could all be applied to certain members of this 'best squad since......' and , generally apart from Tim Howard, they have got away with it. At least, they will still be here to pick up their millions if they so choose.

As ever, I shall be cheering on the lads to victory from afar even if it only in the hope that at least ONE of my ill-judged cross doubles on these three fixtures against the Prem's 'no hopers' comes in !

Karl Meighan
26 Posted 14/05/2016 at 09:27:31
It would not bother me one bit if any of the side who starts against Norwich never plays for Everton again, minus any kids who manage to get any game time.
For all Martinez failings and there were many, the manager doesn't play, quite simply no manager at this level should need to teach defenders how to tackle or head a ball, organising, drilling, leading and installing confidence are blame we can lay at Martinez feet but what about pride, playing for the jersey/teammates and maybe even for the Clubs great name and fans?
For me wholesale changes are also needed on the playing side, midfielders who struggle to get about the pitch cant pass a ball consistently ten yards, no simply not the best and simply not good enough.
The changes have begun I for one hope the new boss comes in and gets rid of the majority of the shite that have let us down on the pitch week after week month after month.
Vince Furnier
27 Posted 14/05/2016 at 09:28:36
Brian Porter, I quote "A friend of mine who lives in Barcelona got in touch last night and told me that Martinez has effectively killed off his chances of ever being considered a future Barca manager by getting sacked from Everton. Apparently they don't like managers/coaches who are not prepared to be adaptable and alter their tactics when needed".

Pretentious gossip

Joe Clitherow
28 Posted 14/05/2016 at 09:30:17
Phil W

I thought you were pressing the Everton "Off" button until Kenwright had gone?

That didn't last long did it?

Mark Lewis
29 Posted 14/05/2016 at 09:36:39
Whatever the summer brings, I'm just relieved the the former manager has gone, so let us try and drum up some optimism where for me there sadly wasn't last season.
Phil Walling
30 Posted 14/05/2016 at 09:38:11
Have no fear, Mr Clitherow. I said I would be gone at the end of the season - and I will be. Then everyone will be free to agree with your every word !
Joe Foster
31 Posted 14/05/2016 at 09:53:03
It will be interesting to see how the players react this Sunday.

It definitely feels like a fresh start now. A little bit more spring cleaning is still to happen at the club though.

Rahman Talib
32 Posted 14/05/2016 at 09:55:15
I want us to stop the tippy-tappy bullshit at the back altogether.

Hoofball looks more appealing to me right now than then tippy-tappy crap we've been made accustomed to under Bobby.

Just get the ball to the opposition half fast. Don't care how or why... Just do it!!!!

George McKane
33 Posted 14/05/2016 at 09:59:36
Phil/Joe - - keep it cool - - Martinez has gone now - it was what was needed - - leave him be - - let him rest in peace or whatever - - he is a human who tried (and failed) - - I do believe ( but with no insider knowledge whatsoever) that Kenwright's time may be up soon - - Revolutions are normally quite slow in their build up - - the Club needs cleaning, dusting down, WD40, streamlining, morale and moral building, pride reinstalling, motivating and more importantly now is the time the start afresh and stick together - - especially us hard working, hard put on Blues - let's stick together for a while and not call players and each other names - - stay for the fight Phil - - it will be worth it.

Long Live Randle P Mc Murphy and Up Yours all you Nurse Ratchets.

God Bless Evertonians said Tiny Tim Cahill.

Dave Ganley
34 Posted 14/05/2016 at 10:12:35
Phil I agree with your assessment of the players. I have been quite critical of players throughout the season (as well as Martinez) and been regularly slammed for it. They have been lazy and unprofessional especially regarding fitness. There is nothing to say they shouldn't have been match fit even if they did it on their own in spite of Martinezs training sessions.

However, we are where we are now. Like others, I am actually looking forward to going to the game tomorrow for the first time in ages. Hopefully Rhino's first job will be to get rid of the stupid 2DMs. Not necessary and never was if you know how to defend as a team. Plus it frees up a player to give Ross support. I'm not expecting too much in the energy department given how unfit they all are, but with a bit of luck, they will play with a bit of freedom and stop all this unnecessary pissing around at the back. As far as the team goes, well I guess I would go with this team

Connelly Pennington Stones Baines
Lennon Barkley Mirallas
Dowell Lukaku

Nothing to lose, lets see how they go

Joe Clitherow
35 Posted 14/05/2016 at 10:22:30
You misunderstand Phil. I would like you to stick around
John Raftery
36 Posted 14/05/2016 at 10:28:19
Kieran 19 In accordance with the rotation system used in the Academy, John Ebbrell has been coaching the under 18s for the last two months and by all reports doing a half decent job.
Colin Malone
37 Posted 14/05/2016 at 10:34:07
There's a party at Goodison Park on Sunday 3pm to bring the new season in afresh. We've seen and heard enough gloom. SO LETS GET THIS PARTY STARTED!. We deserve it. Come on blue boys, let's party. COYBB.
David Hallwood
38 Posted 14/05/2016 at 10:49:33
Agree with Dave (#34) 2 DM gave us nothing going forward and, just look at the goals against, didn't protect the back 4. Just part of Robbie's failings as a manager in that he refused to change a system that was sussed out early doors last season.

Tomorrow's a dead rubber give the kids a chance, even start with Lukaku & Barkley on the bench; after all they've earned a rest after the shifts they've put in the last 2 months(haha haha haha haha haha)

Phil Walling
39 Posted 14/05/2016 at 10:56:04
Sorry Joe ! A drop too much Ouzo last night I'm afraid. Had the Russian neighbours round and spent all evening trying to persuade them to take that Niasse back ! At the end of the evening all they would say was that he wouldn't get another permit to live in Russia under revised domicile rules. We are indeed fooked !

As far as sticking around, just totally pissed of with Kenwright and until he's out of the picture, I'm having a sabbatical

Colin Glassar
40 Posted 14/05/2016 at 11:18:16
I'm actually, for the first time in months, looking forward to this game if only to see the players reaction. I know Unsy and Big Joe haven't had much time with the players but I'll be interested to see if there's any improvement in defence, if Ross is given a clear role to play, if Rom gets the service he's crying out for, if the players are fitter, if there is actually a game plan etc....

The lads have looked lost for months now so I'm hoping they give us all some hope for next season.

Kim Vivian
41 Posted 14/05/2016 at 11:22:11
So here we go - last game of the season and I can't say it's come too soon. It would have been nice to have had Unsy and co in place for two or three games to see how we might have lifted ourselves but that wasn't to be. Today may be an indicator .

Actually looking forward to this one, and I have no predictions as to who will get played but expect a solid if not exciting performance. No fireworks today. A win 2-0 maybe 2-1(Nais? - would be nice!) and at least a considerably better atmosphere for the parade lap. I hesitate to call it a lap of honour - other than for the 30 odd thousand bluenose die hards who have shelled out each week to watch the recent dross. They/you guys deserve an ovation alone. (I would love be among you but for the pressure of distance and weekend work).

Looking forward to an exciting summer. Hopefully Ross can get some confidence back at the Euros and an incoming incumbent with the fire, brimstone and experience to get them revved up again. Risky I know but it's El Loco - Bielsa - for me. He'd sort some of these egos out.

Andy Osborne
42 Posted 14/05/2016 at 11:25:42
Being an expat blue, I get all my "banter" fixes from ToffeeWeb. I enjoy the robust discussion, so make it a short sabbatical, Phil.

Re Kenwright, if, what we here is true, that Moshiri overruled him on the decision to sack Martinez, en I don't think it will be long for Moshiri to solve that problem. Sounds like his own man, and not a Kenwright puppet.

Kunal Desai
43 Posted 14/05/2016 at 11:26:28
A chance for a few to get some minutes on the pitch and say there final farewells - Howard and possibly Gibson starting. Osman and Pienaar coming of the bench. I'd like to see Davies and Dowell all start.
Derek Knox
44 Posted 14/05/2016 at 11:46:54
Yes it does seem like a new dawning, and at last a game to look forward to.

I also hope the players get lifted too, and put a show on for the fans, we haven't seen that for a while now. I do hope our better players want to stay too, because I believe, although the results recently dictate otherwise, that we have the nucleus of a very good squad.

With a new owner, a new manager on the horizon, a Transfer Fund, with hopefully some equally talented players to join as well, things could be looking good after all!


Colin Glassar
45 Posted 14/05/2016 at 11:51:02
Andy, we (fans) will never agree on managers or players so all we can do is agree to disagree.

As for tomorrow it will be a day of goodbyes to quite a few of our players so I'd like to see his team start:

Hibbo (if fit)

Give them a rousing send off.

Phil Walling
46 Posted 14/05/2016 at 11:57:02
I have to say Colin, I've seen enough of the crocks you mention to last me a lifetime.

The sooner this Club gets ruthless with its players (and so-called managers ) the better.

Thanks to all of them, now go and milk some other sucker club !

David Hallwood
47 Posted 14/05/2016 at 12:04:52
So Colin(#45) you want to use all the subs before the 1/2 hour mark then.
Martin Nicholls
48 Posted 14/05/2016 at 12:10:00
Phil#46 - glad to see you back after your short absence! It's all just banter mate - don't give up on TW just because of the luvvie! Hopefully he'll be gone before any of us are.
Agree your post#46 - as I've said on another thread this is a professional football match which many thousands have paid to watch. No room for sentiment - they've already all been hugely rewarded for what they've contributed, or in some cases failed to contribute. As for any lap of "appreciation" IF I stay for it, I'll take their applause rather than the other way round.
Colin Glassar
50 Posted 14/05/2016 at 12:19:17
It's BK's last game as Supreme Leader and Heavenly Father guys so we should go all sentimental and gooey and let him shed a tear, or two, on the big screen.

I'm sure BPB has everything choreographed down to a tee including a (half time) musical extravaganza illustrating his glorious reign. I've heard Elton will be playing a ditty and Michael Crawford will be singing a few tunes from The Phantom of the Opera and there will be a photo montage of Bill and his mates including Sly Stallone, Phillip Green, OFM, Robert Earl, Sharon Osborne, Roberto Martinez, Betty from Corrie, Gazza, Bernie Madoff, Andrew Lloyd Webber and the toffee lady.

It should be a day to remember.

Jim Lloyd
51 Posted 14/05/2016 at 12:19:43
Hopefully, the selected players will respond to the cloud lifting at Goodison Park. I think they will but we'll have to wait and see. It's how they go about the game more than the result, that I'm interested in.

Yep, I want them to win but moreso want to see them tear into Norwich right from the start. I don't expect Joe and Unsy to be able to revolutionise our style just within a couple of days.

No point in playing those who are likely to leave, just for the sake of it. They can have their swansong with the lap of whatever it's called.

From right now, we should be setting the stall out that Everton are in football to Win matches...and then Trophies.

Jim Lloyd
52 Posted 14/05/2016 at 12:24:12
Colin, don't be giving him ideas!
Eugene Ruane
53 Posted 14/05/2016 at 12:30:01
Listening to Derek Temple talking about his 1966 cup final team mates, when he got to Jimmy Gabriel he thought for a moment (for the right phrase) and said "there was no such thing as a lost cause for Jimmy."

I thought two things. 1) What a simple way to tell you a lot about a person. 2) I reckon we'd be a much more effective side if we had 3/4/5 players who could be described that way.

At the moment, I can't see one single player in our squad who makes me (regularly) think 'I bet the opposition don't fancy coming up against him'

I'm not suggesting we replace them all, but imo if we are to progress, we do need a few natural leaders.

I hope whoever comes in sees quickly that we are without real leadership (ie: not just pointing) on the field.

This is not the worst Everton side I have seen but it is the quietest and we need someone (possibly with an air of menace) who never switches off and makes sure his team-mates don't.

Anyway, up the Toffees and (with tomorrow in mind) 'JOE JOE MEXICO!'

Damian Wilde
54 Posted 14/05/2016 at 12:35:05
Read this:


Howard is annoying me now. Roberto didn't kick a ball apparently...oh yeah, nothing to do with him. And he's banging on about his records, arrogant.

I like Nais, but why would a hat-trick beating a mid-table side in an horrific season go down in 'folk lore' - no wonder people say we accept mediocrity, struth.

Also, why does a millionaire deserve an award for giving a few tickets away? What about local teachers, healthcare staff?? A footballer gives away what would be a quid to us and people are all over them.

Ray Said
55 Posted 14/05/2016 at 12:55:47
I hope today's match sees the end of the two defensive midfielders that our former manager (it feels good writing those words) preferred. I always felt it unbalanced the side and encouraged the fannying around in our own half.
I hope to see a return to basics like a right footed attacker on the right and a left footed one on the left. A few passes ahead of the striker so he can turn and face goal and defenders clearing the ball when under pressure not dribbling in their own box. Simple things really.
Jim Lloyd
56 Posted 14/05/2016 at 12:57:53
Your right Eugene. We have a captain who is polite rather than leading like John Terry does. That's Jags character, a decent man, good defender but Terry is a leader.

Alex Young in his Radio Merseyside (got an old tape of it) interview mentioned how Bobby Collins was "The General" and woe betide anyone who he felt was giving up. Jimmy Gabriel, Tony Kay, Alex Parker, and more, in the sixties. We had them in the mid Eighties but, you're right we don't have them now.

Even though he's "veteran" stage, I'd have John Terry in like a shot for a year, maybe two.

Damian Wilde
57 Posted 14/05/2016 at 13:03:41
Agree that two defensive midfielders should be ditched, got so sick of that under TDO (the deluded one). I get the feeling they haven't the arse to bench McCarthy.
John Keating
58 Posted 14/05/2016 at 13:06:53
I hope that Naismith joins our lot on the lap of honour(shame) after the match...he deserves it
Colin Glassar
60 Posted 14/05/2016 at 13:08:38
Ray, does that make the other fella our former former (OFMM) manager then? I hear he's been dropping hints he wants to make a return to Goodison. If so, I hope he brings a bigger knife next time.
Eddie Dunn
61 Posted 14/05/2016 at 13:09:17
Some players have seemed half-arsed in recent weeks. However, Tim Howard, who did lose his place in the team, always gave his maximum. If advancing years have caught up with him or poor defencive systems left him exposed, he, at least did his best.
It is interesting to see that we have still shipped goals with Robles in nets, and if Tim has made mistakes, the same applies to all of our defenders.
Colin Glassar
62 Posted 14/05/2016 at 13:09:22
That should've read OFFM.
Jay Wood
63 Posted 14/05/2016 at 13:11:02
You can safely go off and enjoy your sabbatical Phil, secure in the knowledge Damian Wilde has picked up your torch and 'keeping it real' for the rest of us.

A very slanted interpretation of Howard's harmless honest interview, Damian.

Eddie Dunn
64 Posted 14/05/2016 at 13:12:31
John Keating, I don't think it would be a good idea considering his team have just been relegated, unless he bags a hat-trick!
Nicholas Ryan
65 Posted 14/05/2016 at 13:16:56
All the argument is about what sort of team EFC will play ..... but I'm intrigued about what sort of side Norwich will play!
Colin Glassar
66 Posted 14/05/2016 at 13:21:21
I hope we can sign Nathan Redmond after the game. The kid is class.
Graham Mockford
67 Posted 14/05/2016 at 13:23:58
Tomorrow sees probably the biggest changing of the guard I can remember. Four long serving players with 1500 appearances between them that won't be pulling the shirt on again.

Given a number of others are probably off during the close season, there will be a significantly different look to the squad come August.

But for tomorrow now the Martinez thing is done, it's time to show appreciation to Tim Howard, Leon Osman, Tony Hibbert and Steven Pienaar.

John Keating
68 Posted 14/05/2016 at 13:28:01
I don't think he had much of a chance to say his goodbyes.
I quite liked Naismith as he was the only one who gave 100% and had a little bit of attitude this season.
Plus he did a lot for EitC and other City wide charities, Seemed a decent genuine guy.
He has as much if not more right to get clapped than half the arseholes who finished the season with us that's for sure
Thomas Surgenor
69 Posted 14/05/2016 at 13:32:00
I'm actually against all this "say farewell" appearances.
Our clubs been in turmoil for over a year. We need to stamp the start to a new era and leave the fans with a positive feeling going into the summer.

We roll out the old show ponies for one last hooray and loose then we could end up loosing big in the summer.
What better than a 5-0 win to send the fans away with a bit of hope for next season, the players too. Some who look elsewhere might think "hold on... Maybe there is something here".

I would start ONLY players who will be here next year. With the exception of Howard who (inappropriately in my opinion) has been told in the media he is playing so pretty much forcing unsi's hand.

Remember this... Your only as good as your last game. I believe as fans we will cling to whatever performance on Saturday till our next competitive game.

Ian Burns
70 Posted 14/05/2016 at 13:33:34
OFM is hardly out of the door and OFFM is putting in his application via the national press! He couldn't get into his brown shoes quickly enough!

We move on starting tomorrow with an Unsy win and he can retire with a 100% record.

Can't remember the last time I actually looked forward to the last game of the season, bring it on - then bring in the right man to show the young "potential" stars that it just might be worth hanging around next season and getting fit after all!

Paul Smith
72 Posted 14/05/2016 at 14:12:59
My team for Norwich is:

Connolly, Stones, Funes Mori, Baines;
Besic, Davies;
Lennon, Dowell, Mirallas;

If the likes of Pienaar and Ossie are going to be playing their last game give them a 15-minute cameo but would rather see a couple of the youngsters given a start.

Andrew Clare
73 Posted 14/05/2016 at 14:19:07
I hope OFFM isn't even being mentioned by anyone anywhere that matters.
Ray Said
74 Posted 14/05/2016 at 14:24:22
Colin (60) lets just hope he stays a former manager. The though of him being around the place again is depressing. He spreads apathy wherever he goes. Looking for a bright new dawn not His Drearyness
Graham Mockford
75 Posted 14/05/2016 at 14:31:51

I'm certainly not suggesting starting either Osman or Pienaar, and Hibbert is injured again. Although they both should get a chance to come on as substitutes.

In fact probably a chance to play a few younger players as its a pretty meaningless fixture which will have no bearing at all on what happens next season.

As for you are only as good as your last game, that's just a nonsense cliche. You win things in football over a season of games, that's how you are judged.

Andy Osborne
76 Posted 14/05/2016 at 14:47:45
Just read Big Nev's comments on Click Liverpool. He wants Mourinho, on a 3 year contract. Interesting reading, I like Nev. Doesn't mince his words and is a winner.


Brian Denton
77 Posted 14/05/2016 at 15:01:07
Phil Walling, I disagree with almost everything you write - but please stick around!
Mick Davies
78 Posted 14/05/2016 at 15:38:54
Eddie @ 61,

Although he was way out of form, I don't blame Howard entirely, as he didn't pick himself. Also, if you look at the goal from a corner at Sunderland, Robles palms it out, there are 3! yes 3 Everton defenders standing together at the near post, with no Sunderland player near them. One attacker in the box and he scores. I've played, managed and watched Sunday League games and that ridiculous setup wouldn't be allowed there!!!

There are no leaders, no-one to set up defences from set pieces, and a total lack of direction on the pitch; all down to bad management. I expect to see a tighter unit at the back, and more protection for the keeper with a new boss – not a nutcase like ORFM who doesn't think defending is part of the game.

Christine Foster
79 Posted 14/05/2016 at 15:58:37
So past game of a forgettable season and the start of the cleansing process. It's time to say goodbye to many of the team who in previous years, gave everything for the club and gave us some memories too. Also a new broom will determine just who of our current lot will make the cut. It will be interesting too, to see who hasn't got the bottle to stay and walks away. Will Stones or Lukaku be here next season?

Mr Moshiri will flex his muscles and Kenwright will know his time as leader has gone, with it we will see a united fan base with focus and optimism.

The sun is shining, after such a long winter of discontent it's good to have something to look forward to.

I have a feeling that after so many yearsof bs being such a "well run club" we may actually discover what a really well run club can do.

Bring it on.

Thomas Surgenor
80 Posted 14/05/2016 at 16:04:51
Graham #75

I know it's a cliche but I just feel the whole mood would be better/more positive around the club finishing off with a win.

For me, this season ended a few weeks ago and we need to salvage any small scrap of positive out of it so that out first pre season get together is in better temperament.

Also, I love big nev and his ideas. He really knows how to put pressure on the board and say what the fans want. He has said a few similar things in the past about performances.

Anto Byrne
81 Posted 14/05/2016 at 16:08:41
We should be farewelling our old timers. Doubt the kids will be played maybe leave them for preseason and the new man.

Let them learn the new man if in fact they do appoint someone. I'm warming to a Joe Royle and Unsworth regime if we can't get the best person for the job.
Damian Wilde
82 Posted 14/05/2016 at 17:35:37
Can we stop this ridiculous nonsense with OFM OFFM just use their nsme ffs. Not difficult is it? Do we call Smith OFFFM. Royle OFFFFM?
Colin Glassar
83 Posted 14/05/2016 at 17:38:56
Damian, can you work out who OFFFFFFFFFM was? I bet you can't. Anyone?
Colin Glassar
84 Posted 14/05/2016 at 17:40:13
And what does ffs mean? Former former sweeper? Lol
Graham Mockford
86 Posted 14/05/2016 at 17:47:04

It depends if you include caretaker managers

Colin Glassar
87 Posted 14/05/2016 at 18:11:39
Good point Graham, I suppose they do count.
Jay Harris
88 Posted 14/05/2016 at 18:25:12
Colin also depends on whether all the F's are for former!
Damian Wilde
89 Posted 14/05/2016 at 18:26:26
We're talking 'managers' not 'interim managers' so they don't count. Answer - Howard Kendall.
Chris Williams
90 Posted 14/05/2016 at 18:33:15
Christine Foster@79

Spot on. Love the positivity. Absolutely right.

Move it on up!

Paul Andrews
91 Posted 14/05/2016 at 18:33:54
Ray Said,

McCarthy will be out of the side when the new manager comes in.

A midfielder who hides from the ball. Runs a million miles a game but never passes forward, his first thought is to go square, if that is not on it is to go back.

A very poor player in my opinion.

Andy Meighan
92 Posted 14/05/2016 at 18:51:51
I doubt youll see too much dfferent tomorrow. It'll be basically the same side playing the same way maybe with the odd tweak.

The likes of Stones, Oviedo, McCarthy, Besic, Lennon, Gibson, Lukaku, Niasse, Cleverley can go do one as far as im concerned and it certainly wouldnt irk me not to see any of them in a blue shirt again.
Phil Walling
94 Posted 14/05/2016 at 19:20:37
Andy, was it not said that Martinez insisted that the same style was adopted throughout the junior sides ? That must have been difficult for Unsy to get his head round - particularly 'the attack from your own goal line' bit - but if he's bought into that in order to keep his job, he can hardly be too revolutionary tomorrow.

I guess 'going through the motions' will best sum it up as we await news of the new man. In doing so, we can only hope enquiries will be made of each candidate's style so that we may be spared another bloody 'philosopher' !

Colin Metcalfe
95 Posted 14/05/2016 at 19:35:14
Sometimes I log on here just for a laugh and you guys certainly provide that .... OFM/OFFM ... Classic :-)
Joe McMahon
96 Posted 14/05/2016 at 19:35:59
Andy (92) whats Lennon done wrong? I agree about the rest though and don't forget McGeady.
David Greenwood
97 Posted 14/05/2016 at 19:40:45
Great post Christine, so positive.

Couldn't agree more, it's time for a change.

David Chait
98 Posted 14/05/2016 at 19:44:22
My Team
Pennington Stones Mori Baines
Besic Barry
Dowell Barkley Mirallas

I have no doubt we will start with Barry with McCarthy again. Wouldn't mind seeing Basic with Cleverly.

Brian Cleveland
99 Posted 14/05/2016 at 19:50:54
Oh no! It was all a mistake... what a nightmare!!
Dave Abrahams
101 Posted 14/05/2016 at 19:55:36
I'm just glad the atmosphere will be a lot better tomorrow. I hope and expect the team to play a more attacking game against Norwich, Unsworth has nothing to prove, he's not going to get the job permanently, all he has to do is getting the players to play like we know they can.

Once the game is over at the final whistle I'm out the of the ground as fast as I can. The start of next season will be with a clean slate.

Colin Glassar
102 Posted 14/05/2016 at 20:04:04
I almost had a heart attack there Brian, pmsl. Oh sorry Damian, I forgot we can't use abreviations can we?
Graham Mockford
103 Posted 14/05/2016 at 20:24:10
I had to laugh at Damien Wilde's certainty!

By my calculation it is Colin Harvey. As you have 9 former managers so that would be

Kendall twice
Gabriel twice

And then Colin Harvey

If you didn't include caretakers it would be Billy Bingham

Andy Crooks
104 Posted 14/05/2016 at 20:24:37
Eugene, I know you liked Nolan, I'd have liked him a few years ago but who is there now? In my view there is a nasty fucker lurking in the lower divisions waiting his chance. Do we have someone looking for him or do you think if he doesn't cost millions then he's not for us?

Dean Peamum
105 Posted 14/05/2016 at 20:37:54
I googled OFFM but in my haste I typed in FFM. Thanks guys, I may be gone for a while.
Colin Glassar
106 Posted 14/05/2016 at 20:42:35
Blimey, Graham that was impressive.
Graham Mockford
107 Posted 14/05/2016 at 20:52:31

You want to try me on FA Cup winners, I can still do as my party piece every winner ever in order since 1871

Damian Wilde
108 Posted 14/05/2016 at 20:52:49
It's HK Mark I (with no caretakers)

I like acronyms Colin and do use them, but in this case it's a little bizarre. Common use of acronym would be for example 'EFC' 'cause someone can't be arsed typing the full hit. But why not just say 'Moyes'?

Phil, re: Unsy

"the attack from your own goal line' bit."

Ha ha made me laugh! Unsworth was an horrific passer of the ball. 9/10 if he passed forward it would result in a goal kick.

Who is a worse passer Unsy or Jags? I'd say Jags, great defender, but possibly the worst passer in England.

Damian Wilde
109 Posted 14/05/2016 at 20:57:30
I wasn't familiar with the term 'FFM' but have just found out. Sounds better than Moyes.
Dave Abrahams
110 Posted 14/05/2016 at 20:59:32
Graham (107) not FA cup winners, but here is an easy one for you.

What was missing from the 1953 FA cup final that was in every one before that and everyone since?.

Graham Mockford
111 Posted 14/05/2016 at 21:31:51

No not one I know. It was between the death of the King and the Queen's coronation but I'm clutching at straws.

Edward Wallis
112 Posted 14/05/2016 at 21:37:32
Paul Smith 72.... I like the look of that side you suggest
Colin Glassar
114 Posted 14/05/2016 at 21:47:05
The ball, Dave?

Damien, personally I refuse to name him. He's a bit like Voldemort or Sauron. Oh shit, I shouldn't have mentioned them either!!

Who won in '37 Graham?

Damian Wilde
115 Posted 14/05/2016 at 22:04:15
Colin, you hate him that much?
Graham Mockford
116 Posted 14/05/2016 at 22:07:16

That's an easy one because Sunderland won in 37 and 73, that's how to remember it.

Colin Glassar
117 Posted 14/05/2016 at 22:11:54
I don't hate him Damian. I don't like him but I certainly don't hate him. Same goes for BK. I can't stand him, and his lies, but I don't hate him either.

Who won in 1878 then Graham?

Peter Carpenter
118 Posted 14/05/2016 at 22:13:10
Dave, the national anthem? They didn't know whether to sing 'king' or 'queen' so they didn't bother.
Dave Abrahams
119 Posted 14/05/2016 at 22:14:11
Graham (111), it was a trick question that I thought most people had heard of, a trick question but very true.

The answer is the referees left arm. The referee was Alf Bond who also refereed the Everton v Bolton semi final the same year. He only had half an arm on his left hand, don't know if he lost it during the war.

I'll now get my coat.

Mark Daley
120 Posted 14/05/2016 at 22:14:36
Damian Wilde 54: Naismith's hat-trick was the best I have ever seen; perhaps you can think if better ones at Goodison over the years but I can't.
Patrick Murphy
121 Posted 14/05/2016 at 22:31:54
Louis Saha's wasn't bad against Blackpool, did he score four on the day? Andy Gray against Bratislava springs to mind that was decent and Lineker scored a couple of good ones too. Not sure how many were like Naismith's scoring with both feet and a header?
Patrick Murphy
122 Posted 14/05/2016 at 22:42:19
Deliberate mistake Fortuna Sittard not Inter Bratislava apologies
Damian Wilde
123 Posted 14/05/2016 at 22:46:26
Very good hat-trick, fair play.

Saha, what a talent he was.

Tom Bowers
124 Posted 14/05/2016 at 22:55:28
Everton have been playing pre-season games for a couple of months as that could be the only reason they have been strolling through games and getting outplayed.
Will Everton be any different tomorrow or has the RM malaise become difficult to remove from the mindset.
I think it may be a time to say thanks to the Canaries, Barcodes and Villa for being just a tad crappier than Everton overall this season. Anything less from Everton and this game could have been a repeat of the Wimbledon affair many years ago.
Kieran Kinsella
125 Posted 15/05/2016 at 00:17:12
If I were Unsworth I'd have Billy Kenny and George Green come in and give a team talk to the under 21s about how their lives went downhill. Then I'd name the team as all u21 players and say "Right you maggots, you think you're ready for the big time? Bad news, you're all being released. The good news is you've got 90 minutes to win your jobs back. Now get out there and don't bother to even come back unless one of you claims the match ball."
Eddie Fazal
126 Posted 15/05/2016 at 07:46:06
Hi Dave (119),
A great question, and certainly I'll use it as one of my football trivia teasers with mates in OZ.
I tried to find out how he lost his arm, and discovered that the Cup Final was in fact 1956, not 1953 - Wikipedia.
Man City Final when Trautmann played on with a broken neck!
Poor Alf's injury is also explained.
"Alf Bond was the referee in the 1956 FA Cup Final. He was 45, in charge of the FA Cup Final"
"Bond lost his right arm at the age of 19 when working in a rubber factory."
If you have any more of those, we would all love to hear them.
Kevin Gillen
127 Posted 15/05/2016 at 08:06:19
I'm going to the game today but goodness knows why. It's a long way from Grimsby to get to the game. I can't think of anything to look forward to about the game other than applauding Stephen Naismith at the start.
Kevin Gillen
128 Posted 15/05/2016 at 08:06:19
I'm going to the game today but goodness knows why. It's a long way from Grimsby to get to the game. I can't think of anything to look forward to about the game other than applauding Stephen Naismith at the start.
Dave Abrahams
129 Posted 15/05/2016 at 09:09:22
Eddie (126) well we both learned something about Alf Bond, I've asked that question dozens of times and some people have got it and plenty haven't, but you are absolutely correct it wasn't the 1953 final, just watched a clip of that final and the referee had two full arms, so it must have been the 1956 final, I also got the wrong arm, it was the right arm, apart from that I got everything right,!!!!!!!!!!!!. thanks for your reply.
John Otway
130 Posted 15/05/2016 at 09:26:05
Kieran. 125. You've got this man management lark well and truly cracked haven't you.
Matt Traynor
131 Posted 15/05/2016 at 09:38:10
If OFFM is Our former former manager, does that not mean he is no longer our former manager, which could mean he is the current manager?

Depends how you code / do your maths formulas I suppose!

Like a few on here looking forward to the final match, but not a fan of these token final appearances, even if only for a few minutes. Play the best XI available every time. But I'm old Skool I guess.

Max Murphy
132 Posted 15/05/2016 at 10:14:04
"Bronze Rotter am I" . Guess who? Answers on a post-card to somewhere far away in Spain.
Ray Griffin
133 Posted 15/05/2016 at 10:19:52
No need for any sentimental crap, the team most likely to win the football match should be the team that starts. Putting Howard in is not a problem, no difference between him and Joel anyway.

It'll be interesting to see how the players react today, I expect something better from Barkley especially - he's happy to see the back of RM & his cronies

Jim Potter
134 Posted 15/05/2016 at 10:28:15
A big thanks and good luck to a great keeper and true Evertonian - Tim Howard.
Laurie Hartley
135 Posted 15/05/2016 at 10:51:06
OK Graham at # 116 - In 1963 when we won the First Divison Title there where 5 football clubs in the four divisions of the football league whose names ended in the letter "e". Can you name them? Go on! (No googling)
Colin Malone
136 Posted 15/05/2016 at 11:06:30
Benitez is going to have face-to-face talks with Ashley to stay at Newcastle. Ashley has offered Benitez zero hours contract, no holidays or sick pay.
Dave Jones
137 Posted 15/05/2016 at 11:40:12
OK. So Martinez has finally gone…

Two things, the first is that we all owe a big thanks to those Evertonians who DID protest. Not only those who did stay behind to be kettled and subjected to muzak abuse by Chaiman Bill's cronies and the guys with the plane, but the numerous fans who spoke eloquently and passionately on the talk shows and those who planned to protest at the end of season dinner, Fridays press conference and the game on Sunday. Chairman Bill's poor attempt to allow Martinez more time back fired with some miserable, pathetic and bereft performances, I've not seen since the mid 70's (unfortunately this time the world was watching us surrender to Leicester and Sunderland). What the Club was attempting to achieve in the two hours after Sky had reported Martinez had been sacked is beyond any normal comprehension. Except of course, this seems part of Chairman Bill's agenda. Even though the media pack had smelt blood earlier in the day, arrogance turned into an amateur miscalculated effort, to show who was in control. End result… Everton Football Club looked like a bunch of ‘chumps' and their fans were subjected to more torturous hours, of not knowing what was going on at their club. This is despite, the so called professionals, we have at the club, to manage the media and advise the board. Personally, we were driving up the M5 to attend the dinner with our own plans, when Sky announced the news and then spent an hour at Bristol services before deciding too still go to the dinner and have a pop at Chairman Bill. We all know what happened after that… just passing Birmingham and the bugger cancelled the dinner… after that we just went back to Cornwall and got trashed.

Secondly, it's time for us to move on, our fans who say we are no longer a big club are right, to get back there, we need to re-build, both on and off the field. Teams like Southampton, West Ham, Stoke, Swansea are above us and of course, the brilliant Leicester. West Ham are doing a Man City with the new stadium, probably resulting in a further drop. So now we have to re-build carefully, for us Operation Adiós Martinez is over and ‘OPERATION GOODISON Gets its Mojo Back' begins.
Let's hope it starts today and our team gives us something to cheer… COYB!!

Steve Brown
138 Posted 15/05/2016 at 12:03:09
Agree with Damian about using OFM and our OFFM as abbreviations. Makes it sound like we were married to them rather than their being hired employees.

As far as I am concerned it was a decree absolute and 500 metres restraining order against Moyes and Martinez, with costs awarded against them to pay for our counselling.

Jay Wood
139 Posted 15/05/2016 at 14:21:25
Good on yer Rhino!

That's a fun team he's put out today.

I predict GP will be rocking today, out of relief more than anything else.

Paul Kossoff
140 Posted 15/05/2016 at 14:36:54
David 137, were Leicester a big club last season? And are they a big club. now? We are a big club, would Man Utd not be a big club anymore if they don't win anything for the next 10 years?

The playing field of English football is wide open now because of what Leicester City achieved, with a lot of effort and some sense you can achieve success, oh and I say Aston Villa are a big club too regardless of where they are now.

Joe O'Brien
141 Posted 15/05/2016 at 14:41:34
Yeah mood will be a lot better, filled with optimism rather than feeling lost. Nice young team Unsy. For a long time I'm looking forward to seeing is play.
Colin Hughes
142 Posted 15/05/2016 at 14:52:55
Bastard local radio, 90% redshite coverage so far because they are kicking off at the same time. Klopp this Klopp that.
Dave Jones
143 Posted 15/05/2016 at 23:38:06
Paul 140. Leicester City was a far better team than everyone and in particular us, last season. They have won the Premier League we haven't, enough said.

We play in a tired old stadium and with up to now, a constant limit on funds. We have 30,000+ who religiously attend the home games no matter what. Yes we do have a big fan base. Oh and certainly a loyal fan base but that doesn't mean we are still a big club. Big clubs constantly play in Europe and win things at home. This in return attracts big named managers and players with ease, or we are able to offer our best players, an incentive to stay. We just don't and the fault lies with those who run and manage our club.

Next season, as this, will be totally different. The big clubs have already reacted to this season, new managers and players in place or lined up. The top five big clubs, which does not include Leicester nor does it include us (it hasn't since the Premier League began), are the ones that have consistently performed on and off the field.

Man Utd, could still not win anything for ten years and still be classed as a big club, purely on their Premier League titles. But Villa are not a big club anymore and destined to become the next car crash following Leeds, Coventry and Birmingham.

All we can say to that, is thank Buddha it's not us and that we now have the opportunity to bring in a new manager and offer him substantial funds so that we can re-build.

Oh and normal service is hopefully resumed as we beat Norwich City 3-0.

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