Dowell makes permanent Norwich switch

Thursday, 30 July, 2020 303comments  |  Jump to last

Kieran Dowell's time at Everton is over after the midfielder completed a transfer to Norwich City today for an undisclosed fee.

The 22-year-old was a product of the Finch Farm Academy and looked at one stage to be genuine first-team material after making his senior bow as a teenager in the Europa League six years ago and then getting a first Premier League start on the final day of the 2015-16 campaign.

He was a member of England's U20 World Cup winning squad and had loan spells at Nottingham Forest, Sheffield United, Derby County and Wigan Athletic to gain valuable first-team experience but it was ultimately felt that he did not have a long-term future with the Blues.

Dowell joins the Canaries' bid to bounce back to the Premier League following their relegation back to the Championship this month.  

Reader Comments (303)

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Brian Murray
1 Posted 30/07/2020 at 10:54:16
Dowell has just gone to Norwich so why isn't their full-back, Aarons, involved in the deal?

We are desperate for a full-back unless Brands has another lined up... which I doubt. Depressing.

Marc Hints
2 Posted 30/07/2020 at 11:00:25
Kieron Dowell sold to Norwich, I hope this doesn't come back to haunt us!
Brian Williams
3 Posted 30/07/2020 at 11:08:52
And why would it, Marc?

I "think" it might just help us out in regard to dealing with Norwich.

Joe McMahon
4 Posted 30/07/2020 at 11:11:38
Marc, Naismith went there it didn't come back to haunt us. I'm surprised they sold him so soon though.
Derek Knox
5 Posted 30/07/2020 at 11:22:04
Brian, true, but although there's a few we should or could be interested in, Aarons, Cantwell, and Buendia, I'm pretty sure Norwich will be looking to bounce back, as they have done many times, to the Premier League.

They will be looking to keep their better players, learn from their experiences in the Premier League and possibly strengthen, they obviously see Kieran as being one of those to help them in that direction.

As I've said on here many a time, Kieran is a very talented footballer, but question marks over his sustainability after joining a side have to be questioned.

Every loan he has had he has come out of the stables firing on all cylinders, getting important goals and MotM nominations, then seems to taper off as the season progresses.

He has had a few chances to impress in pre-season matches with us, and if he was seriously wanting inclusion, I would have thought he could have tried harder, which obviously he didn't. However I wish him all the very best and just hope the undisclosed fee is a decent chunk, and not 'back of the sofa' money.

Patrick McFarlane
6 Posted 30/07/2020 at 11:27:00

Naisy did come back to haunt us, he scored the opening goal when Norwich beat us at Goodison in the League Cup.

Steve Shave
7 Posted 30/07/2020 at 11:44:57
Dowell sold to Norwich, first dibs on Buendia????
Brian Williams
8 Posted 30/07/2020 at 11:45:07
ٟ million I believe, Derek.
Joe McMahon
9 Posted 30/07/2020 at 11:49:52
Forgot about that, Patrick, probably cos we have never won the League Cup. We don't do Silverware anymore also.
Marc Hints
10 Posted 30/07/2020 at 11:52:42
Ah, I see your point, Brian.
Derek Knox
11 Posted 30/07/2020 at 12:05:41
Brian, now that is what I call 'back of the sofa' money for a player of Kieran's ability, and this is the Championship we are talking about.

They get massive parachute payments going down and a windfall if they come back up! Are we running some sort of Football Charity at Everton?

As has been mentioned so many times, the amount of money we have wasted since the arrival of Farhad Moshiri is staggering. Oh and I bet they haven't included any sell-on, or performance related clauses either. Viv Nicholson could have done better in the Accounts Department at Everton! :-)

Colin Glassar
12 Posted 30/07/2020 at 12:14:51
Derek, I think this is more of a case of Everton trying to drastically reduce their payroll. We must have about a dozen players (Tosun, Besic, Bolasie, Garbutt etc...) who are earning millions and have absolutely no future at Goodison.

Don't be surprised to see an average of between ٣-8m for each player. We will have to take a massive hit and bear the pain to rid ourselves of the flotsam we've acquired over the years.

Tony Abrahams
13 Posted 30/07/2020 at 12:25:36
According to one report Brands, has spent a lot of time watching Dowell, and that's why Everton have came to this decision. Maybe they do watch them Jerome, or maybe their mind had already been made up? Especially the form Dowell has been In recently for Wigan.

People want our squad to settle and show a bit of continuity, which is definitely something I'd normally agree with but it doesn't take long to see if you need or want a certain footballer, and I'd bet if he could Ancelloti, would definitely want to replace at least six players, and now the window has opened, we are going to find out pretty soon?

Robert Tressell
14 Posted 30/07/2020 at 12:32:19
I wish Dowell all the best. Norwich might be a good place for him to develop. I wonder if we will see Aarons etc in return?

The Ake to City deal, if true, puts our financial clout in perspective. For 㿔M they get cover at center-half. For us to spend 㿔M we hope for someone who can transform our first 11...

Kevin Prytherch
15 Posted 30/07/2020 at 12:38:02
It's a case of opportunity lost with Dowell...

The year after Dowell was on loan at Forest, James Maddison got a chance to play in a role all year with little defensive responsibility and grew into a good player. Dowell got no time on the pitch, no time on the bench and one opportunity to shine in a league cup game where he tried too hard and lasted about an hour. If only he had of got some game time that season we could have had a very different player.

If we're sensible with these players then we should insert Barcelona type buy-back clauses into these transfers (say ٢million after one year, ٦million after 2 and 㾸 million after 3) and significant sell-on fees. We've seen how Robinson's value went from ٠million To 㾶million in 6 months with a bit of game time.

I wish him all the best and truly hope he carves a good career out for himself. I think he'll be back in the premier league before long, alongside Joe Williams and Antonee Robinson.

Eddie Dunn
16 Posted 30/07/2020 at 12:39:04
If Dowell has gone to Norwich, will Tom Cantwell be heading to Goodison?
Alex Fox
17 Posted 30/07/2020 at 12:44:56
Great move for Dowell. Norwich should get the best out of him, and I expect he'll feature regularly as a replacement for either Buendia or Cantwell. Wouldn't be at all surprised to see him back in the Premiership in a year or two. He's a real talent.

Understand the transfer, though I would have preferred Everton to keep him. We lack goals from midfield, and I would back Dowell to get more in a season than Iwobi and Bernard combined.

My major concern however is how little it appears we have sold him for. If Brian's reports of ٟm are accurate then this is a shocking return on an England U21 regular with a track-record of delivering in the second tier...

Compare and contrast the fees Liverpool receive for similar young talent with our own:

Dominic Solanke - 㾿m
Jordon Ibe - 㾻m
Danny Ward - 㾸.5m
Ryan Kent - ٤.5m
Kevin Stewart - ٢m

Kieran Dowell - ٟm?
Antonee Robinson - ٠m
Joe Williams - ٟ-2m
Liam Walsh - ٟm
Ryan Ledson - 𧺬k - ٟm

Understand the desire to cut the squad size, but surely we can do better than this?

Colin Glassar
18 Posted 30/07/2020 at 12:45:19
Cantwell, Aarons, Lewis, Buendia etc... are all interesting options, Eddie.
Colin Glassar
19 Posted 30/07/2020 at 12:57:47
Alex, isn't this all part of the EitC philosophy? I know we, as a club, do great charity work but we also run the club likes charity so no-one should be surprised by our incompetence in the transfer market where we are dealing with wolves and sharks, not bloody nuns!
Jerome Shields
20 Posted 30/07/2020 at 13:04:50

That could be the case. To be out on loan at Everton for a young player is not a good thing. Lookman and Vlasic demanded to be out on loan selecting the Club they wanted to go to. Dowell has made sure he was in the shop window. At least he has the cop on to know.

There is a problem regarding developing players at Everton. They have one of the highest rate of let-goes in the 20 to 23 age group, when compared to other Premier League Clubs. Just look at the names on the let-go list this Summer, it reads like a list of Premier League 2 stars.

Patrick McFarlane
21 Posted 30/07/2020 at 13:27:47
Difference in sell on values for Everton rejects compared to our neighbours might just be the fact that our rejects aren't good enough to get a place in our below par first team whilst the opposite might be true for our neighbours castoffs? Everything is relative.
Paul Birmingham
22 Posted 30/07/2020 at 13:31:12
If Kieran Dowells gone for ٟM or thereabouts then, is there another string, and we'll get their right-back on reduced terms, or is this just EFC giving away a player on the cheap?

Seems very strange, but hopefully the short preseason will hopefully mean EFCs, scouting and recruitment plan will be in overdrive to get the best players possible...

Derek Knox
23 Posted 30/07/2020 at 13:32:35
Colin, I totally understand the need for decreasing the silly amounts on the payroll, while Kieran probably wasn't on massive wages in comparison, surely it is the other end of the Payroll that needs addressing before getting rid of potential.

I was going to type 'cash in on our youngsters' but at these paltry amounts, it just doesn't make sense in comparison to you know who, as indicated in that table. At a time when FFP could hit us hard again after this upcoming foray into the Transfer Market (hopefully), you would think that every penny should count!

Colin Glassar
24 Posted 30/07/2020 at 13:47:58
Also on ridiculously high wages as well Patrick! Thank you Dear Leader and Mr Walsh for some genius deals.

Derek, it's going to be next to impossible to offload some of the garbage we've bought in recent years so we'll probably have to look the other way while we gift some of these players to other clubs.

Barry Rathbone
25 Posted 30/07/2020 at 14:10:01
Quality is Dowell; give him the right set-up and he will shine. We've just lost a good 'un there.
Marc Hints
26 Posted 30/07/2020 at 14:42:28
Does anyone wander how Tom Davies has had a lot of playing time with hardly no assists, then you have a talent that I'm sure Carlo could work with that can open up a defence with a pass which we have seen Dowell do and Everton badly need.
Marc Hints
27 Posted 30/07/2020 at 15:20:11
Be nice though if this was to let us get a couple of Norwich players. I do like Emiliano Beundia and Max Aarons who apparently Bayern Munich are looking at so must be something there.
Christy Ring
28 Posted 30/07/2020 at 15:24:26
It's a good move for Dowell, a 3-year contract at Norwich. He's played for England U21s, so if the ٟM fee is true, it's totally ridiculous. Who at the club, sets the fee, Brands? Whether we have a buy-back clause, or a percentage of future fee, ١M or ٢M would have been realistic.
Patrick McFarlane
29 Posted 30/07/2020 at 15:49:45
The only evidence I have seen for the fee that Everton has received for Dowell is from Brian's post on this thread: "£ million I believe, Derek.".

I'm not saying that Brian is incorrect, or that he doesn't have access to the details in some way, just that all of the media I have seen have the fee as being undisclosed!

Jay Wood

30 Posted 30/07/2020 at 15:59:50
Norwich could be a good fit for him.

Such a naturally gifted footballer, just lacking that edge to his game.

I do feel Everton, under different managers, could have done more to expose him to first team football at Everton rather than send him out on loans as they did for 3 consecutive seasons.

Good luck to the lad.

Stephen Vincent
31 Posted 30/07/2020 at 16:00:55
He wouldn't have been my choice to be first out the door, I know he has drifted in and out of the games he played, but there was undoubtedly something there and he is only 22, I think this may be short-sighted.

Really surprised that there is no part-exchange for Buendia or Aarons.

Dennis Stevens
32 Posted 30/07/2020 at 16:05:02
I hope we get a slice of any profit when Norwich sell him on
Graham Hammond
33 Posted 30/07/2020 at 16:07:45
Who exactly dictates whether or not the selling fee is disclosed or not? Does anyone have any idea?

I hope the ٟM figure is way out because that would be a ridiculously low figure to receive for such a young player who clearly has some ability and could well go on to flourish, particularly with very hard-working players around him.

I sincerely hope that Everton has not insisted on the fee being undisclosed simply for fear of losing face in the future should the player prosper elsewhere.

Wasn't the Sigurdsson fee undisclosed also? Try as we might, that signing has left those involved at Everton looking like idiots.

I do fear that as a club we shy away from doing what is necessary and needed very often in order to protect those involved in the transfer and to save face.

Gavin Johnson
34 Posted 30/07/2020 at 16:10:34
A good move for Dowell. Norwich play nice football and they have good chance of coming back up to the Premier League.

Does anyone know what the fee is?? I wouldn't expect it would be very much and If that's the case you would hope a buy-back or sell-on would have been attached to the deal, because the lad is technically gifted and if he works on his concentration and motivation he could still develop into an elite player.

Frank Crewe
35 Posted 30/07/2020 at 16:10:46
Another one who looked the part but didn't kick on. Personally if a youngster isn't at least a regular sub by 21 then move them on because they are simply not progressing.

Gordon and Branthwaite have shown they have real potential and are getting first-team football. Dowell didn't.

Now I know there will be those who say he wasn't given opportunities but he was given first-team football at the clubs he was loaned to but they weren't clamouring at our door to keep him either.

Best for him to start fresh at a club in a lower division. Hope it turns out well for him and we have to buy him back for tens of millions in the years to come. But I'm not holding my breath.

Stephen Vincent
36 Posted 30/07/2020 at 16:19:26
Frank, Forest were keen, and Wigan obviously would have if circumstances had been different.
Brian Murray
37 Posted 30/07/2020 at 16:30:05
I know it's stating the obvious over the Dowell transfer but surely we (Brands?) asked the question over Arrons coming here??? Or would that be beyond our Dutch gem finder!

Prove us wrong, kidda, and let's show Richarlison we are serious players.

Kase Chow
38 Posted 30/07/2020 at 16:53:18
I'd be interested to know the fee. Why undisclosed? Hoping it's close to ٠-3M but probably wishful thinking.
Colin Glassar
39 Posted 30/07/2020 at 17:00:22
I only saw him play a few times and wasn't overly impressed. Quite slow, a bit too laid back and weak in possession. I wish him all the best but he's too similar to the midfield players we already have to break into the first team.

I think our youth system needs a complete overhaul as we aren't producing anything of worth. People keep on going on about the next big thing only for them to disappear or fizzle out like Barkley.

Mike Owen
40 Posted 30/07/2020 at 17:08:15
I believe Dowell made his Everton first-team debut in April 2016.
In that four years, there have been seven managers (Martinez, Koeman, Unsworth, Allardyce, Silva, Ferguson and Ancelotti)

I would suggest such a high turnover of managers stacks the odds against any up-and-coming player getting a decent run at a club.

But let's turn to Carlo. I do wonder if he has ever seen Dowell play.

I suspect the decision to sell Dowell has been made by Brands. Now I am sure Brands has a fine footballing brain and knows a lot more about the game than me.

But I would argue that such a decision should be made by Ancelotti. He knows best how he wants Everton to play and what type of players he thinks can do a job for him.

In addition, some managers get more out of players than others, they can be a better fit for each other.

Of course, I don't know to what extent Brands and Ancelotti have spoken to each other about Dowell, if at all, or whether Carlo has watched videos of him on loan.

But I do remember a press conference a few weeks ago where Carlo did not have a clue who Luke Garbutt was.

It made me wonder if Ancelotti has been told here's your squad (a list drawn up by Brands, with financial considerations in mind).
See what tune you can get out of these, Carlo.

Some of you will say: Well, this is how the Director of Football model works.

If that's the case, I'm not too impressed. I prefer the team manager to have a deep interest in all the players attached to the club.

It wasn't long ago that we were very proud of our academy and the number of young players given opportunities. Liverpool weren't so good on that front. Now I am wondering if that pendulum is swinging the other way.

Will be interesting to see what happens with JonJoe Kenny.

For me, an Everton team with no - or very few - Merseysiders in it is not quite Everton.

Finally, good luck, Keiran. Hope you do well.

Gavin Johnson
41 Posted 30/07/2020 at 17:13:38
Kase - If Dowell had been a product of the RS's academy he'd have cost someone at least £10m.
Christy Ring
42 Posted 30/07/2020 at 17:15:59
It's a good move for Kieran, 3-year deal at a nice club Norwich. He's been impressive in the Championship, and an England U20 World Cup winner, so I hope the fee was ١M-4M, with a sell-on clause. I don't know who sets the fee, Brands? I hope he wasn't sold for a small fee, like our other young players.
Joe McMahon
43 Posted 30/07/2020 at 17:16:11
I had hopes for him, yet again disappointed. Something isn't right, a reasonable amount of Liverpool's academy players knocked Everton first team out of the FA Cup.

Serious question: What are we doing wrong? Anybody with any knowledge of our set up know?

Robert Tressell
44 Posted 30/07/2020 at 17:21:32
Sadly there is a big 4 (or 6) premium on talented youth. Really had high hopes for Dowell. Most exciting talent since Barkley but not to be.

As an aside, Man City just shelled out ٢.5M for a 19-year-old right-back from Mechelen in Belgium (Burkina Faso International, no less). Loaned back out. Would quite like a couple of this sort of signing too ideally but that's the luxury of having gazillions to spend, I guess.

Geoff Williams
45 Posted 30/07/2020 at 17:28:47
Like Rodwell and Barkley before him, Dowell was a super footballer but lacked an edge. Why our players lack an aggressive streak which seems to come naturally to Liverpool players is hard to fathom. I think Davies might have more fans if he wasn't seen as a soft touch.
Colin Glassar
46 Posted 30/07/2020 at 17:30:07
Joe, Unsy is always hyping his players yet not many seem to make the grade. The shower across the park seem to be identifying and recruiting some really talented youngsters eg Brewster, TAA, Gomez, Jones etc after all, their kindergarten side beat our first team.

So maybe it's time to have a look at Unsy and the coaches below him. Are they good enough? Is the scouting and recruiting right? Are they up-to-date with their methods and training? Are our standards high enough or are the youth teams also on a cushy deal? Answers please, answers.

Phil Smith
47 Posted 30/07/2020 at 17:40:20
Disappointed but inevitable.

We're starting from scratch. No current U23 players will ever play for us. They want to ship them off and concentrate on U18 or buying new ones and blooding them in (à la Branthwaite).

Now let's start gutting the first team, as that's the real issue.

Joe McMahon
48 Posted 30/07/2020 at 17:42:56
Colin, maybe it seems a complete overhaul is required. The same could apply to all aspects of the club, apart from Community Work of course.

Something is rotten at this fucking club, year after year.

Kieran Kinsella
50 Posted 30/07/2020 at 17:45:03

Case in point: last Spring, Unsie said “It's in his hands” to get a new contract, when talking about Sambou. That's something you might say about Ravel Morrison or someone obviously good enough but with issues.

It was never in Sambou's hands, it was that he wasn't good enough. It wasn't as if he blew it or something, But Unsie has done this shit bigging up Banigame, Feeney etc. It puts unfair pressure on them, and even if they are “good enough” it sends a message that they are already on easy street so where's their motivation?

Jerome Shields
51 Posted 30/07/2020 at 17:45:19

That's exactly what is happening, and what they will be doing. Usworth's fiefdom is being dismantled.

Jerome Shields
52 Posted 30/07/2020 at 17:45:19

Thats exactly what is happening, and what they will be doing. Usworths fiefdom is being dismantled.

Nick Swallow
53 Posted 30/07/2020 at 17:46:49
Off the wage bill. Good luck, Kieran!
Bill Watson
54 Posted 30/07/2020 at 17:48:17
Good luck to Kieran Dowell but he's had plenty of chances to impress, both with us and out on loan.

His loans usually followed the same pattern of a great start, then a loss of form and being dropped. One club, either Derby or Forest, actually sent him back to Finch Farm.

Hope he does well at Norwich but he's another one, who had no real first-team prospects, off the wage bill.

Anthony Murphy
55 Posted 30/07/2020 at 17:52:11
That overhaul – this is what (hopefully) Brands is here one would hope.
Terry White
56 Posted 30/07/2020 at 18:11:54
Brian, I think we all would like to know the "reliable" source of your "ٟ million" statement.
Kenny Smith
57 Posted 30/07/2020 at 18:12:06
He didn't really get a chance here but we've already got a squad full central midfielders who are okay on the ball but don't want to win it back. In the right team, he could be a standout player but I'm hoping we're setting our sights on more quality than what he's got.

Good luck to him, though, and Norwich is probably the right fit for him if Farke stays.

Simon Harrison
58 Posted 30/07/2020 at 18:28:29
Good luck to Keiran, I hope he succeeds at Norwich. a very sensible, well run club.

I, like others here think that it is Rhino and his coaches time to go. The alignment of the academy, U18s and the U23s, with proven Youth Coaches to work for the firsts is a must. Haven't we just recruited someone from Derby to start just that? Yep, Chris Perkins. Well that's a start.

The U23s just do not focus on providing the 1st XI with players and focus too much on Rhino's ego and the PL2 etc. To my mind he is one of the reasons why the kids just don't come thru!

As a last point, again, as others above have mentioned, I hope we have a buy-back clause or sell-on clause for Keiran.

Also, if we were so keen on Max Aarons, why didn't we do a loan deal for Max as part of the sale? Keep Aarons for a year, if Norwich come up, he goes back, and then pay more for Keiran. They don't come up, we can buy Aarons and Keiran's price doesn't rise...

Who'd be a DoF, or manager even? Our club is so short sighted at times!

Robert Tressell
59 Posted 30/07/2020 at 18:29:27
I quite like what Unsworth does with his age group. He's moulded different sides and brought players on. I don't like the concept of U-23s football but I think Unsworth does pretty well. He basically presides over the last chance saloon age group of players destined for careers away from the club. With players like Sambou he's probably trying to say work your nuts off and it see where it takes you.
Barry Rathbone
60 Posted 30/07/2020 at 18:31:55
Quite concerning Carlo has let him go. He really is a quality footballer. Norwich fans must be chuckling like little elves having a party under a toadstool at their good fortune.
Alan Rodgers
61 Posted 30/07/2020 at 18:32:37
The latest in a long line of talented lads who turn out to be not quite good enough. They are then sold for peanuts. Beni will be next. Gordon is the exception and I'm sure Kenny will turn out well.

Branthwaite meanwhile has come in at 18 and gone straight to the first team without being exposed to the U23 set-up.

Just saying like.

Tony Everan
62 Posted 30/07/2020 at 18:37:14
A good move for Dowell, I will still watch out for him and follow his progress. Would have liked to have seen a plus cash deal with Buendia and or Max Aarons coming this way.
Brian Wilkinson
63 Posted 30/07/2020 at 18:39:21
Why is everyone putting down as weak in midfield when we have Davies, who runs down blind alleys and Siggy who will not even go into a 50/50 challange.

We could of even tried him out wide, instead of Iwobi, Walcott or Sidebe when he has played there.

Once our Euro Challange had ended with around 4 to 5 games to to, we could have given the likes of Dowell, Beningame and Simms a run out, instead we carried on with the same players, either starting, or coming off the bench.

Good luck to the lad, could come back to bite us on the arse this one.

Jack Convery
64 Posted 30/07/2020 at 18:45:42
Good Luck to him he should do well at Norwich – tasty food too!

I sometimes think we bring our youngsters up to play football, whilst Chelsea and the RS, bring them up to WIN!!!

Remember that, Everton Football Club - WIN!!! It's why you play football – TO WIN!!!

Get it? WIN!!!! Silverware, Great Days out at Finals, Memories made to savor for years. Some of us still remember – just.

Joe McMahon
65 Posted 30/07/2020 at 18:46:07
But still we will never know how Liverpools Academy players knocked the Everton first team out of the FA Cup.

That is disgraceful at every level. All this becomes part of the if yer know yer history (in a few years time) the club continues to peddle out.

We used to support a club to be proud of... What the Fuck went wrong???

Ian Bennett
66 Posted 30/07/2020 at 18:48:20
It's a good move for him and I think he will flourish with regular minutes on the Championship.

٠-3m and a good 25%+ sell on fee would be positive for a player nowhere near the first team and out of contract in the near future.

Brian Williams
67 Posted 30/07/2020 at 18:48:55
Jeez, some of these comments...

The lad WASN'T good enough!!!

Two Championship loans proved that. All this woe, woe and thrice woe is ridiculous. He may well be a "quality footballer" but not at Premier League level he's not!

John Kavanagh
68 Posted 30/07/2020 at 18:57:53
We should have held out and insisted they take Delph, Sigurdsson, Walcott and Bernard as makeweights.
Mike Benjamin
69 Posted 30/07/2020 at 19:03:05
He is a very talented technical player but unfortunately he lacks one key ingredient: pace. In the Championship, he can get away with it but not in the Premier League, so it is good business to let him go.

Hopefully a sell-on clause has been agreed just in case.

Colin Glassar
70 Posted 30/07/2020 at 19:11:11
We are a sentimental lot, Brian. We all want to see local lads come through but it seems our current setup isn't geared to preparing elite athletes.
Darren Hind
71 Posted 30/07/2020 at 19:15:58
Jarrad Branthwaite didn't come through Rhino? Really???

He didn't just get here. He's been here 6 months. Rhino was instrumental in signing him. Just as he was Calvert-Lewin and Holgate.

"Jarrad is a lovely guy. We secured his services, because we think he has enormous potential. We will work on him every day. He is also working alongside Seamus Coleman, Leighton Baines and Michael Keane all internationals. He'll see Mason Holgate who 3-4 years ago was in exactly the same position as Jarrad himself is in now."

What? You didn't think Brands was scouting around Carlisle, did you?

Five members of the current first-team squad have come through. It's embarrassing that Brands has spent hundreds of millions and Rhino has still supplied the first-team manager with more players.

Perhaps Brands can go and buy another Barca or Arsenal reject to show us how his new revolution is taking shape.

Let's scrap the junior teams. Then we can buy even more players who can't get a game.

Kieran Kinsella
72 Posted 30/07/2020 at 19:24:30
Unsworth's contribution to developing Branthwaite, from The Athletic:

The 17-year-old was unveiled as Everton's first signing of the January transfer window last Monday.

A day later, Branthwaite, initially signed to supplement David Unsworth's under-23s side, was called up to train with Carlo Ancelotti's senior squad."

So ONE DAY training with Unsie, who according to some so-called experts was crucial in signing him as opposed to Brands. Although the same Athletic article has this to say about his recruitment.

"It capped a remarkable couple of months for the Cumbrian centre-back, who played in League Two for the first time in October and had been identified by director of football Marcel Brands' recruitment team."

But of course the empty barrels on ToffeeWeb know so much more than sourced articles from journalists at respected publications. So all of this must be FAKE NEWS and Unsie is a legend for producing Branthwaite from scratch.

Bill Gienapp
73 Posted 30/07/2020 at 19:30:53
Norwich should be a good move for him. A small part of me is sorry to see him go, but I'd pretty much given up any hope of him making it at Everton.

Silva at least seemed invested in giving him a shot, but after his dreadful showing in the League Cup, that was pretty much the end of that.

Robert Tressell
74 Posted 30/07/2020 at 19:31:41
Alan @30 I agree with you. Baningime etc have stagnated in U23s football. Branthwaite has bypassed it because he's so good.

If you're really good, you shouldn't really be playing U23s. It should be a very fleeting chance to acclimatise with bigger boys, demonstrate you can handle it, and then start playing first-team football in lower leagues, Scotland and Holland etc.

Darren Hind
75 Posted 30/07/2020 at 19:35:57
It's staggering how ignorant people are about what goes on at this club and feel they can criticise. Five first-team players! Count them.

"and had been identified by director of football Marcel Brands"... sigh.

Some people will lap up the fake news all day long. Put up a direct quote and they can trump it with a "sourced article"

I wonder what the excuse for the other four players are? Perhaps Walsh brought them in? Perhaps there are sourced articles which will give Silva or Koeman credit?

Darren Hind
76 Posted 30/07/2020 at 19:41:23
You are right of course, Robert.

The players need to have the necessary talent; otherwise, they are going nowhere.

Kieran Kinsella
77 Posted 30/07/2020 at 19:48:29
So youth scouts find young children like Dowell, Connolly, Kenny and sign them up. Various coaches work with them at different youth levels so they are good enough to win the Under-20s World Cup, then they have finishing school with Unsworth who sees them regress behind their peers and be pushed off to Norwich and Fleetwood by the time they're ageing out of the Under-23s. Wow, what a contribution Unsie made to their careers.

Or maybe Unsie is instrumental in signing 18- and 19-year-olds from other clubs, excluding Branthwaite, such as Mason Holgate, which would mean he'd be giving interviews about his signing. Oh look, here's a BBC report from the time:

"With Mason, an opportunity came up and we didn't want to lose out. He is a young man with an impressive future," Toffees boss Roberto Martinez said.

Appears that Roberto handled that one. But Unsie did do the presser on Josh Bowler's 7-figure signing so that's a winner.

Brent Stephens
78 Posted 30/07/2020 at 19:51:54
Genuine questions - I don't know (Steve Ferns, where are you?!):

What is Unsworth's role in scouting players, as potential signings, for the U23s (or more junior sides)?

What is Unsworth's role in then signing players for the U23s (or more junior sides)?

Clearly he has a major role in developing players once signed for U23s (or more junior sides??) - in Branthwaite's case, he has played fully 6 or 7 games for the U23s (as well as training with, and playing for, the first team).

Darren Hind
79 Posted 30/07/2020 at 19:59:58
Unsworth has a say because he is an insider. He works and trains the junior players. He had to badger for months before Calvert-Lewin was signed.

Since Ancelotti came, ALL of Rhinos boys have trained with the first team.

"He will get to train with Seamus Coleman. Leighton Baines. Michael Keane. all internationals. He will get a close look at Mason Holgate who was in his positon 3-4 years ago"... Yep he even told us...

There appears to be a nasty habit of shooting the messenger developing. I didn't give these five players their first team experience, I simply pointed it out to people who were saying we never produce them.

Steve Ferns
80 Posted 30/07/2020 at 20:05:09
Glad Kieran has joined Norwich. They should be a good fit for him. I've admiration for the way Farke stuck to his guns and the way Norwich are allowing him another season despite relegation.

Kieran should shine if Farke's boys can shrug the relegation off and get back to how they surprised this league just 12 months ago.

Brent Stephens
81 Posted 30/07/2020 at 20:07:38
My post at #78 was purely a response to post #71 which in part references Branthwaite. So my questions are about what the current situation is re scouting, signing, developing players.

Just come across this from the Red Echo, February 2020 (is it reliable??):
"Marcel Brands is allowing under-23 manager David Unsworth to focus on the coaching and development of players at Everton.

"Unsworth, who led the Blues' youngsters to an unprecedented league and cup double last term, previously played a part in the signing of players alongside scout Jamie Hoyland, under former director of football Steve Walsh.

"But since replacing Walsh at Goodison Park, Brands has ensured the 46-year-old can prioritise work on the training field.

" 'Obviously Marcel does all the contracts and will speak with all the agents so I can really concentrate on the coaching side of it," Unsworth told the Royal Blue Podcast.

" 'In that respect my job has changed, so I concentrate solely and purely on the players and the coaching.' "

Kevin Prytherch
82 Posted 30/07/2020 at 20:17:02
Put this on a different thread as well:

It's a case of opportunity lost with Dowell...

The year after Dowell was on loan at Forest, James Maddison got a chance to play in a role all year with little defensive responsibility and grew into a good player. Dowell got no time on the pitch, no time on the bench and one opportunity to shine in a league cup game where he tried too hard and lasted about an hour. If only he had of got some game time that season we could have had a very different player.

If we're sensible with these players then we should insert Barcelona type buy-back clauses into these transfers (say ٢million after one year, ٦million after 2 and 㾸 million after 3) and significant sell-on fees. We've seen how Robinson's value went from ٠million To 㾶million in 6 months with a bit of game time.

I wish him all the best and truly hope he carves a good career out for himself. I think he'll be back in the premier league before long, alongside Joe Williams and Antonee Robinson.

Steve Shave
83 Posted 30/07/2020 at 20:20:41
Personally, I'd rather have kept him and shipped Gylfi! Good luck Kieran.
Joe McMahon
84 Posted 30/07/2020 at 20:23:11
Not about Everton (but U23's), one of Carlos ex players Andrea Pirlo is now Juventus Under 23 manager.
Darren Hind
85 Posted 30/07/2020 at 20:24:04
Ahem...The clue is in the date.

I'll tell you what. Branthwaite didn't play for the juniors. The other four players who have broken into the first team didn't really play there either... And it was Marcel who donned the false beard and dark glasses after discovering there was a ground 120 miles north and took a gamble by driving up there on the off chance that there might be a top class player waiting to be discovered. Hows that? Now we can all pretend we don't bring younger players through.

I hope to fuck Brands makes a couple of decent signings because if Beni progresses over the summer, it could get a little tricky if the Majority of the team have come through the ranks and we're all trying to pretend they didn't.

Kevin Prytherch
86 Posted 30/07/2020 at 20:24:04
Reading some of the above points regarding Unsworth and players stagnating...

The Branthwaite situation is heavily reliant on having a manager that will actually play a young player. If Unsworth has a plethora of decent players and a manager who refuses to put any faith in a young player (remember that Silva didn't give a single debut to a young player in his time here, whilst Allardyce wasn't much better) then there will be a stagnation of players at U23 level. That is not necessarily a slight on Unsworth as he can only play and coach what he has.

Davies, Holgate, Calvert-Lewin and Gordon have all been trusted more since Silva left, and Kenny has played well in Germany. We've also had Williams and Robinson as stand out performers for Championship sides and Dowell playing well there. There's 8 players there who have all had significant time with Unsworth who are playing at a very good level.

Who knows how many of the U23 players could have progressed given half a chance by a manager.

Patrick McFarlane
87 Posted 30/07/2020 at 20:29:24
No wonder the current team is so dysfunctional – we don't even know who's responsible for what when it comes to scouting, signings etc.

I always thought that everybody at the club should be pulling in the one direction and if they aren't or are trying to protect their own departments, we shouldn't be too surprised if mistakes are made.

On a sidenote, Tim Cahill is being linked with a coaching gig at Birmingham City, he may even end up as their manager. I wish Carlo would recruit him to his coaching staff – as he's a guy who truly understands the team ethic and knows what the fans want to see.

Darren Hind
88 Posted 30/07/2020 at 20:33:52
What – bring in another Evertonian as a coach, Patrick?

Hahahaha. I love it. This place would go into meltdown.

Tony Abrahams
89 Posted 30/07/2020 at 20:36:44
Not for Timmy Cahill, it wouldn't, but I'm surprised Arteta hasn't already taken him to Arsenal.
Mike Gaynes
90 Posted 30/07/2020 at 20:36:45
Kieran #46, not opining on Rhino's coaching abilities one way or the other, but I would point out that virtually all of the England U-20 World Cup winners have so far failed to become top professionals.

Of the players who appeared in the final, only our two guys, Calvert-Lewin and Kenny, were every-game starters in top-level leagues this past season, and neither is exactly a superstar. Most of the remainder are Premier League part-timers (Solanke, Cook, Maitland-Niles, Tomori) or playing in the Championship on loan.

So it's certainly not fair to say that Dowell "regressed behind his peers" under Unsworth. On the contrary, he's pretty much on a par with them.

Brent Stephens
91 Posted 30/07/2020 at 20:36:52
The clue is in the date and what Unsworth himself says about his role vis a vis Brands. And who said Branthwaite played for our juniors?
Joe McMahon
92 Posted 30/07/2020 at 20:37:10
Patrick - RE Cahill agreed, huge player that even the top teams were wary of and main man for his international team.
Michael O'Malley
93 Posted 30/07/2020 at 20:38:32
Even though he seemed to lack the physical edge to his game, he is technically gifted judging by that cracking volley he steered in the top corner for Wigan.
Steve Ferns
94 Posted 30/07/2020 at 21:28:47
Brent, sorry mate, I have no inside information to give you. Just an opinion based on rumours, conjecture and trying to piece things together.

One thing I don't get though, why is it Brands v Unsworth? Why is it Brands or Unsworth? Why can't it be Brands AND Unsworth?

If the Director of Football system works properly, then Unsworth is a key component. No-one talks about Martin Waldron here. Martin who? Most will say. Well Martin Waldron WAS the guy who signed the players for the academy. That was his job. He got suspended and left this summer being found to cross the line in trying to recruit kids using the unscrupulous tactics Man Utd, Man City, Liverpool and the other big clubs do, by offering financial and other incentives to the families of children.

Read the Echo about his work here: Link

Chris Perkins is his replacement and he comes in from Derby. Derby, for those who don't follow youth football, have been a real success story and Everton (Brands) has recruited him to try to replicate that here.

On the subject of Unsworth being a failure, that couldn't be further from the truth. Unsworth has had an extra-marital affair, according to rumours. Those rumours suggest it was with she who is most powerful at Everton. Rumours suggested that this has caused major issues behind the scenes with other shenanigans going on (such as a rumour about his wife's health at the time of the alleged affair and another rumour that the same lady has tried to remove the "bullying" of the young footballers by coaches that was part and parcel of what we all experienced as kids and something Brands allegedly has no problem with) and Unsworth was supposedly set to depart for Wigan. Now they have been relegated and look in all kinds of trouble, I can't see any chance of that now, not least because Cook has done a great job there.

Unsworth, the coach, has done well at Everton. No, not because of two PL2 titles and a Premier League Cup. He's done well because he's overseen the progression of a variety of players into the first team. He's also been adept at quickly dismantling his PL2 Champions and rebuilding another team quickly.

Contrary to the suggestions that he is focused on just winning the PL2 title, Unsworth quickly gets rid of the champions and tries to bring the next batch through. For example, this is his team that won the PL2 last summer, ordered by who played the most:

Nathan Broadhead, Dennis Adeniran, Nathan Markelo, Bassala Sambou, Morgan Feeney, Harry Charsley, Tyias Browning, Fraser Hornby, Brendan Galloway, Joao Virginia, Antony Evans, Ryan Astley, Lewis Gibson, Josh Bowler, Joe Hilton, Anthony Gordon, Matty Foulds, Con Ouzounidis.

These guys all played 5 or more games. What happened to them all?

Broadhead – 22 years old now, played 22 games and scored 3 goals in an impressive spell, that was ultimately derailed by injury for League One Burton Albion.

Denis Adeniran – 21 years old, poached from Fulham, spent most of the season training with the first team (under Silva and Ancelotti) but both ultimately not giving him any minutes on the pitch.

Nathan Markelo – 21 years old, signed from a small club in Holland by Brands. Handed a new contract and loaned to FC Twente for the coming season, he did play the season for the U23s.

Bassala Sambou – 22 years old. Was poached from Coventry, but despite being top scorer in the title season with 9, he was released and joined Fortuna Sittard, where he managed 2 goals in the Dutch top flight. Presumably he was moved aside to allow for the development of Ellis Simms.

Morgan Feeney – 21 years old. The title winning captain and favourite of Unsworth. He suffered a bad injury at the end of the season and was not fit by the time of the new season and so missed the intended window to be loaned out. He played 12 games for our U23s before getting a loan move to Tranmere in January. At only 21, you could understand him getting 12 more months and a loan, but he was in fact released this summer.

Harry Charsley – 23 years old. Some make out as if he was much older. He is the one that is used to beat Unsworth. Harry was a decent player at U23 level and even got a game in the Europa League under Unsworth when Allardyce couldn't be arsed and went to a doctor's appointment instead. Harry was released last summer, but couldn't find a club and so was allowed to remain at Everton to train with the U23s (we are not the only club to do this). Due to injury he got a few games and eventually joined Mansfield on a free in January.

Tyias Browning – 26 years old. Now known as "Jiang Guangtai" and playing for Fabio Cannavaro in the Chinese Superleague, I shit you not. He has Chinese heritage and so qualifies under Chinese laws as a Chinese national and so is exempt from the foreigners rules in the Chinese Super League. He's been plagued by injuries throughout his career and that's carried on in China. Tyias was kept on so long here as he was perpetually loaned out (Wigan, Preston, and Sunderland) but didn't have any luck and so was released last summer when his contract expired.

Fraser Hornby – 20 years old. Poached from Northampton Town. Originally a midfielder but had a massive growth spurt and was converted into a striker. He is now 6'-5" so that's one hell of a growth spurt. He was not a natural striker and if he didn't score with his head, he scored from outside the box, but he did not score regularly enough (only 5 in the title season) and so was moved on to see if he can toughen up and hack it with men, and so loaned to Belgium. He did alright scoring 3 in 12, and got a transfer (as in we got a fee) for him to join Reims of Ligue 1 in France.

Brendan Galloway – still only 24 years old. Brendan got some games (13) to try and get him back in the shop window after disastrous loans in successive seasons with West Brom and Sunderland. In the summer, he was given a free transfer and joined Luton Town.

Joao Virginia – 20 years old. The highly rated Portuguese keeper (a star in the U19 European Championship winning side) was poached from Arsenal by a combination of Brands, Marco Silva and Hugo Oliviera (our keeper coach who is well regarded in Portugal, not least for his work with Man City's Ederson). Joao had a bad loan with Reading and came back in January.

Antony Evans – 21 years old, failed to secure a mooted loan to a championship club and instead left permanently for Paderborn the Bundesliga basement club. He had been loaned in previous seasons to Morecambe and Blackpool. Whenever I saw him, he was often the best and certainly most gifted player on the pitch. I really thought he would make it, and then some. He made just 6 appearances in the Bundesliga, 5 of which were the last 5 games and only 2 were starts.

Ryan Astley – 18 years old. Ryan was only 17 at the end of the title season and had forced his way in with injuries to Feeney and Gibson. Very highly rated. Often plays full-back, but is definitely a centre-back, however, he's only just 6 foot tall so could do with a Fraser Horby growth spurt and hitting the gym like Anichebe.

Lewis Gibson – 20 years old. Lewis was poached from Newcastle. He had injuries at the start of the season, and then was loaned to Fleetwood in January. Big future ahead of him, but probably needs another loan.

Josh Bowler – 21 years old. One of Steve Walsh's signings, poached from QPR. He vied with Gordon for a wide position and started 8 and came off the bench 7 times. He improved as the title season went on and took the right-wing slot as his own. He was then loaned in the summer for the season to Hull. He played 28 Championship games, but scored only once and got only 1 assist in what was really a disappointing season.

Joe Hilton – 20 years old. The backup keeper played 6 times when U23 games clashed with first-team games as Virginia was at every first-team game in the title-winning season and only played for the U23s never trained with them. It was no surprise that young Joe was released at the end of the season as Everton had 2 top young keepers coming through (Hansen and Tyrer).

Anthony Gordon – 19 years old. You know all about him, but he forced his way into the U23s midway in the title season only to get displaced by Bowler. This season was the season he needed to step up and impress, and he did.

Matty Foulds – 22 years old. We took him from Bury under Martinez. He is a left-sided defender who mainly played left-back. He never had the attacking ability to be a modern full-back, and lacked the physicality to be a centre-back. He never got a loan and at the end of this season he was released to make way for the new French lad.

Con Ouzounidis – 20 years old. He stepped into the U23s in the championship season only to get injured badly. He recovered this season and played 8 games. He looks pretty decent, but is behind Gibson and Branthwaite despite being older.

What this shows me is that Unsworth has NOT just kept his best players and tried to win the PL2. He has actively tried to develop the players. He has shown his ruthlessness in dispatching his favourite, Morgan Feeney. He has shown that again with Sambou and Hornby. The thing is you can get rid of Horby and Sambou if you have Ellis Simms. You can get rid of Bowler if you have Gordon. Unsworth can only work with what he is given.

Anyone who watches the U18s or follows them knew that this would be a tough season, once the championship team was dismantled, as above, there was no-one, no-one at all to come through. Injuries hit some of our best at the wrong time, and denied them loans that could have helped them get to the next level. Injuries also meant that Charsley got a game when he was no longer registered as an Everton player.

It seems likely that Unsworth will be here next season. Well next season he has some major players. First off the French lad, the 19-year-old left-back. He has Ryan Astley to mould into a centre-back. Into the U23s should come Lewis Dobbin (left wing / striker in the Richarlison mould), Tyler Onyango (centre-midfield) and Tom Cannon (a young Gary Lineker). Astley needs coaching and to beef up a bit. Dobbin needs to show he can continue to develop his electric pace and dribbling and do it against much older players. Cannon needs to develop more to his game than just tapping them in. Onyango has to develop his all-round game and evolve from being just a Fellaini clone into really being the next Patrick Vieira.

So if Unsworth sticks around, see what he does with this talented bunch, and I haven't mentioned Bobby Carroll, Lewis Warrington, Joe Anderson and other 18-year-olds who should be stepping up and have the potential to make it.

Brent Stephens
95 Posted 30/07/2020 at 21:33:41
Steve, great post! A mine of information.
Brent Stephens
96 Posted 30/07/2020 at 21:38:39
Steve, didn't Joe Anderson play a few games for the U23s this season?? Or have I got him mixed up with somebody else?
Patrick McFarlane
97 Posted 30/07/2020 at 21:42:14
Good post, Steve, but the use of the word 'poached' worries me – surely we paid money for the likes of Bowler?
Steve Ferns
98 Posted 30/07/2020 at 21:43:48
Brent, he did.

Patrick, 'poached' in my vocabulary is when we steal a player from another club's academy against their will and end up paying a fee for doing so, not always set by tribunal. Bowler was by tribunal, Sambou was by agreement.

Andy Crooks
99 Posted 30/07/2020 at 21:45:55
Steve, that is a fine post. We both know you are a wily enough fox, mindful of the laws of libel, to draw back from the post you could post.
Patrick McFarlane
100 Posted 30/07/2020 at 21:46:18
Cor blimey we're even rubbish at stealing players :) cheers Steve
Steve Ferns
101 Posted 30/07/2020 at 21:55:41
If anyone wants to look at Unsworth's first Championship winning side, in the way I did above, then the players are:

Kieran Dowell, Mateusz Hewelt, Jonjoe Kenny, Harry Charsley, Liam Walsh, Antonee Robinson, Tom Davies, Callum Connolly, Gethin Jones, Morgan Feeney, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Courtney Duffus, Calum Dyson, Matthew Pennington, Mason Holgate, Beni Baningime, Joe Williams, Oumar Niasse, Tyias Browning, David Henen, Bassala Sambou.

As before, the above list is in order of who made the most starts. The two title winning sides were 2 years apart. Who played in both? Morgan Feeney, Ty Browning, Harry Charsley and Bass Sambou. Unsworth had tried to get rid of Charlsey but, when there was no takers, he let him come back to train and he played a handful of games.

Browning got a new contract when he joined Preston on loan after the first title wining side when he (as captain) was meant to kick on and take the Championship by storm only get injured again (he'd already missed a whole year with a knee injury he has never recovered from).

I defy anyone to watch a young Ty Browning and not think he had real potential. Even Ronald Koeman was talking him up when he joined Preston. Sambou and Feeney were 19 in the first season and 21 in the second, so hardly old for that level.

The real stars of this first title team were Kenny, Dowell, Walsh, Robinson, Davies, and Calvert-Lewin. They were all pushed onto another level in one way or another and none were just left to flounder in the U23s without getting a loan, just so Unsworth could laud over his "fiefdom".

Mike Gaynes
102 Posted 30/07/2020 at 22:02:53
Steve, great info. And I heartily agree with the quote, "Why can't it be Brands AND Unsworth?" Definitely a multi-pronged endeavor.

One quick head's up: Cook resigned from Wigan yesterday.

And one quick update on a player you mentioned... with Tyias Browning starting at centre-back, Guangzhou Evergrande has broken on top of the new Chinese Super League season with two wins and a 7-0 goal differential.

Kieran Kinsella
103 Posted 30/07/2020 at 22:06:11
Mike Gaynes,

For clarity, when I mentioned “peers”, I meant broadly as players around the world given they won the World Cup. So, for example, Richarlison – same age group having better success.

Steve Ferns
104 Posted 30/07/2020 at 22:08:07
Thanks for that, Mike. I have kept an eye out on Wigan, being a club close to Liverpool and with a number of Blues and ex-Blues on their books, and the notion that the administration was done for the purposes of winning a massive bet in the far east. I therefore have no idea how I missed Paul Cook's resignation.

assuming the relegation sticks, and most think it will, Wigan have big problems next season and I cannot see Unsworth still going there. He would be mad to take that job. If they stay up and get a takeover, as per their board's intent, then it would be a good job to take.

Ian Bennett
105 Posted 30/07/2020 at 22:10:01
Great read that, Steve. 👏👏👏
Mike Gaynes
106 Posted 30/07/2020 at 22:10:14
Got it, Kieran. Thought you were referring to his U20 teammates.
Kieran Kinsella
107 Posted 30/07/2020 at 22:13:13
Wait – so Jenny Seagrove is into Rhino horn?
Mike Gaynes
108 Posted 30/07/2020 at 22:15:05
Oh Kieran... easy on me little Jenny now.
Brent Stephens
109 Posted 30/07/2020 at 22:15:12
Steve might "proffer" a different name?
Kieran Kinsella
110 Posted 30/07/2020 at 22:17:09
Couldn't resist, Mike, grew up on Benny Hill!
Kieran Kinsella
111 Posted 30/07/2020 at 22:19:29
Newcastle takeover collapsing is good news also.
Steve Ferns
112 Posted 30/07/2020 at 22:24:06
Who knows Kieran?

Kieran, Mike's point is valid though. Forget Everton for a minute. England produces youths as good as any country in the world. The U17 and U20 World Cup wins are examples of this, but also numerous other international tournaments won by that U20 World Cup winning side.

The problem England has is once the youths get to 18 they stall. Not just our players, but across the board. In England, the step up from U18 to PL first team is massive, and clearly U23 football is not the answer. Unsworth himself volunteers a solution of making a new fourth tier, between League One and League Two with the PL2 and to allow them to then filter into the League system in the way that happens in Europe.

Whilst this would be good for Everton and the Premier League big boys, it would also be the death of Lower League football and maybe permanently damage the English game as a whole. However, if Coronavirus really does bite hard on the lower leagues and some teams do go bust, then this is likely to be mooted as a suggestion to keep the leagues intact.

When you look at players who have been given opportunities, such as Kyle Walker Peters (Tottenham / Southampton) and Dom Solanke and Lewis Cook (Bournemouth), they have just not been good enough. After a bright start, Tammy Abraham faded, as did Tomori at Chelsea.

There is a real problem with getting the kids to jump up to the level of the Premier League, simply because the level is international level, as most clubs have 10-15 internationals on their books, at least. Even the supremely talented Phil Foden is now 20 and far from being the next Messi, he is still not first choice for City.

Tony Everan
113 Posted 30/07/2020 at 22:24:11
Steve. Thanks for that very detailed and interesting post. It's a tough old world for those lads, fighting for their futures. It must be a nightmare for them to get an injury and lose traction in their quest to progress.

One of my best mates played in the Everton youth team of the early eighties, he suffered a knee ligament injury and fought back. He got to the FA Youth Cup Final too against Norwich and lost very narrowly.

My mate hit a free kick in the final when, I think, the game was 2-2, he struck it perfect, from 30 yards out, it dipped then cannoned off the crossbar at the Park End. They went on to lose 3-2. Not long after Howard released him and kept a few of the others. I still think to this day what would have happened if that free-kick was an inch lower and went in off the underside of the bar and they won the prestigious FA Youth Cup. He may well have been kept on and had a top-level football career.

After he left, Blackpool offered him a contract of sorts, but his heart wasn't in it.

It just brings home to me the human element of these players trying to make it, the risk of a career-threatening injury before their careers start, and just how incredibly difficult it is to make it.

Kevin Prytherch
114 Posted 30/07/2020 at 22:25:45
If you go down Steve's list, I think 13 of them were playing regular league football this season – which isn't a bad return from a youth team.

Its a shame we probably haven't negotiated sell on clauses!!

Darren Hind
115 Posted 30/07/2020 at 22:25:56

Its not conjecture. He went to watch somebody else at Carlisle before Chrimbo and spotted the youngster (who was already attracting attention of others). The lad was watched again over the holiday and the club wasted no time in signing him not long after.

It was reported a couple of months later that Brands had asked him to concentrate on development. However. if he does spot another talent on his travels. We both know how quickly the club would react to his reports.

I'm glad you posted that information. Hopefully it will quell ignorant criticism from people who think reading a couple of lines in "The Athletic" gives them some sort of insight into the inner machinations of Finch Farm.

I must admit I was really surprised that you mentioned the rumored "Goings on". I'm not saying you were wrong. I'm just surprised.

Steve Ferns
116 Posted 30/07/2020 at 22:39:40
Darren, there's a lot of leaks from inside Finch Farm. Whatever the rumours are true or not, this shows it is not a happy camp.

Every rumour I've ever heard includes big divisions behind the scenes, and no, not inside the first team. There's a lot coming out of Everton about Unsworth, and I think he is not well-liked because of these rumours.

If someone is disliked for non-football reasons, then you can expect their footballing credentials to be questioned at every opportunity, and I see this happen with Unsworth. If the rumours are true, then he might not be a nice guy, but it does not mean he is a bad coach.

Kevin, please read the Echo article on Martin Waldron. He says 85% of those who make it to 16 at Everton, under him, went on to be professional. Which is a hell of a stat. This shows that Everton's coaching is top quality as even those far from good enough for us can still make it further down.

He also gives us two names for the future that I have never heard of Isaac Price (16-year-old midfielder) and Katia Kouyate (an attacker whose age I am unaware of). Waldren thinks these two could be future stars. It would be easy for him to say Dobbin or Onyango as anyone can see what they have done with the U18s already, but these two are younger.

Robert Tressell
117 Posted 30/07/2020 at 22:41:26
Vintage pre-lockdown Steve Ferns. Back to your best. Hope that means work has calmed down.

Agree with all of that - expressed similar sentiments with inferior research. Potentially quite a good bunch coming through. Simms and Dobbin get most attention and hopefully are close to transitioning to first-team football. Others will be better placed to judge.

Looking forward to catching a look at the likes of Cannon, Carroll and Warrington. And maybe one or two additions beyond just Nkounkou.

Darren Hind
118 Posted 30/07/2020 at 22:43:57
I know, Steve.

We don't make the back pages very often these days. But we may make the front in the not too distant.

Martin Reppion
119 Posted 30/07/2020 at 23:18:15
I am sick of hearing from the glass not only half-empty but chipped and cutting the lip brigade about how good ALL the red shite's kids are and how shit we are. The same goes for signings.

Didn't they shell out a fortune for Andy fucking Carroll? Their next world-beating centre-forward to come through the ranks just got relegated with Bournemouth. The fact is that we take an interest in our signings and our kids so hear about the failings as well as the few successes.

Because we have been a mid-table club for so long we had to sell on the real potential, usually for decent fees, and keep the okay ones. Even the real potential doesn't always work out. For every Rooney, there are a few Jeffers or Rodwells. Even Stones now gets slagged off.

'We don't bring on talent' Yet show me the Leon Osman or Tony Hibbert that they had at Anfield for 10 years.

Currently we have a squad that includes, Davies (I hope he doesn't read all the shit he gets on here), Gordon and Branthwaite as well as Calvert-Lewin and Holgate that we signed for peanuts as kids.

An earlier poster wrote in glowing terms of Man City signing a kid and sending him out on loan. When we do that, the club gets murdered on here. Just listen to yourselves.

I am not happy that my team has been mediocre at best for years. But it is my team. I support it. Back it and cheer it to the rafters when I'm allowed to. You lot just want to moan when they are crap.

Rob Dolby
120 Posted 30/07/2020 at 23:23:02
I had hopes for Dowell – something about left footers who ooze quality and don't break sweat. Mahrez or Ozil type players are nice and easy on the eye. He found himself under the avalanche of Koeman's Number 10s so was never going to get a chance.

Problem is the languid Number 10 position seems to be fading out of the game. Tactics are changing, midfielders are expected to work harder. Norwich will have to have hard workers all around him to get the best out of him.

I wish him all the best – just a shame that he didn't get as much of a chance as Klaassen, Vlasic or Sigurdsson.

Derek Knox
121 Posted 30/07/2020 at 23:38:17
Steve @85,

I would imagine they are similar to the rumours we heard about Unsworth before, and to a degree I am surprised he is still there. The situation at Wigan with Paul Cook parting ways may see him, take the job he was tipped to take some time ago!

Although I feel sorry for the Wigan players, who have been relegated by virtue of a points deduction because of an unscrupulous change of ownership running them towards liquidation.

I fail to see why the management and playing staff should pay the penalty for dealings beyond their control.

Jerome Shields
122 Posted 30/07/2020 at 00:02:36
The problem with Unsworth's U23s set-up is that players were being kept into their twenties to win Premier League 2 and related Cups.

Everton U23s played Man City U23s at the end of January. Everton's team consisted of five players older than 20, while Man City had just one player north of 18. City won 4-1.

If these Everton players are just playing at a lower standard of football than the Premier League, not even Championship standard, how are they ever going to be able to play at the higher level that they need to be able to do, if they are to benefit Everton in the future?

The other problem is that Everton players are being loaned out in their 20s, which can't be to develop their game, but more likely to reduce the wages bill. They should be loaned out up to 18, if the aim is to develop their game. Finally there is no relationship between the U23s system of play and the first team's system.

What has happened is that Unsworth has been allowed to build up a personal fiefdom, where the aim is not to provide first team players, but to win U23 competitions.

The result is that the development of young players to play for the first-team and available young players to play for the first-team is currently non-existent.

Ancelotti has put Brands in charge of youth recruitment and one of the first things Brands has done this Summer is to draw up a list of players to let go, that has a lot of Premier League 2 and Premier League Cup stars on it.

At last, Unsworth's fiefdom is being dismantled – and not a minute too soon.

Kieran Kinsella
123 Posted 30/07/2020 at 00:08:49
Silly me,

I'll no longer read The Athletic or listen to the actual words spoken by the actual people at the club in public.

If I want to know anything, I'll rely 100 percent on the opinion of a nobody who posts frequently and offensively on a fan site.

John Pierce
124 Posted 31/07/2020 at 00:22:42
Jerome, I'd have sacked Unsworth long ago. He's not producing players for the first team nor making profit on youngsters we've signed. Both essential for player trading, and FFP.

I agree wholeheartedly with your outline, in fact it would do Unsworth good to get out in the real world and see if he can do it when it matters. A very acute symptom of how poorly the club is being run. I'm flabbergasted Brands hasn't moved him on, as he is accountable for it ultimately and it's meant to be a key part of his role?

Derek Thomas
125 Posted 31/07/2020 at 01:36:25
Like it or not there is more to being a top Premier League footballer than 'just' god-given talent. You have to be physically and even more so, mentally up to it – that's before you even enter 'luck' into the equation.

The list is endless of those who fail for lack of one or both.

James Vaughn had it all, but his body couldn't handle it.

Anichebe...built like Tarzan, played like Jane – yes I know you can't say that now. So sue me for being a dinosaur.

The Straq; all the body and attitude, but he just wasn't very good.. .even if it was by fine margins.

Sorry Meat Loaf - '2 out of 3 ain't bad' won't cut it in the Premier League. Or to put it another way...'It's a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll.'

[*fades in bagpipe riff*]

Ashley Roberts
126 Posted 31/07/2020 at 02:44:57
I would have liked for Ancelotti to at least have had a look before moving him on. I agree, Dowell seems to have some limitations but with a good coach and hopefully decent players around him, who knows he could have become another Sheedy, cos he does have some qualities we are crying out for like having a decent left peg.

How many left-sided players do we have? Bernard and Iwobi definitely do not fit that mould and I would bet Dowell would at least bag a few goals in the season. Given how many Bernard and Iwobi have scored this season, I don't think that would be too difficult a number to beat.

If we don't give the youngsters a chance how do we know how good they are? Look at young Braithwaite, he was only thrown in to the mix because of injuries and to be honest I would persevere with him and ditch Mina because again he is a lefty which gives the team so much more balance.

I wish Kieran well and will be watching closely how he does at Norwich. I am sure he will be playing in the Premier League in the future.

Jerome Shields
128 Posted 31/07/2020 at 05:20:32
John #93,

I hadn't thought of the additional problem of player trading contribution you have outlined. Of course you are right in this.

The player potential from the Academy we all have been fed over the years has not materialised to the extent it should. The success of the Under-23s was also a false dawn, in that our Premier League rivals where entering closer to Under-18 teams in the Under-23 competitions, with first-team development in mind. What makes this an even a bigger sicker is that these Under-18 teams were coached in the more modern systems of their first teams and are beginning to hammer Everton Under-23s and even our Everton first team. Klopp and the Boot Room must have laughed their ass's off that day.

I was surprised that Brands was given the role of recruitment for the Academy only recently, since I had always thought he was in charge of all recruitment since he was originally appointment. It gives you some ideas of the inner working of Finch Farm that this was the case. Even Ancelotti had to delay his announcement of his coaching team and their roles, so big is the rot at Finch Farm.

It was reported that Unsworth was being given more time to coach; in truth, he was being given more time to pack his bags. He even had the cheek at the time to question the changes.

Unsworth's U23s fiefdom is not the only fiefdom that needs dismantled at Finch Farm. Danny Donachie's fiefdom in Medical Services needs to be dismantled as well, which has even a greater impact on first team performance.

I am also worried that there could be other fiefdoms at Finch Farm, the network of hangers-on shows no signs of abating. Good luck to Carlo, he has never in his long career had to work in such a backward place.

Darren Hind
129 Posted 31/07/2020 at 06:33:02
My goodness me... there is some skewed views about Finch Farm on this thread. You get that on any thread on any football website, but some of the claims on here defy belief.

"He's (Unsworth) not producing players for the first team, nor making a profit on the youngsters we have signed. Both essential for player trading and FFP".. Eh?

The five players who are currently a part of Ancelotti's first-team squad would fetch north of 𧵎M in today's market. They won't be sold, of course, because they are too valuable to us at the moment. They are needed to play because the standard of signings made by Walsh and Brands has been truly shocking... Hundreds of millions of pounds worth of not-good-enough.

The value of these players would pay for Finch Farm. All the coaches and all the academy players, over and over... and over again.

Unsworth may well be forced to leave for non-footballing reasons but the utterly inept Brands would not dare "dismantle his fiefdom" – why? Because it's the only fucking profitable thing this club has going for it.

Take the Academy boys and the junior coaches out of this club and we are left with 𧺬M worth of not-fucking-good-enough.

The only people in this club who are indoctrinated into winning trophies are Rhino's boys... and people think that's a negative? "Yeah but he plays people in their 20s" ... What???? Every team does that. It's the Under-23s – not the Under-20s. Citing one match where Man City played their kids doesn't change that.

You guys do realise that Unsworth is given a core group of about 15 players to use in this league? And assuming he wasn't present at their conceptions (although it's hard to know with Rhino), you understand he has no control over their age?

"Keeps players to win Under-23 leagues" – Yeah because he's the one who decides whether the club keeps them on or not... sigh.

Some fans never cease to amaze me. The club is going to hell in a handcart. Hundreds of millions are being squandered on players, managers and clueless Directors of Football. For years the football has been the ugliest ever seen. The team has stopped stagnating and is now sliding down the table. Wages for deadwood and compensation for failed managers have gotten us strung up by the balls.... and all they can do is kick the arse out of the one thing at the club which comes close to delivering anything resembling success.

Quote from Unsworth just before Branthwaite made his debut for the Under-23 team some claim he never played for:

"We've seen a lot of him. We know what he can do. Certainly in League Two, where he competed at such a young age. A great signing for us. Hopefully the years will be kind to him and he will become a Premier League footballer. It all starts tonight here in Southport."

Fan boy magazines eh?

I would love one of these incredibly ITK people (most of whom couldn't find Finch Farm with the aid of sniffer dogs) to come on here and give us a list of coaches who have provide more of their club's current first team squad...

Actually, no, I wouldn't. It takes too long trying to explain to them that their "facts" are indeed, a complete load of bollocks.

John Keating
130 Posted 31/07/2020 at 06:56:33
I read that top European teams have their young age groupings set up whereby a youngster can move seamlessly up a group playing and understanding the system. Everything is geared up so that when he reaches the first-team squad the idea is he can slot straight in.

Our system over the years has more or less been what the manager has done, and is responsible, for everything.

We've now recently started a Do,F we've also had a shed load of different managers – it's a wonder to me that any of our youngsters have come through!

Tony Hill
131 Posted 31/07/2020 at 07:06:31
I hope Dowell comes through at Norwich. Fine talent but needs confidence and concentration.

Steve Ferns's long post is encouraging so far as our bank of youth is concerned. I'm particularly intrigued by Onyango and Dobbin though I don't know enough about them.

The really promising area is central defence. Three years down the road with Holgate, Branthwaite and Gibson as options could be seriously good. Holgate right-footed and the other two preferring the left – though obviously that could be fluid. I know one of them could well move on but it's pleasing to see.

Danny O’Neill
132 Posted 31/07/2020 at 07:13:17
John, on the continent, they tend to introduce a system from top to bottom that is then coached at all levels; from youth through to first team. Everyone does the same thing, which makes the transition seamless. The Head Coach brings in people who are given clear instruction what to do, not to do their own thing.

We don't have that at Everton and it is rare in the English game. It isn't Unsworth's fault; he is part victim of the English non-system and part victim of the instability of recent years. How is he supposed to implement a "system" when we've had 5 managers in 7 years?

A good example of the continental system in the English game is what Klopp has installed at Liverpool, but he's been there 4 years. Some may have questioned how their kids stepped up so seemingly easily either individually or as a collective. It's because they know exactly what to do and what is expected because they do the same things as the first team day in day out on the training ground. It almost becomes a "delete player X, insert player Y" exercise.

Eddie Dunn
133 Posted 31/07/2020 at 08:13:44
Steve, many thanks for the info, a valuable trove for us.

Darren – indeed, we can't start slagging off Unsworth when we see such mismanagement at a higher level. We really have no idea what he sees down at Finch Farm.

The fact is that promising young lads can't all make it. We simply don't know what Unsworth sees on the training ground. It's just like the first team when we can't understand why Schniederlin or Sigurdsson got picked so often. Perhaps in training these guys put in a good shift every day.

As for the rumours, it happens at all work places, and again, we don't really know enough to judge.

Dave Abrahams
134 Posted 31/07/2020 at 09:47:33
Good posts by Steve and Jerome, each have different takes on how the youth system is run and I tend to go with Jerome's take on the matter.

The rumours that Steve talks about were rife and common knowledge at the time they were getting talked about, they were better left going in one ear and out the other.

The first title David Unsworth won there was a lot of merit in it, less in the second one, simply because of the ages of the players in each team, younger in the first, and a lot of them are still doing okay today.

I agree with Steve, there are a lot of young players coming through now aged 17-19 and hopefully some of them will emerge in the next couple of years. My own favourite is Bobby Carrol, a young centre midfielder who is a worker and more than competent with the ball, a team player who is in the game for every minute he is on the field. A bit like Liam Walsh who forced his way out of Everton because he was ambitious, still with Bristol City but helped Coventry to be crowned the League One Champions last season.

Let's hope that Brands, the new man from Derby County, along with Unsworth can make Finch Farm a place where the best young players are thriving to get to.

Steve Brown
135 Posted 31/07/2020 at 10:09:41
Jerome @ 91,

I think the editor has published data previously that shows that the myth about the U23 squad being older than its competitors is false.

We currently have four of Unsworth's protégées in Calvert-Lewin, Davies, Holgate and Gordon as first team regulars and Kenny has just enjoyed a breakthrough loan season with Schalke; he will return to the first team squad next season and his form is the reason that Sidebe wasn't signed on a permanent basis. I have tried to think of an U-23 set up at another premier league club that can match that achievement but I couldn't.

Equally, U-23 players are being loaned out in their twenties for a perfectly valid reasons. Spending a season getting regular playing time with a Championship team can enable a young player to make the leap to become a first team regular - Holgate, for example.

If they go out on loan and impress then we can fetch a transfer fee for them that covers the development costs for the player - Dowell, Williams, Robinson. This is just good business sense.

Andrew Ellams
136 Posted 31/07/2020 at 10:51:54
How many of the "give Dowell a chance" lot would have been up in arms if we'd signed his equivalent from elsewhere?
Steve Ferns
137 Posted 31/07/2020 at 10:54:28
Dave, I think the first title was easier. Unsworth inherited a talented group of players that had been together a while, and five of whom were then part of the U20 World Cup win at the end of the title season. The same group had won U17 Euros and the Toulon tournament.

The second title was done by moving these players out, rebuilding within 12 months and winning again. Of that first title winning side in 2016-17, who was it that we wanted to see pushed to the next level?

Jonjoe Kenny – he got sent out on loan twice in 2015-16, to League 1 and League 2, before making his debut in the last game of the season when Unsworth was caretaker after Martinez was sacked. At the age of 19, he was back to U23 football as we won the title, then the next season he played 19 games for the first team, only really getting a chance when Koeman was sacked, before playing 10 games the next season under Silva and then this season going on loan. I fail to see what more Unsworth could have done for him.

Kieran Dowell – he also played for the first team in 2016, twice. He was then back to the U23s for the title season as Koeman shunned youth. In the 3 seasons since, he has been out on loan for all of them: Forest, Sheff Utd, and then this season Derby and Wigan. After stalling at Derby, we got him back and sent him out to Wigan. Again, I cannot see what more Unsworth could have done with him.

Liam Walsh – Liam was not one of the England heroes so perhaps I was misguided in thinking he was going to make it. He played League 2 football before the title winning side, was only 18 in the title side, and the next season stuck around at Everton. He didn't get a loan and then was loaned out to a Championship club 12 months after winning the title, before being sold after playing only 3 games. He struggled to get into Birmingham's side and spent this season in League 1 on loan.

Antonee Robinson – 18 in the title side. Then went on loan to Bolton and Wigan for full seasons and playing in the Championship before being sold to Wigan 12 months ago.

Callum Connolly – 18 in the title season and one of the Everton U20 World Cup 5. a utility player. During the title season he went on loan to Barnsley in League 1, weakening our side. Since then he has had constant loans to Championship sides: Wigan, Ipswich, Wigan again, Bolton, and dropped to League One with Lincoln for the first half of this season before signing for Fleetwood.

Tom Davies – then just 17 years of age. Tom played 15 times that season, and if you recall he was in the first team by January that season so these 15 games were all before then and certainly before he hit 18.

The other stars of the England U20 side: Calvert-Lewin and Ademola Lookman were with Koeman's first team and played rarely for the U23s. Calvert-Lewin scored 5 in 12. Lookman got one single game.

The other names we recognise from that season are Mason Holgate. Mason was then 19 years old. He had played the previous season for the U23s and this season he played just 7 times as he got promoted to the first team when Coleman got injured and finished the season out as right-back, if you remember.

Beni Baningime was just 17 that season, but was brought through and played 16 games. Unsworth then got him in the first team the following season. He then missed the first of the next season with injury, then had a disastrous loan to Wigan, and then played this season as he tried to rebuild his career, now 21 years old.

Joe Williams was 19 that season but was recovering from a long injury lay-off after a bad knee injury. He got into the side at the end of the season, as Davies became a first-team player.

So who are the players Unsworth is keeping hold of to build his fiefdom? Come on Jerome and others? All the stars, all the players you want to see pushed on, were in fact pushed on. He used the ones he couldn't push on, like Harry Charsley.

But Harry is blocking others coming through? Who, name him.

I think you need to understand that youth teams usually come in waves. We had two such waves close together. It looks like we are about to have a third. If so, if this talented crop of 17- and 18-year-olds deliver another u23 title this coming season or even the one after, then this is a testament to the strength of the Everton academy system.

Whilst Everton were winning the U23 title that first time, our U18s were midtable, once again. The team was:

Danny Bramall, Ryan Harrington, Nathan Moore, Callum Lees, Alex Denny, Liam Morris, Jack Kiersey, Shayne Lavery, Chris Renshaw, Fraser Hornby, Michael Collins, Ben Pierce, Stephen Duke-McKenna, Tom Scully, Manasse Mampala, Korede Adedoyin, Nathan Baxter, Beni Baningime, Anthony Evans, Morgan Fenney, Con Ouzounidis, Tom Warren, and Anthony Gordon.

Which of these players were not given a fair chance by Unsworth? He picked a good few of them for Everton first team himself, particularly in the Europa League game in Cyprus. The fact is it was a crap side, propped up by a talented few, such as Evans, who were given every opportunity and included cameos at the end of the season by a then 16-year-old Anthony Gordon, who was a young 15 at the start of the season.

Jerome Shields
138 Posted 31/07/2020 at 11:05:31
Steve #104

The new Academy policy is as Phil (#17) so astutely stated. Whilst players have come from the academy in the past, the emphasis will be on Under-18s, and older players than that will be bought in, like Braithwaite. This is part of the changes Ancelotti is bringing in and why Brands was given his new responsiblities.

The Academy purpose will be to supply players for the first team squad and will be similarly coached. That's why Unsworth will eventually go or take up another role if Kenwright can slip him in. I stand by my opinions on the previous U23s and aged loanees in this context. Of course such arguments as what you have stated can be put forward, but it's not the way I see it.

Moshiri tried the get Brands more in control of recruitment by appointing him to the Board. This has not worked, since Brands couldn't even get control of the Academy, so structural is the malaise from top to bottom within Everton. Ancelotti has been brought in to change these structures from the bottom up.

The Brands change is only part of the changes at the Academy that Ancelotti is implementing. Both Ancelotti and Brands have the full backing of Moshiri, but they also have to plot their changes carefully, such is the ingrained structural problems within Everton. Previous managers have, in the main, not dared to implement structural changes and those that have tried have not stayed at Everton for long.

Against Bournemouth, you could see the implementation of this new youth development policy in the younger players selected. But you could also see the Everton malaise in other performances, where players had not bought in to Ancelotti's coaching. Ancelotti will know this and most of the first-team squad are on trial, whether they realise it or not. Other structural changes will be implemented by Ancelotti. Moshiri at some stage will have to tackle the changes needed higher up the organisation as well if Everton are to progress.

I don't believe that any moral compass dilemma at Finch Farm is influencing these changes. There could be peop!e upset and jockeying for position at Finch Farm in the wake of changes, but this is irrelevant to change implementation, as it is in all organisations implementing change.

Steve Ferns
139 Posted 31/07/2020 at 11:08:48
Jerome, sorry but you are wrong. And as for the current U23 side, which includes 17-year-olds like Onyango and Dobbin, well I think both of them will eventually play for Everton.

But can you actually answer my question: Who has Unsworth blocked by the policy that you very wrongly criticise?

As for Branthwaite, I give you John Stones, Mason Holgate, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Bassala Sambou, Massala Mampala, Denis Adeniran, Nathan Markelo, Matty Foulds, Brendan Galloway, Luke Garbutt, and so on. Branthwaite is a continuation of what has been going on, there's no policy shift.

Also, why go on about Ancelotti's changes? I can assure you any changes are a continuation of Brands's gradual changes. Ancelotti has nothing to do with it.

Dave Abrahams
140 Posted 31/07/2020 at 11:12:50
Steve (106), I've got an open mind about Unsworth, obviously a coach has a big influence on players but, at the end of the day, it's always down to the player and of course that other ingredient – luck.

Liam Walsh was unlucky with injuries at certain times, he might have made that World Cup squad: luck. He joined Birmingham, signed by Harry Redknapp, got excellent wages, Harry got his P45 and his comics.

The new manager didn't fancy him, he wasn't selected at Bristol City. On loan at Coventry, he's done very well; let's see how he does in the future.

Ledsam was ambitious, now with Preston in the Championship, it's always up to the players at the end of the day and how ambitious they are and of course how good.

Is David Unsworth ambitious or very happy and content at Everton? A hard choice? definitely, almost all of us would choose happy and content, wouldn't we?

Jerome Shields
141 Posted 31/07/2020 at 11:17:43
Steve #108,

I don't believe Unsworth has blocked anyone, he has run the U23s to perform as best they could, but now the Academy is going to be run with the purpose of producing young players for the first team.

The change, I suggest, may also motivated by a simple cost-cutting or increased efficiency strategy. A reduced Academy, if you like.

Steve Ferns
142 Posted 31/07/2020 at 11:21:33
Jerome, it always was!!!

If U23 football is equivalent to League One or League Two, Unsworth gets them pushed into the Championship quickly. Look at the examples I gave above. The best of them barely play for the U23s, such as Davies and Gordon.

Joe McMahon
143 Posted 31/07/2020 at 11:24:30
Dave @109 yes I'm sure many of us would. But the Academy has to have aims and outcomes which surely also must be considered rather than mindfulness for David Unsworth.

This is a Premier League football club, the aim has to have success at all levels. Our current situation and league finishing, below Burnley again, says things at all levels are not working. We have gone back 20 years with the current squad.

Alan J Thompson
144 Posted 31/07/2020 at 11:24:37
I don't know what goes on at Finch Farm but I do recall that Silva didn't seem to play any juniors and Koeman was dragged almost screaming to Prenton Park for his, apparently, one and only look at any juniors.

I'm not a great lover of the loan system to "finish" young players as I wonder what 3rd or 4th level coaches can do that we don't seem to be able to do at Finch Farm's School of Science, other than get them games against older (more experienced?) players.

It does seem obvious that somebody has to co-ordinate things throughout the club but it does appear that Mr Ancelotti is not afraid to include youngsters into 1st team training or "blood" them when the opportunity arises. As for who spotted whom at other clubs, does it matter as long as there is some sort of follow-up on reports of promising players, probably by whoever is co-ordinating the whole thing.

Rob Dolby
145 Posted 31/07/2020 at 11:38:23
Agree with #98 and #101.

It's a results business. If Unsworth wasn't winning he would be sacked. He has and is still producing talent at U23 level.

A new manager is always going to play their imported players above home grown. Look at how good Mason Mount and Tami Abraham have done after playing under Lampard at Derby. The talent is there – it just needs to be given a chance and be allowed to make mistakes.

Giving Dowell a run in the team would have saved the club 㿏M in Klaassen and Vlasic fees.

Giving Joe Williams a game would have saved us 㿆M from Gbamin and Delph fees.

I know hindsight is a wonderful thing, my point is that both of those homegrown players may or not have been ready for the prem but they couldn't have done any worse than the 㿨M wasted on the above.

Jerome Shields
146 Posted 31/07/2020 at 11:39:37
I now know where you are coming from, Steve.

Unsworth, by having older players in the U23s to win competitions inadvertently putting a block on the prospects for younger players. A hierarchy was being created in the academy.

I don't think it was being done on purpose, but in the Premier League, a young player that is not in contention for the first-team squad should be gone at the end of his 19th year, not when he is 22.

Joe McMahon
147 Posted 31/07/2020 at 11:46:48
Rob, Giving Dowell a run in the team would have saved the club 㿏M in Klaassen and Vlasic fees.

Giving Joe Williams a game would have saved us 㿆M from Gbamin and Delph fees

Fully agree

Mike Allison
148 Posted 31/07/2020 at 11:57:25
There's a lot of good information and sense being talked on this thread, so I might be about ruin that, for which I apologise. However, my reaction to this transfer is an emotional one, which I can already see is probably out of proportion, but there's still plenty of room for disproportionate emotions in football as far as I can tell.

I don't really know how to support a team that doesn't want to include people like Dowell, Baningime and possibly Kenny, but is willing to spend 㿊M on Iwobi, as well as bringing in players like Sigurdsson, Walcott, Vlasic, Onyekuru and god knows how many others who clearly don't care and don't want to be here. It may be that Dowell just isn't quite good enough, but we've never seen him get given the chance. From what I can find, he played 286 mins for Everton.

Brands's job at Everton is to oversee the development of the team by bringing in the right signings and ensuring the pathway from the youth set-up. Is he the person who made the decision that Iwobi was a ‘Yes' but Dowell was a ‘No'? I think we all hope that Iwobi can show more next season, but from what I've seen of the two players, there's very little difference in ability, and Dowell's touch, ability to caress the ball and his left-footedness would give him the edge.

The main point though, is that we've never been given the chance to make a proper judgement. Dowell was never given a chance to show what he could do in the first team, despite clearly having the talent and potential and despite the first team clearly under-performing.

We might point to ultimately underwhelming loan spells, but there's no doubt he did show promise at at least two different clubs. It's also vital to accept that playing on loan is not the same as playing for your future at the club where you grew up.

If we as a club have made our decision based on what's happened under lower level coaches alongside lower quality teammates in a league that can be quite different to the Premier League, then it's no wonder we're in such a mess.

We have a squad full of players who just don't care about playing for Everton, whilst the ones who might do are never given the chance to show it. So sure, maybe Dowell wasn't going to make it anyway (although maybe that's due to poor coaching and handling) but it sickens me to watch my club become more and more disconnected from anything meaningful that would make me feel an emotional attachment to them.

Anyway, let's hope we sign Faceless Mercenary #624 and teach him to say “this club has a great history”, then we can all feel better.

Rob Dolby
149 Posted 31/07/2020 at 11:58:17
Jerome 115.

You do get late developers past the age of 19. Southall, Baines, Jagielka and Vardy spring to mind.

Youth players are with the club for 10 years or more. Families sacrifice so much to get their kids to training and games. To just cut someone adrift because they are 20 is ultra harsh.

Anthony Murphy
150 Posted 31/07/2020 at 12:00:47
Not sure if anyone knows, but how much attention does Ancelotti give to the youth sides? I appreciate he has given a few a chance in the first team, but does anyone know if he attends games/watches training sessions etc?
Steve Ferns
151 Posted 31/07/2020 at 12:16:49
Jerome, Unsworth blocked no one. There was no one coming through. We had a bad batch. The only decent players in that bad batch are Anthony Gordon and Ellis Simms.

Anthony Gordon played mostly in the second half of last season and the first half of this, so very little U23 football as he got pushed into the first team. If Unsworth really wanted a fiefdom he would have held onto Gordon.

Gordon as Brent Stephens and other U23 watchers will tell you was very raw last season, and suffered a significant dip in form that saw Josh Bowler oust him from the side and Gordon back onto the bench.

Now Ellis Simms is also very raw. He is a limited footballer too. He has an abundance of pace and power and was able to use this to bully people at U18 level. He found the step up to U23 level difficult because he could not do what he used to do as he was up against bigger, stronger and faster players. So he was forced to develop his game.

This U23 season has really been about developing a few players, namely Gordon, Simms and Branthwaite. It happened fast for Gordon and Braithwaite who took their chance when opportunity knocked. However, if you focus on Simms then consider this:

Would you rather he was supported by poor players, but are only 18. Or better players who are 21 and can put in better crosses to allow him to attack the ball and so aid his development.

If the U23s is truly about developing players, then it's about developing the players who can make it, and so that means increasing the standard of players around them to allow this to happen. If that means 23-year-old Harry Charsley is playing right back, then so be it.

This also raises the point about the formation. Next season is about developing Lewis Dobbin. Lewis does not fit squarely into a 4-4-2. He plays best on the left of a front 3 in a 4-3-3. So, should we shoe-horn him into a 4-4-2 as a left-winger, and make him work on his defensive game, when he's an out and out forward? Or try to turn him into a Number 9 and force him to play back to goal and try to outjump defenders? No, he's best running at defenders, cutting in from the left, in a 4-3-3.

Mike Allison, I totally get where you are coming from. As a Liverpool lad, whose family are from Liverpool, Everton for me has always been about Liverpool lads playing for them. You play against lads who go on to play for Everton, you know lads who play for Everton, this was the same for your dad and your grandad. As time passes, as this diminishes with the way football is going, it removes the ties that bind you to Everton.

That said, I still think Everton does everything it can to use the riches that the county undoubtedly provides.

Christy Ring
152 Posted 31/07/2020 at 12:19:06
Steve, great insight to Unsworth and all the young players he managed. I remember Browning having a great game against Liverpool, and thought he was going to be a future star, sadly didn't work out. Was he not there before Unsworth?
Steve Ferns
153 Posted 31/07/2020 at 12:25:51
Yes Christy, Browning was there before. I recall that he had a great run, reminiscent of Rhino himself. He was charging up the length of the pitch with the ball, leaving Liverpool players in his wake. Sadly, he did his knee not long after and has never recovered.

I think he's still got the same issues over in China. In a parallel universe, he never got injured and plays in defence for Everton that still has 32-year-old James Vaughan in attack!

Steve Ferns
155 Posted 31/07/2020 at 12:48:41
Jerome, Brands was brought in by Moshiri 2 years ago, well before Ancelotti. He came in to be a proper Director of Football after Steve Walsh had dabbled with the job but didn't have a clue as to what he was doing as he was simply a glorified chief scout. Brands has, since he arrived, been in charge of all football affairs.

You seem to miss that Chris Perkins is in charge of Youth Recruitment, as was Martin Waldron before him. Martin Waldron's son, Joel Waldron is head of the academy. There's a number of key personnel that most on here seem to don't know exist, never mind understand their roles, and think Unsworth goes around doing whatever he wants.

Dave Abrahams
156 Posted 31/07/2020 at 12:54:17
I also think it is about how they are coached and taught from the age of eight, when they come to Finch Farm, right through to when they come to Unsworth. A lot of games at U18 and U23 are very boring, not just at Everton but all over, the game is repeatedly stopped for the slightest foul, witness football in the Premier League when it resumed, tackling is getting outlawed.

How many tough little nuts have come through Everton's Acadamy in the last few years? Walsh, Ledson, Joe Williams, all midfielders; Feeney and Pennington centre-backs, any forwards.

Take Dowell, a natural footballer, born with that skill, controlling the ball, dribbling, passing short and long very good. He's been at Everton since he was eight, no-one has been able to put bottle, grit and fight into the lad. It's the way he is.

If by some chance, Norwich put that into his game, we have made an enormous mistake, but Norwich have got one terrific coach – a miracle worker, I would say.

Jerome Shields
157 Posted 31/07/2020 at 12:59:35
Rob #118

Late developers are more likely to be developed earlier if they are challenged and more time is available to spend on them. Times have just moved on and the cost of developing young players has become a factor.


Brands was brought in by Ancelotti to address the recruitment problem you have highlighted, but he is also wearing his wages cost reduction hat as well.

In the Premier League, youth development has moved on and the existing youth development policy has been on borrowed time for seasons, going back to Big Sam's time. But there has been resistance to change and still is.

The block in the system is carrying players who are not in contention to train with the first team squad.

I am aware of the Academy structure, but l believe the U23s is the business end producing players for the first team, the rest has more emphasis on education and pastoral type care.

Derek Taylor
158 Posted 31/07/2020 at 13:06:14
Let's face it, the Moshiri regime has been a fecking disaster!

All this soul searching about who does what and why is just summertime scuttlebutt. The more changes 'they' make and the more money 'they' spend just goes towards proving their total incompetence. And the irony is that they will have to spend the same again just to get us back to the 'sixthish' days of Moyes!

Like many others, I was never a great fan of Moyes and certainly railed against Kenwright but, all-in-all, they did a very decent job on bobbins and, if you could come to accept that the 'Days of Dixie' were gone for good, there was still much to be proud of in what was achieved. And it still felt like 'our' Everton.

So no more of this shit for me – I hate what we've become – but, after more than 70 years in the faith, I still reserve the right to comment. 'Peace and Love' someone said.

Nathan Jones
159 Posted 31/07/2020 at 13:08:14
I'm a bit confused why everyone is having a go at our youth policy. The reality is that very few players make it to Premier League standard which is why Man Utd's Class of '92 is so revered.

Next season in our first team squad and getting serious game time there will be Calvert-Lewin, Gordon, Tom Davies, Jonjoe Kenny, Mason Holgate and Branthwaite. All of whom have came through the academy or were bought young ‘for the future'. While I'm not sure that all of them will be on the pitch at the same time that's 6 first team available players.

I have not researched my next statement but I'm guessing that compares very favorably with other Premier League clubs.

Joe McMahon
160 Posted 31/07/2020 at 13:11:32
Derek #127, I fully agree with you, but remember it was Kenwright that brought Moshiri in, turning down the 2 Americans as they wanted a takeover.
Darren Hind
161 Posted 31/07/2020 at 13:18:15
I don't know why you are bothering, Steve.

Everyone is fair game if fans want to put the boot in but you need to know what you are talking about and keep it credible.

"He even had the cheek to question the changes." — A lie that will not be backed with a shred of evidence because it is so infantile, it wouldn't get past the schoolyard.

Oh and what about this little beauty? "Brands was brought in by Ancelotti."


Derek Taylor
162 Posted 31/07/2020 at 13:18:21
Joe @129 :- Of course that is correct but I was comparing the two regimes as they will be seen in history.
Darren Hind
163 Posted 31/07/2020 at 13:25:08
It'll be so interesting from now on in. Brands has no hiding place and is completely accountable for the acquisition of young players.

Hope he makes a better fist of it than the shambolic signings he has brought to the club so far.

Let's see when the next youngster comes in to the squad?

Brian Wilkinson
164 Posted 31/07/2020 at 13:43:32
Martin@88, yes our neighbours did she'll out 㿏 Million for Carroll, difference is though they sold Torres for 㿞 Million, a 㿊 Million profit on what they paid for Torres.

They then loaned Carroll out for ٠ Million, before selling him for 㾻 Million with our neighbours taking an 㾾 Million loss hit.

We paid 㿄 Million for Schneiderlin, got an undisclosed fee probs a couple of Million return on him, spent around 㿙 Million on Sigurdsson, no chance of even getting a couple of Million for him back, plenty other players we will make a loss on but the difference is our neighbours as good as got Carrol for nothing, with the profit on Torres, but even then managed to get half their money back, Salonke and even Lovren for Christ sake they have managed to get cash for them.

So in regards to youngsters, yes they are doing something right, even the first team pick up long-term injuries.

So we need to look at what we are doing wrong and them doing right, why so many injuries over the years for us, why so many look knackered after half an hour.

That is what we need to change above everything else, so I get where other posters are coming from, in regards to our neighbours.

Declan Campbell
165 Posted 31/07/2020 at 13:52:07
Bit much to be giving Liverpool credit for getting cash for Lovren. He is a good player. They sold him for half of what they bought him for. Any excuse on here to make out everything perfect at Liverpool.
Harry Williams
166 Posted 31/07/2020 at 13:52:09
Unsworth trying to put his name to Branthwate – unbelievable! In my opinion, Everton's first-team staff bring on the players, when they spot a player with potential, they go straight into their training programme.

Any player left playing for U23s squad does not have what it takes. Any player that is still there at 19 to 23 years of age needs to be let go, they are just not good enough.

Unsworth has continued to play older players to win games, he's got away with it for so long now so why should he change??!!

Steve Ferns
167 Posted 31/07/2020 at 13:54:15
Jerome, you are talking nonsense.

"Brands was brought in by Ancelotti" – Brands was brought in 2 years ago, and Ancelotti arrived 8 months ago! Ancelotti is not in charge of Brands, he is effectively a head coach and with Brands on the board, he is still above Ancelotti.

"to address the recruitment problem you have highlighted" – which policy?

"In the Premier League, youth development has moved on and the existing youth development policy has been on borrowed time for seasons, going back to Big Sam's time." – how has it moved on? We are doing what we were doing under Moyes, signing players to plug the gaps in our youth development. We have had a transfer ban that has stopped us signing Under-18 players.

"But there has been resistance to change and still is." – give an example.

"The block in the system is carrying players who are not in contention to train with the first-team squad." – are you saying all 16 U23 players must be in contention to train with the first team? That's one hell of a youth team! How are we going to meet this standard? Do we sign the best of the best from world youth football? How can we persuade them to come here? How do we fund it?

"I am aware of the Academy structure, but l believe the U23s is the business end producing players for the first team, the rest has more emphasis on education and pastoral type care." – Why do you believe this, give an example

You are just spouting rhetoric and little fact. I have proven with examples above how Unsworth has developed and pushed the youngsters on where possible. I have shown that there is no blockage.

I have also shown that any older players, who are being used as a stick to beat Unsworth with, are merely to make up the numbers and raise standards due to a drop in level at the U18s – which is something Paul Tait is responsible for, and not Unsworth.

Jerome Shields
168 Posted 31/07/2020 at 14:24:08
Brands was brought in at the start of the year to lead youth recruitment from Usworth and anyone else involved. I assume by Ancelotti. His remit had not extended to that – surprising from since he started 2 years ago.

This was done to address the recruitment of players, so that those recruited would be able to contend more for first-team football.

Most players who made it to the first-team squad come from the U23 squad.

Steve Ferns
169 Posted 31/07/2020 at 14:40:34

Chris Perkins has just been appointed to lead youth recruitment. Brands is Director of Football and has been since the summer of 2018. The only change in his job was for him to be appointed to the board.

He has always been the boss of Chris Perkins and his predecessor Martin Waldron. You have got your wires twisted there and this is far from anything Ancelotti wants to get involved in.

He is Italian, they just want to coach the first team, and sure he might demand a player or two by name, ie, Allan, but he won't actually get involved in recruitment, it's just not how they do things.

You have definitely got things mixed up for sure.

Robert Tressell
170 Posted 31/07/2020 at 14:40:55
Fair enough, after a really disappointing season, there's a lot of frustration. But Unsworth and the youth policy is the least of it.

The conveyor belt is okay, could be improved but okay. In my view there's now a clearer structure for getting talent into the first team than has been the case for a while.

The policy of buying young talented lads from other clubs must continue. Very strong track record. Not all make it, like Sambou, but it's a productive strategy.

It is a shame Williams, Dowell and Robinson didn't get more of a chance. But we are where we are.

Vlasic didn't get a chance either by the way and I suspect he's better than Iwobi right side in a 4-4-2. It could be a productive strategy also to buy others like him but we haven't got it right yet.

I was the one saying Man City's new right-back (immediately loaned back out) is the sort of signing we should make. I stand by that.

We need to patiently build something ready to push for silverware in 3 years. We don't have the money to be more short-termist.

Patrick McFarlane
171 Posted 31/07/2020 at 14:54:18
Declan #134

Did you not realise that the default setting for quite a few posters is to reel off the various wonderful attributes of the neighbours whilst simultaneously denigrating anything that Everton FC do; it matters not what the subject is, training, youth players, managers, boardroom, pies, business acumen, the list goes on ad infinitum.

Would I prefer Everton to be as successful as the neighbours in relation to trophies? Of course, I would, which fan wouldn't? Do I want Everton to be more like the neighbours in any other respect? - No! If that was the case I'd change my allegiance and learn all of the songs and join their Season Ticket waiting list.

Fortunately, I'm not suffering from this unnamed syndrome:

The Blues fan develops positive feelings towards the club currently holding the upper hand over them and is unable to compare their own club to any club other than their neighbours.

The Blues fan develops negative feelings toward the Everton Board, manager, or any connected person who might be trying to help them improve over time, enough to one day overcome their city rivals.

The Blues fan begins to perceive their rival's superiority in any and every aspect and starts to believe that it is futile to think about ever seeing their club overcome their foe.

I apologise for banging on about this, this week, but there is a multitude of professional clubs that are doing great things and that Everton FC could learn from. Everything in Everton's garden is far from rosy but, like it or not, it is our club.

Justin Doone
172 Posted 31/07/2020 at 14:59:44
I think he'll do well at Norwich if they manage to keep the coaching staff and the majority of the team.

They have been found out in the Premier League but kept pushing every team even when relegation was likely and then confirmed.

They had good forward options and played to their strengths, ie play forward, creating chances.

Dowell lacks pace, energy and strength which is why he can't fix Everton's problems but, now he has a permanent move and motivation to get promoted, I think he'll suit the attacking style.

Like every player we sell, I hope we get good value and include buy back and sell-on clauses etc. Good luck to the lad, a real talent with the right players around him.

Jerome Shields
173 Posted 31/07/2020 at 15:10:37
Steve #138,

I am going by what was reported earlier in the year regarding Brands, which made sense to me at that time. I always felt that the youth development was not producing the promise we where all told he would and since Big Sam had been left drift.

I am not saying that Ancelotti is hands-on, but he will still want to improve the players available to him for selection.

Any change at Finch Farm is welcome, because I do get fed up with the groundhog day performances of the Everton team which seem characteristically ingrained into the system. It is an enormous and complex task to change and I would prefer to put my criticisms into the debate in the hope that it would contribute to the necessary change, rather that just withhold my opinion, which I think would be unhealthy for me.

Of course, you have superior knowledge of Finch Farm than I have, but I have the advantage of not being close to it. It is a very sophisticated and complex organisation which can be easier to agree with, than actually constructively critisce.

Best Wishes, keep up the good work.

I would refer you to http://trainingground. guru/Everton, which I use in trying to understand Finch Farm.

Jason Li
174 Posted 31/07/2020 at 15:13:07
These days, I just see a top Premier League player come up from our youth system as a bonus.

Apparently Ajax expect a player to come through every 2 years. However, Ajax do buy a lot of young players. So do Barcelona, Man Utd, Bayern, Borussia Dortmund, Chelsea.

For players transferred in: We're doing the right things recently. Not every young player is going to develop as hoped. But we've had good successes like Holgate, Branthwaite, Kean, Calvert-Lewin, Stones... You could even say Lukaku too.

We need Brands more than we think. Given a couple more years, players like Branthwaite, Nkounkou (the new left back from Marsaille), Kean and I'm sure more players in the 17-21 bracket we transfer in who are at the cusp of being in the first team, will really accelerate our growth as we challenge at the top end.

I was shocked that Dowell got sold, but then flipped my thinking that we must have someone we are negotiating to bring in and will be announced shortly. Or why else would we sell someone who has proven himself occasionally in the Championship at 22 years of age and already registered with us? I just don't think two savvy football men like Brands and Carlo would let someone go without having someone coming in.

With this in mind, selling our other young players who aren't as good as the players we have scouted and are about to bring in makes sense. Next year, we only need maybe 18 excellent players, with a handful of very good youth players like Branthwaite. So shedding lots of historical fringe first teamers and non-fringe 20+year old players that haven't developed more makes sense so the scouting and development team can focus on locating and persuading the best young players to come to Everton.

Still early days, but I sort of can see a process happening.

Steve Ferns
175 Posted 31/07/2020 at 15:21:41
Jerome, I refer you to your own website to see an article about Brands joining in May 2018 and him talking about the youth side. So, yes he was here before Ancelotti, and no, nothing has changed, contrary to what you believe.


Jason, sadly Kieran had not taken any of his chances on loan. He also had some fleeting chances in the first team. He is 22 now, and Anthony Gordon plays in his position and is 3 years younger. It is best to let Dowell go, with our best wishes.

Paul Jones
176 Posted 31/07/2020 at 15:24:41
The criticism I would have of Everton or the current business model is that I would suggest that Kieran Dowell was no less promising than Dominike Solanki and Jordan Ibe, sold to Bournemouth for 㾻 million and 㾿 million respectively. Both of similar experience and talent.

Likewise we have signed Kean and Iwobi off similar experience for big fees. Pay big for other clubs' young talent, sell your own low or move them on without recouping a development fee. That seems to be how we operate.

With this constant loss of money and other commitments, then we seem to be plummeting in the wrong direction on the field and financially. We seem to be a club that is more about the legitimate movement of money rather than sustainable success.

Patrick McFarlane
177 Posted 31/07/2020 at 15:41:17
Extramarital affairs, incompetence in various departments and suggestions that the club is being used as a front for huge money-laundering operations.

All of this on a thread that's sold a young player to a championship club – it's a funny old club we support.

Steve Ferns
178 Posted 31/07/2020 at 15:41:50
Paul, there's your mistake. You pay a premium for Liverpool players and not for Everton players. It's not just us, it's all other clubs below that top level.

Dominic Solanke came through the Chelsea youth system. He scored an astonishing amount of goals and was well heralded. He scored the winner in the FA Youth Cup final, and Mourinho was talking him up. He even had a successful loan to Holland where he played in the top flight and scored 7 goals at the age of 17/18.

Then Liverpool poached him and it went to a tribunal who set a fee of ١m. He made 21 appearances for Liverpool and then Bournemouth came in for him. Jordan Ibe was stolen from Wycombe Wanderers. He had successful loans in the Championship and then played 39 Premier League games for Liverpool.

So both played more, and at a higher level, and were more proven than Kieran. I don't think you can compare them. Perhaps if after we won the title we had looked to sell Dowell, the U20 World Cup winner with the magic left foot, then we could have got more than 㾶m for him.

The question is though, what did Bournemouth actually part with? Was it 㾿m or was it 㾿m if a load of conditions and clauses were met, and if so, how many have been. I would bet Bournemouth have handed over very little cash as neither have played that often and neither have done well, and Bournemouth have now been relegated.

Steve Carse
179 Posted 31/07/2020 at 15:54:45
Good player, Dowell. Lovely left foot and great vision. That he had no burst of speed would not have been a major hindrance to his development. Not every Premier League midfield player is a greyhound - we should know that!

His best position, as he showed in scoring a few beauties on pre-season tour a few years ago, is operating in the middle third of the pitch and facing the opposition. He was never that comfortable if continuously receiving the ball with his back to goal.

Where he did fall down I thought was in never changing his style of play when struggling to get into the game or just playing poorly. He'd keep taking up the same positions, playing at the same pace and with no greater tenacity.

Everton might have saved a few bob putting him out on loan all the time but that, and a reluctance to give him first-team opportunities when he was here, meant he never really caught the attention of other clubs who might have otherwise been willing to pay more for them than the ٟm reported.

Kieran Kinsella
180 Posted 31/07/2020 at 16:08:49
Mike Allison & Dave Abrahams

I'll be upset if we sell Kenny . People say he's not a top six right-back but is Coleman? Or Sidibe? Or Martina? If we can't afford a world class right-back I'd stick with a decent right-back who is an Evertonian, and on comparatively low wages.

Unlike Dowell, Kenny has character. He's a winner. He scored the winning penalty for the England U17 Euro champs. You can see his passion. He has flaws yes but why sell him to buy an expensive replacement with different flaws?

I see Dowell as a Chris Eagles. He will probably find his way at 27/28 and be one of those guys who seems too good for a middle of the road team but lacks something needed to play for a top team.

Him apart I'd also have kept Williams as another okay player who was cheap, dedicated, imperfect but overall not better or worse than Schneiderlin, Besic and other money drainers.

Tony Everan
181 Posted 31/07/2020 at 16:20:26
Patrick 156

Sounds like an episode of ‘Dallas'.

Jerome Shields
182 Posted 31/07/2020 at 16:25:08
Steve #151,

That is more talk, I still hope he is now more involved under Ancelotti, because I have to say he was the deal as far as youth was concerned before Ancelotti. Though Everton has formal structures, I believe it is swamped by informal ones which reduce their effectiveness. It allows poor performing individuals to hide and not be accountable.

If Ancelotti's and Brands's roles are ineffective in changing and improving structures, it's questionable if much will change at Everton enough to challenge at the high echelons of football.


God loves a tryer, it looks like it is our only hope and we all may benefit as a result.

Patrick McFarlane
183 Posted 31/07/2020 at 16:30:59
Despite the current circumstances and the team not being as good as we all hoped, Alan Myers has tweeted the following:

Everton Season Ticket Members have renewed their seats for the 2020-21 campaign in record-breaking numbers. The remarkable show of support has seen seasonal renewals surpass 30,500 for the first time in the Club's history, equating to a renewal rate of 98%.
Joe McMahon
184 Posted 31/07/2020 at 16:32:21
Jerome, you are on a roll today. Have a break in the garden with a beer while we still have some sun. All things Everton will only depress.
Jerome Shields
185 Posted 31/07/2020 at 16:36:42
Joe #166

I was supposed to take the day off, but have been doing small jobs which is lucky, because I might have ended up doing the research that Steve has done to prove my opinion.

Jay Wood

186 Posted 31/07/2020 at 16:39:22
With respect Jerome, but all your posts in this thread jump on a favourite hobby horse of yours.

The tenor of your writing style also implies you are 'in the know' or stating accepted universal truths about what goes on at Finch Farm.

You aren't 'ITK' and – by your own admission in post 142 – you aren't close to Finch Farm to make the far-reaching claims you do.

You take random known news, confuse timelines, throw in questionable data, attribute roles, power and influence to different individuals that you cannot possibly definitively know about and conjure up the fantasy you present.

That you 'fess up to using Training Ground Guru as the primary source of your knowledge about Finch Farm further undermines your credibility as a commentator on the subject.

That site simply recycles known news stories about all clubs (not just Everton) and doesn't go anywhere close to reaching the highly speculative conclusions you make in your own writings about Finch Farm and the club employees working there.

Not dissing your right to express an opinion, Jerome. Just calling attention to the (genuine) fact that what YOU present as fact is just speculation on your part.

Jerome Shields
187 Posted 31/07/2020 at 16:57:05

It's not speculation, but mainly insights after years of observation, which are not so far off the mark, when all is said and done. There are repetitive problems at Everton – with causes.

John Daley
188 Posted 31/07/2020 at 17:03:59
My dearest Earl Of Warwick,

My service to your worship presented, I hath this week received a letter.

The pages did tell tale of a group of promising young students, probably primary school aged with nothing more on their mind than the next episode of Moomins, preternaturally matured at some mysterious, maleficent, hand.

They doth dwell in the parish of Saint Domingo. Their bright future plucked away and the plug-ugly mug of a 23-year-old man suddenly staring back at them in the mirror. Hushed rumours of these horrific misdeeds reached us here at Manningtree, but with Matthew Hopkins currently detained hunting down a dwarven female doctor whose unholy body is said to be composed completely of dynamite, I rode out at first light to investigate instead.

Although we feart what acts of malefecium we may come across, nary one amongst us dared to consider the crimen exceptum duly uncovered. A farm brazenly brandishing the mark of the Finch and therein a fully entrenched Unswitch. A fucking Unswitch!! Fully grown and hideously bloated after feeding on the spoils of his fiefdom. Six of the eight brave souls who embarked on the arduous journey with me left that very night. The other two shite themselves whilst they slumbered but stayeth they did.

Stealthily depositing ourselves in the local community we discovered evidence of a covenant with the devil Kenwright...the eldritch child corrupter clearly in his employ. Under our watchful gaze his litany of wrongdoing was laid bare: Staying longer than some people would like. Working with the tools at his disposal. Loyalty to a particular institution perceived as a lack of ambition. Taking a wage for his work. Whispering poisoned words into the ears of whipper snappers who would surely have been world class were only they wise enough to whack in their Air Pods whenever he spoke. Winning trophies in the only competitions his charges could compete in. Failing to imbue Premier League talent into those who possess it not. Wasting his time and precious club resources on helping callow youths carve out professional careers in football. Being fat. Being fat and an Evertonian. Being fat and an Evertonian and being employed by the club instead of someone who is neither fat nor an Evertonian and who would naturally be far, far better at his job for those reasons alone.

We did then spy him strolling amongst short grass alongside a gargoyle-gridded creature that god-fearing folk have taken to calling a ‘Fucking Jeffers'... clearly Unswitch's familiar. A jug-eared jackal called forth from Satan's anal crevice to do his masters bidding and lead impressionable young minds astray with tales of ‘sherbet' and smoggy London streets where strumpets stroll freely offering thrupenny uprights. It is said if one were to dare enter his squalid lair and bravely part the shadows therein and head out back, they would find him, pissed up, in amongst all the recycling in the bright red bin of Satan, slumbering in animal form, a veritable fox in a box.

By God, swift action was now called for. Soon, the trap was set. 2 glazed doughnuts left on the doorstep later and the Unswitch fell under a flurry of blows.

Thereafter, all the requisite tests were duly conducted. My witch prickers did poketh a big needle into his flabby pockmarked back and nary a drop of blood sprung forth from the wound. Tossed into yonder river his rotund body bobbed up and down briefly then sunk to the bottom. There followed an audible thud and a tumultuous eruption of bubbles as his humanoid mask melted away to lay bare his true form; that of a fucking massive fart in a bathtub. The question ‘Are you a Wiccan?' was predictably met with a “No, I'm an Evertonian. I only signed for Wiccan as a favour to Paul Jewell”, which we all know means ‘yes' because truthful words will never cross a warlocks lips.

It is my belief we should cover him completely with Brands, in the hope this may serve to stifle his malignant influence. If such merciful measures prove insufficient we should probably progress to stoning, followed by spoonfuls of scalding hot semolina being strained into his japeths eye, before burning him on a straw bale in Joey Barton's back garden.

Your faithful servant,

Justice of the Peace and Witchfinder in Waiting,

J. Shields

Peter Gorman
189 Posted 31/07/2020 at 17:06:57
Christ Alive, John, that was a hard read!
Chris Williams
190 Posted 31/07/2020 at 17:12:05
Christ alive John that, sir is a veritable skewering of a poltroon forsooth!
Eddie Dunn
191 Posted 31/07/2020 at 17:21:24
The only way to glean information about what is really happening at Finch Farm or Goodison Park or the Liver Building is from insiders.

The main problem is that players are nowhere nearly as accessible as they once were. In the 80s, I had mates who got to know some of the players and staff and I heard how, for instance, Tricky Trevor was doing unbelievable stuff in training (when he was still establishing himself). There were loads of stories about the piss-ups and so-on.

I had a few bits of info when the players were growing tired of Martinez. I heard that the old guard (from Moyes's era) were far from happy – they thought he was "a bullshitter". How right they were.

I couldn't and still can't reveal my source, other than he is an ex-player. The problem is many of the guys who can tell you stuff off the record rely on the club/media for work. This is why the autobiographies are usually so tame.

Perhaps the players now sign "non-disclosure" agreements to prevent such leaks.

I heard Danny Murphy on TalkShite the other day talking about some of the things he knew about Liverpool players. When he was asked if he would put it in an autobiography, he joked that he'd be shot. There was nervous laughter from Jim White, but I sensed a rare moment of candor from the Boring One.

I heard that there are some incredible Jimmy Bullard tales, which probably explains his absence from the media these days. They do like their dull, monotonous but safe pundits.

Darren Hind
192 Posted 31/07/2020 at 17:50:11
What a thread!

In the face of what has been incredibly strong opposition down the years, I think TW`s most ill-informed poster – EVER – has finally revealed himself.

Thank God JD turned up.

Jay Wood

193 Posted 31/07/2020 at 17:51:25
Jerome @ 186.

'It's not speculation, but mainly incites [sic] after year of observation, which are not so far of the mark when all is said and done. There are repetitive problems at Everton with causes.'

Insights it what you meant, but somehow incites best describes what you post.

And no, Jerome. Your time invested – 'years of observation' – do not equate to accurate conclusions. They remain your fantasy and not close to the mark at all, IMHO.

Jerome Shields
194 Posted 31/07/2020 at 17:51:37

From ToffeeWeb

Brands has clarified Unsworth's role at Everton

Lyndon Lloyd Thursday, 27 February, 2020 47comments | Jump to last

' David Unsworth has welcomed the adjustment to his responsibilities at Everton, saying that they allow him to fully focus on developing players within the Under-23s set-up.

The former player and current U23s manager used to count player recruitment among his job descriptions and was key in the signing of players like Dominic Calvert-Lewin from Sheffield United, but the Blues' Director of Football, Marcel Brands, has now assumed control over the acquisition and relinquishing of players at all levels.

While Unsworth will still have input over signing players and remains an important part of the decision over which players to loan out for experience, he has been freed up from the logistics of dealing with contracts, agents and the like. '

Need I say any more fellow suffers.


Witchfinder in Chief.

Joe McMahon
195 Posted 31/07/2020 at 18:27:24
Bloody Hell, John, that was a read. But you didn't clear up my nagging doubt about the Academy players disappearing – is Unsworth actually eating them?
Mike Gaynes
196 Posted 31/07/2020 at 18:54:58
"malefecium" and "crimen exceptum" -- words that have never before appeared on TW, exceptum perhaps as typos.

John, we have missed you, your thesaurus and your wicked detours into alternative reality. Visit more often.

Tony Abrahams
197 Posted 31/07/2020 at 19:04:51
I've got some speculation, it came from a very reliable source, the players aren't happy, they don't feel that Carlo Ancelotti has been doing enough coaching with them!
Jerome Shields
198 Posted 31/07/2020 at 19:18:55
Tony #198

A great observation.

Tony Hill
199 Posted 31/07/2020 at 19:19:13
John, "japeths eye". Has made the week worthwhile.
Robert Tressell
200 Posted 31/07/2020 at 20:36:25
John @188. You had me at Moomins.
Len Hawkins
201 Posted 31/07/2020 at 20:42:08
I can see a West End Play being made from John Daley's post, Kenwright will be on the phone to The Venerable Corpse of Impresarios to see if he can nick the Abzorbaloff and have him choke devouring the Unswitch.

John, you are wasted on here.

Steve Ferns
202 Posted 31/07/2020 at 22:05:34
John Daley, that was up there with vintage Ruane. I wish you posted more often.
Tony Everan
203 Posted 31/07/2020 at 23:06:02
John, Tales from the Unserworld!
Andy Crooks
204 Posted 31/07/2020 at 23:45:01
John D, it is special that you are happy to throw away a post like that on this site. What do you do with the top stuff? Good to see you back. Really good.

Phil Smith
205 Posted 01/08/2020 at 01:51:09
Spot on, Kevin Prytherch (86). Some players (Rooney) it's obvious they're gonna be top players from an early age. And other players (take your pick from a long list of U23 players who left us and played in the Premier League a bit later, like Lundstram) need a chance and a run in a side to show what they've got.
Brent Stephens
206 Posted 01/08/2020 at 13:14:53
I agree with the sentiments expressed by Phil #205 and Kevin. In practice, you might want to try out the U23 lads; say, one player at a time, and only if a game is safe (or clearly lost! and that poses problems) or if our side is so strong that their inclusion won't seriously weaken the side. Rarely are our games so safe; and we don't yet have a strong enough squad to be able to blood and carry youngsters so easily.
Phill Thompson
207 Posted 01/08/2020 at 15:28:40
Over the years, I've been reluctant to criticise Unsworth, an ex-player, a Blue, managing our U21s, then U23s... why would I? I've now moved around to thinking that, while he may not be the whole problem, he's not part of the solution.

He'd likely make a decent manager in the lower leagues but I don't see him as the coach needed to develop our youngsters and prepare them for the first team.

It's a view formed over the past 18 months, with some examples sticking out in my mind. One I've mentioned before is Anthony Gordon in season 2018-19, started one game as a 17-year-old then dropped, didn't start again for 6 months, and was then made MotM a few times having 5 appearances in total, not enough for our brightest prospect in years.

In pre-season training that year, there was a video of Uncle Unsy grabbing young Gordon around the neck in a jovial and friendly jest. The pale, stick-thin, shy Gordon looked really uncomfortable, and it stuck in my mind.

In a recent article, he said how he lost all his confidence after being dropped from the U23s, but turned to Baines and Coleman who really helped him. This was a 17-year-old kid at the time, a far cry from the confident young 19-year-old you see being interviewed these days.

For me, the big turnaround has been the last six months working with Carlo. You can't treat all 17-year-olds the same, some need an arm around them and a pat on the back; if they haven't toughened up in later years, fair enough.

More recently, this year, I watched a stream of us playing Man City U23s. We started with 5 at the back and 5 in midfield, it was bizarre. Man City totally outclassed us. Our midfield were easily bypassed and our defence run ragged, there was no shape, discernible cohesion or tactics. Possibly the worst performance from any of our teams this season and I've watched all our dismal last few games.

(As an aside, I remember it was the first time I'd seen Jarrad Branthwaite; his weak header out lead to City's first goal, but his towering header was our only goal in a 4-1 loss.)

Every player is different and whether they are loaned out, stay with the U23s, train with the first team can be complex and depends on their individual skills and needs.

But, for me, in the past few years, our U23s have been more of a roadblock than a launchpad for our youngsters. I am though believing that things are changing and we're evolving from having one of the oldest U23 teams in the past to this season having one of the youngest. It will test not only our young players but our coaches too, which for me can only be a good thing.

Brent Stephens
208 Posted 01/08/2020 at 18:27:00
Phill #207:

"I've now moved around to thinking that while [Unsworth] may not be the whole problem, he's not part of the solution... For me, the big turnaround has been the last six months [Anthony] working with Carlo... we're evolving from having one of the oldest U23 teams in the past to this season having one of the youngest. It will test not only our young players but our coaches too, which for me can only be a good thing."

Interesting comment you make on the way Carlo behaved with Anthony Gordon to boost his self-confidence. What I've seen of him in the U23s prior to Carlo coming was a young lad with a bit of a strut. I was never sure if that was cockiness or just his natural gait.

Jeff Armstrong
209 Posted 01/08/2020 at 19:48:08
Arteta winning the Cup brings memories of last December: Who would you now want as our manager, Ancelloti or Arteta?

I know it wasn't a real choice but a bit of persuasion in Mikel's ear probably could've directed him to the relatively short move across from Manchester.

After the turgid football Ancelloti has provided, I know that I would have preferred a young, hungry ex-Blue in charge, rather than a has-been after one last big contract!

Joe McMahon
210 Posted 01/08/2020 at 19:51:13
Jeff, he's inherited a better squad with 2 quality goalscorers.
Patrick McFarlane
211 Posted 01/08/2020 at 19:52:03
Jeff #209
I didn't think that it would be too long before someone mentioned us 'missing' out on Arteta, I'm afraid despite their travails this season, Arsenal has far better players in their squad than Everton.
Bill Gienapp
212 Posted 01/08/2020 at 19:59:25
Jeff (209) - if we'd hired Arteta, we'd likely be in the same position and people would be complaining that we took the cheap, unproven option, rather than hiring someone who's actually won things.
John Pierce
213 Posted 01/08/2020 at 19:59:49
Arteta wouldn't be the answer, Jeff. Well, what I mean is the hierarchy wouldn't handle the way he's gone about shaking Arsenal up.

His standards, discipline and desire would flounder here. He's exiled two players, and played younger players who are on the up, but most importantly, easy molded who look up to him.

They are raw but improving. He'd have quit by now with the resistance that he would meet here.

Jerome Shields
214 Posted 01/08/2020 at 20:02:51
Phil #206,

I agree with you on Unsworth. I think the policy has changed since February, when Unsworth was relieved of some of duties which, prior to that, gave him control of recruitment of players from other clubs to the U23s, contracts, and placing all U23 loanees. Any other recruitment at the academy must have been schoolboys. It was announced at the end of February that Brands had taken over these roles at all levels. The U23s were coached by Unsworth to play a different style of play than the first team.

I have already posted what I think about the Unsworth regime which, in my opinion, wasn't orientated to producing first-team players. I will go further and say that Unsworth ruined the career of many a young footballer, which they could have had at other clubs.

Your statement that Everton have one of the youngest U23 squads now in the Premier League is good news, from where they had been at the time of that hammering in January by Man City. Hopefully the rumours that Unsworth is leaving are correct and youth development can progress along the path you have outlined.

I too thought Unsworth was a great player for Everton.

Jeff Armstrong
215 Posted 01/08/2020 at 20:05:13
Agreed, Arsenal do have much better players, but my point being Mikel would have got our lot playing a lot better than the statue with the raised eyebrow has done!

We might have been going into next season with a bit of optimism under Arteta. Yes, we probably would've finished 12th or so, but at least he would've created enthusiasm and positivity. At the moment, I'm struggling to find anything to look forward to under Ancelotti.

Jerome Shields
216 Posted 01/08/2020 at 20:09:13
Jeff #215,

Arteta, would have had problems at Everton. Arsenal was a fine-tuning job, Everton is a complete rebuild.

Jeff Armstrong
217 Posted 01/08/2020 at 20:13:35
Yes Jerome, a complete rebuild. I still know who I'd rather have in charge.
Brent Stephens
218 Posted 01/08/2020 at 20:14:39
Jerome, the extracts from the Liverpool Echo, EFC website, seem to suggest that the changes to Unsie's role were earlier than this February:

"...since replacing Walsh at Goodison Park, Brands has ensured the 46-year-old [Unsworth] can prioritise work on the training field."

"Obviously Marcel does all the contracts and will speak with all the agents so I can really concentrate on the coaching side of it," Unsworth told the Royal Blue Podcast. "In that respect, my job has changed, so I concentrate solely and purely on the players and the coaching."

Paul Birmingham
219 Posted 01/08/2020 at 20:29:31
JD, epic, when's the book, superb prose and parody, one of the best essays, in a long time.

Well done to Arsenal, they were organised and worked hard, but some iffy descisions and loosing their talisman, Chelsea, were done.

I think Arsenal's players versus ours, are ahead in most positions, and have more discipline and team work, than the EFC squad, showed last season.

Let's hope and pray deliverance, is here, for EFC, over the next 6 weeks. God help us, if it doesn't arrive.

Patrick McFarlane
220 Posted 01/08/2020 at 20:37:55
I agree with you, Paul #219,

I think John Daley should work on an alternative history of Everton Football Club, with outlandish characterisations and surreal circumstances – it would become a best-seller. Mind you, much of our actual history has been surreal and has outlandish characters within it too.

Paul Tran
221 Posted 01/08/2020 at 20:41:21
John #213, Arteta is a very intelligent man who knows the Everton hierarchy. He was my first choice but, once Arsenal showed interest, there was only one place he was going.
Brent Stephens
222 Posted 01/08/2020 at 20:43:45
Paul #221,

Yes, "once Arsenal showed interest, there was only one place [Arteta] was going" – a sad reflection on us and maybe his knowing he'd have his work cut out with us. Good luck to him though, if not to Arsenal.

Jerome Shields
223 Posted 01/08/2020 at 20:46:59
Brent #218,

Lyndon did in the article on 20 February reference the change, so that is where I got my timeline from. Glad to hear the change was earlier. Thank you for letting me know.

Jeff #217,

Arteta would know not to take the Everton job and he would be right. Ancelotti hopefully was looking for a challenge and not a final payout. When Ancelotti was in the frame, I posted the latter; I have been hoping I am wrong ever since.

Darren Hind
224 Posted 01/08/2020 at 20:48:31

As you are so reluctant to criticise Unsworth, I will put up the rest of that interview with young Gordon. It'll make you feel a lot better.

He talks about them building his physical and mental strength from when he was a scrawny kid

You're right, he did say he was disappointed when he was promoted and dropped and he did say he turned to the likes of Seamus and Bainesy. But I always think it's important to put the lot up. Snippets can be taken out of context, don't you think?

Here's what else Young Gordon says about "Rhino":

"He could be harsh. It was my first involvement in Under-23 football and it felt like an army camp. I was physically and mentally drained and I hated it... But it benefited me so much, I will always be grateful for it.

"Those are the situations where you mature. You have to stop being a kid and feeling sorry for yourself. Grow to be a man.

"I matured as a man. I developed a different way of thinking. I knew he (Unsworth) rated me. The other players always reminded me too.

"I always had a good relationship with him off the pitch. It was on the pitch he was harsh on me. He always told me how good I was – although you forget about that when you lose the ball and he makes you do push-ups."

Unsworth, for his part, said he knew Anthony had the talent for the first team. He felt it was his job to get him there as quickly as possible. I think when a kid in your charge becomes a regular in the first team before he is out of his teens. You are entitled to say "mission accomplished".

Counting Kenny, Unwsorth has supplied six first-team players. An achievement made all the remarkable by the fact that none of them are blindingly talented. There isn't one of them with the natural talent of somebody like Rooney, or even close.

It has always mystified me why he is criticised so much. I don't think there is another junior coach in the league who could match his record. The criticism invariably comes from people who would never have heard of Finch Farm if ill-informed websites didn't exist.

Anyway, if what I hear is true, these knowledgeable critics will get their way and he will soon be gone. The fanboys will get their wish. Sourcing and developing youngsters will be the responsibility of a fancy foreign recruitment team. We've even got a touch of nepotism to add a bit more spice to the soap opera.

Will this new Italian/Dutch recruitment department improve on Rhino's record of sourcing and developing six first-team players? ... Will they fuck. You won't see another youngster develop into the first team until this crew have been run out of town.

They can't even source a player when armed with hundreds of millions of pounds. What earthly hope have they got of finding and developing their own for buttons??

They've paved paradise. Just watch the blundering fuckers put up a parking lot.

Brent Stephens
225 Posted 01/08/2020 at 20:48:34
Jerome, I'm merely quoting what the article / Unsworth says.
Paul Tran
226 Posted 01/08/2020 at 20:51:23
Brent, lack of football-related ambition is rooted in the DNA of the people 'running' Everton. Arteta will know that better than most.

Moshiri's apparent satisfaction with this resistance to the hard work and accountability these changes need are both puzzling and troubling.

Brent Stephens
227 Posted 01/08/2020 at 20:55:41
Is Moshiri for changing, Paul? Any hope?
Paul Tran
228 Posted 01/08/2020 at 21:02:37
I'm not sure, Brent. I'm convinced that Kenwright has convinced Moshiri that we're a well-run club that just needs money. Someone else's money. Someone who won't trouble Bill, Denise and their friends with such nonsense like ambition, accountability & consequences.

The only thing that ever changes is the manager. That tells me enough.

Duncan McDine
229 Posted 01/08/2020 at 21:03:54
“spoonfuls of scalding hot semolina being strained into his japeths eye”.

That old chestnut. Not a day goes by here on ToffeeWeb without someone mentioning the Arteta money, Riquelme / Moutinho (at John Lennon Airport), and of course the old “jap eye semolina” gag.

Jerome Shields
230 Posted 01/08/2020 at 21:05:40
Patrick #220

I agree. Of course I would be 'Witchhunter in Waiting' in it.

I wonder if John knows that James I was a Witchhunter, killing 3, 000 women in Scotland, blaming them for the death of his mother, Mary Queen of Scots. When he came South to the English throne, Shakespeare put a play on for him in 1605 called Macbeth, which he attended in person.

I think there could be similarities between John and Shakespeare in sailing close to the wind.

Rob Halligan
231 Posted 01/08/2020 at 21:06:13
Patrick (John) 211.

Yep, first prize to Jeff Armstrong. As we said elsewhere, someone was bound to say it. It took Jeff about 15 minutes to say Arteta or Ancelotti!

Paul Tran
232 Posted 01/08/2020 at 21:12:30
Darren #224,

I've got no time for the 'got to be a Blue, not a fancy foreigner' stuff, but I'd say 6 players graduating to the first team, and often being the players who have shown most responsibility in the first team, is a huge advert for Unsworth in his current role. And a crushing indictment on our recruitment in general.

Mike Gaynes
233 Posted 01/08/2020 at 21:19:41
Jeff #209... "a bit of persuasion in Mikel's ear probably could've directed him to the relatively short move across from Manchester..."

There is absolutely no evidence of that. Zero. Zilch. Arteta had a deeper and much more recent connection to Arsenal than Everton. He'd been captain there. He'd won the FA Cup there. And it was a much more talented club to manage.

Aside from the fact that he'd played here a decade earlier, there was and is no reason in the world to believe he would ever choose us over Arsenal.

Darren Hind
236 Posted 01/08/2020 at 21:31:46
Fair enough, Paul.

I think you make a fair point about my desire to see more Blues inside the club and less foreigners. I think I have been a tad biased.

Maybe the fact that we have never come close to playing decent football or winning anything without these "Grasping Evertonians" has clouded my judgement. Or maybe it's the fact that the School of Science has become the School for Scoundrels as mercenary after mercenary has insulted the best fans in football.

Tell you what: if this crew prove me wrong and deliver a trophy, I promise I will come on here and admit that I have been a complete Cheshire Cat for not believing we have merely been victims of over a century of coincidence.

Hope your Goodwood was Glorious!

Rob Halligan
237 Posted 01/08/2020 at 21:36:45
As a matter of fact, Jeff, I did give all my refund to EitC.
Paul Tran
238 Posted 01/08/2020 at 21:43:59
My Goodwood was as far from glorious as it could get. Hope yours was better!

Liverpool, Man City, Chelsea, Spurs, Leicester City and Wolves are full of 'fancy foreigners', on and off the pitch. Good ones, who demand success, know how to spot an executive, manager, or player who set high standards and hold all staff accountable, who appreciate that hard graft is as important as reputation. The really clever ones know how to harness local playing talent and the fans' values.

I don't care where people are from – we desperately need a big shot of competence and ambition, on and off the pitch.

Jerome Shields
239 Posted 01/08/2020 at 22:29:43
Brett #225,

Just re-read your post. That's my theory up in smoke. Steve Ferns was right regarding Brands.

I hope Ancelotti is behind the changes that Phil detailed in his post and Steve is right that Unsworth may move on. There needs to be a rebuild at Everton and someone needs to get started at it.

Maybe John Daly can come up with a Witch with a potion or spell I can use. . . having identified a new role for me on ToffeeWeb.

I wonder if Unsworth took a pay cut since his role was reduced? Never mind. . . I know the bloody answer.

Paul Tran
240 Posted 01/08/2020 at 22:55:28
People older than me may laugh, but the first Everton team I really enjoyed watching (my first game was 1971) was Gordon Lee's team.

He arrived in 1977. We lost the League Cup Final in extra time injury time in the 2nd replay, then got robbed in the semi by Clive Thomas. Was that misfortune because Lee wasn't an Evertonian?

His first two full seasons we finshed 3rd then 4th. I've got fond memories of those seasons, we played some cracking stuff. I remember the rumours that he wanted Shilton, then we ended up with George flipping Wood. If only.

Then he was after two young players, they only let him buy one. Imagine an attack with Sharp & Rush!

Then we got to the semi against West Ham. Had a man sent off for fighting (the other guy in the fight stayed on). Then they equalised. In the replay, they got the winner with a header that bounced like an off-break.

Lee lost his way after his second season, but he's the unluckiest manager we've had in my lifetime.

If only he'd been an Evertonian, it would have been so different.

We've had two stellar managers in my lifetime. Catterick & Kendall built two championship-winning teams each, because of their greatness, not because they played for us.

Oh, for a fraction of their competence now...

Tony Hill
241 Posted 01/08/2020 at 23:30:00
Paul, I'm older than you and my favourite team was from 62-63, but I agree with you about Lee. His teams had the Everton tang, those experiences vs Aston Villa and the RS were deep and still matter to us and, you're right, we played some good stuff.

That's what we want from our teams: integrity, a bit of style, and the confidence to go toe to toe with anyone. Courage, above all. Things didn't go well in the end for Gordon Lee but I believe he was a worthy Everton manager.

Darren Hind
242 Posted 02/08/2020 at 01:49:55
Okay, Paul,

You seem to be spoiling for this argument. I'll accommodate you.

First of all, we are not Liverpool, Man City, Wolves, Spurs, or Leicester City. The latter three will not be winning anything in the foreseeable. They don't have a history as proud as ours either. So they don't represent any sort of yardstick.

Man City have taken a different route; one which isn't open to us.

As for the Shite? Well, they had their own culture, didn't they? A bootroom. One which delivered league titles every 20 minutes. They are not a good example either. Especially when you consider it took them 30 years to win another title after trading their culture for "something better".

You have a very different view of Gordon Lee's time than I do. Lee was another hired coward. His spineless football was despised by all. If he was an Evertonian who had grown up immersed in the School of Science culture, he would have played braver, more adventurous football. He would have gone for the title as if his life depended upon it. He would not have repeatedly benched Magic Duncan: "Flair is something you have on the end of your trousers".

He was handed two semi-finals as soon as he got here. He fucked them both. After playing The Shite off the park at Main Road, his team should have been sent out full of devil in the replay, going for the jugular. They came out, defended, and went out without a whimper.

Our League Cup Final against Aston Villa will go down as the most boring Wembley final ever. Lee got two more bites at the cherry, but he couldn't galvanise his troops.

Some very nice draws saw us get to another semi-final. We were overjoyed when we drew the Second Division team, but his dull, cowardly tactics were once again exposed as West Ham Utd were more adventurous and sent his fear-ridden team packing. I don't subscribe to the theory that we were unlucky. West Ham were bolder and better.

Lee was sacked because he was unpopular, because we played boring football, and because we were 2-3 points above the drop zone. Did not being a Blue stop him being successful? Fucking right it did.
Luckily, a proper Evertonian was waiting in the wings... and worra ya know? Good football, passion and trophies were all back on the menu.

Dear Colin Harvey didn't make the step from coach to manager. Despite the European ban meaning he lost crucial players, his standards (although light-years ahead of what we see now) were deemed (mainly by himself), as not being high enough.

Mike Walker arrived, full of confidence, full of bravado, and full of shit. He didn't quite succeed in taking us down the first time, but he was deffo having another go the next year. What a shambles... We needed an Evertonian... Big Joe arrived. Passion and pride were back on the menu and a trophy was put in the cabinet.

Two dour jocks were proceeded by a stream of foreign imposters. Only interrupted by a visit from the Night King. Between them, they have stripped us of our standing in the game. Our pride... our soul... everything we stand for has been unceremoniously removed from our culture.

BTW, I noticed on the adjacent thread, you say you expect a wave of calls for Eddie Howe to replace Carlo. Those calls are not coming, Paul. Everyone knows the Italian Night King will be here long enough to make enough money to buy a small island for his retirement. Those who have already read the script, and are not blinded by his past achievements, already know he will be required to deliver very little in return.

Who'd have thought it, Paul? All those years after Roberto Martinez took over from The Ginger Twat and you and I are still having the same argument.

You're still wrong.

Derek Thomas
243 Posted 02/08/2020 at 02:52:03
And as usual in arguments like Paul vs Darren, the answer lies somewhere in the middle, but tending to Darren's side a little... (A bit of personal bias there?... nah, not me...honest.)

Lee was too cautious but, looking back, if he achieved those positions now, we'd be calling for a knighthood. Its all relative.

Paul Tran
244 Posted 02/08/2020 at 07:40:49
Darren, I'd say first half of Lee's reign, I'm right, second half of it you're right.

I didn't bring Harvey into the argument because he didn't want the job and was 'persuaded' to take it. And he's a legend beyond reproach.

We've certainly had some dreadful managers in my lifetime – I suspect my bias comes from my first six years watching us when we were awful to watch, under ex-EFC players.

The Howe reference was a piss-take. Sorry, my sense of humour pops out on here now and again.

In terms of history, you're spot-on, but I think this argument will run, because I'm not convinced we'll be successful until some of the Evertonians running and working in the club are changed, either by themselves or their removal.

We keep rearranging the deck chairs on The Titanic. We need a new boat, not more expensive chairs.

Tony Abrahams
245 Posted 02/08/2020 at 08:49:43
Only reading the end of this thread between Darren and Paul, and wasn't it Neville Southall who recently said on the latest Everton documentary that you need to be at least half a scouser to really understand Evertonians?

I'd say Duncan is a scouser now, so hopefully him and Carlo, the “unlikely couple”, can bring us the success we desperately crave. Protestant Rangers, Catholic Italy, and mixed Everton, they all play in blue, after all!

My own opinion of the great Colin Harvey was that he was never a manager and more a top class coach, so if Duncan can become a top coach to compliment our top manager, who knows what the future might hold?

Paul Tran
246 Posted 02/08/2020 at 09:03:00
Tony, I'd love Moshiri to change this club and drag it into the 21st century. I'd love Ancelotti to stabilise things on the pitch and have Duncan take over the job.

Right now, I'd say Duncan as manager would be the Kenwright holy trinity complete. A rich owner that lets Bill keep control, a compliant CEO not rocking the boat and a manager that owes him and won't rock the boat. He'd be a sticking plaster over a broken leg, albeit a much cheaper one.

Where I do agree with Darren is that hiring Ancelotti is a complete waste of money - but only if Moshiri doesn't use his presence to change the club off the pitch.

The club has to change first. A tougher, longer task. But if I'd thrown the money that Moshiri has, I'd be demanding it.

Maybe he can't be bothered. Maybe he really does have more money than sense.

Tony Abrahams
247 Posted 02/08/2020 at 09:06:31
Scrolling back post 226 tells me everything. Southall played for Everton when you had to be half a scouser, when thousands felt that we were genuinely the best club in the land.

I'm not sure Kenwright would have got away with things back then, because Evertonians were a lot more wise and unforgiving in those days. Or maybe it's possible I only feel like this because I was only a child in those days?

Paul Tran
248 Posted 02/08/2020 at 09:19:43
Tony, in those days we were largely regarded as a sleeping giant. I often wonder whether Howard kept his job because he was a Blue, or whether Carter really did think he was a great manager waiting to happen.

I think now we're regarded as just sleeping. A 20th Century club with 21st Century spending.

Tony Abrahams
249 Posted 02/08/2020 at 09:28:38
I must have been praising your post @226 whilst you was writing that, Paul T.

I'm inclined to agree with you more than Darren, on this subject Paul, especially because Duncan is a valued member of the Everton backroom team now, but when I talk about “all our yesterdays” Darren reminds me of the great Evertonians I remember as an awe-inspired young kid.

Liverpool might have been Champions of Europe, but they weren't fucking better than us, and the saddest thing for me is how so many people have lost that defiance. Divide and conquer, that's my opinion whenever I think of the fraud with the sticking plaster you mention above.

Paul Tran
250 Posted 02/08/2020 at 09:48:11
Tony, most of what Darren says on this I agree with, especially the attitude. As a kid in the 70s, I never went to a derby thinking we were going to get beat, even though they won the trophies. The defeatism I see before derbies these days appals me.

Leicester City & Wolves have jumped ahead of us because they have competent, demanding owners who know how to recruit and instil a winning culture.

Man City have riches, but they too immediately instilled a demanding culture. I have first-hand experience of this which I'll happily share with anyone over a pint (but not on here).

Imagine that attitude and sporting/business acumen fused with a love of the club, it's history and supporters.

That's what I'd love to see. That's why I think this 'local lads vs fancy foreigners' argument is a bit of a sideshow. They can and must co-exist.

Dave Abrahams
251 Posted 02/08/2020 at 10:26:09
I don't think it's Darren versus Paul, it's a good debate, there is no winner or loser, I see two Bluenoses having a good chat, the only thing missing is a couple of pints.

I think they would both agree that the sooner the club is changed, starting at the boardroom, the sooner the prospects on the field will change for the better.

Tony Abrahams
252 Posted 02/08/2020 at 10:31:06
I look forward to having a pint with you one day Paul, I will sit in the middle of you and Darren, hopefully on a day you are both on form, and there is a Bookies next door to the pub! (I'm always being thoughtful to Dave!)

When Moshiri used the word 'museum', I instantly thought of Bill Kenwright. I see his face above the ticket office on Goodison Road, on his frozen timeline, and think it will only begin to turn again once he's gone... Who knows if my thoughts are correct? Only time can answer this.

Paul Tran
253 Posted 02/08/2020 at 10:36:29
Dave & Tony. Completely agree. Love the pint idea, especially if there's no match to slope off to!
Phill Thompson
254 Posted 02/08/2020 at 10:44:24
This thread is the stuff of nightmares – I was at Wembley in 77 for the turgid Villa final and the 2nd replay at Old Trafford, I thought I'd managed to bury those memories deep and forget them!

Jerome #239 re your “I hope Ancelotti is behind the changes that Phil detailed in his post.” I have no inside knowledge here, it's opinion based upon observation regarding our teams getting younger. It started before Carlo arrived, so possibly collective agreement pushed by Brands but also driven by necessity and opportunity.

The recruitment ban at U18 level in some ways provided the necessity to use players who'd been in our Academy for a few years, the opportunity was the best group of U15s and U16s we've had coming through for some time. From day 1 our U18s was largely filled with 16-year-old 1st-year Scholars, a couple of Schoolboys and maybe 3or 4 older players. Certainly it was the youngest team for some time and people know of the two main 1st year stars Lewis Dobbin and Tyler Onyango, but they were not alone, there were others, and throughout the season we played more Schoolboys, 6 in total.

Usually only one or two schoolboys play up at U18 per season, Dobbin and Onyango the previous year, Astley, Gordon in years proceeding. It's usually a good marker of high potential ( playing as a Schoolboy) and I couldn't say we have 6 of the same potential as Gordon, but we've got some talented kids about to join us.

The U23s started differently. In the first few games we still had a number of older players around, and it's part of our club DNA that as far as possible we look after young players giving them game time to get fit and find another club whether permanent or loan. That's a difficult balance to achieve as it can block the younger kids, but we seemed to be more proactive in helping youngsters move on this time.

After a few months, it had a definite younger look about it and, with a few more loans of older players in January, it was younger still. There was one weekend when both U18s and U23s played and the average age of both squads was the youngest I'd seen in recent years and had changed a lot from say 12 months earlier.

I don't pick the teams so I should have said “potentially” even younger teams this season. Once loans etc are sorted, then I could pick what I consider our best team at U23s, include Baningime and Adeniran for experience, and still have an average age of 19.

The knock-on effect is that the new intake at U18 can also make their mark if the likes of Dobbin, Onyango and others are playing U23s. The downside is that too young a side will struggle against older more physical teams, which becomes a separate debate.

Jerome Shields
255 Posted 02/08/2020 at 10:54:30
Paul #250,

Such a demanding winning mentality, which I fully agree with you about, needs to come from the Chairman down. The Everton objective was to win every competition they entered in the days you yearn for. We have been conditioned to think in terms of Top 6, 5, 4, which is the lucky step up from staying in the Premiership , in the minds of many of those that run the Club which they hope for. In the meantime they are quite happy to continue with the comfortable situations they are in.

So successful have been at this that Supporters perpetually hope season after season that Everton will progress, if the truth be told by luck. On ToffeeWeb we discuss our players looking for signs of capability, when if we all stood back we would have to admit they are mostly of bang average capability and say that realising the transfer fee they where bought in for, in most cases, would be impossible.

Players coming through from the youth system can look better than them, but how good are these young players in reality and comparison with other Premier League teams, when our first team can be hammered by Liverpool's youngsters.

We have all been conditioned by mediocrity. A complete engine rebuild is necessary and it will take a manager with Ancelotti's experience to implement it, with Moshiri's determined to introduce capable people of winning mentality throughout the club, replacing the existing shower. But we also have to hope that Ancelotti is not at Everton for a final payday.

We need to see evidence that Everton are on square one of this winning mentality process. There is no evidence they are on square one yet.

Jerome Shields
256 Posted 02/08/2020 at 11:11:25
Bang average in performance. There a difference to being bang average in capability.

Players have to have a winning mentality also, as does the team as a whole.

Jerome Shields
257 Posted 02/08/2020 at 11:18:20
Phil #254,

I was just hoping you had seen what I was looking for.

Darren Hind
258 Posted 02/08/2020 at 11:28:01
Ah come on, Paul. That wasn't even subtle.

Nowhere do I say it has to be a "local lad". Ferguson is not a local lad. Neither is Rhino. Howard wasn't either.

I don't care if our next manager is beamed down from the dark side of the fucking moon. I just want him to have Everton etched on his heart.

Arsenal, Chelsea and Man Utd have all brought in "fans" and after seeing a downturn. They have been rewarded with either Champions League or a trophy.

And you can be very certain that if Klopp has a trophyless season the clamour to get the "Rightful heir" to the thrown down from Glasgow will be too great for the owners to resist.

My argument is not born out of some child-like naivety. It is based on all known evidence. You and Tony want to base your argument on... Well, no evidence at all really. We've never even come close with an outsider.

The reason so many clubs want ex-players in charge is also based on evidence. It's logical to want somebody who "knows the score". If you are traveling through the Peruvian jungle you wouldn't hire some twat who has never been there himself as your guide.

There is something wrong with this club. You don't even have to leave this thread to see how much many of our fans resent the fact that a low paid Evertonian can do a far better job than some expensive import.

It's as if they believe higher wages will guarantee a greater success. A glamorous foreign import must be better than one of our own.
Not only will they not give credit when its due. They will go to extraordinary lengths to belittle or even deny achievements. Even in the face of irrefutable evidence... They simply cannot comprehend that the answer to our problems may be within the club already.

Mention how much better we played under Ferguson and the stock answer will come back; "Yeah, but they were all fucked at the end of his stint... it wasn't sustainable" .... What the Fuck does that even mean?

I want our players out on their feet at the end of EVERY game. It's not as if they are bricklayers' labourers and have to go back and do it all again the next day. They get days to recover their energy levels.

All the top teams have their players playing with that sort of energy and intensity every week. It's no coincidence that those with the most desire to do it end up on top.

This thread, to me, gives a little insight into everything wrong with this club. Whole swathes of the fan base have allowed themselves to be seduced by exotic foreign glamour.

Put up dates, times and direct quotes as evidence of the good job Unsworth has done and they will stick their fingers in their ears. Can't learn, won't learn. What is it they say about Prophets in their own land?

I don't care where our success comes from but, if we have a Brazilian winger, a Portuguese midfielder or an Italian coach, I want it to be because they are top notch. Not because they played on the continent, or come from a glamorous South American football nation... And certainly not because they just happen to be the manager's son!!!

Jerome Shields
259 Posted 02/08/2020 at 11:38:19
Phill #254,

I was more hoping you had seen what I am looking for.

Thank you for your assessment of youth development and what direction you think it should be going in. I am in full agreement.

Darren Hind
260 Posted 02/08/2020 at 11:39:19
BTW, guys;

If we do get to meet up for a bevy after a match where Ancelotti's team has entertained us with some fast, attacking, exciting football, the first round is on me... so is the second!!

Tony Abrahams
261 Posted 02/08/2020 at 11:50:25
Phill @254, thanks for that post, it's made me realise what happened to that very special group of kids, who I thought might have got lost when Martin Waldron left the club.

If I can bore, I was at finch farm one day, my stepsons under8's we're playing an Everton team and drew 2-2. The parents were delighted, I said Everton were under 7, not that it mattered, some disagreed.

Getting ready on the next pitch was another very young Everton team. I said they're Everton's under-8s, look at them, and without wanting to sound dramatic, these kids genuinely amazed me right away.

No balls, in the warm-up, but what incredible discipline. Thinking out loud, I said look at them everyone is a mini-me. I watched them ply for ten minutes our game had finished, but I found it pointless because they were just to good for their older opponents.

They say Brazillian's are not born skilful, well these under 8's had everything, I'm not messing when I say I saw the desire in the warm up- honestly.

Two years later this team beat my kids Tranmere team about 9-2, but I wasn't as impressed, because they just kept going for goals, when they should have been learning to pass, move and keep the ball. Obviously just my opinion, but some of these youngsters were special.

I spoke to Martin Waldron when these kids were under ten, he said without doubt his best ever group, and he was honestly predicting some of them would become international footballers.

Last year, I was talking to a Preston scout who had just watched Everton under-16's “this same group of kids” and I was taken aback when he said they were okay, but nothing more.

I wonder what's happened to them, I know kids fall by the wayside, but he said they only had two really good players, and I couldn't get my head around it.

Hopefully it's because they are that good, they have already been pushed into youth team football, and this is Martin Waldron's gift to Everton FC.

Paul Tran
262 Posted 02/08/2020 at 11:58:57
Now Darren, you're talking to me here. And I think you know I'm not one of the 'foreign is best because its foreign' brigade.

By 'local', I meant those of and from the club - wouldnt want to accuse you of the local lads only view. I just want competence, for the club itself and on the pitch.

I said at the time I'd have given Unsworth a go rather than bring Sam in at unnecessary expense. And my first choice this time round was Arteta, but Arteta is way too intelligent to come here with the current set-up.

Arteta & Lampard are both winners; intelligent, model professionals with a bit of snide in them. Two very good coaches who have gone to 'their' clubs at the perfect time. I can't see any other Blue who fits that bill right now.

My second choice was that fancy foreigner, Sean Dyche. I got stick for that one, but if Moshiri isn't going to bother changing the club, I'd like a manager with a proven record of getting the best out of a group of players on a minimal budget. Who might do better with better players. Who might have the balls to clean the playing side out without wasting hundreds of millions. Look at the league table. He's working miracles there and he's getting fed up.

You're right, though, Ancelotti's here till he's had enough. I'm loving this debate, but it's immaterial until the club changes. And that's down to Moshiri and his desire to make this work. Or is he just going to sit back, wait for the stadium to open, then sell?

Darren Hind
263 Posted 02/08/2020 at 12:12:50
My apologies, Paul.

It was not my intention to accuse you personally of being seduced by foreign glamour. I did address the post to you and Tony initially, but veered off to speak about a wider audience.

I think we need to dispel the myth that our defeat at Mordor can be construed as some sort of failing on our own youngsters. Let's be clear here.

We all knew Klopp was going to play his kids. We all knew that if the RS kids got the bit between their teeth that our expensive foreign imports would fold like a pack of cards.

Ancelotti could have removed all chance of embarrassment by matching Klopp and playing our kids, meeting fire with fire. He didn't. He gave young Gordon a game, but generally left us wide open to humiliation when he went with his expensive signings. They, all too predictably, did indeed fold like the proverbial pack of cards.

There were reports later that Duncan Ferguson released hell on the players after the game. Its bollocks. Anybody who has connections to any of the people in that dressing room, or Liverpool's, will tell you there was indeed angry exchanges and accusations, but they were directed at Carlo for his tactics.

Yep. The expensive foreign signings he decided to put his trust in joined forces and turned on him.

Paul Tran
264 Posted 02/08/2020 at 12:31:49
I knew that, Darren, but thanks anyway.

That game at Anfield; average ages of the teams were 23 vs 26. Too many myths around that game. The big difference was their young players had a good system and competent, experienced colleagues around them. Ours didn't.

I'd say our younger players have carried the expensive ones all too often over the past few years. Their strength of character reflects very well on Unsworth and reflects appallingly on our monied recruitment.

My short-term solution is to listen to offers for most of the squad and replace them with players that have nous and character to go with their ability. Remember that, when you buy players on a five-year contract, selling them at a slight loss makes less of a difference financially.

Long-term, Moshiri needs to sort the club out. Short-term, Carlo needs to justify his presence by adding some nous, pace and purpose to complement our younger players.

Phill Thompson
267 Posted 02/08/2020 at 12:53:46
Tony #261, that's a great insight thanks for sharing. I find these types of comments very interesting. Brent and Steve often do similar.

3or4 years ago I came across photos and an article of an U12/U13 team that had won the National Futsal championship, possibly the same guys, but no names given. As a club we tend to give out very little information about our U16s, and we guard their privacy when young which is appropriate and fine by me.

I couldn't claim to know these U16s now coming in well, but from bits I have seen there are 3 who look very good. Mind you, I'm one of those guys who often gets more excited by a dodgy stream for an U18s away games than the “entertainment” provided by our overpaid first team. Each to his own eh!

Danny O’Neill
268 Posted 02/08/2020 at 13:16:02
Thanks Paul.

Thanks Paul.

Thanks Paul!!

On a serious note, I'm glad you and Darren both highlighted that point about that Derby. Partly what Darren says, we had the chance to go like for like and put a fearless team out, but didn't and our serial losers got embarrassed.

But what also contributed is what I raised much earlier on this thread; Klopp has installed a very continental approach. Over his tenure, they have implemented a system from top to bottom. I'd wager all age groups through to first team play the same way and are coached the same things. That's a key reason that, at this point in time, they can seamlessly step into the way the team plays much easier than ours.

In that derby, they were able to set up and play the same way the first team does, and this Everton team are this Liverpool team's dream opponent. Are their young footballers markedly better than ours? I wouldn't say so.

Yes, having a better standard of player around them clearly helps them as opposed to having ours, but it's also that they are stepping into a system they know and understand well. They know what to do, they know what's expected. I don't see synergy between our defence and midfield, let alone the first team and U23s!

To Tony's point about the youth teams. Totally agree about not being impressed with "goal chasing". That's not what youth football is about. It is about perfecting passing, movement, skills etc.

As you know from my Germany exploits, on my last trip out to Schalke, I took the opportunity to watch some of their academy games. It's all open to the fans, on match day in the shadow of the stadium, not locked away like ours.

Really interesting to see all 3 teams that were playing doing what I said above; playing the same system. Notably, the coaching staff were not bellowing from the touchline; they let them play. Most of the talking and instructions were given before kick-off, at half-time, and at the end.

That's an academy that has produced some genuine high-calibre players over the years, by the way. I was fortunate to watch the latest of the 3 Sane brothers who have all come through at the club.

Back to Darren and Paul's discussion. On the "foreigner versus Evertonian" debate. I also don't buy into the "must have Everton links" side of the debate. I don't really care where they come from as long as they bring us stability, build us something we can be proud of, something that entertains us and then hopefully brings success... and in that order. I don't ask for much!!

Tony Abrahams
269 Posted 02/08/2020 at 13:16:33
I'm shocked by that news, Darren, the players were blaming Ancellotti for his tactics, after his fourth match in charge?

I never went even though I got offered a ticket for nothing in the Everton end a few hours before the game, for the reasons you mentioned, about some of our players, and because I felt they were tired and wouldn't have the heart if the game became difficult.

We would have been out of sight with better finishing, but once the game became hard, Everton's midfield wilted, through a lack of heart, and energy, with Llanna often dancing round Sigurdsson like he wasn't even there.

Tactics had nothing to do with it, but a lack of personal pride certainly did, which is nothing at all new for so many of Everton's present squad, and Carlo Ancelotti must have learned a lot more than he thought possible on that day.

Danny O’Neill
270 Posted 02/08/2020 at 13:24:30
I agree with everything said about heart, desire and commitment (or lack of). Ability without that is pretty worthless.

I try my best to believe that no footballer can not have that in their locker, our current lot included.

However, my explanation or conspiracy theory for the lack of passion, particularly towards the end of the season, is that I think (hope) Ancelotti has already told a few of them their days are numbered. It seemed to come to a head with the Wolves non-performance.

Paul Tran
271 Posted 02/08/2020 at 13:36:02
My suspicion, Tony, is that on the day they collapsed like cheap deck chairs. When you have a lack of discipline and accountability in a team, they all start blaming everyone else and/or the management. This lot are used to it. They keep seeing off managers because they know it's easier to sack one manager than 11 players.

Danny's point is a good one. That club has good off the pitch management and recruits for specific reasons. Our club lacks the will to bring the disjointed areas of the squads into one. The result? You get insecure empire building & dysfunctional management.

We need some right hard so-and-so's to sort us out on and off the pitch. Right now, we have weak cheque signers recruiting weak players. Almost like there's a pattern.

Darren Hind
272 Posted 02/08/2020 at 14:14:31

Whenever we have that bevy, I will reveal the source of that story. It's very reliable.

From what I understand. Ancelotti did not bat an eyelid as accusations flew. He has clearly come across temperamental and opinionated players before. Better ones than this.

This is one of the few times I don't blame him. I believe managers are like Generals. Even when you think they are wrong. They are right. Their instructions should not be up for some sort of democratic debate. Whether a player agrees or not, they should do their utmost to carry out his instructions to the letter. We cant have a team full of people pulling in opposite directions.

Anyway. that little episode may well have hastened a certain French player's exit... Another will not be far behind.

Ancelotti would have learned an awful lot about his players that day. He clearly believed fielding his strongest team represented his best chance... but I would bet big money that, if he was presented with that situation again, he would match fire with fire.

Paul Tran
273 Posted 02/08/2020 at 14:18:08
Now Danny's got me thinking about an interview I read with Kenwright a few years back. Teary Bill expressed his admiration for the classy, old-school Arsenal.

'I see us as a northern Arsenal', he said, presumably likening himself to David Dein, which is like comparing Roger Federer with a bloke holding a plank of wood.

I wonder if that was his pitch to Arsenal minority shareholder Moshiri? 'We're just like Arsenal, Fahad, we just need your money'. And we need a David Dein figure who 'knows' the club?

Maybe that's why Bill just 'couldn't find the right person' and that lot found people with experience of running a major sporting organisation?

And maybe that's why Moshiri isn't sorting the club out? Bill & Denise know best.

Tony Abrahams
274 Posted 02/08/2020 at 14:26:25
The fact that Unsworth's Under-23s don't play in a similar system to the first team is very telling about how the playing side of Everton has been ran for years.

I'm sure this is Brands job, he's been here a full two years now, but I suppose there hasn't been much stability during this period, and the more I think about last season's transfer window, the less I see a very clear plan.

Buying players young and with a resale value makes loads of sense, but this wasn't what Marco Silva needed last summer, and Brands badly failed him by not bringing in a defender with pace.

If he had, Holgate would have probably left, and Holgate has been one of our few decent performers this season. The team needs stability now, and also a clear path to move forwards.

What was the difference replacing McCarthy with Delph? Some of the recruitment doesn't really add up, but I suppose it's hard when you've been left an enormous amount of deadwood!

Paul Tran
275 Posted 02/08/2020 at 14:29:11
Yes Darren, he would. And perhaps that's why he keeps picking Davies & Gordon and was comfortable blooding Branthwaite?
Jerome Shields
276 Posted 02/08/2020 at 14:30:41
Darren #263,

Like Tony I am shocked that the players turned on Ancelotti. I also think that Ancelotti let them take a roasting in the second half of that game, he even sat down during it.

In my opinion, there is a fair bit of resistance to Ancelotti's changes at Finch Farm, but I am surprised that there would be a challenge to him so early in his tenure.

I often believe that any previous Manager who struggled was helped on his way. Some of the performances – especially in the last match – did not put into practice what they had previously displayed, as Ancelotti's inspired coaching.

It will be interesting how they react to no 'long holidays', on top of earlier 'No winter breaks'. The fact that players felt they could express such an opinion, you would think, would derive from support within Finch Farm.

Tony Abrahams
277 Posted 02/08/2020 at 14:35:04
The irony is, Paul, that I used to think along the same lines...

And then along came an actor, with his lies.

Danny O’Neill
278 Posted 02/08/2020 at 14:39:29
Darren, now you're talking to the Army veteran in me!! Totally what you say!

We have a value called "Moral Courage". It meant that you didn't have to blindly follow something if you felt it wasn't right.

It shouldn't be confused with disobeying orders. It is the British Army's way of allowing a voice; the ability to challenge the chain of command. Without going deep, it is to limit occurrences of immoral things happening just because a senior tells you to do it.

But, to your point, once you've said your piece, if the General acknowledges, but ignores, you will have your perceived moral justice but "turn to the right" as we say and "crack on" with said instructions. You don't simply ignore because you don't like it. Discipline & professionalism, right?

Paul, that's a pretty telling thought. Acknowledging & appreciating the counter view on Ancelotti, maybe now we have someone of high standing in the modern game as Manager, he can have more influence moving forward than his predecessors.

Tony Abrahams
279 Posted 02/08/2020 at 14:47:20
Fourteen FA Cups Arsenal have now won, and Everton have been in 3 or 4 semi-finals in the last 25 years. The gap got hugh, and I'd say only players who have had it very easy, could come out and blame the tactics.

If I was Duncan Ferguson, I would have instantly said to Ancelotti, it's my fault boss. I only had them for four games and they were on their knees because I demanded they work their bollocks off.

Now you've had them for another four games, and they are blaming the tactics that we have both decided to use, simply because too many of them have got no desire to improve.

Ive heard the players are moaning saying Ancellotti rarely coaches them, but didn't the same players moan because Silva was coaching them too much!!

Danny O’Neill
280 Posted 02/08/2020 at 14:54:34
I think it is Brands's job, Tony. If he gets this right (and yes, he needs the backing, stability and platform to do so), then implementing the correct system can, within reason, make it almost irrelevant who is appointed head coach. I say 'within reason', because clearly it needs to be someone who is capable of delivering.

My theory here, is that if you implement a top-to-bottom system and culture throughout a club; managers can come and go with minimal disruption that it traditionally causes in the English game. Chelsea are a good modern example of this, as are Man City.

Let's not forget, both those clubs progressively improved on the Manager/Head Coach. Man City transitioned from Mark Hughes to Pep with serial winners, Mancini and Pellegrini, in-between. Both arguably past their sell-by-date, but both won a Premier League title. That's arguably because the system was being put in place in the background, regardless of who the manager was. Take note Moshiri and stop listening to Bill!!

That said, I do appreciate Darren's previous point about different models working for different clubs and no one model will be the same, but plenty of lessons and examples out there.

Patrick McFarlane
281 Posted 02/08/2020 at 14:59:16
Some fans are calling those who renewed their season tickets 'lemmings' who follow without thought; some players don't appear to trust their colleagues; some of the players don't appear to trust the management and staff; the management isn't able to trust some of the players to follow their instructions. Some fans don't trust the owner, the chairman, the manager, or the players.

Does the manager trust Brands? Do the directors trust each other? Does the owner care?

It would seem that this apparent lack of trust between nearly every facet of the club from the board down to us, the fans, is undermining everything.

If all of this is what is actually happening at the club, we are in for another tumultuous season and it could see the club falling out of the Premier League.

I trust that somebody somewhere within the club will take action if any or all of the above is remotely true.

Graham Hammond
282 Posted 02/08/2020 at 15:04:07
Gordon Lee must be acknowledged and appreciated for at least blooding some good young players who went on to flourish under Howard Kendall and win trophies for the club, namely, Graeme Sharp, Kevin Ratcliffe and Kevin Richardson. There was also Steve McMahon too, who was a tremendous player the club should have done much more to keep at Goodison.

Lee made mistakes and Paul Lodge and Gary Megson were amongst them but he did also oversee the progression in Gary Stevens which Kendall again benefitted from. Lee was robbed of an FA Cup Final appearance, we were all shafted on that one.

Paul Tran
283 Posted 02/08/2020 at 15:05:22
Tony, these players clearly don't have mirrors in their houses.

In my line of work, when I ask people about their performance, a common reply is to criticise the management. Probably more common for underachieving, highly-strung sportsmen.

If what you've heard is true, then it's interesting who has spoken out about how Carlo has improved them (Calvert-Lewin, Davies), or in terms of the right attitude (Coleman). I suspect we all know who the moaners will be.

I'm hoping Carlo is like Jack Palance in City Slickers, looks Delph & Sigurdsson et al in the eyes and quietly says "I've crapped bigger than you" before taking care of them.

Tony Abrahams
284 Posted 02/08/2020 at 15:05:23
I think the only club were it has really worked, Danny, is under Ferguson at Manchester United. I don't ever see other clubs having a conveyor belt of talent slowly rising to its first team, and think this is a massively difficult thing to do in England.

Wenger had great kids, but his best players kept leaving because they wanted success, which always kept leaving them a little bit short, and it was Brands who said money can make you lazy, in a possible indication of the route him and Everton wanted to go down.

After last summer's recruitment, hopefully he's learned how physically competitive English football really is, and buying for the future only works once you've already got a good team.

Trevor Peers
285 Posted 02/08/2020 at 15:22:31
The best players and performers we have had since Moyes left the club are Lukaku, Barry, Jagielka, Baines, Coleman, Howard and Holgate who we paid ٠ million for. None of these were exclusively brought through our youth system. It's a myth that we have produced even six reliable and consistent first-teamers from our youth system since Moyes left.

Davies, Calvert-Lewin and Gordon are still in the 'might become' Premier League players category – if they can make a huge improvement – and it's a big 'if'; they haven't done enough yet to become regulars.

Last season was exceptionally bad, they got their chance but none looked outstandingly talented. Would any of the top six buy them? Not a chance.

Kieran Kinsella
286 Posted 02/08/2020 at 15:27:10
Tony Abrahams,

Moyes made them run too much, Martinez did too much ball work, Koeman was too complicated with instructions, Sam used too many KPI charts, Marco trained too much, Archie Knox was too nasty, Mike Walker was in his sunbed too much...

The only concern with Carlo is the Munich players said his training was at the level of 8-year-olds. That said, do they actually need training in the art of kicking the ball in a forward direction? That seems to be the main issue. Surely you kick the ball in a similar manner, regardless of direction, but maybe Carlo needs to constantly demonstrate that on the training field.

Another point though: apparently Wenger never oversaw training, he had coaches do it and he did the team talks. Not every manager is a hands-on tracksuit.

Paul Tran
287 Posted 02/08/2020 at 15:27:43
Tony, remember that those Man Utd kids were grafted onto a title-winning team with seasoned top professionals that could cover their mistakes. Beyond Coleman and Baines, who have our youngsters got?

That's Carlo's first job. Seasoned players with nous that stabilise the team and the youngsters can learn from.

Danny O’Neill
288 Posted 02/08/2020 at 15:52:35
I was thinking more in terms of the right playing and coaching structure being in place, Tony, than bringing the kids through. But your point on Ferguson's Man Utd kids in that respect is on the money.

I think you and Paul touch on a similar thing in firstly, build a good side, which will take time. Then introducing better players, be they from the academy or expensive signings, becomes a progressive improvement exercise. Ferguson took 7 years to win his first title, gradually putting together a decent side and then improving it and that was all before the "fledglings" made their real impact, as I recall.

Good point, Kieran, some coaches will give direction and delegate; others are hands on.

Carlo has been here months. I'll wait and see how he does when he makes his changes, both structurally and with the playing staff. Too early to judge for me personally.

Tony Abrahams
289 Posted 02/08/2020 at 15:54:20
If Brands hasn't learned that after last summer, then Darren is right: there is no point in having Carlo Ancellotti.

This summer should begin to tell us quite a bit, Paul.

Robert Tressell
290 Posted 02/08/2020 at 15:54:33
Tony, I agree its a difficult thing to do. And you're right we haven't seen much of it in the UK. In fact, I can't recall anyone other than Martinez attempting to do it that way. However, the main barrier for me is the ability to spend money on cheap imports and the annual sack race. It stops proper planning.

Chelsea, after many years of trying, now have an excellent youth system. Man City are getting there. Man Utd are returning to that approach after losing their sense of identity for a spell. Investing in youth (academy and recruitment) is our way to catch up – but it won't be quick.

Danny O’Neill
291 Posted 02/08/2020 at 15:57:20
Your earlier point @279 speaks volumes, Tony. The common denominator is the players! Data analysts point to patterns. When a regular pattern emerges, it is often an indicator of the root cause of a problem or indicators of success!!
Steve Brown
292 Posted 02/08/2020 at 15:57:22
After a long series of exchanges that started with unfairly criticising David Unsworth and the Academy set up, we reach the real cause of the terrible performances under Koeman, Silva and now Ancelotti:

The disgraceful lack of professionalism, dire standards and terrible attitudes of senior players have contaminated the club for several seasons – Mirallas, Williams, Schneiderlin, Sigurdsson and Delph have set an awful example to our young players. Often, the young players have been carrying all the responsibilities for the team while senior pros hid.

Tom Davies is a great example of this – he may not be the most talented but he always shows for the ball, always tries to make a progressive pass and never hides. I would be happy to sign Allan to have an experienced senior player in the team, as Paul Tran says, to act as a role model for the youngster.

Danny O’Neill
293 Posted 02/08/2020 at 15:59:52
Haha. To the editors, go easy on me. I just tried to edit my last comment and managed to flag it. I think I've just reported myself!!
Brent Stephens
294 Posted 02/08/2020 at 16:02:47
Danny, haha. If you were a manager, would you pull yourself off at a game?
Mike Gaynes
295 Posted 02/08/2020 at 16:11:15
Guilty conscience comes through in strange ways, doesn't it, Danny?
Danny O’Neill
296 Posted 02/08/2020 at 16:22:11
Funnily enough Brent, as a player-coach, I once had too. I had an absolute stinker. Gave away a penalty, at fault for another goal and poor tactical decisions!! Gave myself the hook at half time!!!

I like to think of it as being self critical Mike, but yes!!!

Brent Stephens
297 Posted 02/08/2020 at 16:30:01
Danny, nice story. What an honest man. Though I still can't shake off this image of you pulling yourself off at a game! So public.
Danny O’Neill
298 Posted 02/08/2020 at 16:38:40
I see what you've done there Brent. I'll get my coat!!
Patrick McFarlane
299 Posted 02/08/2020 at 16:38:46
That reminds me of the Rodney Marsh story when he first arrived at Maine Road he was trying fancy tricks and shooting from everywhere to impress the Man City fans.

Tony Book apparently grew tired of this and warned Marsh that if he continued in the same vein "he'd pull him off at half-time."

Marsh replied as quick as a flash "Wow, we only got oranges and a cup of tea at QPR!"

Brent Stephens
300 Posted 02/08/2020 at 16:41:10
Danny, not a dirty old Mac, I hope.
Tony Abrahams
301 Posted 02/08/2020 at 17:55:44
The Echo is talking about Everton's transfer plans, with a preference for a right-winger who can use his left-foot, bloody hilarious!
Danny O’Neill
302 Posted 02/08/2020 at 18:00:36
I just wonder if Darren's contact is on to something, Tony. I try not to pay too much attention to the media rumours as there is so much lazy journalism out there.

I only said to my son this morning, why would we be looking at nearly 㿀M for a left-back, unless there was something going on with Digne?

But Darren's reference to a young French player being on his way out and us being linked to a Real Madrid left-back yesterday now make interesting reading if I'm putting 2 and 2 together to make 5!

Kieran Kinsella
303 Posted 02/08/2020 at 18:18:30
Tony, most of the current squad play as if they've two left feet!
Paul Tran
304 Posted 02/08/2020 at 18:24:02
I wouldn't worry about transfer rumours in the press. It's all guesswork. Everyone knows we need reinforcements, so we're being linked with anyone who has a pulse. I know it's a bit boring, but when they're wearing the shirt, etc, etc.
Jerome Shields
305 Posted 02/08/2020 at 19:31:51
Danny #302,

The French player was probably Schneiderlin, the other player is not necessarily French.

Mike Gaynes
306 Posted 02/08/2020 at 19:40:38
Brent and Danny, both your coats are waiting.
Tony Abrahams
307 Posted 02/08/2020 at 19:59:08
I hope not, Danny, because I think Digne has been our best player since he signed, although there are times when he could have been rested, which would have helped both himself and Baines.

I might have a few days away from everything because it's boring reading about all the players we are supposed to be signing – except for that Echo report, which has finally given us a few more clues!

Danny O’Neill
308 Posted 02/08/2020 at 20:12:22
Likewise Tony and imagine him surrounded by better players with a better midfield. I do try to ignore it all.

Hasn't Schneiderlin already moved on, Jerome?

Andy Crooks
309 Posted 02/08/2020 at 20:54:05
Who are the ten most cowardly players ever to wear the shirt. Check out our current squad. Some of them are hiding there.
Jerome Shields
310 Posted 02/08/2020 at 23:21:08
Danny, yes probably for a reason.

I hope Digne stays; I can't see him cheeking Ancelotti.

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