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Nominate GrandOldTeam

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Awards

It’s that time of year again…

We’re looking for our readers to kindly nominate us for an award in the Football Blogging Awards.

In 2014, we were incredibly proud to have represented Everton and to have won ‘Best Football Forum’ and we’re hoping to do the same again this year – but this time in a new category, “Best Social Football Account”.

If you think we’re worthy, we’d be very appreciative of your nomination for “Best Social Football Account”. You can vote for us via the form below (You do not need to vote in every category);

… and on Twitter by clicking here and tweeting I am voting in @TheFBAs for @GrandOldTeam as the Best #Social Football Account

Voting in the nominations round ends on September 26th and finalists will be released on October 5th when we’ll again come cap in hand, for your vote.

Thank you.

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“I won’t fight with Everton”

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Romelu Lukaku

Romelu Lukaku has been speaking to Belgium media. Thanks to @JaritTaelman for translating the interview for us;

“I won’t make a fight with them. Everything happens for a reason. I don’t speak to the English press, why should I talk now then?” he asks at first, reluctantly. After a bit of convincing, Lukaku talks about his turbulent transfer summer.

Everton sold Stones for a lot of money, but you had to stay. How did you experience the summer?

“Err…different (laughing). I knew a few clubs were interested, but it was clear very fast that Everton didn’t want to let me go. The most important thing for me was to stay calm and that’s what I did. I didn’t want any conflict so I told myself: I’ll do my best and see what happens in the future.”

Everton wants to give you a much better contract. Are you going to sign that?

“You have to ask that to Mino” (Raiola, his agent)

You can’t decide that yourself?

“Of course, but I tell Mino how I feel about it and then we make a decision that’s best for me. Football isn’t about money, I want trophies. But if I would be in a situation that I want to leave but the club doesn’t let me go, then I’m not the kind of guy to skip training, getting fines or using a negative attitude. I try to stay calm and treat the club with respect. I hope they also treat me with respect and I can leave through the big gate”

(Leaving through the big gate is a saying in dutch, it’s about leaving through the front door instead of leaving with the tail between the legs)

Everton isn’t playing european football for the second year in a row. Isn’t that painful for an ambitious guy like yourself?

“Yeah of course. But everything happens for a reason. Instead I would’ve joined Juventus instead of Everton. I chose Everton because I didn’t feel I was ready for Italy. I think I did a good job at Everton. Now we have a different trainer and it’s different than under Mr Martinez. I think I can also make steps forward under Koeman. Maybe that’ll be the last step and then I’ll be able to look further”

The post “I won’t fight with Everton” appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

Moshiri statement to Jim White thought to be true

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kenwrightmoshiri

Evertonians were left a little confused yesterday with Farhad Moshiri’s reported explanation of the club’s deadline day business.

A statement was posted on Twitter by Sky Sports presenter Jim White, however many fans insisted the comments had not come from the Iranian billionaire. The post came just a couple of days after the Sky Sports News Twitter account posted a video in which White said he had received text messages from Moshiri.

The Liverpool Echo understand the statement was given to the presenter by Farhad Moshiri himself.

In the statement Everton’s majority investor suggested the club chose not to pursue a deal for Moussa Sissoko because they wanted to ensure James McCarthy’s place at Goodison Park.

The Blues had a £30m offer for Sissoko accepted by Newcastle United before Wednesday night’s transfer window closed only for the French international eventually opting to join Tottenham Hotspur.

The statement read: “Sissoko is a great player. But when I bought into Everton, I made it clear I was proud to join a family. And we don’t turn our backs on our own. Keeping James McCarthy was a priority and ultimately we could not proceed with a deal that would jeopardise his place at Everton. We wish Sissoko the best.”

McCarthy was subject to transfer rumours linking the Scotsman to Celtic, Newcastle United, Sunderland, Leicester City and Crystal Palace. Everton boss Ronald Koeman though has insisted on a few occasions that the Republic of Ireland midfielder was not for sale.

The post Moshiri statement to Jim White thought to be true appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

Poor execution leads to failed delivery – Everton’s transfer window

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everton-fc-chief-executive-robert-elstone-and-chairman-bill-kenwright-581830804

The over-riding feeling of this transfer window is frustration that we’ve again failed to take full advantage of an opportunity presented to us given our new major shareholder, new manager and Director of Football. It’s clear our recruitment process failed us and as a result we will find it more difficult to advance at the pace we the fans, and I’m sure Moshiri and Koeman had hoped.

I want to give some thought as to why the window has turned out the way it has.

Anyone who has successfully sold products or services, or anyone who has successfully recruited people at the highest levels knows that the most difficult part of the task is usually getting the initial interest. It’s getting that first communication compelling enough to engage the customer or target. That’s why companies spend billions each year on promoting their brand, so that when the opportunity comes along to present the brand to a customer or target there’s as high an engagement rate as possible. Why? Because once you have the engagement, assuming your product or proposition makes sense the rest in my experience is, on a relative basis, much easier.

Now what’s the above got to do with Everton?

We operate in a highly competitive environment and we’re clearly not a premium brand in our own right in the modern game. There are plenty of positives of course, our Premier League status, our fan base, our manager and some of our previous recruitment successes with our players and current squad. There are also negatives – we’re not consistently in Europe, we’ve not won a trophy in 21 years, and we’re some way off being able to guarantee levels of performance and success that attract the very best players.

In examining what we achieved in the transfer window, it seems to me at least that we got the initial pitch correct. We were able to engage our targets and their agents early on in the process of them becoming potential Everton players. The range of players we were linked with suggests that getting through the door to speak to a Witsel, Mata, Carvalho, Brahimi etc was not overly problematic.

The real issue was how and why none of these prospects and several later in the window, even though of lower stature in the game, could not be closed and become Everton players?

For some it was money – Witsel for example where ultimately we pulled out, others Carvalho as an example, listened to the pitch but was not convinced. However many, particularly later on in the window got down to final negotiations, and this is where the problem seems to lie, particularly with overseas players – ultimately we did not have the skills and experience to see the deals across the line.

So what’s to be done about it? Moshiri and Ryazantsev proved their abilities in attracting talent by bringing Koeman and Walsh to the club, and certainly in keeping Lukaku at the club through their meetings with Raiola. Kenwright and Elstone, well what can be said?

Something very badly went wrong in terms of preparation, negotiations and ability to close. I doubt Moshiri with all his experience will allow a similar situation in January. Was he wrong to entrust this element of the task to his Chairman and CEO as the window progressed? Where Moshiri went wrong was in my opinion, not remaining fully briefed on the progress, or lack of, and any issues that were arising. Perhaps towards the end of the window he became more aware of this, particularly with his comment on the state of the transfer window. However the truth is outside of Kenwright and Elstone he had few alternatives to turn to inside the club or board.

Where does it leave us? In organisational terms we need to be able to execute deals efficiently, and in a timely manner with a proper process. I’m not concerned about identification of targets, Walsh and Koeman are perfectly adept at this, Walsh in particular, nor about our initial approach. I am concerned though at Board level we do not have the right people to see us meet our objectives and that’s where the change has to come – something that won’t be lost on Moshiri.

There was considerable talk early in the summer about the prospects of David Dein being introduced into the club. Additionally the BP CFO, Dr Brian Gilvary has been heavily associated with a non-executive position on the board. Neither of these have come to fruition yet, perhaps the timing will coincide with the next phase of Moshiri’s acquisition when he exercises his options agreement with Kenwright, Woods and Abercrombie. I can only hope so.

I’ve read the local media talking about the successes of the window, adopting a balanced approach that we’ve done OK because we’re stronger now than we were at the end of last season. Well frankly that’s not good enough. We have to judge the window on the opportunity that was presented to us and how we failed to take anything like full advantage of that. Had we done so, especially given the start to the season on the pitch, we would have been in a great position to move forward. Sadly we haven’t, and again we’ve allowed our competitors to strengthen at a greater pace than we ourselves have done.

You can’t catch up if you’re still running slower than your competition, and because of the organisational and personnel issues in this window that’s exactly what has happened. We need a football man experienced at the very highest levels of the game in the Chair to run negotiations and a truly world class CEO to execute the deals as they are agreed. Sadly we had neither, and for a while at least our progress on the pitch will be much more difficult because of it.

The post Poor execution leads to failed delivery – Everton’s transfer window appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

Learning To Fly

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Everton fans 1984

Hey there and welcome to September.

As we round the fancy cladding of Goodison it’s been a symbolic summer for Everton with everything that’s gone on. New owner, new manager, apparent new riches to compete with.

Exciting times for many.Speaking of exciting times, how you feeling out there? WOO! It was some ride, right? Transfer #deadlineday, a day so good it has it’s own hashtag. And texans with lad bible beards who take an actual day off work to “enjoy” it.

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Sky wanted to get their drama and over a couple of days they got it. Entree was texts from Moshiri and the main course was the sumptuous patting on the head of little ol’ Everton. Unlucky there. Unless of course it’s all contrived to keep viewing figures maximised from the aforementioned pool of FIFA Ultimate Team playing virgins hooked on the smack produce of Murdoch. Or even if Moshiri was texting Jim White after all?That’s not the issue, it’s the sideshow and drama that the media likes to generate, like they always have.

We’ve a hired manager with a name who raised our profile and is proficient at punching above his weight. That’s the playing side hopefully taken care of, but obtaining those players to move up a level or two when you don’t have European football is a bit harder – as we apparently found out. Will Koeman, with a face like a pained asthmatic triathlete, be happy with what was delivered to his squad?

One must resist the temptation to read too much into media chat but it will be interesting nonetheless. He’s got form for getting frustrated with lack of ambition, that’s you that Southampton, you cruise ship bothering sea mutants.

[IMG]Player recruitment or – as the old people like to put it – signing new players is no longer the domain of the manager. It’s big business now as demonstrated when we went to the English champions and paid them millions for another human who is good at spotting good humans before someone else does.So what is the crux of this? How did it turn out for Everton?We have a better team than we started which is a popular KPI of Martinez’s, a KPI you’d guess he set himself after his lazy line manager give him his appraisal and told him to write it himself and he’d sign it off.The squad improvements aren’t however what was expected to be able to kick on and move a few levels up in the league, an anticipated symbol of our new found wealth, in a league/competitive market full of wealth.

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Stekelenburg replaced Howard, Ashley Williams replaced John Stones, Idrissa Gueye seems to have relegated James McCarthy to the bench and Bolasie will do so to the likes of Lennon, Deulofeu or Mirallas over the course of a season. We crucially managed to keep hold of Lukaku. This Everton team will concede less goals and score more than the Everton of the last season or two and that should gain a few more league places.

The problem is managing expectations and these expectations have been pumped by the club since Moshiri took over, perhaps predictably when you market “nothing will be the same again” trying to flog – very successfully – thirty two thousand season tickets.

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Let’s look at some of those expectations with quotes from the summer (courtesy of GOT himself):

Before signing Bolasie;

Koeman: “We will do business for three or four more players. I don’t comment on rumours [but] we have had discussions with the board and with Steve Walsh, and we want three or four more players.”

After signing Bolasie, Koeman said;

He said: “We always look at players [that will make us] have a stronger squad. That’s one of our jobs to do – to improve the team.

“If we don’t think we have that type of player in the squad, then we will sign that player.

“What we need in the team, we will bring in.”

Moshiri, after signing Bolasie:

“We are very pleased about today’s signing but remain anxious to further strengthen the squad.”

“The chairman is relentlessly pushing things forward with my total support for him, Steve Walsh and Ronald Koeman”.

On Friday

Koeman: “If we don’t sign any player before Wednesday then I will be a little bit disappointed,

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That’s the Everton Manager and majority shareholder being clear about what their objectives are. Do you think they achieved them? To remain objective it is a very competitive market place they’re operating in and maybe some of these targets will be carried forward to January.

Interestingly talking of January there’s been the talk of the restrictions of the the Financial Fair Play rules and that the sale of Stones would benefit us to splurge transfer fees and increased wages. The problem being that this Stones money is applicable in the financial year only, so that may hint at a busy January window. Not the ideal window to be highlighting specific targets and trying to lure them away from their current club. Although you may save a few transfer fees on Bosmans if you’ve got your wits about you.

There’s many more facets to being successful at football than purchasing players and formations. That’s for computer game and app simulations and it’s bred a whole generation of quilts who have sleeve tattoos telling their life story despite being 22 and still living at home with mum.

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Better staff do many a difference when you want to improve in a competitive market place, including recruiting talent from your competitors to both benefit you and hamper your your competition. The likes of Bolasie and Williams may hint at this.

Have Everton done enough to move up where they want to be this season though? We will find out in good time, but a negative net spend and players jibbing us for other clubs seems like a missed opportunity for a team sat in fourth after a good start, and hoping to kick on.

We are left with some weaknesses in the team, notably up front where heaven forbid Lukaku’s goal drought continues or he picks up an injury for a period of time. That would leave Kone, Valencia and an out of position Deulofeu and Mirallas up front. In a league of unforgiving expensive defences there’s a feeling that would not be enough for progression. Scoring goals is a key attribute the better teams in the division have, it shouldn’t be left to chance.

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Targets were identified – although anyone outside of the board would be unlikely to have true accuracy on this – and seemingly one by one squirmed away or used to gain a better wage or offer from a competitor. If there’s a proficiency review of our transfer window then you wouldn’t be expected anything from an eight out of ten or above.

The very fact that you’re rummaging about on transfer deadline day is a sign that your summer recruitment hasn’t gone to plan, it prevents time to efficiently bed in new players with the team in pre season training and also creates a strain on the manager who will be hounded for in depth analysis of it every time he faces the media. Some of the quotes Koeman said above didn’t quite materialise and you can bet your bottom guilder than he will be asked more questions about this before we play Sunderland.

Moshiri has came in and from the snippets you find out from inside the club – I’m not staking a claim for ITK mantle here before you crucify me – it’s mostly positive and how there’s a definite air of professionalism and demand for results or else, this of course extending from Koeman himself who has carte blanche to make the changes he wants to achieve their shared aim of making Everton successful again.

It’s going to be interesting to see if he uses his press conference to put pressure on above as he’s adept on doing to those below, that will be be indicative of the true feeling around the club.

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So with the dust settled the day after the transfer window closes no doubt there will be a review of it’s success versus the objectives set at the beginning of the summer, like any business will operate.

There’s certainly room for development and maybe with the appointment of Steve Walsh the club see itself looking for value in their purchases rather than going out and getting obvious names, or maybe the impact of Steve Walsh will be felt in initial fringe players who are anticipated to develop over and above their worth and make an impact on the team.

I’m using too many maybes when trying to decipher a transfer window but you never really know do you? Unless you’re a fly on the wall, or Jim White’s graft phone, or Moshiri himself.

Where we are is subjective depending on the Evertonian you’re speaking to. You may have logged online today and recoiled at a positive assessment of the summer transfers, or a negative one, or even fumed at those being impassive towards such an important thing, in your view of course. There’s validity in all angles if the truth be told.

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Maybe the cladding of Goodison that I started with really is the perfect metaphor for how I feel we are at the moment after all. We’re a mid table team aspiring for something better, like a waterside stadium. Reality bites in the interim, and until we do get there (if indeed we get there) then we need to make the most of what we got.

I believe that’s over to you Mr Koeman.

The post Learning To Fly appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

Everton 1-0 Stoke

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This afternoon we took on Stoke. To save me typing, here’s the team;

Firstly, thoughts go out to the fan in the Park End who took ill and required the services of medics.

Quite a slow start to this one, but once we finally woke up, midway in the first half, Ashley Williams had a header cleared off the line.

Following this, Everton turned the pressure on Stoke, and it was pressure that was kept up until half time, at which point the game was still tied at 0-0.

The first half had Kevin Mirallas looking like a totally different player from the one that stagnated like a puddle under a week old bin bag in the back yard during our three year Martinez sentence.

Should’ve been 3-0 up at this point.

On to the second half, Everton initially appeared to keep the pressure on with Barkley going close. A couple of moments later and, shock, horror, penalty to Everton! Baines stepped up to take and put us 1-0 up although it was not the clearest cut penalty as it went in off Given but they all count. Stoke hit the bar soon after.

Everton’s first substitution comes on 68′ with Kone replacing Mirallas. A bit of action from Stoke, then Funes Mori on for Barkley. With five minutes to go, Tom Davies replaces Bolasie and Barry gets a yellow card.

Everton win the game by one goal, but I he the feeling RoKoe will want to see us seeing games off better than this. But good play for large parts from the blues.

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Everton v Stoke City Preview

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Mick Ferguson Stoke

Three league games in before the most ill timed interruption there is. The international break, except only for those with an unhealthy obsession for Brext, UKIP, the Daily Mail and at least one St George’s flag tattoo.

Ultimately you know the outcome of English shitting their pants when it comes to the crunch, but to be fair that doesn’t stop us Evertoning for most weekends. Apologies for the ghastly verb I made up there.

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We’ve two games had since we last corresponded and by that I mean since you probably never had any awareness of this samey preview in the big void of the internet, or mistakenly clicked on a link by GrandOldTeam, or maybe just scrolled through the old photos. The Yeovil game was not even out of first gear with a few changes but thankfully not Moyes third round of the cup type changes, as we’re still in it. There was also a pleasing comeback win over West Brom where, if hidden misplaced symbolism is your thing, Koeman really announced himself to Everton with a sub after 35 minutes, changing the system and winning the three points.

Which lines us up at home against Stoke this weekend and it’s going a bit more pleasant than you probably expected – what with the lack of signings and 70% fitness things. However, Everton being Everton are masters of a spanner in the work and weekend ruining experts so we’ll keep any optimism toned down until a later date.

What about Stoke then? Well they are what they are and a very much established team in the Premier League, one which finished above us. You knew that, and a little later on I’ll cast some unkind stereotyping on them as that’s what we do in the interests of faux internet partisanship.

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Stoke will be keen to put some points on the board as they have one so far from a draw away to Middlesbrough and a tonking at home courtesy of John Stones’ Man City which leaves on a run of one win the last ten in the Premier League, we can see where fate is heading for this weekend’s game.

They’re managed by an old ex player and foe of ours in Mark Hughes, with hair like a weekend break Scottish sky, who will receive no big love at Goodison on the back of looking down his nose at us when buying Joleon Lescott seven years ago. Clearly Guardiola learned his lesson when recently making a similar transaction for our valued English centre back.

This corresponding fixture last season was peak Martinez with Stoke taking a fantastic three points in a 4-3 away win. Head’s started truly rolling in earnest concluding in Martinez’s exit towards the end of the season. It’s a bit too early in his successor’s reign to be using this as a marker for perceived improvement, but same that same token we’d enjoying giving them a stern goosing in the interests getting this latest attempt at Everton success.

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Stoke suffer a lot of stereotypes in both their football and people, many of which are unfair. They were symbolic of long ball and physical football under Pulis but under Hughes he’s added no small amount of skill and craft, resulting in a canny team that can beat you a number of ways.

The people of Stoke have also suffered from being from a smaller city and the locals being a tad “organic”. By organic I mean grown up without pesticides in muck and grime, and acknowledged only by cords wearing weirdos. It’s not uncommon to have a weekly arm wrestling night in the local pub, to tie up your Staffordshire Bull Terrier outside, drink a pint of Chinese and dodge dogshit like a drunken game of Frogger on the way home through cold streets.

That said we have to take things in context and when you put them alongside the other folk of Premier League clubs they’re preferable to most, they have a working class local parochial support, a keen appreciation of history and traditions and many of them eschew the ladbible/soccer AM/talksport brand of gobshitery that is currently terminally infecting the top of the English game. Another preview where I struggle to truly tear into the opposition for which I apologise, I kind of like them.[IMG]

Stoke knows what Stoke is and is comfortable with it. Stoke doesn’t try to be something other than Stoke. Stoke is around the sphincter of England in Birmingham and for all intents and purposes Stoke are the hemorrhoids of England, but manageable grade 1 piles that don’t protrude and can be managed by not straining too much in the gym and a steadfast anal cleanliness policy. Go on, pop a finger up there and feel some Stoke whilst remembering whilst an inconvenience that Stoke could be much worse.

For those of you under 30 reading this and struggling to empathise with the weak analogy I urge you to bookmark this to read in ten years’ time so you “get it”. Because you will.

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So, what did they vote in Brexit? Well you can guess from the following recipe:

Predominantly white working class populus/general below average education levels/smaller urban area with not much tourism or people passing through/Sky News being the prime educator for the happenings outside of Stoke/high % of female adults displaying gaudy tattoos.

If that was a recipe for a cake then it would come out tasting a little of xenophobia and ignorance. 58.8% Brexit it was. It’s no sweat as the European Union didn’t even know what Stoke was.

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OK, a list of some of their players who may or may not play in this game:

Arnautovic – the Bavarian Bolasie who played Everton interest rather sweetly to get a payrise, well in.

Shaqiri – poster boy of the Shire, Cottee’s leg double, who has mad skillz and is a doubt for this game.

Joe Allen – like a Cabbage Patch Pirlo, he’ll stroll around deep in midfield and collect pleasing Opta stats.

Walters – always pleasing to see someone from Birkenhead achieve success without selling heroin or via realityTV.

Glenn Johnson – remember how much Liverpool paid him a week and they all tried to pretend it was value?

Butland – ace young keeper who Barkley should tap up in England a-la-Stones-Hart but is a doubt for the game.

That’s your Stoke. Let’s talk Everton.

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Big RoKoe with his shoot from the hip talking and face like a late summer harvest moon over rural Netherlands is going about changing stuff hopefully for the better and stop us being shithouses when it comes to getting results.

The presence of a larger male up front will be required and with tremendous timing it may just be the Kone you wasn’t expecting to make a stake for a place in the team. With Lukaku being a bit working his way to fitness, if not then the Deulofeu project which seems a bit doomed to fail.

I have slight anxiety that Koeman won’t get Deulofeu which would be a shame as there’s a match winner in there, albeit with the fitness levels of a latter day Anichebe. Mirallas seems to be keen though and that’s no bad thing as we may have forgot that there’s a cracking player in there on his day.

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Stoke have a weakness at full back so this is the type of game you’d hope Bolasie may have some sort of impact from wide, whether that will be from the bench or from the start will be Koeman’s shout.

The most heartening bonus so far has been Gueye in midfield, not only for his interceptions but for the way he always looks to turn and move the ball forward through an effective pass or no shortage of skill and speed. The role of a defensive midfielder has been prone to change in times of late as you couldn’t get away with a Dog Of War in there as they’d be a liability in this no contact age, so the likes of Gueye can do a good job with timing and smart distribution. Early days yet but a paragraph to himself shows my optimism.

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Barry has been fantastic and with no European distractions this season may be one of our key players. There’s a few options in the middle of the park that will be interesting to see try to develop. Not sure with the defence but I think it will be a four rather and five, and the height they have on set pieces and from wide may see Funes Mori retain a place despite looking somewhat scary in moments of key defending. Jagielka or Williams alongside him, or maybe even both together.

You could hear Williams shouting instructions from the other side of the pitch against Yeovil, we’ve needed some of this arbitrary attribute. Coleman is out still so there’ll be more Holgate who’s this year’s Galloway at full back. Baines on the left and the Dutch lad in goal who’s done well enough so far to have many not wanting the long time England goalkeeper to swoop in this week, some achievement.

Nothing more to be said really, right into these blues.

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[OPINION] Defender, Leader, Captain… Goalkeeper? – Phil Jagielka.

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Phil Jagielka

This week, we take a look at our stalwart, Phil Jagielka.

Jags was never destined to become Everton’s defensive leader, some might argue he still isn’t, but either way, nobody can deny that he is one of the greatest English defenders of his generation.

However, things shouldn’t have panned out the way they did for the Manchester-born England international…

Pace to burn.
‘I’ve never seen anyone run away from him’.

Leighton Baines’ words dumbfounded many a Premier League fan during the 14/15 season…

Phil Jagielka was never a Centre half in his youth. He was playing for his schools’ teams deployed at Right wing and was playing against kids much older than him. He was always gifted, and that could be why he ended up at three very high-profile academies: Everton, Stoke City and Manchester City. The academies continued to see his pace as one of his defining features, and he continued on his career as a Right winger.

Today however, his pace goes largely unrecognised by the Premier League, but he continues to showcase his quick feet when he is called upon. This came to a head as he was proven to be the Premier League’s fastest player in the 14/15 season, which prompted Leighton Baines to jump to his Captain’s side as he said that Jagielka was ‘Never interested in plaudits’.

If you’re good enough, you’re old enough.

Jags joined Sheffield Wednesday’s squad at just 15 years old in 1998, and made his debut at the tender age of 17- whilst still on an academic contract with the club- in the last game of the 1999-2000 season in the First Division.

After a successful debut and few months with the club, he was handed his first professional contract which ran from January 2001 for three years, and in this time, his abilities were showcased in the First Division.

He started to attract the attention of many Premier League clubs around this time, as Leeds United were linked with a £6m double move for Jagielka and his Sheffield teammate Michael Brown, but the move never materialised in the end, as manager at the time Neil Warnock said that the club would reject any approaches for the pair.

So, Leeds’ loss was Everton’s gain in the long run, as the defensive stalwart would go on to join the blues in 2007, but one more notable situation surfaced mid way through the 2006-07 season, Sheffield United’s first season back in the Premier League.

Phil Jagielka. Utility Man.
”I have always been half-decent in goal!”

On a bleak and blustery December afternoon at Bramall Lane during the 2006-07 season, few were expecting a largely struggling Sheffield United to pull off a shock against Arsenal; and even fewer were expecting a clean sheet for the Blades, but Arsenal were held at bay in the most extraordinary circumstances.

First-choice keeper Paddy Kenny suffered an injury early in the second half, and since the League rules at the time meant teams were only permitted 5 subs on the bench, and Neil Warnock had not selected a goalkeeper.

This meant that Phil Jagielka was forced to play a bit further back than usual, and he played his first game in goal in what would become quite an odd trait for the England International.

After a superb late save from the Centre Half turned ‘Keeper, United held on and upset high-flying Arsenal, and Jagielka turned in a MOTM performance.

On to pastures new.
“I think he will definitely go”

Paddy Kenny publicly said that he believed it was time for Jagielka to move on after United were relegated in their first season back in the top flight since 1994. And move on he did, as a £4m transfer went through on 4th July 2007, where he signed for Moyes’ Everton. Jagielka’s run of 133 consecutive games for Sheffield United was only halted by his transfer to Everton, and his consistency has been noted by many.

Jagielka struggled to adapt at first in his new team, but kicked on midway through the 2007-08 season where he put in 3 outstanding performances against Spurs, Europa League opposition SK Brann, and Manchester City. He became a mainstay in Everton’s first team, as Everton finally found their partner to Joseph Yobo and a consistent Centre Half, something which eluded Moyes in his early Everton years.

Potential achieved, but success elusive.
“Football can be cruel at times,”

Phil Jagielka has been ever-present in all three Everton iterations while he’s been here. He was a stalwart in Moyes’ time, and saw himself called up to Fabio Capello’s England squad at the peak of his ability. However, his international career was halted in the cruellest of fashions as he suffered knee ligament injuries in early 2009. He subsequently missed over half of the 2009/10 season, to his dismay.

Moyes’ words rang true as Everton were dealt a cruel hand and the Blues suffered tremendously in the early 2010/11 season, missing their leader at the back after the horrific injury.

From Sheffield’s Right Winger, to Everton’s Centre Half Captain.
”the time has come for me to grow up”

After David Moyes took over at Manchester United, club captain Phil Neville went with him to join his coaching staff, leaving Everton without a manager and Captain.

We’re not here to discuss Roberto Martinez-thankfully- so, onto Everton’s new captain. Step forward, Phil Jagielka.
Jagielka admitted that he needed to mature as a player after being given the Everton captaincy, and he most certainly did. Following a blistering 13/14 campaign, he had no idea of the defensive hell he would have to endure for the next two years. Being the only beacon of hope in the 14/15 season, he picked up all of the club’s End of Season awards, but the individual success was never what Jagielka was about. He is Everton, through and through, only the club matters to him.

Old dog, new tricks?
“He was a fantastic player and he’s proving to be a fantastic coach,”

In the summer of 2016, one of the greatest centre-backs of all time was to be appointed manager of Everton, as Ronald Koeman made the trip up north from Southampton. Now, after two seasons of defensive insecurity, Jagielka finally has a guide to follow. There is no doubting that Koeman can teach Jagielka – even in the twilight days of his career- and will progress him even further as a player.

So, it’s Jags’ time to show us why he was named Captain in the first place, to be the voice of security and authority for the club. Especially as we tread into uncertain waters, with a new horizon approaching for the Mersey Millionaires.
It’s time for Jags to lead by example, on and off the pitch.

It’s time for him to evolve again as a player, and truly reach his potential.

The post [OPINION] Defender, Leader, Captain… Goalkeeper? – Phil Jagielka. appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

Koeman on Lukaku’s future

by

Romelu Lukaku

Ronald Koeman has confirmed reports that Romelu Lukaku has informed him of his desire to remain at Everton.

Koeman: “He [Lukaku] told me yesterday that he made the decision by himself to stay for at least one more season. It’s great news for everybody”

Koeman also admitted a possibility that Lukaku could be set to receive a new contract.

'@RonaldKoeman confirms @RomeluLukaku9 has told him he wishes to stay at Everton.

— Everton (@Everton) August 20, 2016

'@ronaldkoeman on @RomeluLukaku9: "He told me yesterday that he made the decision by himself to stay for at least one more season." #EFC

— Everton (@Everton) August 20, 2016

'@ronaldkoeman on @RomeluLukaku9: "It's great news for everybody." Asked could it mean a new contract? "That's possible." #EFC

— Everton (@Everton) August 20, 2016

The post Koeman on Lukaku’s future appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

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