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Sign O’ The Times


Jagielka, Goodison

What was that like?

In probably the most patronising day in the recent history of Everton we suffered a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Leicester City. I don’t care if they’re champions, they’re guff and we should have beat them.
Ok not beat them maybe, but at least tried. Is that too much Everton?

The guard of honour thing is daft, like the handshake before the game, it’s unnecessary ceremony and there was little Everton getting their head patted as pretty bridesmaids for the day. The world’s TV cameras were on Everton and to further belittle us the team put out an insipid display where Leicester won at utter ease. Everton looked like the team with the title wrapped up and who’d been on it all week rather than the other way round.

It’s clear that changes need to made and has been for some time now, I hope we rush towards that moment soon as the bit inbetween is painful to watch.

Evertonians don’t like a team that fail to show up, or in local terms: shithouses. I can’t mind read footballers but it looks very much like a team that’s not putting itself out there for the manager.

Folly to speculate on this but if that’s the case then we need to address some wider issues than just the manager and coaching staff in the summer. There’s a whole host of players who are being made into millionaires on the back of playing for Everton. If they find that Everton’s ambitions don’t match their own then seriously, fuck them. If they find that being paid in a week what most of the paying fans do in a week is not enough to make them compete at the best of their cardio and will then again, fuck them.

This isn’t a deflection from the Manager issue, I presume that will get dealt with sooner rather than later but the whole package being served up right now is pathetic, and all of them have culpability rather than just the figurehead.

We’re in a dangerous era now and it’s a sign o’ the times where pretty much all the power is with the players as they know their financial value to the club is a lot more than the Manager. The player power thing reduces the effect of a hard disciplinarian being able to generate success, take for instance a Catterick figure. The players would down tools and agitate until the club is forced into a change.

I hope we’re not seeing something like that from the players now. That won’t wash at Everton.

Not that it’s a unique situation. Remember the back end of the 03/04 season when flip flops were out in March? Moyes at a later date referenced having to adapt his management style although I’m not sure if it was directly related to this particular era.

Martinez won’t have the grace of time to adapt his approach as it seems a chronic situation with a crowdswell too difficult to win back, it’s been two years in the making so limited sympathy there.

Not too far ago I wrote about this talented young team that had serious potential and been given the environment to reach that. I’m thinking I was wrong and that I’ve overhyped them as much as maybe their own Manager has. Do you see Lukaku as a player looking to stay beyond this summer? This is how it is and we are going to have to deal with it like all our competitors but it goes back to that earlier point of someone earning tens of thousands off the club a week too distracted or unmotivated to put a shift in. It condescends those struggling in normal working jobs saving up to afford the match and a pint on the weekend.

So perhaps it is revolution and not evolution that is needed. I’m not sweating it too much as we seem to have owners now to facilitate the change needed, even if I doubt they have the money needed to move us to levels that we aspire to.

In many ways maybe this period will be a blessing as it’s given a mandate for the wider change needed to make Everton competitive again. There can be little sentimentality over a Manager that had Kenwright gushing over him a matter of weeks ago.

There’s a few things demanded at Everton and effort is one of them. While the Manager position will rightfully be a priority, the players shouldn’t be forgotten too easy when it comes to decide who’s staying along for the ride.

Hopefully somewhere in the midst of it all we will find an Everton team with genuine guts that will energise the crowd through action and intent, and no small smattering of skill. Imagine that? Or even one of them snapping every ligament of Jamie Vardy’s very rat like being. That’s something to aim towards, in the near future hopefully.

In the meantime the lap of appreciation next week is going to be fun.

The post Sign O’ The Times appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

Why there is a demand for change and the reasons to be optimistic for the future



Looking at Everton at present, on a day by day basis is rather like the tumultuous final days of a fading and failing empire.

Without the arrival of Mr Moshiri, the situation would be extremely bleak, yet although our benefactor has arrived he is yet to stamp his complete authority on the situation nor yet chosen to deliver any detail to the comforting words when he first spoke.

As a result there’s increasing discontent with the existing hierarchy on and off the pitch demanding change on and off the pitch. The timing of all this change is absolutely critical.

I was struck by Dr David France’s comments about football “relevancy”, and I realised he articulated the fear we all have felt, growing as the years have gone by, that we, Everton, have become increasingly irrelevant to the outside footballing world. Dangerously this has occurred when the pace of change within football is increasing at an ever greater rate – so the best resourced teams (money, players and managers) move away from the second tier at an ever increasing rate. Projecting that forward into an unknown but likely to be changed footballing landscape, and there’s a likelihood we’ll be outside the gates, let alone inside and influencing that change.

This is where the demand for change comes from. It’s not driven from an entitlement culture at all, goodness knows the city of Liverpool has just demonstrated in the clearest terms our true qualities of fairness and justice, but also determination and the desire to win against the odds.

Change has to occur both on the pitch and off the pitch.

Let’s start off the pitch and look at the areas where change is required – in the boardroom and at senior executive levels. The board needs to be replaced with ambitious business people capable of articulating and delivering an objective for the club in line with our club motto “Only the best is good enough”.
It means recruiting the best people, at board level, at executive level, and further down the ranks It means injecting new ideas and a new culture of ambition, delivery and success within the club. It has to grasp the size of the opportunity in front of it, and critically understand and appreciate the value of the asset (in footballing terms) it holds. We are a unique footballing asset – one of the most historic sporting institutions in the world that’s not only had success on the playing pitch, but over history has influenced and shaped the game like no other club side. Furthermore we are one of the few clubs left in football that is truly embedded in its local community, adding identity and purpose as well as community assistance to the local environment.

All of this needs preserving, but also needs to be utilised in taking the club forward. We can use our historic status in the game to improve our relevancy in the future, but only through having the strategy and most importantly the right people to deliver that. This must be a key priority.

Commercially, and there are no surprises here, we under-perform so badly, and once more can only be changed by implementing the right strategies, having the right people implement them, and putting the resources into them. I’m sure Mr Moshiri needs no lessons from me on this score.

Similarly the stadium issue requires resolution, but that’s a long term project which eventually (perhaps in 12-18 months) will be determined and delivered. However again the right people have to run the project and deliver in terms of vision and final product on budget and within the designated time set.

Ultimately, despite the desire for a world class stadium and seamless commercial offerings from the club, we’re Evertonians because we want to see football played in the “Everton” style, we want to be competitive, and we want to win our share of trophies including the greatest prize of all, the League, or the Premier League as it now is. As Neville Southall said at the weekend, we need to start every season aiming to win the League – how long is it since (i) that’s been our objective and (ii) there’s been a realistic chance of it happening? Perhaps with Leicester’s success those chances will increase.

Of course, the biggest issue on the pitch is the management situation. Let’s get it straight – Martinez will not only be released from the club at the season end because of the last two seasons, he will be released because he’s not of the calibre to take this club to where we want to be, and where our ambitions lie. Continuation of his tenure would only extend the wasted opportunity, resulting this summer in the breaking up of a promising squad with genuine talent and prospects, the inability to attract leading talent despite the resources being available for the first time in a generation, more deterioration in our competitive position relative to our peers, and the prospects of another season of the soulless, shapeless, incomprehensible playing style of the last few months.

I have no doubt that Mr Moshiri is aware of this, and is currently planning and seeking a replacement. Our hope, and I believe this is accurate, is that we are starting at the top of the managerial talent ladder with the genuine prospect of recruiting one of these candidates.

Once the management and coaching team is resolved then the recruitment and retainment process can really start. I’m not going to speculate on who we might bring in, there’s many more people better qualified than me to do so, nevertheless the expectation is extremely high. The hope is we bring players who not only have the talents to bring us success, but also buy into the club, and the nature of the project, the opportunities, and the rewards before them.

Is this a blindly optimistic piece of writing at a time when the club seems anything but? Well, it’s optimistic for sure, but it’s also build on the understanding that serious businessmen do not buy into clubs without having an ambition and an understanding of the necessary changes and resources required to make the ambition a reality.

To conclude I’m struck by one thing – throughout our history, when Everton have resources and talent available to us we taste success. We’ve now got the resources, we need to bring in the talent on and off the pitch, and yes we’ll taste success once more, not just a fleeting glimpse as in the past, but success built on a sustainable platform, building further success for the future.

This season is a right off, discard it, forget about those who have not delivered for us in the past and look forward to our future.

Nil Satis Nisi Optimum

The post Why there is a demand for change and the reasons to be optimistic for the future appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

Protests at Goodison Park



Evertonians have remained in Goodison Park after the game in protest towards the manager.

Protests at Goodison Park. Hope stewards are on overtime. 20 mins after whistle and PA turned up to drown out chants

— Carl Markham (@carlmarkham) April 30, 2016

Martinez out

— Shaun smith (@shaunsmigger) April 30, 2016

Martinez out

— Shaun smith (@shaunsmigger) April 30, 2016

Still here

— Mark Ellis (@Markthablue) April 30, 2016

We're still going here #MartinezOut

— Mark Ellis (@Markthablue) April 30, 2016

The post Protests at Goodison Park appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

Howard to start final two home fixtures



Tim Howard will start the final two home games of Everton’s season as the Club celebrates his outstanding contribution over the past 10 years.

Martinez: “In our last two home games of the season we will be able to honour and acknowledge the outstanding contribution and unforgettable role that Tim Howard has made to our football club in the last 10 seasons.

“Tim will be joining Colorado Rapids at the end of the season but his legacy will live on for many years in the work that he’s done not just on the pitch but in helping young players to understand just what it means and what it takes to be an Everton player. We wish him well and he’ll be a true blue ambassador wherever he is.”

The post Howard to start final two home fixtures appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

Everton v Bournemouth Preview



So, flip flops on?

Or you pure fuming? Or a mixture of the two maybe? Or apathy even.

Whatever is your chosen approach to this weekend’s game it’s going ahead and it’s very likely to be presided over by Roberto Martinez, only the 18th man that’s ever existed to call himself the full time Everton manager.


For such a meaningless game there’s the promise of thrills and spills as apparently tennis balls are in the equation, or white handkerchiefs. And a plane too, which is sound as we usually win when protest planes occupy the airspace over L4.

Seriously though, if you’re considering the handkerchiefs then you really need to switch the foreign footie off, shave off your beard and take a long good luck in the mirror. You’d rightfully get ripped to shreds in the pub if you told your mate you took a hankie to a footie match to wave it about as though you’re some disgruntled Spaniard.

What you playing at? Take a step back from the footie for a moment and consider you’re maybe a little too carried away.

Banners are sound though. And boos. They’ve been shifting under performing Everton managers long term. And we have one of them at present.

First one to hit the plane with a tennis ball takes the grand prize though.

It’s them sort of times.


Normally at this point I’d take a look back at the previous game with a hopefully on-the-pulse-synopsis catching the general reaction and mood regarding it. But the bunch of shithouses dropped the spoils in injury time, again, so no doubt you’ve chewed over it enough.

Onwards Evertonians. To a meaningless game against Bournemouth, unless you’re fighting to save your job that is.

So what can we expect about Bournemouth? An organised team devoid of many big names who are disciplined, well drilled and play for their manager. Their manager also happens to be an Evertonian in Eddie Howe. He’s been pitched in the mix to be the 19th man to manage Everton full time but I find all the new manager speculation tedious, as it turns into a massive X-Factor off with too many teds invested in who they truly believe is the best man for the job. If it happens it’s best to wait and see, and give them some time to implement their ideas and ethos – like three seasons perhaps – and then take it from there and decide what to do next.

Has it been said that Eddie Howe looks like an Ewok pin up yet? Apologies if so.


Bournemouth were wrote off by so many this season and when they cruelly lost so many key players to injury it was almost a forgone conclusion in October that they would be sent packing back down.

So it’s with credit that they’ve shown a good amount of resolve and churned out some pretty consistent results playing incisive football which can be pleasing on the eye. Well in Bournemouth, you’ve placed both Villa and Newcastle in the relegation mire because of this so that’s a service to football you’re doing right there. Put Norwich on that list too, if ever a Rugby League crowd of beauts existed in football then that’s them.

I really don’t know too much about Bournemouth fans to offer any cruel stereotypes on them, the few I’ve met have been sound enough, I get the impression they’re like southern wools. I suppose life is all round easier when you have a nice beach on the doorstep and favourable summer weather. I wonder if they’re free from stolen XR2is doing reverse Js and doughnuts on their beach as you’d sometimes find on Formby in 1989? Or knobheads shouting “it’s ok he’s harmless” as some form of possibly banned devil dog rags over to you barking with acidic saliva thrashing from it’s jaws? Dogs need banning off beaches, as anyone who’s stood in dogturd in bare feet will testify. Seriously, size of them jellyfish though.


They’ve got nothing to fear much so I expect them to come at either a weak willed Everton team, or maybe an Everton team that’s trying it’s damndest to get it’s manager jibbed. Maybe a little from both. You decide dear reader.

The Goodison crowd currently is more hostile to it’s own than the opposition and they will know it.

Are you arsed about who they will play against us? Me neither, we should beat them but probably won’t. I’ll swerve the customary player list.

As for whoever will play for us, you can probably guess it.

Lukaku up front who’s been off the boil for a matter of time now, he missed a few good chances at Wembley but is still one of our finest strikers in a long time, even if his shins were made of rubber for the semi final. He’ll probably leave us and we’ll probably lament another missed chance to build something good at Everton, but with the game being how it is now there’ll be more of that.


For a lad so talented and with a build that would have Purple Aki courting him round town, Ross Barkley seemingly is a bit vulnerable when it comes to mindset. No sweat as he’s still a young lid but I hope we get an environment soon where he realises that he’s got loads more than pretty much most sharing the pitch with him.

Out wide we are struggling with a whole host of wingers, and some not wingers, and not one of them in any sort of form. Martinez’s system relies on this width and pace (usually only on the right side) so it’s absence compounds the team’s troubles further. Remember when Deulofeu terrified teams? Mirallas too? I don’t get the persistence with playing central players on that left wing either. It’s not yielded us much in three years. I weep inside for the loss of an ace Steven Pienaar out there. I bet Baines does too.

Midfield will be Barry and McCarthy, you know this as much as turning up at your Grandparent’s house on a Friday and asking what’s for tea. It’s fish you tit.


Jagielka seems to have played through that pain barrier the pundits talk about and goosed whatever ligament was holding up. So we’ve got ourselves some Stones and someone else until Funes Mori returns. I’d give a young lad like Pennington a go. I’d be inclined give a few more young lads a go as it may generate some interest and a bit of anticipation of the future. Can’t be arsed checking if Coleman is fit so someone will play there, Besic tried to cope admirably but that United front three ripped him and his jarg sleeve tattoo right apart. Such are the pressures of top flight football. Baines will probably be left back and Robles will be in goal.

Difficult to write previews in such times. There’s an air of unrest all over the show and it’s a shame as that Everton thing fills a big void in your weekend and when it’s going sound it contributes to many day dreams during the week, which helps pass the tedium of an average working week.

If last week was an audition then Everton completely shithoused it. That’s not an isolated incident but it gets a bit boring after a while and that’s what showing. In particular a young generation of fans growing up watching Everton spew it time and time again has created restlessness as they’ve found their voice. The advent of Moshiri and his apparent wealth to the picture takes away limitations in the minds of many. I’m Everton honed sceptical so I’ll wait and see, others don’t want to wait much longer as years tick by without any sort of recordable success for our honours list. I get that unrest like.


All these insults and demonising though? There’s no doubt Everton need to do better and here’s hoping there’s a plan in place to make that happen soon. If you’re reading this and splashing spittle at the screen including the words “Catalan clown” “El Fraudo” (you give Benidorm a bad name you ted) or assorted other cringey insults then splash some cold water on your face and focus on the results and performance instead. The statistics are sufficiently damning. That’s what will get him jibbed off, not man-virgins into wrestling over enthusiastically characterising an Everton manager as an evil heel.

On the flip side it’s quite possible to be a nice man and at the same time tell the Bayern Munich manager where to go when your team are rough-housing them out of a European final. That stuff resonates with us. Shithousery is seldom tolerated within the confines of Goodison and I reckon it’s been a part of why we’ve spent so many seasons in the highest league English football can offer. All we’re seeing is shithousing right now. Manager, players, all associated. It needs to be eradicated and soon.

But I’m rambling now and chatting wham. I’ve also talked too much about Everton and Martinez disappointing me than I intended.

The end of season may sanctuary for many. I’d much rather be somewhere warm and without football to ponder. With my flip flops on.

The post Everton v Bournemouth Preview appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

Martinez – Judge me on three seasons, not three months



Roberto Martinez has urged Everton’s board and supporters to judge him on his three seasons at the club, rather than the last three months.

Martinez: “It shouldn’t be scrutiny of the last three months but instead the last three seasons. It’s a scrutiny of the squad we have put together and scrutiny of how we play against the top teams.”


“The message is we are all hurting together. I understand their passion and they make us what we are as a club. Football without passion makes no sense.

“But I’d say to those fans only when you get through those difficult experiences and moments do you get a renewed drive to fight.”

Asked about the prospect of a board meeting being called to discuss his future, Martinez said: “I understand it completely. I never felt being Everton manager is a manager to be judged in an average position.

“I encourage huge expectations. As a club, we have to drive for silverware and top four and when you aren’t there the scrutiny needs to be there”.

The post Martinez – Judge me on three seasons, not three months appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

‘Martinez is perfect for Everton’


Joel Robles

Joel Robles reckons Roberto Martinez is a top manager and ‘perfect’ for Everton.

He told the Echo: “His job as manager is not easy but, for me, yes, Roberto Martinez is important”

“He’s intelligent and, for this club, he is perfect. He is a top manager.

“It’s normal that when you lose (people say) that the manager and players are bad, but I don’t think so. We are a young team and we can be a top team. The staff are top and the most important thing now is to focus on the next game and take it step by step.”

The post ‘Martinez is perfect for Everton’ appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

No Martinez Regrets


Sylvain Distin

Sylvain Distin has no regrets on how he handled the reported fall out between him and Roberto Martinez.

Distin: “That’s between me and him.

“I’ve never been the type of guy to go and speak about my situation to anyone and I dealt with it the way I had to and I have no regrets.”

The 38-year-old former Everton defender also offered comment on Everton’s defence, responding to the comment that during Martinez’s first season in charge at Everton, the Blues conceded just 39 Premier League and kept 15 clean sheets – of which Distin started in 14.

“Well I don’t know if it’s since I left, it could be a coincidence!” Distin said.

“We’ll never find out, all I know is when I was there we had a really good defensive record that was not just down to me but down to the lads around me, like Jags, Bainsey, Seamus, Hibbo [Tony Hibbert], Tim Howard – the team.

“It wasn’t down to one player. I am in the generation of defenders that don’t like conceding goals and take pride in our defensive record but football is changing and you have to deal with it.”

On the increasing calls for Martinez to be sacked, Distin reckons the pressure he and Everton players are facing is “normal”.

“It’s down to results I guess – if the results aren’t as good as his first season I don’t think people would complain.

“But the second season wasn’t good. There was a lot of change and expectation this season and the results weren’t good.

“We’ll see at some point the manager and the players get under pressure it’s completely normal.”

The post No Martinez Regrets appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

Martin O’Neill’s Everton ‘Hope’


Seamus Coleman

Martin O’Neill has admitted he hopes Everton ‘go easy and not rush’ Seamus Coleman back from injury ahead of Euro 2016.

Coleman limped off with a hamstring problem in Everton’s Premier League clash against Southampton two weeks ago and hasn’t played since and his International manager reckons Everton don’t have much to play and hopes he’s not rushed back.

O’Neill: “Seamus’ injury will hopefully clear up in time and maybe with Everton being knocked out of the FA Cup … I hate to use these words but with very little to play for until the end of the season they might go easy and not rush him back. Of course that’s my hope rather than expectation”

With Everton set to play Leicester, Spurs fans will no doubt disagree with Martin O’Neill. As will fans of clubs battling relegation with Everton to face Sunderland and Norwich.

The post Martin O’Neill’s Everton ‘Hope’ appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

Gray: Martinez Has Failed



Andy Gray reckons Roberto Martinez has failed to bring out the best in the talent his side ‘clearly’ has.

Gray: “Everyone keeps telling me that this is the best group of players they have had since my day in the eighties when Everton were winning things.

“Well, let me tell you, if that’s true and if they have got the talent – which for me they clearly have – then it’s up to the coach to bring out the best in them and get them playing in a way that brings success and he has failed to do that.

“They have won only four home league games this season and with this group of players that is just not good enough. I think he has lost John Stones because of the way he has treated him this season and maybe one or two other players.”

WATCH: Jags tells Barkley ‘They weren’t booing you’


Phil Jagielka

Footage has emerged from the Wembley tunnel at half time of Phil Jagielka reassuring Ross Barkley that the booing from the crowd wasn’t directed at him.

Jagielka: “Rosco, they weren’t booing you, ok?”

Baines can also be heard bemoaning “it’s a massive pitch and we’re making it bigger”

Jagielka to Barkley yesterday "Rosco, they weren't booing you". Head up lad @RBarkley20

— Everton Pictures (@evertonfcpics) April 24, 2016

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