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Everton vs Leicester – FA Cup

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1995-FA-Cup-final

Well blues….

Christmas is over, most of us are back to work, the traffic is obscene again with the kids back at school, yet some utter weirdos still have their 4 Christmas trees up, their insanely bright and infuriating flashing lights on 24/7 like it’s Christmas Eve. Anyways enough of that rubbish, it’s FA Cup 3rd Round Weekend!

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I love the FA Cup personally and don’t quite get all the lack of respect and apathy the dear old trophy gets these days. Last year we went to Wembley. But not for the one that really matters. Some might say that was a successful achievement, but don’t for one minute let them off with it. This club needs silverware, this club needs a trophy. And what better way to end this horrendous drought, and replace the utter despondency that came with Anthony Martial’s heartbreaking late winner, than with (two) victorious trips back to North London this spring.

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First things first……

This Saturday we start our quest to finally end our trophy hoodoo with the visit of the current champions. With that normally comes the trepidation and pessimism that a visit of the reigning champions tends to bring. However that’s not really the case this time is it?

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Leicester’s form has been at best patchy, and to be honest they look a shadow of the side that humbled us around 8 months ago, in doing so, planting one of the final nails into Roberto Martinez’s coffin. These come into the game in a lowly 15 position, a full 28 points of the top this year, and in no way safe from relegation. This begs the question as to what sort of starting line up the tinkerman will put out?

Chances are these are likely to make a number of changes and rotate their main men with bigger fish to fry domestically and once the Champions League resumes. Jamie Vardy however is likely to return the side following his unfortunate passing over Christmas….. sorry I mean suspension for a somewhat over zealous challenge. Their new signing Wilfred Ndidi, already being likened to Kante, is in line to make his debut in the centre of the park. Whatever side this lot put out should however put little fear into our bellies. This is no team to be afraid of, and quite frankly their arrogance has become a little annoying.

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Onto the Blues. 10 from our last 5 over the festive period has helped settled nerves (including my own bedwetting tendencies) and things are looking a bit more rosy in the garden. We go into the game in a bit of form, and with Goodison looking a little bit more like the fortress we all need it to become once again.

We also go into this with the psychological boost from our boxing day encounter in which we piped down the Bocelli loving, mask waving scruffs with an enjoyable 2-0 win at their gaff. Once we settled in the second half, we looked like we had enough to dispose of them, and thankfully we did. The 3 at the back utilised in that game largely nullified their aerial threat through Slimani and Ulloa and we were relatively comfortable. Here’s hoping for something similar.

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Oh Gana….. What will we ever do without you?

Well we’re gonna find out starting with this on Saturday. Koeman has promised to go as strong with his team selection as he can. And I certainly hope that he does indeed do that.

We are short in the centre of the park with the temporary departure of our African prince but thankfully we have a pretender to the throne in the form of our long haired, low socked, Thomas Davies. You’d expect Tom to partner the more experienced Gareth Barry for this one in the continued absence of James Mccarthy.

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At the back, you’d expect the same back 4 that played on Monday with Joel ”keeps clean sheets” Robles between the Sticks. In attack, well you’d expect Monday’s game changer Enner Valencia to support Lukaku in attack with probably Kevin Mirallas on the other flank. Ross was looking much more like the Ross Barkley we all want to see last week too, and hopefully this is sign that Koeman has finally got the penny to drop for him. In the absence of further signings, and with a number of injuries this is probably the best side we can put out, and youngsters will have to be ready to be blooded from the bench.

Everton are going into this as favourites and I even feel myself starting to feel slight tinges of optimism. Please, please, please blues…. don’t let this end the way it usually does. Let’s get the campaign and route to Wembley off and running in style and finally end what has been too long. I was a small 18 months old when we last won a trophy.

I and a generation of blues have been starved of success for far too long. But surely this is where it’s all going to change? We have the new owner. We have talk of a new stadium. We have a top manager. We may not have the desired quality in our playing squad. But these are times to be optimistic. These are times to puff our chest out and be proud of the club we follow.

It’s time Everton. It’s time for a pot. Into these…..

WE’RE ON THE MARCH.

STATS via kickoff.co.uk

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The post Everton vs Leicester – FA Cup appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

Exclusive Interview

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Adam Partington went to Goodison on Tuesday 3rd January to interview FA Cup hero Graham Stuart for GrandOldTeam TV.

Graham answered questions from Evertonians LIVE via Facebook.

You can buy tickets for the 3rd round game against Leicester on Saturday for as little as £20 for adults and £5 for kids by clicking here: http://bit.ly/EvertonVLeicesterFACup

The post Exclusive Interview appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

Alan Myers: Next to Arrive, platform to success?

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moshiriquote

Not since the mid 1980s have Everton supporters tasted real success and by real I mean a team on the pitch that you know are going to win the game before they even kick off, it’s rare that those teams come along but they do from time to time.

The 80s however was a time before big money ownership and the Premier League, which changed the landscape of football and the criteria to achieve Dominance. Having vast amounts of money does not always bring success, we’ve seen many instances of that and on the odd occasion the opposite but generally it’s pretty much accepted now that big finance is mandatory in order to obtain sustained success.

Make no mistake Everton remaining a Premier League club and on many occasions challenging the top six has been an achievement by many different people over the past 20 years or so given its financial situation, its a tough world in the Premier League, so in my mind credit has to be given. The club has remained a well respected and well run institution despite being at a disadvantage in financial strength compared to many others.

Whether it’s the worldwide commercial power of Manchester United or the injection of wealth into the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City, there is no doubt it has been a really tough market place to exist in but exist we have, enjoying some good times along the way albeit Joe Royle’s FA Cup win apart, a trophy-less journey. This however is not the Everton most of us older Blues know and worship.

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Now, and I cross my fingers and toes when I say this, we seem to be on the verge of a new era, one which will bring us up alongside the fast moving cash rich clubs of football’s hierarchy but at the same time I have a cautionary note that the Everton decision makers focus must be to bring back that 1980s successful side on the pitch as a priority. A new stadium and all that goes with it is, I believe, crucial to Everton’s growth and I also know that the club owners believe that, however it can only be secondary to a successful football team.

Both projects of course can run side-by-side but it is imperative that the focus on the team is constant and intense, with Farhad Moshiri, and let’s be honest his money, on board, i’m confident that this will happen. We have a manager who has the football upbringing and desire to be a success and I’m sure will be able to take full advantage of that and a supporter base which, has not and would never, let the club down.

Everton has to become competitive again not only on the pitch but off it as well, and some of the announcements made on Wednesday suggest that’s what it is starting to do. For me the “peoples club” tag has to go but the sentiment remain, we have to become globally strong and think big in everything we do but at the same time not forget our Strong principles and community spirit which made us what we are.

The most telling line from Mr Moshiri at Wednesday’s AGM for me was this “We need to win. The gold standard is the Premier League not the FA cup” that to me shows a man who is looking beyond what most of us Evertonians want and indeed have programmed ourselves to believe (to just win a trophy) and it’s that vision and ambition that impresses me about the man. Of course he now has to put his money where his mouth is and deliver, it’s the minimum for any owner of a football club but we’ve seen early signs of that, I believe he will and I also believe we have a great period ahead of us! Should Moshiri become the Owner I believe he will, then credit to all for getting the right person to takeover.

My message to Evertonians at this time is to get on board, enjoy the ride and who knows what station we may arrive at in a few years!

Alan

The post Alan Myers: Next to Arrive, platform to success? appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

Ademola Lookman Signs

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lookman

Everton have completed the signing of England U20 international Ademola Lookman from Charlton Athletic in a deal believed to be worth up to £10m.

Steve Walsh identified the England under-20 player as a target some weeks ago and Everton have moved quickly to secure the transfer of the highly rated youngster who has signed a four-and-a-half year deal

The 19-year-old, who scored his seventh goal of the season away at MK Dons on Boxing Day is in his first full season as a professional.

Charlton wanted to keep Lookman on loan for the rest of the season but Ronald Koeman, who confirmed Everton’s interest on Wednesday, is keen for him to link up with his first team squad.

The post Ademola Lookman Signs appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

Ferguson v Lukaku

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duncrom

Craig Hoyland submitted the following article. Want to write an article for GrandOldTeam? Just give us a shout here.

‘An argument started by a kopite, it has to be’ was my initial reaction. Only they possess the levels of delusion required to believe such a mad statement and then I spent 30 minutes thinking about it, or however long an episode of mafia wives drags on for.

You can’t say Big Dunc was a better player than Lukaku, you just can’t! He wasn’t a better goal scorer, he didn’t have Rom’s technical ability & the goal record speaks for itself, 72 in 273 for Ferguson & 72 in 146 for Lukaku. Then there’s the “but Rom doesn’t run enough” argument. Naismith ran a lot, was he better than Lukaku as well?

Lukaku vs West Ham

So why have I seen so many blues arguing Ferguson’s case? What is it about Lukaku that prevents them from connecting with him and appreciating the goal scoring machine that we were missing for so long in the same way they did and still do with Ferguson?

The answer is something that can’t be bought, taught or developed on a training pitch and it’s something that Ferguson still demonstrates off the pitch more than Lukaku ever has on it. It’s that Dogs of war passion, it’s that unconditional love for all things Everton.

Duncan Ferguson

Ferguson just got it, wether he was muscling Paul Ince to the ground, swinging his shirt above his head to celebrate a goal or standing over Hyppia and making sure he knew he was in for a long 90 minutes, Ferguson had the ability to infect the rest of his team mates with his do or die passion, most blues loved him for it and while you can’t doubt Lukaku’s quality, you can’t doubt his ability to score goals and you can’t doubt that at the age of 23 he will improve, you can doubt his love for the club, you can doubt his commitment to the cause at times, you can doubt his passion and his ability to inspire his team mates in the same way that Ferguson did.

Ferguson

Let’s be honest, without Rom’s goals we’d be looking over our shoulders and worrying that Sunderland have just been awarded two penalties at Beelzebub FC. He’s a quality player that would walk into most PL sides but until he shows us more passion and less of his, what appears to be at times, indifference towards us, there will always be some blues who would prefer a Ferguson esque player and, as much as I and I’m guessing a fair amount of you would disagree, prefer to sacrifice some of Rom’s goals in exchange for Fergusons heart, passion and love for Everton.

The post Ferguson v Lukaku appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

Davies keen to thrive on chance

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tom davies everton

Tom Davies believes he’ll thrive on any opportunity he gets due to the absence of Idrissa Gueye who has now departed for the African Cup of Nations.

Davies said: “Idrissa will be missed with him going away but that leaves a space for me.

“If I can get a few more opportunities and show everyone how good I can be, that is something I will thrive on doing.”

“I feel that in the few games I’ve come on in that I’ve learned a lot as well. That has been a part of my development. I feel like I’m ready now to help the team out.

“The manager has always spoken to me, as well as his assistant. They are working me really well, David Unsworth with the under-23s too.

“They have always said ‘just be patient and your chance will come’. That is what I’ve been trying to do.”

The post Davies keen to thrive on chance appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

Exclusive Interview + Chance To Win Tickets

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The FA Cup could provide salvation but will it be enough to convince Lukaku to turn down the best clubs in the world? Doubtful

? | LIVE INTERVIEW WITH GRAHAM STUART – Adam Partington will be at Goodison Park on Tuesday 3rd January to interview FA Cup hero Graham Stuart for GrandOldTeam TV at 6:30pm.

Submit your questions via our forum, Facebook page or over on Twitter and you’ll be in with a chance of winning a pair of FA Cup tickets for the match against Leicester City Football Club on Saturday.

Set a reminder of the live broadcast here.

Tickets are available for Everton’s FA Cup fixture vs Leicester, you can buy them here

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The post Exclusive Interview + Chance To Win Tickets appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

Jagielka Frustrated

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Phil Jagielka

Phil Jagielka has described Everton’s season as frustrating.

Jagielka: “Frustration is the best word you can use. We have shown so many glimpses of being a really top class side in every aspect. But then we make sloppy decisions, we have sloppy parts of the game and we keep letting ourselves down. I can understand why there is frustration out there.

“A lot of fans, a lot of people around the club are hoping and expecting this squad to be doing better and more consistent for 90 minutes. It is something we have got to sort out. The manager wants to get a couple more players in the squad and change things around”

The post Jagielka Frustrated appeared first on GrandOldTeam.

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