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Go away, Roberto
Was hoping I’d wake up here in the States this morning to see that Martinez had been sacked. There is absolutely zero reason for Bill Kenwright to persist with him at the helm, FA Cup semi-final or not. I mean really. If by some miracle we win on Saturday, does that mean Martinez saves his job? Dear Lord. Who is running the show at Everton Football Club and why is Roberto Martinez still our manager.
TX Bill (you thought Wednesday night was bad, wait till Saturday) EFC
Can I just clarify something?
When Roberto Martinez walked in to Bill Kenwright’s office and stated he can take Everton into the Champion’s League, did Bill mishear him?
Did he actually say ‘I can take Everton into the Championship’? 5th in Year One, 11th in Year 2 and now conceivably, and more than likely, 13/14th in Year 3.
We gift chances to the opposition all the time. Some games we get lucky and they miss the majority, some games they don’t. If you can’t defend crosses, don’t let people cross the ball. If your centre halves split and both centre midfielders drop in then there is no one in the middle of the park to pass to, so you go out wide, the opposition press and you give the ball away. It’s like Groundhog Day!!!!
I think the most worrying for me as an Everton fan is the fact that the same mistakes are being made over and over again. Nobody seems to learn from their errors. John Stones’s defending is as poor now as it was twelve months ago. Ross Barkley’s decision making is as poor as it was twelve months ago. Other players seemed to have not only stalled but regressed.
Part of me hopes we lose on Saturday, just to make sure this pretence that Martinez is one of the country’s young superstar coaches gets put to bed.
And that is a terrible thing to say.
Sir Alf Ramsey, EFC
I remember during the Moyesiah’s reign at United, some Everton fans on here were quick to point and laugh at how badly we were doing and about how they had upgraded. I wonder if they still feel the same. I suppose a few stats are in order. Sure why not. Obv these include this season which isn’t over yet, but using current league info to compare Martinez and Moyes at Everton:
Ave GF – Moyes = 50; Martinez = 54
Ave GA – Moyes = 43; Martinez = 45
Ave Points – Moyes = 57; Martinez = 53
Ave league position – Moyes = 7.5; Martinez 9.
Ave Money spent (net) – Moyes £1.5m; Martinez £16m.
Even if Everton win their remaining games their average points under Martinez will only match Moyes’.
I quite like Everton, or at least don’t have any beef with them, so this isn’t meant to be an inflammatory mail. Genuinely interested to know if they still view bobby as an upgrade or in hindsight could Moyes have built something if backed with the same money that bobby spent.
Garey Vance, MUFC
More Merseyside thoughts
Very entertaining derby last night, for the most part. It’s interesting, given all the navel gazing that Everton are doing right now, that they were probably the better team for the first fifteen minutes. Lukaku, Barkley and Mirallas in particular caused Liverpool a lot of problems. However, as Dan Storey mentioned in Winners and Losers, much of this was predicated on ball carrying. It’s no surprise that Everton failed to sustain their momentum.
It wasn’t long after this that Lukaku began to look increasingly isolated. Only Barkley got anywhere near him, and even then, there appeared to be a lack of understanding between the two. I know Everton have their injury problems, but I’m inclined to agree with the contributor this morning who said that Everton aren’t as good as everyone thinks. There seems to be a feeling that Martinez should at least be worrying the top six with the players at his disposal. I’m sorry, but I just don’t see it. They have one player who would justifiably command a starting berth in a top level team – Lukaku. Much of the rest of their squad is comprised of players who were deemed surplus to requirements at that level, such as Barry, and arguably Lennon; players who were just below that level but have since declined due to age – Baines, Jagielka, Howard; and players who could be at that level, but they need to shake out some issues – Barkley and Stones. Then there are a few players who have been at Everton for a while, such as Mirallas, McCarthy and Coleman. They get linked with top teams, but for whatever reason, it doesn’t happen.
In that situation, it is necessary to make the team greater than the sum of its parts, and Martinez doesn’t help in many ways, with his unbalanced tactics and lassez faire attitude to defending, but he’s not doing quite as badly as many make out, in my book. Still, it looked like his team stopped trying after the red card last night, which is pretty damning.
I’d also like to pick up on a point in Winners and Losers. That there is no escape for Barkley. I think he needs a different manager to develop, and it looks like he might well get one at Everton. However, if he does want a move, Dortmund, Ajax, PSV, Napoli, Roma, Valencia, Sevilla, any French club that isn’t PSG, one of the ‘big three’ in Portugal. These are all viable options for him if he values development above pay packet and anyone is stupid enough to pay the transfer fee, which makes it unlikely, I admit. Champions League football (I know not all the above are in the CL) and a different approach could be excellent for him.
Finally, just to reiterate how funny it was to see Klopp laughing at Lucas’ shot late in the game. Also, there is something wonderful about seeing a Brazilian shoot like that, then to see him laughing and mouthing ‘I’m f****d’ to his team-mates.
As a Liverpool fan, I can hardly remember a derby that was so one sided. 4-0, and it should have been much more, the fact that Robles was man of the match says everything.
Could this have been worse for Everton…picking a strong team, players getting injured/suspended, faking illness, beating the club badge after getting sent off, and getting tonked 4-0 by your fiercest rivals.
I fear for them versus United. But I guess it may be a blessing if they get another hiding as that will force RM to be sacked.
Shiraz (I almost felt sorry for the Everton fans, but didn’t) Johannesburg
Ronaldo – De Gea – Rashford
I think we Manchester United supporters were absolutely blessed when Ronaldo first joined us and, I must say, he stayed one season more than I thought he would. And I think the same is going to apply to De Gea. I think we all know he is going to Real Madrid next season so I think it is now time to just enjoy his last performances and to recognise that he has improved from a wonderful, raw talent, into possibly the best goalie in the world. (And, if he’s not now, he will be in a year or two).
In his first season, he was always criticised for not being able to take high crosses. Heck he couldn’t even punch the ball out with any sort of accuracy or authority. But look at him now. He is wonderful. And I dare any of you to tell me of any goalkeeper who has better reactions. There are some other wonderful goalies out there but there is nobody who has the reactions of this man. And, dare I say it again, that I was the Mailboxer who first spotted this youngster and recognised his talent and hoped that United were tracking him.
And, next thing, he was playing for United.
And so we move on from one ‘superstar’ to another. De Gea will move on and United will be left with Rashford. He’s a hell of a player with all the skills and people will queue up to see him.
Next season will tell us all about Rashford, I think, but he seems to have it all. He’s very quick, has clever feet , he’s physical and he has a smart footballing brain.
OK, De Gea might leave but I think United may well have another star in the making.
Leave Wilfried alone
What an utterly strange inclusion to have Wilfried Zaha in the ‘Losers’ section today. I didn’t go to the game last night, presumably neither did F365, but by all accounts he actually played quite well and was pretty much our only threat. The complete lethargy and ineffectiveness of Sako only increased the reliance on Zaha and the guy has now completed more ‘take ons’ (127) than anyone else in Europe (Neymar is 2nd with 123).
I’m sure he will be disappointed that he didn’t make quite the impression he wanted, but not sure if that qualifies him as a loser. He was given less of a chance at United than Obertan and Bebe. The slowing down/stalling of his development that came from his time at United surely says more about how young talent is treated as a tradable commodity by larger clubs rather than a reflection of the lad himself.
I’ve seen a confident Zaha humiliate defenders and drag us to promotion and he is a player that even now I would pay to watch because I know what he is capable of, so I feel compelled to stick up for him. I just don’t see how there is merit for him to be singled out, it’s almost like he is at fault for having tried to make the step up to United, I don’t personally see that this is anything worth commenting on.
The ‘Rooney scheme’
I’ve put together a step by step guide for my latest get rich quick scheme and thought I’d share with fellow mailboxers:
Step 1. Drop deep and get on the ball
Step 2. Look up to see if Tony V is sprinting down the line
2a. If Tony V is not available play short sideways pass and go back to Step 1, otherwise continue with Step 3
Step 3. Spray long diagonal “Hollywood” ball to Tony V
Step 4. Earn plaudits and cash cheque
Initially this scheme might be a slow earner but repetition has shown to reap income of 300k + weekly.
Your welcome guys
David (Dollar dollar) Ireland
Singing Carroll’s praises
I’ve just read Nick Millers epitaph on Andy Carrol. It’s beautifully written and very witty and I’m sure you’ll have many responses to it, those in agreement and those opposed. I’m firmly in the latter group.
I think the fundamental issue with the team selection is this trend of taking 8 defenders. Is the team going to be rotated that much and if so why couldn’t one of the 8 midfielders step into a defensive role for a game? James Milner (yes, the James Milner with the most assists in 2016) could play left or right back if needed and if Drinkwater goes I’m sure he could too. Do we really need that extra left/right back when midfielders could cover? I don’t think so.
Nick seems to be against the clichéd ‘old fashioned’ simplicity of his ability but doesn’t offer any argument against his inclusion other than he might concede a few free kicks because of those dastardly foreign refs (reading between the lines on that one). Every player concedes free kicks and Andy Carrol may conceded more than most but if that’s the best you’ve got for not including him (and it is by the way), then as fun as your article was to read, that’s a pretty weak argument.
We don’t have any great crossers of the ball I admit but when the pressure is on and teams are pushing for goals corners are usually won and from those corners (if James Milner – yes, him again – can clear the first man) come goals. Nick does concede one rather important fact: Andy Carrol is rather bloody good at heading the ball into the ol’ onion bag, and Football365 often cites managers for having a lack of a plan B or C (Wenger essentially or more recently FSA). I grant you, Carrol firmly sits in the third option however, I’d rather have a plan C and take Carrol than have an extra defender who probably won’t see the light of day, wouldn’t you?
Why do people hate the Europa League?
What is it about the Europa League that people hate so much?
I read Glenn, LFC’s comment this morning about hoping Newcastle win this weekend so Liverpool can avoid the Europa League next season and my jaw dropped open. FFS Glenn, the last two rounds have seen Liverpool convincingly knock out Man Utd and then experience one of the greatest european nights at Anfield in the club’s history – what is it about that that you disliked so much that you want to avoid the competition next year?
I’ve never understood this attitude towards the competition from English media, fans and clubs. I can perhaps appreciate how a team like Pompey, Stoke, Hull or Swansea (for example – not to accuse them specifically of anything) who have a small squad less suited to mounting a serious european campaign and a successful Premiership season at the same time, might see the Europa League as an inconvenience and prioritise accordingly, but teams with aspirations on getting into the Champions League and/ or winning the Premier League title should welcome it with open arms.
The top teams play in the Champions League year after year and surely the Europa League, at the very least, exposes players (and managers) to the rigours of european football and the challenge of maintaining progress in the league and europe, as well as giving them a taste of wanting more big nights. Treating the competition seriously is surely a good idea to build confidence and knowledge for future campaigns where they hope to be challenging for the title and playing in the Champions League? Not to mention, as people here are finally starting to realise this season, there’s some bloody good teams in it and it’s really fun!
Look at a couple of Premiership team’s recent records in the Champions League – Manchester City are hardly newcomers to it, but have only this season made it past the last 16. Liverpool qualified for the first time in 5 years or so last season and fielded a second XI away to Real Madrid because they were placing priority on the league. Surely with a couple of seasons of (serious) Europa League experience behind them both sides would have been better prepared for their Champions League campaigns?
I’ve also never understood the argument of Thursday – Sunday schedule being so difficult. Is it really any different to Wednesday – Saturday or Saturday – Tuesday, as teams in the Champions League face? And don’t give me that nonsense about playing after the other teams in the league being harder – top teams often play on Sundays anyway thanks to TV demands so again, this should help battle harden those teams with serious ambitions to be the best. And as has been addressed in the mailbox this week, playing after Leicester for the past few weeks doesn’t seem to have held Spurs back much.
But regardless of any of that, surely the point of being a fan is enjoying it? Ask any Fulham or Middlesbrough fan about their run to the final in 2009-10 and 2005-06, or Liverpool fan about the 2000-01 UEFA Cup win – it’s campaigns like these and the moments they can create which matter to fans and give them those ‘I was there’ moments they’ll remember for years to come. I was there for every home game of Liverpool’s 2000-01 UEFA Cup campaign, as well as most of the FA and League Cup matches, and I still remember the feelings clearly, especially in the second leg against Roma. I went to a few league games too that year, but could’t really tell you about any of those, even though we qualified for the Champions League. My wife’s family is from Middlesbrough and I know that their UEFA Cup run stands out for them as massive source of pride and I assume Fulham fans feel the same.
Not wanting your club to qualify for a competition which can provide further excitement, as well as an extra chance of silverware, seems desperately sad to me and perhaps indicative of the modern game – prioritising the chance of big bucks in qualifying for the Champions League over everything else.
Jonny (not happy about the Champions League drop-outs being parachuted in halfway through, mind) Dance
Glenn, LFC – I was nodding along reading your mail this morning until I got to this: ‘I just hope now we can let Newcastle win so we don’t end up in the Europa League’. Really, Glenn?
Klopp’s working his socks off to make our squad believe they can be winners if they work hard and never give up, and just when the lesson starts to take hold you want them to throw games by not trying? Top logic there, you buffoon.
I also can’t believe that not seven days since a genuinely thrilling Europa League game at Anfield, clowns like you are still hoping to not be in the competition next year. Yes, we’d all rather be in the Champion’s League, but if we can’t do that (either by league position or winning this year’s Europa League) then the Europa is a very decent second option. I suppose if we do win it this year you won’t celebrate, as it’s clearly a meaningless distraction from ‘real’ football? I wonder.
Sniffing ‘not good enough for me’ at a competition that a team of the quality of Borussia Dortmund essentially tanked their last hopes of a league title for is just the height of deluded arrogance, which is a stick my non-LFC mates have been beating me with my entire life because of people like you. Go sort your thinking out.
Matt (Joe Allen is going to kill it at the Euros this year) LFC
Second < Fourth and a cup
I was thinking last night that it’s commonly accepted that Tottenham have had a brilliant campaign whilst Man United have been very disappointing. This is very true and I wouldn’t think anybody would deny this (maybe Paddy Crerand).
But this is a genuine question. If Spurs end the season finishing runners up and Man United finish 4th (or even 3rd) and win the FA cup then could it be argued that in the end Man Utd have had the more successful season? Not necessarily better but more successful.
When you break it down all Spurs would have achieved is Champions League qualification which Man Utd would have also but with the FA cup to go with it.
It is simply a hypothetical question as whilst I feel Man Utd have a good chance at the cup I really can’t see us finishing top 4 but I think it’s quite an interesting one when you consider the different contrasts throughout the season.
What’s going on over at Swansea?
Long time reader, only second contribution (please keep up my 100% strike rate). You don’t get a lot of mails from Swansea City fans so I just wanted to talk about our current situation. It looks extremely likely that we are going to get new owners and literally no fan knows what to think about it. On one side it’s clear outside investment is needed as our finances are very precarious, we are probably the most reliant on TV money of any Premier League club. However we have done extremely well in living within our means with owners that genuinely care about the club and a Supporters Trust that owns 21%. The Americans plan to buy 60% of the club leaving minor shareholders and the trust as the other shareholders. This is where is gets interesting. Once the new owners acquire 75.1% of the club they will have the ability to issue new share capital and effectively dilute the minor shareholders to the point where they have no say in future plans. It looks like both Huw Jenkins and Leigh Dineen who are local businessmen and a major part of the revival story are keeping a significant part of their shareholding and staying on the board to ensure this cannot happen. It’s extremely rare to see a premier league club look at outside investment in this way and fills me with hope that we won’t go the way of Aston Villa.
Another thing I wanted to mention was the ridiculous trend for talking of statistical facts as ‘records’. “Cristiano Ronaldo has just set the record for the most stepovers in a game”. “Kante has the record for the most interceptions in a season”. A record surely has to be something tangible that people set out to achieve. Scoring goals, winning trophies, clean sheets, making assists etc. Being statistically the best at in intangible measure whilst impressive is not a record in my book. Rant over.
You’re wrong, Roy
Before I start I should clarify that I love Roy Hodgson, especially as a West Brom fan. He’s a gentleman and I genuinely believe he’s had a grossly unfair ride from the media during his time as England manager, but I simply cannot believe what he’s said today regarding Vardy.
Firstly he believes Vardy did not dive. Ok fine, if he chooses to see the incident that way that’s up to him. To me, and apparently most of the football watching world, he did but never mind that. It was Roy’s brushing off of Vardy’s abuse of Jon Moss that really riled me. “He called him a few names, but he’s a human being and these things happen” was Roy’s defence. Well no Roy, he called him a “f*****g c**t”, it was pretty obvious to everyone watching at home. That’s not just calling him a few names, that’s pretty much as disrespectful as you can get without resorting to physical violence. What sort of message does it send out when the manager of the national team defends such behaviour?
I can understand Roy not wanting to openly criticise a player who’s likely to be part of his plans for the Euros, but surely just not answering the question would have been better? By defending Vardy he is taking a colossal dump on any remaining semblance of the Respect campaign and setting a very dangerous precedent. For the manager of our national team to do this is simply unacceptable.
DM, (Roy’s gone down in my estimation today), WBA
Has anyone had a look at Belgium’s probable line up for Euro 2016? It’s scary how good they look on paper
GK: Courtois Sub: Mignolet Res:
RB: Alderweirald (shame belgium don’t have a world class rb so he can start in the centre)
CB: Kompany, Lombaerts Sub: Daneyer/Vermaelen
LB: Verthogen (Kompany’s the captain so verthogen is shunted out left)
CM: Dembele & Witsel/Nainggolan Sub: Chadli
CAM: De Bruyne Sub: Fellaini
Just thought i’d share and ask for thoughts
Priyat(Kloopy Kloopy Kloopy)Sawjani
Suarez as captain
I just read a match report of Barcelona’s latest rout, with even the 8-0 scoreline looking like a startled face. What struck me most though, as a very sad individual, was the idea of having a Fantasy Football team based on La Liga – Suarez scored four and got three assists apparently, which would equal potentially season-dividing amounts of points if only he wasn’t doing the same thing every week.
I wondered if any Mailboxers are playing a Fantasy game over in Spain and if so, if they fancied sharing any highlights from their season – such as what proportion of teams have Suarez/Messi/Ronaldo, if there’s any point having anyone else up front, and if it makes the game more or less fun having a small number of seemingly absolutely essential players that every team needs to pick.
It reminds me of the Lampard/Ronaldo days of the Premier League, but even they weren’t scoring quite so many every week…
Dan, (I also enjoy etymology, ladies), Brighton