ToffeeWeb, the much-admired independent site for supporters of Everton, has a hard centre but softer heart. Lyndon Lloyd‘s instinctive response when approached by us to preview Saturday’s clash between Sunderland and Everton was to say : “Sorry, we don’t do these things. No time.” He relented because of the trouble we’d taken to hunt him down. The algebraic equation of that hunt would be Relatively Uncommon Name + Facebook = Found. But thanks Lyndon*, and Salut! Sunderland wishes you and your site a very happy Christmas marred only by disappointment on Boxing Day …
Salut! Sunderland: After all that praise for David Moyes, we are now hearing the voices of disappointment. Is it time for change?
It depends on who you ask! There are some who have long been infuriated with his conservative tactics and the propensity for his teams to fall back on the long-ball game in times of adversity, but you can’t argue with his record at Everton on a shoe-string budget.
Three consecutive top-6 finishes and, so far, the record of the only team outside of the so-called Sky Four to have cracked the Champions League places this century speak for itself and I don’t think it would do us any good right now to disrupt the consistency that we’ve enjoyed the last seven years.
Follows on from question one, but what has gone wrong and what will it take, under Moyes or anyone else, to get things right again – right as in Everton in or pushing for top four?
We’ve had a horrific run of serious, long-term injuries to key players like Mikel Arteta and Phil Jagielka and had our defence decimated this season. Part of that is down the mystifying decision not to sign two central defenders in the summer instead and only bringing in Sylvain Distin, but we’ve also been unlucky and the paper-thin squad means that Moyes hasn’t been able to rotate out players who have been under-performing.
The first part of the job — restoring confidence and the famous team spirit — appears to have been done in the last few games. The second part will be getting key players fit again and making some key loan acquisitions in January. Longer-term, we need serious investment or the right kind of billionaire buyer.
Is it inevitable that Everton and Liverpool will end up sharing one stadium? How would that go down among Evertonians if it did happen?
I don’t think it’s inevitable at all because there has been so little appetite for it at either club. If you’d asked Evertonians before the Destination Kirkby debacle, a healthy majority would have said they were against it but now, of course, desperation is causing many to rethink that standpoint.
Liverpool don’t seem interested at all and probably won’t be if or until their own new stadium plans fail but, personally, I can’t see how we could ever enter such a venture as equal partners and I’d much rather we investigate redeveloping Goodison Park.
Do you have any thoughts about Sunderland, the clubs or fans or city? Or Newcastle?
To be honest, I’m fairly ambivalent, although I’d pick the Mackems over the Magpies any day of the week and twice on Sundays! I am impressed with the way the new owners have gone about things, though, and Steve Bruce has spent well. A visit to the Stadium of Light is now regarded as a very tricky fixture and I can’t say we’re looking forward to it.
Peter Reid is an obvious link between our clubs. He had great seasons with us before it all backfired. What does he mean to you?
Reidy’s a bit of a legend at Goodison for obvious reasons — he was an integral part of our golden age in the mid- to late-1980s
Name this season’s finishing top four in order. And the bottom three.
Assuming our two clubs were in neither list, where will we both end up?
Which player would you most like to see in an Everton shirt, and who wouldn’t you mind shipping out?
Probably a player like Michael Essien, a driving midfield force, or a top-class winger with pace like Ashley Young, something we’ve lacked for years. Who would I ship out? Probably Marouane Fellaini because I think we could use the money more usefully on a better player.
The Eduardo question: you need three points for a Champion League place. It’s the last second of the last game and Saha goes down in the area. Alone in the stadium, the referee doesn’t spot that it was a blatant dive. You score, win and are back among Europe’s elite. You take it gladly, take it guiltily or feel so ashamed you almost wish you’d only drawn?
To be honest, I’d take it. We were robbed when Pierluigi Collina chose the occasion of our equaliser at Villarreal in the 2005 Champions League qualifiers to make an uncharacteristically controversial — and erroneous — decision in disallowing a perfectly good goal for a non-existent push. It probably cost us an away-goals win, a place in the group stages and, perhaps, a genuine chance to join the elite on the back of all that TV revenue. For that, not to mention the Heysel ban which kept us out of the European Cup in the late 80s, I’d say we’re owed!
Should the names of Ngog, Henry and plenty of A N Others be added to that question?
Club vs country. Rooting for England come the World Cup or too concerned with Everton’s performances to bother?
I’m hugely passionate about England when it comes to the World Cup but I’d choose
success for Everton over England every day of the week. Whether it’s injuries or our best players having their heads turned when they’re on international duty, England hasn’t been that good to the Blues in recent years.
Tell us one good thing the football authorities should do to make the game better
Be consistent. Directives from FIFA seem to come in and out of vogue so what was a nailed on offence a few years back now goes completely unpunished. For example, a decade ago, you couldn’t put your arms anywhere around a player’s shoulders; now, Fellaini is routinely held down at set-pieces with two arms around his neck and nothing is given. Just be consistent.
And will you be at the match? What will be the score?
I won’t be, no, but I predict a 1-1 draw.
* Lyndon Lloyd on Lyndon Lloyd:
I’m a graphic/web designer by trade, originally from South Africa so I have no familial ties to the City of Liverpool or Everton FC. “Evertonians are chosen…” as the saying goes.
I started supporting them in 1986 when I moved to the UK and it’s been a devotion ever since that I now channel through
ToffeeWeb which has been on the web since 1994.
** Image courtesy of the pages of unloveablesteve at Flickr