Opposition Q & A
This weekend West Ham welcome a rejuvenated Everton to the London Stadium, where David Moyes will be looking to put one past his old club, and the rest of us will be hoping that we can once again return to winning form. Ahead of the game I once again chatted to my old mate and lifelong Everton fan James Coke aka the disabled chef to talk about the current state of play at Everton, and our course our Saturday’s game.
Hi Jim. It seems like a case of déjà vu: when we chatted a couple of seasons ago, we had both appointed new managers: us David Moyes, and you Big Sam, and whilst we have reappointed Moyes, you have eschewed the chance to hire Big Sam again and have gone for Carlo Ancelotti. I expect you will be wishing that you would have got El Alledici back? How do you sum up the first half of the season?
I was all set for the return of wee Davie, before Don Carlo was pulled out of the hat by Moshiri and his less than silent partner Usmanov (8th richest man in the UK). He’s set for a £2+m bonus to keep us up – which he will. What with his undoubted reputation I’m sure he’ll sort the wheat from the chaff (we’ve got a lot of the latter) and move on from there. Again like previous seasons we bought poorly and were a tad unlucky with injuries to Gomez and Gbamin, but TBH we were poor under Silva and too one dimensional. Some of the defeats were so frustrating like Norwich at home that it was difficult to watch before Big Dunc saved us bounding down the touchline, hugging ball boys and bringing a bit of belief back to the club. As long suspected there are too many players on outrageous sums of money unprepared to step up to the plate and Ancelotti will change that. As for Sam, well he was part of that problem. The club parachuted him in with no long term strategy and a blank check book – it was like appointing Mike Read from EastEnders – everyone just went run-around! If he’d returned Liverpool would have seen an exodus of its population like never before.
Since Moyes’ departure, you’ve had a few managers appointed that have only managed to stay for a short period: is Ancelotti going to prove to be different?
Well I hope so. I’ve eulogised and slagged them all off on here chatting to you outside of Big Dunc – who is course untouchable, so appointing Carlo is a big statement. I’m hoping he hasn’t just jumped on the Everton gravy train for the money but I doubt it. There’s a real project going on with the new stadium, Usmanov and his billions and of course the sleeping giant that is Everton. He’s got to sell a few lame donkeys but a bloke with his pedigree and knowledge can surely this time be only good news and get the right players and maybe some fabled silverware…… eventually. However being a glass over-flowing type of person, I’ve said that about every incoming Everton manager so don’t rely on my sage musings.
Less of the herb talk please Jim! One of your big problems seems to be that you have spent an inordinate amount of money in the past few years, to little avail, and therefore the owners must be loath to hand out more to each new manager?
To right – it is just embarrassing!! I know you’ve got to have a presence in the market and speculate a bit but our wage bill is staggering and many of those players are out on loan or just not at the races. Sigurdsson is a case in point. He was great last season but disappeared last August and still coins £100k+ a week. The ones that do put in a shift are the DCL’s who are on £20k. Carlo has got to find that nice balance. I hope he dips into the youth set up more and prunes that big blue bush as it is weighed down by dead wood!
Having said that, where if anywhere does Carlo need to strengthen your team?
We probably need another left back, centre half and a striker. Jonjo Kenny needs to also return from Germany as Coleman I sense is nearing his end. Ellis Simms is doing the business in the U21s scoring goals and robbing defenders of their dignity as if he was taking candy from a baby! I’d definitely promote him and a few of the other lads, but we’ll probably sign another No10 or winger. I somehow doubt Ancelloti would have joined unless he’d been offered a big war chest so I’m sure we will be linked with a few.
I assume we both reckon that your city neighbours are going to win the league? That must stick in the craw!
I’ve given up caring now. The 5-2 drubbing was bad enough, but when their under 13s turned us over in the cup – that was the ultimate humiliation. I’m sure they will win the league. At times they have been unplayable but they can grind out results as well.. Some bloke on an Everton forum started a rumour that they were all on crystal meths which was a bit far fetched, but I’m sure VAR was created by one of their supporters as they appear immune from its ravages.
Which teams are going to join them in the other Champions League positions, in order?
Who will be relegated?
Where will Everton and West Ham finish the season?
I think we can only improve so I’m looking at 6th whilst I think Moyes’s and Stubbsy if he takes the job as assistant can get West Ham up to 9th. However there’s no ‘gimmies’ in the Premiership as I once stated on here so who knows. Obviously when we play you I hope we win, but I have some great memories of Moyesey and wish him all the best and hope he gets a fair run as your supremo as I think he’ll do alright at the London Stadium.
6th!Very optimistic! By the way how are your plans to return from Devon to London to watch Everton play in the capital going?
Well this was the first game I was travelling up by train but couldn’t get one of the wheelchair spaces (each train has 2) which incidentally cost a small fortune, so I didn’t bother. Any form of travel when you are confined to a wheelchair is an issue, especially as I don’t drive now and it takes loads of planning as well you know. Getting a ticket is not normally a problem and facilities for wheelchair users are great in most Premiership grounds since the law change but getting there is another thing if you live 200+ miles away. Thank fully as you know Exeter City have filled the void. It’s great footie and we thrashed Argyle 4-0 in the derby, which was barn stormingly brilliant! That’s one trip I will be making in March when we reconvene at Gnome Park down in Cornwall.
Let’s get back to the Big Hitters:How are Everton going to line up against West Ham this weekend? Team/formation?
Pickford – Sidibe – Digne – Mina – Holgate – Sigurdsson – Davies- Bernard – Walcott – Richalison – DCL
After narrowly beating us at Goodison back in the autumn, are you confident that you can complete the double over us this year? Predictions for score?
Dude I accept the coup de grace was delivered late by Gylfi’s belter but that was one of our better days and we should have won by more. I reckon this one will be very tight although I see you’ve got a few injuries. Accordingly Carlo’s nemesis though is Moyes. He never beat him when he was at Chelsea and Moyes will be desperate not to lose this one. 1-1….after we’ve battered you and been robbed by VAR.
Well many thanks to Jim for his time and thoughts once again. 1 -1 seems a fair prediction, but I live in hope and will take us to beat them 2 – 1. COYI