Date: 3rd May 2006 at 4:31pm
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In the fifth of our series whereby we quiz the other Premiership Vital editors, it?s the turn of Paul, of the Everton site.

1. Has your season gone as expected?

Well I don’t the season as a whole has gone as expected, but that is mainly because we never brought the type of players in, I expected us to in the closed season.

As we finished 4th in the Premiership thus enabling us for the Champions League qualifying stage, I thought we may be able to attract the higher echelon of player. We were linked/in talks/battling for those type of signatures, but couldn’t get them to join.
I could go into a lot more detail, but the basic answer – as you wanted short paragraphs, is in two parts.

No – the season hasn’t gone as expected after finishing so well last campaign, but after the start we had in the league and the disappointments of those two European exits, I thought we done very well to recover from New Year onwards, dragging oursleves away form almost certain relegation troubles.

Yes – because we left ourselves terribly underhanded with no strike partner brought in for James Beattie and when Mikel Arteta is injured, we look like a Championship side, no creativty and very predictable in our approach.

2. What changes would you like to see made?

I would like to see a lot of pace injected into the squad next season. We need a ‘ball-player’ other than Arteta, as he is unfairly expected to produce the goods. A good left wing player and possibly if van der Meyde is unable to play manay games due to his persistent injuries another right-sided midfielder. Arteta should be shifted inside with Cahill, if we can’t get a striker, and a defensive midfielder, maybe Phil Neville could do that job, but not passing the ball, just winning it and shifting onto Arteta.

We do need a new pair of centre backs to challenge Joseph Yobo, maybe getting one to play alongside him and one to be backup. A new goalkeeper, if John Ruddy and Iain Turner are not capable of taking over from Nigel Martyn, because I don’t feel Richard Wright is the man to do that.

It is going to be a very important Summer for David Moyes, as we are yo-yoing from season to season up and down the table and we need some stability.

3. Do you admire the way Mourinho has managed Chelsea?

I admire the way Mourinho has brought a voice to challenge Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson in the stupid arguments, but nothing more than that. I like the way when the Chelsea side isn’t ‘bending the rules’ shall we say, to win games more than other teams seem to. But I think that the way he handles himself and the incidents that occur in games, he has not done himself any favours. He needs to learn how to be sportsmanlike. Sir Alex Ferguson has obviously always been partial to the odd comment, but it seems to be every week with Mourinho and I think people are now starting to take it for granted that he will complain and crticise after the game, rather than just shaking hands and letting bygones be bygones.

4. Select a mixed Chelsea / Everton XI (Ratio 6:5 or 5:6)

My mixed Chelsea/Everton XI would comprise of the following:

GK – Nigel Martyn (Everton) – When he plays, most of the Everton fans are confident of a decent result. That may seem stupid, but the team as a whole benefits as the defence as a unit are confident in Nigel’s communication and know where they should be and when, also his distribution is pretty decent as well. Petr Cech may well be a very good goalkeeper, but I think it would be difficult to say whether he would be as effective behind an ever-changing defence at Everton; Chelsea’s defence is arguably better than that at Goodison, so Martyn edges this one.

RB – Tony Hibbert (Everton) – I do like the Portuguese full back Paulo Ferreira as he is neat and tidy and he is excellent in the tackle. Just two yellow cards in thirty starts this season, supports that theory. His willingness to get forward when called upon is a great weapon in any side. But Tony Hibbert is our only recognised right-back at the Everton and he is an excellent defender, although I think he would be the first to admit his distribution isn’t the best, but that comes with being forced to get into crossing positions and the right-sided player at the time not taking it off him in advanced positions, making him look awkward. And I think with the midfield of this team I think he wouldn’t be asked to do that.

LB – Asier Del Horno (Chelsea) – A great full back definitely, overlapping excellent positioning for a full back, always in tandem with his left sided midfield player. Nuno Valente didn’t start off very well in his Everton career, disappointing in the Dinamo Bucharest defeat that effectively knocked us out of the UEFA Cup at the first hurdle, but he has learned to get stuck in, so to speak, and not stand back and admire. Since then he has impressed, only injury keeping him out the side. But the way Del Horno has adjusted to Premiership football is a joy to watch and lesson for young full backs willing to learn the trade, although he must sharpen up on his thrown-in’s they are abysmal foul throws. I don’t know how he gets away with them.

CB – John Terry (Chelsea) – Well, what a transformation in the young teenage angst that Terry showed, wtih his off the field antics. he has matured into probably England’s best centre-half over the last 12-18 months, making him a virtual first choice for the centre-back berth in the World Cup squad due to be named in two weeks by Sven-Goran Eriksson. He doesn’t have that much competition in this line-up, as David Weir and Alan Stubbs are in the twilight of their careers, although since Stubbs transfer back to Everton from Sunderland in the January transfer window, he has held together a shaky defence, but that is totally understating Terry’s class and composure, that wasn’t visible a recently as two seasons ago. I would make him captain aswell.

CB – Joseph Yobo (Everton) – The Nigerian defender can be prone to some lapses in concentration, but overall he is probably Everton’s best defender. At the African Nations Cup, he played in his second favourite position of right-back. He looked very disinterested, maybe because he wanted to stay at Everton and help a revival that was just in full-flow and the result of him travelling to Egypt meant he had lost his place when he came back to Merseyside. He has pace, compusre in abundance, some may say too much, but he is solid in the most and would be a great partner for John Terry.

I am going to go with a formation similiar to the one Mourinho prefers, with a player in a free role.

DCM – Claude Makelele (Chelsea) – He is the reason why Chelsea win more games than they would normally. Every team needs a player to win the ball and shift it on, he knows his limits and he is always in the position to win the ball back and start the counter attacks for Mourinho’s men. Real Madrid will be sorry they decided to let him go because they haven’t won a trophy in the three years he has been gone. Solid in the tackle and clever with his positioning. A must for any successful side a player of his magnitude, and they are few around.

CM – Frank Lampard (Chelsea) – The influential midfield man has scored more goals than Everton’s midfield this season and this is hard to ignore, although the Toffees have only netted 31 times in the Premiership at all. The attacking midfield role he has made his own at Stamford Bridge is so important to Chelsea he played a record number of consecutive games in the top flight and scored a number of crucial goals, including two on the day they clinched the title at the Reebok Stadium last season.

CM – Mikel Arteta (Everton) – Tremendous on the ball, his array of passes and crosses are sublime, Everton struggle without him in the side, as a run of six games without a win shows. He has a great free-kick in his armoury as well just incase he is foiled in open play, but his decisions are so accurate in-play that he does little wrong.

ACM – Tim Cahill (Everton) – Hasn’t made as much of an impact as he would have liked this season, after impressing so much last campaign, but on his day he is very dangerous, he is powerful and has a salmon-like leap for headers, he arrives late and does a lot of damage. His movement off the bal is excellent and he is very difficult to pick up for oppposing defenders. For such a small man, he puts himself about and you will know you have been in a game when you face a side with Cahill involved.

Free Role – Arjen Robben (Chelsea) – Switching from wing to wing, his dribbling is mesmerising, and turn of foot is electric. The only worry I have about him is his persistent diving and unsportsmanlike attitude. I think very fairly, players nowadays will do anything to win, but I think the boundaries have been taken a little further by the Dutchman’s antics on the pitch. But on his day he can terrorise any defence in the World. Would be very important in creating chances for the two lads up front.

CF – James Beattie (Everton) – The consistently inconsistent Beattie, has found goals hard to come by on his travels, but if this team played it’s matches at Goodison, he would score in 75% of the games. His ratio at home in the league this season is right up there, with five winning goals in games this season alone. He found the 4-5-1 lone striker role pretty hard to get into at first but when the service became better and the support from midfield helped shoulder a little of the burden, he started to score. Will never be a six-yard man, but scores his fair share of headers and helps with knock downs as well. Runs his socks off.

CF – Hernan Crespo (Chelsea) – You may find this strange that I have opted for no pace up front, but I think that the movement from Crespo would alleviate that completely. In my eyes the man is a genius. Impossible to pick up, it seems as if he teleports into positions sometimes and scores crucial goals at crucial times, he may find it ‘interesting’ to say the least up front with Beattie but give him a couple of weeks in training and I’m sure they could work something out.

5. Who would you prefer to sign – Terry or Lampard?

I would prefer to buy John Terry if given the chance, because there are more players in the world that can score goals; it is much more difficult to prevent them. I have always believed that if you keep a clean sheet it is impossible to lose, which I know is obvious and sounds stupid, but the Kevin Keegan approach, trying to score more goals than the opposition no matter what, will always end you in trouble. As good a player as Frank Lampard is, I would plump for Terry every time.

6. What did it mean to you for Everton to be in the Champions League?

I tell you what, for Everton in our current climate to represent England’s top flight league in Europe’s premier club competition made me more proud than ever, to be an Evertonian. It was disappointing that we didn’t bring in more players capable of helping us progress to the group stages and I think we may have missed the boat in terms of hanging onto the coat tails of the top sides in the division.

7. Should Abramovich speak out more or is the silent way the best?

I think Abramovich should stay the way he is because, there are too many voices in football and I don’t think he knows anything about the game anyway! Jose Mourinho is speaking enough for the whole board.

8. Is our bad media image a result of being successful?

I think a lot of the things that Mourinho says don’t help, the money seems unfair to most people also and you are winning things as well. Liverpool were hated (still are around these parts!) when they were successful, same with Manchester United and they spent a lot of money with Juan Sebastien Veron, Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand, accumulating transfer fee more than most clubs budgets! If you weren’t succesful I don’t think you would be hated as much.

Football fans are very fickle people, success comes first, everything else is secondary, but the recognition of good teams doesn’t seem to be present anymore. I’m not saying everyone should like Chelsea Football Club and everything that they stand for but I think jealousy gets you nowhere. It won’t change anything and it certainly ain’t gonna help your own side become successful overnight. Everyone has to pull together.
Peple forget that Chelsea have been without a league trophy for fifty (50) years and it’s their turn in the spotlight for more than one reason.

9. Facilities ? Goodison Park or Stamford Bridge?

Goodison Park has a rich history but needs badly updating, I will relinquish my season ticket at the end of this season as I am becoming a freelance reporter for the North-West but I am more than happy with my seat in the recently built Park Stand!!! No obstructions, no wooden seats which the away fans and some of the home supporters have to ‘endure’! But seriously, financial restraints and local opposition to Everton building on and/or upgrading Goodison means we are unable to improve much at the moment. But I don’t think hollow lego grounds are the way forward. I do like Stamford Bridge. It’s in a nice, exclusive part of London and the surroundings are good to look at. Shame the same can’t be said of some of the treatment we get there! But I’m sure it’s the same at our place for you lot!

10. Biggest gripe about Chelsea?

Money. It would be nice to just be taken over ny someone willing to spend a bit of money on our team and facilities. We don’t need a multi-billionaire, just about £50million on the team squad, enough for players, back up and youth to be brought on.

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