Learning To Fly

Hey there and welcome to September.

As we round the fancy cladding of Goodison it’s been a symbolic summer for Everton with everything that’s gone on. New owner, new manager, apparent new riches to compete with.

Exciting times for many.Speaking of exciting times, how you feeling out there? WOO! It was some ride, right? Transfer #deadlineday, a day so good it has it’s own hashtag. And texans with lad bible beards who take an actual day off work to “enjoy” it.

Sky wanted to get their drama and over a couple of days they got it. Entree was texts from Moshiri and the main course was the sumptuous patting on the head of little ol’ Everton. Unlucky there. Unless of course it’s all contrived to keep viewing figures maximised from the aforementioned pool of FIFA Ultimate Team playing virgins hooked on the smack produce of Murdoch. Or even if Moshiri was texting Jim White after all?That’s not the issue, it’s the sideshow and drama that the media likes to generate, like they always have.

We’ve a hired manager with a name who raised our profile and is proficient at punching above his weight. That’s the playing side hopefully taken care of, but obtaining those players to move up a level or two when you don’t have European football is a bit harder – as we apparently found out. Will Koeman, with a face like a pained asthmatic triathlete, be happy with what was delivered to his squad?

One must resist the temptation to read too much into media chat but it will be interesting nonetheless. He’s got form for getting frustrated with lack of ambition, that’s you that Southampton, you cruise ship bothering sea mutants.

Player recruitment or – as the old people like to put it – signing new players is no longer the domain of the manager. It’s big business now as demonstrated when we went to the English champions and paid them millions for another human who is good at spotting good humans before someone else does.So what is the crux of this? How did it turn out for Everton?We have a better team than we started which is a popular KPI of Martinez’s, a KPI you’d guess he set himself after his lazy line manager give him his appraisal and told him to write it himself and he’d sign it off.The squad improvements aren’t however what was expected to be able to kick on and move a few levels up in the league, an anticipated symbol of our new found wealth, in a league/competitive market full of wealth.

Stekelenburg replaced Howard, Ashley Williams replaced John Stones, Idrissa Gueye seems to have relegated James McCarthy to the bench and Bolasie will do so to the likes of Lennon, Deulofeu or Mirallas over the course of a season. We crucially managed to keep hold of Lukaku. This Everton team will concede less goals and score more than the Everton of the last season or two and that should gain a few more league places.

The problem is managing expectations and these expectations have been pumped by the club since Moshiri took over, perhaps predictably when you market “nothing will be the same again” trying to flog – very successfully – thirty two thousand season tickets.

Let’s look at some of those expectations with quotes from the summer (courtesy of GOT himself):

Before signing Bolasie;

After signing Bolasie, Koeman said;

Moshiri, after signing Bolasie:

On Friday

That’s the Everton Manager and majority shareholder being clear about what their objectives are. Do you think they achieved them? To remain objective it is a very competitive market place they’re operating in and maybe some of these targets will be carried forward to January.

Interestingly talking of January there’s been the talk of the restrictions of the the Financial Fair Play rules and that the sale of Stones would benefit us to splurge transfer fees and increased wages. The problem being that this Stones money is applicable in the financial year only, so that may hint at a busy January window. Not the ideal window to be highlighting specific targets and trying to lure them away from their current club. Although you may save a few transfer fees on Bosmans if you’ve got your wits about you.

There’s many more facets to being successful at football than purchasing players and formations. That’s for computer game and app simulations and it’s bred a whole generation of quilts who have sleeve tattoos telling their life story despite being 22 and still living at home with mum.

Better staff do many a difference when you want to improve in a competitive market place, including recruiting talent from your competitors to both benefit you and hamper your your competition. The likes of Bolasie and Williams may hint at this.

Have Everton done enough to move up where they want to be this season though? We will find out in good time, but a negative net spend and players jibbing us for other clubs seems like a missed opportunity for a team sat in fourth after a good start, and hoping to kick on.

We are left with some weaknesses in the team, notably up front where heaven forbid Lukaku’s goal drought continues or he picks up an injury for a period of time. That would leave Kone, Valencia and an out of position Deulofeu and Mirallas up front. In a league of unforgiving expensive defences there’s a feeling that would not be enough for progression. Scoring goals is a key attribute the better teams in the division have, it shouldn’t be left to chance.

Targets were identified – although anyone outside of the board would be unlikely to have true accuracy on this – and seemingly one by one squirmed away or used to gain a better wage or offer from a competitor. If there’s a proficiency review of our transfer window then you wouldn’t be expected anything from an eight out of ten or above.

The very fact that you’re rummaging about on transfer deadline day is a sign that your summer recruitment hasn’t gone to plan, it prevents time to efficiently bed in new players with the team in pre season training and also creates a strain on the manager who will be hounded for in depth analysis of it every time he faces the media. Some of the quotes Koeman said above didn’t quite materialise and you can bet your bottom guilder than he will be asked more questions about this before we play Sunderland.

Moshiri has came in and from the snippets you find out from inside the club – I’m not staking a claim for ITK mantle here before you crucify me – it’s mostly positive and how there’s a definite air of professionalism and demand for results or else, this of course extending from Koeman himself who has carte blanche to make the changes he wants to achieve their shared aim of making Everton successful again.

It’s going to be interesting to see if he uses his press conference to put pressure on above as he’s adept on doing to those below, that will be be indicative of the true feeling around the club.

So with the dust settled the day after the transfer window closes no doubt there will be a review of it’s success versus the objectives set at the beginning of the summer, like any business will operate.

There’s certainly room for development and maybe with the appointment of Steve Walsh the club see itself looking for value in their purchases rather than going out and getting obvious names, or maybe the impact of Steve Walsh will be felt in initial fringe players who are anticipated to develop over and above their worth and make an impact on the team.

I’m using too many maybes when trying to decipher a transfer window but you never really know do you? Unless you’re a fly on the wall, or Jim White’s graft phone, or Moshiri himself.

Where we are is subjective depending on the Evertonian you’re speaking to. You may have logged online today and recoiled at a positive assessment of the summer transfers, or a negative one, or even fumed at those being impassive towards such an important thing, in your view of course. There’s validity in all angles if the truth be told.


Maybe the cladding of Goodison that I started with really is the perfect metaphor for how I feel we are at the moment after all. We’re a mid table team aspiring for something better, like a waterside stadium. Reality bites in the interim, and until we do get there (if indeed we get there) then we need to make the most of what we got.

I believe that’s over to you Mr Koeman.

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