You forgot all about Everton yet? What, with your favourite weekend distraction being off the scene for a couple of weeks.
Not that you’re arsed, but I thought I’d wait until the dust is settled to have a look back at season 2016/17 and try to do some of that analysis stuff which I’m generally shite at.
Such positioning of lower expectations can surely soften the crushing disappointment of both my words and how things never seem to go Everton’s way, while you may adjust your stance reading this on the bog as to avoid numb legs.
It was Koeman’s first season as Everton manager and as such you know the drill, it’s the one season of goodwill before some in the Lower Gwladys get edgy in the second season and start saying he’s lost the dressing room. So hope you enjoyed it Ronald.
Let’s go from the season beginning then. August 2016
Everton ambled towards the beginning of the season with not too many signings, presumably so Koeman could give the existing squad a once over. Not forgetting that it wasn’t too long after many of us were declaring this to be the best Everton squad for 30 years, before Martinez sapped all that shite out of us. Added to the equation was our first ever Director Of Football, Steve Walsh, enticed from Leicester as Moshiri started to structure his new Everton in earnest. Many took this as sign of us going to town on transfers.
In came the underwhelming news of us signing a midfielder who calls himself Gana from relegated Aston Villa for around seven million pounds. Our new guy wasn’t calling himself Mata or Witsel so as such he wasn’t greeted with the the most enthusiastic greeting, but how wrong we were to be. Out went John Stones which was no surprise as he’d been angling for a move as soon as the playing for England hype thing started, and Everton got nearly £50m for him that in hindsight looks decent business. I’m sure John got a nice chunk of signing on fee too so everyone’s a winner, although a chunk of that signing on fee was spent on a shit tattoo of his bird with a weird clock face as she caught him out having a bit of strange.
A friendly at Old Trafford saw Besic crocked in true Everton fashion and then the fun began with a very tricky home game against Spurs. An injury hit Everton turned up and came away with a hard battled one all draw that in the circumstances was seen as a good start. The goal coming courtesy of yer man Ross Barkley, dwelling in the pre Liza Minelli haircut era which he grew himself into over the course of the season. Deulofeu also had a few chances but spunked his one on one before half time, duly noted by Koeman who was not going to sugar coat you to the press like the previous manager. Like fuck, our harvest moon headed Dutch guy is gonna ship you the fuck out, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. Koeman told the media that the current Everton squad was only 70% fit, shit sure had changed around Everton for sure.
In the following week we seen the arrival of Yannick Bolasie from Crystal Palace for somewhere north of £25m and everyone was a bit miffed by the amount but mostly sound about it as he terrorised both us and Liverpool every season. Instantly Bolasie went to Merseyside and cuckolded Lukaku as Paul Pogba looked on in a high state of arousal. Dialects of Congolese was soon to befuddle Premier League defenders apparently. Also signed was Ashley “Ash” Williams which was roundly applauded as we had a big fuck off John Stones sized hole in our defence, and Wales got the semifinals of the Euros so he was en vogue.
Next game was away to West Brom. It was a game where Koeman introduced himself to Evertonians by subbing McCarthy and changing the formation in the 36th minute as Everton were losing. This sort of stuff hadn’t happened at Everton for a few decades so a few around me were freaked the fuck out. Everton duly went on to score two goals and win the game. “No fucking about from Koeman, exactly what we need lad” was trending in Merseyside that evening.
Carling Cup was next up as Yeovil were dispatched by a Barkley captained Everton, who duly scored to mark the occasion. Arouna Kone came on as a sub and scored a late brace, all was good in the world. Final game before the international break was at home to Stoke. It was an abrasive game as playing Stoke only can be but it was settled with a snide Baines penalty that twatted the post and bounced in off the keeper’s head. Up the snakey toffs.
Everton were placed pretty and a fortnight of positivity was in stock under the new Dutch maestro. No big players were signed by deadline day but it was OK as Moshiri and Jim White are tight on whatsapp. Sissoko was on his way but Spurs showed a hint of Champions League thong and he was suddenly there, which turned out alright in the end but places a little anxiety in your head that they could chase the same type of self absorbed shite again.
Everton opened the month up away to Sunderland who were brisking in only the way a relegation haunted team can brisk once they think they acquire the David Moyes of 2002. Sadly for Sunderland they’d acquired the David Moyes of 2016 and were utterly doomed. A second half Lukaku hat trick settled matters and that was that.
North East opposition was to Goodison next where Robles got his arms butted for a Middlesbrough goal but the blues had too much and the 3-1 was wrapped up before half time. Everton soared to second in the league, surely not? The answer was no, obviously, but for a fleeting moment Everton were ace again.
Everton’s autumn free Fall (hi Americans) started in earnest with the subsequent game at home to Steven Naismith’s Norwich Allstars in the League Cup. A changed side was named and Everton duly bounced out without a whimper, Naismith scoring naturally. A shitter really.
Away to Bournemouth followed and Koeman suffered his first league defeat as a shit Everton were terrored by long balls into the channels. The last day of the month was completed by the customary lack of 3 points at home to Crystal Palace but at least it was only a draw this time. A little of the winds was sucked out of the sails somewhat and another fucking international break popped up to leave some to lament on it.
The middle of the month saw Everton go away to Man City and absorb a shit load of pressure, break away with a fine Lukaku goal but get pegged back for a draw. Which was a sound result and a sign of Koeman’s defensive steel being influenced on the team.
The first genuine expressions of anxiety crept in around this point. Away to Burnley next and the Lancastrian scruffs stole the game cruelly at the end. Things were a bit wobbly as Everton had forgotten what it was like to win.
Fear not as bog eyed Bilic brought his Brexit FC team to Goodison where St Domingo’s occasionally finest put two goals past them and Dimitri Payet was in no mood to do anything good for West Ham again so the result stood. October had ended and Everton were mid table where we expected them to be, but looking forward to a trip away to the team racing ahead at the top of the Premier League.
Chelsea bummed the living shit out of us with a painful one sided defeat. The one green shoot of hope – that we recognised but didn’t perhaps anticipate fully at the time – was a cameo from West Derby’s Thomas Davies who ran about and done more in 20 mins than his teammates managed in the full game.
Everton asked James McCarthy – the energetic human freckle – to not play for Ireland due to fitness concerns, obviously the player ignores that while being encouraged by Ireland and subsequently injures himself. Cue a season long word feud between Martin O’Neill and Koeman, with Roy Keane occasionally piping up like a little Scrappy Doo being denied his morning bowl of Lucky Charms.
A really shit Swansea came to Goodison next under the veiny testicle head of that American manager and they nearly got away with the 3 points until Coleman done a mad leap in the box and snided in a header at the death. An utterly depressing month was wrapped up with a return to Southampton for Koeman, where a 1-0 reverse was nearly as painful as having to tolerate Southampton mutants popping up on your twitter timeline still butthurt at losing their greatest ever manager to Everton, who took him with consummate ease. Everton were the true winners as they got to leave Southampton to sleep and dwell somewhere else, even if that dwelling was downtown Mogadishu.
Ibrahimovic made a twat out of Stekelenburg at the beginning of the month but a Baines penalty rescued a useful point at home to United to start off the month. It wasn’t all good news as big summer signing Bolasie suffered an injury that finished his season and maybe even the whole of 2017. Fuck off Everton.
Next came the tipping point of the season. Away to a poor Watford saw a really shite performance. Watford prevailed 3-2 and there was fuck all to be heartened with in an Everton side. Naturally there was a lot of angst at Koeman’s Everton managing one win in ten games and a team struggling for any sort of shape, tactics or performance. It was like the part in a low budget 1980s movie where the hero is doubting himself or suffering adversity. Or maybe the bit in Karate Kid where Daniel gets twatted and Mr Miyagi has to tend to both his physical and emotional injuries before he can build himself back up again. That bit. But with less bonzai tree obsession, painting of fences and get-go eighties backing music.
Come to think of it the ending of Everton’s season was in no way comparable to the glory of Larusso’s foot cleaning out Johnny by way of the Crane kick so I’ve little idea what the fuck I’m typing.
It’s at this point where Everton and Koeman started to feel the pent up frustration in a fanbase somewhat fed up of their beloved team shitting it and continually false dawns. The accumulation of which leans heavy on those on the payroll when there’s little sign of progress. Your man Koeman has seen glory in football that his staff hasn’t, but can you do it when the pressure is on on a cold December night at home to Arsenal? Course he fucking can, and in reflection it was the second most enjoyable game of the season. Of all the beautiful Evertons I enjoy, the defiant fuck you Everton is quite satisfying. This Everton was on display as the team and manager responded to the lull in Everton’s season, and the fans responded with the most beary of pits a professional footballer can enter. Arsenal fold in such environments and so it proved.
It was timely too because it proved that the level of performance existed in the squad. Many doubting and wondering if the early season success was new manager bounce or straight up luck.
Lukaku’s agent announced his player’s contract was “99.9% done” a week before Christmas. The lying Italian fuck needs to lay off the six pack of Gino Ginelli’s, the bad slug.
The game before Christmas was at home to Liverpool. Everton shit it in injury time, titheads, while kopites lit red flares and celebrated their inevitable title success. In a way though after the understandable despondency cleared a lot of Evertonians had seen the resolve in the performance so were heartened that we wouldn’t be sucked into the relegation battle some were fearing.
The drudging battle for the Everton goalkeeper shirt took a turn as Stekelenburg got injured and Robles came in.
Christmas came and Everton’s season was about to to improve dramatically.
Everton were struggling in 9th on neutral goal difference. A trip to struggling champions Leicester was a tough trek for weary heads on Boxing Day but those that made it were rewarded with Lukaku breaking to round up the three points at the end for a very enjoyable victory. Away to Hull City followed where a topsy turvy game delivered a point thanks to a late Barkley header, but a poignant reminder that at least we don’t call ourselves Hockey nicknames and consider it acceptable for adults to dress up as Tigers. It was the end of Jagielka being a guaranteed starter as Koeman started to look at his defence, in search for consistency and some much needed clean sheets.
Everton finished the year, weirdly as they’d been shite, in 7th position. It was a position that they would be become very familiar with.
The new year started with the insufferable south coast lad bible bells making a trip to Goodison, in a game which saw Tom Davies start in midfield in the league for the first time and raise a few eyebrows. No worries there as a rush of three goals in the last 20 minutes saw off Southampton and their vulture faced tube of a manager.
If you’re sensing a sweet and sour element of the season to date then this was confounded next game as another disappointing exit from a cup was confirmed as Leicester’s rapid little tit Musa decided to put in his only performance of the season. The fume was palpable as, well, who the fuck wants Everton not winning trophies for 22 years? Season over, play for pride etc was on show and Koeman was showing displeasure at the situation to the media, with frustration over wanted signings not materialising as fast as required. A few days later Morgan Schneiderlin rocked up at Finch Farms and weekends were about to get a little better, like the introduction of poppers to a dulling sex life. Also signing that week was a young striker from Charlton called Ademola Lookman.
Our best game of the season was up next as we were anxious about the visit of a revitalised Man City team on a run of 5 straight wins. Not to worry as a ) Everton have Tom Davies and b ) Everton twatted them off the park. It was the performance that Evertonians needed to see as it provided some of the most valuable commodity for patience in football – hope.
An Everton team with less than 30% of possession were tight as fuck and had a devastating game plan carried out to perfection. Bristling young talent in the team was underlined by what will be remembered as an iconic first goal from Davies and a late finish on his debut from Lookman, benefitting to much mirth from John Stones being closed down in possession.
Some sharp lad called Darren on twitter coined “The Ketwig Kaiser” for Davies, with his rolled down socks and black boots, and suddenly this season wasn’t as finished as it had been looking before. Where the context of that performance stands is hard to judge without the hindsight of another few years but a little something changed that day for Everton. Koeman got much kudos.
The good run continued the following week away at Crystal Palace where a late “no look through ball’ from Davies to Coleman saw the Irish captain smash it into the net and Everton were looking up rather than down, or even sideways.
No signings of note were to close the month as every FIFA player under the sun obsessed over Transfer Deadline Day, but if you’re past sleeping in the box room and you still fall for that then I have little sympathy for you. Earlier Deulofeu was shipped out to Milan which turned out no bad move for the lid but left a sense of disappointment that a clearly gifted and exciting player couldn’t make it at Everton, or maybe in the English game. Gibson and Oviedo moved predictably to Sunderland, which no one was too arsed about. Except maybe avid cyclists around Gibson’s neighbourhood. Martinez failed with a late bid to turn Tom Cleverley Belgian so the player took the option of a Watford loan instead. Niasse went to Hull.
And that was your January, an eventful one.
An unbeaten month started away to Stoke and produced a point as Everton were caught flat footed at the start with five in central defence, Coleman got the equaliser which was wonderfully disputed by the Stoke players who were subsequently over ruled and told to do one as Everton shirts ran back to the halfway line fist pumping, and with the ball.
Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth arrived at Goodison and found themselves three goals down before they could catch their breath. Everton at this stage of the season were playing some lovely stuff. Of course being Everton they tried to shit it in the second half shipping two Bournemouth goals, and then required a really good save by Robles to stay in front. Not to worry as Lukaku scored took his tally to 4 in one game – and taking himself to the top of the PL scoring charts – before Barkley rounded the keeper and actually celebrated prior to putting the ball in the net. Oh Everton. So 6-3 to the blues and things were sound, many even looking at the 6 point disparity up to the shite in fourth place and chasing Champions League togger.
The six point gap at this point gives some indication of how the end of season stutter cost Everton, finishing a full 15 points behind fourth place in the end. Soz about dulling the tone there.
Away to Middlesbrough gave us a dull point best forgotten and then the month was wrapped up in laborious but effective fashion at home to a genuinely shite Sunderland team, Gueye sweeping home the first and Lukaku bullying Oviedo for the settler.
Our man Lukaku was getting a lot of headlines at this point as he was scoring a truck load of goals. Inevitably these headlines started linking him to better teams. Everton talked about getting Lukaku tied down on a bumper new deal which no one could get cleared up, either through Koeman or player. Also worryingly came the anxiety over Ross Barkley soon to be entering the final year of his contract. Both players were in fine form and central to the good things Everton were doing.
While much of the focus previously in the season had been on the signing we made, or didn’t make, it was a switch to looking at keeping what we got that would dominate to some degree the remainder of the season, and sadly without resolution.
There was sad news with the passing of The Golden Vision Alex Young, a player that made all the arl blues purr in unison. Not many can move them to that so I can only imagine what a player he was. A player who’s made me purr – Leighton Baines – casually made his 300th Everton appearance, what a signing he’s been. A naughty left back too.
The month kicked off with one of them season defining games. Everton were unbeaten in the league since before Christmas and very much looking upwards. Spurs were in one of the places that Everton coveted. Game on. A 3-2 reversal was somewhat flattering for Everton as Spurs were the clearly better team.
Onto what was billed as the 7th placed showdown next week with Pulis’ resurgent West Brom arriving at Goodison on a great run of form similar to Everton. It turned out to be a mismatch as the mole-having-a-shite looking Pulis and his team was put to bed by three goals and an easy Everton performance.
The third and final game of the season was concluded with Hull City taking a four goal tonking – notable for another young player Calvert-Lewin scoring his first goal in the top flight.
It was also this time where the club announced their latest plans to move to a new stadium, and one which would be tantalizing on the River Mersey at Bramley Moore dock. Goes without saying it was somewhat of a popular announcement, although you’ll forgive me if I save my rampant enthusiasm for being able to walk to the game from the ace pubs on Dale St until I’m sat in the completed stadium. Thrice bitten. All positive stuff though and moving in the right direction.
Everton at this stage of the season were sleek. The settled midfield three of Gueye, Schneiderlin and Davies were controlling games, Lukaku and Barkley causing damage in the final third and the defence being miserly – albeit against teams with not too much ambition. Directly ahead lay two away trips to Anfield and Old Trafford, so the increasingly influential Schneiderlin went and got himself injured and Seamus Coleman suffered a horrible leg break while on Ireland duty. Just fucking great that Everton, well in.
We went to Anfield and shit ourselves, surprise.
A few days later away at Old Trafford we got undone by an injury time penalty and had to accept a draw, which felt somewhat like a loss.
Two massive games yielded just one point for Everton, and gifted valuable points for our rivals. It was at this point in the season that seventh place was really concluded. The only variable being whether it would be sufficient for European football or not.
UKIP Shakespeare brought a bouncing Leicester to Goodison next and took a slapping as Everton had too much for them in a 4-2 win. After the game Ross Barkley went for a night out and got chinned in Santa Chupitos. Everton twitter was torn between declaring it arl arse and moaning at Ross for being there in the first place. Apparently it was over a bird but no one really knows. Kelvin MacKenzie, the heinous dickhead, decided to take the opportunity to call Barkley a gorilla and any rich scousers a drug dealer. Considering what went before with MacKenzie it only confounded what a tit he is and he was soon jibbed off by employer. It’s also at this point worth noting he looks like a constipated pug, pains to be you man.
Burnley then decided to come and play Everton at association football which was extremely foolish around that time. A 3-1 Everton win occurred that marked an eighth straight home win at Goodison and a ninth goal scoring appearance for Lukaku at the same venue.
This was to be the high tide mark of the season as Everton climbed into 5th place at the end of the game, but with time and games rapidly running out.
Then it all sort of just faded away. The signs were there when we went down to West Ham and never really got going. Champions elect Chelsea played us at home the week after and while Everton battled well they fell too easily as Chelsea moved through the gears and scored 3 goals. Lukaku had stopped scoring, Everton had stopped firing and soon followed the flip flops allegations.
Incidentally the R key on my laptop has just stopped working unless I put all my bodyweight onto it so it’s time to speed up the end of this increasingly dull review. Larusso’s mar is regrettably taking the family back to New Jersey at this point.
A genuinely shite no show away to Swansea saw them gifted desperate survival points and it was a completely different Everton level of performance as had been been enjoyed since Christmas.
In the interests of balance maybe we should have been expecting some sort of downturn in form but it was leaving a sour taste in the mouth as there was more on offer and the players weren’t putting their back into the game.
More promising was David Unsworth and his talented U23 team delivering the Premier League 2 title, well done the lids. Whilst the odds are stacked against them we can only hope a few make the squad regularly in seasons to come. Well, except Niasse.
Watford were beaten too easily at Goodison and Wenger got the perfect opposition in preparing for a cup final and new contract, as his ten men passed around Everton without too much trouble for a 3-1 victory.
A look back on any season is subjective as how I seen it may and probably will be different to yours. The prism that you or I view Everton through distorts and as such no person’s view is particularly right or wrong. Unless yer dar is not arsed about Lukaku leaving because he is lazy and got a bad first touch.
So how did Everton do? That’s up to you mate. If you would have offered me 7th and European football in Koeman’s first season I’d have been happy with that. Also with the blooding of young players which gives hope for the season ahead.
It would probably would have felt a bit more collectively happier with a late surge of form, rather than the late season fall off. Yet we can’t fail to acknowledge Everton in the league since Christmas and the consistency of performance that was ultimately outdone by the teams above us just being better than us and our failure to beat them in crucial fixtures. Namely the Spurs, Liverpool and United games losing us valuable points and perhaps momentum. It’s a hurdle we have to overcome if we are to improve next season.
Another year without a sniff of a trophy is the biggest hurdle however – it’s way too long for Everton to ever get nonchalant about. With three cup competitions next season such opportunity should be given the focus it deserves.
New ownership and wealth gives promise of better players and better times but that has to manifest itself over a really important transfer window if Everton are to truly kick on as they say they want to. The unlikely retaining of prominent players will have to be remedied, and in any replacements.
Breaking the 60 point barrier is no mean feat in recent Everton history though, particularly as a starting point. While Martinez did better than in his first season he wasn’t replacing a fired Everton manager and a squad with much rebuilding to be done. In times of rapid change the club needs a manager who can exert control to enable that change and desired improvement. It’s my view that we have the right man at the right time in Koeman for that purpose.
There’ll be no DVD released, in truth there’ll be little fondness remembered in time for the season itself. It did however draw a line under a recent Everton trend of decline and importantly give tangible hope for the future. Record season ticket sales are invested in that hope.
Whilst hope is valued, delivery is more important. Season 2017/18 will be the one where blues can hope to see signs of delivery. On and off the pitch.