Recently I have had to cause to muse as to how this situation, campaign 2017-18 to date- with the roof metaphorically on fire not simply for our season but our club generally, came about only weeks following the biggest spend and resultant surge in supporter optimism for a generation. We were, were we not, qualified for the Europa League via a rather nondescript yet nevertheless worthy 7th place finish in 2015-2016, had a billionaire owner whom not only purchased the Liver buildings but gave our manager nearly £180 million pounds, in six months. Yet here we are, dismissed from continental competition as a doorman might seeing a 14 year old trying to get into a club with jarg I.D. Domestically we have fared no better, with myself certainly looking around a poor Premier League and struggling to find three teams that are worse than us right now.
So, where to start? Well, I’d say let’s start with Koeman. I was never really a fan in truth and said so consistently both on the radio and on social media throughout this time so I am not being wise after the event. My main issue with him was, for a squad with a manager whose optimum concern was the coaching-selection of the first team our first team have no shape, no methodology, no clue in fact and look as if they met each other for the first time in the tunnel. If Martinez was a fraud then this fella was the Hitler Diaries. It is incredible how clueless he was, his manner of manmanagement was prehistoric, while his treatment of Niasse specifically was personal and unbecoming of either our club or the office of manager of Everton FC. As is often the case with Karma however there was to prove only one eventual winner from that duel, and as we know it wasn’t Ronald. Meanwhile we are left with his squad of no centre forwards, five #10’s and as much pace as the parent’s egg-and-spoon race on sports day in the school by ours. No width- either attacking or defending and for an ex-centre half his indecisiveness regarding defensive shape- flat back four or 3 centre halves has led to all of our stoppers, individually and collectively looking like frightened rabbits in headlights, indeed the very thing that Martinez was crucified for and Koeman was supposed to solve. I could go on. For a man on a £6m contract it is a shambles. Agent Orange was a train crash and is primarily culpable for sending such a disjointed and under-prepared squad into a Premier League season.
Next to come under scrutiny are the club’s executive, inclusive of Steve Walsh. Everybody concerned was either convinced by Koeman and whatever vision he sold them or else exhibited a collective ignorance as regards squad make-up for the impending campaign that in retrospect is tantamount to gross misconduct. When Moshiri was signing the checks what was everyone else doing and here’s one from left-field, if our new manager arrives and proceeds to do the same will someone be informed enough to raise his hand and say- for example: Manager, we do not seem to have a centre forward or a system of play. Don’t you think that might present a problem going forwards? After all, if our business was baked beans and we had a paucity of baked beans prior to opening I believe that it is reasonable to expect someone aside from the person responsible to notice the fact. It is a genuine concern for me at this point. I have been an active blue since I was very young and truly cannot remember a squad during my lifetime less equipped for a campaign in the top flight of English football- Howard’s 1997-98 team would probably be runners up. This after a summer of Viv Nicholson-alike ( Google it) buying sprees yet we now look to the January window- traditionally though admittedly not exclusively the preserve of journeymen yard-dogs, to rescue us. I genuinely do not know if we are lopsided, back-to-front or upside-down. I just know that it definitely does not look right. Like I said earlier, the roof is honestly on fire and we need to put it out very soon. Having waited a month for a replacement however I beseech those concerned against a knee-jerk appointment this time rather than simply either watching Sk* Sports News or listening to TalkSport as if we get a further managerial appointment wrong we might well find ourselves playing in a different division to the one which we are founder members of.
Having reviewed both Koeman and the club executive as regards culpability it is now time to focus upon ourselves, Evertonians. In the last two years (and a bit) we have gone from hating Martinez- indeed ridiculing him to proclaiming a relatively inexperienced in the Premier League RK as a messiah. When he turned out to be even worse than the previous incumbent those same MFs who lauded his arrival were mocking him online without any recourse to the fact that it was them whom called for his appointment in the first place. Furthermore the thing that will puzzle me most about summer 2017 is how, in this age of everyone’s a critic and hyper-analysation just how preoccupied Toffees were with trying to buzz of our crimson cousins to the extent that no-one stopped to think that- for example, maybe we had just bought the same player three times- Rooney, Klassen, Sigurdsson none of whom can run. I believe it is an issue we must examine as regards the future. We all of us crave the good times, I get that but given that Guardiola took a year to get the feel of this league tells me that we now need to put our expectations, along with all thoughts of Europe or indeed new grounds out of our minds for 3 years and just find a manager before building a side, a club for the modern era as any new ground without a proper squad to grace it will be- again in my opinion, yet more folly in the wake of the myriad of recent rank bad decisions and merely sets us up to join the top-flight behemoth now plying their trades in the netherworld of the lower leagues. We as supporters need to forget about the RS get real and understand that there is no quick fix here. It will take time as well as someone whom understands both this league and the tactics required within it yet also grasps the fundamentals of our football club. We are however blessed with a particularly fine vintage of youth players so if such a person with a clue could add a system and a soupcon experience whilst addressing some of the primary issues then we may still have something to work with. In the meantime, as bad as we are, we ourselves have to stay staunch and back the team to the hilt both home and away to my mind, as the alternative does not bear contemplation.
Perhaps the only saving grace of our admittedly nightmare start to the fixture programme is that by the end of January we will have been to all the major sides away from home thus increasing focus on both our home games but also away games against teams around us in the table. Our own role as supporters therefore- the atmosphere we create, may well prove pivotal. Yesterday (November 2017) I was at Southampton to witness the booing of substitutes warming-up. This not only does not help the situation at hand but in addition has the internet roaring of us. I get that folks are angry also there are questions to be answered- Jesus, are there questions, but given the severity of our situation and the prospect of RS relegation parties I implore everyone- for the duration of 2017-18 to play our individual roles, be the best Toffees that we can be, as every single hand will be required. Should this be achieved then I shall volunteer to be the first one looking for answers and assurances that such a scenario will never happen again.
For the interim we require a system of some description which prevents us getting walloped by everyone and a centre-forward in the transfer window. As regards a manager, he may well now be a stop-gap thus placing the onus upon ourselves. We shall be here long after these have all long left the building therefore have a responsibility as fans to do our utmost to prevent the unthinkable. We are all hurting, of course we are but for now we need to stay calm as a group, stay together but most of all to stay staunch whilst hunkering down for what promises to be a very dark and cold winter.
The Toffees: Always and forever.
David Fehily. LCAB.
Look after your peoples.