Football, by it’s very nature, is a fickle industry. From the very top of the chain right down to the paying fans on the terrace. It may well be a cliché but ‘you’re only as good as your last game’ is as true as you’ll find, or in Everton and Marco Silva’s case, not so good – apparently.
It quickly became apparent, shortly after Jon Moss tooted on his whistle at the Emirates and with it brought on Everton’s second defeat in as many games, that the fickleness of the football fan is, unfortunately, alive and well.
It’s just four months since Marco Silva breezed through the Finch Farm doors, he became the third permanent manager to walk that very walk in just five years. There was a swagger about Silva, a likeable arrogance that he could be the man to resuscitate this lifeless club. The fans still furious that a season filled with much promise, hope and expectation had disappeared quickly and the anger still raged that Everton had fallen so low Sam Allardyce had been allowed to take the helm. A man who, seemingly, held the club and its fan in contempt while he sat and waited for his big payday. An irk, no doubt, but one that could now be left in the past as the club looked forward once again.
After a solid yet stumbling start, Everton headed into the international break unbeaten, a draw away to Wolves was followed by a win at home to Southampton, things had looked promising but by the time Huddersfield rode into town, Bournemouth had already fought back from 2-0 down to force a draw and coupled with the prospect of losing Richarlison for three games, patience was, remarkably, starting to wear thin. A hugely frustrating afternoon on and off the pitch, yes on paper it was a game we all expected to win, Huddersfield had started terribly, big losses to Chelsea and Huddersfield meant they came to Goodison with a plan to spoil the game, to infuriate the crowd and to steal a result. To their credit they did just that. That afternoon was bewildering, not just the performance on the pitch but the one off it, from the stands, Goodison was groaning, the final whistle was greeted by boos, even. It felt like two points had been thrown away but even still, that reaction? it was baffling, Silva had been in situ for just five competitive games and he’s already suffered at the hands of groany Goodison.
Even though it’s early days of Silva’s reign it already feels like he won’t be allowed to succeed. For success will take patience from the stands and plenty of it, maybe three or four seasons worth but it is rarely granted as success has to be instantaneous, money is spent in its billions and in return owners and fans demand fast results.
Perspective is also rarely used by fans, it’s difficult, given the tribal nature of football but it’s a necessity. Twelve months ago Everton embarked on their biggest ever spending spree, this only heightened the expectation and it simply backfired. This summer the new regime arrived, money was spent, players departed and players arrived but the job is far from complete, let’s not underestimate the sizeable job facing Marcel Brands, arriving from Dutch champions PSV Eindhoven, Brands had to ship players out, decrease the wage bill but also improve the squad ahead of the new season, a shortened transfer window in a World Cup summer didn’t help, but this is a job that’ll take many more transfer windows. It’ll take more money, more incomings and more outgoings but most of all patience and time. What would we gain by hounding out Marco Silva after a couple of disappointing results?
Phil Neville said recently, ‘They have got some very good players, and I think they are close to being a strong team – but the reason they have been so near yet so far for the past few months is because they lack a really ruthless centre-forward.’ While he isn’t wrong, a centre forward was never on the short list this summer nor should it have been as back in January Farhad Moshiri forked out £27m to bring Cenk Tosun from Turkish giants Besiktas (or Olympiakos if you ask Sam Allardyce!), as a replacement for the departed Romelu Lukaku but for all his efforts Cenk Tosun isn’t Romelu Lukaku and he never will be, we have to accept that while he leads the line well Tosun, will chip in with goals, but it’s unlikely that he will ever hit the heights Lukaku enjoyed during his three years at Goodison. Dominic Calvert-Lewin has had a go, the only striker at the Club to score a Premier League goal this season, he works hard and has some quality but at times he looks raw, he looks a £1.5m striker from the Championship and Oumar Niasse is, well, Oumar Niasse but we have to make do with what we have, it simply cannot all be solved in one summer.
The rise of Manchester City has, no doubt, expedited the desire to succeed at the detriment to many a manager but City became super rich, so much so, they could afford to write off the early signing of Robinho and buy again. It’s inconceivable to compare the current Everton set up with that of Manchester City’s hierarchy, they became an entity on their own, not even a benchmark for other clubs to be measured by but their rewards have been plentiful. League winners, FA Cup winners, League Cup winners, Community Shield winners and Champions League regulars. Maybe one day we’ll talk of Everton in the same way.
A more realistic comparison would be the building work that’s taking place at Spurs and Liverpool, it has been years in the making to become a team to challenge City, yet along the way they’ve both been without a trophy, their only success has been regularly finishing in a Champions League spot and being part of the media’s mythical top six, so the rumblings surrounding Silva, after a handful of games serve no purpose, the snipes don’t help, the boos only serve to be detrimental to the players and the manager.
There is a big week ahead, home games against Fulham and a delayed Carabao Cup tie against Southampton before we head to Leicester for a tricky away trip. Silva will be desperate for a change in fortune, a combative performance against Arsenal it may have been but we left without a point, it’s a results business and Everton have to start getting those results.