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The Psychology of Everton FC

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This post is prompted by listening to some TalkSport caller (a Man City fan) talking about how the psychology of the club has changed in recent times ? clearly by the addition of vast sums of dosh.

I am 44 years old and EFC have won the league 3 times in my lifetime. I was always under the impression that ? long ago ? we were always the dominant club of the city. However, a quick flick through the league tables on the (excellent) website reveals some periods of dominance (notably winning the league before the outbreak of both world wars ? bloody Germans! ? before returns to mediocity in peace time) but long periods of mid-table mediocrity and sporadic, short-lived success.

While the motto of EFC might be aspirational, the psychology of Everton FC is not Nil Satis Nisi Optimum. Sadly, historically, we are a mid-table team... though I hate to say this.

Every now and then factors not linked to finance ? Bill Shankly, Howard Kendall, Alex Ferguson ? transform a club's fortunes. Will Everton ever get back to the top and build a long-standing era of success that Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal have done over the decades?

Is a change in psychology of the club ? i.e. long-term winning mentality ? only linked to finance nowadays? (By the way, Man City's mind shift is from lower to upper mediocrity at the moment, just to make that point.)
Mike Hughes, Wirral     Posted 12/11/2010 at 16:45:53

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Andy Crooks
1   Posted 12/11/2010 at 17:36:11

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Mike, you make a very pertinent point. We, the supporters have a big club mentality. There are those on the site who don't. We are not Bolton or Blackburn. In my view we are entitled to think big. It is not just about money, there is pride, history and the fact that we have a squad capable of better.
Jon Cox
2   Posted 12/11/2010 at 18:23:10

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Mike, the three names you mention always instilled their particular psychological fingerprint on the teams which they managed.

You could tell when interviewed that Walter Smith had that dour way about him and this I thought was transfered to the team. It hasn't always been, but I'm starting to see the same thing happening with the Moyes personality trait.

This, "we must not lose at all cost" and "don't try anything too spectacular"... We don't seem to see players (above average players) being allowed to express themselves like I see with teams like Spurs and even Newcastle at this point in time.

Things may change. I hope so.
Gavin Ramejkis
3   Posted 12/11/2010 at 18:34:52

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Mike, the current incumbents and their recent predecessors in the Old Boys Club which is Everton FC fail to expand or capitalise on any success. Even when the team does well, they fuck it up by lack of promotion or marketing... look back to the FA Cup Semi and Final and the fact the back street vendors had more available than the club itself.

Teams like Man U and Arsenal market themselves and are run as a business; until Everton have people in control who can do that, we will never move on.
Nick Entwistle
4   Posted 12/11/2010 at 19:57:14

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I'm sorry but Alex Ferguson went on a 'splash the cash' rampage at Utd to bring in that title. In the Summer of '91 he spent (after a little research) £6.05m on five players which back then was buying the title. The British transfer record was broken that year also by Shearer going to Blackburn for a huge £3.2m.
Nick Entwistle
5   Posted 12/11/2010 at 20:15:13

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Or was it '92... I've lost the page now.
David Thomas
6   Posted 12/11/2010 at 20:09:35

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I agree with some of your points.

However, up to 2002, there was only 2 clubs in the whole of English football who had a better average season position overall. Also, whilst you may have seen 3 league titles in 44 years there is still only 3 clubs who have ever won more than us.
David Hallwood
7   Posted 12/11/2010 at 20:50:49

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Mike, one, or (in the EPL case) three clubs that dominate the league is a relatively new phenomenon in English football. If you look at the 1960s, the league was won by 8 different teams. It is only in the late 1970s and 1980s that one team began to dominate ? I?d rather not name them. And this dominance was passed onto Man Utd and they?ve been there ever since.

Therefore, all teams had brief periods of dominance and then years of not winning it. If you take Arsenal for example, they won the title in 1952-53 and didn?t win it again until 1970-71 when they won the title for a record seventh time, and three teams tied for joint second with six: the RS, Man U and EFC. So, even though we?ve fallen on hard times, our history is on a par with all the ?big? teams.
Mike Hughes
8   Posted 12/11/2010 at 21:05:56

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David and David, #6 and #7 ? I agree with your points and am aware of our great history. However, the psychology of the club is far from Nil Satis and, in my opinion, has not been for 20-odd years ? our longest barren spell I think in terms of titles.

The psychology of the club might be summed-up as the actions and vision of those who run the club measured by the very real expectations of the fans. At the start of every campaign In the 70s, I used to dream / expect EFC to be in with a realistic shout of the title. Are the expectations of the fans the same now?

As a club we're "happy" for top six. When / how did the mindset change? You mentioned Arsenal. They haven't won the league for around 5 years but I bet the psychology of the gooners is that they're in with a shout year after year.

By the way, this is not an anti-BK/DM rant. (We're all in this together!) To add an extra dimension to the discussion, perhaps finishing above the RS season after season would be a good starting point ? something we've only done 4 times in my 44 years on the planet (and that celebration went tits-up in Istanbul in 2005).

Joey Brown
9   Posted 12/11/2010 at 21:33:48

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The thing is, the mentality of the club and the general make-up of it are still of, at the very least, top four quality.

I've been a fan a fraction of the years of you but, knowing what this team is capable of, with the fan support it has, is I think the real fire behind the club.

We have the ability to be better right now, we just keep coming up short. A few more wins instead of draws and it'd be better.
Alan Clarke
10   Posted 12/11/2010 at 21:43:13

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We have a manager who is just happy not to lose. He sums us up at the moment. A hell of a lot of fans chant his name at Goodison, so I think a lot of fans have the same mentality.
Nick Entwistle
11   Posted 12/11/2010 at 22:33:19

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He also since his emplyment has the best final position average than all other teams outside the top four.

Breaking the top four has been as difficult as someone breaking the top two in Scotland with each time a poor Liverpool helping out.
Charles King
12   Posted 12/11/2010 at 22:16:53

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I think you've hit the very essence of what gnaws at many of us, we do have a great history but we've not had a dynasty like that of Liverpool and Man Utd with the self-belief that breeds.

The likes of Shankly and Busby just don't seem to be around anymore; I guess Clough was close and latterly Mourinho... Fergie .....I agree with Nick @ 4 although his Aberdeen tenure deserves respect.

Like yourself, I approached the season start in the 70s with optimism but in hindsight we were already disintegrating but buoyed by a recent history.

With the honourable exception of Kendall and Joe's FA Cup, we've declined steadily to this mid-table stupor.

The ray of hope is that both Liverpool and Man Utd were in worse situations than we are now.
Mike Green
13   Posted 13/11/2010 at 00:15:59

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Nick, I usually agree with you and apologise in advance for the content of the people described in this post.

To say Ferguson bought the title is complete bollocks. What made the difference was buying Cantona for £1.2m (£12m today's money?) who delivered the title to Leeds the season before alongside a group of kids who would famously 'win nothing' according to the one who walks backwards. Ferguson may have had the fortune of being able to attract players and scout the best youth with the brand and though I don't think he holds a candle to Clough he has achieved quite a bit since 92 ? did he buy all of that too?

I think dynasties are built with the right man at the helm with the right backing at the right point in time. That's why Chelsea haven't built a dynasty: no longevity of manager. Liverpool passed it on via the 'boot room' and Arsenal have just been consistent ? as only Arsenal would be. bar the Chapman years in the 30s when they dominated.

For us to build a dynasty, we would need a new owner, a new manager, and be in the right place at the right time in a new era. Stranger shit has happened but then it's not happened more often too.


Nick Entwistle
14   Posted 13/11/2010 at 01:34:19

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The kids came in for the 95 season and before that though Sharpe and Giggs were playing (actually Sharpe was a Torquay player before); the rest were purchased to high cost and in high numbers. Sure you got to put the team together, though this at a time of two named subs on the bench, it was still the era of a couple of buys a season. I distinctly remember having a playgrond argument about this so it must be true.
James Flynn
15   Posted 13/11/2010 at 02:18:03

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The "Big Club" attitude is appropriate.

Less than a third of the season in, we're the only Club that hasn't been dominated in any particular game. Imagine a team as anaemic at scoring goals, as we are presently, not getting smoked at least once in 12 games?

Strange, yes?

We'll get going, scoring-wise, and validate our rightful Big Club attitude. This season, by the way, not in some dream future.
Robbie Muldoon
16   Posted 13/11/2010 at 02:34:42

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I think Moyes is good, but we need great.
Derek Thomas
17   Posted 13/11/2010 at 04:12:10

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Spot on there, Robbie... sorry, couldn't help it, seem to have my whimsical head on this afternoon.

For reasons various and debatable, we don't do Dynasties, never have, but until the RS and United did, nobody else did either.

But the short memories and short years of those who think that Sky reset football to year zero, always get a shock when, the odd time in a 100, they find out just how good we were.

The EPL is not set up for change, we lost our seat in the musical chairs of year zero and have been playing catch-up ever since. And that catch-up is along the lines of running to stand still.

We ARE a big Club (stamps foot)... Aren't we ?

OK I will reluctantly settle, just for now mind, for Sleeping Giant.

Where is our Pearl Harbour to awaken said Giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.

Oh yeah... 24/7.
Mike McLean
18   Posted 13/11/2010 at 06:02:54

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Pity t'internet wasn't around pre war. Had it been, you would have had a Preston North End fans site saying pretty much what the posters on this topic have said.

Doesn't matter what we were in 1939; we've become a backstreet, parochial outfit and we'll stay that way unless/until the finances are resolved.

Simples. (Makes clicking noise.)
Trevor Lynes
19   Posted 13/11/2010 at 08:16:18

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I said this ages ago... we are always breaking up our team virtually immediately after a title win and that is nothing new. Shankly established a conveyer belt of excellence in the same way that Fergie followed. We have still as good a record as Man Utd regarding titles before the Premier League came into being... but since then we have been overtaken by teams that used to be laughing stocks like Chelsea in the old days when they were one of the worst London teams.

MONEY has changed the impetus and until we can compete commercially with the top teams then we will struggle to actually win anything!!!

No-one bought a Chelsea shirt before Ambramovich invested in them and pre-Premier League we as a footballing nation were very naive about commercialisation... EFC are prehistoric in business methods and we cannot attract top players due to our lack of ambition as much as salary size.

We need to drop players when they are off form, but not to the bench... to the reserves! Put a couple of our reserves on the bench who have played well and see if they can have a real impact when brought on and not just 'do a job'....

I'm afraid I agree with Mike McLean, with the exception of bringing in a few youngsters if we have no money and putting some of our high paid under achievers in the reserves. It's no good going on a long unbeaten run if they are all draws... the way the points system give three points for a win, we could still be in the bottom end of the league if we draw every game until the end of the season.

Brian Denton
20   Posted 13/11/2010 at 13:19:27

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Trevor, we had a BETTER record than Man U in terms of titles before the bastard Premier League came into being. We had 9 to their 7. In 1987 (prehistory I know) we were second only to the RS; we had 9 titles, Arsenal had 8 and Man U and Villa had 7. Chelsea of course were nothing.
Lee Kidd
21   Posted 13/11/2010 at 17:29:05

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It's not the psychology that's wrong, it's the ability make the psychology reality that's the problem.

Perhaps the better motto would be "Nothing but the best we can manage is good enough"!

We are definitely not a mid-table side historically - I cannot disagree with that point more.
Andy Riley
22   Posted 13/11/2010 at 20:03:25

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I think the best chance we had of of dynasty was Howard Kendall. He was at his peak in 85-87 and, but for Heysel, I don't think he would have gone to Bilbao. There would have been a seamless transition to Colin Harvey with HK advising in the background.

Similarly to the RS boot room the torch would have then passed onwards to Peter Reid and Graeme Sharp ? all of these people being winners who were well versed in the Everton Way. I think that would genuinely have led to something better that Liverpool or Manchester United ever achieved.

John Ford
23   Posted 14/11/2010 at 01:22:58

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The disproportionate handout of dosh in favour of successful teams has screwed us and unfortunately it maintains the status quo, only to be broken by cash from elsewhere, e'g City who will eventually buy their silver.
Paul Gladwell
24   Posted 14/11/2010 at 13:02:59

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How can the club who have won the league more times then everyone else bar three clubs be an historical mid table team ?
Iain Love
25   Posted 14/11/2010 at 13:24:48

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We all want our club to be winners but to say it's our psyche thats the cause is utter drivel.
You could say that Leeds under Risdale had that winning mentality, but look what happened there. I knew Peter Risdale before he took over at Leeds and he came across as a passionate fan who took a risk and fucked it up. I certainly dont want that to happen with us.
Bookies usually are spot on and the only way we could be considered seriously for a title would be the appointment of Mourino, but then the bookies say that wont happen. A sugar daddy wouldn't solve everything either ala Citeh. The best we can hope for is to sign Donovan from USA, Honda from Japan and some Asian kid as good as Maradonna.
Michael Kidd
26   Posted 14/11/2010 at 16:31:11

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Coincidentally, I was thinking about this very issue today, in the context of how the fans relate to our performance. We have a history of being a big club and that history is important but only up to a point. Everything changed with the premier league and the onset of the digital age (more or less the same time) and world-wide marketing etc. I think often our fans are too harsh on the team (and manager and chairman0 because we are comparing them with the great 1980s team or the 'school of science' yardstick or the motto - only the best is good enough. If you ask most fans about last week's result, they will say 'we should be beating teams like Bolton'. But let's face it, people, we ARE teams like Bolton. I'd dearly like this to change, but at the moment it looks like the only way it will change is by some super-rich owner coming in. But when I see what's happening at Man City I'm not sure I'd rather be where we are. Let's relish our great history (and it is great - one of the best) but wake up to the reality that it is history - we are no longer that team.
Mike Hughes
27   Posted 14/11/2010 at 17:33:55

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Paul @ 24 ? I'm aware we've won the league 9 times out of a history spanning around 132 years. Accounting for WW1 and WW2 that leaves approx 112 seasons when we were not champions. I think you'll find we spent a lot of that time somewhere between 7th and 17th.

Iain @ 25 ? I did not say our psyche was the cause. Read the post: I asked when our psyche had changed ? and it has.
Dave Harrison
28   Posted 15/11/2010 at 15:06:25

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We are the longest serving top flight team. It's not like anybody else has been Champions throughout history: United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Villa have all had their highlights and their mediocre periods.
Mike Hughes
29   Posted 15/11/2010 at 16:06:28

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Dave @ 28 - you are right. But read my post again. I don't dispute our great history. The post is about the psychology of the club which I think has changed given that the most recent 20% of our history 1988-2010) has been potless bar the 95 FA Cup.

By the way, I disagree with some of the posts on here which suggest we are on a par with Blackburn, Bolton etc. We are still a cut above those clubs and their ilk.

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