For the last couple of seasons before this one just finished, it was the same old answer whenever anyone asked what was missing from this Everton side: "A 20-goal-a-season striker." The general consensus was that we’d have been in or very close to the top 4 last season if we’d had someone sharper than Jelavic and Anichebe up front.

This season, we did... so what is the answer to the question now? We have a fantastic manager who is probably superior to some of, and at the very least equal to those in the top 4. He’s getting touted to one day manage Barcelona, is a trophy winner, and has shown he can get the better of Mourinho, Wenger et al in certain games.

Let’s now look at the defence. We have a pair of full-backs who every other club in the Premier League would swap theirs for, and who could play in any side in Europe. We have two senior centre-backs who are largely regarded as two of the better ones in the Premier League and a young player who will probably be better than all of them in the future. Backed up by Howard, they form a defense that is usually in the top 4 of the Premier League and at one point this season was in the top 10 in Europe in terms of goals conceded.

In midfield, we have a prodigy that all the top clubs are after, another young player whose quality is undeniable and who has dominated against midfields like Arsenal’s and Chelsea’s single-handedly. These two are backed up by a title-winner in Barry. Out wide, Mirallas has obvious genuine class, and then we have (or had!) an array of players including Pienaar, Deulofeu and McGeady to pair with him.

Up front was the 20-goal-a-season striker in Lukaku we all wanted...

I’m not saying we have a perfect squad. We could improve our keeper and have more depth out wide, in central midfield, and up front... but, when you look at that team, it begs the question: Why, throughout this season was there an inevitable feeling we’d just fall short of the top 4?

It’s so annoying reading the papers linking nearly all of our players to Champions League sides yet, when we assemble all of these Champions League players together in the royal blue, it doesn’t result in a team that can achieve qualification.

Obviously you can see the gulf between us and Manchester City talent-wise... but are we really that far behind the rest? Arsenal also only had one decent striker and a far worse defence, yet made the top 4 and won the FA Cup despite us being comprehensively better than them over the two games against them. When all are fit, they have a magical midfield, but at times this season it’s been Flamini and Arteta; ours is not too shabby either.

Chelsea did not have any striker who could find the net consistently. Oscar, Schurrle, Willian, Ramires and Lampard all flattered to deceive yet they were a whisker from winning the league and got to the Champions League Semi-Finals.

Liverpool have two fantastic strikers but, when you look at the rest of the team, how many would you genuinely trade for our players? Our defence is undoubtedly superior. Whilst Gerrard has obvious class, would Allen, Henderson or Lucas get ahead of McCarthy or Barkley? Coutinho over Mirallas?

All these sides have obvious strengths but they’ve also got massive weaknesses too. On paper, we were a team that are better balanced than any of these sides yet finished behind all of them.

There is still something missing. Perhaps it is just that expectation that we should be in the top 4. It just seems that whenever we get close to it, we unconsciously sabotage ourselves (Crystal Palace twice this season, Sunderland at home). Going into the Anfield derby, there was not much between the teams yet it was as though we set a limit on our ambition after that game while they went on a glorious run.

In the World Cup, we are going to see Lukaku and Mirallas shine for Belgium. Barkley will be making a mockery of the world’s best midfielders, whilst half of the English back four will be from Everton. Howard is also rated by his manager as one of the top 5 in the world. When they get back to Everton though next season, we’ll still be talking about ’hoping’ to ’challenge’ the top 4 next season. Manchester United and Spurs will again be expected to come ahead of us.

Is it just a mentality thing or am I seriously overrating the talent in our squad? I know it’s only Martinez’s first season so it could all click into place next season but, whenever I watch this season’s Everton, I see genuine quality all over the pitch in every position that other clubs are salivating over, being marshalled by a fantastic manager, but still it’s not quite good enough... Why?

The answer can no longer be "if we had a 20-goal-a-season striker..." We did, and he was flanked by international class wingers, backed up by three of the most in-form centre-mids in the Premier League, in front of one of Europe’s top defences. Why doesn’t it work? What is missing?

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Mike Manchester
1 Posted 26/05/2014 at 14:33:56
Rob Young
2 Posted 26/05/2014 at 14:36:22
Our international class wingers and 20-goal-a-season striker (who actually only scored 16!) failed to make international class decisions in the final third! Deulofeu (mostly) and Mirallas constantly failed to live up to expectations. I think we can without both and wouldn't mind cashing in on Mirallas.

Our 20-goal-a-season striker had a first touch of my local pub team's 20-goal-a-season striker for many months. What we missed was a cool head in the final third. So many times, wrong decisions and poor touches undid all the good work.

Shane Corcoran
3 Posted 26/05/2014 at 14:37:53
1. Strength in depth, so that, when the players you mention aren't on form, they can be replaced/rested.
2. An overestimation on your part of how good our players are.
3. An overestimation on your part of how good our manager may be.

Leaving our defence out of it for a minute, Lukaku & Naismith are not at the same level as Suarez, Sturridge & Aguero. Similarly Mirallas, McGeady, Pienaar & Deulofeu are not as good as Hazard, Silva & Toure.

I don't see how you can say Martinez has proven himself to be at least as good as the managers in the top 4 either.

Steve Carse
4 Posted 26/05/2014 at 14:42:58
There's still a lack of belief and a lack of conviction in the final pass or shot. I'd expect all these aspects to improve in RM's second season.

Let's not forget though that we left ourselves a mountain to climb when only getting 3 pts from our first 3 games, before we had the squad completed.

Ben Jones
5 Posted 26/05/2014 at 14:47:56
I do think Rob is spot on.

Talented our attacking players are... but decision-making wasn't their strongest points, and although we have progressed this season in terms of goals, we still should have and need to score more.

So, rather than the 20-goal striker which we did have, it's the three behind that were the issue for me. Barkley can hopefully kick on and I'm hoping McGeady and Mirallas can come good. We need a good Deulofeu replacement though.

Patrick Murphy
6 Posted 26/05/2014 at 15:01:09
I don't know how good we can become but we are certainly on the right track and in all honesty we have been for a few years now. But a lot of what our players do achieve is constantly undermined by the pundits and media; although, as professionals, they shouldn't take any notice, they are human. It must be somewhat soul-destroying to know that, no matter how well you perform, the media will trot out the same old mantra that Everton are not equipped to deal with top four or should be happy with a top seven finish.

Compare that to the bigging up of some of our rivals and sometimes our players must wonder what they have to do to be taken seriously.

Roberto needs to instil a belief that this group of players and whoever he brings in are good enough to be top four contenders. The Goodison faithful can also play an important role by getting behind the team more often which I think will happen next season as the majority seem to have bought into how Roberto operates.

Having said all of that, Everton FC are miles behind the other clubs in terms of financial muscle and that does have a bearing on the quality of players we can attract oh to have Tim Cahill at his best in this current set-up.... we may just require Tim's attitude to convince the rest of the team that they are indeed good enough. A catalyst to light the spark which could lead to tangible rewards.

Ian Adams
7 Posted 26/05/2014 at 15:10:01
A really good post with some good responses my penny's worth is we sometimes lack belief!

Look at the end of the season: it was in our hands and just maybe we thought, 'Shit, this is real?' If you look at some of the obvious dropped points this season:

The first 3 games all should of been won - 6 points.
Sunderland and Palace at home - 12 points total.
Even Man City in 'that' game, more clinical finishing and 3 points were ours.

Now of course they are all 'what ifs' but seriously, the only game we never showed this year was across the park and the points lost not only allow us to stand above the rest, but cement us as genuine top 4.

A fantastic season and better to come, just need that bit of belief! Come on you Blues!!!

Kevin Tully
8 Posted 26/05/2014 at 14:59:30
When we were going through the transfer saga of the Baines & Fellaini joint bid, it was interesting to read what the Man Utd fans thought of those two, generally considered by most Blues as our best players.

The general consensus was they were not good enough for a title-winning side, or even top 4 contenders. It had me thinking if we do build up our own into something they are not? The Man Utd fans were saying they would be decent backup, squad players but not first-choice picks.

Fellaini has looked so out of place in that side, it's frightening he looks slower than an ocean liner trying to turn. Look how awful Pienaar was at Spurs. Lescott looks like a giraffe with lead weights in his boots at the back for Man City. Watching Arteta at Arsenal is also an eye-opener, he looks poor next to most of their side, sideways passes are all he seems to bring to their midfield.

I would hope Barkley, Stones, Coleman, Baines and possibly Jagielka are all top 4 class two are kids and Coleman has yet to prove himself over a few seasons.

Realistically, we do tend to look upon our own players through blue tinted glasses but that's natural I suppose.

Don't forget, in the past 10 years you would only really say Rooney has gone on to be a success at a top 4 club. Arteta & Lescott haven't gone on to be better players by any measure when I've watched them.

Steavey Buckley
9 Posted 26/05/2014 at 15:21:17
Everton next season definitely need two proven goal scorers and tricky speed merchant to provide the crosses, if they want to do better next season.
Chris James
10 Posted 26/05/2014 at 15:15:38
The answer to your question on one hand is "Not much". Our points tally was our record and would've guaranteed CL football in many other seasons.

The other way to look at it is that we did fall short, the missing ingredients this year were:

1) Luck we had some real poor fortune in key matches despite dominating (vs Chelsea, Spurs, Norwich, Sunderland to name but a few);
2) Lack of depth when Lukaku wasn't firing and injuries left players out, we didn't always have quite enough to come from the bench (see the amount of game-time Osman is still getting);
3) Possibly a lack of the winners/killer mentality we had the chance to push the fight to the wire but shot ourselves in the foot (and the net) vs Palace and Southampton where the pressure seemed to tell. I think the City game would've been different had we gone in ahead/level with Arsenal.

Of course for 2014-15 we can add some more 'misses' straight away at this point like a 20-goal striker to fill Lulu's boots, a central midfield lynchpin if Barry goes elsewhere, and some extra wing-wizardry to cover for Deulofeu's absence and the likely waning powers of Pienaar.

David Ellis
11 Posted 26/05/2014 at 15:20:36
I agree with Shane (3)...

But also I think our self-belief is beginning to improve and I also think the media is beginning to take us seriously. We have been in and around the top 5 for the last 5 years now (at least) and this fact has now sunken into public consciousness.

When we were rumoured to be buying a Villa player recently, I had a look at a Villa fansite and they were all saying they did not want the lad to leave but also that he was not good enough for a regular top 5 club like Everton. They would not have been saying this a couple of years ago.

The positive attitude of Martinez (ludicrous though it is at times) certainly helps change this perception.

David Ellis
12 Posted 26/05/2014 at 15:28:27
I should also say that this improved perception of us means we won't lose any key players this summer. At least that is my prediction.
Shane Corcoran
13 Posted 26/05/2014 at 15:34:45
Lads I've noticed the latter posts mentioning the points we didn't but should have earned. Every time I see this, I point out the blue-tinted specs that we wear.

For all the games listed by Chris #10 above, there are Chelsea (H), Hull (H), Cardiff (H), Swansea (H) and Sunderland (A) to match them.

Lyndon summarised the season very well in his Return of the School of Science article by pointing out some of these as fortuitous.
Does anyone really think we were unlucky?

Eugene Ruane
14 Posted 26/05/2014 at 15:16:42
Patrick (6) - "Having said all of that, Everton FC are miles behind the other clubs in terms of financial muscle and that does have a bearing on the quality of players we can attract." This for me is the key to the (OP) question 'What is missing?'

We have a fantastic positive manager with his own inbuilt feel-good factor. We have players who work hard, gel well, work as a real unit and aren't without invention and skill. But it's just....not enough.

What WOULD be? Well, ask yourself what/who do those with unlimited funds buy? For me, simply put, it's REAL pace combined with REAL touch/control.

It's not to say we have no-one with pace or that we have nobody with close control, but unlimited funds allows you to have this throughout the side, PLUS a team full of reserves with the same - over 38 games, this has to make a difference.

On paper, or even watching live, it can look like the difference isn't that much, but I suggest that Man City or Chelsea wouldn't spend what they do (or have) if the return wasn't practically guaranteed (if not in one season, over a few).

I don't say it's impossible for us to improve on our points tally from this season but, given the funds available to those who finished above us, it would be very very VERY hard.

Al Reddish
15 Posted 26/05/2014 at 15:49:03
What is missing is money to compete properly. However, if the Champions League rumours today are true then money may not be an issue!!
Jim Knightley
16 Posted 26/05/2014 at 15:09:46
Rob, what sense would it make selling our most effective attacking player in Mirallas? He scored 8, and assisted 8, which was far better return than the other midfield options. I'd lay more blame at Barkley's feet, who provided far less than Mirallas in a freer role. (Even though his returns are explained by his age.)

The answer to the question, 'What is missing?' is: our midfield. Our defensive unit is a match for any in this league (with the exception of Chelski, imo) but our midfield is not.

Arsenal's first choice eleven if everyone is fit is: Arteta, Ramsey, Walcott, Ozil and Cazorla. From our midfield, only McCarthy would make the cut at the expense of Arteta. I'd also suggest that both Wilshere and Podolski would get into our midfield. Walcott will score 15-20 goals a season in all competitions if fit. Ramsey has been world class this season, and offers a fantastic goal threat. Ozil is one of the best playmakers in the world, even if he lost form post-xmas. Cazorla is a class midfielder, and undoubtedly one of the best passers in the division (and perhaps the best two footed passer).

Games are won and lost in midfield primarily, in my opinion. Spain's international triumphs have demonstrated as much. Our midfielders are simply not top four material.

Barry is very solid, and I'd have him back in a minute. McCarthy too. And personally I believe two defensive midfielders benefits us because it allows our full backs, which are possibly our biggest strength, more attacking opportunities. But beyond that, Pienaar and Osman are good, but only good. As our biggest playmakers (not our most effective, but merely players who I believe best replicate the playmaker role) they have far less quality than those playmakers in the teams around us (Silva, Nasri, Hazard, Oscar, Ozil, Cazorla, Mata, Eriksen..Kagawa even).

Next is Barkley... who plays the AMC role. Barkley falls down for me here (for this season... but time will improve him) in two respects: He neither offers enough goals to warrant his inclusion as an AMC or second striker whose game is based around goals, or sets up enough goals to warrant inclusion as a playmaking AMC. This for me is a major failing, because a top class player would more goals or assists or both in this position.

Lallana, for instance, managed 9 goals and 6 assists (ESPN stats) to Barkley's 6 goals and 0 assists (ESPN stats too... I'd argue Barkley should have a couple of assists to his name, but using a different statistic also gives Lallana more too).

Eriksen has scored 7 goals this season, with 8 assists in less appearances. Ozil has scored only 5, but managed 9 assists. Silva: 7 goals, 9 assists, Nasri: 7 goals and 7 assists. Rooney and Mata also show higher goals and assist ratio per appearance.

Now obviously straightforward comparisons are to an extent reductive, especially because Man City score a lot more goals than we do. Similarly, Barkley did not start in many games. Barkley is also not a primary set-piece taker. But, I'd argue that Barkley gets more license to attack than any of the aforementioned options, and that his lack of creativity this season has impacted on our team, and in particular on Lukaku's goals return.

Finally, our primary rightside option, as has been commented, is Mirallas. He offers the best return in goals and assists, but for his ability could offer more. Too often his decision making is flawed, and I think this is a part of his game that can improve. Deulofeu has the potential for me to be a world class player, and offered an explosive option on the bench, although his decision-making was poor. McGeady is a good winger, but nothing special.

I believe Barkley will grow into a more productive player, and justify his inclusion as a starter for Everton and England. But he is nonetheless one of the reasons we did not take 4th this season, because his goals and assists do not measure up to the attacking midfield options and second striker options of the teams around us, even if he has the potential to be a world beater.

The other major reason was the left-midfield position. Pienaar is an effective player and keeps the ball well, but he falls well short of the options of those clubs above us (Cazorla & Podolski; Sterling; Hazard; Silva & Nasri).

I feel that we've two major first-team issues to address this close season: The need to replace Lukaku and the need for a top left-sided midfield player.

Personally, I believe that midfielder should be a playmaker, as I do not see Barley contributing enough in that respect, and feel that our team lacks the creativity at times to break down either deeper lying defences, or better defences. I'm assuming that we will spend 30-35 million this off-season, and I'd like to see the large majority of that directed towards a top left midfield option and a striker.

I think we need to confirm Barry, and bring in a fourth centre-back option, and add 4 loans again to supplement the team in readiness for the demands of European football.

Tony Draper
17 Posted 26/05/2014 at 15:51:41

Appalling though it is, the answer is MONEY!

Money would mean that:

our knees would not knock when some lazy journo says "XXXX to line up a 30M close-season bid for Everton starlet Barkley". We could take a punt on a list of "fancied strikers" (Lukaku, Bony, Benteke etc).

We could buy a tried & tested striker AND a "strike partner" (ie, backup).

We could secure a squad of 28 all capable of running out in the PL, EL, LC & FAC and our reaction would be "Well he deserves a runout, AND Roberto is rotating the squad wisely."

"Such and such" has openly said he's looking for a move to Goodison in the window.

The planned redevelopment of the Bullens will be completed ahead of schedule, meaning that the pre-season 5 continent tourney can be held at GP, and our new season sponsors, Continental Tyres, will be keen to re-tender for next season.

Etc, etc,etc

In other words, we would be in the sedan chair, not carrying it.

Jay Harris
18 Posted 26/05/2014 at 16:05:50
Totally agree with Chris James #10.

We didn’t fall short by that much but we also didn’t "show up" in a few key games. We do well when not much is expected of us and not so well when the expectations are high.

Some of this comes from the crowd when they are at full tilt (as in the Arsenal game) or totally lame (as in the CP game).

We are so used to being let down that it is almost anticipated whereas the RS believe they have a right to win everything and put pressure on referees and the media to that effect.

I do agree we are lacking top class "experienced" players (with the winning mentality) in certain areas but our team spirit is second to none which helps bridge some of that gap..

I also thing our "honesty" loses us a few key points, unlike the top 4 with their diving, cheating and pressurising referees to take action against the opposition.

If we could get a world class MF player in the Hazard mould and a top class striker or two then I feel 4th is within our reach but, having lost Lukaku, Barry and Deulofeu, there are major question marks over whether Black Bill will release enough funds to bridge the gap.

Raymond Fox
19 Posted 26/05/2014 at 15:33:55
6m players are 6m, because that’s perceived to be their worth. Likewise 20m to 50m players are that price because they’re looked upon as simply better players. Okay, that’s stating the bleeding obvious, but in a nutshell that’s the reason we shouldn’t expect us to finish in the top 4. Hope? ... yes; expect? ... no.

As Kevin says, we do have some top 4 players, Baines, Coleman, Jagielka, Barkley, while McCarthy and Stones are knocking on the door. Let’s not kid ourselves that our team is better than it is, 6 or 7 teams in the PL can afford to buy a better standard of player each year than us, I don’t think it has anything to do with lack of belief.

I’m not trying to denigrate the team we have had a cracking season this year, the difficulty will be replicate it again next season.

Eugene Ruane
20 Posted 26/05/2014 at 16:30:07
Maybe Suarez’s coach (seen in this clip) could be brought in to help Naismith with his movement.

Ray Roche
21 Posted 26/05/2014 at 17:10:42
Yet we gained a record number of points, a tally that would have seen us in the CL in almost every other season. Maybe all the other clubs decided to up the ante in this of all seasons.
Danny Broderick
22 Posted 26/05/2014 at 17:24:18
We could probably do with an Andy Gray, or Cantona, type player. A catalyst to transform some of our potentially very good players into the best. It would take someone like a Rooney, but obviously these players don’t grow on trees.
Paul Andrews
23 Posted 26/05/2014 at 17:54:55
Rob Young,

Spot on mate. Someone to play wide right of the 3 behind the forward is a must for me.

As much as I like Mirallas as a player, his best position is behind the forward in a free role. Whether he would get in the side before Barkley in that position is another point.

Paul Andrews
24 Posted 26/05/2014 at 18:00:49
I would not sell Mirallas by the way.
Tony Doran
25 Posted 26/05/2014 at 18:07:48
The 3 draws at the start of the season cost us. Not getting the players like Delboy, Barry McCarthy and Lukaku in earlier cost us. Not strengthening in January when Lukaku and Delboy where injured then Long Shanks got injured straight away. If all the players you mentioned had been fit all season, then it may have been different... but, unlike Citeh, the Shite and Chelsea, we don’t have the squad.
Paul Tran
26 Posted 26/05/2014 at 18:18:58
James, I think we habitually over-rate our players.

I’m not convinced by Lukaku; great when he fancies it, poor control, the ability to disappear, but has great presence and scares defenders shitless.

Mirallas can be fantastic, but his decision-making is patchy.

I think we need a better keeper if we want to progress. Howard was much improved last season, but that goal at Chelsea told me a lot. I’d get Forster or Marshall and send Robles back to Spain.

I’m expecting big things from McCarthy and Barkley this season. In the ’pressure’ games against Palace and Southampton, there was an absence of leadership and Barry looked knackered. I’d like to think that these two, with a bit of experience, will step up to that role.

We need at least two strikers. Hopefully Kone will come back fit and firing, plus two more in the summer. I’m not sure I’d pay 20m for Lukaku, unless Martinez can convince he can get some consistency out of him.

We had a satisfactory season last season. Too many of our players are brilliant on their day, but currently lack the consistency to provide what’s missing. It’s up to the manager to get it out of them, because I wouldn’t bank on our ’directors’ giving him significant funds.

Malcolm Joyner
29 Posted 26/05/2014 at 19:47:18
I think we shall do very well to repeat this season’s finish. Spurs and Man Utd have to be more of a challenge next time. It’s clear we desperately need creative quality in midfield and that 20 goals striker really needs to exceed that figure.

If Bobby is still shopping around in the bargain bay this summer, then we shall know for sure BK "don’t want it"!

Patrick Murphy
30 Posted 26/05/2014 at 19:53:47
I read a stat somewhere today that Lukaku has 65 League goals when turning 21 years of age; from memory, Rooney had 44, Messi 57 and Owen had 55. Which makes you think, as I am one of those who thinks he should be doing better... but the facts suggest otherwise.

Mike Childs
31 Posted 26/05/2014 at 19:51:25
Jim Knightley (16),

I both enjoyed and agree wholeheartedly with your analysis. The one point I will add that has been touched on by others is a goalkeeper to either replace or put some real pressure on Howard. I worry that he may fall backwards now that he has the new contract. He is such an enigma: one minute, a world-class save... the next ,a lapse in concentration and he’s beaten. Needs to work on positioning IMO.

Sean Kelly
32 Posted 26/05/2014 at 20:31:17
What’s missing? In a word... MONEY.
Patrick Murphy
33 Posted 26/05/2014 at 20:35:12
Everton have surged 13 places in the ’Brand League’ according to We lie just a place behind CL runners-up Athletico Madrid in 20th place.

If only we weren’t tied into those kit-bag deals we could make a fortune?

Top 50 Football Club Brands

Darren Hind
34 Posted 26/05/2014 at 19:45:50
Our players are good enough, unfortunately to break into the top four, you need a top four manager, we don’t have one.

To add Lukaku, McCarthy, Barry, Stones and Deulofeu not to mention Barkley to an improving group of players who had gone pretty close last time and still fail by seven points is a massive disappointment.

If Martinez is to bring success to Goodison, then I believe it wii probably be through a cup competition. Anyone who thinks we will improve our placing next season will receive a very warm welcome down the bookies.

Dennis Stevens
35 Posted 26/05/2014 at 21:22:46
I’d say that what’s missing is a smart blue stripe down the sides of the white shorts, it’s an outrage!
Paul Andrews
36 Posted 26/05/2014 at 21:31:07

Would you rate Rogers as a better manager than Roberto?

Ian Bennett
37 Posted 26/05/2014 at 21:37:39
The ante has been raised.

We have found ourselves best of the rest (again) on 72 points. Normally good enough for CL, ahead of spurs who blew 100m, and a head of the champions.

What missing from the formula? Goals, pretty much. We need to be scoring 70 plus goals probably to get to 75+ points needed to break CL. 20 goals for a centre forward, 15 from the defence. That leaves 35 from strike cover and midfield. That is the achilies heel. Even if Lukaku could get 20, the rest don’t score enough.

Colin Glassar
38 Posted 26/05/2014 at 21:42:14
Darren, that makes no sense. Was Brendan a top 4 manager? No, but he is now.
To win things and to get a top 4 place you need amongst many things a healthy dose of luck. How many deflected goals and pens did the rs get this season? Loads!!! How many did we get? 3-4 max.
Roberto, in his FIRST season, has got the lads believing we can win every game I.e. beating man u, Chelsea, arsenal etc...unfortunately, we slipped up against the likes of Sunderland, Palace, WBA, spurs etc..... Teams we should batter.
IMO what has been missing this season is that need to get in amongst these lowly teams and kick the shite out of them. Be absolutely ruthless and show them no mercy. Many on here prefer to blame Lukaku but how many times did Mirallas, Delofeu and even Barkley go for the spectacular worldie rather than pass it to Lukaku or another teammate?
Roberto will work on this over the summer and instilled in the guys the need for the killer pass and the importance of being cruel, cold blooded killers in front of goal.
Colin Glassar
39 Posted 26/05/2014 at 22:09:26
Oh, and that ’useless lump’ Lukaku scored a hatrick today for Belgium. Ok, it was against Luxembourg but they all count, don’t they?
James Stewart
40 Posted 26/05/2014 at 22:08:13
@26 Paul, nail-head.... can’t argue with any of that,mate.

My Spurs mate showed me their fan site and the amount of people on there cursing their luck that they missed the boat with Martinez was amusing. Some deluded ones even suggesting they should break the bank for him.

Malcolm Joyner
41 Posted 26/05/2014 at 22:06:33
Patrick @ 30. I very much doubt whether Lukaku has already scored 65 senior football goals, I think our greatest post-war ’boy wonder’ was Joe Royle who had netted 61 by his 21st Birthday.
Phil Bellis
42 Posted 26/05/2014 at 22:14:30
What’s missing? More captains on the pitch; we can all put names to the "type" I mean
Raymond Fox
43 Posted 26/05/2014 at 22:03:28
Darren, what biased tripe!

You mean to tell me that the value of our players on the open market would equal the likes of Man City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Redshite?

Is it so hard to admit your early season predictions have proved to be miles off the mark? What’s the problem? We all make mistakes.
Or is it a case of the great you, can never be wrong!

Kevin Tully
44 Posted 26/05/2014 at 22:20:44
Malcolm Anderlecht (33) West Brom (17) Everton (15)

I think that’s just League goals as well, don’t know what his cup record is.

Patrick Murphy
45 Posted 26/05/2014 at 22:46:51
Kevin, he’s scored just the one domestic cup goal for Everton at the Emirates and he bagged 8 goals in Europe for Anderlecht in 22 appearances which gives him a total of 74 goals in 184 appearances in his club career. he also has 8 goals in 28 games for Belgium.
Si Cooper
46 Posted 26/05/2014 at 22:45:11
"To add Lukaku, McCarthy, Barry, Stones and Deulofeu not to mention Barkley to an improving group of players who had gone pretty close last time and still fail by seven points is a massive disappointment." This is a joke, right?

You could say aging (Distin) / not performing at their peak (Osman, Jelavic, Heitinga, Pienaar, Naismith, Howard) / gone (Fellaini, Neville) for that ’improving squad’ from last season; a few may fit into a couple of of categories... which leaves a handful you would expect to improve. Absolutely no-one (outside of the club and its supporters) would have predicted us to finish 5th, ahead of Man Utd and Spurs, and so close to CL qualification.

An honest assessment of our signings last September would have gone something like this:-
Lukaku promising talent with PL experience.
McCarthy lots of raised eyebrows that we paid 13 million for him.
Barry yesterday’s man according to most observers.
Stones completely untested potential.
Deulofeu interesting pedigree but completely untested pedigree.
Barkley promising talent with PL experience, but not really trusted by previous manager.

It is absurd that Darren (who is fast becoming little more than a WUM) can dismiss the manager’s part in assembling this group of talent and getting a great deal out of them, instead suggesting that he failed to get what he should have out of a sure thing. Lukaku, Barkley and Deulofeu all missed significant game time and Stones didn’t really get started until the second half of the season.

What is still missing that +20-goal-a-season striker plus a supporting cast of two or three 10- to 15-goal-a-season forwards / midfielders.

Lukaku may achieve the level required but it is a gamble (especially if more than 25 million) and Barry needs to be signed or replaced to keep the system going. After that, it is about half-a-dozen decent recruits to flesh out the squad and everyone doing as well as they have this season at least, with a significant number continuing their development and adding something extra.

The only thing that will slash our odds with the bookies is that benevolent billionaire, because otherwise it will remain incredibly difficult for a club with our funding to beat three out of the six clubs who routinely dwarf our expenditure.

Andy Finigan
47 Posted 26/05/2014 at 23:01:42
Well put, Si.
Mike Childs
48 Posted 26/05/2014 at 23:08:54
If we loose out on Barry, we just have to find a way to keep Gibson healthy. As I recall from the season before, he was the glue that tied back and front lines together.
Bill Gall
49 Posted 26/05/2014 at 23:00:22
Hate to sound like a broken record but we need a quality midfielder to control the midfield. We have presently good midfielders who can win the ball and help the defence but after they pass the ball it takes about 6 passes to reach a striker and we need someone with vision that can open up a defence with 1 pass.

Another problem that I hope can be rectified is stability.Over the past number of seasons we h ave been a selling club loosing some of our best players and replacing them with less quality and more quantity.

With the present board and chairman, if they are able to provide the manager with the funds to bring in quality players and stop selling our younger talent, the Manager may be able to provide stability and bring belief to the squad to achieve success.

James Martin
50 Posted 26/05/2014 at 23:43:31
Bill I’m hoping that Gibson, if he can stay fit, will bring that incisiveness that we have been missing. When he has been fit he has comfortably been one of our best players. If Barry goes then him and McCarthy are a natural partnership.

Perhaps we need to alter our formation a bit? Mirallas Naismith and Lukaku all looked more comfortable in a 3 whilst Barkley looks better in a midfield three. Too many times this season its felt like Barkley up front in a two with Lukaku and Mirallas and Naismith as wingers.

Obviously everyone wants a Fabregas type for their deep lying mid or a Silva type for their number 10 but even United have had problems filling their deep lying positions since Scholes left. The very best cost money, we have to gamble on a young player.

I think we are really close and next season regardless of who the top clubs buy one of them will give us a chance again. We just have to start believing that we can take it. There are champions league quality players all over this team, its about time they started achieving something together.

We haven’t got Neville and Hibbert to blame any more, or Gueye and Osman on the wings. There’s no ageing Saha and Cahill. With a full strength team out there was genuine class all over the pitch, I just felt at times we didn’t want to believe how good we were so would not turn up against some average sides after decimating teams like Arsenal and United performance wise home and away.

What comforts me is that if we improve even slightly on our points tally next year we’ll almost certainly be in the top 4. Typical Everton in that the one season we set a plus 70 score we’ve effectively finished behind a low total four horse title race making the bar for fourth high instead of the usual two behemoths and two stragglers top 4 model which would have surely seen us sneak in at someone’s expense.

Any other team with our points tally in the last 3 seasons would have had two seasons of Europa League and ECL qualification. Instead Liverpool win a trophy but finish outside of Europe(?!) to deny us one year, Swansea and Wigan pick up the domestic trophies the next year (?!) to deny us again, and we total the record number of points to not qualify for the champions league this season. Classic Everton.

Derek Thomas
51 Posted 27/05/2014 at 00:15:53
What’s missing? Money, depth, true belief.

Up to a point, 3 will come from 2 and 2 will come from 1

Over to you Bill.

McFadden and AvdM notwithstanding, Moyes was good at finding 3-5M players and getting them to play like 10M players. (The fact that we sold Lescott for 24M is Man City’s fault not ours!)

IF and it’s a big IF there is a bit more cash down the back of Bill’s sofa than is usual, we need to see if Martinez can get 10-12M players and turn them into 20M+ players.

I don’t want us (however good it might feel to do it) spunking 20M+ on Lukaku; I’ve still a nagging feeling that all he is a slightly better type of rich man’s Anichebe.

Jim Harrison
52 Posted 27/05/2014 at 01:45:24
Haven’t read all posts, so sorry if I repeat anything previously stated, but whats missing? First point, you covered in the OP, we still don’t have a 20 a season goal scorer. To be honest, you probably actually need 2 of these players really. At most of the top 4 teams Lukaku would be a 2nd choice striker, with Chelsea perhaps the exception ironically.

Second point. Whilst the first team is strong and can give most of the top monied teams a good run on their day, the squad as a whole is not up to the required level. Against City our bench had youngsters with little or no experience, they had proven international players. Shit, they can keep Silva on the bench!!

Third point. Experience. Wenger, 17 season of qualification. Mourinho, two time winner of CL, has Madrid and Inter on his CV, titles with both. City, whilst the manager isn’t as qualified as the other two in terms of success he has managed at the highest level and has decades of experience. The odd one out is Rodgers, but he is at a team that has recently enjoyed CL success and has an outrageously strong front line to help him on his way. He also had the benefit of being in position for a season to at least have a grasp on his job.
Bobby on the other hand has in his debut season come tantalisingly close with far less experience and weaker squad than those who finished above him

To be honest, I think the OP simplifies the issue too much. We have a better team than before so we should do better. Well, the team did do better. More points, more goals. Unfortunately so did the teams place above us. It will take more than a loan striker to make the step up. In the end the difference was 7 points between 5th and 4th, 5 goals too. To bridge that gap the squad needs greater depth and that depth needs to include quality. And as whilst Roberto claims its all possible on limited funds its pretty clear to see that the teams who spend most on quality players end up in front of those who don’t.

Darryl Ritchie
53 Posted 27/05/2014 at 05:29:23
A lot on here are harping on about poor decisions being made in the final third. It all boils down to one fact. Scoring goals is the road to glory; assisting on a goal, not so much. Scoring goals gets you noticed. Scoring goals gets you more money.

A lot of times, I don’t think the player that hits the 40 yard screamer 30 rows up into the stands, ever looks up. He’d hit one in training, a month or so ago, so he lets fly. If it goes in, he’s a legend; if not, he apologizes to the 2 or 3 teammates that were in a better position.

We have to get the players thinking team first, individual stats second. RM has to somehow convince them that club success is more important.

If we win some silverware, they all become legends!

Darren Hind
54 Posted 27/05/2014 at 05:56:52
Colin #38

" was Brenda a top 4 manager ? No, but he is now" . . . .precisely Mate. its a bit like becoming a member of the mile-high club - ya gorre do it.

Raymond # 43

I was wrong, ( I’m always fucking wrong ) but not in the way you think. I thought we would finish fourth and backed us to do so - as I’ve said several times on here throughout the season.

Si #46

Not everyone shares your opinion mate and expressing an alternative view does nof constitute trying to wind you up. Your post, for example is literally all over the shop

Naismith came on leaps and bounds this season, and although they are "maturing" , it could be argued (and I’m arguing it ) that Howard, Distin and Ossie were all as good, if not even better this season. your argument becomes a little desperate when you include Heitinga and Neville. we know they had lost their places long bsfore the end of last season.

You list six players in your " honest assessment" of "our signings " last September . . . I hate to break this to you mate, but two of them were already here and there is a very good chance that 3 of the remaining 4 will be offski before a ball is kicked next season. How does that equate to Robbie building for the future ? . . . .

"Most observers" thought Barry was "yesterdays man" ? What, because he had fallen behind the likes of Ya Ya and Silva ? ? ? . .dear me.

I loved LL’s recent reposte to criticism of Evertons use of the loan system, but I feel embarressed when Evertonians want to take it from the equation when comparing our expediture to other clubs. We may not have paid the 40+ million to seure the services of Lukaku, Barry or Deulofeu, but we certainly enjoyed the luxury of them.

I seem to be upsetting the same group of people who cant bear to hear a word said against our manager. Its simple really, if just one of you asked me to stop giving an opinion based on what I saw, I will never post on a
Martinez related thread again.

Paul Andrews
55 Posted 27/05/2014 at 07:45:51

Do you believe we have not progressed as a club since Roberto was appointed?

Shane Corcoran
56 Posted 27/05/2014 at 07:40:41
Darren I was backing your unusual arguments on other threads but you’re letting yourself down here. Rodgers is Top 4 manager because his club finished in the top 4 and Martinez isn’t because his didn’t? Hardly worth saying if that’s how you’re going to define it.

Si’s post is not literally all over the shop unless of course he printed it off while down buying the paper and left it behind him.

And finally give up on the "entitled to my opinion" and "I won’t post again" stuff. That goes without saying and usually stinks of toys leaving the pram. Nobody’s going to beg you to stay.

Sam Hoare
57 Posted 27/05/2014 at 08:44:10
1) Our first team is not quite as good as we think. I’m not sure any of the teams above us would have swapped more than 3 or 4 players with us.

2) Our squad is certainly not as good. We particularly struggled last year during a period of injuries.

3) We don’t have the practice/experience. I knew Arsenal would beat us to 4th as they have a decade of securing CL to draw upon. They rose to the occasion with a faultless determination.

Max Wilson
58 Posted 27/05/2014 at 09:02:45
What is missing? Two good strikers and a committed, fit, imaginative mid-fielder to join McCarthy and Berkley. Anything else? A rich buyer!
Brent Stephens
59 Posted 27/05/2014 at 09:05:46
I think the main thing we are "missing" is the youth coming through. From the start that, to me, has seemed to be a medium-long term priority for Roberto. The medium term gets nearer.
Malcolm Joyner
60 Posted 27/05/2014 at 09:15:36
Sorry, Patrick Murphy, I had totally overlooked the goals he had scored in Belgium. 35 by the age of 17 was really something special!
Paul Andrews
61 Posted 27/05/2014 at 09:22:42

I think that should be the thing we "were" missing. Roberto has given the young players coming through the confidence to express themselves. Instead of being sent out with a rigid list of do’s and don’ts.

Wayne Smyth
62 Posted 27/05/2014 at 09:03:49
The answers are clear:

1) We don’t have the strength in depth. The performance and result at Anfield showed that we had to play half-fit players at times, and lost as a result. Some of our main players were out injured for key periods, Gibson, Pienaar, Lukaku, Kone, Jags, Baines. At one point I’m sure we had a full 11 players out injured.

2) Our players are generally not of the same quality as the teams we are trying to beat. We might have had Lukaku one of our best players this season but he is still raw in many respects, and not at the same level as Dzeko or Suarez, for example. Same for Mirallas compared with Hazard, or Barkley compared with Silva.

3) This is Martinez’s first season; we lost 6 points at the start of the season while the players were still trying to come to terms with the changes in tactics.

It will be similar this coming season and for the short-term. There will be lots of change with the playing staff as Roberto bloods younger players and gets rid of players who are not good enough. There could be big players for us who move on, like Fellaini, creating holes in the squad that need to be unexpectedly patched.

For me, ours is a long-term strategy. We’ve got a manager who this season has changed the mentality of the club, brought the School of Science back and taken us as close as we’ve been (in terms of points scored).

To get one of the top 4 places will probably take time and require some of the top teams to slip up again, like Man Utd and Spurs did this season.

The nature of the rich clubs is that they are generally quite unstable and they underperform. On the other hand we give the manager a long-term base to work from and complete control. Ours is a powerful equalising force, but we’re still odds-on to fail in the short-term, so people shouldn’t be surprised if we don’t get into the top 4 in the next few seasons.

Denis Richardson
63 Posted 27/05/2014 at 10:03:59
Just need 3 more players with the right quality (assuming the loanees have already been replaced with similar players), in order of priority:

a) A quality ACM who can unlock defences (i.e. much better than your Osman, Naismith, Pienaar). Someone like a Silva or Hazzard, just not quite at that level as we don’t have a spare 30-40m!

b) Another decent striker (need at least two who’ll get 15+ goals here’s hoping on Kone)
c) DM as cover/competition for McCarthy and Barry (a Barry replacement. Gibbo will provide a bit but is unreliable)

Squad is not far off, just needs 3 extra players with that bit of magic/quality to take it to the next level.... Close but no biscuit...

Brent Stephens
64 Posted 27/05/2014 at 10:39:14
Paul #61. Don’t disagree, Paul (that’s not an instruction! I mean I don’t disagree with you!).

I love the way he’s brought the young lads on. I just wanted to highlight his intention to make youth development and follow-through into the first time a priority, which I think is great.

Trevor Lynes
65 Posted 27/05/2014 at 10:50:08

What is missing is REAL investment. That about sums our failings up I think.

Both DM and so far RM have not had financial backing from our board who seem to make money every window and never plough it all back. We are supposedly the 20th most valuable club in Europe but we still shop at poundland compared to the top teams in our division. The fans seem to accept this lack of finances and even make excuses for the board when they sell to buy.

If we are to maintain our position and actually show some real ambition then we must give Roberto proper money. We need to hang on to our better youngsters and only by showing ambition can we do that. Players want to play in Europe and compete for trophies if they are good enough. If they are proved to be good enough they want to play for teams that have good chances of winning things. That is a fact!

Our board need to invest in the team and provide Roberto with 30 to 40 million otherwise we will remain little everton punching above their weight, valiantly hanging on to the coat tails of the top contenders.

I am frustrated when I see Liverpool competing for Lallana, Bosasie and other exciting players while we are linked with Rodwell, Lescott and Forrest. It makes me boil!

Jim Bean
66 Posted 27/05/2014 at 11:43:22
Joining the dots in the final third. We are definitely behind our rivals in this aspect. Lukaku, Deulofeu and Barkley are young and played too much as individuals.

No surprise to me we played our best football with the sometimes derided Naismith up front. Tactically he is light years ahead of the youngsters, even if limited technically.

My favourite game was Arsenal at home where we played 4-3-3 with Lukaku and Mirallas either side of Naismith, Barkley deeper alongside Barry and McCarthy. We looked genuinely a Champions League side, everyone seemed to have so many options on the ball. Also tough to play against, which is half of football.

Hopefully Bobby will explore this option more next season. Players like Welbeck or Remy who can play all along a front three would be ideal for this set up.

Bill Griffiths
67 Posted 27/05/2014 at 11:53:40
Wayne (62), I totally agree with your last 3 paragraphs but have my doubts as to whether most others will allow him the time see the project through. A slight dip over the next couple of seasons will see people calling for his head.
Malcolm Joyner
68 Posted 27/05/2014 at 13:05:57
I guess it’s that we’ve got the fifth most talented squad in the Prem and whilst it can be improved, the Top Four will seek to do so at the same time.

I, for one, will be more than happy if we can finish top six and put up a good show in the Europa next season.

Andrew Ellams
69 Posted 27/05/2014 at 13:29:34
We are desperate for class out wide. If we want to be top 4 then McGeady needs to be second choice out left and probably the same with Miralles out right. Although, if Mirallas had some strong competition for his place (Victor Moses?), then maybe we would see the best from him more often.

Then of course there is the striker issue. I saw Gomis wants 100k a week to come to England. Maybe worth it as he doesn’t command a transfer fee. Remy over 3 years would cost a lot more than that with the 8-10 million on top of the wages etc.

Paul Andrews
70 Posted 27/05/2014 at 13:48:56
I agree 100% Brent.

I have never understood, when I have watched youth teams of professional clubs, why they played different formations to the first team.

The way forward if transfer budget is not great is to nurture the young players into your style of football, bring a few of them through together into the first team squad, and you have the built-in spirit already in place.

Si Cooper
71 Posted 27/05/2014 at 17:38:17
Sorry Darren, you are absolutely right. I should have used ’signings and highly rated youngsters’ rather than just ’signings’ for the six players you named to infer that Martinez had failed to get the best out of. Can’t remember but maybe I forgot to type the full version in my rush to actually post the meat of my argument.

A small oversight, most would say, compared to someone whose whole opinion rests on reviewing 2012-13 in the most optimistic way possible and 2013-14 in the most pessimistic.

You then started arguing my point by pointing out that Naismith and others had had far better seasons than most would have predicted from their performances the season before. That has to be credited to Martinez. Gareth Barry would not have come into anyone’s reckoning for a place in the England World Cup squad last Summer, but a season under Martinez has fully restored or even enhanced his reputation. He has been injured in recent years and even amongst those who rated him previously there were severe doubts as to whether he still could hack it at the highest level.

Of course the loss of Lukaku, Deulofeu and Barry would leave some big holes to fill (and I never said otherwise, as I was only then disputing your outright dismissal of Martinez’s contribution to a good season), but it is not yet assured that those players will not be returning. Even if they don’t, Martinez has now shown he can manage a club that is challenging for Champions League qualification, can take players from the likes of Barcelona, Man City and Chelsea and use them well, and has a system that he can train his players to play that has got him a 55% win percentage in a transitional season. That bodes well for attracting and retaining players of the right calibre, filling in whatever gaps in the squad that occur, as long as sufficient funds are made available.

David Chait
72 Posted 27/05/2014 at 19:41:28
Jim #16 is a great post. Excellent analysis. We do think of our players as amazing but, when you put them side by side with this season’s top 4, we would replace many of them. Our best at this stage are based on potential that is unfulfilled.

We have no player threading passes through gaps to a striker to slot home.. Apart from a couple from Naismith. Too often our lads want to go alone and miss clear passes to players in better positions. It was endemic in our side last season.

So, yes, potential is there.. But the team wasn’t ready yet.

Peter Mills
73 Posted 27/05/2014 at 20:33:22
We need a decent midfielder, a goalscorer, experience, a leader and someone who can help the younger lads.

Given the heartbreak the Lampard family has caused us down the years, I wonder if Frank (junior, that is) feels like providing a year of payback?

Darren Hind
74 Posted 27/05/2014 at 21:18:22

You tried to counter my point by coming up with a list of players Robbie signed. Of course I was going to correct you, by pointing out Barkley and Stones were here long before he was. Now I’m sure you actually believed what you were saying at the time, but it did come across as your latest attempt to credit the manager with something he didn’t actually do.

You then go on to claim that I base my opinions by viewing 2012-13 in the most positive light and 2013-14 in a negative one. That is again simply not true.

I have repeatedly said that I believe Moyes held these players back through his negativity and Martinez through his navity; what’s so difficult to understand?

Players good enough. Managers (both of them) not good enough,

It may not fit in with your view that Robbie is the best thing since sliced bread, but it’s an opinion formed using the evidence of my own eyes. . . If others want to form theirs by claiming Robbie is a top four manager (even though he has never done it) or Brenda isn’t (even though he has) or that we had worse injuries than everyone else, have players who are not good enough, or simply that the manager signed players who were here before he was, thats their prerogative.

Gerry Quinn
75 Posted 27/05/2014 at 22:31:29
I see that Andy Pandy Shandy Van De has re-surfaced, and those World Cup squads would certainly get my vote! Can’t Roberto get some of them on loan?

Tony Abrahams
76 Posted 27/05/2014 at 22:45:02
Martinez might not be a Top 4 manager but to use the example of Barkley, Stones, Lukaku and a kid from Spain is plain daft.

The reason being, Darren, is experience, and a combined total of about 25 starts in The EPL between them. Martinez made about 15 Million on transfers, totally changed the style of play, and stopped the media going on about Everton punching above their weight.

They went on about LOANS instead, Darren, and the reason we have to have loan players? Because the club has been mismanaged for that long, with their high interest loans continually crippling us, that maybe a Top 4 manager wouldn’t touch Everton with a barge-pole?

Si Cooper
77 Posted 28/05/2014 at 01:52:25
Darren, you came up with that list of six players (not me) which you apparently think can be straightforwardly added to an unqualified ’improving group of players who had gone pretty close last time’ to give a shoe-in Champions League qualifying squad; otherwise, how can you sum up the season with the words "...still fail by seven points [is] a massive disappointment" a very pessimistic summation of last season.

In my initial post, I put your words in inverted commas to make it clear what I was arguing against, it is not my fault you cannot recognise your own points. You listed the six players and said they were ’add-ons’.

I erroneously lumped the six you listed together as ’signings’ but the point was about a reasonable assessment of the general expectation of the contribution of each of those players, not about giving the manager credit for signing them all. He deserves credit for signing some of them and for getting the best out of all of them and the rest of the squad.

I gave comments on the players from 2012-13 to show how few the quality of ’improving’ could reasonably be applied to (I would suggest Coleman, Oviedo and Mirallas is probably the full extent, with others either just sustaining or even dipping after an excellent start to the season). The second half of last season was largely forgettable and I think it could be argued that Martinez inherited a squad that was stagnating when he arrived last Summer. That is why I call your view of that season as ’most optimistic’.

You have not actually directly addressed any of the points I made to counter the statement you made in your post. Instead you have just attacked a mistake in my syntax or some inelegant grammar / punctuation and have made out that I am simply trying to give the manager credit for things he did not actually do.

Incidentally, on the subject of John Stones, I think you could make a case that he is a Martinez ’signing’ as he was about to sign the lad when we made a last minute approach for him.

Darren Hind
78 Posted 28/05/2014 at 05:05:37
Tony Abrahams

" To use the example of Barkley, Stones, Lukaku and the kid from Spain is plain daft..." The reason Darren, is experience and a combined total of about 25 EPL starts between them"

Really, Tony? And here’s me thinking Lukaku alone started more than that and the four players took part in over 100 games between them. You may think it’s "daft" to bring them into the equation but, given the impact these players had, I think it would be even dafter to leave them out of it.

Your claim that Martinez "made 15m on transfers" is laughable; yet another attempt to give Martinez credit for something he had little to do with. If you think for one minute Martinez could have prevented this board from snatching off Davey Moyes’s increasingly desperate hand when he offered nearly twice as much as he paid for Fellaini, you just couldn’t have been watching transfer events at GP this past few years.


"How can you sum up the season with the words "to still fail by seven points is a massive disappointment"? That one’s easy to answer, Si: We did and it is.

I do recognise my own points, I did list those players as additions; that’s because they were... it was your... err, "oversight" to list them as Martinez signings, an oversight you only acknowledged after you were pulled up.

You finish with this minor classic: (You) "Have made out that I am simply trying to give the manager credit for things he did not actually do. Incidentally, on the subject of John Stones, I think you could make a case that he is a Martinez "signing" as he was about to sign the lad when we made a last minute approach for him "

A genuine ’laugh out loud’ moment

I’m giving this up as a bad job. If people are going to start crediting the manager for FAILING to sign a player, I guess it’s time for me to accept that I’m pissing against the wind. .

Paul Andrews
79 Posted 28/05/2014 at 07:25:57
"Martinez held the team back with his navity, what’s so difficult to understand?"

I am struggling to understand that Darren.
Could you explain that please.

Matt Traynor
80 Posted 28/05/2014 at 07:42:13
Darren and Si’s little back and forth has me thinking of another conspiracy theory, cos we’re good at that...

- Stones was on his way to sign for Wigan when EFC stepped in, we all agree on that?

- At that stage, Moyes knew he was headed to OT to replace Taggart. (I know some will not believe that, but it’s a conspiracy theory...)

- So BK knew all along, knew RM was going to be the new manager (as did RM) and hence Everton stepped in at the last minute to snatch the lad.

He didn’t play for us in DM’s last 6 months either. So that’s it; must be true. Right, off to the papers...

David Ellis
81 Posted 28/05/2014 at 08:47:57
Darren - if you were massively disappointed by how this season turned out then you are in for a great deal of disappointment in life.

Moyes did a great job for us because we outperformed our financial strength under him. I am amazed and delighted that we have not only continued to do this under Martinez but done so with a smile on our face and in the way we approach games. I hope he stays with us for as long as possible.

I pity Southampton who will most likely now go tits up the fate I feared for us post-Moyes, but we have come out of it stronger. Quite what more you were expecting, I have no idea... but, if it was a better outcome than what occurred, then I suggest you re-calibrate.

Si Cooper
82 Posted 28/05/2014 at 15:06:31
Darren, you are worse than a WUM. If you cant accept that signings was a genuine (and pretty minor) slip-up on my part, that didnt actually change the point I was making, then you are actually a right tw*t - Ill let you decide what word I meant to use there.

You are the only person I have met who is calling the season just gone a massive disappointment; saying it is does not prove anything you know?

You obviously dont understand the use of the word simply in a sentence. Of course I am trying to give the manager credit, but only that which I (and a load of others) honestly believe he deserves, and which includes his apparent ability to both attract and inspire top quality players. That he has made mistakes is evident to us all, but only you seem to feel it necessary to view the glass as half-full at this juncture. His job is still far from done but, for most people, he has made a good start and we are hoping he will build on that.

The thing with Stones is that Martinez was obviously aware of the lads potential a long time before he became manager of Everton and actually took steps to sign him before we did. Stones was prepared to sign for him until Everton came in (the fact that he was already at Wigan actually helped us to make the move), so we can be pretty sure he didnt have an issue with the manager and only an absolute numpty would twist that around to use it as a prime example of a failure as if players didnt choose bigger clubs over smaller ones more often than not.

You are trying to use semantics and insults to knock-out posts that are asking you to justify your extreme and contrary opinion, instead of actually countering the points that are raised.

Lyndon Lloyd
83 Posted 28/05/2014 at 15:45:10
Darren, I actually think youre being a little disingenuous about Sis point re: Stones. He did try and sign him, which is the important point here, and I think wed all agree (with all due respect to Wigan) that it was the destination rather than the manager that probably swayed the player.

Si Cooper
84 Posted 28/05/2014 at 17:14:01
It should, of course, say ...view the glass as half-empty... in my previous post.
Tony Abrahams
85 Posted 28/05/2014 at 17:41:27
Thats exactly it, Darren, your comments are laughable. Read what I said because, like you, I havent said that Martinez is a top 4 manager. What I will say is that hes done a very good job up to now and if you want to disagree with facts, thats up to you mate. Name me a manager other than Moyes who had to sell before they could buy, especially one who was new in the job?

If you think that Everton never got Top 4 because of the manager, I really dont think that you have got a creditable arguement, but Im sure you will find one though! Especially if you have been watching transfers at GP these last few years!!!

Alex Carry
86 Posted 28/05/2014 at 18:57:39
I think we just lack conviction in our play. We get to the end of the pitch after fantastic approach play and we freeze up and take a silly shot. We may have had Lukaku but his touch was awful. In saying that it got better as the season progressed but still it was awful at times.

And as for Mirallas, yes he comes up with individual moments of pure class but other than those one or two moments in a game hes brutal.

Darren Hind
87 Posted 28/05/2014 at 19:29:31
Twas ever thus, though, Lyndon. Managers have been getting gazumped since professional football began.

There cant be a single manager in the game that hasnt, at some stage of his managerial career, had a player snatched from his grasp at the last minute by a bigger richer club. However, in over 50 years of observing the game, I had yet (until today) to hear of any of them given credit for a guy he nearly signed... dont you feel that smacks of desperation?

The irony, of course, is that, had Martinez not failed in his attempt to sign Stones, we may not have been talking about him at all.

I did not miss a game last season; I was at all 38, so I know how Evertonians reacted to our failure to qualify for the CL. The suggestion that I am the only one who was massively disappointed by our failure to qualify could only have been made by somebody who is completely out of touch with the club. I dont think Ive ever heard a crowd leave so quietly than ours did after the Palace game... nd coming back from Southampton was a miserable experience.

Si Cooper,

You may think that by branding my points as "extreme" you can you can neatly box me of as a tiny minority, but it wont wash. I meet hundreds of fans travelling round and have become great friends with many of them. When we failed at the last hurdle with the prize in sight, everyone single one I spoke to (without exception) expressed disappointment.

Perhaps those magnificent fans had no right to expect that we capitalise on our advantage with so few games to go. Perhaps we should all recalibrate and enjoy the "relative" success.... perhaps we should all rejoice in the fact that our manager was not only aware of a talent most of the football community had been talking about, but he very nearly signed him.

Paul Andrews
88 Posted 28/05/2014 at 21:42:31

Some fair points there.

One thing though: The reason we didnt qualify for CL was certainly not down to the manager holding the team back with his navety

Iain Love
89 Posted 28/05/2014 at 23:55:06
Havent read all the comments, but my own take is we didnt share the goals around enough. We also didnt attack with enough pace.
Si Cooper
91 Posted 29/05/2014 at 00:03:46
Darren, what you are failing to acknowledge is that Martinez moved the goalposts in terms of expectancy himself.

If you had applied massive disappointment to the fact that we failed to achieve CL qualification having come so close then I would have had absolutely no issue with what you said, but that is just the latest stance you have adopted. Instead you have applied it to the season as a whole which is grossly unfair, suggesting that our 5th place and 72 points would have been seen as failure by a dispassionate assessment of who the manager had bought and inherited last September. Is that 20/20 hindsight useful when you are at the game?

In case you think I am making something up, here is a fresh cut-and-paste direct from your post at 34:

"To add Lukaku, McCarthy, Barry, Stones and Deulofeu not to mention Barkley to an improving group of players who had gone pretty close last time and still fail by seven points is a massive disappointment."

It still contains the list of six players you say I came up with!

Si Cooper
92 Posted 29/05/2014 at 00:26:40
Darren, at least your 38-game attendance probably rules out the fact that you are Martin Mason in disguise.

Your debating style is remarkably similar though - attack minor mistakes ferociously and hope that this smokescreen hides the fact that you are not actually dealing with the valid points; claim victory at every step without ever landing a knockout blow.

Darren Hind
93 Posted 29/05/2014 at 04:29:46

I know what I said and I haven't wavered from it. As far as I'm concerned, it's perfectly logical for anyone to expect a big improvement in results if you can add that little lot to an already decent squad. You don't agree, fine, just say so rather than bouncing in and accuse me of being a WUM.

It was you who claimed they were "signings" ... now whether that was an attempted sleight of hand, or you really didn't know what you were talking about, doesn't really matter. I can only respond to what you said, not what you later claim to have meant. I'm not a mindreader.

I applied "massive disappointment" to a season because, once we got to that fork in the road, where the winners and the losers part company, Martinez took us down the same road Moyes had been taking us for years.

Martinez is a charismatic and popular figure, but if you think for one minute that I was the only one left feeling angry and frustrated at his tactics and team selections when a CL place was within our grasp, then you are even more out of touch with the club you feel qualified to preach to others about, than I thought you were.

I was always going to back us for CL qualification, especially as Moyes was gone and those who like a punt can tell you that some bookies where offering as much as 25/1 for us to do it; however, by the time I got around to actually placing my bet, I had to shop around, because our price was as low as 14s ... so if as you say, NOBODY expected us to challenge, how do you suppose that happened?

Not every Evertonian is prepared to lower his expectations or wants to happy clap and celebrate "relative success". Some of us thirst for the real thing and, the longer we go without it, the thirstier were get.

Mike Green
94 Posted 29/05/2014 at 08:07:11
Daniel Ford
96 Posted 29/05/2014 at 11:43:05
When our '20 goals a season' striker only scores 16, it does negate the point of the article a little. Those extra 4 goals could have been worth 8 points which would have meant 4th. Having Lukaku for the games he missed, especially our first 3 draws, I'm sure would have meant more points.

I think not having a backup striker was the difference this season. Lukaku at 20 isn't gonna be the answer in every game: he will have dips in form. Where I think we struggled was having a Kone or Traore to bring on to rest Rom and to offer something different. Roberto will know that; I would be amazed if we went through this next season with a similar number of strikers

Tony Draper
97 Posted 29/05/2014 at 13:03:22
What Im about to suggest will certainly provoke a number of shaking heads... bear with me: Id be very keen to take up free agent Frank Lampard.

For me, he has so much of what our 2014-15 squad could benefit from:

Chelseas ALL-TIME leading goalscorer, and that from midfield.
Consumate professional, no disciplinary matters to worry over.
Injury free.
European winner.
International experience.
No adverse "dressing room" reputation.
Would make a superb in-house mentor for Ross Barkley.
Could only add depth to our 4 trophy campaign.

Maybe his wages would be steep for someone his age for a (lets say) 2 year contract.

But I genuinely believe that, IF we did follow this line of reasoning, that we would be able to reflect upon it as a very wise move.

Just like Nigel Martyn proved.

Mike Childs
98 Posted 29/05/2014 at 17:12:09
Thanks Darren, if nothing else you've certainly helped to keep me level-headed about the upcoming season. Even as a novice knowledge-wise about the game, I was certainly baffled by the Palace lineup. Hopefully Martinez has learnt from that blunder that at times conservative play can be used to a positive effect.

Southampton, on the other hand, was worse. No emotion, no ideas, no tactical answers and it seemed like the only game where the lads quit. At least against Palace they kept swinging till the end.

Like the majority, though, I enjoyed the style of football so much more than I did when Moyes was in charge. This season, I knew that Martinez could and would make changes to the lineup or formation that yielded positive results.

The honeymoon is over; hopefully the marriage of Martinez and Everton is just as positive.

Si Cooper
99 Posted 29/05/2014 at 17:48:56
Darren, I didn't claim they were 'signings', I just used that word as a collective title for the group of players you had listed and the actual point was nothing to do with who brought them to the club, it was about the general level of expectation that surrounded those players at the start of the season. You didn't respond to what I said after the word 'signings', preferring to witter on about the supposed claim of who bought who (as if that even matters). No attempted sleight of hand (the rest of that paragraph is just arrogant and insulting, but I am guessing you are the sort of person who wears those terms as a badge of honour).

I think this aptly sums up your level of insight: -
"it's perfectly logical for anyone to expect a big improvement in results if you can add that little lot to an already decent squad." - yeah, feckin' automatic, happens all the time.... er, except it doesn't. Can't think of any clubs who have spent money on good players to join the massed ranks of their already fancied squads only to fall short of their targets? Tottenham this season would be a prime example, the RS for most of the last two decades would be another, and there must be dozens / hundreds / thousands of examples from the history of world football. That is why managers matter, and the reason so many of them lose their jobs each year is that they cannot deliver to people's 'expectations', which may be realistic or not.

"I was always going to back us for CL qualification, especially as Moyes was gone..." - I wish this was something you could actually prove Darren, as this attitude would have put you in stark contrast to the vast majority of the views I heard / read when Moyes left and Martinez was appointed. Lyndon and Michael could have put the Samaritans number on this site to save some posters the trouble of looking it up, the majority were hopeful of a top ten finish in a transitional season, and even the most positive of us (which included me) were saying 'give the bloke a chance, there is a chance we will still be 'best of the rest'. None of the pundits gave us an outside chance at CL qualification, and a lot predicted a fall down the table of at least a couple of places. No one expected United to fall so far, Tottenham were very well fancied, and the RS were obviously improving so who did you honestly 'expect' us to finish above 9 months ago?

"once we got to that fork in the road, where the winners and the losers part company" - "when a CL place was within our grasp" - what links these two statements of yours? They both point out exactly how far Martinez got us this season (which most neutrals and Evertonians did not expect last September, or even when we failed to significantly recruit in January) and so while your anger and frustration may be an acceptable response to not ultimately getting the job done having got so close you are actually bemoaning a 'relative failure'. I am not celebrating this season, but I think it was a step in the right direction that can be built on and that cannot possibly add up to a 'massive disappointment' if things are kept in perspective.

I can't say a lot about your apocryphal bookies odds; I never looked into it because I am not a habitual gambler and didn't expect it for this season. If you had offered me 72 points and 5th place last September, I would have been very happy and I honestly think the vast majority of Evertonians would have agreed. That doesn't mean I (we) don't often wish things were like I remember they were in the '80s, just that I think getting back to that level will be extremely difficult.

I don't agree that Martinez did an awful job against Palace and Southampton. The team he picked on both occasions should have had enough about them to get the job done, and it was the players who failed to deliver. Against Palace we still actually controlled most of the game but were not urgent enough in the final third, and they were energetic and clinical in their finishing (as they were against many clubs in the last couple of months of the season). A difficult task at St Mary's became almost impossible due to two totally uncharacteristic own goals, and when a battling response failed to create a quick route back into the game the energy drained away quickly. Summed up ably as 'Shit happens'.

I hardly think pulling YOU up for being ridiculously harsh in your summing up of the season as a whole amounts to preaching to Evertonians, however your inferences that you are somehow of a superior level of supporters because your expectations are supposedly higher give you a very 'Billy Graham-ish' aura. Maybe you do believe that a criticism of you is an attack on the 'righteous'?

David Johnson
100 Posted 03/06/2014 at 00:27:32
Last season with our loan signings there was not a lot missing really. Any other season and wed almost certainly have qualified for CL. I actually laughed out loud when Bill announced that Roberto had said hed get us in the top four. Not because I doubted Robertos abilities, but because yet again I fully expected to be selling more than we bought and Bill didnt disappoint.

I bore myself going on and on about it but Everton have actually sunk to bottom place in the net transfer league. It seems we have a Champions League manager and a League One board. Until Bill pops his clogs, Ill have to content myself with Robertos swashbuckling brand of football and cling to the hope that Roberto will weave his magic in the loan market, year on year.

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