Loose Belgian Lips Expose Everton's Harsh Reality

Beyond the semantics of quotes attributed to Romelu Lukaku this week lies a more sobering reality. In order to keep our best players, Everton need to become a "top club" once more.

Lyndon Lloyd 13/02/2015 130comments  |  Jump to last

Another week, another flap about one of our Belgian player's apparently wandering eyes looking beyond their time with Everton.

If you talk to the media often enough and face their probing, leading questions, you're bound to say something that will hurt the supporters of the club you're currently representing. And while it's easy to suggest they shouldn't be allowed to talk to anyone, that's just not realistic anymore.

With its constant media spotlight and the public's apparently insatiable desire for coverage, it's impossible to expect players not to talk to the press. When they do, they're at the mercy of the media in terms of what gets quoted and what weight is attributed to which comments, both by the outlet in question and those consuming it.

So, following Kevin Mirallas's recent talk of wanting Champions League football and a fresh challenge, Romelu Lukaku's latest admission of ambition has caused a stir among Everton fans. It's ill-timed given our current struggles, but its tone is not inconsistent for a player with high aspirations, particularly given that he was talking to his own countrymen who would expect one of their top internationals to be playing at the highest level.

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There's an inherent danger in trying to dissect or over-analyse comments attributed to a player without seeing the full transcript but if we're to take them at face value in light of the furore they're causing, then it's best to get the semantics out of the way at the outset.

If he was quoted exactly, Lukaku said he wants to one day get back to playing for a "top club". Having played for Everton for a year on loan, experienced the magic of Goodison Park, been followed around the country by our army of travelling fans and soaked in the history in which our the club is steeped, he probably knew he was joining a "big club" when he signed for us last summer.

Sadly, Everton is no longer a "top club", and there's an important distinction between the two terms. The latter description unquestionably fits those teams regularly competing for titles and in the Champions League, a dream that looked a little less distant when we just missed out on the top four last season and when the Belgian put pen to paper for us last July. Sadly, with the club mired in the bottom half of the table, things look decidedly different now and in terms of our short-term prospects, that glittering history doesn't count for much.

Had we supporters known at the time that landing Lukaku for 28m would exhaust the transfer kitty, that the acquisitions of Samuel Eto'o and Christian Atsu would disappoint so badly, and that Roberto Martinez's much-anticpated second season would go as south as it has, we might not have been exuberant as we were when he signed. But, given the fee and his goalscoring record, Everton definitely made a statement by capturing him from Chelsea and the player himself has never been shy about expressing his ambitions to play in the Champions League.

He was saying it last summer before and after the World Cup and, having joined Chelsea in a dream move as a 16 year-old and earned the title of "the next Drogba," it's only natural for a player with his strike-rate to feel like he is destined for great things. At 21 and having signed a five-year contract for a team that looked to most observers last season to be on the cusp of cracking the top four based on Martinez's impressive first season in charge, he clearly felt that he could achieve his goal of playing in the Champions League with Everton.

This train-wreck of a season may suggest otherwise but it remains a possibility that Lukaku more so than his 27 year-old compatriot, Kevin Mirallas, whose time horizon is a little shorter can achieve everything he wants at Goodison Park and we would once again become the "top club" he aspires to play for. It looks a long way off again right now but then nowhere has he said he is looking to leave any time soon.

It's natural for we supporters to want our players to fall blindly in love with our club and to commit their playing futures to us at the expense of their career ambitions but it's just not practical. As the quality of our squad improves, so increases the likelihood that we will be acquiring players with lofty goals and, yes, large egos that are augmented by the relentless spotlight and the glamour of the Premier League.

So, when asked about his future ambitions in the context of his history with Chelsea a club seemingly on course for the title and another shot at the Champions League crown and our current struggles, it should come as no surprise that a player who has always aspired to develop to one day become the best striker in the world, should talk about once again playing for a "top" club. We would love it to be Everton, but we can't expect top players to hang around and wait for us to get our act together.

It has quite obviously been a frustrating season, particularly for Lukaku who has scored 10 goals in spite of the team's poor form and a system that does him few favours. The revelation of these latest comments has seen a torrent of infective directed towards Lukaku from disgruntled supporters on websites and social media criticising his personal form and perceived failings, some of it warranted but much of it short-sighted.

Having witnessed Goodison Park become a striker's graveyard over almost three decades as an Evertonian, it's agonising watching another striker seemingly being wasted by a rigid system in which his strengths are not being accommodated. The fact that so much oxygen has been wasted in slamming him for missing that gilt-edged chance against Chelsea on Wednesday rather than acknowledging what was to these eyes, anyway a brilliant save by Peter Cech perhaps serves to highlight just how few chances he actually gets to miss.

The fact is, while he is deserving of some criticism for a lack of movement and his propensity to stray offside, Lukaku is playing in a team that has forgotten how to attack and create chances. Four goals from their last four games is testament to the poverty of ideas and imagination in the side going forward and if you thrive on putting chances away like Lukaku does, that is bound to be frustrating. Strikers can't score without service and he is getting precious little of it at the moment.

The three-year mark is usually when players begin to think about their next contract. The next two years will be illustrative of where Everton are heading and whether Romelu Lukaku will be able to fulfill his dreams with us or somewhere else. To paraphrase a tweet from earlier today, loyalty is for fans; players want to win and careers are short. If Everton want to sign and keep their top players they have to match their ambitions and become a top club again. It's that simple.

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Reader Comments (130)

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Trevor Lynes
1 Posted 13/02/2015 at 19:44:44
Fine article and much more balanced than other comments elsewhere. The other midfielders are not stepping up to the plate in regards of scoring so both our Belgians are providing virtually all our strike power.

We are very good defensively and stopping other teams playing but we lack creativity that was once provided by the much maligned Osman and Pienaar in tandem with Baines.

Jay Harris
2 Posted 13/02/2015 at 19:36:07
Lyndon,
as always a thoughtful and thought provoking summing up of the lad’s situation.

When the Belgian squad get together they all seem to talk of ambition and success but they let their undoubted talents down in terms of "achieving" success as a national team.

There is something fundamentally wrong with a Belgian mentality that recognises and shows so much talent individually but regularly fails to take on board the "team" ethic.

When I first heard Lukaku’s comments I was ready to rip into him but it has since been reported that he was asked if he would like to return to Chelsea "later" in his career to which he responded that he liked Chelsea but there are other top clubs in the world where he could fulfill his ambition "later" in his career.

That puts a little different perspective on it but it still doesnt change my view that he was never worth 28 million and on current form and ability is not even worth 8 million.

Jamie Crowley
3 Posted 13/02/2015 at 19:57:54
Couldn’t agree more with everything said.

Especially this:

The fact that so much oxygen has been wasted in slamming him for missing that gilt-edged chance against Chelsea on Wednesday rather than acknowledging what was – to these eyes, anyway – a brilliant save by Peter Cech perhaps serves to highlight just how few chances he actually gets to miss.

Paul Smith
4 Posted 13/02/2015 at 20:08:02
You don’t go from a "big club" one season to a minnow the next. He knew what he was getting into and should dig deep with the rest of them.
Tom Magill
5 Posted 13/02/2015 at 20:12:37
Who can blame him for wanting to play at a bigger club,if I was him I would too.No point wasting your career at an unambitious club.
Kelvin Thomas
6 Posted 13/02/2015 at 19:45:05
If we were up there challenging these type of stories wouldn’t happen. Its a reusult of a really shit FIRST HALF of the season. I don’t expect miracles between now and april but an improvement yes.

Well Bill, we have a back bone for the future in Stones-McCarthy-Besic-Barkley-Lukaku now come on and fill in the gaps!!!

Clive Mitchell
7 Posted 13/02/2015 at 20:12:27
I don’t think you’re quite convincing yourself Lyndon. Imagine if, during the next few hours, we heard a chorus of "me too" from Stones, Barkley and McCarthy. They would all be entitled to think it - in all three cases arguably more so than Lukaku - but they don’t say it.

The key point is that he didn’t have enough respect for his current employers to focus on them, his manager and his colleagues rather than himself. That has to be dealt with.

Colin Glassar
8 Posted 13/02/2015 at 19:59:37
Thanks for that Lyndon, I’ve waited until now to see if there has been some reaction from the player, or club, before opining.

I think I would prefer to wait for something official before I go on a rant. If this turns out to be true then I’d be seriously pissed off with him as I’ve defended him till I’ve been blue in the face.

Jamie Barlow
9 Posted 13/02/2015 at 20:28:50
These fuckin Belgians love chatting don’t they. Every time there’s a break and they go home they open their big mouths.

Really though, the only thing that pisses me off is that he’s come out and said this now. I’ve no problem with players being ambitious but right now we need our players fighting like fuck to get us out of the mess THEY put us in.

Play as good as you can and put in the effort till the end of the season and then if you want to leave, leave. No problem. Coming out saying things like this (if he has) at this point does no favours to anyone.

Still loads of shite being typed on here though. We’ve got the same people telling us Lukaku is shite and he will never make it, never play for a big club but we’ve got to give Barkley time because he’s only a young lad. 6 months separates them in age.

I know who’s name I’d put on the team sheet first.

Colin Glassar
11 Posted 13/02/2015 at 20:32:18
Great post Jamie I agree with all of what you said except the Barkley bit.
Brian Garside
12 Posted 13/02/2015 at 20:30:34
Well written Lyndon. Will everyone please remember that he is a young man speaking in a foreign language? It makes it a lot easier for unscrupullos journalists to get him to say something he doesn’t really mean. If anyone of the moaners had themselves been in this position they would understand so LAY OFF!

Besides. If he lacked ambition to get promoted in his chosen profession he would most certainly get slated for that too.

Lyndon Lloyd
13 Posted 13/02/2015 at 20:42:00
Clive (7), I agree to a point but none of those three have played for Chelsea, gone to the World Cup as first-choice players, or been transferred for £28m so they probably wouldn’t be asked a question like that in that context.

Would I have I liked to have seen Lukaku finish by saying, "but I could achieve my goals at Everton" (which, to fair, is a caveat that Mirallas added, even if he probably doesn’t believe we’ll with the Europa League)? Yes, but he’s always been ambitious and he was asked if he could see himself coming back to a club like Chelsea at some point.
If you’re talking to media from your own country, you’re going to say yes.

I’m under no illusions that he sees us as a stepping stone if we’re not going to make the step up to the next level.

Mike Hughes
14 Posted 13/02/2015 at 20:39:25
The telling line for me was this:

Having witnessed Goodison Park become a striker’s graveyard over almost three decades as an Evertonian, it’s agonising watching another striker seemingly being wasted by a rigid system in which his strengths are not being accommodated.

We’ve broken our transfer record a few times for strikers in the past decade or so - Beattie, Johnson, Yakubu and Lukaku.

Yet, we never seem to maximise their full potential. OK, Beattie turned out to be a bit of a knob but the others were all potentially 20+ goals a season strikers.

Johnson was sent off on diagonals into the corner, Yakubu was never the same after the achilles and a pie or three. Now we play a system that doesn’t fully suit our main man.

Lukaku may have development issues - first touch and awareness - but I honestly think he’s 20+ goals a season given a different system (faster, more direct / down the wings). Also, try Kone in the same team alongside him.

Kieran Riding
15 Posted 13/02/2015 at 20:55:57
We haven’t been a big club for years. Big clubs win trophies and titles.
Our fans make our club great, not our players.
Eugene Ruane
16 Posted 13/02/2015 at 20:45:55
The content doesn’t bother me at all, that they say anything does.

Ffs no one is asking these lads to to appear on University Challenge, just play football.

"Yeah but I really want to say..."

Fine, but speak to someone at the club first, get advice (Could this backfire? Is it wise? Etc).

The knee-jerk reaction Brian speaks of (12) won’t be confined to TW and now the player has put himself in the position of having to score in every game to avoid the barracking that will inevitably follow every missed shot or horribly controlled ball (bad enough sometimes before he opened his grid)

Dumb, dumb, dumb.

Trevor Peers
17 Posted 13/02/2015 at 20:57:22
Mike (14) I would blame the lack of creative midfielders for the strikers graveyard syndrome as much as anything else. During the past few decades only Arteta and Graverson have been any were near top class.
Bob Parrington
18 Posted 13/02/2015 at 21:01:20
Way above his station. He hasn’t really set the world alight at Everton. Poor first touch most of the time, weak passing in general, not holding the play up sufficiently often and well when required and too soft on the defenders.

Of course, he has some good qualities but £28m?? Not really worth it IMO.

Denis Richardson
19 Posted 13/02/2015 at 21:08:52
Have to agree with you Lyndon. Players these days have to give god knows how many interviews as part of their contractual duties and any journo or newspaper can twist things to seem ott.

Every player at the end of the day with any bit of talent is going to want to play at the highest level possible so saying that ’one day’ I’d like to play for a top club is not really that bad - we all have to look in the mirror and accept Everton is not a top club (at this time anyway, haven’t been one for a good 25 years!).

However, in saying that, I had really high hopes for Lukaku and whilst the service to him could have been much better this season, he’s not anywhere near top class at the moment, let alone world class. His 10 odd goals have been handy but his overall play leaves a lot to be desired - admittedly this could be down to the system but things like first touch, winning headers and avoiding being constantly offside don’t really have much to do with ’the system’. That can be improved by training hard and concentrating properly.

He’s still young so will give him the benefit of the doubt and hope he can stick a few more in the onion bag - ’bout time he got a hattrick for us and Leicester at home would be an ideal time to start.

William Twigg
20 Posted 13/02/2015 at 20:38:32
Do not think I am really surprised by his comments and I personally believe it is indicative of a disease that has become Everton. As I see the situation, I am of the opinion that the malaise that appears to exist at the club is one of direction, there are too many players that are clearly under performing!

Why? IMHO it is down to belief, have they bought into the Martinez way? No, Seamus has been average, Barry predictable, Baines clearly not at his best, Romelu frustrated, Barkley confused. So without being to obvious you have to ask why! And I keep coming back to the same conclusion: no direction!

Brenda from the "dark side" recognised that a system that worked last year was not working this year because his personnel had changed, so he found a way with his new players to establish what appears to be a formula that wins games. Unfortunately Martinez cannot fathom out how best we can get performances out of what is probably the best squad we have had for a number of years. It is apparent that, whilst likeable, he is inept, lacks direction and cannot manage at the level expected in the Premier League.

In my 55 years of following my beloved Everton, I have never before posted a comment, I have enjoyed the great 70s & 80s, endured the Gordon Lee, Walter Smith eras, but I fear that – unless someone considerably more important than me at Goodison takes note – we as a club are on the verge of the abyss.

Stephen Brown
21 Posted 13/02/2015 at 21:20:00
A very level headed article Lyndon!
Probably loaded questions answered naively!
This season is very depressing I can’t remember reading a positive article since possibly Wolsburg away.

Let’s hope he has heard a little of the backlash and thinks he owes us some performances!

Mike Childs
22 Posted 13/02/2015 at 21:07:07
Most enjoyable read as always Lyndon. "We can’t expect top players to hang around and wait for ambition to...." Excellent point, Lyndon, probably the number 1 point.

Guy Hastings
23 Posted 13/02/2015 at 21:19:01
I’d like to go on about his second touch but as his first one doesn’t give the second one a chance, it’s hard to make a case either way. After the World Cup in which he was hardly first choice he was still expecting the world to come rushing for his services. It didn’t. We did. That’s his reality. He has to live with it. The downside is that we have to too.
Colin Gee
24 Posted 13/02/2015 at 21:23:34
I wish someone would tell me what a ’Top Club’ is, is it a team that has won 9 nine league titles in their history?

Or is a ’Top Club’ a couple of plastic clubs that can spend a bob or two but haven’t even won that many if you add their totals together?

Kieran Riding
25 Posted 13/02/2015 at 21:30:04
Colin, are Aston Villa a top club ?
Are Nottingham Forest a top club ?

The game has changed. And "if you know your history" is wearing thin.

John Malone
26 Posted 13/02/2015 at 21:25:09
Loyalty in football no longer exists, the only time good players stick with an under achieving ’big club’ is when they’re from the same area or british based and their families are settled. Players from abroad have no loyalties to brit clubs and why would they? They are here for the wages and to benefit there own careers, it’s sad to say but everytime a foreign player shines for us and we aren’t in the champions league we’re going to here the same story over again.
Mike Hughes
27 Posted 13/02/2015 at 21:36:01
Trevor #17 - fair comment.

However, I still think we could get more out of Lukaku with the current players around him.

My broad point was about the system employed which does Lukaku no favours given current limitations.

Paul Tran
28 Posted 13/02/2015 at 21:21:07
Are we really surprised by anything in this story?

Tabloid paper with previous form with bullshit selectively quotes ambitious player at under - achieving club in disarray. Surprised?

Player who spent the summer waiting for a ’better, bigger’ club to come for him joined us in the absence of other significant offers. We’re not progressing, so if the story’s true, he’s looking to move to club befitting his talents. Surprised?

Lukaku has completely stunk the place out this season. Its more than poor service and playing to his strengths. He can’t control a ball, he’s smaller when he jumps, doesn’t use his weight effectively, shows a lack of spatial awareness and is as energetic as my whippets after an hour’s running on the beach.

If he wants to go, let him go. Just sell him and bring in a striker who can do it now and/or a manager who can spot a good striker and play to his strengths. You don’t pay £20m for promise, you pay it for immediate impact.

Remember when Harvey was manager and the dressing room was split between his signings and Kendall ’old guard’? I wonder if things are similar now? At least they’d won a few trophies and we’re entitled to doubt the new boys.

Bill Gall
29 Posted 13/02/2015 at 21:24:08
The comments about Lukaku not being given the correct service. To me that problem falls on the manager who having paid a presumed fee of 28 mill surely must have had a plan in his mind how he was going to provide him the sevice to get what we thought he could do. ?

Wliiam # 20
I agree with what your saying about the dross we experienced with Lee as I had a petition signed by season ticket holders sent to the club to get rid of him.
as far as W.Smith goe’s yes his teams were poor but if you read his story, after being interviewed by Sheffield he came to Everton because he was promised unlimited funds.

Amit Vithlani
30 Posted 13/02/2015 at 21:26:29
Great article. This could have occurred under any manager. I laugh at the thought that this would never have happened under Moyes, considering Moyes in a famous BBC interview at the time he was linked with Spurs spoke about wanting to manage in the Champions League. Fellaini, Lescott, Arteta and Peanuts all spoke of being ambitious and /or wanting to play at an elite level.

Perhaps if we were a few places higher in the table we would have had less of this shite but discontent is the norm in an underperforming team.

The hysteria shown in response to his comments should not have come as a surprise given that we have so called fans booing Ross Brkley.

Paul Tran
31 Posted 13/02/2015 at 21:42:56
Colin, to a footballer, a top club is one that wins trophies, plays in the CL and has momentum money to burn.

Do we have any of that?

There’s your harsh answer.

John Malone
32 Posted 13/02/2015 at 21:42:01
I really do think Lukaku would benefit from playing with two up top he is often isolated and chasing his own flick on’s. I would love to see Martinez play a 3-5-2 and give him and Kone or Mirallas a good run in the side together.
Peter Laing
33 Posted 13/02/2015 at 21:42:48
After Rooney walked, I should say Lineker as I was 12 and that broke my heart after watching him plunder 30 goals and walk away with the World Cup golden boot, I don’t trust any of them.
Kieran Riding
34 Posted 13/02/2015 at 21:50:06
Peter Laing has opened up old wounds. Sadly were the same age as well.
Peter, I hear you brother.

I’m sure fans our age are just thinking " Grow the dreads back Rom and score some fucking goals you big pudding ! "

Colin Glassar
38 Posted 13/02/2015 at 21:58:28
Bally always knew we loved him Kieran. That’s my only consolation. Thank you for telling him.

ps: The Live Forum seems to have been discontinued.

Tony Hill
41 Posted 13/02/2015 at 21:34:29
He signed for us just before the start of this season at great cost. Simple good manners, even in the age of the wandering mercenary, should have dictated that he shut up and prove his worth - given that, regardless of service, he has been appalling for the most part. He well knew what he was saying unless the quote is entirely fictional.

He said it, just as he publicised a month ago that the players had had a word with RM about tactics, because he knew there would be no sanction - not perhaps altogether surprising when the manager has told him he is worth £100m.

This says much about the present management weakness of our club but it says a great deal more about the bankrupt state of high level professional football and the deluded poseurs who play it.

I am one who believed that Martinez should have been sacked after WBA and, as I have said here, I think this reflects badly on him. Funnily enough though, I heard yesterday from one of those "well-placed sources", and contrary to other similar sources quoted on TW, that the manager remains popular within the club and that he will be backed with a long term plan to develop from youth level.

God knows if that’s true but this episode makes me hope that it is and that Lukaku’s overblown signing will be the last of its kind that we make.

Colin Glassar
42 Posted 13/02/2015 at 22:13:00
Martinez is with us for the long haul Tony. I suspect Lukaku will be with us for a few years more as well.

Anything the scum prints I prefer to take with a pinch of salt. I means Sean Custiss (sports editor)? That fat Geordie prick has zero credibility IMO and his rag even less.

Trevor Peers
43 Posted 13/02/2015 at 22:19:36
Colin I imagine both Lukaku and Mirallas will be seriously clambering to move on during the summer given their recent comments. The manager will be judged on the remaining games of the season and I reckon its all to play for whether he stays or not.
Bobby Thomas
44 Posted 13/02/2015 at 22:17:24
Hope he plays for a move next year so we can get our money back and re-invest in squad building.

As we have realised, £28 mil is an extravagance we cannot afford.

He’s young and his value will hold up. But we will be doing well to get all our dollar back, as despite being a 15 - 20 league man the weaknesses in his game mean he just isn’t worth it.

Looking to the future, the ball is in the players & buying clubs court approaching two years left on any deal. So we need to watch the Jimmy Mac situation as well.

But as for Lukaku I’d be very surprised if a "top club" in England or Spain is going to want him. He will have to go to Italy or elsewhere to get his Champions League fix.

James Stewart
45 Posted 13/02/2015 at 22:22:00
(41) & (42) I’m sure he is backed for the long term plan that was his initial remit. I wouldn’t count on it though. We are 5 points off the relegation zone. Head just above water. If it gets any worst than that, and with Martinez it could quite easily, Kenwright won’t think twice about pulling the trigger. With the TV money being as insane as it is right now there is absolutely no way he would let Martinez take us down.
Mads Kamp
46 Posted 13/02/2015 at 22:24:35
Trevor # 17 I agree mate, BUT the World Class midfielder’ s name is Gravesen not Graverson, a true fan should know.
Paul Kelly
47 Posted 13/02/2015 at 22:11:18
I’ll add Jamie#3, Lyndon.

When a striker is centre of the goal, six yards out and has only the keeper to beat and hits it more or less straight at him, I put it down as a miss not a save.

John Gee
48 Posted 13/02/2015 at 22:08:35
This article is a terrible attempt to apologise for a fucking idiot.

Lukaku, like Mirallas and a few others don’t want to achieve anything. They want to piggyback on other player’s success. It’s a cancer in the game and it’s destroying the high level of fan engagement that is the foundation of the EPL’s success. He did say those things AND he meant to say those things.
Did Brian Clough think that he couldn’t possibly win the league with Derby or the EC with Forest? No, He went out their and gave his best shot at achieving something.

BK and our board of invisible men deserve all the criticism they get but... these parasites are handsomely rewarded by the club, they get their high wages by either our direct or indirect contribution, they are treated like princes and they are being interviewed by people because they play in the EPL. Far fewer people, worldwide, would give a flying toss of these two if they were playing for Wolfsburg or Olympiacos.

If the fans had the same level of engagement as some of the players then they would all be playing to half full stadiums, getting paid 3 grand a week, shown live on BBC 3 and buying a pub at the end of their careers instead of setting them and all their family members up for life.

They need us more than we need them. One season of fans asserting themselves on the game would completely change the nonsense around this former sport.

Almost 90 years ago William Ralph Dean, reportedly, ran most of the way from Prenton Park to Goodison park to sign for us. Mirallas and Lukaku, mostly just stand still waiting for a ball to feet that they may but probably won’t use effectively.

Lyndon, and others, we shouldn’t be apologising for these players, they should be apologising to us. For abusing our hard earned. For not trying hard enough. For being poor imitations of legends. For stealing a living. For disrespecting our club. For being so evidently selfish in a team sport (how ironic). And, Lastly, for calling Chelsea a bigger club than Everton. He’s a c**t just for that comment alone.

Tony Dove
49 Posted 13/02/2015 at 22:46:39
Lucantdo has been unbelievably bad this season. I doubt whether he has the talent or the will to turn it around but you never know. However 28 million is a lot of money for a striker who can’t trap a ball cant shoot and does not know the offside law
Tom Bowers
50 Posted 13/02/2015 at 22:48:52
The truth hurts. With Everton strangely not being able to gain new sponsors like quite a few clubs it appears we have to admit that BK has no real ambitions but just to remain a viable business first and foremost.

I do not blame any player from wanting success and we should know by now that there is no such thing as loyalty except with those average players who nobody is interested in and they have no choice.

If these reports are true then perhaps BK should make it known he is open to offers for the Belgians come the end of the season.

Along with these there are a few others who don’t seem to be in favour or are always injured so lets clear the decks and get some new blood.

Most of Everton’s good offence last season came from Seamus, Bainsey, Oviedo and Delafeou but many clubs have adapted accordingly to counteract Seamus and Bainsey and sadly RM has not had a plan ’B’ hence the poor showing this season.

Trevor Peers
51 Posted 13/02/2015 at 22:49:26
Mads#46 I never said Gravesen was world class, and if I remember he shat on Everton and took the £millions offered by Real Madrid. Did he care about the blues no, so who cares about the spelling.
Dick Fearon
52 Posted 13/02/2015 at 22:51:50
If we could get half of what we paid I would get rid tomorrow.
I have yet to see him win an arial duel, he has a very poor first touch, he does not sprint, is unable to out head the smallest defender, is too one footed and has poor positional sense.
I admit he tries very hard but for 28 mil I expect a massive improvement in the mentioned tecniques.
Ernie Baywood
53 Posted 13/02/2015 at 22:52:23
To be honest I don’t care if Lukaku sees us as a long term option as a loyal player. He can hate us as far as I’m concerned.

I don’t particularly care about him either. I care about the club.

It’s just a marriage of convenience.

Do your job. Get back onside, score some goals, and you’ll make both of us happy.

Colin Glassar
54 Posted 13/02/2015 at 23:17:13
John G, brilliant last paragraph. The rest was good as well.
Laurie Hartley
55 Posted 13/02/2015 at 22:44:08
Wishing for something and getting it don’t always go hand in hand. Lukaku is going to have to improve his ball control and his heading ability if he wants to hold down a first team spot with us or anyone else.

Any way as he is playing for us at the moment, the important thing is that we need to get the best out of him. He is a goal threat and goals are what we need now that the manager appears to have sorted our defence out.

Perhaps the way to do that is to play Kone or even Mirallas in front of him. Lukaku needs to be running on to the ball - that is when his physical strength, pace and shooting ability come in to play.

Lyndon Lloyd
56 Posted 13/02/2015 at 23:28:01
John Gee: "Lastly, for calling Chelsea a bigger club than Everton."

Yeah, except he didn’t. He is quoted as saying he wanted to one day play for a "top club" again which is one of the tenets of the article. (Actually, he would be right on either score because who could argue Chelsea aren’t now bigger than we are?) Seeing as neither one of was in the room, we’ll have to rely on the reported quotes and not put words in his mouth.

He, as someone was 1 year old the last time we won at Stamford Bridge, may see Chelsea has a bigger club than us in a historical and present-day sense but that’s not what he said. Most people’s beef seems to be with the assumption he was saying Everton aren’t a big as well.

Mark Wilson
57 Posted 13/02/2015 at 22:32:03
Bloody hell Lyndon that’s a well argued well written piece, who could argue with any of it ? Only a reckless long serving no, legged one armed power chair using ex Toffeenet poster......sigh.

What you’ve done here Lyndon is sweet talk us into thinking this has to be about logic and balanced assessment rather than loyalty and behaving in even the most basic common sense way that might be expected of yes, even a very stupid footballer who cost our pathetically under financed but decent football club a shit load of money and probably gets paid an equally obscene salary......

Just how much does he have to crap all over us before we "forget" he’s young, inexperienced and has often run off at the mouth to friendly Belgium journos ? How much rope do we extend because he’s done this whilst "struggling" in a team that doesn’t play to his strengths or understand his personal issues ?

What he’s just done is a huge insult to us however "truthful" the analysis that we are not a "big club" anymore. You don’t shit on your doorstep like this, whatever the apparent logic or even evidence. The club deserves better. We deserve better. And this matters. But your assessment seems to nullify the importance of what we "deserve", even tho we all here know your bloody furious with the idiot for doing serious harm to our club, your club.

It is serious isn’t it ? How can it not be as we stare relegation in the face and fight to extend that five point gap. Lukaku has done real damage here because for many, me included, he’s ridiculed his own part in this sad season and worse, opened us up to yet more rubbish from everyone with a keyboard, when this club is perfectly good at doing that with no extra help from thick footballers with zero understanding of "why" it’s wrong to tell people that to him we were just meant to be a very short term boarding house whilst waiting for the mansion owners to whisk him away from all this grubby little community life up North.

Anyways it’s too late now or is it ? Truth is he has us by the balls and we know it. He might as well have said "why don’t you play in red and put up banners "in Kopites we trust". We made a huge rick here and somehow managed to think we actually are a mega CL club and could afford one half decent player for £28m when we so badly needed three decent ish players for a squad dreadfully vulnerable to aging players cocking up, terrible fitness regimes and a mgr who may yet come good but has had a shockingly bad seven months at the club.

So, we can’t afford to lose ten mill selling this under-performing moron in the summer. Somehow we, the stupidly patient fans, have to recognise the no win situation that exists if we were to really show Lukaku what matters and what it is to be one of us. We have to put this aside and try to "encourage" the git to, er, perform like he can actually trap a ball and finish from three feet....and he can up his game, we’ve seen it. Then maybe we can see Matinez remember we are Everton not Wigan and getting relegated whilst doing well in, or even winning the Europa League, is not going to have him hailed a hero here.

Cheers, Mark (Rustyman) of old.

Chris Gould
58 Posted 13/02/2015 at 23:23:28
John Gee, your last paragraph summed it up perfectly for me. And we have every right to feel that way. No excuses for the shit that came out of his mouth or the shit displays and effort he puts in most weeks.
Milos Milenkovic
59 Posted 13/02/2015 at 23:27:50
Another great article Lyndon!
For two seasons now, I am crying to see Mirallas up top with Lukaku. I am 100% sure it would be of benefit for both players, for team, results, everybody. It is so obvious that non of them are happy in this formation and ultimately they wish to leave. Why is it so hard to try at least once to play them in attack, with only one defensive midfielder and with Barkley in the center?
Lyndon Lloyd
60 Posted 13/02/2015 at 23:37:49
Paul (47): "When a striker is centre of the goal , six yards out and has only the keeper to beat and hits it more or less straight at him I put it down as a miss not a save."

If he’s got time to look up, doesn’t have to take it first-time, isn’t static at this point (i.e. has no momentum coming into the shot) and the ’keeper doesn’t anticipate where he’s going to put it, yes, maybe.

But Lukaku is 5 yards out and instinctively tries to guide it past Cech who saves with his foot. I’m sorry, but that’s a good save.

Trevor Lynes
61 Posted 13/02/2015 at 23:28:20
I know well from my own experience that the press amend comments to make news.Unfortunately footballers and managers cannot just give written answers to loaded questions from the press and journalists thrive on picking out bits and pieces of what is said to put whatever spin they can to create trouble.

Fans react to what they read in the press and often it is totally not what the person questioned meant at all. I resorted to written answers to questions which then could not be twisted, but I had time to do this, footballers do not. These kids are still very young and can be twisted around the fingers of snide reporters.

Lukaku and Mirallas have been our most potent strikers and it may not be a coincidence that they have been singled out. These reporters my just be stirring up problems for our dressing rooms. Just think about all the lies that have been printed in the past by our gutter press and don’t just jump to conclusions which could damage the team.

The last thing we need at the present time is discord. Get behind all the lads wearing blue and take these comments with a pinch of salt until they are proven.

Tim Greeley
62 Posted 13/02/2015 at 23:24:40
Bravo Lyndon Lloyd. Excellently written, intelligent and mature summary of a situation we cannot be happy with but at the same time also cant really know the full truth of. Take it as it is. Cristiano left ManU and they are a HUGE club. Suarez bounced on the neighbors, everyone leaves Arsenal. It’s futbol and more directly... it’s business. I still believe Lukaku will become an Everton legend, no doubt.

But in the next breath, these Belgians need to shut up sometimes! Is the Belgian press like the Hollywood parasites!?! Cant they just handle a "no comment"!? Fellaini did the same shit 3 years back. David Henen must be up next... "one day I aspire to be involved in a truly confusing and mindboggling three club transfer saga with a TOP CLUB"

Ged Dwyer
63 Posted 13/02/2015 at 23:32:20
I would never have a Belgian in my Everton team ever again. We’ve had three and they have all been lazy treacherous wasters. There are loads of players out there who would do a far better job for us and to spend £28M on a lazy so-called centre forward who is a one-trick pony is beyond embarrassment. We have a good defence and midfield and we will improve the minute Lukaku is dropped.
Will Firstbrook
64 Posted 14/02/2015 at 00:03:49
Paul Tran @ 28: "is as energetic as my whippets after an hour’s running on the beach."

I have visions of whippets wearing dreadlocks crawling around the sand.

Thanks for that laugh. mate!

Kase Chow
65 Posted 13/02/2015 at 23:49:55
Lyndon

Excellent, balanced article. One of the best I’ve read

Thank you

I too believe we could be getting more out of Lukaku and hope and pray RM gets us attacking with speed and sometimes tries TWO strikers up top when at home. Imagine that!!!

Someone like Kone against the last defender battling for every ball and HELPING Lukaku

Kevin Tully
66 Posted 14/02/2015 at 00:08:59
The harsh reality is, Mo Besic had never even heard of us! A young, upcoming player who was being courted by many of the top clubs around Europe hadn’t even heard of the mighty Everton F.C.

That, my blue friends, is totally heartbreaking.

John Gee
67 Posted 14/02/2015 at 00:01:21
"John Gee: "Lastly, for calling Chelsea a bigger club than Everton."

Yeah, except he didn’t. He is quoted as saying he wanted to one day play for a "top club" again which is one of the tenets of the article. (Actually, he would be right on either score because who could argue Chelsea aren’t now bigger than we are?)"

As an Everton fan, Lyndon, I could argue, quite easily, that Everton are a bigger club.

Semantics and lost in translation excuses aside, he said he wants to further his career by leaving Everton and going to a club like Chelsea. As an Everton supporter, I think that shows a lack of ambition to achieve something for himself and from a player who would be languishing, occasionally, on the Chelsea bench for cup games if we hadn’t given him an opportunity to re-launch his stalling career.

Lyndon Lloyd
68 Posted 14/02/2015 at 00:19:09
John (67), I’m an Everton fan and love the club to my core but even I couldn’t hope to argue that our club is currently bigger than one that could probably buy our entire first XI, is unbeaten against us at home for two decades and has, since we last won a trophy, landed:

Three Premier League titles
The Champions League
The Europa League
The Cup Winners’ Cup
6 FA Cups
3 League Cups

It sickens me to acknowledge what their Gazprom money has bought them and their plastic leave-before-the-trophy-is-lifted fans but that is the reality of modern football. Without finding some way of cracking that glass ceiling, we can’t hope to match them.

Andy Crooks
69 Posted 14/02/2015 at 00:24:41
To a certain extent your article, Lyndon, has made me change my mind and is that not what reasonable debate is about. It was a thoughtless thing he said but , in my view, no more than that.
John Gee
70 Posted 14/02/2015 at 00:23:58
Lyndon, richer... undoubtedly. Bigger? not in a million years.

We’re experiencing similar tribulations that have visited the aristocracy of England. They’re driving 10 year old Citreons and putting buckets under the leaky roofs of their priceless country houses. But they are still more deserving of their places in English high society than a Russian gangster who buys a house on Bishops Avenue.

I get your point. But, I’m coming from a standpoint which believes our problem is more about our lack of assertiveness than our lack of cash. Although, we do need both.

Lyndon Lloyd
71 Posted 14/02/2015 at 00:37:06
I see where you’re coming from a little more now, John. Would Chelsea have been able to withstand what we went through in the 1990s? Probably not.

And, by the same token, were Ambramovich to walk away and no Middle Eastern petrodollars come in to replace him, could they go back to mediocrity? Probably.

Unfortunately, by the metric by which these things are measured by most – trophies – they’re running away from us. Like I say, it makes me sick, but...

Phil Walling
72 Posted 14/02/2015 at 00:59:27
Whatever the truth or context of the player’s remarks they come over badly to even the most tolerant of Evertonians.

But on the question of the guy’s ability, surely such a genius manager as Martinez can tweak his tactics to get more for his money than the pitiful antics that our record signing treats us to game after game?

Is Romelu really the least skilled player ever to manage double figures in three successive seasons? Or is he merely the latest to be interred in the Everton graveyard for strikers ?

John Gee
73 Posted 14/02/2015 at 01:00:36
Lyndon, your last paragraph highlights the occasional chill in my spine. Chelsea are on the upward curve, There’s is no doubt about that, and history is always kinder to the winners. If we’re not careful we’ll watch a big club like Everton slide, over time, into obscurity before becoming a footnote of footballing history like Preston North End or Clapham Rovers.

John Gee
74 Posted 14/02/2015 at 01:27:25
ok, may have overstated the negativity in my last post (73). Don’t worry, I’ve refilled my glass to the halfway point (with piss, but it’ll do).
Steavey Buckley
75 Posted 14/02/2015 at 01:46:14
Top clubs get massive cash injection such as Man City and Chelsea, who would not have achieved what they have done without billionaires supporting and backing them. This season could have been a better one for Everton if the players brought in, bought and loaned, along with those already here, had performed a lot better.
Terence Leong
76 Posted 14/02/2015 at 01:43:09
Thanks Lyndon, always appreciated your measured and balanced perspectives.

A few quick thoughts off my head:

  1. We fans never want to hear people saying that we aren’t a top club. It’s an emotive statement, especially when we have such a rich history.

    However, it’s also especially emotive because it riles us, as we deep inside us know that the club has fallen from such lofty heights, without a clear end in sight to this ’mediocre malaise’.

  2. Lukaku’s statements are ill-advised, especially so after a loss. This gives the fans more ammunition to gun him down with all kinds of accusations & criticisms.

    What Lyndon highlighted is true about us splashing the cash on Lukaku. At the end of the season, while there were critics, the majority wants us to splash the cash on Lukaku, both to get a player whom we thought will continue to grow from strength to strength (and he still might), and also as a statement of intent that we are prepared to go toe-to-toe.

    Hindsight is 20/20, as they say. It’s easy to say that we blew our budget on one player, and how foolish we were, can’t wait to bite someone’s hands off if they offered cash for him etc.

    Everyone was well aware of the trade-offs. Blow it on one player who can potentially make the difference, or spend it on a few players who can strengthen the whole squad.

    We know that it’s never clearly one way or the others, and there are numerous examples to back either position.
    So, a judgement call was made, and we are where we are at now.

  3. This season is admitted a big letdown (I can’t remember the last time I spent so little time reading and trawling the web for Everton news).
  4. However, we still have a cup to play for, and the players whom have underperformed this season may bounce back to form after the "2nd season" syndrome. As such, I continue to retain optimism and belief - if not, I’ll pack up my bags and stop being a fan.

NilSatisNisiOptimum

Darren Hind
77 Posted 14/02/2015 at 01:09:13
Fantastic stuff Lyndon, John Gee and Mark Wilson.

On holiday a couple of years ago, I noticed an old boy with Nil Satis Nisi Optimum tattoo’d on his heart. He was minding his own business enjoying his beer, so I left him to it. A group of Chelsea fans, having recognised the tattoo, started bating him. telling him about all the trophies they’d won. He eventually broke his silence and reminded them that thousands of Evertonians were in the Chelsea end at the cup final having been ripped off by their money grabbing counterparts, "Your fans believed the money was more important than the ticket." He told them "That’s the difference between us and you, a club should be measured by its fans".

The point was completely lost on them and they started jeering when the old boy stood up to leave, "Ha Ha, cant you take it scouse ? Had enough ?" . ."Not at all" he said, "but I look so far down my nose at you nobodies, I’m going to have to lie on a sun lounger to be able see you"

Nick Swallow
78 Posted 14/02/2015 at 04:07:06
I think "Top Clubs" expect their strikers to be able to trap a ball, not wander off side 6 times in a game and to also score.
John Daley
79 Posted 14/02/2015 at 04:58:24
"Lukaku is 5 yards out and instinctively tries to guide it past Cech who saves with his foot. I’m sorry, but that’s a good save"

Lyndon,

You’ve railed against the Lukaku chance being described as a miss a few times now, insisting it simply has to go down as a great save from Cech.

True, the keeper showed great reflexes to stick out a leg when he’d already started to dive the other way, but surely all Lukaku had to do was steer it anywhere but dead ahead and it would have been in the back of the net.

Instead, with the entire goal gaping in front of him, he put the ball in the one place Cech had a chance of connecting with it. Lukaku might not have had time to set himself, and was reacting to the chance on pure instinct, but it was still easier to score from that position than pick out the keeper.

If a ’poachers instinct’ is what sets quality strikers apart from less frequent scorers then Lukaku must have been possessed by the spirit of Elmer Fudd when his foot connected with that cross.

For me, it was best summed up in the match report on ESPN:

"Twice the Chelsea keeper denied former teammate Romelu Lukaku; the second was a fantastic reflex save. Still, 5 yards out, in the middle of the goal, Lukaku had to score"

Brad McEachern
80 Posted 14/02/2015 at 05:11:55
First off, to one of the posters above: Everton is far from heading into the abyss so stop with the drama. They’re 12th, finish 5th and played very respectful over the past 10 years. FFS, one bad season and the negativity, hyperbole and absolutes coming. Relax people.

Martinez isn’t going anywhere as the man has a plan, as is evident from last season and one season won’t change that.

Say he does get sacked, who’s going to replace him? Who’s out there that’s a legit alternative to Martinez who can guide the ship right this year AND be able to live up to the fan’s legit and rightful expectations of a top five finish? Just because you sack a manager and replace him with just anybody doesn’t mean he’s automatically going to make the team better because he’s simply not Roberto Martinez. In fact, the situtation can get a heck of a lot worse than it is already if you can believe that.

Laurie Hartley
81 Posted 14/02/2015 at 06:24:24
Brad, that "poster above" would be William Twigg at 20. He has followed Everton for 55 years and "has never posted a comment on Toffeweb" before. I am going to read his post again.
Lyndon Lloyd
82 Posted 14/02/2015 at 06:27:56
Fair enough, John (79), but my viewpoint is best summed up by the commentary from BT Sport:

"Wow, what a save. It’s pure reaction from Peter Cech... Great ball in from Oviedo and he does everything right, doesn’t he, Lukaku?"

And later...

"And here’s the earlier miss from Lukaku. Was it a miss? Or was it just a great save? He does everything right. It’s fizzing across [to the] centre forward. All you can do is try to get it on target..."

I’ve watched it dozens of times and haven’t changed me mind so I think we’ll agree to disagree.

Darryl Ritchie
83 Posted 14/02/2015 at 06:21:25
By the time I started following the club, the glory days and the titles were a thing of the past. I’ve enjoyed reading about it, but it’s all history to me. There are many reasons why I’m an Evertonian, but one of the main ones is the fact that we’re not a "big club". The fact that Everton is a hard playing,scrappy, working mans’ club is very appealing to me.

We were a midtable team when I started, and, unless there’s a change in ownership, will remain a midtable team for the foreseeable future.

My beef with Lukaku and Mirallas, is they were brought in, at considerable expense, to be part of a squad that takes us to at least shouting distance of the "big clubs". If everybody at the club was performing even 80% of their potential, with the talent we have, we’d be challenging for a Champions League spot right now. And I mean everybody, manager, physios, players. All of them.

For those two to be declaring themselves available, at this time of the season, is a slap in the face to every Evertonian. It’s curious that they have the same agent.

Lyndon Lloyd
84 Posted 14/02/2015 at 07:03:43
Darryl (83), I don’t mean to harp on about it but without any clarifying comments from the player himself in his defence, it’s all too easy for things to be misconstrued.

Nothing about what Lukaku said indicated he was making himself available now. He was asked if it he could see himself ever coming back to Chelsea and he said, not necessarily because there are other clubs but he sees himself developing and one day joining a top club like that.

If, in four years when his contract is up, we have not fulfilled Martinez’s plan to become one of those "top clubs" and he’s still banging goals in at a rate better than 1 every 3 games then we surely wouldn’t begrudge him moving on to fulfil his ambitions.

And that, for me, is all he was saying in answering a question about where he sees himself playing in the future.

Darryl Ritchie
85 Posted 14/02/2015 at 07:14:53
Lyndon, if Lukaku and Mirallas stay until the end of their contracts, I will be very surprised. A lengthy contract means that if a player decides to leave, a club can ask more in transfer fees. Nothing more.
Eric Myles
86 Posted 14/02/2015 at 06:41:13
"The fact is, while he is deserving of some criticism for a lack of movement and his propensity to stray offside, Lukaku is playing in a team that has forgotten how to attack and create chances."

In other words he’s the new Jelavic.

John Louis Jones
87 Posted 14/02/2015 at 07:23:00
Romelu, do you mean a Rich Club? What I mean is that most teams in the Champions League or winning trophies, as some on here put it, and have transfer budgets each summer of over a £100 million (in the Premier League) but the same attendance as Goodison (Man Utd and Aresnal have bigger grounds).

But look around Europe: the Milan clubs, are they not top clubs any more? They are 10th and 11th currently. Lazio?

Since 1950, only 4 teams have won the Spanish League, but Bilbao are 12th in the league and Valencia are 5th so we cannot count them as top clubs. the other 2 get supported by their respect local governments to the tune of £100 million each season.

In Germany, as far as I can see from his comments, Dortmund, Stuttgart and Werder Bremen are no longer Top Clubs either. Plus only one team has a huge budget but they tend to buy Germen.

That leaves France and Russia... Errrrr, I don’t know where to go with that really as only one team in France has a big budget and you have Monaco, which would be a nice place to live, but they are not a top club. Rich, yes... but top? No. Russia? Well again, most very rich but black players don’t tend to fair that well out there due to cultural reasons.

So Romelu, that will leave you with Turkey. They have 3 top clubs and they are top clubs in Turkey because they are the only 3 clubs that play in Europe each season – Plus you have Porto or Benfica maybe Ajax?

Everton do want to be in the Champions League and Yes we are a big club but it does not happen over night... every Evertonian will tell you we are having a shocking season.

To sum up, Romelu, you have about 10 clubs in the whole of Europe that could afford you but the question is: Would they want you????

It is not a Top Club you want – it is Rich Club. Choose you words carefully, young man.

Barry Stevens
88 Posted 14/02/2015 at 08:26:55
Excellent article London. Good to see a sensible perspective on things as always. Sadly what you say is harsh but true. Let’s hope the new TV deal helps to clear the debt hanging over our heads, and our big club can once again become a great club.
Kevin Elliott
89 Posted 14/02/2015 at 09:25:14
William Twigg.20.

Best post on here mate. Honest, logical sincere and strait from the heart of a true blue.

Please don’t wait another 55 years until your next one.

Joe Foster
90 Posted 14/02/2015 at 09:45:53
William don’t let the likes of Brad try to censor you. Good post and don’t let it be the last.
Keith Harrison
91 Posted 14/02/2015 at 09:48:18
William (Bill) Twigg. The answer is simple - put your mother in law in charge, and Sylvia will have that team purring like a Rolls Royce instead of the stuttering Lada we have become.

All your points are valid mate, and unless someone gets the Spaniard in a dark room and lays the law down, we might see every bit of the undoubted quality we have at the club leave in the summer. And they won’t be commanding a premium the way we are playing right now.

Last one out knock the lights out please. By the way - stop lying about your age............LOL

Kieran Fitzgerald
92 Posted 14/02/2015 at 09:37:23
Lukaku could easily finish the season with fifteen or sixteen goals this season.

That’s not bad for a rubbish striker in a team that couldn’t score if it played for a week solid. It’s not bad for a striker who is being played out of position every other game and is living off scraps in terms of service and chances.

Paying twenty eight million for a player is all well and good but if you put him in a team that has performed the way we have this season, what do you really expect in terms of results?

Is

Andrew Ellams
93 Posted 14/02/2015 at 10:13:18
Chelsea are a bigger club than Everton right now and there is no doubt about it. Our history does still count for something and that’s probably how we have managed to attract the likes of McCarthy, Lukaku and Barry and why Lennon chose us over Stoke, but in the grand scheme of things we just aren’t at the top tab!e right now.
Trevor Peers
94 Posted 14/02/2015 at 10:06:07
I agree, Joe. I think we all hope Roberto will succeed and finish the season off in style. The remaining fixtures will determine his fate, and I think we should all be allowed to express our hopes and fears on this site.

It would be dangerous to suppress all criticism of the manager as some people are suggesting on here.

Joe Foster
95 Posted 14/02/2015 at 10:19:38
I also wish for RM to have us finishing the season with a great run ( I can’t think of anything that would make all of us happier).
Dick Fearon
96 Posted 14/02/2015 at 10:13:30
Is this Lukaku a doppleganger? Last season, the other Lukaku had long hair, bounced around the pitch winning tackles, scoring goals at will, and in general was worth every bit of £28 million.

This one seems lethargic, has few attributes, could not score in a brothel and his value has halved. Also missing is the long hair... mmm.

John Keating
97 Posted 14/02/2015 at 10:15:26
Lyndon, there’s no excuse, the guy is a prick for mentioning it. 21 or not, he knows what he’s implying.

To me, it’s simple: the Club come first before any player. If you want to be a bit-part player at Man City, Chelsea, Barcelona, Real Madrid etc, then off you go!

We should put Kone out and bench Lukaku, then he could see what his future would be like playing for a "top" club!

This is all the more reason why players should just play football and keep their mouths shut! Based on this season’s performances, Lukaku and Mirallas would be lucky if we could give them away!

Sondre Haga
98 Posted 14/02/2015 at 09:45:52
The thing is, had Lakaku been top class striker this season, we could have been a "top club" this season.

Lakaku was brought in six months ago by Martinez as an important player to develop Everton into a "top club" again. What a hit in the face this must be for him.

Football players these days are so egoistic. I would love to hear a player stand up and take responsibility for a change. "I want Everton to become a top club again, and I want to be an important part of that". THAT is a challenge. To MAKE history. Not choosing the easy way and just be a number in an already winning team.

In my dreams, I guess...

Nick Entwistle
99 Posted 14/02/2015 at 10:32:43
I don’t buy the "he’s 21, speaking a foreign language" line. He’s mature way beyond his years and Belgians speak English for breakfast.

You don’t go talking the way he has without knowing that those words make the story, and will go around European media, TV, online or otherwise, much further than just your usual interview.

Standard tabloid-journo question on signing for a club "Do you see yourself finishing your career here?" To say Yes is pushing the mark; to say No makes you out to be a disloyal money grabber looking to get out at the first better offer. That’s media training 101. How best to answer.

He will know what he has said is shop window stuff. May not be explicit, but it is code for come and get me.

Of course, in this day and age, an agent, and I’m sure he’ll have a good one, can do the bidding for him individually, but nothing like everyone wanting in to boost the offers.

He is though, with the right tactics, a monster player. He will have a huge career. Of course he wants out. He wanted to play for Chelsea growing up, CL football. We don’t cut it, and two seasons with Martinez is making him realise that.

Christine Foster
100 Posted 14/02/2015 at 10:32:09
Great article, Lyndon, it really defined the reality of Everton Football Club today and it is justifiably pragmatic in its assessment.

In truth, I believe the distinction between a great club and a top club is money and management. Everton has a fantastic history that makes it a "great" club who have a passionate supporter base, a traditional stadium that evokes that passion, and provide football with brilliant players over the years.

Since the conception of the Premier League, this club has been badly managed. At the top and at a player level. No matter how you look at it, poor boards elected poor managers and then failed to provide sufficient structures or funds to safeguard our status in the game and our ability to win trophies.

The incompetence, lack of investment and failure to exploit the name of Everton as a great club is solely down to this and previous boards of directors whose lack of foresight and business acumen ensured we have been left with a legacy of a second-tier club, one that never has the quality or the investment to win trophies.

Our past and our passion do truly make us a great club. But to become a top club you need investment and good management with a real vision and plan to get there. We are not, and will never be a top club until that changes.

Andrew Ellams
101 Posted 14/02/2015 at 11:05:31
Chelsea are a bigger club than Everton right now and there is no doubt about it. Our history does still count for something and that’s probably how we have managed to attract the likes of McCarthy, Lukaku and Barry and why Lennon chose us over Stoke, but in the grand scheme of things we just aren’t at the top table right now.
Steve Guy
102 Posted 14/02/2015 at 11:09:43
"Big" club = trophies and bigger wages. "Great" club = both trophies, wages and, most of all, heritage. We just about squeeze into the latter category but have now gone 20 years without a trophy. We’ve come close a couple of times... but no cigars, I’m afraid.

No doubt after last season’s successes, many had high hopes for this season’s campaign. I had my doubts about Champions League qualification, as I have always believed we would struggle in the Premier League this season (although not to the extent we have). However, I did have high hopes for the Europa League. They are fading fast.

I can imagine Lukaku and others had a similar view to many of us and saw Everton as a good bet and duly signed up. We don’t get a choice about staying on the Everton Rollercoaster, but players do. In the long run, that’s fair enough but what has riled me is that Lukaku is only six months into a five-year contract and is already talking about his next move. How the heck does a manager get the best out of players who have that mentality?

Lukaku needs to shut up and do his talking on the pitch.

Christopher Timmins
103 Posted 14/02/2015 at 11:41:36
I hope that Rom gets his dream move in the next 24 months after scoring 60 goals for us in the meantime and generating a profit on his purchase price.
Mike Oates
105 Posted 14/02/2015 at 11:43:05
We are not a Top Club; we haven’t been at the races since the mid to late 80s and haven’t done anything at all whilst in Football’s Global Product - the Premier League.

Whilst I have in my 60-odd years taken great pride in our history, it actually counts for nothing at all in today’s financially-driven, media-driven game. We are respected and liked by many other fans and neutrals but it’s like being the the little boy on the corner who has his head patted by everyone who goes by.

I’ve just returned from 15 days touring Vietnam and, like on my many other global jaunts, I take interest in who the locals support, normally just by looking at who is wearing what. Done Thailand, Brazil, Argentina, China, and many other countries, and Vietnam where the same as the others and had a huge following for Man Utd (20 odd shirts, guide, coach driver, both Man Utd daft); Chelsea (12 shirts); Liverpool (8 shirts); Arsenal (3 shirts). Real Madrid, Barcelona (almost as big as Man Utd)... I even saw 2 Newcastle shirts which can only be down the Mike Ashley’s marketing skills. Everton: not one shirt at all. Those I spoke to, as is normal, didn’t know Everton were from same city as Liverpool! Other point: no Man City shirts.

We have and are losing out big time in not truly financially benefiting from Premier League brand, we do need to win something and build on that. Even Liverpool, who haven’t won anything for last 6-10 years, are still way way ahead but I think are declining vs Chelsea. We will be totally left behind if we continue as we do with mediocrity.

Murdo Laing
106 Posted 14/02/2015 at 11:57:56
This site is the place to vent the bile about Lukaku’s comments, and given our current plight , I would think it’s a necessary "pressure valve" for frustrated fans: Rom will be wearing the shirt against Leicester , we will be on national TV , and if he is his usual ineffective self as the game goes on, I feel the frustration will start to flow.Similarly with Mirallas. It’s all regrettable, but as a club we are going through another transition phase , what with some older players having hit the buffers through poor form (Barry) or long term injury(Osman, Pienaar) . The comments by Rom and Kev before him undermine the recent "mini revival" and they should both shut up now until the end of this wretched season. Personally, I would like to see both players sold or traded in the summer, and (with our without RM in charge) a chance given to some of our youngsters next season, with the likes of Garbutt, Ledson , Galloway and Browning given more game time. We can’t afford galactico type players so the way forward has to be inverstment in youth, with perhaps some (affordable)experienced /reliable recruits coming in. Come back Wayne!
Dave Lynch
107 Posted 14/02/2015 at 12:49:54
Good article Lyndon.

Having read the article 3 times I think on reflection he was expressing wishes to join a "Top club" which as you’ve rightly pointed out we are not, we are a "Big" club but so are Villa, Leeds and WHU, none of which have won anything for years.

It’s sad but big clubs do not attract big players anymore, successful clubs do and we are not one of them at present.

All this does not change my opinion that for the price we paid, he’s shite.

Rob Burns
108 Posted 14/02/2015 at 13:08:59
Mike Oates – nail right on the head. Until Chairman 365/24/7 and his puppet masters are replaced, and the apathy that runs through the club from top to bottom is replaced by action from the fans, mid-table no-man’s land beckons...
Paul English
109 Posted 14/02/2015 at 13:24:33
Our motto should be renamed "Anything but the best"......
Andrew Wayne
110 Posted 14/02/2015 at 14:22:06
A well written article aimed at putting some perspective on the comments made by Lukaku (and perhaps those of his compatriot Mirallas earlier). The key point for me is that the article shouldn’t have been necessary. Lukaku and Mirallas would be better served by keeping quiet about what they would like to do in the future and get their heads down to get Everton out of the position we are in now, due in no small part to their contributions, or lack of, on the pitch. Once that happens, and perhaps we can then look back on this wasted season as a bump in the road of our development, Lukaku can go and ply his trade at whatever club, big or small, is prepared to pay for him. As far as I can see he is not enhancing his value or his appeal to a so-called big club at the minute based upon performances. Until then all I want to hear from him or any of the other players is that their focus is solely on winning the remaining games we have left. He and any of the other players who voice similar remarks need a good dose of realism because we have been awful this year.
Ross Edwards
111 Posted 14/02/2015 at 15:05:01
I think Lukaku has to look at his Chelsea days where he didn’t even get anywhere near the bench as a sign that he is nowhere near the level he thinks he is.

He isn’t at the level of Chelsea, Real, Atletico. Not a chance. Probably nearer the likes of Monaco or Roma. Someone like that.

Clive Rogers
112 Posted 14/02/2015 at 16:09:46
As William #20, I have also followed EFC for 55 years, and my sentiments echo his entirely.

In the John Moores era, we were a top british club every season guaranteed. Really this continued with Johnson, until he hit financial trouble, signing top players like Kanchelskis and Barmby and winning the cup.

Since then however, we have been in decline for 16 years, and players wanting to leave for top clubs seems to me to be the next stage. We are struggling this year with an ageing squad and our second top goalscorer probably leaving. I fear for our prospects next year with apparently limited funds, and a manager who always thinks his players will eventually come good.

Kenwright has had 16 years to sort out the finances and has failed miserably, as he has with ground moves and everything else. He should now make way for new investment and management.

Jay Harris
113 Posted 14/02/2015 at 16:39:31
Just read that his father has been seriously ill since the World Cup and used to come to very match to support him.

Doesn’t explain why he can’t control or head a ball but does go some way to explaining his lethargy this season.

Ajay Gopal
114 Posted 14/02/2015 at 09:45:57
Lyndon, good sensible post as usual - I admire your stance, which I agree with incidentally. I hope Lukaku either clarifies his views or lets his play do the talking.

This season has been so, so disappointing for all us fans - we were so full of optimism at the beginning of the season. The club had just broken its transfer record to land a striker with a fantastic scoring record (bar none in fact for his age, including Messi, Rooney and Ronaldo). Barkley - our very own boy prodigy had a breakthrough season last year - and great things were expected from him. I had put down Lukaku to get 20 goals and Barkley 10. Sadly, they have both stunk the place out. Added to that, the injuries to Osman and Pienaar, the dramatic decline of Distin, and below par performances by Howard, Jagielka, Barry, Coleman, Naismith, McGeady has resulted in the position that we find ourselves in. The ’Martinez Out’ brigade will say that it all points to Martinez’ incompetencies, and to some extent they are right, but the players have to look at themselves as well. They are all professionals (like Martinez) and are paid generous amounts of money by Everton to perform, and they have let down the club and fans badly this season. However, the good thing is that they still have a chance to redeem themselves - at this point, most fans would be happy if Everton were to get to the finals of Europa and manage to end the season in the top half. I hope everyone at the club - the management, players and fans - stretch every sinew to achieve that goal. COYB!

Mike Childs
115 Posted 14/02/2015 at 16:19:57
Agree with the others about Willam Twigg #20 posting more and I am in 100% agreement with Christine Foster’s post #100.
Jackie Barry
117 Posted 14/02/2015 at 17:21:55
Great post Christine, the harsh reality that is. Question for me though is when will a large majority of the fans finally wake up!
Linda Morrison
118 Posted 14/02/2015 at 17:25:35
Agree with Christine, but the comments apply to most of the clubs in the EPL with the exception of the so called top 4/5.

There are reasons why Man City got the owners they did: a stadium provided for them by our taxpayers money!

To be frank, I find the EPL a truly depressing place to be, especially with the new 70% increase deal. The fans are the least important to most clubs and their owners. It’s all about the money. The greed that runs a lot of clubs affects the players and it apparently will not be long before we have a player on £1,000,000 per week

We have to be realistic as we are unlikely to get new owners prepared to invest until we have a new stadium as they would have to pay for it!

My hope is that, provided we stay in the EPL, we finally get the new stadium we deserve.

Clive Rogers
119 Posted 14/02/2015 at 19:32:28
Linda,

You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you get, and with this clown running the club we’ll never get a new ground. He made a complete hash of Everton’s big chance at King’s Dock then Kirkby. I don’t believe WHP is a serious venture, just a rouse for the fans. Where is the money supposed to come from?

We have had 16 years of steady decline under Kenwright and if he presides over relegation, this or next season, it will be the end of Everton as a major force.

Simon Jones
121 Posted 15/02/2015 at 14:48:56
I know it’s fashionable to run down Martinez at the moment, but remember, we had that awful season with Moyes when we finished 17th. Anyone recall what happened the following season?
Colin Glassar
122 Posted 15/02/2015 at 15:13:09
It’s been said before, many times, Simon but its now labelled as "revisionism".
Jay Wood
123 Posted 15/02/2015 at 15:21:01
Simon and Colin ... shall we list the comparative squads of 2003-04-05 to this and last season’s to have a balanced discussion on the relative exploits of the two managers..?
James Byrne
124 Posted 15/02/2015 at 16:49:24
Pointless article, Lyndon...

In the world of football, we are not a top club and we won't become one in the very near future. To us fans, we are the biggest club in the world etc etc, but you are referencing a foreign-born player.

Lukaku doesn't actually give a toss about Everton so why we get hung up on what these players say to the media is a bit silly!

At this present time, we are shit; we have a shit manager and we play shit football. If I was Lukaku, with the shite tactics we play, I reckon I would want to be somewhere else too.

Nicky Styles
125 Posted 15/02/2015 at 17:04:02
Lukaku wants to leave? GO NOW! I'll hail down the cab myself.
Glorified Emil Heskey is all. Please leave!
Linda Morrison
126 Posted 15/02/2015 at 17:14:42
James (124) totally agree with you.
Oscar Huglin
127 Posted 15/02/2015 at 17:25:06
James #124: "Lukaku doesn't give a toss about Everton"

I don't know who you've been watching for the last two seasons, but I think that's the last criticism you can level at Lukaku. He's always the last one left applauding the fans after a game and he plays for the shirt.

You can't knock him for having ambition – he came to this club because he loved his time here and he genuinely thought we could push for the Champions League. If he's starting to think that's not realistic, he deserves to move on, but we'll still have a couple more seasons to get the standard of football he and Mirallas want at Goodison.

Stop living in a dream world where every player who pulls on an Everton shirt instantly becomes an endlessly loyal, blue-blooded Evertonian. We're better than most at getting players to fall in love with the club, but most players just see us as a moderately big club in the most attractive league in the world.

Lukaku loves the club, but he also has a very short career to do as much as he possibly can. He's not going to stick with Everton if we can't give him the level of football he deserves.

Mick Wrende
129 Posted 15/02/2015 at 21:04:23
Let's face it, Lukaku is absolute shite – lazy, no ball control and always offside and obviously, from what he has said, totally arrogant. If we can get shut of him for half the money, we will be very lucky. An apology for a striker. Smell the coffee, lads – he is crap.
Phil Walling
131 Posted 15/02/2015 at 23:29:50
So because Moyes recovered from his 17th position in his second season, it's a given that Martinez will follow suit? Don't really follow that reasoning. Did Lambert recover?

However, Colin keeps telling us not to be alarmed. Why not? I suppose because we've managed to win SIX games out of TWENTY FIVE, we've done better than Villa, Leicester and Burnley and should avoid relegation.

So why should anyone be concerned with that record, uhh?

Trevor Peers
132 Posted 15/02/2015 at 23:45:04
Phil, the alarm bells were ringing before that victory at Palace, and will do again if the wins don't come in the remaining games. Roberto is effectively on trial for the rest of the season – even Kenwright wont risk the Sky money by keeping a manager who looks like taking us down.
Colin Glassar
133 Posted 16/02/2015 at 00:00:57
The beauty of TW is clearly illustrated in posts #127 and #129, ie, diametrically opposed opinions, exquisite prose and passionate verbosity.

Phil, Fergie struggled at Man Utd for a few seasons and didn’t turn out too bad did he? Remember the ’Tarra, Fergie’ banner at OT? I imagine you will be taking your white hankie to the Leicester game then.

Oh and yes, we will avoid relegation.

Tony Draper
134 Posted 16/02/2015 at 00:33:56
I'm no fan of betrayal.

And still what Kev and Rom have said in recent days disturbs me, and not solely to just anger.

I want what they want, far more than they can possibly ever dream.

Big club.
Champions League.
Silverware.
Star studded squad.

They aren't wrong in wanting success.
I'm bloody sure that Brian Clough would have said that a player with no ambition for higher and greater achievements was of no use to him.

I still like Roberto, I just think that he needs to stop being everybody's friend, because when it does go wrong (and in football, it always does unless you retire... and I consider death as quite a setback), your friends will have evaporated before the club issues the "Sadly....dear John...etc".

Roberto, your two Belgian lads want what I want and what you want with Everton. Mates will not win you trophies. Our last manager was dead popular because he won fuck all! And he took a fucking long time to do it.

Your pretty football requires many things, however, certain factors are not within your control....

The opposition are allowed to behave like arseholes.
The opposition will behave like complete arseholes.
The opposition are complete arseholes.
The opposition does not solely include other EPL football clubs nor indeed other English football clubs...........some of these arseholes are Everton fans!

So go for it, mate, because in simple terms, "You're fucked if you don't!"

Simon Jones
135 Posted 16/02/2015 at 11:14:22
I mention the Moyes 17th to 4th finishes, not because I assume Martinez will automatically do the same, but OFM taked about how he went away and considered what he could do better after having such a poor season.

I am of the opinion you learn more from your failures than you do from your successes. The blame will be squarely at Martinez's door if he repeats his mistakes with this squad.

Jay Wood
136 Posted 16/02/2015 at 11:28:19
The thing is Simon, Moyes inherited a dross squad, and still had a largely dross squad when he took it from 17th to 4th in 12 months.

By contrast, Martinez inherited a very good squad (as demonstrated last season), still has that very good squad and has reduced it to dross.

When does a learning cycle begin and end? Only at season’s end...? Surely in the world of top flight football you have to react and readjust not only week to week, game by game, but also within games.

And it is only in the past month that Roberto has finally woken up to our plight and taken a more pragmatic approach to what is truly needed In our current situation.

There will be time and the inclination I hope for a deep and thorough root and branch review of all matters in the summer, but we needed Roberto to learn and recognize NOW how precarious our situation was becoming and thankfully, it appears he has.

Daniel A Johnson
137 Posted 16/02/2015 at 11:51:13
The issue should surely be do these players have a brain and a conscience?

In the modern era of tweeting and mass media consumption via the internet every word can be twisted and scrutinised.

The players in the modern era must surely know that what they are saying has consequences.

So they are either naïve, stupid, or they are being very clever in trying to place the first seed of discontent.

Phil Walling
138 Posted 16/02/2015 at 12:15:32
Jay, you are certainly more optimistic than me over a future under this manager.

No-one should be appointed to this post whilst he is learning his trade or has to be awoken to the reality of the task. And certainly no-one who is more set on theories and philosophies than on delivering results.

Another season of this twerp in charge and Everton will become established as a Villa, Albion, Stoke or Sunderland rather than a challenger for top six. Just because Moyes 'turned it round' is about as relevant as the mess he later made of managing Man Utd!

Eric Myles
139 Posted 16/02/2015 at 12:27:39
Kieran (#92), the same has been said of every striker we've had in the last 11 years with the consensus that our manager and style of play has ruined them.
Jay Wood
140 Posted 16/02/2015 at 20:01:04
Phil @ 138 dunno where you gleaned the idea from my post that I am ’optimistic’ about the club’s future under RM.

My position has been consistent. I haven’t called for his sacking. I haven’t resorted to personal abuse or laid the blame for our obvious failings this season solely at RM’s door.

What I have done - and repeated in my post - was called for more acknowledgement of just how precarious our position is and for a more pragmatic approach to arrest it.

And at present that is ALL we have achieved - stopped the very considerable rot that was sucking us into the vortex of relegation.

No way have we yet turned the corner as many more optimistic fans wish to claim. Yes, the recent spate of clean sheets has plugged the sieve which was the defensive (hah!) side of our game, but on the offensive side...

7 goals in our last 11 PL games (30% of the season)...

5 of those 7 goals came in just 2 games, the 3-1 win to QPR and the 3-2 defeat against the barcodes...

Ergo, we have scored an embarrassing 2 goals in the other 9 games, dating back to 6 December...

Throw in the fact that we have failed to come back to win a game after losing the opening goal since 1 February 2014 - more than a year ago - and it doesn’t take much to work out if you score the 1st goal against Everton the worst result you can expect is a draw.

So no Phil, Sr. Martinez has a lot to do to convince me he is the right man for the job.

And to close on a point you made: "No-one should be appointed to this post whilst he is learning his trade."

I think it’s accurate to say both HK and Moyes fall into that category and they didn’t do too badly...

Craig Walker
141 Posted 17/02/2015 at 08:44:49
Love football. Hate footballers.

This is yet another example of a player who earns a small fortune and has been average at best this season having an inflated opinion of himself. Take a look at Diego Costa for Chelsea, who was similarly priced and contrast what he has contributed to his team. Admittedly, Costa plays with better players but you can't teach at 21-year-old to trap a ball and improve their hold-up play.

Unfortunately, Lukaku is yet another Everton forward who made a good start but couldn't handle our big club and expectations. If he wants to justify his opinion of himself, then he could start by learning the offside law.


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