The Slumbering Giant: Part I - Another False Dawn

Everton's step backwards this season after a decade of incremental progress gives pause and cause for reflection on the future of the club. Part I looks at the playing side as it pertains to the Blues' immediate prospects.

Lyndon Lloyd 18/04/2015 76comments  |  Jump to last

It may be reverberating loudest in the echo chamber of social media and finding greater voice in the prose and comments sections of a number of recently-penned articles on fan sites and blogs, but there is a perceptibly growing restlessness among Evertonians at the moment.

It has always been there to fluctuating degrees, of course. There was anguish as Everton slipped from the summit of the domestic game in the immediate post-Heysel years; growing despair as the club flirted with disaster in the mid- to late-1990s; angst at the false dawns of the Walter Smith years, the Kings Dock and Kirkby fiascos; and frustration at the dashed hopes of David Moyes's oh-so-nearly tenure.

Now, however, Everton's precipitous fall from the highs of that tantalising brush against the "glass ceiling" a year ago to criminal under-achievement on the domestic front this season has coincided with the 20th anniversary of the last time a captain of this famous old club lifted a trophy. The passage of two decades without meaningful silverware is a significant psychological milestone but it also represents the longest spell without a trophy (adjusting for the Second World War) in Everton's 137-year history. And the aimless drift towards what will be a welcome end to the 2014-15 season is giving Blues pause and cause for reflection on the state, the status and the future of the club.

We're not alone, of course. Aston Villa, a club of similarly impressive longevity, are once again fighting to avoid relegation from the top flight. Meanwhile, Newcastle United fans are preparing to stage an unprecedented boycott of their home match against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday to send a message to owner Mike Ashley that they have run out of patience with his tenure following the departure of Alan Pardew for Crystal Palace.

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So much of George Caulkin's beautifully-written guest article for the website echoes our own Everton experience. Granted, we haven't descended to quite the levels of farce that have played out at St James' Park at times see episodes like the George Kinnear and Dennis Wise show as prime examples but a lot of Caulkin's phrases and references like "stoicism from supporters" through "not-quite thick, thin and thinner", mid-table mediocrity and a transition from "a trophy to atrophy" will strike a loud chord with the feelings and fears of many Blues fans.

Newcastle's situation will garner its share of attention, particularly if enough fans vote with their feet this weekend to send an unmistakable message to their board via the visual of a mostly-empty stadium. With John Carver's uninspiring interim management yielding just two wins in 12 matches, the Magpies have gone into freefall since Pardew left, lending a sense of immediacy to their plight. And yet they're only three points worse off than Everton as things stand and their problems appear, on the face of it at least, to be a good deal more easily solved than ours.

Newcastle reside in a one-club city with a billionnaire owner and a partially redeveloped stadium that has plenty of scope for further expansion when the need arises. If Ashley can tempt the right managerial appointment in the summer and open his checkbook to the levels to which he has promised, the picture will likely change very quickly in the northeast. No doubt he is banking on such a strategy.

Two steps back

It's not too dissimilar to where Everton were last year. There was renewed talk of relocation, this time to Walton Hall Park, Roberto Martinez's near-magical first season at the helm came close to earning a crack at the Champions League for the first time in a decade and the record-shattering purchase of Romelu Lukaku for 28m seemed to herald a new, more ambitious phase in the Toffees' recent history. It was a briefly-held notion, though. Uneasiness voiced at the time that the outlay on Lukaku seemed to exhaust the manager's funds, leaving the squad short on the kind of depth needed to challenge on multiple fronts, was shown to be prescient as our domestic season derailed spectacularly with early exits from both the FA and League Cups and a dramatic fall down the table during a winter of discontent.

With the dust settled following the alarming nature of Everton's exit from the Europa League, it's not surprising that a growing number of Blues are weighed with a sense of deja vu and feeling increasingly disillusioned with the club's prospects 20 years on from that last cup success in May 1995 and 28 years since Kevin Ratcliffe hoisted the Toffees' last League Championship trophy. Where is our club going, what are Everton's prospects for returning once more to the pinnacle of the English game, and how long will it take to get there?

Most of the answers lie in the deeper, thornier issue of the boardroom stasis at Goodison Park and, given that little has changed at that level in the last decade, it's worthwhile exploring first the more immediate issues surrounding the first team squad and Martinez's management, both of which have been a source of grave concern for a lot of supporters this season.

The Catalan certainly earned significant capital in terms of supporter belief in his first season in charge as he drove Everton to a record points tally for the Premier League era. From the backroom and the press room to the boardroom and the terraces, Martinez was lauded as a breath of fresh air after 11 years of David Moyes's focused but flat-lining evolution at Goodison Park and it felt in those first 12 months as though we had finally found the man to take us to the level that had eluded his predecessor.

We all recall the highs of the win at Old Trafford, the sight of an Everton team passing an Arsene Wenger side off their own park, the impressive, swashbuckling home wins in the reverse fixtures against Manchester United and Arsenal, the mercurial talents of Gerard Deulofeu on the flank, and the delights of a marauding Lukaku in full flow up front. Rays of light from a false dawn that blinded many of us to the problems that foreshadowed this season's slump in some poor performances against the likes of Liverpool, Crystal Palace and Southampton in the second half of 2013-14.

If Martinez showed anything, though, it was the power of confidence and how it can propel a team to a succession of good results and keep them in European contention, something he very visibly lost this season as his team has struggled to reach double digits for victories in the Premier League. That he was still citing in March the psychological blow of dropping four vital points in the first two matches of the season back in August smacked as much of excuse-making as blaming the team's European commitments the Blues performed far worse during the hiatus from Continental competition than when they were competing on both fronts.

More than a lack of belief among his players, though, the manager betrayed a deeply worrying lack of answers, bordering on paralysis, during the worst of the mid-winter collapse, no more so perhaps than at the St Mary's in December where he failed to use a single substitute in an awful 3-0 defeat that triggered a four-match losing streak.

With rumours of squad unrest, tempered mostly by the departure of Samuel Eto'o in January, his apparent loss for answers to his team's malaise over the Festive period, and unease among his players at his mandated but directionless possession game, Martinez appeared to be fulfilling the worst fear of his biggest doubters at the time of his hire namely that he would eventually turn Everton into another version of the Wigan Athletic side that he took down in 2013. A team stifled by a pedestrian passing game, a rigid, unbalanced formation, and an ineffective substitution policy.

More questions than answers

The recent mini-revival has effectively erased fears the crisis of form could send the Blues into a death spiral of confidence that would suck them into the kind of relegation battle that Moyes banished from the Evertonian lexicon and psyche. But while it has bought the manager more time, it has left questions rather than true answers. Stopping the rot that set in over Christmas entailed a shift, if not in formation then one away from an emphasis on possession towards a more direct approach going forward and a more defensive posture than Martinez is renowned for. Even then, frailties at the back, exacerbated by a lack of genuine depth of quality at centre half and the mystifying not to mention infuriatingly hypocritical (given his treatment of Joel Robles earlier this year) decision to select Antolin Alcaraz for the second leg in Ukraine, were exposed ruthlessly by Dynamo Kyiv as they destroyed our European dream.

Given that Everton haven't truly played the "Martinez Way" since the away defeat at Arsenal at the beginning of last month, there's a certain level of uncertainty hovering over the team at the moment. Have we entered some sort of limbo that can only be resolved by a squad clearout of the kind the manager insists isn't necessary or a change in management altogether? Is Martinez indeed adapting and evolving his philosophy to include a more mixed way of playing, or has it simply been a case of the players shedding the dogmatic at-all-costs adherence to passing and possession and simply going back to basics to grind out results?

Before supporters can truly believe that Martinez (who is still a young manager at just 41) is becoming more appreciative of the changes required to move this team forward, they will need to see more willingness on the Catalan's part to mix up the set-up of his team and to respond to events on the pitch with more proactive substitutions. His failure to address a glaring need for changes up front that led to an ultimately disappointing 1-1 draw at Swansea was a case in point and, together with what appeared to be a collective lack of genuine desire to drive home the win, it summed up some of the main causes of fan frustration with performances on the field of late.

Despite the recent upturn in form, the necessary conviction, the passion and the drive qualities that, in truth, Martinez's side have lacked throughout the campaign and which would hint at a revival next season still aren't there and that is chiefly reflective of the man in the "hot seat". Within the confines of his role and the standards he set last season, the manager simply hasnt been good enough this term. He has spent that faith capital he racked up in his first season and, in many ways, now has to prove himself all over again, which makes the coming summer and the campaign beyond it absolutely crucial for both his immediate future and that of the club.

Planning for the window

How much real capital he will have at his disposal is where we get into the grey area of trying to parse the manager's rherotic and weighing it up against the mushrooming television rights revenue, past expenditure and the perceived strategy of the Board vis-a-vis debt reduction and the potential stadium development. Martinez's budget was framed rather nebulously as "ample" by the club via the Liverpool Echo this past week but it's impossible to know how much he will be given. His recent comments, where he indicated it would be a case of adding just two or three key players to the squad, suggest that an overhaul isn't in the offiing and that will do little to quell fears that the club's hopes of cracking that glass ceiling will continue to go unfulfilled for some time to come.

Whether he has more faith in the players currently at his disposal than a good proportion of the fanbase believe he should or whether he is being constrained by tight purse-strings we can't know for sure, but the size of the kitty will dictate just how much work he can do in terms of squad-building in the off-season. Martinez argued earlier this month that it would have been "stupid" not to opt for continuity from last season and keep the likes of Gareth Barry and Sylvain Distin on permanent deals. Now, having hopefully seen the deficiencies of his squad and how much it is weighed down by players either at the tail end of their careers or playing on borrowed time, will he have the desire, courage and financial ability to make the wholesale changes that are needed? Will the coming transfer window see more of the policy of "making do" that seems to have set in at Goodison or will it reflect ambition and an expression of Martinez's preferred, more expansive style?

A year ago Martinez spoke of the need to draft in six to seven new faces to cope with the demands of Europe; this time, despite the club's laudable moves to tie key players down to long-term contracts, he will arguably need the same and to actually follow through this time just to get Everton back to a level where they are capable of mounting a challenge for the top five again. Distin and Alcaraz will almost certainly be released despite their manager's diplomatic hedging at a press conference this past week, but a reliance on the likes of Barry (34), Leon Osman (34 next month), Arouna Kone (32 in December) Steven Pienaar (33 and injury-prone), and Tim Howard (36 and error-prone) to push the Toffees back into contention for European qualification would be folly. More sustainable would be to emulate the emphasis placed on younger, hungrier players by clubs like Wolfsburg who have just one outfield player over the age of 30 and have built a foundation of players in their early to mid-20s that has enabled them to consolidate second place in the Bundesliga and imminent Champions League qualification.

Such a strategy would at least allow for a sustained challenge rather than the need to rely on ageing legs to plug the gaps in the squad but, again, there doesn't appear to be any such appetite for a significant shake-up of the squad at Goodison right now. Unfortunately, while we can't compete financially with those already enjoying a monopoly on the top spots, that kind of radical thinking is what is going to be needed to at least get our noses pressed back up against that glass ceiling. Beyond that, it's almost certainly going to need a big change on a fiscal level to give us the punch to break through it. Regardless of how effortless it's been made to look by a Manchester United side that have looked so ordinary for most of the season, finishing in the top four is supremely difficult (it helps to be able to drop more than 200m on new players in the space of 12 months to drag yourself back onto the Champions League gravy train). Tottenham have battled for years to unseat Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City from the top four and without Luis Suarez's world-class talent, Liverpool are struggling to fight their way back in now.

It's questionable whether the burning ambition to force real change at Everton exists, though, let alone the means to achieve it. While the club has been making slow incremental progress towards cracking the top four over the last decade, there was always a feeling that we were on the cusp of making it. This season's big setback, however, is forcing a realignment of hopes and expectations. Martinez and his players are on the front line in that sense but more and more eyes are being trained on the boardroom which is where the second and much more weighty aspect of the club's future lies.

Part II Twenty-Year Itch | Part III Treading Water | Part IV Soul Searching

(Cover photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

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Reader Comments (76)

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David Harrison
1 Posted 18/04/2015 at 08:22:02
Great piece, Lyndon. We do seem to be drifting in a state of paralysis with far too much flotsam and jetsam weighing the squad down. At least under Moyes there was always a sense that we could improve incrementally by adding 1 or 2 hungry players but I can’t detect any discernible direction now.

Ultimately of course we continue to be hamstrung by the very fact we are no longer an elite club... as you rightly point out, 20 years and counting... and with seemingly little prospect of becoming one under the present regime in the boardroom. To be honest I wish I didn’t care and have tried to convince myself that I don’t but a nigh on 50-year habit is hard to break.

David Holroyd
2 Posted 18/04/2015 at 09:03:41
A great piece – I cannot wait for Part 2.

How many times have we as supporters thought just two more players and we can make a real impact on the top four only to find there is no more money. I suspect it will be the same again this close season.

I can see the reason to keep some of the over thirties, Osman, Jagielka, Pienaar but the others it’s time to move on. More pace in the side is a must for me cos it’s all to slow. It’s hard to swallow that we aren’t in the big five any more and if we aren’t careful we will not be in the top ten clubs.

It’s a fine line but debt reduction while the Sky money is here will help in the long-term because we are paying millions in interest every year.

David Greenwood
3 Posted 18/04/2015 at 09:15:40
Great article, Lyndon. Perhaps more than any time in the recent past, this is a key moment. Unless there is a change at boardroom level, we could have SAF in charge, he would still be looking at the free transfers, loans and cheap deals that Roberto has generally had to deal with. He would I’m sure this season have had us performing much better with the current squad of players at his disposal.

I’m hoping for a change in the boardroom and a lessons learned Roberto. We need both, if only one happens its not enough.

James Hughes
4 Posted 18/04/2015 at 09:13:57
Good article following on the heels of Patrick Hart’s Lost Tribe, both well written, informative, incisive and depressing for all Evertonians.

The next re-make of Groundhog Day should be set at GP where, no matter what you do, nothing changes and you wake up every day craving a piece of silverware only to go to bed despondent.

The lack of direction at the club is alarming and we have poor marketing, sponsorship and vision. Boys Pen Billy refuses to invest and use finances correctly and 20 years of ’Got No Money’ is gradually sapping the spirit. I just believe he is too selfish and greedy to sell and too inept to move this big club forward and make us a top club.

Mr Kenwright, what is club motto, please?

Kieran Fitzgerald
5 Posted 18/04/2015 at 08:43:18
New stadium or new players, that will be the big decision in the summer. It’s one that will have to be made by the Board, manager and fans alike. Like it or lump it, we then need to embrace it and get on with it. We just don’t have the funds or the strength in depth of squad to do both.

It can be said that it would have been an easier decision last summer before the Lukaku money was spent. It could also be said, as many did last summer, that it would have been the more sensible and progressive decision to make that would also have given us more ’wiggle’ room. At this stage, however, it’s a moot point and a wasted argument. We are where we are. It will be strictly one route or another. Decide, four or five quality players in, with ageing legs going the other way, and a couple of million left over for a new stadium which will then wait. Or, £20-30M put away for a new stadium that we push through ASAP and we keep old legs and snap up the like of Cleverly and Ameobi.

The big question is whether or not you actually think the club right now will make the decision one way or another and then do it right. Decisive purposeful action one way or another would be a clear sign that we are at least going in the right direction.

There’s roughly four months between now and the start of the new season in mid-August. An interesting time.

Bobby Thomas
6 Posted 18/04/2015 at 10:07:07
Based on the previous 20 years why does anyone think we are going to be getting 4 or 5 quality players in?!

Forget it. Save yourself the disappointment.

This squad is in transition. Martinez first season was actually its last hurrah, not the start of anything special, and the way we do things any change can only be gradual.

As widely acknowledged Martinez has worsened this need to freshen the squad with 3 awful signing right down the spine of the side in Alcaraz, Barry & Kone.

We caved to Barry's agent and gave the 3-year deal to a 32-/33-year-old who had creaked & wheezed his way through the second half of the season. Kone was 29 even before the knee, £6 million, dead money straight away. Criminal business the way we do things.

Lukaku? Well I knew we wouldn’t lose money but any mark up is going to be negligible. As for Alcaraz, he just doesn’t have the tools to play in the division.

He has created more problems and holes in the squad signing these old men, added to the pressing need for versatile attacking mids to replace Ossie & Pienaar.

Its a big summer as if he gets these next signings wrong then we could be looking at trouble.

Steve Cotton
7 Posted 18/04/2015 at 10:28:42
Here is an idea that might help.

Get our targets in first before any clear out, hopefully 2 or 3 quality players in first. Then let the ones that need to leave go and with any money for them bring in another quality player or two.

Next idea: swap Lukaku for someone of a similar ilk. Don’t sell him and let Bill keep the money, swap him for a big name player from abroad who will do a similar job.

Sadly we will have the clear-out first, probably pull in £20 mill (plus the money for big Rom) and end up spending half that as per usual on a couple of frees and a couple of ex-Wigan players.

Dave Abrahams
8 Posted 18/04/2015 at 10:27:59
Great piece, Lyndon, depressing but true facts of where we now stand in football. I think that the big decisions are out of Kenwright’s hands; our destiny is in the hands of people the chairman has borrowed money from.

Billy Boy is in a large hole, it’s time to stop digging and sort the club's affairs out before we go completely out of existence, it’s that bad.

Eddie Dunn
9 Posted 18/04/2015 at 10:41:04
Really interesting piece, Lyndon. It seems to sum up how I have been feeling in recent months/years.

I would add that the huge amounts of money sloshing around the PL only increases the frustration of the average fan, as he or she watches the performers from an increasing distance. We have very little power, our money given through the turnstile is of little importance compared to the revenue from the Sky/BT deal, and thus our influence is reduced.

Now we have an over-priced product, with many men becoming millionaires in their twenties, people wearing club shirts that cost £40, made in sweatshops by children for pennies. We fans, unlike those in Germany who have shares in their clubs, are merely spectators. Spectators of both the team and the board. We don’t know what is going on, what the finances really are, we live in ignorance and blind faith.

We are treated with contempt by the Premier League, still over-charging us for an often poor experience/product. Without fans in the stadium, the game would not be worth watching on the TV, and it is our loyalty to our clubs which we are being exploited for. Read Newcastle,Sunderland, Villa, etc etc.

If Everton wanted a new stadium, then why not ground-share with a nearby club for two seasons whilst Goodison Park was demolished and rebuilt. It is surely possible. We surely could afford it. It would of course mean that the Board would have to do some work, instead of turning up to have their nice dinners in their cosy, corporate world .

Tony Hill
10 Posted 18/04/2015 at 11:01:29
On the field, we need above all one or two players with proper courage and ruthlessness. Yes we have to buy talent, of course, but it’s the heart that’s lacking. If we’re going to rise again as a club we must truly believe we can do it and that is the psychological hurdle which has to be cleared.

The Board and Martinez do not fill me with great hope that they have what it will take but sometimes these things can come out of nowhere, the right mix just happens, the right individuals emerge. It can be done but we must, somehow, shake off our mediocre comfort-zone mentality. Let us pray.

Steve Guy
11 Posted 18/04/2015 at 11:26:39
Depressing reading but a good articulation of what we’ve all been feeling and thinking for some time.

Martinez is on borrowed time. Everything that went wrong this season (from the appalling pre season to the early cup exits to the awful home form) needs to go right next season.

Dave Williams
12 Posted 18/04/2015 at 11:37:33
Best article I have read for a long time – well reasoned and a sensible examination rather than some of the more irrational ramblings we can get in moments of despair!

Keiran also sums it up well above – reduce debt for the new stadium or beef up the squad for an assault on Champions League – we can’t do both. Our future has to be to give young players a chance and we supporters then have to encourage rather than groan when they make a mistake as has happened with Ross this season.

Garbutt has to be given a run in the team as we cannot afford to lose young players as good as him merely to accommodate a 30 year old for another year or two. Likewise Galloway, Ledson & Green – we need to blood these lads once they are ready for a game rather than stifle them to a point where they lose interest. I am not advocating playing half a dozen of them all at once but if we look to them rather than the current dads army and the supporters get behind them we might just get the energetic and vibrant team which we crave.

HK did this in the eighties with his team average age of around 23 from what I recall. Those boys took a while to settle and I recall watching the likes of Heath and Sharp getting dreadful stick from the crowd and Steven had to be dropped because his confidence was shot. They then clicked by putting in some experience in the form of Gray and (more importantly) Reid but they were the only two oldies and neither was 30.

Lyndon rightly highlights the need for direction – it’s no good dithering between the options but it would be nice for the supporters to get some direction from the management so we can swim with the tide.

Paul Tran
13 Posted 18/04/2015 at 11:35:03
Another great piece, Lyndon.

The big ticking bomb over our club is the number of over-30s in the squad who will have to be replaced. That’s why Martinez was talking of seven new faces last year – he knew what we all knew. Those whinging about the like of Cleverley and Ameobi had better get used to it. In the next few years there’ll be a fair few ’ballast’ signings on frees and loans, with hopefully the odd bit of quality.

I’m guessing he gambled last year on keeping the squad together, spending his budget largely on Lukaku. I was hoping we’d take advantage of last season’s momentum and bring in better players to speed up the play. We’re not that kind of club, so we went for the cheap option of ’continuity’.

That, for me, sums up our club at the moment: over-cautious, unimaginative manager; tight-fisted, unambitious board.

Colin Glassar
14 Posted 18/04/2015 at 11:58:07
Your last paragraph nailed it, Paul, but, ’the big ticking bomb’ you alluded to is not the players, it’s not the manager... it’s the board!!!

As long as we have a Board of Directors who aren’t willing, or are unable, to invest a penny in the club, seek fresh investment, or even afford a token brick towards a new stadium, we are going nowhere. It’s that simple.

Nick Entwistle
15 Posted 18/04/2015 at 11:51:34
There’s only 6 teams who haven’t been relegated from the PL, and Moyes simply allowed us to forget for a long long time that if you’re not one of the clubs with high player investment then you start the season as potential relegation candidates.

I was writing 8 or 9 years ago that if you’re not in CL you’re no bigger than Bolton or Man City (!) whose highlights come later on MotD.

I haven’t seen the details of what Ashley had said, but what do Toons want him to do? Spend on par with Spurs and still get nowhere?

For everyone outside of Man City, Man Utd, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Spurs things will not change. Oh sure... Southampton put up a reasonable challenge this season, like other teams have done in previous campaigns, but it's now April and the top 4 is as the top 4 is expected to be. Again.

The fans of clubs in the bottom 14 who can demand more than Burnley’s ’just happy to be here’ situation are stomping their feet at demanding more, yet what that can be is no more than an also ran.

Maybe Southampton fans can keep the faith for next season – we all did, just about, under Moyes – yet, unless a club can find a manager to do this, to placate fans' frustrations with hope, then we are a Newcastle, a Stoke, a Sunderland, a West Ham, a Villa... and it could well be next season we have to fight a real relegation battle.

Unless the domestic competition is given precedence over the Champions League by redistributing where the spots are awarded, then things won’t change. And they won’t anyway because the clubs at the top are needed to stay top to keep the Asian supporter base not switching brand, sorry, allegiances, to La Liga and Barca etc...

Denis Richardson
16 Posted 18/04/2015 at 11:53:52
Great article, Lyndon, and we’ve no choice but to wait and see where the Martinez circus takes us.

Until the guy starts taking defensive and set-piece training seriously, I don’t think I’ll be able to really take him seriously. Nevermind his strange press conferences.

Re the squad, we don’t need 7 or 8 new players. We need 3-4 quality signings, in the right positions, to give proper competition and creativity. (Assuming of course the manager starts picking players on form!)

Most urgent are: a creative centre mid, a very decent CB and a decent striker to either play with Rom or provide proper cover and competition. After that, it would nice to bring in a young RB for cover and competition for Coleman and a decent wide midfielder.

No massive overhaul needed BUT key signings need to be made AND the manager needs to learn the basics of football.

Too much to ask?

Ian Glassey
17 Posted 18/04/2015 at 11:43:55
Great stuff, Lyndon. I – like many others on TW – wish I did not care. But we are Evertonians and we do care, so I have paid up again for my season ticket.

It is time that the fat cats in the board room showed that they care, but don’t expect anything to change.

Declan Brown
18 Posted 18/04/2015 at 12:24:11
Brilliant article, Lyndon; really cracking read for any Toffee, well balanced and articulated, as your articles always are, you’re up there with Ken Buckley (the best on this site, with all due respect to everyone else who takes the time to contribute).

To keep it short, I want a new manager. I like Roberto’s sunny disposition, I don’t dislike him; I just think he’s out of his depth with us, but the bigger issue is Bill Kenwright. I'm not going to start any discussions about new managers, because I’ve accepted Roberto is here for next season and Kenwright will be here long term.

Not a good time to be a blue (30 years of support for me so far), but we’ve been here before; like we always do, we’ll stick by the team and hope for better days. I can remember the days of playing Wimbledon and then Coventry on the last day to survive etc, but the mismanagement of the club in the richest era for top flight football beggars belief.

Hang in there, Blues, we've just got to hope it gets better...

Mick Quirke
19 Posted 18/04/2015 at 12:31:00
Brilliant, Lyndon. Balanced and reasoned as ever, but scathingly honest when necessary. For me, there’s no question that the whole Eto’o episode was damaging and unsettling.

Martinez’s first season earned him the right to receive more patience from fans and board, but it’s not infinite.

Patrick Murphy
20 Posted 18/04/2015 at 12:24:44
Somewhere between the dreams of Everton being restored to where we want them to be and Nick’s reality check is the real position of the club at this juncture.

Nick points out that the established powers are not going to be realistically moved from their position of superiority any time soon; unfortunately we have slipped down the pecking order behind the other wannabe clubs such as Spurs, Liverpool and perhaps Southampton.

With the exception of those seven or eight clubs, all the other clubs are fighting relegation from the very start of every season, which in turn has led to so much defensively minded football by those clubs. Even in Everton’s good seasons, it was the defensive side which helped to earn so many points. It could be argued that David Moyes laid down the template for the ’lesser’ clubs to be able to garner points in the Premier League.

Unfortunately many of the clubs are now better equipped to play the David Moyes Everton way than the current Everton team are. It is something that Roberto is going to have to address and hopefully add a little something else to keep us competing at the right end of the table.

I think the smooth transition from Moyes to Martinez last season lulled the club into believing that the next five years would pan out in similar fashion to the previous five and that it might even exceed those years. However, they must learn from this season’s disappointments that they have to be proactive and lay down a plan as to where they expect us to be in 3 to 5 years time, the manager should then be supported in that with financial backing where possible and the club should become ruthless as to which players are awarded improved or extended contracts.

If a player is unlikely to be at his peak in two years time, he shouldn’t be at the club, present contractual obligations notwithstanding. Tough decisions need to be taken and the manager has to make those decisions for the long-term benefit of the club.

In many ways, this season marks the beginning of another chapter; it is up to everyone at the club to ensure that it is a relatively successful one and not the start of a downward spiral.

Most of all, Roberto has to find a brand of football that is acceptable to the paying public whilst adding Premier League points to the tally – not an easy task for anybody but he has to find a way of providing it; that’s what the club pays him to do.

John Crawley
21 Posted 18/04/2015 at 12:53:49
Another thought-provoking and excellent article Lyndon which puts most journalists to shame. I along with a lot of others went on the Blue Union marches but unfortunately a lot of people can’t see past the fact that Kenwright is a blue. The local media in this matter do not help in the slightest with their sycophantic support.

The changes that are required from my point of view in ascending order are:-

1) Change of ownership;

2) If not, then a new chief executive and a complete overhaul of the club’s strategy to increase commercial revenue (excluding TV revenue which is already done for them!);

3) An actual plan, with targets, costs etc to redevelop Goodison in incremental stages or to build a new stadium;

4) A plan to get the ownership of Finch Farm back into the club’s hands;

5) Removal of the manager with someone who can develop and utilise young players from the academy. We’ve got a number of exciting prospects and what looks like the best set of young players that we’ve had since the early 80s.

I have little faith in Martinez as a manager and even less in his transfer market dealings. I always thought Moyes was a good but limited manager, but the one area where he was excellent in was the transfer market and it was this ability that allowed us to do relatively well in terms of league position. I still think it will be interesting to see how the players react when we are mathematically safe from relegation.

Clive Rogers
22 Posted 18/04/2015 at 12:49:05
Really good, although depressing. Sometimes the truth is depressing. Anyway I couldn’t be any more depressed about the state the club is in.

What really worries me is that, after 16 years of decline, we could easily be in for another similar period as it is obvious that Kenwright has no intention of selling or standing down. He seems absolutely determined to hang on to power, no matter what the consequences for the club he supposedly loves. It is certain to end in disaster.

Nick Armitage
23 Posted 18/04/2015 at 18:10:31
Nothing changes until the owners of the club find a way to inject serious capital to attract a talented manager and players. This article could have been written at any point over the last 25 years.

Whatever comes of this season, Martinez has got to go, but he won’t. Lyndon, your article will be equally relevant at the end of next season, I’ll bet my house on that.

Alan Bodell
24 Posted 18/04/2015 at 19:12:45
John (#21), We all want a change of ownership but nobody seems to want to come and own us.

Our history and support is second to no other but, to compete on the pitch these days, every club needs a mega donor and we until then are just treading water.

Rick Tarleton
25 Posted 18/04/2015 at 19:59:01
Patrick Hart’s magnificent piece on "The Lost Tribe" ought to have had 500 responses and started the anti-Kenwright movement taking off. However, we’ll have more people talking about whether Kevin the ego Mirallas should stay or go.
Darren Hind
26 Posted 18/04/2015 at 20:23:24
And the TW bar is raised yet again. Congratulations, Lyndon – A great read.

I get the feeling certain members of the board will be pulling the blankets over their heads when Part Two is published...

Andy Crooks
27 Posted 18/04/2015 at 22:06:18
Alan (#24) – "Nobody seems to want to come and own US".

That might be true, and there are reasons why we may not be an attractive proposition. However, the main reason we have not been bought is because we are not for sale, and that is a pretty serious drawback to a sale.

Bill wants an investor, someone who will elevate his dream to the next level and let him continue to live it. It is not going to happen in our world, but anything can happen in Bill’s. The sky is a different colour in his world.

James Whelan
28 Posted 18/04/2015 at 22:26:15
Great article! Looking forward to Part 2.

As enjoyable as last season was, my Martinez alarm bells started to ring with the McGeady signing and then to compound this by spending £28m on Lukaku and not play to his undoubted and obvious strengths.

Moyes was amazing! To get the likes of Lescott and turn them into full internationals during his stewardship was Harry Potter stuff. Martinez seems to make decent players worse. Just imagine if Moyes had had the money to spend that Roberto has. Martinez is the wrong man at the right time. Love EFC.

James Whelan
29 Posted 18/04/2015 at 23:13:55
And another thing, apologies! I have never understood the Kenwright baiting, I want the Chairman of the club I love to also love the club, which he does, and believe it or not, he does make good decisions for Everton.

He picked a decent young manager who has been the best thing to happen to Everton in the last 30 years! I know this, you know this! The man lives and breathes the club, let’s give him a break. But the Kenwright bashers want what? You want a Roman Abramovich? Good luck with that, you’d sooner get a Vincent Tan.

I love this club, but Everton has no right to be successful. Football has never been the most honourable of sports and Everton in the past have been as dishonourable as the best of them but, with Kenwright and Moyes in charge, I always thought (naively?) they were decent men in a crappy football world.

Support to be a supporter, granted a supporter with a bit of a name.

Dick Fearon
30 Posted 19/04/2015 at 02:14:57
Thank you, Lyndon, for another excellent diagnosis of Everton problems. It makes me wonder why on earth does the media rave on about our so called wonderful chairman and manager.

Bullshitter Bill and his board must be aware that the time has finally arrived when no longer can they fool ALL of the people ALL of the time. The mealy mouthed excuse bucket has been emptied. No one believes anything anymore.

I bet that after a spell of face-saving investigation, the WHP project will not get up and we will be back to square one. Had our new stadium been a genuine option, why bother with WHP when a spade could be in the ground at Stanley Park within 40 days? It has already been cleared of all impediments to construction.

Julian Wait
31 Posted 19/04/2015 at 04:23:30
Reality bites.
Michael Winstanley
32 Posted 19/04/2015 at 11:20:18
Great article, Lyndon.

For my money, unless we get a billionaire owner, we can’t compete for Champions League football. Even if we did, would it guarantee success? Spurs, Liverpool, Man Utd and Southampton have spent transfer kitties we can only dream about and yet none of those clubs are guaranteed to qualify for the Champions League.

The top teams have quality between the sticks and creative types in midfield and goalscorers leading the line. As for the rest of the Premier League, standards have improved in terms of players' technical ability and use of tactics so there really isn’t a gimme three points any more.

Martinez has set his and our stall out to produce homegrown talent accompanied by one or two high profile signings each summer with a couple of loans. That’s our direction and future over the next few seasons; time will tell... but, given the nature of the money in football and our lack of it, what other options do we have?

This season, we’ve witnessed nothing short of a disaster on the pitch and there has been much talk of dressing room unrest. Martinez said as much in his pre-match Burnley press conference. It would appear the dressing room is once again strong and the results have been turned around; performances are yet to catch up but a return to clean sheets has been most welcome.

The challenge facing Martinez and Everton over the next few seasons will be in keeping our decent players, who see it as their right to play Champions League football. Lukaku, Barkley, Stones and McCarthy are easily good enough to play for one of the top sides but losing any of them would be a massive blow for us.

What is success today for a club in our financial position? Top half finish and a decent cup run? The reality is as it’s always been, you need to win football matches week-in and week-out to maintain any challenge for the top four. Even our record points tally wasn’t enough.

We all expect Everton to succeed but, unless we see change at boardroom level, we will always be up against it when competing in the world's richest league.

Dave Abrahams
33 Posted 19/04/2015 at 13:11:28
James Whelan (28),you come across as a very genuine person, however you mention the word 'naïvely' in your post. I think, where Bill Kenwright is concerned, you are very naïve – he is slowly destroying OUR club, but you are entitled to your beliefs.
Colin Glassar
34 Posted 19/04/2015 at 13:43:29
Everton, 12th in the league playing a bottom 3 club in a relatively meaningless game (for us) in front of a capacity crowd.

Man City, 4th in the league with some of the best players (Hart, Silva, Aguero etc...) in the world in a must-win game (for them) in front of a crowd with loads of empty seats in their council house.

I still think, despite being poorer, we are head and shoulders above the nouveau riche clubs like Man City and Chelsea in terms of tradition and fervent support.

Michael Winstanley
35 Posted 19/04/2015 at 14:20:07
I think that’s an important point Colin because Martinez clearly gets it but I’m not so sure about some of the players .

Last year everyone associated with the club said Roberto was a breath of fresh air, bringing a new dynamism to the club as a whole. Martinez has always spoke about the need to change the mentality of the players and how he needed to raise the expectations.

We as fans loved all that bullshit but the reality is he’s right. This season has seen the players lose it somewhat with the manager as results haven’t followed from his philosophy but now, the players are together with the manager and results are coming.

Colin Glassar
36 Posted 19/04/2015 at 14:35:14
If only we could compete financially with the richer clubs Michael...... It must be really frustrating for any Everton manager to have to constantly scrounge around in the bargain basement for decent players to strengthen the team.
Michael Winstanley
37 Posted 19/04/2015 at 14:42:23
Colin, can you imagine having £100 million to spend this summer? Think of the players we might attract? The impact it would have on the other players and standard of football we’d play.

But that’s not our reality, we’ll have a bit of small change to try and get one or two in and a couple of academy players coming up to flesh out the first team squad.

Colin Glassar
38 Posted 19/04/2015 at 14:58:02
That’s our reality, Michael. We perform miracles, on our budget, just to rub shoulders with the rich boys. It’s all very unfair.
Keith Harrison
39 Posted 19/04/2015 at 15:30:07
Another brilliant piece, Lyndon, to follow on the Mrs France article. Pity the EFC Press job isn’t up for grabs, you would walk it, and hopefully then the malaise would be recognised and halted. Keep up the good work, sir.
Steve Hogan
40 Posted 19/04/2015 at 15:56:39
Great article, Lyndon, which pretty much sums up where we are as a football club at the moment.

Sometimes I think the problem with Everton is it’s very loyal but passive fanbase. The slow malaise from being recognised by our peer group 20 years ago, as one of the UK’s leading clubs, to simply being ’Everton-a proper football club’ well run etc etc, but now sadly simply one of a number of clubs not likely to be challenging for the Premier League title any time soon.

The sterling work done by EitC simply highlites the fact that we are largely known as a community based club, but adds zilch to the club's bottom line, but in some ways simply masks the real problem, ie, lack of investment.

Back to the fans issue, I believe the majority of the fanbase are simply content to turn up every week, have a couple of pints and go home again. Their expectations have been tempered to such a degree, that they no longer have the stomach for any organised mass demonstration.

Some pundits say that you get the football club you deserve; have we reached that stage?

Kevin Tully
41 Posted 19/04/2015 at 17:48:25
I find it more than a coincidence that whenever any anti- Kenwright reaction starts appearing, up pops a story in the Echo in support of the man and his fellow board members – Carsley on Kenwright:

But the club is in really good hands under its current owners. Kenwright has transformed the club completely from when I first joined.

We were almost at the bottom of the Premier League and the club were going in a totally different direction to what they are now – it’s unrecognisable.

Back in 2002 if you’d have said that a decade or so later we’d be spending £28million on one player you’d have said ‘you’re joking.’

There’s also all that money we’ve spent over the period on lots of top quality players like £15million for Marouane Fellaini and £7million on a left-back to get Leighton Baines.

When you look at the kind of fees we used to be paying for the likes of Tim Cahill and Marcus Bent it’s come a hell of a long way.

The good thing about it is that everything is done with Everton’s best interest at heart.

The legacy that this will leave is a club that is not going to be debt-ridden and there’s not going to be squabbling among the board. We’ve also created a culture in which the chairman is loyal to the manager and gives him time to develop a team rather than hiring and firing every other year.

You only have to read some of the stories about what’s going on at other clubs.

This is still a club that is held in such high esteem throughout football.

Colin Glassar
42 Posted 19/04/2015 at 17:59:09
It’s a well oiled machine Kevin. We are poor, financially and commercially, but we have the best spin doctors in the business.
Patrick Murphy
43 Posted 19/04/2015 at 17:58:14
I would not be excited at the prospect of signing any Newcastle Utd player as they are IMO the worst team in the league along with their neighbours Sunderland.
Ameobi is sitting on the bench and watching him and them this afternoon reinforces my initial thoughts.
Ameobi is poor and reminds me of Jo when he was at Goodison.
His passing was atrocious and the whole team are a mediocre championship side at best.
We should not be filling valuable bench spaces with dross.
We have already done that during Moyes reign when we had Macfadden, Hitzelsberger and a goalkeeper I cannot even remember warming the bench.
Surely we have moved on since that bleak period.
The squad we already have is far better than the likes of Ameobi.
Lets be linked with a few decent players who can lift the side not bring it down !
Dave Abrahams
44 Posted 19/04/2015 at 18:18:24
Patrick, the real sad part of Carsley’s article is he most probably believes what he is writing and thinks it is the truth.
Colin Glassar
45 Posted 19/04/2015 at 18:34:22
I’m sure free tickets and scoff play a part guys.
Kunal Desai
46 Posted 19/04/2015 at 18:19:18
Nothing changes at the club until the mindset of matchday goers and season ticket holders change. We've been served up so much shit and dross over the years that many are used to accepting mediocrity and the rubbish pedalled out by the Board season after season. Unfortunately it’s an addiction they cannot relinquish. Living on past success means nothing today.
Colin Glassar
47 Posted 19/04/2015 at 18:57:23
It’s a well-oiled machine, Kevin. We are poor, financially and commercially, but we have the best spin doctors in the business.
Chris Regan
48 Posted 19/04/2015 at 19:14:21
This and the Lost Tribe article sum up Everton perfectly for me, I will be interested to read the conclusion. Twenty years without a trophy is way too long for us.
Paul Jeronovich
49 Posted 20/04/2015 at 10:17:19
Great article but can I ask what do we really expect at Everton? I’ve had a season ticket for the last 20 years and remember the gloomy 90’s. Farrelly, Deign, Thomsen, Angell etc etc. it was utter shite. Where we are today cannot be compared, am I happy, no, I never will be because I love the club and always want the best. Everyone needs to look at what clubs have had ’investment’. Only City and Chelsea have had the dream investment. The rest have been bollocks and the clubs have not progressed as promised.

We do need a bit of perspective, I for one if given the choice would opt for a new stadium over complete squad investment as this may be the carrot to get a decent investor interested. One who unlike Vincent Tan Alexander Gaydamek and Cellino at Leeds have made these clubs a laughing stock.

Jason Lam
50 Posted 20/04/2015 at 10:26:59
When we are advertising rival team Sky Sports matches on our revolving digital billboards it gives the impression we’re just happy to be also-rans. I only watch Everton matches so I don’t know if it’s the same across the land, Man City being plastered over Old Trafford say.
Patrick Murphy
51 Posted 20/04/2015 at 10:48:04
Jason - It has become a regular feature at most stadiums this season, it’s probably all part of the new TV deal.
Patrick Murphy
52 Posted 20/04/2015 at 10:49:29
Paul (49) I can fully understand your point of view, I too, if I had started watching Everton regularly in the 90s would be quite impressed with how things have developed since those dark days, however, quite a large percentage of the fan-base have been watching Everton for twice or perhaps three times as long as that and they remember the club being at least on a par with most of their peers if not superior to all of them both on and off the pitch.

I suppose what all of that means, is, what you’ve never had you’ll never miss.

Tony Draper
53 Posted 20/04/2015 at 12:55:29
Whenever we discuss the running of the club, inevitably the issue of the debt is raised. Here are the daily mails figures at the beginning of this season:

Swansea Debt: Zero

Tottenham Debt: Zero

West Brom Debt: £1m

Crystal Palace Debt: £7m

Burnley Debt: £8m

Everton Debt: £28m

Stoke Debt: £28m

Sunderland Debt: £39m

Southampton Debt: £57m

Man City Debt: £67m

Hull Debt: £71m

Leicester Debt: £103m

Aston Villa Debt: £104m

West Ham Debt: £110m

QPR Debt: £120m

Liverpool Debt: £127m

Newcastle Debt: £129m

Arsenal Debt: £240.5m

Chelsea Debt: £958m

Tony Draper
54 Posted 20/04/2015 at 12:57:40
Similarly the income (frequently the Commercial performance), so here are the daily mails figures printed at the beginning of the season.

MD = match day income

TV = all broadcasting income

Com = commercial, retail and other income

Man Utd Income: £433.1m (MD £108.1m, TV £135.7m, Com £189.3m)
Wages: £215m (50% of income)

Man City Income: £346.5m (MD £47.5m, TV £133.2m, Com £165.8m)
Wages: £205m (59% of income)

Chelsea Income: £320m (MD £71m, TV £140m, Com £109m)
Wages: £193m (60% of income)

Arsenal Income: £298.7m (MD £100.2m,TV: £120.8m, Com £77.7m)
Wages: £166.4m (56% of income)

Liverpool Income: £255.6m (MD £50.9m, TV £100.9m, Com £103.8m)
Wages: £144m (56% of income)

Tottenham Income: £181m (MD £44m, TV £95m, Com £42m)
Wages: £105m (58% of income)

Newcastle Income: £130m (Full breakdown of income unavailable)
Wages: £60m (46% of income)

Everton Income: £120.5m (MD £19.3m, TV £88.5m, Com £12.7m)
Wages: £69m (57% of income)

Aston Villa Income: £116.9m (MD £12.8m, TV £72.7m, Com £31.4m)
Wages: £69m (59% of income

West Ham
Income: £114.9m (MD £19.5m, TV £75.4m, Com £20m)
Wages: £64m (56% of income)

Southampton Income: £104.9m (MD £17.1m, TV £79.5m, Com £8.3m)
Wages: £62.9m (60% of income)

Sunderland Income: £101m (MD £16m,TV £72m, Com £13m)
Wages: £68m (67% of income)

Swansea Income: £98.7m (MD £9.2m, TV £80.7m, Com £8.8m)
Wages: £63m (64% of income)

West Brom Income: £86.8m (MD £7m, TV £69m, Com £10.8m)
Wages: £66m (76% of income)

Stoke Income: £98m (MD £8m, TV £76m, Com £14m)
Wages: £61m (62% of income)

Crystal Palace Income: £96m (MD £11m, TV £74m, Com £11m)
Wages: £38m (40% of income)

Hull Income: £84.4m (MD £7.4m, TV £68m, Com £9m)
Wages: £39m (46% of income)

QPR Income: £38.7m (MD £5.6m, TV £28m, Com £5.1m)
Wages: £75m (194% of income)

Leicester Income: £23m (Breakdown of Leicester’s income unclear)
Wages: £30m (130% of income)

Burnley Income: £19.6m (MD £3.9m, TV £11.9m, Com £3.8m)
Wages: £16m (82% of income)

Tony Draper
55 Posted 20/04/2015 at 13:16:42
From these 2 lists what really does take some swallowing is that, in broad terms, moneywise Everton are very similar to both Stoke and Sunderland.

Debt within £10M, Income within £20M.

But, the other 2 both have modern grounds.

Chris Regan
56 Posted 20/04/2015 at 15:04:53
Is anyone really surprised at the apathy around the board? I remember the Blue Union protest, during the game, when the big screen showed Kenwright’s face a ripple of applause went around the ground, not a massive cheer but still audible support. For me that said a lot about the mentality of many fans. Happy to plod along.
Without the pressure to sell nothing will change, obvious really.
Chris Regan
57 Posted 20/04/2015 at 15:13:48
Tony, 49. I think you’re right, too many of our fans have forgotten the glory days or never seen them.
Andrew Clare
58 Posted 20/04/2015 at 16:13:43
As our neighbours sit 5th in the table and have just lost in a FA Cup semi-final talk has started about sacking the manager.
Meanwhile we are 12th in the table having been knocked out of the cups early on and there is not a mention of sacking our manager in the media. Just about sums up how far we have fallen.
Ray Roche
59 Posted 20/04/2015 at 16:36:38
Tony Draper, regarding commercial income, several years ago, and I’m talking about before the huge TV deals, the money from just Ryan Giggs shirt sales eclipsed Everton’s entire commercial income. Just allow that to sink in for a second, one player from United brought in more than our entire club, from his shirt sales alone. Since then, most club’s commercial departments have no doubt got there act together, whereas ours have stared out of the window thinking about Strictly Come Dancing as they hummed a One Direction tune. After the WC Tim Howard’s name was on every American’s lips and, no doubt, if we had someone switched on enough, would have been our springboard into a commercial venture in the USA that would...should... have been the envy of the Prem. Yet we can’t even find Everton shirts in local sports shops. Make you want to weep with the amateurish lack of effort and naivety , doesn’t it?
Ray Roche
60 Posted 20/04/2015 at 16:51:11
got "their" act etc.
Dick Fearon
61 Posted 20/04/2015 at 21:05:36
Pre season will see both Everton and Liverpool touring the far East with RS games in Australia and Asia.
Publicity for our tour will be squeezed into the back pages of the media or at best in the Echo and ToffeeWeb.
With both clubs in the same part of the world it would have been great to hold a Merseyside derby at the MCG with 100,000 spectators and a multiple million TV audience.
With or without us the other lot are guaranteed that kind of massive publicity and the riches that go with it.
Simply by floating the idea of such a match and even if the RS knocked it back Everton would have nothing to lose and much to gain
Tony Draper
62 Posted 20/04/2015 at 22:52:17
Dick @61, did you see where you fell over?

You said "idea".

James Marshall
63 Posted 21/04/2015 at 00:05:16
Nicely written piece this.

It’s simple to me – there just isn’t enough room at the top-table for the like of Everton, Spurs, Villa, Newcastle et al these days.

We missed the financial boat and got elbowed out the way by Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal and Man City - even the RS to a degree, but they’re struggling to keep up nowadays too.

I can’t ever see us getting back to the top unless the financial bubble really bursts and football eats itself, but then we’re equally as likely to fall further than the top teams anyway.

Jay Harris
64 Posted 21/04/2015 at 00:39:48
Great article, Lyndon.

Every recovery comes from leadership at the top with an appropriate strategy and surrounding the leader with quality.

As we can see from BK that is where the equation is fundamentally wrong.

For a leader to say he doesn’t know where £20 million a year unexplained operating costs are going and then to take the lazy option of interviewing internal staff and Martinez instead of hunting down some of the best managers in the world is the root of our problem.

Unless and until BK is ousted or sells up, this unacceptable situation will continue.

Christopher Kelly
65 Posted 21/04/2015 at 02:07:13
I don’t live in Liverpool but I wonder why when the Blue Union were staging protests, and now with the Kenwright petition, there are only 200+ people willing to participate? Do the fans not care? Have they had their hopes sucked out of them by the Board?

It is rather shocking to me that a stadium can be filled with 30,000+ fans and yet no more than 200+ fans care that we haven’t won a trophy in 20 years.

The Board clearly don’t care if we haven’t won in all these years, perhaps that’s permeated to the fans and most will now just enjoy a "day out" and not really be bothered with the result. Very disheartening stuff for such a beautiful team.

Matt Traynor
67 Posted 21/04/2015 at 03:04:16
Christopher #66, the BU’s biggest mistake was launching their campaign when we were doing "alright" on the pitch. Their campaign was never about Moyes (although some who attended the meetings were anti-Moyes) but it was about highlighting the lack of ambition/finances/ability of the Board and asking for change.

It does beg the question why people are launching petitions now (oooh Bill must be quaking in his boots) when we’re doing a bit shit on the field. Where was the anti-Board sentiment last year when we were doing well?

In my mind the fanbase was fractured during the Kirkby debacle, and those fissures remain to this day. A brilliant, if unintended, tactic by BK, because as soon as any group raises it’s head above the parapet who were anti-DK, an alternative group who were pro-DK will automatically oppose them. It’s all part of the "I must be proved right" culture the Internet has spawned. (And that applies to both sides of the debate).

Some of us just want the club to progress and do well.

Christopher Kelly
68 Posted 21/04/2015 at 05:07:20
Of course, I’m thinking ALL Evertonians want to do well, it’s just how we get there where the ideology differs.

I’d happily throw $100 on a "Kenwright OUT" banner. 14 years of trying to find a buyer is laughable and insulting at this point. 20 years of not lifting a cup or really even trying, is even more difficult a pill to swallow. The Kenwright experiment has been an unmitigated failure and it’s time he knows how passionate fans feel. At least it will ruffle some feathers and spark some productive debate.

Kevin Tully
69 Posted 21/04/2015 at 12:02:28
You have got to hand it to the Liverpool Echo. They are running a piece asking who is to blame for Liverpool’s third trophyless season. Shock horror!!

Meanwhile, over at Goodison Park, not a mention of our predicament – 20 fucking years without a pot, the fabled ground move, the search for ’investment’ or why we have stagnated so much, that we are virtually trapped in the 1990s, with a board better suited to the 1970s.

Whatever you think of our owners, they are fucking masters of keeping a lid on the press. Not just the local hacks either, there has never been a single question raised in any of the back pages of all the major news outlets. Not that I can think of anyway. Just praise for Bill & Co.

Maybe we are just too insignificant these days?

Patrick Murphy
70 Posted 21/04/2015 at 12:17:04
Things must be bad when we get to read this:

From my opinion, I think it’s as poor a Premier League as I’ve seen, maybe since the start of the Premier League. When you think of the great players who have graced the Premier League and the teams, I look at this year and I don’t see that. I see good teams, very good teams and some great players, but I just don’t see the competition the way it was in years gone by.
David Moyes in today’s Echo

Kevin - I have always believed that the Echo and the local media in general don’t get excited about Everton because we are exactly where most of those who write for them want to see us. The other element to note is that the other lot’s fans are quick to use the media by flooding them with e-mails etc and therefore the media has to respond. How many people truly complain to the media about Everton’s failings?

Kevin Tully
71 Posted 21/04/2015 at 12:42:12
I suppose it all points back to the ’club we deserve’ explanation then, Patrick. I am sure a psychologist could explain it a lot better. There is probably a medical explanation for all our woes!!!
Kevin Tully
72 Posted 21/04/2015 at 13:17:16
I have just sent this to the Echo, be interesting to see if they respond:

"I notice one of your colleagues has penned an article questioning why Liverpool FC have not won any silverware for 3 whole seasons now!

I am sure you are aware that my club, Everton FC, have not seen sight of a trophy for 20 years now.

A simple question – are Echo journalists barred from enquiring why we are performing so poorly? Are the board of Everton FC going to carry on for another 10 seasons without someone asking if this is an acceptable state of affairs for such a big club?

I look forward to hearing from you."

Brin Williams
73 Posted 21/04/2015 at 17:20:28
The heading says ’Slumbering Giant’ surely this can’t be Real Madrid.

I see that Real players and staff have a two-hour Siesta in the afternoons to maximise their performance – didn’t our new manager at the time advocate that all our players should get to bed early and have a good night’s sleep. Also seem to thinks that Finch Farm facility was being fitted out with bedrooms!

So Bobby was not too far off the pace of things then? – but is it time for the team to wake up now, there has been enough slumbering and at times we seemed to be sleep walking to relegation.

Or was that just a bad dream?

Tommy Webber
74 Posted 22/04/2015 at 00:03:56
We desperately needed a forward and this time last year we were all calling out for Lukaku to sign for us on a permanent deal. £28m later Everton fans got their wish and all seamed well with the world til we realised that the warchest was empty!

Injuries got the better of us and we found ourselves lacking in the defensive fullbacks, creative midfielders and no cover for Nuts, Le Sulk or Monsieur Kaku upfront..... £50m should do the trick and that’s if Kev signs a new deal and we nab Lennon for £7m! If we can get Deul Boy and Austin before RS then we stand a good chance of bettering our first season with Martinez!

Jon Cox
75 Posted 21/04/2015 at 18:21:09
100,000,000 swimming around and we get BK.

Unluckiest team in the solar system or what?

Christopher Kelly
76 Posted 23/04/2015 at 05:54:08
I think what said it all was when we needed the Board (i.e this January when we were feeling badly and looking likely for a relegation scrap) and we only get Lennon on loan. At the time it seemed, paltry, derisory and a cop out. It ended up being a decent acquisition but in our moment of genuine need, that’s what they come up with? Said it all to me. Definitely started caring about the team just a bit less to be honest. Criminal in my eyes, and yet not a whisper of a protest?! Shameful.
Mike Allison
77 Posted 23/04/2015 at 09:01:11
I must have missed this earlier in the week, I’ve just followed a link from part 2.

I’ve finally found something I disagree with that Lyndon has written, he says:

"Uneasiness voiced at the time that the outlay on Lukaku seemed to exhaust the manager’s funds, leaving the squad short on the kind of depth needed to challenge on multiple fronts, was shown to be prescient as our domestic season derailed spectacularly with early exits from both the FA and League Cups and a dramatic fall down the table during a winter of discontent."

Whereas I believe Martinez absolutely got the depth in place, we had two players for every position, plus a couple of spares, but it didn’t quite work out. For one thing, he was very reluctant to meaningfully rotate players, so that the likes of Besic and Atsu sat doing nothing whilst Barry and McGeady played three times a week. Secondly, the players weren’t fit enough and countless games were missed through injury by players who would have been able to provide fresh legs.

The huge outlay on Lukaku is about the one thing we’ve got right this season, and when we sell him, it will be for far more than the £28M we paid for him.

I also still don’t agree with the need for major overhaul this summer. Major overhauls are inherently dangerous and cause a need to ’start again’, you need gradual development. Our current squad is big by our standards, albeit including two loan players, the problems are in the fact that the old players seem to be continually selected over the young, and that we can’t keep players fit. If we sort the fitness out, and put the younger players in the side and the older ones as back-up, then it will start to look less bad.

This means we’ll need the two or three (I actually think four) players this summer, that can actually make a difference, not the seven or eight that will automatically cause unrest and a readjustment within the playing squad. If you sign seven or eight, you’re either not going to pick many of them, or you’re going to completely disrupt and shake up the squad.

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