Having supported Everton since my boyhood in Huyton, I have learned that I am destined to be too pessimistic. I was brought up on the sixties icon of Alex Young when I went along with my Dad. I went to two FA Cup Finals blissfully unaware that they could lose until one serious moment of doubt that we would beat WBA swept over me.

We were trying to get some sleep on benches in Charing Cross Station as we had travelled down on midnight special. The rest is history. I fretted that my sudden doubt had transferred itself to the team!

As I entered my late teens, with the Holy Trinity and big Joe Royle, I thought we were going to become a dominant force... and yet, within two years, it had all unravelled. Doldrums followed doldrums punctuated by the Kendall regime of the mid-eighties when I would travel to games with ESCLA as I was now living outside Brighton.

So like many long-in-the-tooth Bluenoses, I am very nervous about new dawns on the horizon. I worry about second-season syndrome. I am fully behind our new manager but reflect on how many managers seem to go backwards in that problematic second season. Look at the much vaunted George Burley who took Ipswich up so high only to fall flat on his face. Look at Joe Royle who won our last trophy but could not maintain the impetus.

Think back to OFM and remember how we just avoided relegation in his second full season after the Moyesiah first season.

I have really enjoyed out first season under Mr Martinez from the style of play through to his desire to understand the essence of Evertonia. I hope we go on to further Martinez success!

I have read with interest the number of posts written by Bluenoses full of optimism that 2014-15 is the season we break through the glass ceiling imposed by football finances. But what happens if we go backwards through lack of funding, a string of poor results, and a run of injuries caused by Europa League demands, and the Martinez period becomes just another false dawn?

What are our expectations for the season? Is the bluenose glass half-full or half-empty? I really want Roberto to fill my glass till it over-runs!

Sadly, experience tells me to be very wary...

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Reader Comments (25)

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Sean Smythe
1 Posted 27/07/2014 at 22:18:27
I am expecting a solid season but not hitting the highs of the last season, unfortunately.
Gerry Morrison
2 Posted 27/07/2014 at 22:43:13
If we sign Lukaka, then it is onwards and upwards for me.
Lee Courtliff
3 Posted 27/07/2014 at 22:41:11
This has crossed my mind too.

Too many false dawns.

But I'm going to enjoy Martinez whilst he's here.

We play good football for a charismatic manager.

Not some dull, rigid , boring old bastard.

And , every season we'll beat at least one of the Sky 4.

Rob Weis
4 Posted 27/07/2014 at 23:13:38
It is too early to tell. We can't base our predictions off of bloody pre-season lads. We barely played any real players today. Pienaar is past it, we will get the depth in the coming weeks.
James Stewart
5 Posted 27/07/2014 at 23:19:05
Osman and Pienaar are both past it. Certainly when it comes to 90 minutes anyway. They can do a job for 45 hopefully. We have decent cover for those positions anyway.

Goalkeeping cover will become a real issue if Howard is injured or suspended. Robles is a real trainwreck

Colin Glassar
6 Posted 27/07/2014 at 23:29:11
Second season syndrome usually affects promoted teams not teams that have been in the top flight for over 60 years.
After 10 years of gingerdom many on here were predicting a relegation struggle last season which never transpired so why all the doom and gloom? Cheer up and enjoy a new season and let's see how far we can go.
Tony Page
7 Posted 28/07/2014 at 00:12:18
I've said it before and I'm saying it again, unless Martinez gets minimum 㿅 million to spend on this team, we will go backwards.

There are players at Everton who are at the age when the wife is telling them "Oh, that MLS league looks nice; let's move to the USA next year."

Players who have nothing left to prove and want a couple of easy well-paid years before retirement.

God help us if we don't get some new blood in before the season starts, doom and gloom, I feel that way, sorry to say.

Steve Jones
8 Posted 28/07/2014 at 00:53:04
I have to admit I'm concerned, all the teams around us have far greater squad depth (as shown by their pre-season friendly teams even with absentees) and are supplementing them whereas as we are down on our numbers from last season.

Martinez is managing down expectations with each passing week and we are in grave danger of starting the season with a small unprepared squad due to both a lack of signings and decent pre season games with first teamers actually playing together.

Other teams are onto how we play under Martinez too so know what to expect and how to exploit us.

I hope I'm proved to be totally wrong but as things stand I cannot see us finishing as high as last season and expect Man Utd and Spurs to leapfrog us at the very least.

James Flynn
9 Posted 28/07/2014 at 04:13:12
No. Injuries and lack of striking power would affect the club's position in the table. Not some sudden disconnect between manager and players.
Tony Draper
10 Posted 28/07/2014 at 06:24:54
Trevor, you sum up the "Devils in the Brainbox" feelings that I have very accurately, and we are of a similar age with similar experiences.

As we all know, our squad still needs further additions for the forthcoming season to match our first season progress last term.

Also, our attractive style was mightily pleasing last season as we came close to breaking into the top 4, but our efforts in the 2 domestic cups left room for improvement. Then we factor in the additional demands of Europa and the asking rate is higher again.

The factor beyond Roberto's control is that I have begun dream bigger and I certainly owe it to him to be both fair and realistic especially this season, not just greedier.

I'm fascinated to see what he builds and genuinely I do believe in him. It's just that I still have very deeply ingrained fears with deep roots.

Roberto will make more progress with the challenges which he faces and has set himself than I will with my longstanding Evertonian hangups !

Kieran Fitzgerald
11 Posted 28/07/2014 at 08:34:34
With the squad development policy that we have in place, the idea of having to possibly write off a season was going to happen. I don't see Ledson, Green, Lundstram or any of the younger players being ready for 20-plus games each this season.

We have signed an 18-year-old and a 21-year-old so far this transfer window. If we are hanging onto all of our cash for a top striker, I can't see us signing three or four ready to go senior players between now and the end of August. With the likes of Osman, Pienaar, Jagielka and Distin all being a year older, this is going to put extra pressure on the squad.

We may have to take a top ten finish this season instead of a top six one if we want to see our squad development policy come to fruition. This season, we will probably see the younger players get a lot of game time in the EL, the domestic cups, and twenty minutes here and there in PL games

You can see the above as being a glass half empty or you can see it as being a sensible approach given the hype around our youth teams and the lack of financial muscle compared to other clubs. Neither option seems enjoyable compared to the pleasure that was last season.

Phil Walling
12 Posted 28/07/2014 at 08:55:48
I do believe that given financial backing way beyond what BK can offer, Roberto could win top honours for this or any club. His sickly soundbites may annoy me but behind them is a canny football brain – or can you only use that term in respect of Scotsmen?

However, the money isn't here – and even if it was, he wouldn't get it – so we're back to the situation that faced the few previous managers who looked on the cusp of achieving big things.

Surprisingly to me, Roberto got us to 5th spot with his team playing some scintillating football. How could anyone not enjoy that? But as to the future, the non-happenings of this close season have brought us back to reality.

The signings of the ageing Barry and the no-mark Besic – and even the maybe-capture of Lukaku, can hardly be seen as likely to improve on last season and as the writer indicates, history shows that sitting on one's laurels has so often been the road to disappointment.

But I've still put my money on a finish two places lower than 5th!

Peter Laing
13 Posted 28/07/2014 at 09:35:58
Two strikers can prevent any notion of the second season syndrome enveloping Everton. The board need to stump up the 㿔 million which would be required to purchase both Lukaku and Bony, if we signed both players I genuinely believe that we could mount a serious challenge on the top four next season.
Ian McDowell
15 Posted 28/07/2014 at 10:10:40
We need another 2 strikers and another att mid/winger. Next season will be a lot tougher with Europe to play in. The RS have already increased there numbers for the extra games especially with forwards. Typical Everton though end of July and still weaker than last season. I think Lukaku will remain at Chelsea till 31 Aug and move on then. Another striker should have been the priority since May.
Mike Green
16 Posted 28/07/2014 at 14:27:35
One of Roberto's biggest challenges is every other EPL manager now knows what to expect from Everton under Martinez - lots of possession, with limited penetration if defended against in numbers and then aim to hit on the break. That's for me is Roberto's biggest challenge - improving our performances / approach / personnel enough to overcome that awareness.
Karan Oza
17 Posted 28/07/2014 at 15:43:05
Come on guys! With these sexy new kits there's no way we can lose!


Harold Matthews
18 Posted 28/07/2014 at 16:53:32
Yes Mike. Spot on. Leicester had us sussed right from the kick-off. We've become very predictable and need a slight change in tactics. Easier said than done.
Tony Draper
19 Posted 31/07/2014 at 08:38:42
Yesterday's signing of Lukaku goes some considerable way to equipping us to make further progress on last season's great start under Roberto.
David Ellis
20 Posted 02/08/2014 at 00:43:21
I think an attack of second season syndrome is unlikely. Moyes did have a difficult full second season, but in truth that was more a return to the form of the years preceding his arrival. Under Moyes we moved forward and had 8 or so years in the top 8 or higher.

Martinez has strengthened the squad, improved the way we play and increased the players self belief in a palpable fashion. We may not finish as high as 5th but I can't see us finishing lower than 8th. Our baseline has simply moved forward since Moyes' 2003 season. Man U had a shocker last year and finished 7th - if we had a shocker I think 9th or 10th would be as bad as it could get. Frankly I expect us to be a better side this season given more playing time together with the "new" style and better depth in the squad.

Phil Walling
21 Posted 02/08/2014 at 19:50:55
Not much response to this thread, Trevor, because ToffeeWebbers are in optimistic mood and can't bear to think that Roberto is a mere mortal.

It is totally realistic to suspect that as with Moyes and Royle, the Catalan's second season may provide a real challenge and the test will be how he and us Evertonians cope with it.

If we finish say 12th or lower, will he be judged a one season wonder ? Will those who see him as the Messiah, suddenly start calling him Brian - or worse ? Or, if he stays around, will his present day disciples keep the faith and give him the time afforded to Moyes to get it right - or somewhere near to right ?

I suspect not. More than one season of 'recession' and I bet 'the miracle worker ' is toast.

Patrick Murphy
22 Posted 02/08/2014 at 20:20:55
I don't think so Phil - certainly there are a few who will be ready to stick the knife in but I believe the vast majority will bear with Roberto the mere mortal human being as he at least looks as if he has a plan to take us forward. Why do you keep using terms like Messiah?

I can't think of any poster apart from your good self who uses this term - in fact I am struggling to remember any poster gushing about Roberto's talents. Any defence of the man is deemed to be adoration by some posters because that is the way they choose to read the situation.

Most of the Blues I personally know were a little wary of the man and his methods as was I. Most of them have now adjusted to his style; but as always it will be his teams deeds out on the pitch that will be the barometer but he will get the benefit of the doubt for at least this season unless it is an unmitigated disaster.

This man is made for Everton and I only hope that your consistent attempts to belittle those who recognise this fact ends up with you having egg on your face when he leads our team to a cup or CL qualification.

If we are in the bottom half of the table and out of the Europa League come Christmas then feel free to say "I told you so" until then could you not let the rest of us enjoy what is left of the close season.

Colin Glassar
23 Posted 02/08/2014 at 20:31:42
Maybe most of us don't want to wallow in it Phil. Try and enjoy life and the game.

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