Have we been sussed out as many are saying, are we totally lacking in confidence? Have the players lost confidence in Martinez, are we physically and mentally drained with our increased workload? Has a poor preseason caught us short, is it the injuries we’ve suffered this year? Have the kids failed to demonstrate that they are capable of playing Premier League football?

We’ll all have a predominant reason why we think we are struggling, but what is certain is that unless we break out of this run of form as soon as possible we’ll be dragged down into the group who’ll be fighting for survival. That might be a bit of a dramatic statement but we are only 5 points away from the bottom three... although, equally, one could say only 8 points away from a top 4 place. But at the moment we are in 13th place and our results over last 6 games would actually put us in 16th place.

Even 4 of the clubs below us are in better form than us over last 6 matches: Stoke, Burnley, QPR, Sunderland. Aston Villa – yes Villa – are matching our performances. There are only 4 clubs with poorer performances over last 6 games: Leicester, Hull, WBA and Crystal Palace.

My own view is that we started the season seriously short of fitness and match practice and we slowly but surely lost games we really should have won. We lost that swagger/confidence and have since struggled to scrape a few wins and help us boost not only player confidence but also confidence in our playing system.

One might argue that we started last season poorly with 3 draws but we had enough chances to win those games, and were unfortunate, but we didn’t lose our confidence and then we went on a run of 5 wins in 6 matches, and only 1 defeat in the first 16 games.

We’ve also seriously missed key players over too-long periods this year; Barkley and MIrallas on form can tear any defence apart, and both provide the pace we desperately need. McCarthy will always ensure that the opposition don’t retain the ball and do damage (I read some facts today that show that we haven’t won a game without McCarthy).

Our full backs haven’t really clicked into gear and I’m sure Baines’s effectiveness is considerably reduced without his mate Pienaar. And on the other side Coleman hasn’t had a regular partner to combine with – McGeady can’t be trusted to keep the ball and Barkley/Eto'o go missing.

The optimism at the beginning of the season that we had a batch of kids coming through has seemed to have evaporated. Only Garbutt has been given game time and has done reasonably well, but the rest clearly haven’t shown the goods and a few can’t seem to even show the goods at the lower league levels where the likes of Bury, Blackpool and Hibernian don’t even give them game time. I was disappointed to see that we fielded the “ Oldest PL Team” of the season on Saturday last – what a statement re Youth and Academy.

Before the end of January, Martinez needs to tackle the issue of whether the kids are good enough – with Atsu thrown into that group as well – and assess whether Kone and Oviedo will ever be fit enough to play.

He won’t be able to play the kids as it’s too late to test them. We desperately need to win games, we can’t afford to test them in the PL, and giving them 5 to 10-minute cameo’s won’t tell you anything. Somehow Kone and Oviedo also need game time but at least with them he knows if they can show physical fitness they can develop match fitness. I suspect he will need more re-enforcements, he just hasn’t got the faith in the current squad to cover adequately key players.

Major rebuilding to replace the likes of Hibbert, Osman, Distin, Howard, Eto'o will have to wait until the summer.

The only glimmer I see is that Barkley and Lukaku are showing some signs of form, but we desperately need McCarthy, Naismith and a rejuvenated Pienaar back as soon as possible. Can we go on another 16-game unbeaten run like last season with a majority of wins not draws in that? I don’t know but wins over QPR and Stoke at home are vital in December, and hopefully 4 points from our 2 away games Southampton and Newcastle would do wonders. Mind you I remember saying something similar with matches against Hull and Spurs...

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Ged Dwyer
1 Posted 08/12/2014 at 22:50:49
In my opinion our biggest problem this season is MartinezÂ’s failure to select a settled team. Keeping a settled team is a fundamental rule of football and the biggest worry is that for all MartinezÂ’s football principals and know how he doesnÂ’t know this simple point.

Before the Europa started and injuries kicked in he was operating his rotation system and it didnÂ’t work. And he should have realised this after yet another 3-2 defeat to Palace.

We can blame certain players (and a lot of the time our most reliable players are blamed), certain tactics (too much playing the ball around at the back, and lack of variation when needed), lack of effort from some of our forward players, amongst other things, but until Martinez keeps a settled team our stuttering performances will go on and on.

Our run in last season was spoilt by the constant changing of our flair players and I wish our manager would see this instead of having the opposite opinion that it freshens players up!

Patrick Murphy
2 Posted 08/12/2014 at 22:51:54
Whatever the reasons, many of the performances by many of our reliable players have fallen short of what we as supporters expect from them. Perhaps last season they were giving an extra 10-20% because of the effect a new boss has on most people in professional life and a little bit of sticking two fingers up at their former boss.

The whole team at various points in the season have looked out of sorts, demotivated and unwilling to put in the hard graft that used to come naturally to them. Perhaps it is down to the manager, training schedule, coaches or perhaps it is down to the players themselves, I don’t think the group is as tight as it has been in the past and wouldn’t be surprised if it has splintered slightly in the last six or so months.

Perhaps, the players like the fans expected a few more additions into the squad during the summer and have got fed-up because they are being asked to play in more games than they expected to.

I’m just hoping beyond hope that whatever the reason for the malaise it is addressed sooner rather than later, and that those at the club who haven’t bought into the new methods are removed and players who want to impress are bought in - but with our sad lack of funds these changes will take far too long if indeed they are required.

The trouble with having a large group of players who have grown used to one style of management is that they are more likely to revert to type at the first sign of danger and that has happened this season following all those defensive lapses in the early part of the campaign.

Look at United last season, listless, lacking in spirit and a pale shadow of previous seasons. Player power is a very strong influence in the modern game and I honestly hope that is not the case at Goodison but it can’t be dismissed out of hand.

Only one person knows the truth of the matter and it is up to him to address the issues and find solutions if he doesn’t he will unfortunately pay the price and somebody else will get a go at putting the zest back into the team.

Dave Abrahams
3 Posted 08/12/2014 at 23:12:20
Patrick, without saying it, you have hit the nail on the head. The manager and players have not been backed by the chairman and the rest of his board. If in January the board had given the go-ahead to sign one or two players, the top four could have been reached, but nothing was done.

This will always be the case while Kenwright is in control of the club.

Neil Riddell
4 Posted 09/12/2014 at 00:32:02
I remember Alex Ferguson saying that one of the things that David Moyes did at Man Utd (which he said didn’t work) was to slow the pace down. He said that Man Utd had always played "fast" football.

Because I think that ultimately any football game is decided by energy, passion and natural, instinctive intelligence (on top of skill, of course), I wonder if our new game of clever controlled possession (which I totally agree with in theory) doesn’t somehow, in practice, simply end up repressing players’ natural instincts and passion to go for the jugular and just simply beat the shit out of the opposition!

Eric Myles
5 Posted 09/12/2014 at 00:47:10
Not finding team mates with passes.
Playing piggy in the middle along the back 4.
Sloooow build-up moving forward.
Playing it back to our own half as soon as we move forward.
No consideration to use set pieces as an advantage.
No Plan B against teams that get in our face...

Just a few reasons why we are doing badly, only the first is down to the players, the others are deliberate tactics.

James Stewart
6 Posted 09/12/2014 at 00:57:47
We got found out, thatÂ’s what happened. Last season, we were an unknown quantity. This season, every man and his dog knows that, if you press high when we have the ball, our defenders panic and will blow a gasket.

Fannying around with the ball between your defenders and keeper in your own half is not a ’style’ – it’s just mind-numbingly tedious.

Shocking substitutions every week donÂ’t help either.

Neil Riddell
7 Posted 09/12/2014 at 01:15:52
ps: I’m not suggesting anyone tell M Besic to go for the jugular!
Michael Penley
8 Posted 09/12/2014 at 01:18:49
1. No pace in our passing
2. Not enough movement off the ball

Basically, too many players standing around watching. There was a moment against City when Lukaku ran with the ball down the left wing and held his arms out like "what do I do now?" because no one was interested in running into the box. I see Baines frustrated by this a lot.

On our better days when we inject pace and movement we score goals. Simple.

Bill Gall
9 Posted 09/12/2014 at 02:46:27
One of my comments was that Mr Martinez was not experienced in the Premier League and probably may become successful. After making this statement I checked his record.

Martinez’s first managerial job was with Swansea in 2007-08,
In his second season, 2008-09, they were promoted from the League One with his style of play being admired by people in the Premier League.
In 2009-10, he was with Wigan were he guided them to 16th with the worst goal difference in the Premier League of –42.
In 2010-11 they finished 15th, in 2011-12 they finished 14th, and in 2012-13 despite winning the FA Cup they were relegated and this is why I believe he is not yet experienced in the Premier League.

The question that really we should be asking is why BK – after stating that he was 24/7 on the phone talking to football people all over the UK and Europe – that he hired a manager from 1 hour away based on his potential as his resume was pretty poor.

We may have had a good season but, as the saying goes, one swallow does not make a summer.

Saegaran Kana
10 Posted 09/12/2014 at 03:23:32
Our style of play seems to suit European games but EPL teams have found us out.
David Ellis
11 Posted 09/12/2014 at 04:18:00
Bill Gall - so to summarise you are saying that Martinez, after 5 full seasons managing in the Premier League, is not an experienced Premier League Manager???

I think 5 years is plenty of experience at this level.

If you are saying he is a rubbish manager, well that’s another arugment entirely, but I don’t think he is and although this season is a disappointment its just the ususal kind of bumps in the road that you get when margins between success and failure are fine. Moyes had a dodgy second full season with us but learned from it and greatly improved thereafter. I am sure Bobby will do the same, and can do so without fans pressing for his removal (unlike poor Brendan Rogers over the park).

Ajay Gopal
12 Posted 09/12/2014 at 05:47:57
Bill, MartinezÂ’s previous experience or inexperience in PL has nothing to do with our present plight, in my opinion.

Moyes had never managed a PL team if you recall. Martinez had the perfect combination of playing in England, managing in the English Premier League and more silverware (FA Cup) than the previous manager plus he is widely regarded as an up and coming manager. OK, we are 1/3rd of the season through, but there is still 2/3rds to play for.

Pete Edwards
13 Posted 09/12/2014 at 07:09:22
You mention replacing the old players but then want Pienaar back who is no spring chicken! He needs replacing too and we need to give Oviedo a go there to see what he can do with Baines.
Kevin Gillen
14 Posted 09/12/2014 at 09:17:41
I agree with a lot of the statements above. There is no excuse for a poor pre-season. Why do we lose so many pre-season games? People say they donÂ’t matter but accepting losing is a bad habit.

We have had some shocking luck with injuries but so have lots of other teams. Squad rotation is not working. The goalkeeper has been shocking. We are hopeless at free kicks and corners.

I feel we also lack energy and commitment at times and that there are too many old players in the team intent on walking the ball into the net. Naismith improves the energy and commitment of the team even if at times he has the touch of a mule.

Barkley is still learning and the jury is out on the talented McGeady. Besic will I think become an all time Everton great alongside McCarthy. Losing Stones was a huge loss.

We need to start addressing the most important fixtures beginning with QPR on Monday.

Adam Luszniak
15 Posted 09/12/2014 at 09:49:49
I would put most of it down to injuries. It has not been possible to have a settled first 11 because weÂ’re constantly adapting to injuries. Lukaku is only just finding his form after that toe injury that blighted the start to his season. There are many other obvious examples.

This has lead to bad results, which leads to little or no confidence. Hence the slow passing, the lack of movement, and the silly mistakes weÂ’re seeing. ItÂ’s almost a self fulfilling prophecy.

Daniel A Johnson
16 Posted 09/12/2014 at 11:07:03
WhatÂ’s gone wrong is having to pass the ball 30+ times just to get to the half way line.

We have been sussed big time.

Tottenham: When in possession, Kane and Soldado were told to harass Jags and Distin. Whilst our back line was being harassed Tottenham went man to man in midfield leaving no easy ball into midfield. The young Kane had a field day chasing Jags and Distin.

Hull: Again Jelavic and Aluko harassing our back two whilst the midfield was flooded by the tactical genius Steve Bruce. If Bruce can suss us out then Jesus Christ.

Our play is so slow it allows the opposition to reset their formation easily. As a result we have neither the guile skill or creativity to pass our way through. We need more pace to our game in order to stretch the opposition.

Murdo Laing
17 Posted 09/12/2014 at 11:06:46
Patrick #2, I made this point about the low of self confidence of individual players and lack of team motivation in a post after the defeat at Man City.

It seems to me that thereÂ’s now very little difference between home and away performances in the PL with our lads, but they appear to lift their level or performance home and away in Europe? How can this be?

Goodison being the tight, intimate ground it is, the fans I think quickly sense the tension in the players when things arenÂ’t going well, the relationship is symbiotic, so as our style of approach play is slow and deliberate, the frustration in the fans is palpable when a move breaks down in the final third, or (as seems very regular now) a set piece is wasted through poor delivery. In turn, this frustration in the stands transfers to the players, who become terrified of making a mistake. This, IMO, translates into a collective malaise across the team, and we start to see a scenario not unlike that which Adebayor commented on at Spurs, where the players feel they are more under pressure at home than they are with our always- raucous away following.

And yes, I do think the comparison with Tottenham and the fans at WHL is a fair one, they are a very similar club to ourselves in so many ways, and probably with very similar expectations of what it means to wear the shirt.

Steve Guy
18 Posted 09/12/2014 at 12:41:01
WhatÂ’s gone wrong? The management of expectation.

RM should have been playing down our chances this season instead of bigging up the possibility of another strong league finish AND doing well in Europe.

A season in which the players got used to the demands of two games a week was always going to be tricky. Factor in potential squad strength issues (such as injuries to key players) and we were always going to find this season more challenging.

I prefer RMÂ’s positivism but an early doors downgrading of expectation would have taken the pressure off his players and himself and they may have performed better as a result in the league; thereÂ’s nothing fundamentally wrong with a team that has performed so well in Europe.

Dave Lynch
19 Posted 09/12/2014 at 13:54:57
Fundamentally they are decent players, Steve. ItÂ’s the tactics and the rigidity of our play that is my concern.

Anyone think he is feeling the pressure because of BKÂ’s idiotic statement when he was unveiled as our manager...?

Bill Gall
20 Posted 09/12/2014 at 13:40:26
Dave # 11
By inexperience I mean he still is not willing to change his system to suit the team we are playing against, his use of substitutes seem strange to say the least, and he only seems to use the subs to chase a game and not bring them in to try and win before we go behind or protect a lead.

Last nightÂ’s game, Van Gaal changed his defense around by bringing in a sub after about 25 min as his starting defense was getting swamped... can you see Mr Martinez doing this?

To become experienced in the Premier League, you have to learn how to read opposition managers and react and learn from your mistakes, and at the moment Mr Martinez seems to stick by his philosophy that his way is the only way.

My statement said that he will probably become successful and never in any of my statements have I said he should be fired.

Sam Morrison
21 Posted 09/12/2014 at 14:39:56
All the above. Poor pre-season. No plan B. Injuries. Loss of form. Raising of expectations. Coping with Europe. Manager not making positive and early substitutions. And the oft-overlooked fact that thereÂ’s always another team out there to stop you.

Still behind Martinez though. Never expected it to be an easy ride.

Steavey Buckley
22 Posted 09/12/2014 at 14:46:47
The pre-season was an indicator what was install for the season for the real, Everton could not even beat the likes of Tranmere Rovers, with too many players who were content with just being to the World Cup, while the rest took their minds of the real task ahead of doing well in the Premier League. Yet, in games when Everton were in winning positions, poor substitutions or goalkeeping/defensive lapses just gave games away to the opposition.

The season looks like it is over before the halfway point because of EvertonÂ’s lowly position in the Premier League, with Everton trailing the likes of West Ham by 10 points, who were in 3rd place.

John Daley
23 Posted 09/12/2014 at 15:33:26
So, Bill, just let me get this straight. What youÂ’re trying to say is that Martinez is an inexperienced manager at Premier League level....because past experience shows he hasnÂ’t learnt from any of his previous experiences in the Premier League....during the five years heÂ’s actually experienced managing at that level?
Peter Fearon
24 Posted 09/12/2014 at 15:07:03
There are three ways in which our play is going wrong. There is not enough movement off the ball so that the player in possession does not have enough options. This causes the man with the ball to try to force his way through two or even three defenders at which point they lose possession. I see Barkley, Mirallas, EtoÂ’o and Lukaku do this for lack of other options time and again.

The build-up passing is too slow and predictable and too often lateral, which allows the opposition time to pressure us. The first touch is too often inadequate to control the ball properly which again slows moves down and gives opponents time to cover.

Add to that some woeful errors in defence and you have a very disappointing season, at least in the Premier League. We need to sign someone with some blistering pace in the January window or get someone in on loan.

Phil Walling
25 Posted 09/12/2014 at 15:36:18
Or... perhaps Martinez is just a piss-poor Premier League manager – experienced or not!!!
Dave Lynch
26 Posted 09/12/2014 at 15:50:15
Unfortunately, Phil itÂ’s beginning to look that way.

DidnÂ’t Wigan out-spend us the season they went down? I may be wrong with that statement but IÂ’m sure I read it somewhere...

Patrick Murphy
27 Posted 09/12/2014 at 15:52:44
Phil – Perhaps you are correct, so who do you suggest replaces him if he was to leave/get the boot? A genuine question and one that might need answering a lot sooner than some might believe, given the zeitgeist among a growing number of Evertonians.

Dave Lynch
28 Posted 09/12/2014 at 16:06:07
He will not be sacked because of what "We" think or do and rightly so.

He does have history of leaving clubs though and his demenour and personality may suggest he will leave of his own accord but only time will tell.

Will Firstbrook
29 Posted 09/12/2014 at 14:22:11
To the questions posed in the OP's first paragraph, the answer is "yes".

In all seriousness, the root cause for much of our malaise is not a singular one – though there are some who believe the root of the problem is the gaffer's decisions/actions (or lack thereof) prior to and since the season started which has directly contributed to many of the problem symptoms we are seeing today. I think that might be stretching things a bit but should not be dismissed out of hand.

For a club like ours, the margins around success and failure (or the perception of it) are extremely narrow. Clubs that have bottomless resources can mitigate the effect of bad luck/decisions/player form over the course of a season. We, sadly, do not enjoy that luxury and as such even one setback/misstep can play a significant role in determining how our season will pan out. In a highly competitive league like the PL, the effect can be magnified even further.

Last season, things "clicked" for us – new manager and personnel which seemed to invigorate the existing squad. We had fairly decent luck with injuries too. These factors all contributed to a very successful season.

It really is an incredible balancing act which also hinges on a healthy dose of luck. However, and this cannot be understated, idealism has very little value in a business where results are the only real measure that matters.

Dominic Tonge
30 Posted 09/12/2014 at 15:41:25
What is wrong?
We are tied into a marketing/distribution deal with kitbag that handicaps us financially.

We need a new ground without pillars everywhere to allow us to increase matchday revenue and gate reciepts

Our chairman is not a billionaire; and as such despite us making Lukaku and Barry permanant signings we have much the same squad as last year. Other teams have added apart from Liverpool who have lost Suarez and gone backwards .

We have lost a lot of players to injury be they long lay offs like Kone , Stones etc or a week here and there like McCarthy. This has left us a bit threadbare at times and although players have come in and done a job we can all agree that Hibbo at left back for example is not anyones ideal scenario. Injuries have meant we havent played a full strength team yet when the majority of the starters have been in good form.

Goodison has also been noticably quiet at times this season. The old lady under the lights has always been a horrid place for other teams to come, we have it bouncing. We need that on a Sunday evening and a Saturday afternoon too.

Also it appears that our older pros in particular Distin, Barry and Jagielka have suffered because (in my opinion ) the pre season was not intense enough. They look like they are yet to get going. Besic is showing signs but is not quite up to pace. Something he himself alludes to in a recent interview.

It would appear that some of our youngsters are not quite ready to make the step up. Garbutt looked good pre season and acomplished enough when he stepped in, and Browning bossing Balotelli in the derby made me smile, but they havent managed to break into a threadbare squad and make a big impact like stones did. Also Ledson , Conor Mac and others, who have gone on loan where tipped to step up but have yet to get a chance.

We don't have a balance of pace. We had Kev and Del last year, we stretched teams, Baines was up and down the left side and 60 Grand was scoring for fun. This year Kev has been injured, Coleman too. Also we replaced Del with a less than convincing Atsu. McGeady is not firing at the minute either. We need two quick wide players as outlets, we have one.

Stuart O'Malley
31 Posted 09/12/2014 at 16:07:34
To even contemplate replacing Martinez now is pure madness. Give the man time for crying out loud. We are going thru a bad patch. This is football, it happens. Analyse yes, criticize yes. But calls for his head already? We are Everton supporters. So show some support for the team, and the manager. We will get thru this. Together.
Steve Guy
32 Posted 09/12/2014 at 16:27:40
Agree Stuart. OFM got time in spades and boy did we suffer some setbacks along the way!
Chris Corn
33 Posted 09/12/2014 at 16:34:24
The Everton job is a safe seat so I don't know why people think Martinez is susceptible to the sack. As Steve Guy states, Moyes got 11 years where he suffered some highs and some real lows. There was also plenty of seasons that come Christmas we were looking up rather than down and couldn't buy a win.

Martinez deserves the criticism coming his way and it's down to him to sort it, but let's face it, the league is average.

Is Koeman now shit as he has only picked up one point from the big games? Are Pardew and Allardyce now geniuses?

It's all about fine lines and we were having the same conversations after the Liverpool, Spurs and Chelsea defeats last year then won seven on the bounce.

I think he can be properly judged at the end of the season and everything else is just knee jerk depending on your personal opinion of the man.

Graham Mockford
34 Posted 09/12/2014 at 16:36:48
Bill Gall (#9)

If one swallow doesn't make a summer, mid table and qualified for the knockout stage of the Europa League after three months certainly doesn't constitute a crisis.

Yes, we've had a bad week but really some of the over reaction (yes, I get it, it hurts. It's your "right" as a fan to let off steam and ask questions) is in my opinion just over reaction.

I am still confident of a top 6 finish and a good run in the EC.

Colin Williams
35 Posted 09/12/2014 at 16:49:58
"WhatÂ’s gone wrong" no surprise to some! Never been good enough.(For many years). A third of the first team squad (most 30 plus players) are nowhere near good enough. ThatÂ’s why weÂ’ve been weak for many years! (ItÂ’s not rocket science... just obvious.

Linda Morrison
36 Posted 09/12/2014 at 16:50:27
I agree with your comments, Graham, but I can't see us finishing in the top 6 at all this season. Mid-table if lucky.

I think in the main there are a number of reasons for the way we are at the moment.

At no stage at all this season has Martinez had the option to select from what he would see as his best players.

Our players are out injured for months not weeks. I think apart from Howard so far they have all been out. Some of our best players, Stones. Oviedo, etc have been missing for months on end. Get one back usually two go out.

This situation must affect the players and the manager – how can you plan when this is about you all the time. I know all teams have injuries but not to this extent.

We are in Europe so having to cope with two matches a week with a relatively small squad carrying knocks. One criticism I would lay at Martinez is bringing players back too quick.

They do well in Europe as they are cup games and different.

Finally I must mention the referees who either fail to give us a penalty and give them to other sides when it is not, Man City being a fine example of this. No protection from referees when our players are injured. Need I go on.
It must get to players who think everything is against them, so booing them off won't help at all. I know they are all on megabucks but they need their confidence lifting not crushing completely.

Phil Walling
37 Posted 09/12/2014 at 16:01:44
Not my responsibility, Patrick. Suspect BK will look further afield for his next genius and, don't be surprised that now DM is in Spain he isn't asked to recommend one of his new mates from over there.

There's one thing that's certain — he won't be asking Cup Final Dave for more advice!

Matt Muzi
38 Posted 09/12/2014 at 17:29:05
1. Too slow in the build up to attack,
2. Do we practice any set pieces in training?
3. Second season syndrome
4. Poor passing
5. Injuries
6. A number of players who reached their peak either last season, or before then.
7. No Plan B
8. Lethargic, slow movement off the ball
9. European commitments.
Bill Gall
39 Posted 09/12/2014 at 16:38:23
John # 23
When Mr Martinez joined Wigan he was inexperienced at the premier level. Point I am trying to make is that in any occupation or profession if you do not improve on your methods, style or philosophy, you stay inexperienced.
With Wigan, and a number of their supporters will say, that he continued with his philosophy of possession football, was not successful, and that eventually after 4 seasons got them relegated.

At Everton in his first year he started to bring his philosophy to the team but it had to be done gradually and this is why I think he was successful having to have some players still playing to a style they were used to while learning the new style. This year he is wanting the players to play fully to his philosophy and style and it is not only proving difficult with some of the older players, he is being out-hought by other managers who are aware of what they will be up against before they play.

Unless Mr Martinez realises that his possession football with the slow build up is not working and changes it to something with more speed and direction, too me, he has not learned anything and that to me is inexperience.

Yes, he won the FA Cup but remember the only Premier League team he met before the final was Everton who as supporters we are fully aware of being let down by when it matters..

'Experience' may be the wrong word to have used... 'tactical acumen' may have been better.

John Keating
40 Posted 09/12/2014 at 17:41:53
● Horrendous pre-season.
● World Cup players allowed to drift back any old time.
● Players totally unfit and an embarrassment towards last 20 minutes of games.
● Poor results bred uncertainty and poor mentality.
● Poor team selection as regards to rotation and some weeks the team was unbalanced.
● Team rotation for the sake of it and not due to injuries or form.
● Manager's intransigence to change play and tactics during the game.
● Dubious substitutions...

Basically shite football – and even more shite to watch.

Callum McNab
41 Posted 09/12/2014 at 18:02:49
Not enough competition. Too many players know they can put in half a shift and still be playing the next game.
Tony Twist
42 Posted 09/12/2014 at 18:20:13
Basically Martinez is an average manager who doesn't learn from his mistakes probably because he is that blinkered he doesn't feel he is making mistakes. He diced with death with Wigan the previous season, I think, and then sent them down.

He will continue to make the team play laborious football; let's hope he doesn't lose the players – else we will be in serious trouble. Do a Van Gaal, Martinez, just set up the team to punish the opposition, not just play one certain way. Simples.

Bill Gall
43 Posted 09/12/2014 at 18:29:16
John # 40
Congratulations puts my explanation of experience to shame.
Harold Matthews
44 Posted 09/12/2014 at 18:45:56
John K #40. Glad someone is in a good mood. haha
Stephen Barr
45 Posted 09/12/2014 at 19:22:42
Our play is too ponderous and predictable at the moment.

In addition we are giving the ball away far too easily. Notwithstanding, we tend to get to the last third quite easily, which I guess is down to the opposition allowing this. once we get near the goal we just seem to stop, play the ball from side to side with no real target/focal point up front. The lack of off the ball movement compounds the problem and add to that, a lack of creative flair and vision in midfield, and there you have it.

I managed to get to the CIty game and MIrallas and Eto were the exceptions and looked very lively. Barkley played well and added an attacking drive when he was on the ball.

Hopefully when we get everyone fit we should see a vast improvement and start to push on.

Finally, a sincere thanks to GRaham MOckford for his call on the Marble Arch pub in MAnchester for the pre match bevvy.

Great shout. In fact we got chatting to Evertonians and locals alike and realised at 4.45pm we needed to get our skates on to make the KO.

Started the long walk the Etihad but jumped a taxi and made it in good time.

As always, our travelling fans were gsreat and created a great atmosphere. Great day except for the result.


Dick Fearon
46 Posted 09/12/2014 at 19:32:25
Mike OP, just about everything you mention has played its part in our current situation.

Our woeful pre season started the ball rolling downhill and amongst Roberto's never ending waffle on a multitude of topics I have yet to hear a single word about that.

Whether it be errors in tactics or timing and selection of substitutes or indeed anything that takes place during the actual game I have yet to hear him give solid practical answers.

He is very good at praise and that kind of thing yet sometimes I get the impression he does not have a high opinion of the average fans knowledge of the game.

It took about five years to suss OFMs weaknesses but I do not think the fans would be as patient this time around.

Kunal Desai
47 Posted 09/12/2014 at 19:37:35
I wasn't happy with the transfer business done over the summer and thought we were still short considering we were playing in Europe. We needed a goalkeeper. Think that is painstakingly obvious, a creative midfielder who can slice open defences with killer passes its no good playing two holding midfielders in McCarthy and Barry everytime. They are not game changers from midfield and if our wingers are not performing then you have a problem.( Mirallas injured and Pienaar past it). Another centre back was absolutely neccesary.

We knew Alcaraz was injury prone and Distin was getting on, that leaving two other centre backs which one of our best performers injured. Personally I feel that was a big gamble to take in not recruiting another younger CB even if on loan and ultimately that has cost us big time in the number of points dropped. Im glad we got Lukaku but lets not forget he was here last season as was Barry.

Atsu was a direct replacement for Gerard and the only bodies we brought in were Besic and Eto'o which if your trying to compete on front other than the league is absolutely criminal. Yet again this incompetent board slip under the limelight.

Christopher Kelly
48 Posted 09/12/2014 at 20:09:31
"What’s gone wrong?" Pretty much everything domestically and practically nothing continentally. I think the biggest problem may be the "magnificent seventh" fan base who don’t demand excellence anymore. Whether we show with our wallet (not going to games) or by numbers (in protest) nothing is changing anytime soon and we’ll probably never win the Premiership again unless things change.
Ian Bennett
49 Posted 09/12/2014 at 20:23:18
A lack of devil ment, a team worked out (no plan b), injuries to the central core (Mirallas, Stones, Barkley, McCarthy, Lukaku, Pienaar, and Coleman), and the usual suspects that lack bottle and liable to gaff.
Graham Mockford
50 Posted 09/12/2014 at 21:32:17
Christopher #48

So you are suggesting boycotting going to the match as a statement of dissatisfaction?

That would be fucking marvellous, reduce our revenues and put us in an even less competitive position.

For all the talk of boring sterile football attendances are at an all time high this season.

Just out of interest for someone advocating stopping supporting our team, how many games have you been to?

Colin Williams
51 Posted 09/12/2014 at 21:06:34
Best teams have the best players! Players who can effect the game and make good players even better to create that top quality squad ( Chelsea)We have got a mixed bag of players some are very good, and with better players around them they will become top players. We also have a group of players who are finished at this level and I believe they are our major problem!

The problem we have is, we donÂ’t have enough of these top players to move us forward quickly! The likes of Barkley, Stones, Macca, Lukaku.... need better quality around them for their development and the teams success.

The players mentioned players would be top players within a, Chelsea, Man City team NOW!! Not struggling
To develop their game and also struggling with their confidence. So people who make genuine arguments about whatÂ’s gone wrong! And trying to find a reason!.... ....ItÂ’s always about players!

Christopher Kelly
52 Posted 09/12/2014 at 21:39:31
It’s a popular theory that’s been bandied about for years. I believe the League in general should do this (as the league has gotten rather repetitive over the past 20 years) but unless you’re ok with 6th place as your post above suggests, just us for a couple of games would do us well.

I’m not advocating "stopping to support" our team. Quite the contrary. I think a show of some muscle would let the Board, the league and the "magnificent seventh" fans know that we’re tired of rolling over and accepting mediocrity as we have since ’95 or ’04-’05 (whichever way you look at it) have.

And just to answer your question, I’ve been to Goodison and few times, a magical place that deserves better than what it’s getting right now.

Graham Mockford
53 Posted 09/12/2014 at 22:12:44

I've been to Goodison every year for 40 years, probably about 600 games home and away in that time.

At no time have I ever considered withholding my support and nor will I ever. Supporting a team is by definition is sticking with it through thick and thin. That doesn't mean you are somehow a better supporter because you go to the match, geography and finance have a bearing.

But to suggest we should withdraw support of the team because of a few poor results is nonsense of the highest order.

Have your say, complain, get upset but every new game is an opportunity. We could be bottom of the league, we could be in Division 2 but play Z Cars and watch the boys match out and I'm ready to go.

Brent Stephens
54 Posted 09/12/2014 at 22:34:17
Christopher Kelly - what will staying away achieve EXACTLY? Spell it out, please. It won't change / improve tactics, team / subs selection, the squad we have. What WILL it change?
Patrick Murphy
55 Posted 09/12/2014 at 22:37:29
Well said Graham - you were probably there for all those sub 25,000 attendances and traveled in unbelievable discomfort to the far reaches of England to see the Blues - just like many have done over the years. On the other hand I do appreciate what Christopher is getting at, if all fans of all PL clubs continue to fill the stadia there will be no reason for the 'suits' to change anything for the good of the game or the supporters. It's like the next two World Cup - if all the supporters got together and harassed their FA's to withdraw from those particular competitions it might have a positive effect, however, pigs will probably learn to fly before that happens.
Christopher Kelly
56 Posted 09/12/2014 at 22:26:32

I think it’s a fair point you make and of course you’re a top supporter through thick and thin. You should be commended. I mean that. That’s the foundation of this club.

I too am a supporter through thick and thin. I’m not from England, I’m from America and I believe that I represent a good part of the future of the club’s fan base. It’s a global game now. I’ve been a fan since Amokachi and will never stop loving, Everton, as painful as it is.

I believe the problem is the lowered expectations of the faithful. End of. I believe that to be the tip of the iceberg. No one is held accountable from The Chariman on down to the players who get off easy by their manager. The problem is the fans who talk about "knowing y’er history" or share a video of Bob Latchford for the 90th time kicking ass. I have the utmost respect for our history, I love seeing Bob Latchford score against Liverpool but I’ve seen it 100 times and that was 30 years ago. I’m more interested in the present and future of our team. I want to see the next Bob Latchford. You’ve already seen the team win the Cup many-a-time. I’ve seen them win one. 20 years ago. If I were you, I would be more open minded about moving this team forward. As of right now we’re going nowhere, again. (EL is our only shot). And if we don’t win the EL, well, then the financial gulf gets bigger again and all of us fans who are ok with 6th place, go on and sign up for yet another season ticket while we fall further and further away from ever winning anything important again.. Ha! So in a long winded way, yes, stay home, or figure out some way of telling the Board they need to leave before a lot of the overseas fans who represent the majority of the fan base now, decides to start rooting for Chelsea or Man City.

Graham Mockford
57 Posted 09/12/2014 at 23:08:36

If you are an Everton supporter brought up on Amokachi I suprised you have any expectations whatsoever.

Look if you are a passionate Blue it doesn't matter where you live, it's in your heart.

But for me I could never consciously withdraw my support, it's too deeply engrained. The PL is not a level playing field, shit happens. Nothing is forever.

Bob Latch was my boyhood hero, I saw him score four away at QPR once but I'm pretty sure he never scored against Liverpool until he went to Swansea that is.

If you know your history is important, it's what makes us stand out, it's 136 years of Evertonians cheering on with a very small exception a top flight club.

Patrick Murphy
58 Posted 09/12/2014 at 23:23:56
Graham I think the nearest the Latch got to scoring for Everton in a Derby was that terrible pass-back type effort I think it was across the park but I can't remember, I just know it was a terrible effort for him at that time.
Graham Mockford
59 Posted 09/12/2014 at 23:22:25

Thank you, the worst I can remember (I'm excluding the Glen Keeley Derby as my therapist has encouraged me to do so) was a 0-0 draw against Coventry in the early Kendall days at Christmas. Who would have thought of the glory days ahead considering the ground was 2/3 empty.

The worst away game was QPR game at Christmas sometime early 90s. Amazingly despite getting toned I'm sure Stuart Barlow got two. Mind you I was doing a lot of ecstasy at the time so maybe I'm imagining things.

Bill Gall
60 Posted 09/12/2014 at 23:09:44
Anyone who even considers not going to Goodison to support Everton and even think about supporting Chelsea or Man City is not an Everton supporter.

You don't just become a supporter you are born a supporter. I was a regular at Goodison and attended most away games for over 20 years before moving to Canada and last time I cut myself I bled blue blood.

Everton supporters are passionate about their team and that is why sometimes we are over critical but the true supporter will never change his feelings for Everton and support another club.

Keep up the support Graham you are not alone and I wish I was there besides you.

Christopher Kelly
61 Posted 09/12/2014 at 23:26:57

Hear, hear regarding Ammo. I should’ve run for the hills when I had the chance :)

Maybe it would be different if I lived there but it’s very tempting for American fans (esp. the newer one’s who’ve come on bc of Tim for example) to simply switch their support for a winner. Obviously it’s wrong and they’re fickle, but we can’t tell them who to support or where to spend their money. Losing takes it’s toll and eventually people forget about those good ol’ times and players play like losers and eventually become losers. It’s a slippery slope and soon enough another decade will pass, no more trophies to put in the cabinet and all we’ll have are videos of bygone players who represented the best club when we were the best club "back in the day." I think it’s important to remember we were the best and to try to get back there. If that means sitting out a few matches to be heard, then screw it. It beats Groundhog Day every year in my eyes.

Patrick Murphy
62 Posted 10/12/2014 at 00:32:37
It's OK Graham you weren't seeing double or having a particularly bad out of body experience Stuart Barlow did score twice, as the Toffees lost 4-2. Southall and Rideout were both dismissed but I can't remember any of it I had to check it out. The game was played on Monday 28th December 1992. Gerald Ashby refereed the game and a crowd including your good self was 14,802. But we had beaten the other lot 2-1 three weeks earlier at Goodison.
Paul Ferry
63 Posted 10/12/2014 at 01:42:10
ThatÂ’s right Mocky - 59 - it was New YearÂ’s Eve (New YearÂ’s Eve!) and a grand total of 13,659 showed up at The Old Lady - including about 800 Coventry and Mocky and me - for one of the lowest points in my Everton life.

The team that day: Southall - Stevens - Mountfield - Bailey - Ratcliffe - Irvine - King - Reid - Sheedy - Heath - Gray - sub Richardson

ThatÂ’s eleven league title winners!

Our attendances were volatile even in the glorious 84-85 season. The attendance for the first home game v Spuds was 35630 (1-4) and ten days later the next home game v Ipswich drew in 22314 (1-1). Th lowest attendance at The Old Lady that season was against you guessed it Coventry (20013) and the highest needless to say v QPR (50514). Ten days before Xmas in 1984 we thrashed Forest at home 5-0 and were sprinting towards the top and the crowd was 22487.

But we always had a great away mob at every game!

Chris Kelly - 48: Â’nothing is changing anytime soon and weÂ’ll probably never win the Premiership again unless things changeÂ’.

Jaysus when did that happen, I must have been asleep! It must have been in the mid-1990s when I was hiding behind sofas.

Great post Kunai - 47 - agreed with every word.

Christopher Kelly
64 Posted 10/12/2014 at 05:24:55

A good an honest read. Very simplistic but at least it’s somewhat on the mark.

Laurie Hartley
65 Posted 10/12/2014 at 08:17:44
What went wrong?

Last season, Barry & McCarthy bossed the midfield. McCarthy patrolled it while Barry came for the ball and sprayed passes all over the place (that's why he got a new deal).

This season, McCarthy has been injured and Barry has lost half a yard. End result – we are not playing as a team.

It won't get better until we get a midfield general.

Matthew Mackey
66 Posted 10/12/2014 at 12:15:44
I guess when you play teams that have 12 men on the field, the twelfth one being Andre Marriner, then it is inevitable that you will lose – no matter what your team selection and game plan is. Bitter?.....you bet I am.
Patrick Murphy
67 Posted 10/12/2014 at 12:20:20
Is a water-pistol more useful than a knife in a gunfight?
Tony J Williams
68 Posted 10/12/2014 at 12:24:37
"I think the biggest problem may be the "magnificent seventh" fan base who don't demand excellence anymore."

One of my biggest pet hates on a football forum, people blaming fans for the lethargic performances of the overpaid prima donnas on the pitch and the piss poor substitutions by the stubborn managers.

Then saying to stay away..... sighs.

On topic, we haven't had a steady first XI all season. As soon as it looks like we will get someone back, another player gets injured.

Norman Merrill
69 Posted 10/12/2014 at 15:23:48
Eric Myles 5.
You mention most of the faults I find, but won't add any more as most of the fans on here, are well aware.
Things must change, who thats down to is another matter.
Mike Childs
70 Posted 10/12/2014 at 12:51:54
Martinez's biggest sin, imo, is playing injured players at the expense of other capable players, followed by playing them out of position. Only Eto'o seems to be able to play more than one position, yet he never plays his best position.

Anyone who's every injured a hamstring knows you can play with the injury but not as effective as without it.

Browning, Garbutt and Hibbert deserve more minutes than they've gotten because our present fullbacks have been suffering all year. Baines is so fucking tired he can't even get a free kick past the first man. Coleman never got caught from behind last year. These guys are a major part of our manager's attacking idea.

Christopher Kelly
71 Posted 10/12/2014 at 15:12:33
In all due respect, unfortunately Tony, it seems you may be part of the problem. You’re certainly missing the point.

You still waiting for Bill to sell? You think that’s his plan, after searching 365 for a new owner over the last 14 years? Open your eyes, man. Maybe you’re okay with 7th every year?? The rest of us hopefully aren’t.

If injuries are you concern, then why don’t we have adequate reserves? Why don’t we spend ALL of this money we were making on the SKY windfall? How are we being outspent by clubs half our size and with a tenth of our history? There are MANY more problems than just the fans but if you read the post, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Our whole club reeks from top to bottom of incompetence right now. The fans are just the ones with the authority to make change and yet we never do.

Phil Walling
72 Posted 10/12/2014 at 15:10:45
Poor referees and multiple injuries are suffered by every club in every league – being aware and prepared for these is a big part of a manager's pre-season responsibility. Ensuring his squad has the mindset and bodies to cope – particularly in the Prem – goes without saying.

As almost the founder of 'the magnificent seventh', can I just say that's it's the expectation but in no way the hope. And it's usually to do better than that – although, this season, it's become the ambition!

Only a fortnight ago, we were constantly reading that we had our strongest squad ever and now it's just crap in every department depending on which posts/threads you read. It isn't. It just needs the manager to get his arse back into gear and stop pissing about with his 'subtle' team changes. He needs to decide on his best team and formation and stick to it. As long as it doesn't involve anymore PATB than we've had lately, I'm sure we'll all buy into it.

Michael Kenrick
73 Posted 10/12/2014 at 15:47:19
Mike (#70), you say of our fullbacks, that "These guys are a major part of our manager's attacking idea." — Are they really, though, anymore???

They certainly were a key part of our success last season, but that adventurous 'sin miedo' aspect of our play down the wings seems to have been surrendered to the dreaded reverse ball played back the wrong way down the wing, or inside... or worst of all, back to Spoonfeet in goal.

It was oddly perplexing though to see Hibbert in such advanced positions at key points in the Man City game... What was that all about?

Tony J Williams
74 Posted 10/12/2014 at 15:51:35
"In all due respect, unfortunately Tony, it seems you may be part of the problem."

Stopped reading after that.

Tony J Williams
75 Posted 10/12/2014 at 15:54:56
"It was oddly perplexing though to see Hibbert in such advanced positions at key points in the Man City game... What was that all about?"

This season may be his last chance for a goal, he's already won us a penalty this year......Come on Hibbo lad, unleash a thunderbolt into the top corner fella!

Andrew Ellams
76 Posted 10/12/2014 at 15:57:44
I was convinced Hibbert was lining a shot up at the end of the game then pulled it and played a half-hearted side foot to Ross.
Ian Tunstead
77 Posted 10/12/2014 at 16:51:09
Martinez clearly wants Hibbo to get forward more and take advantage of his natural attacking talent. What a tactical genius Martinez is! The rest of us just couldnÂ’t see it. It must rate up there with his belief in Jagielka’s and Distin’s passing and play-making abilities.

But this is what a lot of you on here were pining for and were adamant that if would benefit our play greatly if our players attempted to pass it more and were coached the Barcelona type tiki tak football with players like Osman and Naismith instead of Messi or Xavi. If the players arenÂ’t good enough, there is nothing the manager can do.

David Hayes
78 Posted 10/12/2014 at 22:08:41
Crab football sucks, wake up, Bobby. The time of pass, pass and pass in your own half is over – stop this shit now, this is not Everton and never will be.

PLEASE stop trying to be clever. You have the tools in the box use them. Give us some respect and use all the passion and skill that is waiting to be unleased. If you can't see what we all see, then please Fuck Off back to Wigan .

Mike Childs
79 Posted 11/12/2014 at 15:19:53
You're absolutely right Michael (#73) this year I believe Coleman hasn't been given sufficient time off to get healthy. Baines came back with a World Cup hangover which seems strange given England's exit. Then he seemed to get healthy was starting to contribute got hurt rushed back and has been off form since. Same with Barry who was turning MotM performances got hurt rushed back and been absolutely crap.

We have a bench we have youngsters he has to trust them and use them or we will go all year without a set lineup and in the lower half of the table. I'd like to think he's finally learnt his lesson with Jimmy Mac but my fear is #16 is hurt bad and won't return till January.

Max Wilson
80 Posted 12/12/2014 at 14:45:39
DAJ (16) seems to be the nearest to my own opinion of what I don't like. We have all got justifiable reason to bellyache. In our last four outings, the best we've managed is one draw. This is hard to take.

In addition to the predictable build-ups and slowness we have all come to detest, in my opinion, there is another flaw in RM's approach: his choice of players. He keeps selecting people who cant seem to penetrate the last third and who also waste the few good balls that come through. How many times now have we all cursed those good passes which then get skied over the bar or missed completely?

We have talent in our squad, is it being used? I also find myself wondering about the dressing room. Are his good players fed up yet? I would be.

Christopher Kelly
82 Posted 13/12/2014 at 09:12:03
Tony J, that is the problem with Everton fans. Everything is fine and we no longer expect the best. You’re guilty of that. "Hey, the team tried hard and they earned their money" It’s okay they drew Hull at home. No worries......

Yes, there are worries. Teams that do something of note with their seasons don’t have dropped points all over the place... If you owned the team, would you be okay with all this underachieving?? Is it okay to you??

Joe Clitherow
83 Posted 13/12/2014 at 18:42:09
The comparisons between OFM having been given 11 seasons some of which were looking up and saying Martinez are, frankly, stupid for a very simple reason in that the team Moyes inherited was as poor as I can ever remember, perennial relegation low odds. Over 11 years that was built up into a regular top six challenging side which has been added to and man for man we now have grod to excellent players in every position. DonÂ’t get me wrong, I think OFM took us as far as he could and it was time but at least he did take us up.

RM added something different last year and made a difference and now he has been found out and seems incapable of trying anything different. This is not three games by the way, check stats back to April, and this season alone 4 PL wins in 15 with the players we have really is unacceptable and can only be down to management and tactics – all teams have injuries. You can’t even blame the whipping boys of the board this time because RM has been well backed and in my opinion has spunked money away on some bad buys like Alcaraz and Kone, and WTF was he thinking with Lacina Traore as well as Atsu.

After all that I still think the biggest failing is not spotting the problems that unfold during a match when he has substitutions available or his tactics are clearly getting spanked. Maybe he will learn but IÂ’m still waiting to see signs of that.

IÂ’ll stop there.

Clive Lewis
84 Posted 13/12/2014 at 21:32:41
Passing with no penetration is easy to play against. Just wait until the players either try to pass through the gaps and intercept. Alternatively players dwell on the ball too long looking for that critical pass and the opposition slide in and nick it, or the opposition just sit back until boredom strikes and someone lobs it up long.

There is really nothing special about passing it around unless you have someone like Messi to thread it onto. It really must be easy for the opposition managers playing us at the minute. We are very predictable, we all must agree to that, therefore it's the tactics of the manager and the coaching to blame.

It's completely obvious to me that Roberto never had any Plan B, because he cannot most of the time unlock defenses. More of the same, I predict, for the remainder of RM's time at Everton, I'm afraid.

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