The debacle on Saturday has for many raised questions about Martinez and the current state of play. Has the faith so many of us put in him last year that we were once more playing fast attractive attacking football begun to crumble? to be replaced by a fear that we have a side that is weak mentally and has lost the competitive edge and the refusal to get beat?

I recall a talk some years ago by Stubbs about how ecstatic he was that they had played for 2 hours or so, attack vs defence, corners, free kicks and all other situations and had not conceded a single goal. The pride was obvious but for me it summed up the Moyes era, something I do not want to return to. However, Leicester, Arsenal, Chelsea, Palace, QPR and now Southampton have all exposed a weakness in our defending that is completely unacceptable, and one that shows no sign of being addressed. Far too many of those goals (and others), have been scored in and around the 6 yd box and that, in anybody̢۪s book, suggests a weakness with centre half̢۪s and the goalkeeper, as well as the inability to stop the ball being played into those areas. Whilst you would not expect Martinez to publically criticise players in those positions, you would expect some reference to tightening up and working on defensive aspects. Sadly not, just references to passing and the attacking aspects.

Jagielka played more passes than any other Everton player on Saturday. What does that tell you about Martinez̢۪s tactics? Conversely sit in the opposition dugout and what does it mean? The opponents centre half has had the ball at least 60 Р70 yds from goal more than any other player and has been passing it around Рhappy days, he ain't going to cause any problems and by the time he's finished passing it to Distin and back we will all be back behind the ball and set up to defend. So what now Mr Martinez? Passing for the sake of passing, particularly from players who made a reputation for commitment, enthusiasm and DEFENDING seems to serve no real purpose and only exposes their limitations. So do we have faith in Martinez's ability firstly to acknowledge there is a problem and secondly to do something about it in defensive terms? Or are we fearful that all those defensive frailties seen at Wigan are resurfacing at Goodison? Others have talked about a stubbornness to acknowledge this side of the game from Martinez, I have no knowledge of the man directly, but from his press conferences I am concerned by an apparent avoidance of any reference to a greater concentration on defence. There is a maxim that the best form of defence is to attack, but the inference is attack not pass sideways.

So have we progressed from Wigan and are we on our way to Warsaw? The performances in Europe have been good on the whole. Yes, 2 scrappy away draws and a somewhat flattering home result against Wolfsburg, but for the majority of those players it was Europe for the first time in a few years so lets think positively. However, how will we fare against better opposition? Will the defending hold up and do we have the attacking flair to progress. On the first count I think we will be exposed by the better sides, if the likes of Palace, QPR and Southampton can do it the majority of the sides left are more than capable. Equally do we have the attacking flair? Here I am slightly more positive, unless we draw an Italian side (assuming we beat Young Boys), why? because the likes of Miralles, Berkley and Lukaku (yes) will cause problems for most continental sides. However, given the current frailties in our defence I think we've got as far as the West Midlands and are a long way off from Warsaw.

Finally atmosphere or applause. Goodison is renowned for its atmosphere and intimidating nature for the opposition. Can anyone actually recall any game this year when that has been the case? For me the atmosphere is created when 'something happens' – not just once but in a concerted way. So a series of shots or corners. or players closing the opposition down quickly one after the other, balls played over the top for attackers to run on to or even a series of strong tackles. Goals are clearly the ultimate expression of that atmosphere but to maintain an atmosphere in the ground the other aspects are vital. Sadly I do not think Martinez understands how the atmosphere is created and maintained. Having been raised on Spanish football, where, with all due respect to their supporters, the atmosphere in all but a few case is depressingly muted, I think his understanding is limited. Add to that his experiences at Wigan and its no wonder he fails to appreciate the need to create an atmosphere through the way the team plays.

Yes, supporters have a responsibility but please tell me how to get excited when Distin passes to Jagielka, who passes to Howard who gives it back to Distin who passes to Coleman who gives it back to Howard, whilst Lukaku has made 3 runs waiting for a pass and has now given up and Howard suddenly launches it 20 yds away from anyone. Yes, we applaud the passing when we keep it for 25 passes but do we get excited? Are we off our seats and are we encouraged by the attacking play? Too often this year I have been left appreciative of some of the passing but under-awed by the energy and excitement it created.

So Faith or fear? I still want to have faith but there are nagging doubts and I am beginning to become fearful. This means I am worringly far too close to Wigan rather than over the channel and into Europe. Consequently can I see myself getting excited against Stoke and contributing to a great atmosphere as we attack them with pace and defend solidly against the bean pole as they launch crosses into our 6 yd box? Sadly I think it will be polite applause.

Mr Matinez I think you have come to something of a seminal moment after Southampton, more of the same is not good enough, are you good enough to change it?

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Anthony Lamb
1 Posted 23/12/2014 at 00:12:24
What a succinct and clear exposition of the situation at Everton, thank you very much Jim. If this was a transcript of your side of a personal conversation with Mr Martinez I would be keen to hear the transcript of his responses! They are definitely the kind of issues that, sadly, the sycophantic and generally incompetent journalists and media pundits,match "experts"/summarisers etc are incapable of making, thus preventing the genuine queries, complaints, frustrations, even suggestions (?) from concerned supporters being aired. Thank you for a most enjoyable piece.
Dave Abrahams
3 Posted 23/12/2014 at 00:28:27
Jim I think you have expressed what a lot of the the Everton support are feeling right now about which way Mr. Martinez is taking the club. He has gone from a manager who pleased thousands of us last year and gave us the firm hope that he would take the club to where a lot of us think we should be.

Alas for almost this season we have not just gone backwards but there seems to be that the manager will not be persuaded to change his attitude on how the club should play.

He seems to think we should accept his formula on how Everton will play and his arrogance is turning a lot of fans, who really want him to succeed, away from him.

I hope he will take stock of how he is persisting with this attitude and change his style of play to more of how we were playing last season or he is going to come unstuck and I hope for his sake he will have a change of heart in regard to playing a different way.

Derek Thomas
4 Posted 23/12/2014 at 00:22:15

Also as above well put and to the point Jim

Credit must go as well to M.K. & L.L. Who have no doubt been inundated with the full spectrum of knee-jerk from Dodd-ish to Marsh-esque and all points in between. Jim's piece touches all bases and opens up the much needed debate.

The OP and all the replies should give a spectrum of opinion that will show the various option for a poll... and there must be options as stick or twist is too vague... (or is it?)

I was glad to see Moyes go, I had seen enough after the Hibbert / Spurs debacle. We were told we had the best squad since whenever and all I wanted was for OFM to let them play.

I didn't quite know who I wanted next, well actually I did, Mourinho, but that was not going to happen. I didn't fancy any of the Moyes old boys or the Moyesesque clones ( or should that be clowns eh Malkie ) and knew little or nothing about any of the Foreign 'Names' bandied about, nor did I buy into he's not British so he must be good thing. So when Roberto was appointed I wasn't too pissed off

18months ago I wrote in the old mailbag ( Re 3 at the back, looked, can't find it ) gist; 'While I was happy enough, from what I did know about Martinez and his Philosophy, my big worry was that He would turn out to be just as Inflexible in his own way as Moyes was in his and that I didn't see the need to throw the Moyes baby out with the bathwater"

While I enjoyed and applaud last season's efforts and may have allowed, wanted, ( yearned even ) myself to believe that the School of Science has re opened... These doubts Re. Inflexibility are back, bringing with them another. What if, not only won't he change but CAN'T

I thought in June 2013 that He would have to be given at least 3 summer windows to get the foundations laid... unless it turns all Mike Walker-ish... It hasn't got there yet but maybe heading that way

I will no doubt get jumped on with... 'X' points off 4th, not even half way yet, last 32 Europa, the FA Cup to come, Rome wasn't built in a day, limited sponds, Injuries, form is temporary etc... well no, in our case at the moment it isn't... We're shite and getting shite-er

How many of those new or old, for that matter, Season Ticket Holders will renew for next season at this rate Bill??

My Poll Options

1) Taxi!

2) 'Alladyce - word in the ear moment'

3) End of the season; you get to re-apply, justify why you should stay

4)This time next year

5)Sin Miedo

I'm for 2 AND 3, carrot and stick

Mike Corcoran
5 Posted 23/12/2014 at 01:27:57
The thing with the endless back passing leaves me feeling short changed more than anything. If you subtract that time spent then it leaves you with about 20 minutes of shit happening anywhere else and the shit happening is either just as turgid or heart in the mouth defending.
Bill Gall
6 Posted 23/12/2014 at 01:49:41
Ihave wrote eveything I can think of both when I was calm and after saturday when I was really pissed off so I am just going to say I agree with eveything above.

Sorry could not resist ---- All the times I have both written or read the comments on T.W. I do not think I have seen so many comments from Everton's supporters who are really mad at this manager .Moyes took some abuse on here but it has not taken Martinez very long to get more.

Dick Fearon
7 Posted 23/12/2014 at 02:17:33
Jim I applaud your Faith or Fear plus Lyndon's Alius Falsus Matutinus and wish they were on top of Robertos Xmas reading list. Both articles clearly outlined the supporters concern at the way we are going.
Not wishing to sound big headed but last year I raised issue with our slow boring approach play.
I believe it was Rodgers who first exploited the flaw in our system when he instructed his team to pack their defence and hit us on the break. Nowadays every man and his dog except Roberto are awake to it.
Steve Brown
8 Posted 23/12/2014 at 05:57:12
Derek #4, I don't think there is a single question relating to Everton's future where the answer is Allardyce!

As someone who posted big doubts when he was hired - which top 6 club hires the manager who just got his team relegated? - I think RM earned the right last season to turn this around and learn from this season. So option 4) for me.

PS one thing he hasnt done is spend £200m in less than three years to make a squad even worse. That honour goes to Rodgers.

Derek Thomas
9 Posted 23/12/2014 at 06:54:04

Steve #8 you misunderstood me, I wouldn't let Sam run the Pie counter under the Gwladys St.

My Option No 2 is for Bill to have a word in Roberto's ear, like Allardyce was supposed to have had in his from the West Ham Boss earlier in the season, e.g. this is shite, the punters don't like it, it isn't the ' West Ham Way '. Get it changed sharpish or you're out.

We seem ( for me ) to have come full circle. All I ever wanted was not for OFM to go 100% Keegan/Hoddle-tastic, just let them play a bit more. While Martinez needs to be a bit more pragmatic and Flexible, without going all Uber KITAP1.

While the cynics might say we ARE actually playing the Everton Way...on and off average to shite, with the odd good game thrown in. It's not what I want to see, nor, judging from the Goodison Atmosphere, what every one else wants either...Hence the word in his ear

James Byrne
10 Posted 23/12/2014 at 06:52:39
Another excellent post - but isn't it incredible how creative or even poetic some people get after a certain emotional event takes place such as the shite performance of our team at the weekend against an average Southampton.

What is a shame is that our manager probably won't be reading any of these write up's so I anticipate after Friday we will all be back on here either writing or reading about another gutless and redundant performance from Everton.

Darren Hind
11 Posted 23/12/2014 at 06:50:32
This group of players played some fantastic football under Davey Moyes and he should be given huge credit for putting it together on a shoe string, but lets get it right here, he never at any stage of his time here, gave the impression that he believed Everton deserved to be dining at footballs top table. he was happy with his lot and if this squad was ever going to achieve anything Moyes had to go - Thank you Fergie.

Martinez, on occassions last season, looked like he was the man to do it, but everytime he got close his lumitations were exposed.
He has been desperately poor since that horrible night when Palace came to Goodison,
He fucked off for two months leaving the hitherto unheard of "recruitment dept" to bring in the 6/7 more players he told us we were going to need.
His pre-season prepararation was shambolic and we started the season as if we didnt know it was coming.

I'd crticised Martinezin the past, but he has been far worse than I ever imagined he would be, He persists with things that are not working and changes things that are - breaking up the Besic / Barkley partnership at Southampton being a classic example.

So where do we go? well I firmly believe he will not be in the job much longer if he continues to antagonise the crowd with is inflexibility. The boos and the jeers will
beome too much for theatre showman who craves applause. . . .and yet.

What if he does have the X Factor? Despite his poor record in the league he has won a trophy. Maybe he is like Bill, a showman too, sombody who needs the drama of a cup to bring the best out of him.

Getting a Pullis or an Allardyce in would probably improve
our league results, but we'll never win a thing with them.

The doors to the school of science have been closed for a very long time and for all his faults, at least Martinez has tried to force them ajar. Lets stay with him for a bit longer.

Whats the worst that can happen ?

Mike Price
12 Posted 23/12/2014 at 07:09:10
I think the massive reaction is fed by hope being dashed and the feeling that lots of us were wrong about him. Most still hope he turns it round, but my fear was always him being too nice and a bit soft; you need a hard, nasty side to succeed in professional football and I don't think he's got it.

I think he got carried away by last seasons relative success, and the pre-season was a lazy disgrace. Even his signings were lazy, Lukaku was familiar, easy and too expensive. Barry was another if you consider a 3 year contract...not to mention Howard, Naismith, Hibbert and Osman all getting extensions. Too easy and/or sentimental and not smart business.I hoped he would be signing pace, youth and value...we could have had Valencia, Sahko, Bojan and Forster for one Lukaku, and that's what I expected with his South American, Barcelona and Scottish contacts. Some of his signings and contracts could set us back years.

I still have hope left that he may be the one to break that glass ceiling, but he needs to get ruthless quickly because if the support turns on him, he's done.I think people are jittery because if this goes wrong, we could be in big trouble and I don't see enough fight and steel to dig us out. In the past, I've always felt the manager, certain players, the crowd, or a combination, would be enough to see us through. Right now everything is just weak, soft, boring and predictable; every other team I watch seems to have more intensity and passion than we do and that is just not acceptable for Everton.

Conor Waters
13 Posted 23/12/2014 at 07:54:59
Good article Jim.

It's a strange situation we're facing. We put up with so many poor performances and big game disappointments under Moyes, sprinkled with the odd bright moments, over an eleven year period. Yet here we are after four months of this season and Bobby's head is being positioned on the block.

The key difference I believe is a perceived inflated valuation of our squad, following the fairly impressive debut season under Martinez. It's fair to say we improved our squad since then, securing two loanees and adding some new (and old) faces. So how have we so spectacularly gone backwards? People could draw comparisons to that shower across the park, but we haven't lost a pair of players who chalked up over 50 goals between them!

Our problems lie with once again a stubborn manager, an ageing squad and a restless following. We all hoped we had reached new heights after a record points haul, I'll admit to having a punt on us to finish as high as third! But this overconfidence is now turning to anger in light of results.

And sorry Bob, but it's also been a shocking string of performances this season, despite you recent post match comments. This leadse to his stubbornness. How can a person with even a morsel of football knowledge not spot the deadwood on our team? To not make a change on Saturday was beyond baffling. If it was a boxing match the towel would've been thrown in long before 90 mins.

He deserves at least another year to turn it round, but the younger hungrier players must be given a chance. The infuriating back passes with alarm bells attached must be cut out. And finally the Goodison faithful need to get behind the blues. Players confidence is key. Just look at the atmosphere at Selhurst. It's a two way street. Coyb.

Paul Tran
14 Posted 23/12/2014 at 08:16:00
Great article Jim. Darren, we don't always agree, but you're spot on here.

Every Everton manager in my experience has had poor spells (from Catterick). We didn't finish 5th by accident, we're 11th with half a season left. Let's see if he can turn it around and if we're still mid table playing aimless shite in May we can take a decision then.

Let's let him know what we think, support the team and give him the chance to put his mistakes right.

If we end up making a change, let's think carefully before going for Moyes Mark 2.

David S Shaw
15 Posted 23/12/2014 at 08:51:32
There's no atmosphere at kick off though so that's before we've even played bad. I'd understand your point if the atmosphere came to a standstill after 20 minutes.
Dave Lynch
16 Posted 23/12/2014 at 09:16:06
The worst thing we could do is sack him before the end of the season.

History proves this never works. Newcastle did it the year they went down, they gave the great god Shearer the job and we all know what happened there,

Brian Waring
17 Posted 23/12/2014 at 10:08:46
The atmosphere at Goodison has been crap for years.
Phil Walling
18 Posted 23/12/2014 at 09:57:45
So many people have borrowed my sticks since last Saturday and now Jim has pinched the drum !

Comments and predictions about Martinez for which I have received dog's abuse over these many weeks are now lauded as works of great insightfulness - what a funny old world we occupy on ToffeeWeb.

What no one is saying, however, is that a decent performance on Boxing Day will see all these people who 'knew he was flawed all along' crawl back to their frivolities and St.Martin will be restored to his holy status!

What has annoyed me all along with this guy is that he has some really good players at his disposal. That was proved last season when his 'philosophy' was a concept that only a few players bought into. Now, however, the philosophy is everything - just read his garbage (if you have the patience) in yesterday's Echo and the team is at sixies and sevens or all No 10s if you see it Bobby's way !

'Barkley has showed how he can hurt people from that (wide) position, '....and the gem of them all, 'I knew the team on the field could get us back into the game, it wasn't right for substitutions.' I fucking ask you !

But roll on Friday when, by all accounts, he will welcome back Stones, McCarthy and Mirallas - 'fresh legs' he calls them and all will be well again. We hope.

Ray Roche
19 Posted 23/12/2014 at 10:21:18
No Brian, that's untrue. We have had games where the atmosphere has been fantastic, but it needs a spark to ignite it, and Martinez and his style/philosophy isn't capable of doing that. Sure, this season it's been flat, just like the Emirates, Anfield, WHL etc., even the Brittania has been criticised for being like a library, and the retards who go there applaud a bit of paper blowing across the pitch before they go back to rubbing their vegetables and dribbling.
I think all fans are expecting to be entertained and excited nowadays and we need the team to do their bit, and endless pissing about at the back isn't getting ANYONE excited.
Brent Stephens
20 Posted 23/12/2014 at 10:42:15
Mike #5 "The thing with the endless back passing leaves me feeling short changed more than anything. If you subtract that time spent then it leaves you with about 20 minutes of shit happening anywhere else and the shit happening is either just as turgid or heart in the mouth defending."

Yes, and it's all in contrast to the idealism of "beautiful game" that Roberto aspires to.

Phil #18 "a decent performance on Boxing Day will see all these people who 'knew he was flawed all along' crawl back to their frivolities and St.Martin will be restored to his holy status!"

Phil, I suspect that Friday wont be forgiving at all if the performance is poor, even if we win. I hear quite a loud sound of feet moving between camps, and not all will easily trudge back to their original camp. God, I'm dreading Friday.

Andrew Ellams
21 Posted 23/12/2014 at 12:39:54
Phil @ 18, the booing minutes before three points were clinched against QPR suggests that people may not be that fickle right now. Evertonians know what they want to see and a poor performance but a win against a poor side is not good enough.
Steve Carse
22 Posted 23/12/2014 at 12:37:52
For all his deficiencies, under Moyes we would always come out of a poor spell with a fiery, intense, harrying display. The crowd would get going as a result. And invariably we'd get the result. Can't ever see that materialising under RM. Harrying seems to have been outlawed in his 'philosophy'. And we never have sustained periods of exciting pacey, attacking football that would create the kind of atmosphere we're going to need.
Darren Hind
23 Posted 23/12/2014 at 13:06:47
" So many people have borrowd my sticks since last Saturday and now Jim has pinched the drum ! "

Wind your neck in Phil lad you sound like a prat.

Jim has put together a pertinent article based on the here and now and he hasnt once resorted to giving us the benefit of what any pie eating relatives think of our plight.

Its nice to be right from time to time, but if you know the game at all you will be all too aware of how fleeting "being right " can be.

You recieved dogs abuse last season because you were talking shite and your predictions proved to he silly.

I too have been slaughterd on these pages for constantly questioning the manager and the "free ride"I felt he's been given by certain sections, but if he delivers a trophy I will be proven to be wrong. Lets fucking hope so

Now is not a time for "I told you so's " Its about Evertonians exercising their right to ask difficult questions of OUR manager and praying to fuck he can
come up with the answers.

Normally I look forward to your points, but that was easily your worst post to date.

Phil Walling
24 Posted 23/12/2014 at 14:59:02
And a merry Christmas to you, Darren. You know as well as I do that the hoped for win against Stoke will see these columns empty. My remarks were not crowing - merely pointing out how so many Roberto worshippers had become er..... sceptics.

You amongst them !

Kevin Tully
25 Posted 23/12/2014 at 15:10:31
Here’s a novel thought. Why don’t we all get behind the team, and manager, when they most need our support?

Not stupid posts, which only point to wanting the EVERTON manager to fail - like yours, Phil.

Phil Walling
26 Posted 23/12/2014 at 15:15:21
Support ? They had my money last June, Kevin. I think that entitles me to, at least, comment on the dog's breakfast this guy's making of a job he get's well paid for !
Jay Harris
27 Posted 23/12/2014 at 15:26:18
there are very few supporters that want the manager to fail.

I wish it was different but the manager is FAILING.

And now it is consistently and he cant see it.

Amit Vithlani
28 Posted 23/12/2014 at 15:53:35
Every blue wants Martinez and ergo the blues to succeed. What we are witnessing is a self inflicted debacle which makes watching from the sidelines all the more frustrating.

Should we however turn the corner and recover our mojo, I will happily be back singing the manager and the team's praises

Call me a chameleon, turncoat, whatever but the current malaise deserves the full wrath of the supporters, jus

Paul Tran
29 Posted 23/12/2014 at 15:59:41
Flipping heck Phil, I've heard it all now - Darren the Martinez worshipper? I'd love a glass of what you're drinking!

Some of us are calling it as we see it. Very good last season, so far so poor this season.

If we sacked every manager who had a bad half of a season, we'd have had ten managers in the last twelve years.

If we're mid - table playing aimless shite at the end of the season, he'll lose my support. Meanwhile, if we're going to have this conversation, let's have some sensible ideas on who's going to take this club forward for the long - term.

Dave Abrahams
30 Posted 23/12/2014 at 16:53:55
Phil Wallings(24).

I think if Everton beat Stoke City on Friday that will keep some people off his back for now.

If the performance is pretty much like the last few games I think you will find there will be still acres of critical letters on these threads.

Phil Walling
31 Posted 23/12/2014 at 17:56:23
Never our job, Paul, so bloody pointless bothering about it. BK has never listened to TWers on whom he might sack or appoint so what's the point?

At the same time, what is the point of ToffeeWeb at all? If you post what is seen as an alien view, you get pelters and if you agree with the herd.......well who bloody cares, anyway?

I have held since Day 1 that Martinez was/is wrong for Everton .Almost all have disagreed - as so they might. Just pissed off with everything to do with the little twat so I think I'll leave you all to it!

Darren Hind
32 Posted 23/12/2014 at 17:30:13

I can identify the problems at Everton without consulting Wigan supporters.

Your posts sounds like a Little Britton sketch, You are not the only gay in the village. Thousands of Evertonians have been critical of Martinez from the off. Most of them are genuine Evertonians who want to be wrong.

Nobody is trying to steal your drum and sticks – as a matter of fact, you may get the opportunity to return them to their rightful owners when your pie-eating rellies come round for Chrimbo

Chris Butler
33 Posted 23/12/2014 at 19:33:50
Personally I believe we should've brought in Bilic not Martinez. Bilic actually has some passion, unlike Martinez – look at Tottenham v Besiktas: when they were 1-0 down, he didn't stop moving. Martinez just stands there with his arms folded, or leaves some poor substitute to stand there for 10 minutes for no reason.

Bilic understands the passion of the fans, Martinez doesn't. Nowadays, the players don't even bother to clap the fans after games, they just walk off.

Scott Robinson
34 Posted 23/12/2014 at 21:15:48
The problem with RM is that he came on the back of failure.... Yes he won the FA Cup but he also got Wigan RELEGATED....So when the shit hits the fan as it has now, people are very quick to say: "I told you so". Its human nature. The manager has been set up to fail and unfortunately, unless he turns around it very quickly, it will be a short and slippery slide to being vilified with the Everton faithful - hence the vitriolic reaction to Martinez right now, unlike the abuse that Moyes suffered.
Dave Abrahams
35 Posted 23/12/2014 at 21:16:21
Phil Walling. I don't think you've called him a twat before have you?, he's really getting to you isn't he?
Damian Carville
36 Posted 23/12/2014 at 19:57:36
Emotions are running high among Evertonians currently. Opinions are split on our manager, Roberto Martinez. Typically, at times like this, the dissenters' voices are the loudest, that's human nature I suppose. I have decided to give some of my thoughts below, in the shape of some questions for people to ask themselves about our current situation. I have added my own opinions beneath each question:

1) If we had a few more wins (and obviously points), but the same style of play, would there be such vitriol directed at Roberto Martinez as there is currently?

Of course not. Dissent about our 'passing style' was building last season after our first 3 games, but then we scraped (let's be honest) a home win against Chelsea, and pulled off a win at West Ham with 2 Baines' free-kicks and a last minute header from our new loan signing, Romelu Lukaku. Suddenly everything seemed bright, and we were up and running. I suggest people look up 'The Executioner's Bong', there is an excellent comparison of this season versus last season. Interestingly (and this is difficult to measure, so can not be ENTIRELY trusted), Everton's TEMPO is faster this season than last. Surprising, eh?

2) Do people really care that the 'School of Science is on it's way back'?

Nope. They want wins. Don't care how. That seems obvious from the current reaction.

3) Is Roberto Martinez 'stubborn'?

This is an interesting question. He certainly favours possession football, however has shown himself to be flexible with a counter-attacking style of play against the 'better' teams. He has certainly changed his personnel this season, possibly to the point of 'tinkering'. There are some players he certainly regards as critical to his style of play, such as Barry, Lukaku and Baines, but he does seem willing to mix it up a little in other areas (sometimes through choice, sometimes through necessity/injury and sometimes through rotation/rest). He is not going to look at a long-ball style of play, that is certain.

For me, I trust his approach to the game. Percentage football is an attractive option, it certainly CAN bring positive results, and it does not look as bad as a more measured approach will when things are not going well. It served David Moyes well overall, although at times we do discount some of the good football his Everton teams did play at times. I think West Ham this year are a team who have struck a decent balance of strength and directness, along with quick 'passing' football. I am not suggesting we imitate West Ham of course, who I think will fade away soon. It is a tough one. I have not seen many people even attempt to offer alternative methods of how to play. If Lukaku were a Drogba-type 'battering ram' forward, it might simply present itself as an option, but he is not, and seems to refuse the idea that he might be.

4) Are we close to being 'successful', like last year?

I am not sure. We have had no luck this season (Anfield excepted, possibly), whereas last year we had some luck at key times which brought a positive result, and all of the plaudits that this brings, even with very similar performances. Some examples would be Chelsea (H), West Ham (A), Swansea (A), Liverpool (3-3 - should have been out of sight before our come-back, although we played very well offensively), Cardiff (H - last-minute winner). Don't get me wrong, I am not saying we did not deserve this 'luck'...we often did, but we are just not getting it late in games this year (see Man Utd away, Arsenal home...etc etc...). There are possibly some other reasons for this I will address later too.

We desperately need a couple of wins, to raise confidence among players, fans and manger alike. A confident team can be unrecognisable from an unconfident one (see 'Steven Naismith').

5) Has Roberto Martinez made some mistakes?

Undoubtedly YES. Our pre-season seems to have definitely had a negative effect on the start of our season, including what appear to be inadequate fitness levels for our players. With all of the science adopted by modern teams, I find this hard to believe. I suppose we will never know the internal 'measurements' within the club, but this would be of great interest to me. One thing is certain, we were not 'game-ready', which can almost certainly account for our inability to manage the ending of games to our detriment. The World Cup has affected us - and some other teams - but we should be past that now. There are obviously some other mistakes too.

6) How bad was last Saturday at Southampton?

It was bad. First, team selection.....I actually am not 100% convinced we should have stuck with Barkley and Besic at centre-midfield, and Barry is important to our style of play. I do not think Ross has the discipline or decision-making yet to play that role every week. However, he did a great job against QPR, so I can appreciate people might not agree with me on this one. To start with 3 'number 10's' (as people like to say) seemed doomed from the start, and so it played out. We miss a fit Pienaar badly, since he (and Osman to a lesser extent) are CRITICAL to Leighton Baines' attacking effectiveness. If Pienaar is fit (especially if Mirallas is not) he should start, in my opinion. Replacing his intelligence is one of our biggest challenges moving forward.

The fact that RM did not bring on any substitutes was quite frankly bizarre. We were playing poorly, Lukaku looked spent, and we had Kone on the bench who had been excellent a few days prior. What we do not know is the relative fitness of any players on the bench, but we should presume that they have at least 20 minutes in them, otherwise they would not be there. I believe it is RM's refusal to acknowledge that he was wrong to not make a change that has sent most people's blood pressure through the roof this week. At this moment, he does LOOK stubborn - it reminds me of Moyes' refusal to accept he was wrong to rest players for the Anfield derby a few years ago.

Once we went a goal down, I must confess, I had very little hope of rescuing the game, and that is a familiar feeling at present. It was NOT last season. I am not sure we can legislate though for the continued errors (or frailty at best) of our centre-half pairing and goalkeeper. Perhaps our style of play (both full-backs pressing forward continually) puts too much pressure on them, especially when Barry is less effective. Last year, they were (all) superb, does a drop in their level, even slightly, put massive pressure on us? I am not sure, but think this is certainly part of the puzzle.

7) Is Roberto Martinez the right man for Everton?

Yes, for me. He understands the club, has introduced a more community-focused direction and has ensured the players understand our history. He respects our working class roots, and is a good ambassador for our values. (Note - while he talks of the 'School of Science', I think this is opportunistic. The outpouring of the past few weeks shows to me that most fans do not care about style, they want results. People can kid themselves otherwise, but it is true. The team that qualified for the CL in 2005 played awful football, and people were delighted with the outcome). I am proud of our heritage, our tradition and our working-class roots. It means a lot to me, I think Roberto Martinez' Everton currently represents this well.

One thing that is missed - or ignored - currently, is his ability to attract players. We can beat him with the stick of being a media darling and 'wasting too much time at the World Cup' (really?), but Moyes would not have been able to attract players of the calibre of Barry, Lukaku, Deulofeu and Eto'o. I LOVE the fact that these players play for Everton.

I believe ultimately his style of play and positivity will lead to brighter days at Everton. It is proven in almost every sport, that you cannot 'cheat' the payroll statistics for too long, and I do not think we will. I think we will continue to challenge for Europe and the odd trophy here and there. Let's face it, we are not going to win the league EVER, unless we get the rich (double-edged sword) benefactor that we all dream of/have nightmares about. Personally, I 'LIKE' this Everton team, I like the players in the main. I like Roberto, he is a decent man. Seems to be honorable, and he brings a continental flair to my Everton.

8) So how do we move forward?

Well first, we need some results. It is not easy to take a pragmatic approach to this style of play, but RM needs to find a way. Top of the list for me, he needs to find a platform to enable Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman to be more engaged in dangerous areas. This is not easy, but without the thrust of the best full-back pair in the game, we are easy to defend against.

We need to maximize Lukaku's effectiveness also. He is an excellent finisher, and is almost unplayable when shoulder-to-shoulder with a defender, but we too infrequently help him into such positions. This is where our 'slow' style of play definitely hinders us. I have some thoughts on how we can do this, but I tired of typing (I am sure anyone still here is tired of reading too!).

We miss John Stones and James McCarthy badly. Stones - while still developing as a defender - is so good with the ball that it opens our options when building from the back. We all know why - and how much - we miss McCarthy.

Lastly, and this is a hard one, we need to SUPPORT our team. Unfortunately, I do not get to the match any more, since I left for California 12 years ago (I served my time/pennance, trust me). However, I will be shouting, and crying at my tv screen nonetheless. Players and managers come and go, and we have all seen some bad ones. I understand people reserve the right to behave how they want, especially since they pay handsomely for the 'privilege', but this team will not develop the confidence and trust they need with boos and catcalls. Stoke at home is never pretty, and their unpleasant manager will be telling his players that if they sit back, they will soon have OUR crowd on THEIR side (not really, but you get my point).

Let's make it a great Christmas with 3 wins and let's get the spring back in our step. COYB.

Jay Harris
37 Posted 23/12/2014 at 22:17:38
you are right emotions are running high but for good reason.

Although you want to back the manager and give him more time as do a number of fans I do believe that if he continues much longer in the same vein he will completely ruin what is left of team spirit and confidence .

He looks totally shattered and clueless himself these days and the pressure seems to have got to him.

He is a nice guy not tough and nasty like Ferguson and Hughes but that smiling face that brought a whiff of fresh air throughout the club last year has been replaced by a man devoid of confidence and ideas which has translated to the pitch.

Unless he pulls himself together and I'm not sure he has the strength of character to do that he will be buried in his own shit.

Bugle call for Joe Royle as interim manager.

Bill Gall
38 Posted 23/12/2014 at 22:34:48
Those people lalking about Alladyce being told to change his style of play I believe that the only reason he done this was the injury to Carroll as since he has come back from injury the last couple of games I watched it was allways the long high ball for Carroll to knock down.
Damian Carville
39 Posted 23/12/2014 at 22:42:57
JEy ;-)

Do you genuinely believe we should replace Martinez with Joe Royle?
And, BTW, do you mean Mark Hughes??? Undoubtedly tough, but a hopeless judge of players, tactician and manager.

Have you been on the Christmas sherry? If so, fair play of course....

James Flynn
40 Posted 23/12/2014 at 23:25:18
Scott (34) - "The manager has been set up to fail."

In what way?

He wanted Barry permanent, he got him. Wanted Lukaku permanent, he got him.

Do you mean, last season's success and the mess so far this one is the set up? Then it's a situation he's set up himself, isn't it.

David Holroyd
41 Posted 24/12/2014 at 00:44:01
No penetration – that’s the problem. Without Mirallas, we don’t have anyone to go past people. When your main forward has only 6 touches, that says it all. This is supposed to be the best squad in years; on paper, it looks like it should be.

How many games has Gibson missed since he signed from Man Utd? He played one full game and one half game for Ireland and has never been seen since.

Jay Harris
42 Posted 24/12/2014 at 05:18:05
no I am not advocating big Joe and definitely not Mark Hughes.

I was just making the point that if the pressure gets too much for Martinez I can see BK appointing Joe as interim mgr until we get someone else.

I personally would have Liked someone like Ancellotti or Jurgen Klopp.

Matt Traynor
43 Posted 24/12/2014 at 05:54:03
Jay #42, the likes of Klopp, and certainly Ancellotti, would never come to a club like Everton. We're a mid-level club in every sense of the word. Our owners want investment, investors want control (and ownership), so that's never going to happen.

People rail that Martinez has had a lot more money than Moyes, but it's the rising tide argument - so's everyone else. Sadly with off-field revenues a pittance, the gap we should worry about is not between us and the likes of Utd, City, Chelsea, it's against the likes of Stoke, Swansea and West Ham, who will gradually surpass us. Last season Martinez over-achieved in a generally "poor" league, where our record PL points total was a mile off from reaching 4th. Moyes before him generally over-achieved relative to what was spent.

As soon as that over-achievement stops, the shit hits the fan.

I saw on another thread recently someone stating the Blue Union were anti-Moyes. They weren't, but there were people present at the meetings who were. Big difference, but thought I'd leave it to BU to respond - seems they hardly bother posting here anymore. The point is, the BU were objecting to our ownership and the structure. That's the real block to progress, and it will remain. We've stagnated under this board for over a decade, and the lost opportunities can never be recovered. If someone was to come in tomorrow, they'd have to spend big just to get us to a footing where we're able to compete - because of FFP, they'd need to pour a fortune into the infrastructure of the club and make it a money making factory (or have a rake of Sovereign companies ready to sponsor a la Man City) just to be able to spend more on the pitch.

A pipe dream anyway as our owners won't sell. When they realise there aren't investors out there to meet their terms, they'll clear more debt, sell off Barkley et al, and pocket the chunk of change they're looking for by an outright sale.

Eric Myles
44 Posted 24/12/2014 at 05:53:13
Damian #36, I think your point 2) is disproved by the team being booed off after the 3-1 win against QPR.
Scott Robinson
45 Posted 24/12/2014 at 09:46:57
James @40 - what I meant by "set up to fail" is that the hoodoo of relegation at Wigan means that he has to work twice as hard to win the fans over. He did that last year, but now that things are falling apart, and seeing the same old Wigan traits come out again, people are all over him...Just like Moyes at MUFC. Everton was no breeding ground for the hot seat at Old Trafford.
James Flynn
47 Posted 24/12/2014 at 14:25:10
Scott (45) - Fair enough. Yep, soon as things went the way they're going, what we're hearing now was inevitable.
Harold Matthews
49 Posted 26/12/2014 at 08:11:56
Yes Matt, the present ownership don't promise much hope for the future.
Pete Edwards
50 Posted 26/12/2014 at 10:10:12
Nice to see a well balanced article! My opinion still is that its ridiculous to be calling for the managers head, yes questions need asking as current performance needs to be addressed as does the apparent lack of fight or urgency with some of the play but I still maintain that the team arent being sent out to play such slow build up, you can hear Martinez often calling from the side lines to quicken it up, now this either needs the manager giving anyone not doing this a bit of a private talking to or to change the player.

It'll definitely come, looks like he likes to give every opportunity to put things right and more than likely has every confidence in himself and the players to get back to performing at a higher level.

I'm reserving judgement until the end of the season and willing to give the manager and team every chance to put it right

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