What happened to that strong end to the season, Roberto? You know, the one the team and yourself at the very least owed the fans after a wretched League campaign. Tell me beating Man Utd at home 3-0 was not the sum total of that quest.

The Blues, while in control for large periods of this game followed up last week's flattering 2-3 reverse at Aston Villa with a dreadful result here against relegation threatened Sunderland.

Having spent the previous evening at a Legends night, seeing the greats of Southall and Kendall wax lyrical about the special sides we had, the present-day reality of Everton FC under this Board makes me want to reach for the anti depressants.

Top-ten finishes is not what this club's about. Nil Satis Nisi Optimum was once a motto we strived towards, believe it or not.

How can a team who beat an in-form and improving Man Utd so ruthlessly a few weeks ago drop so alarmingly in performance? The season that had gone before United’s visit demanded a strong finish to our League campaign, giving us the hope we could at least go into the summer with a modicum of confidence that things will be a lot better next season. But even this looks beyond us after two timid defeats to relegation-threatened sides in a fortnight. I would love to sugar-coat this, honestly I would.

There was no intensity to our play at all, no bravery to go and commit. Yes, we controlled play but the lack of ambition on the ball, particularly in the first half, was irritating.

Everton are at their best when we play at a high tempo. If we’ve learnt nothing else this season, it’s that this slow, pedestrian build-up has got us nowhere, yet this style of play was there for all to see as the Blues lost their 14th league game of one of the most forgettable and depressing seasons for a long time.

I really would sooner be positive, but give me something to go on Blues, besides some Europa joy early doors this season. This result just added to the feeling that as a club we have been a non-entity this season.

I’m not getting into a Board meltdown just yet, but this club is in desperate need of a shot in the arm this summer. We cannot simply go on doing what we have been doing.

I love my club, I live and breathe Everton FC like every other Blue, but they have depressed the life out of me this season. This result was another one to throw on the pile of forgetful weekends with my Match of the Day recordings for the season remaining on 11. Pitiful.

I thought the game was a great opportunity to blood a few youngsters. It was a dead rubber for us if not for Sunderland, surely an ideal time to look ahead to the future with so many over 30s in the squad. But I’m not Roberto and clearly he thought different. Baffling frankly.

For me, if we'd have got beat 2-0 with Martinez having learnt a few things about the young lads coming through, then fine. But what did we learn here? In my opinion, Roberto hasn't learnt all season... another rant, I know, but that’s where I’m at as an Evertonian – submerged in frustration.

I thought Everton started the game OK, but for me should have gone for the throat a lot more against a Sunderland side flirting massively with relegation. Lukaku and Osman threatening before the Belgian ought to have done better, hesitating when well placed following Osman’s great lofted pass, allowing Pantilimon to come out and clear.

Everton failed to truly get a head of steam going with Sunderland gradually growing into the game. To be fair, the Black Cats were well-organised and added to our lack of imagination. This didn’t make for a positive outcome, an all-too-frequent story this season.

Defoe shooting straight against his own teammate, Graham, before the latter also shot wide as the Blues allowed the visitors to start to grow in confidence, again not for the first time this season.

Everton, looking to take the lead before half time, built a free-flowing move seeing Coleman and Lennon combine, Osman then screwing wide as the Blues looked to turn the screw on the Black Cats.

Lukaku found space in the box once again but saw his effort blocked by Pantilimon, the ball dropping to Osman who saw the same result with his effort. Half-time arrived with the thought that all the Blues had to do was step it up in intensity and we would have enough to beat Sunderland. But this is Everton….

The Blues started the second half with a glut of corners, Jagielka going close with his header getting deflected narrowly wide off Wickham as the Blues looked to strike early at the Gwladys St.

Lukaku, in an identical position to his bullet header against Liverpool last season, headed wide when well placed, but – as has been the story this season – just when you think the Blues are getting somewhere, we get hit by the sucker punch.

The Blues like helping out misfiring opposition strikers, and having ended droughts for the likes of Soldado, Aluko, & Falcao, Danny Graham was the latest to experience the feel-good factor, albeit fortuitously deflecting Jordi Gomez's 20-yard drive past Tim Howard to send the visiting fans wild. 0-1

Sunderland were now looking for the second and saw Van Aanholt find space after a streaky run, the defender showing his lack of composure when in on goal, blasting high and wide to Everton’s relief.

Mirallas came on for Barry just after the hour mark, before a wonderful piece of skill from Coleman saw him beat two defenders, keeping the ball airborne before firing his volley wide. A goal of the season contender had it gone in from probably our best player on the pitch here.

Everton started to rally, Mirallas seeing his shot blocked before the moment you knew our luck wasn't in – McCarthy with a poor man's Arteta v Fiorentina seeing his well struck drive beat Pantilimon but not the post. Sunderland were relieved to see the ball bounce out of harm's way.

The game, now much more open, saw Sunderland on the attack. John Stones showing his class with a great tackle on Wickham before McCarthy drove over in a hectic few minutes.

Everton just did not test Pantilimon enough here, and with the inevitability of defeat edging ever closer, the rubber stamp was applied five minutes from time with another fortunate goal for the visitors.

Johnson’s cross took a deflection off Coleman and into the path of Defoe, who diverted the ball past Howard with his thigh, looking like it had brushed his hand on the way in too. Just not our day. 0-2

An utterly depressing result was confirmed, with Sunderland almost making it 3-0 but Coleman did well to prevent Defoe adding to the misery. The Blues losing with the feeling once again, that we simply can’t wait for this season to end.

I’ve never felt so indifferent to a League campaign, ever since the horrific night in Kiev at the age of 35 and with the realisation that we will indeed go 20 years without a trophy. The “consolation” of not going down barely registers with me.

I’ve seen fans say “Were safe, Sunderland had more to play for.” Honest, if we have taken the foot of the gas because we’d achieved safety despite entering the season with hope of a memorable campaign, then to me it's an insult. No-one deserves to be taking it easy while were sat on 44 points.

Let's hope we can at least win our last two games at West Ham and at home to Spurs to cheer us up. But what would normally be a dreaded empty pre-season of no World Cup or European Championships has come as a welcome break. An Everton detox has never felt more welcome.

I don’t think we'll be shifting many season review DVDs this pre-season, or as the marketing department like to spin it, Magnificent Tenth. No thanks.

We say it every summer but Everton needs a massive swill of water to the face this window, from boardroom to terrace; we're stale and the squad is looking tired and in need of change. This much surely is now in giant Vegas-style neon lettering.

The Board's running of the club, the local media telling us the sun is shining when it’s actually pissing down at Everton is not helping. We have no plan to move forward currently.

We don’t need a billionaire, as the club and the sycophantic local media would have you believe. We need a businessman with a plan to move forward, not a board who have given us nothing but failure. This is now a pressing issue for me.

Time for the major fan sites to get together, start demanding answers from the Board. Are we even for sale, are we looking for investment, because it patently isn’t clear. This is Everton FC we're talking about! We deserve a lot better – a club with a desire to be the best should be the minimum of requirements.

Twenty years of not winning anything has lowered the expectations to such a ridiculous level that an unhealthy amount of our fan base are simply happy not to be Pompey or Leeds or Cardiff.

What would the likes of William Ralph, Bally and Labone think of us, a club without hope? What has happened to our great club is something I'll never forgive the Board for. We have got to start wanting more, Blues!

I want my club to strive to be the best. You're nothing without hope and this is why the drum-banging has been louder than usual on Twitter. I hope at the very least this summer, the fans can stand up to what's happening at Everton FC. I'll be right there if we do.

Goodison currently mimics a married couple who are splitting up but have to live together untill the house is sold,we need dramatic change,we have to reconcile as a club over the summer. A massive summer is ahead Blues, let's hope we start the next season with a renewed sense of optimism.

Ambition quite simply has got to move in.

Sin Miedo

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Reader Comments (15)

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Bobby Thomas
2 Posted 14/05/2015 at 13:54:56
Mark, you ask "How can a team who beat an in-form and improving Man Utd so ruthlessly a few weeks ago drop so alarmingly in performance?"

Because playing Man Utd at home is not the same as playing Sunderland when the season is done there is nothing to play for. The seasons basically over.

I know where your coming from, but both fans and players find it hard to get "up" for a dead, end of season fixture.

Always been that way, always will.

Now in terms of the season as a whole, the disparity in performance between the United game and other fixtures could be raised. We certainly looked a lot better, although I think United were very, very poor in both Goodison fixtures.

Geoff Evans
4 Posted 14/05/2015 at 16:25:20

If these PROFESSIONAL footballers could let us know when their up for it maybe we could save a few bob watching them.

We did better against United because they came to attack and left gaps. Sunderland parked the bus and as we know from the rest of the season the manager and players havenÂ’t the first idea how to break them down.

Dave Ganley
5 Posted 14/05/2015 at 16:30:24
Mark, I happen to agree with everything you say. Watching Everton for most of this season has been turgid, sort of an obligation rather than a pleasure. The excitement levels have been reduced to almost zero. Even the United game was witnessed by a sense of apathy by the crowd as Gary Neville observed when he stated that he was surprised at how quiet the crowd were.....normally at 3 0 at home to United the place would be bouncing.

Sorry Bobby #2 but having the attitude that both fans and players find it hard to get up for a dead game against Sunderland is not helping....I understand that the fans have struggled to get excited for ANY game this season due to the negative, slow, pedestrian, possession based, non productive football tactics, however the players owe the fans so much more in light of our poor showing this season. For heavens sake there was, yet again, almost a full house on Saturday. Those fans who turned up werenÂ’t there for a pleasant day out and not caring about the result, we were there to see Everton get a result and as Mark pointed out, give us something to cling onto in the close season. Yet again the players/manager failed to deliver and we are now back to fearing the worst for next season.

Mark is correct in that we donÂ’t require a billionaire to be competetive, we need a manager that understands the demands of a football club that should be challenging for trophies if not the league title. Bringing a continental style of play to the English league at the expense of all other English traits just doesnÂ’t work. Again as Mark pointed out, Everton are at their best when they play at a high tempo, pressing teams and attacking at speed. ThatÂ’s where we need to be, not playing at trying to be Barcelona. Alas we donÂ’t have Messi, Neymar et al and thatÂ’s why we struggle game after game. All the successful teams in England mix continental flair with typical English virtues. Look at Chelski, Man utd, etc, they win because they know what it takes to succeed in English football. Arsenal, whilst they win the odd cup, ultimately donÂ’t win much because Wenger doesnÂ’t have much steel in the team, one of the few valuable English traits. Look at how they fared when they had the formidable team in the late 90s....they had steel and determination all over the pitch to go along with the undoubted talent also. Everton are now so soft and roll over for most teams that care to bully us. The manager has stated that he doesnÂ’t want us to be confrontational and just play pretty football......whisper it quietly but.....its just not working.

The board got very lucky when they employed Moyes. I was a huge fan of Moyes, right up to the point he stabbed us in the back and announced that he was joining United before the season ended. He may have been limited in his approach, but he was exactly what we needed at the time which was a manager to get us organised and make us hard to beat. He also had a great eye for talent from the lower leagues who could cut it in the top division. The board must have loved that as he didnÂ’t spend much money in the grand scheme of things. In hindsight, he stayed probably a season or so too long but thats neither here or there. When he did leave, the board should have shown a lot more ambition and gone for a manager that had a lot more on his cv than Martinez. He just got his team relegated for crying out loud. Our stock at the time was probably the highest it had been for years and if we couldnÂ’t have attracted a decent manager then we never could. It gives me absolutely no pleasure whatsoever to slate our manager, but he just isnÂ’t good enough. If I felt he learns from his mistakes I would be inclined to give him a lot more latitude but the sad fact is, there is absolutely no evidence of him doing that. More to the point he makes the same mistakes again and again. He was the cheap option for the board and now that is showing almost every week.

It is time to show some ambition from the board. Whether it is getting rid of the manager or making it clear that he MUST do better. If they are keeping him then they also need to back him financially and insist that he needs to get the fans back on board by playing football true to the Everton way and not this tippy tappy shite that is destroying us from within. We donÂ’t expect to be winning the league but we do expect to compete for every game, not just the very odd occasion. We can learn a lot from the winning mentality of Chelski and United regardless of what you think of them. I, like Mark, want some hope for the new season....we have a proud and successful history, lets start living up to that. We donÂ’t need to be reckless, however I am sick and tired of the Portsmouth/Leeds argument being thrown at us for showing no ambition and languishing in mid table mediocrity which we appear to be heading to at a faster pace than our football. Having a decent plan and a manager that knows what he is doing would be a good start. I for one have never forgot our motto "Nil Satis Nisi Optimium" it still means a lot to me even if others disregard it now.

Bobby Thomas
6 Posted 14/05/2015 at 17:37:20
Unfortunately its a nailed on fact of life Geoff.

It will actually be a job to a few of them.

Just a job. Its human nature. However many percent some of the players have stepped off the gas, its happened. Its also completely unsurprising. Its a fixture with absolutely nothing riding on it. IÂ’m not going to get upset about it. I expected it. It happens at every mid table club towards the end of every season, ever. And the atmosphere at the grounds reflects it also. No edge.

The fella who wrote this article is a massive blue. If its the same lad IÂ’m thinking of I follow him on Twitter. IÂ’ve marched with the Blue Union, handed out leaflets. IÂ’m sure your a big Evertonian as well. But a bit of perspective is needed.

But if you were surprised, or upset, some of the players may not have been up for it in dead rubber season end fixtures against Sunderland or Villa, my advice would be to get a grip otherwise you will be upset for all the remaining games.

John Keating
7 Posted 14/05/2015 at 18:55:15

At the end of the day, regardless of the last two fixtures, this season has been a disgrace to Everton Football Club. The players have been a disgrace to the jersey. The Manager has been even worse, we have done his efforts to death.

Even worse than the players and manager, we have supporters attempting to find excuses and justifying this shite. The crap we have paid to see is embarrassing. The Club should give us all a free pass next season and excite us by binning this nomark manager asap.

Darren Hind
8 Posted 14/05/2015 at 19:08:39
Look I know its been a really shit season, BUT ....
Geoff Evans
9 Posted 14/05/2015 at 19:08:13

I understand where you're coming from, mate. After what weÂ’ve all had to endure this season, IÂ’m just thankful to be where we are.

YouÂ’re quite right to warn about having any expectations from a team with a manager as limited as ours and a chairman as ambitious.

I should stop hoping and accept the inevitable.

Bobby Thomas
10 Posted 14/05/2015 at 19:30:08
For the purposes of context, Mark in his article asked, in the comment I highlighted, how we could go from one extreme to the other in terms of performance. He has also highlighted other issues and the thrown a lot of topics into the equation.

If Mark, writer of the article, is the lad im thinking of, he is currently very vocal about the inadequacies of our current owners on Twitter. Regulars on here may be aware I am no fan of our board & this modern incarnation of Everton, a club unrecognisable from the one I grew up supporting.

Now, regarding the two games, I believe there were two big factors in the two games mentioned. Firstly, whenever Man Utd show, the crowd & players of whichever club are always up for it. Secondly, and it happens, it’s the end of season and the players have stepped off the pace a bit. That doesnÂ’t surprise me; I’ve been watching footy for over 30 years.

The article throws together many issues. I personally have come to the conclusion that last season and the best days under Moyes are as good as it gets under this board. They are a roadblock to developing the club, they have not developed the infrastructure or commercial side and we will drift and slowly fall down the table as we are able to pay less wages and pay the penalty for not growing the club.

Qualification for Europe is also troublesome as the club isnÂ’t set up for it squad wise. We canÂ’t handle the fixtures and there isnÂ’t enough depth or quality. The budget isnÂ’t there.

Have we underperformed this season? Yes. The Xmas period was the worst seen since Walker and its been largely nowhere near good enough. But we are also nowhere near good enough for top 4, the lack of investment in the playing side is beginning to bite & the squads gotten old.

Last season was the last hurrah for the squad; it needs turning over. It will take a very, very good manager to keep us competitive. Moyes managed to sign an international back four for a combined 㾻 mil, Arteta & Pienaar were terrific for an initial ٢ mill combined. Martinez worries me in the market.

But, every season will be Groundhog Day until this board are gone. They are suffocating the club, it cannot develop & progress & there seems no plan to do so. So they hang on for dear life, waiting for a payday that will never come under the current terms, or waiting for the latest convoluted, magic wand ground move that may never even happen to make the books better & trigger the payday. They are potentially going to be here for years more.

As it stands, there is no future. Only slow-motion decline. A manager can only swim against the tide and fight that so much.

I have said this on another thread: this board are a roadblock to progression & development all areas and need to go. Look at the ground. Look at the clubs now bigger than us in the modern Premier League: West Ham... Newcastle ffs. The future of EFC is at stake... and there isnÂ’t one with these people in charge.

Geoff Evans
11 Posted 14/05/2015 at 20:10:06

Top thread.

Dave Ganley
12 Posted 14/05/2015 at 20:06:09
Bobby, I agree for most part in everything you have said in your last post. The board are for the most part responsible for our current ills (along with the mismanagement of the 90s too). However, as much as your statement of the players stepping off the gas now it's the end of the season is probably true also, as I said earlier, in light of how the season has gone, then the least I would have expected is for the players/manager to do their utmost to actually give a shit and make sure the season comes to an end on a high.

I guess the problem is, is that my expectations are far too high for the current Everton Football Club players, manager and board. I make no apologies for that either. As an Evertonian brought up on periodic success, I have always expected Everton to challenge for trophies and never in my wildest dreams did I expect that 20 years would pass without winning one.

I was in a near state of apoplexy when we went 14 years without during the 70s and early 80s!! The small crumb of comfort during those years was that at least on a couple of occasions we came close to winning the league and also were entertained with some great players during that period.

What I can't accept is a lack of effort, fitness and thorough matchday preparation. Throughout the Moyes years, for most part we showed determination and battling qualities when we had a poor squad and when we added better players to it we became a competitive outfit albeit with limitations. The current squad/manager show none of the above and for me that is unforgivable.

The only blame that can be attributed to the board is they appointed Martinez. Showing determination and a will to win is something that can be controlled within the club and hasnÂ’t been addressed. This season is the first time I have felt cheated out of my season ticket money. I can take losing by a better team but not only have the board ceased to show any ambition, the team have also followed their lead.

Regardless of the money situation, this is something I will never accept along with the theory that we will never again trouble the trophy engravers. Misguided maybe but I will never stop banging the drum until we get a club and team we can be proud of.

Darren Hind
13 Posted 15/05/2015 at 04:53:16
Bobby isn’t alone, for years people have been coming on here saying exactly the same thing, but when your owner/major shareholders wont go, you have to somehow try to find a way to succeed despite them – otherwise we may as well all pack up.

Lyndon got me thinking on another current thread. He spoke about Martinez and Moyes before him, managing the expectations of the fans, either early in the transfer window, or on occasions, before it even opens – "Sorry guys, You ain't getting a striker."

I upset a few people last summer by claiming Martinez was complicit with this boards transfer policy, but after thinking about LLÂ’s comments I think the problem goes deeper than that. I now believe That the only way to become Everton Manager is by first agreeing to manage transfer expectation.

We kid ourselves that one day we may land one of the really top managers – we pay top managers wages -– but which of them in their right mind would undertake such an agreement?

Moyes, Martinez, whoever comes next... was, is and will be, pissing against the wind. Our history is rich and glorious and, because of it, our expectations can't ever be really "managed". . . but then they know that when they take the job.

This board skimps on everything else, but they pay top dollar for their frontman

Matt Traynor
14 Posted 15/05/2015 at 06:22:01
Darren #13, one of the reasons I grew to despise Moyes (apart from the turgid football we at times witnessed under him, and becoming surrender monkeys in the big games) was his dampening of expectations all the time. It was obvious it was a board mandate. In exchange he was one of the top-dozen highest paid managers in world football.

I didnÂ’t feel too sorry for him at Man Utd. He got what he wanted, and heÂ’d trousered over 㿄m from Everton in his time there.

YouÂ’re right though. I do laugh when I hear people saying "Get Klopp in" or the like. As if. The only managers weÂ’ll attract are mid-level managers looking to improve on a bigger stage, and pocket a shit load of money in the process. Martinez is no different to Moyes in that regard.

Paul Tran
15 Posted 15/05/2015 at 12:02:50
Good dose of reality from Darren and Matt. I think itÂ’s an unofficial line in the managerÂ’s job description to work within a budget. ThatÂ’s one reason why Moyes left us with an ageing squad and why Martinez has gone back to his Â’tried and trustedÂ’ old guard for replacements. YouÂ’ve only got to look at Martinez the last few months to see what working under Kenwright has done to him - a mix of reality dawning on him and him being out of his depth.

Martinez was a punt - a punt on a lower league manager with promise of upping his game with us. It will ever be thus. No established, glitteringly successful manager will come to Everton, it will be someone who sees the job as a step up, a lower league British manager, or someone from abroad weÂ’ve vaguely heard of who Â’mightÂ’ be successful over here. Or do we cut our losses and appoint a Mr Shouty-Sweary to Â’organiseÂ’ us and guarantee mid-table every season?

We wonÂ’t get Klopp, weÂ’ll have to unearth another one. On a budget. That means taking risks with both manager and players, without taking undue financial risk for a board that wonÂ’t invest.

Oh dear!

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