In the Grip of Fear

If the alarm bells weren't ringing before, they certainly are now.

Lyndon Lloyd 20/01/2015 139comments  |  Jump to last

Everton 0 - 0 West Bromwich Albion

If the alarm bells weren't ringing before, they certainly are now. Everton's spectacular fall from grace continues following a dismal goalless draw that extends their unfathomably bad run of results to just one win in 12 games 13 if you deign to count the exercise that was the home game against Krasnodar a sequence that has "relegation form" written all over it.

No wins since the "gimme" home fixture against Queens Park Rangers 35 days ago, four straight defeats and an early exit from the FA Cup have transformed Everton's season from one of hope for a belated assault on the European places to an increasingly nervous battle to avoid getting sucked into a scrap to escape the drop.

If the three meagre points that separated the Blues from the bottom three at kick off against West Brom this season weren't enough, the turgid frustration that followed surely rammed home the fact that we're already there, back in a situation no Evertonian would have thought possible in their worst nightmares last season... or the half dozen before that.

The apparent recent turnaround in Everton's fortunes, underscored by a revival in team spirit and fight over the last three games, was supposed to translate into a desperately needed victory tonight in one of those "must-win" games but it stalled in the face of a determined defensive stand by Tony Pulis' men. Where other sides this season have come to Goodison intent on pressing Martinez's men high and pouncing on the almost inevitable mistakes, the Baggies virtually abandoned all attacking pretence, failed to register a single shot on target all evening and merely dared their hosts to break them down. It was an invitation Everton consistently failed to accept.

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The evening's controversy surrounded the decision by Kevin Mirallas to ignore the recommendation of Romelu Lukaku and Steven Naismith and usurp Leighton Baines as the Toffees' penalty-taker before dragging the all-important spot-kick wide of Ben Foster's goal. The inquest into the Belgian's act of hubris masked, however, the salient theme of the evening and that was Everton's singular inability to translate almost 70% of the possession into so much as a gilt-edged opportunity in 90-plus minutes of football.

That Mirallas' almost comical miss was really the only real chance the Blues had to score served as either a glowing tribute to Pulis' powers of defensive organisation or to brutally illustrate the breathtaking ineptitude of Martinez's team as an attacking force when faced with a team willing to pull almost all its men behind the ball. It's not a new phenomenon indeed, Everton were similarly toothless in this fixture and a few others like it last season but the manager looks increasingly unable to adapt his system or approach to find ways around it and simply grind out victories.

The continiuing absence of James McCarthy aside Everton have won just once this season without him in the starting line up Martinez could have few complaints about the personnel available to him and, the desire from many fans for more balance and width notwithstanding, he named arguably his strongest available team. Fresh off a quite brilliant display off the bench in the ill-fated FA Cup replay at West Ham, Mirallas was passed fit and it was as-you-were in the rest of the line-up.

And the pattern of the game was established from the first whistle, with Everton in near-complete dominance of the ball for the opening 10 to 15 minutes but with no real end product to show for their efforts. There were glimmers of incisive passing in the final third, most notably when Gareth Barry threaded a lovely pass to Baines wide on the left and his attempted cross was blocked but when the fullback failed to beat the first man from the resulting corner again! deja vu started to creep in.

It was all too laboured and pedestrian but every now and then Baines would take the proverbial bull by the horns and charge headlong forwards to unsettle the West Brom defence. One such run earned a free kick in a dangerous area in the 23rd minute but Mirallas despatched a direct effort into the spot where anyone who has done their homework knows Mirallas is going to put his free kicks and Foster made a routine catch.

Blocked shots for Lukaku and the effervescent Muhamed Besic continued the theme of West Brom bodies getting in the way of everything thrown at them but Everton generally struggled for options and movement once they got to the opposition penalty area. Lukaku was frequently shacked by two defenders but Naismith kept letting himself down with poor touches and Barkley's battered confidence led him to opt persistently for the safe pass for fear of committing an error and prompting groans from an increasingly vocal section of the crowd.

It needed something to break for them and it arrived a minute before half time when Lukaku tried to bring down Seamus Coleman's cross from the right and Joleon Lescott handled the ball as he tried to intercept, leaving referee Michael Oliver with little choice but to award a penalty. Had Mirallas scored, it would have lifted an enormous weight off Goodison Park and might have led to a more expansive game in the second half more suited to Everton's style. As it was, the players trooped off to the dressing room crestfallen and weighed down by the fans' anxiety.

You want confident players in your team but, having stepped up, Mirallas had to score. The decision spoke volumes about the player's self-aggrandisement and the lack of leadership in the team. When you're desperate for three points, you absolutely have to put your best foot foward and that is with the player with the 94% record from the spot.

Plenty has been read since into the fact that Mirallas did not reappear for the second half but whether Martinez opted to take a stand against him breaking protocol over the penalty or whether the forward was indeed "not 100%" due to the sudden recurrence of a hamstring problem, the fact remained that the Blues were now shorn of arguably their most potent player. Mirallas had been livelier than most in the first 45 minutes without really threatening to carve West Brom open but his replacement, Bryan Oviedo, at least had the potential to provide a bit more width down the left flank.

Unfortunately, though, it continued to be an exercise in attrition that was ultimately futile as attack after attack broke down with the a tame shot, a block or deflection, or the Blue shirt in possession turning back and playing it sideways. Such was West Brom's lack of interest in threatening the Everton goal a break into the box by fullback Andre Wisdom, a wayward bobbling effort by Craig Gardner and a miscue by Sebastian Sessegnon were as close as they came to troubling Robles all evening that John Stones regularly took the opportunity to drive forward to bolster the attack but even when he overlapped Coleman and cross well into the box, there was no teammate within 10 yards of the ball.

Besic's transformation for the evening out of his holding midfield role into that of playmaker seemed to suggest the Bosnian was on a one-man mission to drag his team to victory at all costs and it was he who saw two or three efforts on goal deflected behind. It wasn't all that surprising, then, that when his number flashed up on the fourth official's board to make way for Kone (apparently due to a foot injury but his reaction was a quizzical one), Goodison erupted into a chorus of boos.

Meanwhile, set-piece opportunities continued to be spurned and, in their increasingly desperate attempts to grind out a late winner, the Blues just ended up running into endless blind alleys trying to pass or dribble their way into a crowded box. The whistle to signal another blank, Everton's fourth in the last six league games, was almost merciful but it leaves the team in a perilously bleak situation as far as confidence goes, one not likely to be helped by a visit to notoriously uncharitable Crystal Palace in 12 days' time.

Martinez has the gift of an empty cup weekend and the planned warm-weather training camp to find the solutions to his team's problems but there is a growing fear that he is not going to be able to do so, perhaps not without some significant additions to his team before the month is out if only to replace the creativity and ingenuity that has been lost in the absence of Leon Osman and Steven Pienaar's decline in fitness and form.

Make no mistake, though, supporter confidence in Martinez has been badly shaken through this awful run of form over the last eight or nine weeks as he stubbornly persists with tactics and formations that aren't working and he fails in games like tonight's to make the necessary adjustments to engineer victory. Everton need inspiration from somewhere and they need it very quickly. Whether it comes from the manager or via the checkbook, few will care until the season is over and the club is safely in the top flight for another season.

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Reader Comments (139)

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Jeff Hughes
1 Posted 20/01/2015 at 06:25:37
Excellent piece Lyndon and the headline certainly summed up last night. Unusually for recent opponents, West Brom chose to circle the wagons and I really believed that would suit Everton but the lack of movement, often a sign of fear, meant midfield probing was always covered by a well drilled defence.

The game called out for players to take risks and go at the defence and Lyndon is right in that Baines had a go but Ross looks bereft of confidence and jogged about the pitch unable to offer anything. He needs a rest. Oh for a midfielder going beyond forwards but it never happened.

The Mirallas debacle illustrated his self serving, albeit talented, approach to football and, more worrying for me, the lack of character in others to stand up and say this is a team game and you are not taking the pen. Where was our Captain? At least Roberto showed the balls to bring Mirallas off and, sadly, this may mean a breakdown in his future at Everton.

Perhaps it will hasten his desire for a move. Where do we go now? I still believe we have quality and Besic is quickly becoming our main man but we do need an attacking midfield player and wide man to add to the squad. Lose to the Reds at home Roberto and it will be the end of the dream!

Paul Ferry
2 Posted 20/01/2015 at 06:58:40
Wonderful piece Lyndon. A reasoned realistic response to a truly awful dilemma that, however, skates above the hysteria we see all too often elsewhere on these boards. Worth reading more than once. Cheers!
Christopher Timmins
3 Posted 20/01/2015 at 06:58:31
Fear on the pitch and fear in the stands, its everywhere around the club at present. We are in a battle to survive and thank God the team is out of the Cup and in a position to go away for a couple of days and try and sort things out.

Paul Andrews
4 Posted 20/01/2015 at 07:08:55
Great article Lyndon.

As always, a reasoned accurate assessment of the game.

Ralph Basnett
5 Posted 20/01/2015 at 07:12:10
Never really looked like scoring but takes off Besic who was looking good and leaving knackered Barry on, game does not change with the two subs made so won’t bother with the third sub?

More strange bollox by RM...

Mark Tanton
6 Posted 20/01/2015 at 07:14:33
Free weekend coming up - perfect timing for a change of manager before the transfer window closes.
Paul Gladwell
7 Posted 20/01/2015 at 07:13:38
I am petrified, we have players with the quality but do they have the strength mentally for the battle? We have a captain who is oblivious to acting like one, he was stuck on the halfway line watching the penalty fiasco and it was the same against West Ham when Besic was having a bit spat, he just stood and watched and then we have Baines!

Grow some balls, he is always getting fobbed off with free kicks by Lukaku etc when we all know a free kick in the right area can be like a penalty to Baines, Carragher questioned his strength in the World Cup over him not getting support defensively from Rooney, he said he should be growing a pair and telling Rooney.

And then there is the manager, every word out of his mouth lateley is bullshit, I loved the fella last year but sadly is just a funny talking Mike Walker and even if he rescues this season I would be scared for next season under him.

Sandra Bowen
8 Posted 20/01/2015 at 07:15:03
Great report, I agree with the majority. I concur with the Mirallas debacle in that yes, he was totally out of order but surely, give him a bloody bollocking at half time and shame him in front of his team mates but demand that he goes out second half and makes amends. Isn’t that what management is about? It was clearly a game where it would more than likely be a shot from distance that break the deadlock and to take off our best player(dickhead that he is) and one of few who can shoot from outside the box is crazy in my opinion.

A few other opinions. What on earth has happened to Seamus? He genuinely wouldn’t look out of place back in the Irish league on current form and ffs, cross the bloody thing.

Naismith, I don’t think I’ve witnessed a performance as bad as his last night since Joe MaxMoore against Ipswich I think it was all those years ago. He was woeful last night, and that’s being kind to the word woeful. Can’t pass the ball 5 yards without under or over hitting it, shameful. He does run around a lot though so thats fine isn’t it?

2 holding midfielders against those tactics last night was barbaric. Besic tried and played well but too often, takes one touch too many but he is learning and this will def improve. Barkley is suffering but for gods sake, drop him back centrally and give him a chance to get his game back with a bit more space to work in.

Roberto needs to go, didn’t want to say it but he’s now lost me.

James Potter
9 Posted 20/01/2015 at 07:28:40
Certainly didn’t look like anybody was enjoying their football last night!
Alan Clarke
10 Posted 20/01/2015 at 07:35:16
One thing I’ve noticed is how bad every player’s touch is. This comes from taking 5 touches before playing the ball. When it comes to then needing to play quick 1 touch football around the area to open up a stubborn defence, we can’t do it. This slow possession football is killing any skill any of the players have. Martinez is coaching the skill out of them in the name of keep ball.

I honestly can’t see anything changing with Martinez. He’s not going to suddenly abandon his whole philosophy of the game. We’ll sleep walk in to the championship whilst Blue Bill sits on his arse and does nothing about it.

Tony Hill
11 Posted 20/01/2015 at 07:33:15
The real worry is that we looked like dead men walking last night. As Paul G says above, who will shake us out of it before we sleepwalk over the cliff?

If, as I suspect, RM is not to be dismissed then we must acquire through either loan or purchase at least two players to give pace and some creativity in this window. There is the added problem of what we are offering up front - Lukaku was atrocious last night and what else do we have?

The return of McCarthy, assuming that he hasn’t succumbed to the Everton curse of permanent and mysterious injury, is also vital.

But the situation is truly serious and in 50 odd years of support I have never been more concerned that we might be relegated. As others have said, Kenwright must sack the manager or release proper funds. I would prefer both options in fact but very much doubt we will get either

Rick Tarleton
12 Posted 20/01/2015 at 07:44:23
As usual a very perceptive analysis of the game. I think the leadership issue is my biggest worry. We have reports of players telling the manager that they don’t like the way his team are playing. Then last night, we had the Mirallas debacle. The captain , Jagielka, and the most senior of the playes Baines weren’t strong enough to stop an ego-driven individualist from wasting a blatant chance. Who is in charge on and off the pitch?
As for confidence. it does not exist. Barkley epitomises the situation he moves sideways and passes backwards.This is a boy whose talent last season shone liek a beacon. Then I was worried he was over-confident and trying to do too much.The two full backs never attempt to go round the outside , but are looking for one-twos and are forced inside making Everton even narrower. When they cross, they cross on forty-five degree diagonals which are a gift to the defending team. Martinez and his coaching team and his captain and senior players need to address these issues soon . We are in the relegation dog fight, not mid-table.
Peter Bell
13 Posted 20/01/2015 at 07:50:05
Chris Timmins @3

Why would it be good that they can now go away to sort it out ?
Why are they off to the far east, its a Fkin insult to the fans.
Stay home, face the music, get your act together and get us out of this mess.
They are supposed to be professional footballers

Tony Draper
14 Posted 20/01/2015 at 07:35:40
Very apt title to the article Lyndon and applies to none more so than Ross Barkley.

The lad should have been withdrawn last night rather than allowed to continue to have his (already very low) confidence further eroded. He appears to be completely disinterested, but in reality it’s far more likely that he is very dispirited and confused.

By contrast Muhammad Besic responds by working harder.....not all players are the same. I found it extremely odd that Besic was withdrawn (probably to avoid a second yellow).

Similarly John Stones working as an auxilliary right wingback. Was that improvisation or lack of discipline ?
Had we scored from a Stones foray I suppose it would have been the former, and had we conceded than the latter.

Whilst I still want Roberto get things right and believe that he does have the talent to do so, I’m afraid I already have a distinct case of "who should be our next manager".

Ian Jones
15 Posted 20/01/2015 at 07:47:53
Interesting stat about Everton only winning once without McCarthy in the side. I assume we have lost a few times with him in the team as well this season. I haven’t looked at those stats but will...

I like him in the team. I can only speak for the games I see on TV but I assume he protects the defence a bit more as he isn’t the creative type but does his presence allow Ross a bit more license to roam around the pitch?

Where exactly was Ross supposed to be playing yesterday?

Does anyone think we miss Osman?

James Martin
16 Posted 20/01/2015 at 07:56:45
2 holding mids against a poor side at home, strikers playing on the wing, no chances in the second half. Its like the very worst of the Moyes era but with our best ever squad. Only the return of John Stones has meant that four losses have turned into four draws. I doubt they are going to turn into four wins though. Everything the players and manager had shown that was good in the last two games had gone. Arrogant, lazy and complacent from everyone. We are in a relegation fight and the same players are getting picked every game! Thank god for Leicester Burnley and QPR.
Tony Draper
17 Posted 20/01/2015 at 08:03:32
James @16
I think a settled side has been needed recently, it hasn’t paid dividends, but continual change would be far more damaging.
Colin Glassar
18 Posted 20/01/2015 at 08:02:09
What happened to the same 10 men who fought so bravely against WHU only a few days ago? Unbelievably bad last night.
Ian Jones
19 Posted 20/01/2015 at 08:13:20
Do we miss McGeady. At least we created chances with him in the side.

Someone mentioned that we raise our game against those teams above us. Perhaps that’s the tactic for this year. Head as low as we can and then be in a position to beat all teams above. :)

Kase Chow
20 Posted 20/01/2015 at 08:09:04
Excellent piece Lyndon

Here’s some observations:

- Martinez has managed to nullify the best pair of attacking full backs in the Prem. Why play Mirallas on the left when he won’t link with Baines yet does so with Coleman?

- why NEVER play 2 up top? We needed a goal and W Brom weren’t looking to score: we didn’t need 2 DM AND an ineffectual Barkley. Should have made the change early in 2nd half and gone much more direct

- Why can’t we cross the ball quickly? How is the striker supposed to steal a yard with all the faffing about? How does he even know when the ball is going to be crossed?

- Why is every attack so slow and ponderous? Why 456 passes before we try to penetrate? Has Martinez never heard of ricochets? Deflections? Stumbles? Sling the ball in the box and see what happens

We are crap and dull to watch

And relegation is a genuine possibility.

Sean Kelly
21 Posted 20/01/2015 at 08:13:56
Tony I dream of having a settled side but not the one that layed last night. The team that turned it on on second half against whu didn’t turn up last night. What turned last night was a bunch of individuals and no team. The only one that came out with any credit was Besic and he was subbed. What kind of message does that send out to anyone with a heartbeat for Everton. No leadership on or off the pitch. Layers like Garbutt Besic and Oviedo should be regulars in that team. Barry and Barkley stank the place out last night. No wonder Besic was pissed at being subbed. I don’t but the car being spouted about Barkleys confidence levels and not being dried because he has potential. He’s not good enough now and we need players on the pitch now who are willing to put a shift in.
Paul Smith
22 Posted 20/01/2015 at 08:06:50
Great synopsis of last nights game and what it means in the wider context. Its just not good enough. I was willing to give RM a chance, after all we had a great season last year. It seems however, that people were right to be concerned by his appointment and their fears are being recognised.

Warm weather training?? Nice little break away for the lads (must be under so much pressure). Arghhhh, keep ’em in Halewood and drill the fuckers in every department. We’re in a battle and the only way we will survive is by virtue of 3 teams (Hull, Leicester and appy Arrys’ dog shit 11) being worse than us.

Last night was atrocious fare. Not sure where I stand on booing our own players though, I guess it’s individual choice. I think it’s effecting Barkely though.

Phil Walling
23 Posted 20/01/2015 at 08:07:53
Excellent commentary on last night’s tragedy. The Mirallas ’thing’ will go down in folklore with Big Nev’s half-time protest.

My considered opinion is that far from removing the glory seeker from the fray, Martinez was faced with a player who bottled it and just wouldn’t face the ire of the fans. Bloody convenient these hammies !

The total ’non captaincy’ of PJ was shown by his sudden great interest in his shoe laces. Just imagine Labby or Radders - or even Neville - behaving like that !

Now it’s over to BK. Will he continue to buy into Bobby Bullshit ? Is he prepared to see us over the cliff in a 69% perfect display of tiki-taka ? My guess is he will procrastinate until all is lost - he has form for backing lost causes.

Jim Bennings
24 Posted 20/01/2015 at 08:32:29

The mere fact that your questioning "do we miss McGeady" is the biggest sign of how atrocious this season is.

The question will be answered when you next see McGeady play again my friend, Mirallas will leave and once he’s gone and McGeady is a regular, the fan’s will be crying into their soup.

The penalty incident just glosses over how bad we were again last night.
Now everyone is blaming the selfish act of Mirallas, but what if Baines had took it and missed...again?

The reality is our goalscoring is bollox much like our defending has been all season, I saw the stat that we have scored just 11 goals since we won at Burnley in October, and alarmingly we have failed to score in SEVEN matches since then.

If we stick with this same playing staff and manager until May then we should well prepare ourselves for next season in the Championship because it’s very much a reality now, just as it was a reality in 1998 when we took it to the final day, we are having a season as bad if not worse than that year.

If ever Everton needed fresh faces and I mean that in either players or management then it’s right here and now this month in the next 11 day’s.
We badly need the fillip that the January signings of Pienaar and Jelavic brought to a dying team in the winter window of 2012.

Only a man insane would think this current crop, manager and his coaching staff included, are capable of bringing an upturn in results.

Leave it too late, well then I’ll see you in August at somewhere like Elland Road or Brentford.

Peter Barry
25 Posted 20/01/2015 at 08:45:29
My questions about Mirallas grabbing the ball before fucking up his penalty 1) Where was our Capatain Jagielka why didn’t he make the final decision? 2)Why didn’t Roberto tell him to get lost?
Scott Hamilton
26 Posted 20/01/2015 at 08:47:46
Ross Barkley can fuck off...

1) Didn’t want the ball
2) Didn’t know what to do with it when he had it
3) Didn’t move into space
4) Couldn’t pass
5) Didn’t shoot when he had the opportunity
6) Was too slow in tracking back
7) Didn’t have a clue who or where he was marking
8) Didn’t really look like he cared

Brent Stephens
27 Posted 20/01/2015 at 08:22:18
Lyndon, excellent post.

"[Martinez]stubbornly persists with tactics and formations that aren’t working and he fails in games like tonight’s to make the necessary adjustments to engineer victory."

My sense is that it’s not stubbornness but a lack of nouse as to what to do now. At least stubbornness might morph into an acceptance of a need for a different approach. And getting in a few more (will they be much better?) players is only going to have more players wading through the treacle of our current tactics. We don’t have a battalion of young lads breaking down the gates into first team football. We no longer have a team of players but 11 individuals on the pitch.

George McKane
28 Posted 20/01/2015 at 08:39:52
I have just returned from doing my Tuesday morning "piece" on City Talk Fm (105.9) - I am normally on to discuss youth issues and such but as they know me well as an Evertonian we spent 10 minutes talking about last nights game. The item was then repeated on The Sports item on City and the match commentator agreed with my comments.

I made 2 strong points:

1 - - the absolute lack of any form of leadership at the club from Kenwright to the so - called Captain. I spoke about how we are too nice and lack any drive or passion

2 - the booing of Barlcay - - or as I said the loud groan whenever he got the ball - - disgraceful - - but as I said there were several so called senior players on the pitch who should have received groans and moans and possibly boos -- I named Jagielka and Barry and Baines - - where is their anger or passion or indeed ambition.

City Talk are calling it Parkendgate. I suggested Stallone or Redford to play Mirralas in the movie.

Matthew Roberts
29 Posted 20/01/2015 at 08:33:34
I am one of Martinez’s biggest supporters, but I have to admit even I’m worried about him now.

It seems teams can either press us to make a mistake and then score, or do what Pulis did last night and defend with a solid organised shape which we can’t score against. Every team now knows this, and Martinez either doesn’t want to change our style or doesn’t know how.

However, I don’t think things are relegation desperate yet, we have relegation form but the talent to get ourselves out and we’re still ’dominating’ teams just not beating them. The Europa League is my shining beacon of hope this year and I still, probably naively think we have a chance to win it, or at least give us something to enjoy this year as Bobby’s style is much more suited to playing in Europe. I also think Barkley may not become what some in the media call the new Gazza but he will get better, Rom the same, maybe he won’t justify £28 mill but he will improve, while Stones gets better every time I see him.

The future isn’t bright, but I think it is better than this. My verdict would be to stick with Bobby as that long ago time of last year still says to me he is the right man, whilst changing manager can prove costly, both in results and financially. We need to keep the faith as much as possible.

Being a Blue has never been easy anyway.

Graham Mockford
30 Posted 20/01/2015 at 08:47:53
10 games 6 points, that’s Mike Walkeresque.

A team devoid of ideas, low on confidence and seemingly divisions in the dressing room. A manager who seems to be losing the plot, uttering more and more banalities at each press conference.

We have not been relegated in over 60 years, unless something changes its going to happen.

Ian Jones
31 Posted 20/01/2015 at 08:47:55

Be careful what you wish for - Brentford are not doing too badly at the moment in the Championship, might squeeze into the Premier League via play-offs, so you might not get to see Everton playing them. I was at the Carling Cup game a few years ago. Everton played really well for the first 6 minutes, could have been about 5 nil up, but then actually scored one and then below if you want to read.

Phil Walling
32 Posted 20/01/2015 at 09:01:04
Walkeresque, Graham ?

More like Wiganesque, don’t you think ?

Sorry !

James Hughes
33 Posted 20/01/2015 at 08:55:48
Martinez does not have skill to sort this out IMO.

Naismith is back on the wing where he will only get grief from us. When he was on fire it was playing as a 10 and scored regularly.

Besic keeps getting subbed while Barry stays on, enough said.

No transfer activity, is he too scared to buy or not allowed and we still have no cover for Distin or Howard.

Coleman & Baines are the best full backs in the country but now a shadow of their former selves.

Barkley needs a rest from the flack he is getting yet still plays.

But never mind – we had great possession... yet we only kept a clean sheet cos WBA never attacked.

Jim Bennings
34 Posted 20/01/2015 at 08:55:56
Barkley badly needs taking out of the firing line for a while for me, at least just use him as a sub for a few games, his confidence has gone and he doesn’t look up to the massive challenge and expectation levels of dragging this bunch out of the mire.

Martinez needs to go 4-4-2 with Kone up alongside Lukaku at Palace and just fucking make up the numbers in midfield, at the end of the day he’s the one who signed how many midfielders since he’s been here, if he can’t find the personnel then that’s just his problem but Barkley badly needs time out.

We always suspected a relegation battle is not for young lads, and your seeing why.
You need old experienced warhorses.

Martinez, IF he’s still here, and it should be a big IF, needs to start earning his crust and waking up to what the fan’s have seen all season.

Out of both Cups at the first time of asking, 5 league wins all season A DISGRACE..

You blame the odd individual player here and there but the fact is, as a team, as a unit, we just DO NOT FUNCTION.

I never thought I’d agree with Big Fat Sam Allardyce but his words yesterday struck a cord.


Fuck me it’s hardly rocket science if even Sam Allardyce can master it.

Darryl Ritchie
35 Posted 20/01/2015 at 08:23:04
What a difference a year makes. Last season we were in a fight to go 4th top. This season, we’ll be lucky to finish 4th from the bottom.

No passion... no energy... no confidence. Injuries are just a small part of the problem. This team is broken, and I don’t think RM can fix it. Hell, he broke it! It’s like a spaceship came along and abducted the entire team, and replaced them with clones...with league 1 football skills.

Roberto! You’re football philosophy has turned our McClarens into Fords. Please, please wake up!!

We are in trouble! Big...Big...Trouble!

Ian Hollingworth
36 Posted 20/01/2015 at 08:59:22
Now I am very afraid
George (28) is spot on with the lack of any form of leadership. Kenwright, Martinez and Jagielka are all failing miserable in the responsibility of their jobs. As a result our great club is sliding into a complete mess that I shudder to think what the outcome will be.
Clueless, spineless and inept are all words that apply to all 3 of them now.
Maybe Jags these words are a bit unfair on but if he is not up to be Captain he should have the guts to speak up.
I am also very afraid about what we do now and in the Summer. I read lots of posts on here about a major overhaul needed etc like we are City or Chelsea and just buy who we want. It will take years and years under this current board and management to make the necessary changes. Plus do you trust them to get it right?
So yes fellow Evertonian’s be afraid, be very afraid!!!!
Brian Hennessy
37 Posted 20/01/2015 at 09:11:49
So now Martinez says Mirallas came off because he felt his hamstring and this is why he has not played full games of late.

Am I missing something or did Mirallas not recently pick up an ANKLE injury and were we not told that THIS was the reason he could not play 90 mins in recent games.

Martinez should have had the guts to call it as it is and publicly stated - "Baines is our penalty taker and what Kevin did was wrong, that’s why he was taken off at half time. The matter has been dealt with now and we must move on to the next game".

I was interested in Naismith’s comment that Mirallas didn’t even appear in the dressing room at half-time, seems like the coward did a runner.

Brin Williams
38 Posted 20/01/2015 at 09:11:37
Great article Lyndon..... and then my admiration of the whole thing was checked!
Check-booked in fact.
Sam Hoare
39 Posted 20/01/2015 at 09:19:21
Can barely summon the energy and motivation to moan on TW. The whole thing is so grim.

Even if we do recover to 8th/9th and i’d say that’s looking pretty unlikely then some serious damage has already been done in terms of confidence in the current setup. Our best players will be thinking their future may be rosier elsewhere and this season could well end up setting the club back a decade. Or worse if the unthinkable happens and we go down!

I get the feeling that we could be 20th and that Martinez would still play the same system and whilst that is admirable conviction perhaps in a perverse way it is unacceptable for the club to have a manager who puts his philosophy before the club’s well being.

I’m not one for knee jerk and god knows where we would find a much better manager but the window of opportunity for Martinez to turn this around is getting smaller and smaller. If there’s no win in the next 3 games then surely the writing’s on the wall?

Andrew Ellams
40 Posted 20/01/2015 at 09:22:35
I think Miralles came off because he felt a pillock not felt his hamstring.

What the hell was he doing? Steven Naismith was poiltically correct on TV last night but I’m betting he’s not shy behind closed doors

Tom Dodds
41 Posted 20/01/2015 at 09:12:34
The saddest and almost surreal moment at Goodison last night I have ever witnessed,was the halftime stadium-roof-raising roars from the crowd, choreographied by some fuckin prick yank in his bloody ubiquitous baseball cap.

The crowd who only 10 minutes earlier where groaning and heartfeltly at their wits end after the Mirallas fiasco, volte-faced their righteous massed anxiety into an ’Waterworld’ performance of spectacular proportions.

All led on by a Circus-Yank-mate-actor of one of our richest board members Robert Earl, whose vast 3-6 hundred million dollar fortune stays safely locked away from struggling us, in its Bank of America deposit box.

I fuckin mean like.

Joe Clitherow
42 Posted 20/01/2015 at 09:24:12
Scott 26

I actually think that is harsh on Barkley. To me he just looked lost and desperately confused, as if he was stifling his natural instincts and trying to remember something he had been told to do. He looked actually like a Barry -lite, sitting and just passing along the 18 yd line. The Martinez comments about letting young players make mistakes just struck a chord with me. He is making mistakes but no-one is actually giving any form of coaching or correction. If ever someone needed coaching it is Ross, and we just seem to have a bunch of third rate clueless nobheads in that department right now. Whatever talent he has will be destroyed under the fraudulent joke of a manager we currently employ.

Ian 31 thank you (not) for reminding me of the 2-3 hours I sat waiting to be allowed out of the public car park due to the appalling traffic mismanagement at that hovel of a ground

Joe Clitherow
43 Posted 20/01/2015 at 09:37:55
"admirable conviction perhaps in a perverse way"

No Sam, it is OCD/borderline mental illness and needs some kind of intervention

Max Wilson
44 Posted 20/01/2015 at 09:49:36
We really miss McCarthy and dare I say it?,Ossie-they are both playmakers, pushing through those important balls.
Had we actually lost, Relegated Robert would have been number one enemy, even so he is close to it in most Toffees minds. His reported "inflexibility" seems to be at the heart of the teams problems; his choice of players, his use of players,his tactics.We all hoped it was changing until last night. Man of the match for me was Stones. He tried really hard. So depressing.
Gerard Carey
45 Posted 20/01/2015 at 09:54:23
Wigan look like they could be dropping another division, could be a great chance for our Bob to pick up a few bargains!!!!!. Then his work will be complete, we will really be Wiganesque, we can tikka takka into the championship. I feel we will be under pressure even to finish top ten as a gap is appearing above us. Cant see where the next win is coming from. Besic didnt luck a happy bunny coming off last night either and who could blame him.
Brent Stephens
46 Posted 20/01/2015 at 10:01:19
The big, strategic decision is now with Kenwright. Biggest decision I can remember for us. Not King’s Dock or Kirby or whatever - but avoiding relegation. Roberto might be stubborn or might not have the nous to get us out of the hole - it doesn’t matter which it is (I happen to think he doesn’t have the nous), Kenwright’s judgement is on the line like never before. We’ll sink or swim based on his judgement, his judgement alone. Shudder.
Tony Abrahams
47 Posted 20/01/2015 at 09:19:50
What can you add to what everyone has already said on this mostly sensible thread, about our team?

Martinez talked about our unique team spirit, it’s gone. No leaders, especially from the front, but I hope Phil Walling called it right rather than Sandra Bowen.

If the manager took Mirallas off after that, instead of telling him to get the fuck out there and make it up to everyone, that would be disgraceful. I hope he was injured because the team has got to come first.

We all could see he wasn’t though, so this will only lead to more trouble in the changing rooms. What will Miralles say? "Why did Leighton let me take the penalty boys? Fuck off, if he wanted it that much, why didn’t he grab the ball off me!"

This group of players seem to be getting badly mismanaged, and I don’t think there is much respect left for our manager.

My mate who admittedly does not like Martinez sits by the dugout, phoned me after the game to tell me this. He said Martinez was shouting at Rom to have ago, and Lukaku turned round and started shouting at the manager, "How can you be telling me to have a go, when your tactics are way too slow?"

We seem in disarray, but I honestly think we just need a good wide player and confidence to return. But how will we get our confidence back, when there doesn’t seem to be any, in a manager who has also lost his?

How many people watching last night were saying "Get Kone on?" How many people wanted Kone to go on and play as an attacking midfielder?

Tom Magill
48 Posted 20/01/2015 at 10:05:51
It’s plain to see the Martinez experiment has failed, he’s not up to the task. From last season when we came up short against the likes of Palace and Sunderland at home... WTF!

His players brought in – Alcaraz, McGeady (worst to ever wear the EFC shirt), I feel we are going downhill rapidly.

The pre-season was so poor and we weren’t prepared at all for the start of the season. It must be poor training as well for all the injuries... what else could it be except extremely bad luck?

The tactics of pass, pass, pass are useless if we can’t create any chances of shots on goal. Watching the game last night, I thought I was going to fall asleep.

Martinez in my opinion isn’t capable of grinding out the results we now need; either he goes or we go down.

Simon Temme
49 Posted 20/01/2015 at 09:56:40
Talk about being caught between the Devil and the bright blue sea.

What a mess this great club of our’s in now in. I for one wanted to give Martinez more time (Pre West Ham/City) and (foolishly) thought that the team’s battling performances in those games could be springboard to a climb the table with a win against WBA.

After last night’s debacle I must concead defeat and say get rid of Martinez now. Defeats against Palace and our customary stuffing by The Shite will see him gone (surely?).
I know the big questions surrounding such a move:

BK won’t want to spend £9M in compensation.
There are no suitable alternatives available at present.

Should they matter? if we do lose our next two league games (with Chelsea our third) then we really are in the brown stuff.

Act now, Martinez out and let him build his footballing philosophy at another club and not use ours as a testimonial to his CV.

Jay Wood
50 Posted 20/01/2015 at 10:09:38
This is slow death by a thousand cuts, only ... the football is so numbing, you don’t feel anything.

How has it come to this so quickly?

There were many sceptics at Roberto’s appointment, but you would have to be completely intransigent in your position not to have been impressed by his first full season.

It wasn’t just the quality of the football ... our highest ever PL points total ... the fact that he married Moyes’ strong defence to a more exuberant offensive game.

Roberto ’got’ Everton. He clearly studied and appreciated our history. He made newcomers aware of that history. He spoke to us in a way that resonated in our hearts, minds and souls. He gave us hope. He made us believe we could compete with the monied clubs.

There were great little touches to inspire and have the team aspire to, like images at Finch Farm of the club’s great triumphs, with a space reserved for future successes.

Yes, he could waffle and portray every situation as a ’positive,’ but we allowed him that. We believed it was instilling a necessary confidence, swagger - arrogance even - to a talented group of players who just needed a wee nudge to be a really good side.

But this season has been the absolute polar opposite.

It is unfathomable. Bewildering. And I don’t know what will be the tipping point for BK to make the big decision on whether Martinez continues in his post.

John Keating
51 Posted 20/01/2015 at 10:20:56
Lyndon, I sense from your article that you are slowly changing your opinion. A couple of days ago you were for giving him the "benefit of the doubt" after last night horror show it seems the doubt is getting greater !

I don’t blame you if I am correct. Watching Martinez on the sideline last night was pathetic, mouthing instructions to "someone" putting fingers up that I take it was to get them to set up in something or other. Nobody on the pitch was looking or took a blind bit of notice in him !

I said he needs to go if we didn’t get 3 points against Albion and still maintain that. Not only for this season but are we really going to entrust the future of Everton to this man next season ??

In all walks of life people have a level, Martinez has tried to up his at Goodison and failed he has to go and find where he belongs - quickly !

Bob Parrington
52 Posted 20/01/2015 at 10:28:19
Gutless, useless, clueless, unimaginative performance from both players and manager. How thoroughly frustrating. Barkley should be dropped. He’s not doing anything inventive and he is a wuss defensively.

What is is about this team and manager that any amateur bleeding’ side would sort out?????

Tony Hill
53 Posted 20/01/2015 at 10:32:04
Jay, that is exactly how I feel. I am embarrassed to recall that at the start of the season I was hailing Martinez as the most "Evertonian" manager since Catterick. He had understood our soul.

It makes it all the sadder that he has so utterly lost his way and I do not believe he can find it again.

I think there are stories to be written about the players this season as well and no doubt the dirt will seep out in due course. But it is the demise of our manager that is so painful to watch.

Rick Tarleton
54 Posted 20/01/2015 at 10:35:54
Lyndon’s title sums it up, the players are afraid, so afraid that they constantly look for the safe option, no one wants to take responsibility. Barkley is an epitome of it all, he rarely attempts a long pass or even a shot. He looks to give the ball sideways or even backwards to retain possession, therefore the possession becomes possession for its own sake and is meaningless.
Baines and Coleman similarly are failing to take their defender on and go round the outside, they look for the one-two and are forced inside where the already over-crowded midfield are .
Call it fear, lack of confidence or what you will, we need a leader as I said above for Jagielka and Baines to allow Mirallas his idiotic, ego-driven way is demonstrating a lack of confidence, but also a lack of leadership. What players like Bobby Collins, Brian Labone ,Roy Vernon, Peter Reid would have done is be the captain, not ignore the situation as Jagielka did. And Baines far too often allows Mirallas and Barkley to take free kicks , which with his record ought to be his.
Kunal Desai
55 Posted 20/01/2015 at 10:31:16
Martinez isn’t going anywhere, he is not going to walk and Kenwright isn’t going to sack him. The club from the top is a mess. Moyes dictated how long he stayed when Billy boy didn’t have the balls to sack him long before he left. The board then give Martinez and improved contract in the summer. Another terrible decision rather than waiting to see how the second or third season pans out they jump to make a pathetic decision to revise his current contract. Sorry but there are just too many mistakes at this club from the top. It’s difficult to see how Martinez will get us out of this, maybe we will soldier on and limp to 37/38 points but the cracks at this club are widening even after the season comes to a close. We will always remain a small club with a small club mentatility until changes are made from the very top.
Nick Entwistle
56 Posted 20/01/2015 at 10:42:37
Please, Martinez came in, said the right things that would resonate at any club, turned up to a few photo ops and bingo, crowd onside.

If he went to Liverpool the season before he’d have said the same things, and the RS would be saying how he ’got Liverpool’.

Didn’t bother with Moyes’s morose maunderings, and the same for Martinez’s pandering patter. On the pitch is where it counts. Or not in his case.

Peter Bell
57 Posted 20/01/2015 at 10:44:51
Tony, I think Ossie will be regretting writing his book so early, he could have added another 3 chapters on this season alone, Distins book will be interesting when it comes out
Milos Milenkovic
58 Posted 20/01/2015 at 10:31:53
Only way for Martinez to save his job at Everton and to save us from relegation is to publicly say sorry to players, fans and club, to say that this situation is his responsibility, that he made some wrong decisions and that he and players will change this around.
That could be refreshing for players and probably would give them some new born energy and self-belief.
On the other side if he is not prepared for this, he should be sacked immediately, because with this set up we are only going in one direction.
Andrew Ellams
59 Posted 20/01/2015 at 10:56:34
I don’t think we were ever in this much of a mess under Moyes. Even in the season we finished 17th
Brian Harrison
60 Posted 20/01/2015 at 10:36:10
I think the fiasco over the penalty just reaffirmed for me that the lunatics have taken over the asylum. Pulis set his team out without any intention of having a go and were prepared to retreat back inside their own half when they lost the ball. Yet we persisted to play Lukaku up front on his own and nobody on many occasions within 25 yards of him, so impossible to have any link up play. Then when we did get near their box our players are reluctant to play the ball into the box, also quite often the only man in the box was Lukaku.

Now this doesnt happen by coincidence this is what RM and his team must be coaching at Finch Farm. I said some weeks ago that Barkley needed taking out of the fray as I was begining to sense the frustration of the fans and they were starting to turn on him. Now any manager worth his salt would look to protect his young player but not this charlatan.

For a manager who says attacking football is in his DNA then I am sorry I don’t see it. Last night we played against a very poor team who were only interested in defending yet I don’t recall there keeper having to make a save. What a sad indictment on our team. I am sure BK will want to show loyalty and because of last season keep RM in place, my worry is our next 3 games are Palace,Liverpool and Chelsea should we fail to collect much from these games then it may well be too late to alter the course of the season.

Jim Bennings
61 Posted 20/01/2015 at 11:03:04
I love James McCarthy but he wouldn’t have won us that game last night anymore than he would have won us the game at home or away to Hull.
He is a defensive midfielder who rarely does anything creative and is seen in the opposition penalty box about as often as a man is seen on the Moon.

Besic did the McCarthy role to perfection last night but even he, isnot the creative spark tthat’s missing.

I’d suggest the type of players we need, we do not have at the club.

Denis Richardson
62 Posted 20/01/2015 at 10:57:12
Whether you believe BK should sack Martinez now or not the simple fact is he won’t. Reason being that after the 5 year contract given to the manager just 6 months ago, it would cost Everton somewhere in the region of 10 MILLION POUNDS to get rid of Martinez now.

Until BK is 100% sure that we’re going to get relegated under him he won’t blow that much cash on a sacking. It’s a scary situation to be in and to be honest from a pure business perspective I can kind of understand it (from a football and fans perspective I’d get rid of him now).

Fact is we still have home games against the likes of Burnley and Leicester as well as away games against the likes of QPR and Sunderland. Regardless of the limp performance yesterday, BK will look at these fixtures and think/hope we’ll pick up enough points to stay afloat. After that it’s a question of getting to the summer and reassessing the situation - maybe come to a mutual agreement on a parting or carry on. 10 million now is too much (not even sure we could afford it!)

Bottom line is - Martinez is here to stay for the foreseeable future so we’re going to have to deal with it.

Personally I still think we won’t go down simply because there are worse teams in the league. We may not be picking up many points at the moment but then neither are the likes of QPR, Leicester, Hull, Villa etc.

It’s going to be a long few months, just hope we can nick a point here a point there to crawl to safety.

Sid Logan
63 Posted 20/01/2015 at 09:56:15
Lyndon, as usual another excellent read.

I can’t hep but feel like Sam #39. We all trudged home yet again in the cold and dark with that same empty feeling after another hapless display of ’possession football’’.

Myself and the the rest of my crowd place the blame squarely on Martinez. I understand that there are a great many who don’t. Unfortunately, the Martinez they are understandably enamoured of, was last year’s model.

I’ve said before on TW that the team that did so well last year was a team that had many of David Moyes best qualities still ingrained within it. Mix that with a touch of Sin Miedo football and the addition of an excellent Barry, a midfield dynamo that was McCarthy, the promising Lakaku and the occasion flair of Deulofeu and you had ingredients for success. Probably the most enjoyable season for me and many others for some considerable time.

How the worm has turned. We started the season with a massively complacent Martinez languishing in Brazil when he should have been looking after the club’s interests. It is now clear for all to see that he should have, amongst other things, been considering possible replacements for players whose ages might see them begin to decline. In not one case did he do so. This is not being wise with hindsight - it is what the best manager do - they anticipate and act before they are forced to.

This is now a team motivated, trained and tactically educated and set up by Martinez And the difference between this season and the last is there for all to see.

Martinez seem to be totally locked in his vision of controlling the game by keeping possession of the ball. We may have had well more possession last night then West Brom but who really controlled the game? It seems to me that you can claim to have controlled the game if you have controlled the result.

His belief that control of the ball will inevitably bring the desired result has now been proven to many times to be a fallacy. It has become to be a flawed philosophy. Martinez appears not to have the word ’win’ in his vocabulary. Moreover goal from open play is apparently worth more than one from a set piece or a corner. Increasingly an element of Nero fiddling about Martinez at this moment in our crisis. Moreover there is much his philosophy that makes even less sense give our current plight including one of his central beliefs that it is important that players enjoying their football. I can tell him for free that this this invariably happens when the team are winning.

Martinez has very little time to get real. Personally I don’t think he’s capable of it. Our survival is probably entirely in the hands of those teams below us. Now we’re off for some warm weather training. One can only hope that the team doesn’t return in the same shape they did the last time he treated them to the same kind of break ot we are well and truly in the doo dah!

Brent Stephens
64 Posted 20/01/2015 at 11:17:12
Denis #62 "Until BK is 100% sure that we’re going to get relegated under him he won’t blow that much cash [£10M] on a sacking."

But by definition, at that point we are down to the Championship with all the attendant loss in income over the longer term (notwithstanding parachute payments). Will Bill really wait until relegation is definite? Of course, his problem is knowing at what point he thinks relegation is pretty much a certainty or pretty much avoidable - massive judgement call. Who’d be a club chairman!

Nick Entwistle
65 Posted 20/01/2015 at 11:27:00
I read that managers’ contracts don’t work in such a way. This was the case when Pardew was given, what was it, a ten year contract by Mike Ashley. If he got shot of RM I’m sure it isn’t £10m down the pan as they’ll be full of stipulations and qualifiers.
Andrew Ellams
66 Posted 20/01/2015 at 11:34:19
There will be a payoff for Martinez if he is sacked but there will be probably be a contract clause capping short of the full contract value if is terminated before a certain time, and hopefully wiped completely in the case of relegation.
Iain Love
67 Posted 20/01/2015 at 10:52:10
My prediction on last nights game was 0-0, why because Pullis was always going to set his team up not to lose and we aren’t playing well enough to break them down.
So another clean sheet [which is a big plus for us atm ] and we really should have scored the pen which would have given us that all important win.
My issue , same as everyone else’s was the leadership on the pitch, the Captain or Baines or Martinez insisting on Baines taking it. It was schoolboy stuff out there, shocking to see.
I watched the game in my local, which is deep in Man Utd turf and the whole pub said WTF when Besic was subbed, what has he got to do to usurp Barry ?.
I for one would say SELL Barkley and Miralles and raid Wolfsburg for Perisic kevin de bruyne and Lille for Simon Kjær.
Denis Richardson
68 Posted 20/01/2015 at 11:27:59
Brent - the cost of relegation is of course far greater than the comp due to RM if he’s sacked. Thing is though it’s not as if we’re in the drop zone is it. I know we’re only 4 points above (5 if you take GD into account) but that’s still at this time a bit of daylight.

Add to that games against QPR, Leic, Sunderland, Burnley etc where (on paper) we should pick up something, then BKs mind will likely be thinking I don’t need to pull the trigger just yet as we may still be ok.

Think he’ll at least wait until the end of Feb to see if we’ve managed to pick up another half a dozen points or so. I agree it’s a bit of a game of chicken with very high stakes. Also, I don’t know if we can afford a 10m hit at this time....

Denis Richardson
69 Posted 20/01/2015 at 11:44:06
Nick - obviously we don’t know what’s in the new contract so we can only guess. The contract is however only 6 months old and has 4.5 years left to run so I imagine whatever’s in there is will cost us a bucket load to break it now as no one imagined it would be so bad so soon.

Even if there are performance related clauses in there RM has not presumably yet broken any yet as the season’s not over. E.g. Manu had to wait last season until it was mathematically impossible for them to qualify for the CL before sacking OFM, otherwise they would have had to pay out the rest of his contract. IF RMs has a clause about eg finishing in the top 8 (just as a example, no idea if its there) then BK will have to wait until it’s mathematically impossible to get to that stage - i.e. nothings happening for the next couple of months...

Phil Rodgers
70 Posted 20/01/2015 at 12:05:33
I am convinced now we have a manager who simply does not have a clue how to turn this around. He is failing in the most important of aspect of being a football manager and that is winning games.

Last night was one of the worst attacking performances from Everton I have ever seen and the next few games are not likely to be any different. The only time we ever looked even remotely dangerous was when our 21 year old centre half brought the ball out from the back.

The reaction to taking off the best player on the pitch speaks volumes for me. Barkley and Barry have failed to muster a decent 90 minutes all season between them but are immune from being substituted, yet Besic who has got better every game gets hooked regardless of his performance.

A very frustrated and angry blue here.

Graham Mockford
71 Posted 20/01/2015 at 12:03:49
Let’s face it, we are currently a shadow of the team of the last ten years.

Martinez has blunted our best attacking options, getting at teams from wide areas to be replaced by predictable short passing through the middle. Our creative player, Barkley is so desperately out of form he wouldn’t be getting in a Championship team, however all is good in Roberto’s world as he reacts to this by going to press conferences and singing the boys praises. Similarly you have to feel sorry for Lukaku, spend your transfer budget on one player and then set the team up to play a style that suits him least.
Last nights penalty omnishambles tells you all you need to know about the chaos that currently envelops this squad. It is a long time since I’ve seen an Everton side put in so many spiritless performances. This squad of players should not be in the bottom half of the table although it is noticeably weaker than the one he inherited. That is only down to one man. Suddenly the Moyes era is looking a lot better than it might have felt at the time.

Brian Harrison
72 Posted 20/01/2015 at 12:12:50
Denis you are basically saying that BK wont sack him because of the compensation, well I would assume that there will be some wriggle room on the amount of compensation. But I think if we got relegated the compensation figure paid to RM would be small beer compared to the loss of revenue from not being in the Premiership despite the parachute payments. Added to a wage bill we couldn’t sustain so the selling of the best players would happen, which would probably leave us with a bunch of 30 year olds well passed their sell by date. This would seriously impact season ticket sales as well as other spin offs.

So even if you are correct and BK doesnt sack him and we escape relegation do you honestly believe that we will be in a much better position next season because I don’t. For me I would terminate his contract today appoint Joe Royle with Sheedy and Ferguson as his assistants till the end of the season that gives him time to look around and pick the right credentials and more importantly pick a man with a good track record.

Neal Kernohan
73 Posted 20/01/2015 at 12:38:15
I blameJags for not showing true leadership and insisting our best penalty takers takes such as important penalty!!!!
Sid Logan
74 Posted 20/01/2015 at 12:36:38
Brian, # 72

I agree with you. The possibility of relegation is too horrible to contemplate and certainly his sacking shouldn’t be shirked on compensation grounds. I also like the idea of Joe Royle and Sheedy as caretaker managers. I’ve no doubt they’d get us sufficient points to ensure survival.

Whatever way you look at it we must be very close to the tipping point. Martinez, by how we are playing and what he is saying is making, is making it abundantly clear he’s unlikely to get a grip anytime soon.

There must be sufficient time for whoever takes over - if it comes to that - to be able to turn things around. I can’t see anything happening before the Leicester and Liverpooll games. When we’ve played both of them I reckon we’ll know exactly whether BK has to act.

Anto Byrne
75 Posted 20/01/2015 at 12:18:45
When Mirallas picked up the ball for the spot kick, I thought "Okay, Baines is not looking confident..." in fact, most of the team were probably thinking "Good idea, give it to Kev, he is at least playing okay." In retrospect, it took a lot of courage to put his hand up take the penalty. Just inches from being a hero, he became the villain.

For me, it was Martinez who benched the lad at half-time who is the real culprit. Get the fuck out there and make amends – go do the business.

There are four teams that will battle out relegation: Hull City, Leicester City and Burnley – two of them are 6-pointer games for us. Should be an interesting battle to the end with a bottom 6 finish. 4 home wins and 6 draws by any means is required.

Chris Leyland
76 Posted 20/01/2015 at 12:49:27
Sid, the question is, can we actually afford to wait? Surely it is clear as can be that Martinez has completely and utterly and totally lost the dressing room and the plot and with them, all realistic prospect of being able to turn things round? He won’t change his outlook and his arrogance (to borrow one of his own words). He sets them up to play in a predictable way and he appears unwilling to change it.
Liam Reilly
77 Posted 20/01/2015 at 12:34:54
The confidence is shot. Very unfair on the boo’s attributed to Barkley. Once he was moved back to center midfield last night he got himself into good positions around the edge of the box where last season he would have shot. Instead we got more sideways passing as there appears to be no leaders on the pitch..

WBA are a disgrace to football; reminded me of Moyes’ going to the Sky Four in their approach and why play two holding midfield players against a defensive wall?

This lot need to get to the sun and have some clear the air discussions amongst themselves because it could get gloomier with Arsenal, Chelsea and the RS coming up.

There’s a desperate need for some creativity in the center in this window or the unthinkable beckons.

Gavin Fennessy
78 Posted 20/01/2015 at 13:00:19
I note that Everton have today appointed the Southport Manager as a Youth (U-21) coach Link
Maybe we’ll appoint a defence coach, and set-piece coach also?
Tony J Williams
79 Posted 20/01/2015 at 13:00:39
Strange that Baines didn’t put up a fight, as the steward next to me filled me in with a bit of gossip.

Apparently Baines had Eto’o by the throat as he told McCarthy, Besic and Barkley to get away from Martinez if they wanted to win anything.

That’s why both didn’t play in the first West Ham game and why he is definitely off to Italy.

Matt Butlin
80 Posted 20/01/2015 at 12:34:59
Brian Harrison #60 has it all summed up. We don’t have bad players * but they are being asked to play in a way that kills the atmosphere at Goodison, never gains any momentum and allows teams like West Brom to set their stall out and defend.

Coleman’s strength is running from deep on to a through ball and catching their left side ’up field’ whilst struggling to get back. This is never going to happen again under this system. We’ve nullified him and Baines ourselves.

* not excusing what Mirallas did.

James Martin
81 Posted 20/01/2015 at 13:04:00
Gavin, maybe the u21 coach is coming in so that the current u21 coach can act as caretaker for the rest of the season?
Clive Lewis
82 Posted 20/01/2015 at 13:02:49
A few things I noticed about last night apart form the obvious penalty stuff, was how poor our crossing was, and also how static we play.

West Brom did well to defend however if you are moving and making runs its so difficult for the opposition to keep organised. Its easy for a defender to mark the likes of Lukaku when he stands and waits for the ball at his feet.

I am surprised at the lack of one two play in the final third, I always remember we used to be good at that, especially down the channels.

It must be down to the management and coaching, it seems this has been coached out of the players over a period of time.

Sid Logan
83 Posted 20/01/2015 at 13:00:00
Chris #76. Sorry I should have said Crystal Palace and Liverpool games. I think the bottom line is nobody knows for sure when the right time is. If we get in to really serious trouble is 6 games enough to turn thing round or would we need 8.

In all honesty my belief is even under Martinez we will survive. My concern is that next season will be pretty much the same. I think Martinez’ beliefs are so entrenched that it would probably take a course of electric shock treatment to re-wire his Bain before he would change tactics. And to be honest I’m not sure I could take another season of his management.

Sid Logan
84 Posted 20/01/2015 at 13:11:26
Sorry for all these typos - I’m blaming the iPad and the lack of secretarial help!
Steve Carse
85 Posted 20/01/2015 at 13:03:32
We have all the look of a to-be-relegated side -- on the wrong end of match deciding reffing decisions, on field disputes (perfectly illustrated in the penalty fiasco last night, but also in arguements between Naismith and Lukaku), and the side receiving Geordie-like post-match adulation from a massed away support - following a defeat!

There are solutions out there. None of them include Martinez. He’s a busted flush. The squad of players we have may not after all be as good as we thought 6 months ago, but it’s certainly good enough to be performing to a level that would have us on the fringes of European qualification.

We don’t need a great manager as a replacement. In the immediate term we only need somebody who can organise the side better, and have a pragmatic approach to style and tactics. Numerous managers/coaches are capable of this. Many on here are looking internally fora replacement. I’m not so sure since the current coaching staff might already be too wedded to RM’s approach. Maybe one of them with Joe Royle at the helm might work. In any event there are options. Hughes and Lennon for starters would DEFINITELY see us retain our biggest asset -- our precious record in the top flight.

Denis Richardson
86 Posted 20/01/2015 at 13:13:54
Brian 72, if it were me I’d sack Roberto now and give the new man a bit of time in Jan to bring new faces in if he wanted. I just don’t think he has a clue how to change the current slump. However, I just can’t see BK doing that and one of the factors presumably will be the comp that would be due to RM - which regardless of the contract clauses I imagine would be very large (in the millions), given how long and how new the contract is.

Main question is does BK really thing RM is the man for the future, if yes then nothing will happen. If no then its a question of get rid now or wait until the summer. Personally I think BK HOPES he still is the man for the future and will pray on hand an knee that he scrapes some wins together in the next couple of months.

John Keating
87 Posted 20/01/2015 at 13:08:53
Liam, I do not agree that West Brom are a disgrace to football, far from it ! The West Brom Board should be applauded. They saw their team stuttering under Alan Irvine and acted decisively at an early stage to ensure their survival in the League. Pulis has come in and regardless of what anyone thinks of him has so far done a brilliant job !

He, like most managers realise that defence is everything. If you do not concede a goal you will not lose, sneak one in and happy days. He will ensure West Brom stay up and like Stoke become an average mid table Club which for West Brom is what it’s all about.

Now look at the clown we have. His philosophy is based on statistics. He doesn’t really give a shite about the result as long as we have 70% possession and 3,000 passes more than the opposition. He reckons as long as we outscore the opposition everything is good - what crap. He doesn’t want them to practise dead ball situations. The fucking list is endless.

Let me ask this question - right now, today, in our present situation, who would you sooner have at the Club ? Martinez or Pulis? I know who I’d rather have.

James Martin
88 Posted 20/01/2015 at 13:09:09
Sid last season Roberto got lucky with injuries in a way he hasn’t this season.

The basic concept is still the same as last year. Pass it round loads, starve the opposition, wait for a chance. It was just a different version of KITAP1. What worked so well was that the defense was solid as McCarthy was infront of it. Distin did his best to mess things up but at most we’d only concede one goal a game. When Stones came into the team the defense was perfect hence the winning run. Even with this though the football was often dire, we threw away the first half of most games through pointless passing then we would win the game off the bench. Pienaar Osman Naismith, or Deulofeu would come on, quick flash of something different and we had our lead and a solid defense. Villa away is the prime example. Going nowhere for 70 mins, Osman comes on sets up one and scores one.

This season its the same model except McCarthy is injured, which means the defense is got at easily, this was also a defense without Stones (see how the losses have gone to draws since his return?). So instead of wasting the first 60 minutes with pointless football and being at 0-0 we’re usually one or two down. Then when Martinez turns to the bench he has no Pienaar Osman or Deulofeu to win the game in the last 20 mins.

Add to the above with injuries for Lukaku and Mirallas, bad refereeing, bad luck, and the effect of no confidence that is my theory behind our demise. Martinez knows how to win one way only. When the pieces aren’t there though it doesn’t work.

We’ve seen what the return of Stones has done to the team. We’re still awful but we’re now drawing. When McCarthy comes back this will improve again so we’re back in the realms of 0-0 after 70 mins. What forward line do you fancy to nick the win? A tired Naismith Barkley and McGeady or Pienaar Deulofeu and Mirallas all off the bench? Thats what was happening last season multiple times as well as an extraordinary number of direct free kicks.

Martinez needs to learn to find snother way of winning when his first choice lineup and bench aren’t all fully fit.

Mike Hughes
89 Posted 20/01/2015 at 12:54:28
I’m not one to knee-jerk and be reactionary about things. But this is how I see it.

EFC is a sick patient bleeding (points) to death. We are in intensive care in ’critical’ condition. There are no signs of stability.

This is not a blip like catching a cold or a small dip in form. These symptoms started showing in that abysmal pre-season. The decline is accelerating and fast becoming terminal.

The cure / drug (RM) is not working.Do we wait to die slowly hoping for Divine Intervention? Where is the evidence that we have a solution? Or do we take the uncomfortable option of surgery and at least have a fighting chance of survival?

Those visiting family members who think we should wait a few more weeks to see if we improve are burying their heads in the sand (on the misapprehension of loyalty) because they don’t want the short term surgical option.

Survival is all this season is about now. Forget running marathons, the patient can barely walk. And forget that foreign trip because the patient is too weak.

We have 16 games to go. If we replicate the points haul from our previous 16 PL games, by my reckoning we’d accrue 41 points. However, I currently can’t see us getting more than 3 wins for the remainder of the season hence we’ll be lucky to get more than 39.

I am not sure there are 3 worse teams than us out there. On form there most definitely is not.

As a PL outfit, I fear EFC will be dead by the summer unless we act now. And I’m very sorry to say that.

Sid Logan
90 Posted 20/01/2015 at 13:15:23
I just want to add that I am totally against booing Ross Barkley. It looks to me like Martinez has clearly influenced him to the extent that another pass is preferable to a turn and run at the defence. It’s keep the ball at all cost and although Martinez says he is happy for Barkley to make mistakes – there is little evidence of Barkley playing with that sort of freedom on the pitch. It could be that saying he’s happy for Barkley to make mistakes translates in to "he should stop making them"!

I just feel that those fans concerned should lay off Barkley because one day – maybe under a new Manager who recognises the sense in mixing up how we play – we will see a player who will light up the premiership. I would hate that to be at another club because he felt the fans didn’t want him. He will be a great player and he is committed to us. Let’s keep that way.

Jim Hourigan
91 Posted 20/01/2015 at 13:03:53
Tony @79, I heard something very similar from the mother of one of our youth players last night. Not the bit about Baines but the one about Eto’o encouraging younger players to leave. Apparently there was a big bust up last week and he was told to leave Finch Farm and has not been seen there since. By all accounts he thinks Martinez is a bit of a joke and constantly criticises him at training, but he’s a bit of an arrogant sod himself according to the youngsters.
Ian Burns
92 Posted 20/01/2015 at 13:20:21
Great piece Lyndon but am I detecting a change in your view of RM’s situation?

My other comment would be your title "In the grip of fear" - this is a manager who came in with his slogan "Sin Miedo". Now we have in bucketloads and we live constantly "Con Miedo"!

Steve Carse
93 Posted 20/01/2015 at 13:23:09
Denis (86) and others, I think in concluding the manager will not be sacked you are ignoring of the murky characters who truly hold the purse strings at Everton. They acquired shares and in the past gave Bill off balance sheet funding. Their interest is purely in Everton moving into a new stadium so they can recoup their investment and more by then selling on and/or making a commercial success of the new set up. They will most certainly not be happy at what’s going down this season and the threat that relegation holds for their plans. A big defeat at Palace will see the end of Martinez.
Paul Andrews
94 Posted 20/01/2015 at 13:22:26
It saddens me to say it, I think he has got the Palace game and the derby to get a reaction from the players.

The way he wants to play the game is how I enjoy watching football. I think he is trying to implement a good style of football but doing it with some players not fully suited to the style.

I honestly believed, given this window and the summer window he would move a few on and bring a few in who can play the required style. Unfortunately, I don’t think he will get the chance.

When you’re in a dogfight you have to scrap and snarl your way out. In my opinion, we haven’t got enough players with that mentality. And we haven’t got a manager prepared to sacrifice his principles to get us out of it.

Some of the players need to take a look in them mirror and realise the lack of effort they are giving to the loyal fans who follow them all over the country.

Sid Logan
95 Posted 20/01/2015 at 13:36:13
James #88 I’d like to believe everything you say and I accept the loss of McCarthy has been a big problem.

However we are not were we are just because of injuries and to be honest I do believe Martinez should have foreseen at least a few of the problems arising from some of our aging players.

I’ve also seen enough of our play this season to know that the mess we’re in goes far deeper that the loss of 2 or 3 players particularly since Pienaar and to a lesser extent Osman were not 90 minute players last season.

I’m sorry to say that in my view much of the blame lies with Martinez because of his total commitment to possession football, his lack of realism and seeming inability to be flexible and adapt to what’s happening in the pitch.

Paul Thompson
96 Posted 20/01/2015 at 13:33:30
James Martin@88 pretty much sums up where we are and aren’t. Yes, we have missed McCarthy for his defensive cover and energy, he is not the creative spark needed to pick the lock of a defensively set-up team. Neither incidentally is Besic, though he was certainly our best player last night. The players we are missing are Osman and Pienaar. Both are clever players who can work angles and thread balls through massed banks of four. But they are injured with no immediate sign of return and in any case, their age means they can’t be played all the time. The only alternative to that kind of creativity is pace down the wings. McGeady doesn’t have it and Atsu hasn’t provided it. Unfortunately I can’t see Kenwright sacking Martinez, so unless a couple of new faces are brought in to strengthen central defence and creative midfield, I think we will go down. We also need a new Captain. Jags is a great lad and his for, has improved, but he is not a leader on the pitch. Christ knows who it would be mind you.
Andrew Ellams
97 Posted 20/01/2015 at 13:59:10
Martinez post match interview on Sky said it all for me. He looked terrified, was waffling and repeating himself over and over. He’s starting to lose the plot and his ever positive persona is wearing off surely the end is nigh
James Martin
98 Posted 20/01/2015 at 13:58:59
Sid that’s my point. Im not defending Martinez. I believe we played similarly bad last season. The difference was Stones and McCarthy kept the door shut and Pienaar Osman Deulofeu could come on for a great 20 mins to win games.

The formula behind this approach was still fundamentally flawed though. Games were won through imdividual brilliance or wondr goals often from a sub, not from penetrative consistent team football.

Martinez was always going to hit a patch when defensive solidity would be lost through injury and our offensive impact off the bench lost so my criticism is he should have found a different way to win. Instead he keeps trying to repeatedly bang a nail but doesn’t realise he no longer has a hammer in his hand.

Sid Logan
99 Posted 20/01/2015 at 14:05:42
James. I accept the logic of your last post. I’m now being dragged out by the Mrs. Will have to contine this again.
Kunal Desai
100 Posted 20/01/2015 at 14:04:11
Eto’o gone, Mirallas going, Osman to retire? three bodies down potentially by the end of the month. Anyone else heard anything about Ossie retiring?
Steavey Buckley
101 Posted 20/01/2015 at 14:15:21
There is definitely a lack of urgency and energy about Everton’s play, which can can be changed when there is better attacking plan. Both Baines and Barry have sweet left foots, who can both pick out a pass that can find Lukaku.

Instead of them passing the ball sideways, that allow the opposition to regroup and form a wall around the centre forward, who then has little opportunity to turn and fire a shot on goal.

Frank Wade
102 Posted 20/01/2015 at 14:08:20
Great post Lyndon, as ever. By the time I read down this far most of my thoughts have been expressed by others. I think James Martin has it perfectly in a long nutshell in 88 above.

As other have stated, Barkley’s performance in his regular no 10 slot was poor with very few forward passes. See Stats here

Barry is often slated but he is still the player we signed last season but is less effective in McCarthy’s absence. Contrast the number of forward passes played by our Defensive mid with those of our No 10.

Criticism of Naismith should be directed to Martinez. We all know he is ineffective as a wide midfielder and does his best work in the box, when not under physical assault of course. He hardly made it into the box last night.

Martinez praised Eto’o when he was signed for his work in the box. Then plays him mostly on the wing or in midfield. Naismith suffering in the same way.

The untruths emanating from the camp, mostly from the manager, show a club in disarray. No one believes anymore. In all walks of life, be it sport or business, employees/players will not give of their best if they don’t totally respect their manager. Hard to respect a manager who tells us that McCarthy is still growing and who subs Besic every game, rather than take the hard decisions.

It’s broke and only a change in manager can fix it.

Sean Patton
103 Posted 20/01/2015 at 14:35:23
Fear is certainly coming from the stands I think the atmosphere is horrible at the ground, one misplaced pass and the moans and groans start which helps nobody.

What kind of supporters jump on the players back when 3-1 up at home with 10 minutes left? It is quite telling that the team have not won since. The next home match might just be a blessing in disguise as the crowd will be up for it and it should inspire the players.

James Stewart
104 Posted 20/01/2015 at 14:46:59
Sean, the atmosphere at the ground stems from the entertainment on show, which is virtually zero. I was at the QPR game: we didn’t really win that on merit, it was just a fact that QPR were so bad they gifted us the points.

Our football for the most part was terrible and cowardly. What fan wants to see a team play 5-yard passes to each other in their own half for 90 minutes? What fan wants to see his team never take a shot or even cross the ball? The football is piss-poor and mind-numbingly boring.

Moyes got lambasted for being yellow against the big boys and rightly so but Martinez is just as bad against everyone. Holding the ball in your own half at home is just cowardly and negative and will always create an atmosphere to match.

Bill Gall
105 Posted 20/01/2015 at 14:15:26
Lets put the blame from this season and the exposure of Martinez,s weakness and that is B.K. He is the man who hired him and in his own words hired him after talking to him and IMO did not conduct a thorough background check on his previous managerial experience’s.
To find Martinez’s past experiences you just go to Wilkipedia. What you find is his 4 years in the premier was 3yrs fighting against relegation 1 year when they won the cup but this was at the expense of relegation.
In his time at Swansea after he was appionted manager he brought them up from division 1 (this was his first managerial appointment )

There are a lot of supporters out there that have interviewed people for a vacancy in the company that they worked for, but the interview is usually the last part of the selection process after going through background checks.

IMO Martinez should not even have got to the interview but as he did it shows that B.K. hired him without checking his managerial background .A club the size of Everton with its history deserve more than just a good story teller.

Will Firstbrook
106 Posted 20/01/2015 at 14:47:46
Excellent piece, Lyndon.

Concise and accurate summation of the match and our current predicament.

Jimmy Kelly
107 Posted 20/01/2015 at 14:40:13
James #98, I think you’re spot on.

This is why i’ve been so frustrated recently when people talk about things being ’knee-jerk’ or mention ’first bad run’. It’s neither of those things.

For those who actually watched (I mean really watched, not just observed) the way we played last year, the problems were clear. They needed to be addressed and they weren’t. The fact that some people are only now having their eyes opened does not mean that this has been a sudden demise.

People talk about the pace of play being slower this year. Slower than Spurs and West Brom at home or Palace and Cardiff away last season? They talk about the defence ’suddenly’ becoming ragged. The same defence that conceded THIRTEEN goals against the top 2 last season, and almost contrived to throw away comfortable leads against Newcastle and Swansea at home? People talk about Barkley’s ’inexplicable’ loss of form. He finished the season with 0 assists last year. None, zero, zilch. From the number 10 role. He had the odd moment of brilliance and a few of them led to goals but I don’t recall a single game where I thought ’he’s bossed that’, now the moments of brilliance are still there but they’re not leading to goals. Look at the Hull game, some fantastic runs and turns but no finish. In the West Ham cup game he played a sublime ball to Lukaku but he missed. His game is pretty much the same but without those individual moments that make people take notice.

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t expect things to go this wrong this quickly, but as James said there were fundamental flaws in our play which were there for all to see. Unfortunately, but totally understandably, most people didn’t want to.

Allan Board
108 Posted 20/01/2015 at 14:56:19
The playing side of the club reminds me of a Sunday League team managed by the only bugger in the pub/club that would do it!!! No discipline from the staff down. All his favourites play however shit they are.

The players don’t want to play for this man anymore – the coach’s bullshit is no longer listened to. So, instead of the players taking responsibility and showing pride in a performance, they turn tail and hide.

Mirallas should have told to fuck off by our captain and the ball given to Baines. End of. Some fucking captain he is! Baines just as culpable for not snatching the ball and telling him to do one!

Be very worried folks because this is the rub-manager who should be long gone is STILL here. Players don’t want to play for him so they have "downed tools". Unfortunately, because of this feud, these same players have lost even the BASIC requirements of playing as a TEAM and couldn’t give a shit until Martinez is gone. That is unforgiveable and two fingers up to you the fans who deserve better.

Me? My derby tickets are burning a hole in my pocket and I pray one Mr Joe Royle is in temporary charge before then because a humiliation at home against them would just about end it.

Kevin Tully
109 Posted 20/01/2015 at 15:25:22
All Evertonians are quite rightly very,very worried at the minute, but we are losing sight of what actually happened last night.

Any team (and that includes Chelsea) would have struggled against West Brom, when they chose to set up as they did. That’s not to say we shouldn’t have won that game – but give the opposition a little credit, they did defend very well.

I’ve got to say, that was the first time I have ever seen a team set up to get every man behind the ball from the kick-off.

Damian Ashurst
110 Posted 20/01/2015 at 15:25:54
Pedestrian football, no pace, too many injuries, players being played out of position, too many players trying to play in the number 10 role. No left-footed centre-half to put pressure on people.

I don’t think we are in the relegation dog fight but, with the derby and the run of fixtures we have coming up, El Bob might be giving Dave Whelan a call sooner than he thinks...

Mike Hughes
111 Posted 20/01/2015 at 15:53:40
How the opposition sets up is their affair.
It’s up to EFC, the home team, to break them down, something we barely looked like doing last night.

WBA got a decent point for them (job done).
We didn’t.

Wenger moaned at Spurs a few years ago for ’parking the bus’ and I thought he was out of order.

With the wide variance in resources, teams will do what’s best for them based on the opposition, what’s at stake etc. Given that, there is a clear need to adapt the tactics.

It brings into focus the lack of Plan B - or Plan A for that matter.

The closer we are to relegation fodder / poor run of form - and teams will set up to exploit that.

Jimmy Kelly
112 Posted 20/01/2015 at 16:12:07
To be fair Kevin, I thought Wisdom’s opportunity in the first half and Sessegnon’s late on were at least as good as, if not better than, anything we created. Particularly Sessegnon’s, which was probably the best bit of joined up attacking football in the match.
Graham Mockford
113 Posted 20/01/2015 at 16:30:57

Don’t want to state the obvious, but I think you will find you have to get every man behind the ball at the kick off.

Mike Price
114 Posted 20/01/2015 at 16:22:51
Can’t believe I’d bite your hand off for 17th right now, can’t believe I’d happily swap Andy fucking Carrol for Lukaku and really can’t believe I want Martinez out 6 months after thinking we had, finally, found the real deal.
Colin Stewart
115 Posted 20/01/2015 at 16:12:51
I moved away from Merseyside nearly 50 years ago, so these days I see Everton only on TV or read the match commentaries online.

Since I’m not at the matches, maybe it’s not entirely fair for me to comment, but I feel particularly sorry for the active supporters who are paying good money to subsidise RM’s attempt to prove again that he is not a genuine, consistent Premier League manager.

Good luck to the supporters, I hope you can stay up.

Jay Harris
116 Posted 20/01/2015 at 16:00:09
I think any team would have at least troubled the opposing GK in 90 minutes.

I would put RM on notice that his performance is not up to standard (if not already done) and would then put him on "gardening Leave" until the end of the season and put big Joe in charge.

That cannot be any worse than the shite we are currently observing and at least we would fight for some points and get the team spirit back.

Graham Mockford
117 Posted 20/01/2015 at 16:41:01
Sean #103

The type of fans who are paying good money to watch a pile of shite.

I don’t get this view that you should not criticise the team. If you are earning multi millions and not performing then I’m sorry you are sensitive to a little criticism. The fans are the constant in the club, players and managers come and go.

The atmosphere this season at games reflects the performances. Most games have been played in a funerial silence and recently the crowd has been expressing its unhappiness at poor performances. I’m sure Ross Barkley doesn’t feel great about the crowd reaction. It’s very simple solution, start earning your wages and put some decent performances in.

Will Firstbrook
118 Posted 20/01/2015 at 16:38:26
As someone noted above, fear will soon be replaced with apathy if this continues.

Since the manager has made it clear he is not changing, then who is working to help change the squad!? Status quo is not on. Who is going to be working this transfer window for a solution (even a band-aid one) while Bobby and the lads are sunning their arses?? With an injury list that shows no signs of shrinking, reinforcements had better be in the works.

Kevin Tully
119 Posted 20/01/2015 at 16:52:01
I am not defending the tripe we have witnessed for the majority of this season. Probably just stating the obvious, it was an ultra-defensive line up we faced last night. We should have the talent to break these teams down. I would have put Kone on a lot sooner, it was quite clear we were struggling all night to make any opportunities.
Mike Hughes
120 Posted 20/01/2015 at 16:43:24
Indecision is what will kill us. As I see it, with each passing game, there is less time to escape from the situation we find ourselves.

If BK is not going to fire RM then back him with some emergency funds to strengthen in the window.

If not, act now.
I think this warm weather break might be ’pivotal’.

Either way, I don’t think RM will be the person taking us forward much longer (the summer at the VERY latest even with an upturn in fortunes).

BK - act now. Back him or sack him.
Right now, I’d vote for the latter.

Bob Heyward
121 Posted 20/01/2015 at 16:39:43
So, this is the ’magical second half to the season’ that Martinez promised us, eh? I’m a little underwhelmed.

Some, predictably, used the smokescreen of the FA Cup to buy more time for Bobby. Not me. The entertaining chaff of the West Ham games did little to disguise the underlying problems.

So, here’s a reality check for those still unable to see that we have a major problem.

In the next four we play Chelsea, Arsenal and the kopites. After that we’re going to be on mid-20’s points, with twelve games to go, having a season average of circa one-point per game. Oh, and the transfer window will be closed. Do the maths.

I know some deny there’s a problem, saying Bobby is the ’truth’ and a ’genius’ that just ’needs more time’. I, along with others, have been ritually shouted down, reported to mods and censored by such absolutist Bobby-ites. But such attempts to stifle debate do not dull the message, for it gets louder by the hour.

Simply put, since December I haven’t seen one of the optimistic assertions about Martinez come true. Every ’just wait till the next game’ is followed by another poor performance. Every ’the lads look better today’ is followed by another dire performance.

Now, I’ve called it right since December and time has shown me right. He has to go. We are going down if we don’t. Last night was just further unnecessary evidence.

Do it now and the new guy gets longer, has a bite at a transfer window and a cup to play in. We even have a break till Palace to organise. Time for action, BK.

Replacements? BK will have an idea. Newcastle are already in the market and will cause us competition. De Jong, maybe. Remi Garde? Both possible. As Southampton showed, a Club is much bigger than its manager - people just need to be a little less cowed by the thought of Martinez going.

As for Martinez; greatness was in his grasp, but he dropped the ball in summer and never picked it up again. Tragic, but he had his chance. Club first, always. COYB.

Michael Jones
122 Posted 20/01/2015 at 16:00:56
Yes Kevin they even put their highest goal scorer man marking our rb
Mike Hughes
123 Posted 20/01/2015 at 18:12:47
Anyone else get the feeling the honeymoon period is over - or is it just me?
Ian Jones
124 Posted 20/01/2015 at 18:14:31
To Graham @113. I seem to remember West Brom actually had a player in our half when we kicked off. We should have demanded a re-take..
Tony Hill
125 Posted 20/01/2015 at 19:14:39
Mike 120, I was one of those who thought that the WHU games and City game were enough reason to stay reasonably calm, albeit with serious reservations. I wonder though whether those games will prove fateful for us because they have allowed the board to defer RM’s dismissal this month.

I agree with you that time is very much against us and my view is that we don’t have the luxury of waiting to see how it stands in the Summer. What is now clear beyond sensible doubt is that Martinez doesn’t cut it for the players, or at least not for a significant number of them. I’d hoped the last few games before last night meant he’d brought them round, but not so.

I don’t see how the sun on their backs will cure that and when they get back we are right into a very difficult run of games. There is a window still for BK to do the deed. Will he? I think we all know the answer to that and I for one am starting to prepare myself for the consequences.

Victor Jones
126 Posted 20/01/2015 at 19:04:09
Some very good comments on here. My stance on everything is that Martinez has to go. Just how long is he to be allowed to try and turn this season around? He is being out thought and out manoeuvred by run of the mill league managers. If Martinez is indeed a student of the beautiful game then he needs to get a refund on where ever he got his coaching badges. Did he get them out of a lucky bag.

People going on that he deserves a chance because of last season. Wrong. Last season IMO was only two wins against Man Utd better than any thing that Moyes ever managed at Everton. Those two wins made the difference. Everton And Martinez had a good season, but we still ended up winning nothing in a season when cups were there for the taking.

Last comment: how about Everton signing Joey Barton. And make him captain. Put him straight in the team. He could take the place of any number of misfiring players. Bring some much needed fight to this sorry band . Play him alongside Besic, and McCarthy. Get the defenders to bloody well defend, and let the few flair players do their thing. Worth a punt and he is an Everton supporter. And yes I know that we need a complete overhaul. But Barton would be a start, for now.

Although considering that our manager is a footballing genius I suspect that Barton would not exactly suit his philosophy. So this window should be an eye opener. Expect Wigan to be raided and also someone of around 35 to be brought in. God help us. This is one season that I cannot see over soon enough.

Dave Abrahams
127 Posted 20/01/2015 at 19:33:38
Tony (125) they had a winter break last season and had a very poor spell immediately they came back.
Gerard Carey
128 Posted 20/01/2015 at 19:38:11
Can anyone see where our next win is coming from. If Martinez continues with his passing game we are in big trouble. Joe Royle and Kevin Sheedy in now.
Sean Patton
129 Posted 20/01/2015 at 20:00:36
Sorry lads but I am not having that at all. If you want to boo and give the players grief then that is your prerogative but there is a time and a place.

Slag them off in the pub or on here boo at the full time whistle or at half time, but last night there were fans getting on the players back after 15 minutes because we weren’t in front already, for gods sake.

Graham Mockford
130 Posted 20/01/2015 at 22:38:01

I don't think anyone was upset about it being goaless after 15 minutes. We just started like we have in the majority of games this season. Predictable, lacking energy and passing into dead ends.

Most fans are reasonable and turn up with a mindset of supporting the team but they are not stupid.We have had nothing to cheer largely this season and the 'majority' are now beginning to get fed up with it. There is more than enough false optimism coming from our manager without expecting fans who are paying hard earned cash to join in.

I hope Martinez and the players are under no illusion that what is being served up is unacceptable

Stephen Brown
131 Posted 21/01/2015 at 07:24:07
Has any Everton player scored more than 1 goal in a game this year? I don't recall it! Another example of players not grabbing a game by the scruff of the neck.

In fact when did a blues player last get a hat trick ? Saha v Blackpool ?

Mike Price
132 Posted 21/01/2015 at 07:28:18
Victor #126, I’ve been saying it for ages now, but we need some men and some bite. We all know Joey Barton has his limits, but he is what we need right now.

Martinez has disappointed every Evertonian on the spectrum, but I still think most aren’t taking our dire situation that seriously.

Unless things change quickly we have a very high chance of being relegated. I’m losing sleep over this, so I’d imagine owners with fortunes at stake are restless too. If we don’t get good results in the next month there is simply no choice. Survival trumps everything and everyone.

Jamie Barlow
133 Posted 21/01/2015 at 08:08:15
Just Eto'o against the mighty Burnley Stephen.
Jamie Barlow
134 Posted 21/01/2015 at 08:09:58
The fans were on the players back after 15 minutes because they seen the all to familiar pattern with which the game would play out. You could see it so early. No urgency at all. Same depressing shite.
Peter Morris
136 Posted 21/01/2015 at 11:57:28
It pains me to say, but watching the Shite against Chelsea last night versus the previous evenings tedious dross, it painfully exposes some of our shortcomings. Liverpool lack a big target man, but have a mobile striker in Sterling who was darting short to collect the ball, turning and pulling Terry and Cahill all over the place and opening up space for oncoming midfield players. They also possessed a clever ball player in midfield in Coutinho, who repeatedly went past the opposition, getting over the midfield gain line again and again. Look at the Shite’s shot count against one the Premier League’s best defences, versus ours against limited sides like Swansea, Hull and Stoke.

Possession is meaningless unless it used to hurt the opposition. Our approach play is ponderously slow, and the individuals who are in the side to do what Sterling and Coutinho did for Liverpool, namely poor Ross, Naismith, Mirallas and sometimes (please no more), McGeady, through a lack of form or injury,simply aren’t cutting, so we repeated amble around the centre of the pitch being watched by massed defences who don’t act or behave like they are worried we are going to break them down.

I personally think we have sorely missed the wit and guile of a fit Steven Pienaar. Remember how he opened up Leicester in the opening game? I don’t know what the solution is with the personnel we have; possibly give Mirallas a try in centre midfield? Without a fit Ossie, to me there’s no obvious candidate. Poor Ross Barkley’s confidence is completely shot and the howling from the stands when he doesn’t do something wonderful is ill-targeted, will be counter productive, and may set the lad back. Maybe pull him out of the limelight for a spell Bobby?

I hope the whole team (management and players) use the time away from the spotlight to have a good hard look at themselves collectively and individually to draw out what they are going to do to put things right. The talent is there. Is the collective together to get us out of this mire and back where we need to be?

Howard Greene
137 Posted 21/01/2015 at 16:52:27
Do you think it would help if we had just one player in the side that could cross a ball or take a corner kick where the ball reached the 6 yard box. Every match so far has shown how pathetic our wide play is this season, we just don't seem able hit the box unless it's from a forty five degree angle, and then it's easy for big defenders. Christ, I bet even Big Dunc would be suffering with this lot. Go outside the fullback and cross the effin ball in the the air, just once in a match would help
Harold Matthews
138 Posted 22/01/2015 at 09:58:03
Howard. An early cross to the right area can be very effective if the strikers make intelligent runs. Top teams do it all the time.
George McKane
139 Posted 22/01/2015 at 16:27:11
Just for a bit of lightness. Have A look at this. Exhibition of Evertonians from The Dark House in Art Gallery in Cologne - - item from local press in Germany.

Proud to be a Blue - but still a bit worried.

Steve Cotton
140 Posted 23/01/2015 at 14:04:05
Lets be honest. Kenwright is not going to get rid of RM at the moment for a number of good reasons:

1. He would have to pay him off, buy some other manager out of his contract, and also supply the new lad with funds.

2. He not long ago authorised the RM mural at the ground. If he sacks him the same season, he will look an even bigger tit.

3. He hates being the hard man.

So we are stuck with him till May at the earliest...

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