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The apathy and discontent that comes from punching above our weight

by   |   14/05/2015  Comments (32)  jump

Tomorrow sees the 30th anniversary of our only European triumph and today marks the 49th anniversary of the great comeback against Sheffield Wednesday which secured the first post-war FA Cup triumph for the club; next year it will be the 50th anniversary.

As many may know, I enjoy reading and sometimes writing about Everton’s glorious past, but am I the only one who is now getting a little tired of reading about what happened 10, 20, 30... years ago?

The local media and the club are constantly printing pieces relating to how well we have done in previous years, but the problem is that each year that passes sees the club move further away from that glorious past.

I want to read about new triumphs, new stars in the making, but most of all I want to see the return of ambition to the club, a team that wants to win, wants to push the boundaries, wants to entertain the supporters at every opportunity.

I’m sick and tired of aimless football on the pitch and fed up being told how we are punching above our weight and top 8 is about as good as it gets. Obviously there is a lot of truth in the fact that points cost money and we don’t have enough money to obtain too many points. Even in the mostly barren last couple of decades we had players who the fans could get excited about, Ferguson, Cahill, Arteta et al.

Who in the team at this moment in time carries the torch for the fans? Discontent will over time turn to apathy and apathy is about the most dangerous thing that can happen to a clubs supporters as it means they will no longer go out of their way to get down to Goodison, they will sit silently watching the action unfold when the team might give a little extra when given raucous support. It’s about time the club and its players, created new memories, not necessarily trophy winning memories but memories that will re-ignite many supporters enthusiasm for the club and the game.

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Dave Abrahams
1 Posted 14/05/2015 at 13:49:25

Two lines stand out in your excellent article: your wanting ambition to return to the club, and a team that will provide entertainment for the fans.

Get them two back and I for one will put up with all the rest that goes with being an Everton follower.

Patrick Murphy
2 Posted 14/05/2015 at 14:02:38

Thanks for that, I wrote that little piece prior to reading this Article on Grand Old Team which is a heartfelt plea for improvement on and off the pitch – so many points which I agree with and show that others feel the same way.


Dave Abrahams
3 Posted 14/05/2015 at 14:37:48
Just read the link "Disgruntled" – very good.

It wasnÂ’t until I read a link pointed out to me by Chris Feeley and yourself about the Evertonians and their meeting with Kenwright that I realised how utterly phoney the chairman was. I would advise every Everton supporter to read both links and see if they feel the way the club is run, is in the best interests of Everton supporters and the club.

Phil Walling
4 Posted 14/05/2015 at 14:34:17
I share your passion but not your hope. As someone once said Â’our future is behind us.Â’ Face the facts, nothing can be done about it, seventh will be a triumph... when we get back to those dizzy heights!
Geoff Evans
5 Posted 14/05/2015 at 14:01:35

When people start believing that they are punching above their weight, in any walk of life, itÂ’s time for a long inward look and a decision to stick, twist or fold.

I think the club has decided on option one. That is the only explanation I can come up with to explain what IÂ’m witnessing.
The trouble with this decision is that it means this is as good as itÂ’s going to get, ambition has given way to comfort.

The chairmanÂ’s got his toy he can show off to his London luvies and is happy to take MurdockÂ’s money and frit it away on a sub standard manager who I wouldnÂ’t wish on Marine.

He in turn hands out pension plans like they are going out of fashion to players who are well past their best but the only ones we can attract. Until things change radically get used to what youÂ’ve grown accustomed to, mediocrity (at the very best).

For all our sakes, I truly hope IÂ’m wrong.

Trevor Peers
6 Posted 14/05/2015 at 14:52:16
I wonder if our fans have the stomach for protesting, weÂ’ve probably had too many disappointments and broken promises over the last two decades. WeÂ’ve become immune to bad news.

BK is nowhere to be seen these days, itÂ’s as if heÂ’s had enough. He was more in the public eye when DM was around who kind of guaranteed us a top 6 or 7 finish, and I think he knows Roberto is not even half as good.

He probably has to let Roberto run his contract down before he can afford to sack him. Which is a great shame, I honestly believe having a new manager is the only way forward in the short term. Finding the right manager is a nightmare and BK must dread getting it wrong again. I imagine heÂ’s frozen with fear.

Success on the field is the only way to secure new investment. Nobody wants to invest in a losing team which is what we have become.

Joe Foster
7 Posted 14/05/2015 at 17:35:49
That disgruntled article is spot on. I allways hated the "punching above our weight" analogy. The media thing allways gets me though.Journos should say, "Sod it if I can’t get into any more pressers to listen to some inane ramblings – I am going to ask some serious questions."
Paul Gladwell
8 Posted 14/05/2015 at 17:54:47
Seems like the gripes have actually found there way to a response from the Echo as thereÂ’s a little planned meeting with supporters arranged for next week, letÂ’s hope they find some balls to air the growing discontent with many blues.
John Zapa
9 Posted 14/05/2015 at 17:27:53
Under this board, donÂ’t expect or even hope for success because only disappointment will follow. There is a reason why clubs like Swansea, Southampton, have enjoyed some success, with continuous improvement over the last few years even though they have changes managers frequently.

The reasons why new managers are able to join, and improve on their predecessors work is because of the top management/boards of these clubs. The environment is conducive to success. Managers are carefully selected, and no hesitancy is show to sack them if results/performances start slipping (Laudrup) or if a better option is found (sacking Nigel Adkins).

The top management of the clubs ensure continuity on all off the field matters. I read a report about how the Southampton team have their own bedsheets and pillows brought to them when they stay at hotels during away games to help the players not feel away from home. The kit is always washed the same way with the same detergents, ensuring the smell is exactly the same. The food the prepared by the same team as they travel. Small details, but they ensure all the senses are looked after.

Another factor is how players are signed and sold, something this club had under Moyes, but is losing window by transfer window. You could always count on Moyes regularly buying players for peanuts, and converting him into a 10-20m valued player. The list is long, and all of you know the names, but with Martinez, I canÂ’t see that happening. Only 2 players signed by him have possibly increased in value. This is an important part of the business model of the club. When Swansea sold their star striker in January, the talk from the club was about how they were going to use the funds to expand their Stadium, enhance facilities and improve the academy.

With this current board, their hasnÂ’t been any notable improvement on the stadium, the training facilities were sold off, and the Academy is/was the last bright light which I wouldnÂ’t trust Martinez to carry on the proud traditions of giving youth a chance, especially when you consider Baines Injury/performances with Garbutt on the sidelines.

Lastly, with regards to the OP about past success, I donÂ’t think we will see any success in any competition with the current board/Management. This club is in terminal decline unless something drastic changes soon.

Dave Ganley
10 Posted 14/05/2015 at 17:58:55
Patrick, Yeah I agree with your sentiments. However apathy amongst a certain section of fans has already set in. Unfortunately some fans (to an extent I canÂ’t say that I blame them) have accepted that things just wont get any better. I am not taking that view as I have expressed in the comments section of Mark EllisÂ’s good article of Black Cats get the cream as Goodison Turns Sour. We need to show ambition and we definitely need the players to give us something to get excited about. As Dave #1 alluded to, if we get those, I also will put up with the rest that goes with being an Everton fan
Murdo Laing
11 Posted 14/05/2015 at 19:41:13
Yes, really interesting Patrick, and John #9. Some of those insights are quite revealing. I do ponder though if, during the seemingly relentless boom years of the English Premier League, at least in the financial and global popularity context, we are entitled to expect any different?

I mean, the likes of Chelsea and Man Utd will always slalom around the FFP rules, the so-called Sky 4 will always attract the cream of the crop, and it is noticeable that top foreign players in more recent years have appeared to chose London clubs over those in the north (Man City excepted due to the obvious wedge factor).

There was a time 30 years ago now, when there was no money maelstrom, and very good players would sign for us by choice or even that lot over the park-not now.

I believe we already have six or seven players capable of getting us into a top six position if our squad is bolstered by quality, younger recruits. I also believe, however, that our manager has reached the limit of his abilities, and that his tactics are flawed. For that reason, this season, we will have finished in the pivotal spot in the middle of the table, and deservedly so.

Tony Abrahams
12 Posted 14/05/2015 at 22:01:59
Like a lot of people, I love Everton, but IÂ’m just not sure if I can carry on accepting the way we are run, for much longer.

How can a club like Everton, who havenÂ’t won a cup for 20 years (they havenÂ’t even come in the top 4 for 10 years) be punching above their weight?

ItÂ’s down to money of course. So the man who hasnÂ’t really got the money, and has had us up for sale forever, continues to stay in charge.

Bill Kenwright is the one punching above his weight, by managing to stay in control of Everton, even though he offers very little in return.

Like Dave says at post 3, this article is the straw that broke the camel's back for me, Patrick.

Read this post everyone, then read what John writes at post 9. Some clubs have a vision, whilst we have an old romantic, who saved us from extinction.

Other than keep us out of the clutches of a really bad owner! What good has Kenwright done?

Ste Traverse
13 Posted 15/05/2015 at 12:59:20
IÂ’m sick of hearing about these constant Â’reunionÂ’ dinners for past glories.

We will never move forward as a club while we are always re-celebrating the past.

WeÂ’ve never achieved a single trophy with BK and his cronies in charge of this club, and chances are, we never will.

Chris Feeley
14 Posted 15/05/2015 at 13:26:43
Patrick - A great article that echoes my sentiments completely. The local media are a complete joke, so much so that I think itÂ’s more likely youÂ’ll find an article in the North Korean Telegraph talking out against a similarly oppressive Â’regimeÂ’. IÂ’m waiting for the report that says that, contrary to popular belief, we actually beat Sunderland 5-0 and weÂ’ve clinched the league title!
In doing some research for an article IÂ’m writing, I came across an interview with Alan Myers shortly after he left Everton and joined Blackburn. In my opinion, the board have never better interacted with and engaged the fan base than under his 6 month tenure in post. However, when asked about his shock departure he said,
"Nobody forced me out of Everton, nobody told me to go. But if youÂ’re not happy somewhere, youÂ’ve got to do something about it."
For a massive Blue like him to leave Everton after 6 months to go and work for the chicken farmers up the M6 screams that something is drastically wrong within the club. Maybe if this years AGM ever happens questions can be raised, but I think thereÂ’s more chance of Positive Pedro getting his wife to blow Big Nev off on the pitch at half time against Spurs.
Chris Feeley
15 Posted 15/05/2015 at 14:06:09
IÂ’m sure her performance would be Â’phenomenalÂ’!
Eric Myles
16 Posted 15/05/2015 at 17:45:37
"whilst we have an old romantic, who saved us from extinction"

Quite the opposite, IÂ’d say, Tony: we have been a lot nearer to extinction under your old romantic than before, and we'd still be heading that way if it wasnÂ’t for MurdochÂ’s Millions.

Tony Abrahams
17 Posted 15/05/2015 at 21:19:11
Sorry Eric, I forgot to put an ! At the end of that sentence.

Peter McHugh
18 Posted 16/05/2015 at 06:42:28
Patrick I agree entirely. The biggest let down for me by far this season is Barkely. IÂ’m not having a go at him but I expected at the start of the season for him to be the player to make us all proud to be an Evertonian. Frankly heÂ’s been shit.

Over the years, I've only seen us win the FA Cup but I’ve enjoyed watching Ferguson, Arteta, Gravesen etc. We need characters and entertainers – perhaps Mavericks is a better phrase.

It is rather dull at present. The one player I enjoy watching is Coleman. Even against Sunderland, I thought he was great. Supremely professional, confident and gives 100% and a play befitting of our great club. His juggling with the ball after a rampaging run was brilliant just a pity he couldnÂ’t score.

I remember us beating Arsenal a year or two back. I donÂ’t remember the score but remember Coleman again doing a juggling act whilst running at full pelt.

It’s these memories I want more of if we can’t have memories of trophies. Fellaini's turn against Bellamy another – another character we’ve lost and not replaced.

Darren Hind
19 Posted 16/05/2015 at 06:46:39
I really hate the term "punching above our weight". Just as I hate the idiotic "overachieving". However, I understand why it's in your header and could not agree more with your observations, Patrick.

IÂ’m also with Dave (#1). Give me ambition and a desire to entertain and I too would put up with anything else.

"If things are not working, something has to be done and something WILL be done"... What would we give to have a chairman like that again?

Phil Walling
21 Posted 16/05/2015 at 08:02:49
Whilst it is likely that 11th may be our finishing spot and that the placemoney budget will not be achieved, the half-decent run in the Europa should ameliorate some of that shortfall.That and the contractual obligation to Martinez will miltate against his removal and unless next season starts with a veritable tsunami of defeats, he will be allowed to continue to wreak his destruction of all that Everton stands for.

The worst part of that exercise is that his every public pronouncement makes our embarrassment harder to bear and because few have been able to crawl away to foreign climes as I have, being an Evertonian has become a heavy cross to bear.

I suspect that the only joy for those of our persuasion will increasingly centre on the endless glorification of our past and the memories of those 60s and 80s days in which we all walked tall. What later generations see in this pitiful apology of a football club I have no idea.

John Keating
22 Posted 17/05/2015 at 15:13:51
Ste (#13) – Without a history, we have no future. We need to remember and enjoy the 1963 team, the 1970 team, the '80s teams – they are what we must aspire to and reach for.

We have a chancer of a Chairman and a bigger chancer as a manager but we supporters must continue to moan and groan watching the shit weÂ’re being served up. That to me, who watched all these great times, is the biggest issue, the fact that we are making excuses for these clowns. Apathy has set in and it is so sad to see.

I saw the shit served up yesterday at West Ham where we couldnÂ’t be bothered and I just watched Swansea and Man City at least try. We should be a Club that gives 100% every game.

Personally IÂ’ve ever felt so disinterested in my team in watching them for 55 years. This is how bad it's got to me... History is all IÂ’ve got.

Bobby Thomas
23 Posted 17/05/2015 at 18:40:45
Tired of nostalgia.

Everton Football Club club needs kicking into the present. The club has been stagnant for years.

Blairites used to describe Gordon Brown, when Chancellor, as a roadblock to reform.

This board & CEO are a roadblock to any progression at all levels.

John Keating
24 Posted 17/05/2015 at 19:09:58
Bobby, fair enough, forget nostalgia. What have we had for 20 years / Fuck all !!We have to make sure – more than anything – that the young lads of today realise that we are a top class as good as anything that has gone before! We have to ensure that our history and legacy is not diminished since 1992 and the Sky era.
Dermot O'Brien
25 Posted 18/05/2015 at 09:18:12
Lukaku was in Garth CrooksÂ’ Team of The Week.
His opinions are probably commonplace in the media regarding plucky Everton...

"The strikerÂ’s confidence has returned along with that of his team. So why are some Everton fans picking chairman Bill Kenwright out for criticism? He paid 㿈m for Lukaku, who helped to get them into Europe. What more do they want?"

....What more do we want? WTF? To win something you fucking gobshite, not getting into Europe because we came 5th place.

Joe Bibb
26 Posted 18/05/2015 at 11:42:09
We are at this moment in time the fourth most successful club in English Football History.

ThatÂ’s not nostalgia that is a fact, we should celebrate our past achievements

Tottenham havenÂ’t won the league since 1961. Newcastle since 1927. Southampton NEVER.

The club and the fans should make sure that the Media know about our history and our ambition to maintain fourth place.

Kenwright is not vocal enough in presenting the Club to the Media.

Everton Football Club has a fantastic history, go upstairs in St Lukes before any home game and look at it. Passionate fans run the Heritage Society and every one of them want success.

Man United go on about the Class Of 92, other clubs boast about past achievements but all of them want their club to win things in the future.

ThatÂ’s why when someone says to me "Punching Above Our Weight". I want to punch them.


Patrick Murphy
27 Posted 19/05/2015 at 18:25:21
Joe (26) IÂ’m currently listening to the Blue Room and following the first hour or so, I not only believe that those commentators who utter those words are indeed correct but that we should bin Nil Satis and adopt "punching above our weight" as our new motto.

Stoke City have apparently increased their wage bill by some 㿋m in recent years and others are getting closer to our level circa 㿲m wage bill. Mid table obsculrity and the odd win over United et al should be enough to keep the full-houses happy.

Given those figures and the likelyhood that wages dictate how a team fares I advocate selling any of our players for as much as possible and rely on our youth set-up to fill the gaps until the older professionals are finished - a bit like the Walter Smith days.

Christopher Kelly
28 Posted 20/05/2015 at 23:12:24
Almost a week on and 27 comments to this very well crafted piece. Says it all really....

The analysis paralysis has griped our club by the short hairs. Half the fans say "careful what you wish for " whereas the other half realize we havenÂ’t achieved anything in 20 years so thereÂ’s got to be a better way... 20 lost years.

There really hasnÂ’t been one progressive "thing" about this club in a long, long time. From the academy, to the marketing, to the scouting... WeÂ’re made to believe this is the best we can do. Take a look at Southampton. Certainly not reinventing the wheel, just doing things the way they should. They have set themselves up to be the "Everton of the 2010Â’s" .... ItÂ’s depressing knowing that our club should/could achieve more! ItÂ’s even more depressing to realize that many Evertonians disagree, and are happy just for a few hours away from the missus each week. Until the fans start questioning, this is what we we deserve.

Tom Bowers
29 Posted 20/05/2015 at 23:22:21
A good article and one we all share in regarding the apparent neglect of putting a competitive product on the field for many years now.

Forget about last season as we all know now they were in fact flattering to deceive

ItÂ’s worth a mention that 2 other teams with history and a solid fan base have been in the same boat (Sunderland and Newcastle)
and they both have controlling chairman similar to BK.
Seems to me the only way to change these situations is to boycott a game or two but we know it wonÂ’t happen at Goodison.

Everton were in a precarious position just a few games ago and have clawed to safety although still not playing well.
The Black Cats have just survived but I suspect they will go down next season as they wonÂ’t get away with parking the bus for 38 games and Newcastle may also just scrape in despite having an awful manager.

The writing is on the wall for BK and RM that the fans deserve better and whilst one or two wins in recent weeks have been welcome they do not disguise the brutal truth regarding the current administration and some of the players. In a word-substandard.

Paul Burns
30 Posted 22/05/2015 at 10:50:04
"Punching above our weight" – what a phony phrase that is for apologists for our chronic lack of ambition and achievement to trot out when needed.

So let me tell you Everton's real "weight". If there was a league table for the whole of the 20th century, the only complete century that football has been played, then Everton would be top.

That most exalted of decades, the 1960s, all we hear about is Shankly, Busby et al yet Everton are the team that won most points during the decade, regularly thrashing Man Utd with Best, Law, Charlton and all.

Our gates throughout history match anyone's and for certain periods, after the war until at least the 1960s blew almost everyone away. We still hold all the highest attendance records for the city of Liverpool and, I think, the highest average for a season.
We are still the fourth most decorated club in English football and, until very recent times, had won more league titles than Chelsea, Man City and Leeds Utd put together.

Yes, this is Everton's REAL weight and the sooner people realise it and stop believing the dismal propaganda from people who want to give up and stop trying, the sooner we can get the club back to where it really belongs.

The top. No excuses.

Martin Mason
31 Posted 26/05/2015 at 21:05:44
The problem is that history doesnÂ’t get you any points and becomes a heavy weight of expectation around not only the club but itÂ’s fans for whom the expectation reaches unrealistic levels. What our fans want is what the fans of all clubs want and our history gives us no advantages over our peers on equal income levels. Remember that our history was often gained on the back of being the equivalent of Chelsea and we arenÂ’t now. If we want success in this day and age then the only way of achieving this is increasing our income to the level of those at the top. An impossibility almost.
Patrick Murphy
32 Posted 26/05/2015 at 21:12:05
Martin - I would accept us playing good football and being entertained on a Saturday afternoon win, lose or draw. Deep down we all know itÂ’s a little unrealistic to expect any more than that.

For the last 20 years not only have we been potless but we have endured some absolutely dire football for a variety of reasons and, in my opinion, thatÂ’s not down to money, as the people who were chosen to manage the club have been well rewarded in comparison to other clubs in similar circumstances.

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