Best of the Rest?

Everton could still finish seventh this season despite our many attempts to set the house on fire but the club's record against the top six confirms that, regardless, this will still have been one of regression.

Rodger Armstrong 20/02/2018 78comments  |  Jump to last
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With the recent break in fixtures and, whilst keeping up with events in Dubai, I have been ruminating on our results this season, in particular against the so-called “Big 6” of the two Manchester clubs, our lovable neighbours, Spurs, Arsenal and Chelsea.

This was in the light of our recent capitulations in North London, whilst some of those teams fighting for their very Premier League survival have upped their game and got results against the big boys. Newcastle have beaten Man Utd; Swansea have beaten Arsenal and Liverpool; Bournemouth have beaten Arsenal.

It would appear that, in spite of a catastrophic season that nobody envisaged, Everton are still in with a  chance of finishing 7th, with, depending on your perspective, the poisoned chalice/added benefit of Europa League qualification. Phenomenal…

So, almost in spite of ourselves and our many attempts to set the house on fire, are we still “best of the rest”? Has it just been a season of stagnation, rather than progress?

Below is a mini League table of the other 14 Premier League clubs and their results against the Top 6. It comes with a health warning; bear in mind that Everton have only two games left (Man City & Liverpool at home) whilst others have more. This means that it’s not wholly apples against apples, but a pretty clear picture (of rotten apples) does emerge.

 PWDLFAGDPts
Watford82241523-88
Burnley10145917-87
Swansea City9216519-147
West Ham7124614-85
Leicester City101271223-115
Newcastle8116515-104
Crystal Palace8116519-144
Stoke City8116629-234
Southampton9036516-113
WBA9036519-143
AFC Bournemouth9108320-173
Huddersfield8107423-193
Everton10037527-223
Brighton7007118-170

Thank God for Brighton, you might say.

  • Everton are one of only four clubs (Brighton, West Brom and Southampton) not to have beaten a Top 6 team so far this season; Brighton have played three games fewer than us, the Saints and the Baggies have one game “in hand”.
  • Only Stoke City have conceded more goals (29 vs our 27) and have a worse goal difference than Everton.
  • Of the three points secured, 1 was by Koeman (Man City, away) and two by Allardyce (Chelsea, home and Liverpool, away)
  • Of our 5 goals 3 were against Arsenal (whilst shipping 10)
  • We have failed to score in both games v Spurs, Chelsea and Man Utd, conceding a total of 15.
  • Only Brighton, Huddersfield and Bournemouth have scored less than the 5 goals Everton have managed.

In my opinion this shows, as many have said, that we have indeed gone backwards this season, by which I mean we are further behind the Top 6, less competitive against them. If we finish 7th, it will be because the rest of the League has also got worse outside of the “big boys”. Every team below 6th has a negative goal difference; go figure.

Let’s hope we can break this cycle in the two remaining (back-to-back) home games against Man City and Liverpool. To go an entire season against the peer group we aspire to without a single win and with a goal difference in the minus-20s would be scandalous.

Be under no illusion we have a long way to go; further to go than this time last year. The facts, the results don’t lie. Two years in, Moshiri must be shaking his head. Now he needs to find the right manager to kick start this Club and he needs to be ruthless with those who have overseen the massive under-performance of the “lost season”.

Dixie wouldn’t stand for it, whether the losses were expected or unexpected.


You can get more of Rodger's regular musings on his blog at RodgerArmstrong.com and as host of the Everton Business Matters podcast.

Follow @rodgerarmstrong


Reader Comments (78)

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Derek Knox
1 Posted 20/02/2018 at 17:57:47
Interesting and sobering article, Roger, the points we could have had, with better team selections by both Koeman and Allardyce.

While I appreciate it's hypothetical, some of the games have been ill-prepared for, like lambs to the slaughter, in many cases.

The psychology, or lack of it, in surrendering to teams, in the top 6, coupled with losses to the likes of Bournemouth at home, are almost inexcusable on reflection.

As they say, it's water under the bridge now, but at least we can do something about the forthcoming games, hopefully.

Ken Kneale
2 Posted 20/02/2018 at 18:19:34
A great article – we now need to see the owner's true colours. Remember this great comment from Sir John Moores:

"Everton expect success. We have a good crowd, a very loyal crowd but they pay their money and they expect to see us do well. If we are not doing well they expect something to be done about it and something will be done about it".

How true that stands even today – let's see if the current owner loves the club as much that he demands the best.

James Hopper
3 Posted 20/02/2018 at 18:19:50
I think the positive thing is that we only have two home games left against the Top 6 and we could win either or both.

The other 13 teams all have a harder run-in between now and the end of the season and that can only be good for us!

Brian Denton
4 Posted 20/02/2018 at 18:36:52
James, that also means we don't have much opportunity to improve our appalling record against the Top Six, which was rather the point of the article.
Anthony A Hughes
5 Posted 20/02/2018 at 18:43:07
Being best of the rest in what is a pretty poor Premier League is faint praise. Outside the top 6 there are a lot of piss-poor teams.
Phil Walling
6 Posted 20/02/2018 at 18:51:40
Didn't Moshiri tell us during Koeman's reign that we could not expect to get points off the leading clubs and that the manager, therefore, concentrated effort on beating the 'also-rans'? Not much seems to have changed under Allardyce, does it ?
David Barks
7 Posted 20/02/2018 at 18:58:18
Anthony,

In what way is the Premier League “pretty poor”? I keep reading that on here and I just want to know what these other leagues are that are so much better? Italy, Spain, Germany? Where are they? And what was this mythical time of the strong Premier League from top to bottom?

It's not a poor league, it's highly competitive with one seemingly exceptional team, some other very good teams, and then a lot of closely matched teams with a few poor. That sounds like the Premier League just about every year, and just about every league in Europe.

Spain has Barcelona, with Real Madrid struggling a bit this year. Atletico are good, but aren't in the Champions League. There is a 25-point gap separating Napoli at the top in Italy and Sampdoria in 6th. The team bottom of the table in Italy has 10 points. West Brom sit at the bottom in England with 20 points. Huddersfield are 17th with 27 points while in Spain Levante sit 17th with 20 points. In Germany the bottom club has 14 points.

England has 5 of the 16 team's remaining in the Champions League. And every one of them are expected to move into the last 8. The Premier League isn't poor, and absolutely no worse than every other league in England. Being 7th should be the goal now in order to push forward next season.

Rodger Armstrong
8 Posted 20/02/2018 at 18:59:07
Ken (#2) You do right to quote those words. Sir John wouldn't have moaned about fans booing, he might have even joined in. Point being he would have recognised things weren't right & would have addressed them.
Danny Baily
9 Posted 20/02/2018 at 19:03:14
Nice to be looking up for a change this season.

Had we been around the top 6 and fallen just short then 7th would be acceptable so I suppose we shouldn't grumble.

Every season is all about the cups. If we stay in the premier league then we've always got a chance of a favourable draw and an upset or two combining to allow us to get our hands on a pot.

I wouldn't worry too much about vying for a top four spot. It's not going to happen in the short to medium term.

John Keating
10 Posted 20/02/2018 at 19:24:23
Rodger

I sincerely hope that this season we are not the best of the rest.

From pre season until now we have been woeful and personally, I cannot wait until the season ends.

The thought of us qualifying for the Europa League after this seasons fiasco, to me, is unbearable. I just want us to get to the end of the season, get ourselves sorted out, a good pre season and start off fresh next season.

One place below Europa League qualification would be great.

Phil Walling
11 Posted 20/02/2018 at 19:29:22
Perhaps David meant that, outside the top six, the Premier League is extremely competitive. Even the current team in Sacred Seventh spot could still nab a relegation spot. How much more competitive do you want any league to be?

Meanwhile, over at the Etihad...

John Pierce
12 Posted 20/02/2018 at 19:34:34
As always the devil is in the detail. Our record is appalling and for many years 18 points away at the top six are deductible before we start.

However, we all know this season and the last to be fair we cannot accept going there and just setting up so defensively. The goals for and against are indicative of that mindset.

There is a difference between setting up like that and being forced into being defensive because the other team has dominated. Especially at home. Just give yourself a chance.

Have the personnel on the field that shows you want to attack when you can, that transmits to players and fans. It will get you some slack I'd wager.

Our record is so poor because it's self-inflicted. Not because the Premier League is weak.

Geoff Lambert
13 Posted 20/02/2018 at 19:52:06
John (#10),

"One place below Europa League qualification would be great."

Why would you not want to play in Europe??

Jon Withey
14 Posted 20/02/2018 at 19:57:48
There seems to be a cliff-edge after the very best players and managers and then there is a whole lot of 'decent' but not the sort that will win you much.

We have spent a lot of money to get 'decent' players so that we can be the best of the rest – but it looks tough to get to that next level.

I still think our best chance is to grow and gather our own youth as we can't afford to match the top six for spending or even (recent) reputation.

Like Spurs we may lose a few along the way (Bale) but if we stick at it we might be able to get a few at the right time with a roll of the dice (Kane, Alli etc.). Then once you break through and the income improves it's about keeping the momentum going – easier said than done (Leicester... even Leeds).

Brian Harrison
15 Posted 20/02/2018 at 20:46:37
I think the gulf between the top 6 and the rest is getting bigger each year, but I think the longer Wenger is at Arsenal it might become the top 5 and the rest. We have spent more than Liverpool or Spurs in the last two transfer windows, so you can hardly say Moshiri hasn't put his hand in his pocket. But the difference is the top 5 have got far superior managers, were we have had average at best.

The problem is this is the area we need to address, but none of the Worlds top managers will come here unless we can prove that we can qualify on a regular basis for the Champions League. Which is way out of our reach at present in fact we struggle to qualify for the Europa League.

And their-in lies the problem unless we get a very good good manager to make us able to compete for a Champions League spot, we will forever be a club competing for 6th to 10th in the Premier League. Sadly I don't have the answer as to who to appoint to get us there, but I don't think Allardyce is the man to achieve this.

Dave Ganley
16 Posted 20/02/2018 at 20:52:51
David (#7), I have to agree with Anthony in that it's a poor league in my opinion. It doesn't matter what's going on in leagues across Europe, we only have to see what's going on on the pitch in this league to see how poor the league is. With the exception of Man City and RS and occasionally the Chavs, who else is entertaining?

The quality shown on a week-by-week basis is shocking really. Spurs can seem okay by thrashing the lesser teams like ourselves but no consistency like the others in the top 6. For the money that's been spent by most clubs, the product is awful.

When Everton in the past have been awful, I used to enjoy watching some of the quality that came to Goodison. Whilst I always want us to win I can appreciate good football from any team well maybe not the RS but most others.

This season I've seen little good football from any team really and the mere fact that we are in with a shout of finishing 7th should tell you everything about how poor this league is such is how our wretched season has developed.

Kevin Tully
17 Posted 20/02/2018 at 20:56:26
A simple fact, our squad cost more to assemble than Spurs. A Spurs side who schooled Real Madrid in the Champions League. Meanwhile, we look and perform like a non-League outfit against the 'top 6' (we'll be making excuses against a 'top 8' the way things are going)

Koeman sulked his way to a huge pay-off when the players he wanted never materialised. Who would sell their only striker of note and not replace him? Add into the mix that the club has been polluted by total mediocrity for 30 years, and you begin to realise how much ground we have to make up.

I don't think signing Man Utd rejects and players who are used to fighting relegation will take us into the Champions League either, how the fuck could it?

We'll carry on making these mistakes though, as long as the same people are making the decisions and failure is accepted. I would forget about where we finish in the League, we have never been further away from the teams above us. Total shambles.

Lawrence Green
18 Posted 20/02/2018 at 21:09:31
Kevin (#17),

I have to wholeheartedly agree that the amount of money spent and the mis-management of the team/squad by different managers has made this particular season harder to bear than most. Usually when things haven't gone too well on the pitch it was due to losing a key player and having no money to replace them, but that just wasn't the case last summer and even if it had been somebody at the club would have realised that having an experienced striker is quite important.

Seventh is possible but why do I get the nagging feeling that Everton won't get that position and will end up around 10th in the table. In truth even with the squad we currently have, we should be head and shoulders above Burnley and Leicester City but may still be some way behind the super six.

I also think that the club will stick with Allardyce until his current contract runs its course. It appears that the board members struggle to multi-task and the only item on their agenda at the moment is to get the new stadium up and running. The football side of the club can wait so long as things don't get too desperate on the pitch, they will sleep easy – so why should we care?

Best of the rest is a tag for losers and it doesn't sit well with many Evertonians, unfortunately, those who run Everton FC might see it as a badge of honour.

Paul Birmingham
19 Posted 20/02/2018 at 21:10:25
A very sombering reality check... The club is in a long-term malaise that, despite heavy investment, has seen no genuine improvement.

I've no idea what the pre-season will bring but this season has been the pits and in my view whilst we are hanging on a by a sliver to a top 10 place, the football this past couple of years and capped by this year has in my view been the worst in terms of lack of heart, skill, care and passion for the club.

It's been said so many times this season but this next preseason the club must turn it around as this year's campaign has been a right off.

The manager's role next season will be interesting and who is in charge remains to be seen. Farhad won't tolerate any more mediocrity and pathetic displays, for a 3rd season?

Andrew Presly
20 Posted 20/02/2018 at 21:14:41
“A catastrophic season that nobody envisaged” Rodger?

Nobody? Could be sarcasm and should be but if it isn't the selling of Lukaku with two years to go on his contract in a World Cup year reminded all us numb nuts fans that we make up the numbers.

As if we needed a reminder. Grim!

Pat Kelly
21 Posted 20/02/2018 at 21:18:53
When the manager rests players, as against Arsenal, he sends the signal that it's not worth competing against the top six. Can't blame the players for that. Allardyce has settled for survival at any cost. The players know it.

Chilling to hear him say he looks forward to going to Dubai with the team again next year. Guess we can write off a Cup run next season. And everything else if Allardyce is kept on. What chance signing anyone decent in the Summer.

Kevin Tully
22 Posted 20/02/2018 at 21:28:10
One more thing (as Columbo used to say)... I think Moshiri is ambitious, and is prepared to pay the money required to attract the right people.

I believe we did approach Tuchel, but ask yourselves this: is the Chairman and CEO on board with this sort of ambitious recruitment? I think not. They are far too parochial, and don't want anybody at the club who will rock their cosy little boat.

Our "79p in the ٟ is spent on fertiliser" CEO is not the man. Neither are the rest of the board.

Drew O'Neall
23 Posted 20/02/2018 at 22:12:57
What's latin for 'Best of the Rest'?
Ken Kneale
24 Posted 20/02/2018 at 22:13:04
Kevin 17 you are spot on. 30 years of mismanagement that no amount of money thrown loosely around will cure. It is like watching a house being built with mismatched, misshapen and wrongly coloured bricks.

To refer to my previous point about Sir John, as he allegedly did with Harry Catterick, the current owner needs to do a few Sunday morning post-mortems with managers.

I think the real issue for me is that Sir John was a football fan and understood both business and enjoyed watching his teams play fluent attacking and at times thrilling football.

James Flynn
26 Posted 20/02/2018 at 22:51:11
Ken (2) - You're nearest to what we need.

Moshiri's "We can't be a museum." is the less-eloquent version of the same thing.

Away from responding to Ken, though, Moshiri did throw money at signings. A lot of money. He just gave it to incompetents.

Given he made his fortune as a "Tom Hagen" type to Usmanov, I'd guess Moshiri knows what it takes to be successful.

I'd be disappointed, come the Summer, if he doesn't remove Kenwright etal from the decision-making process. A bit scared, too.

After all, Moyes stayed in or around the Champions League and Europa League places, a deep Cup run or two, with no money.

We have to get rid of the paycheck collectors in the front office, Mr Moshiri.

Danny Broderick
28 Posted 20/02/2018 at 23:02:14
We need a new outlook and approach to the bigger games. The players need it drumming home to them that they can beat the top 6. You only have to look at Wigan, Rochdale, Bristol City etc in the cups this season. I have no doubt that we'd never have performed as well as them if we'd had the cup draws those teams have had this season. Why is that?

It's a problem that seems specific to Everton – is it a hangover from the Moyes era? We seem to wave the white flag and never go into these games expecting to win. There were derby games under Moyes – the semi-final at Wembley springs to mind – where we had the better starting 11, yet still went into those games like underdogs.

Without dissecting Allardyce again on this thread, one area where he is supposed to be strong is sports science, psychology etc. He uses psychologists, and it's something we are desperate for. His teams have traditionally upset the big boys. How come we never do? We need to get over this block.

We obviously need to get rid of a few players to change the mindset. We could do with signing a right arrogant bastard who will give the rest of the team belief also. Something has to change anyway.

Don Alexander
29 Posted 20/02/2018 at 23:14:24
The players sign mega-contracts. The only thing that might get them out of their comfort zone is a manager with a contract longer than theirs. Ours has one shorter than anyone's, and we wonder why Allardyce can't crack the whip at Finch Farm, do we?

And no, that's not my ringing endorsement of Allardyce, by the way, but he had his balls cut off from the get-go, by our board, owner, or who-ever's-in-charge.

Shambles upon shambles, the Everton way ever since we-all-know-who took over.

Laurie Hartley
30 Posted 20/02/2018 at 23:39:45
After reading through the thread on the great eighties team yesterday, I watched the whole of the Rapid Vienna final on YouTube.

To a man that team had the will to win – when Rapid pulled one back what did the blues do? Kept at them like they had done all game resulting in Sheedy burying the third. The Rapid players looked shell-shocked after the game.

And yet the commentator said during the game that only 18 months previously the fan-base was very disgruntled to the extent that they had petitioned for the removal of Howard Kendall.

When asked about this after the game Kendall laughed and said "Yes, everyone's happy now".

I didn't witness what was happening on the pitch during that particular "period of discontent" but it must have been pretty dreadful.

From what I have read, the signing of Peter Reid and Andy Gray (two veterans) was the catalyst that changed that young team into champions and winners.

We have our share of duds, but we also have some great young players breaking into the first team and Walcott looks like he is going to be an outstanding player for us.

The moral of the story for me is never give up hope. You never know what's around the corner.

Derek Thomas
31 Posted 20/02/2018 at 00:10:23
Kevin @17; Just so. When there was a top 4, we aimed for 5th. When there was a top 5, we aimed for 6th. When there was a top 6 we aimed for 7th... and sometimes we even got 5th, 6th or 7th.

Too many people, both on here and at the Clu, took that as a 'win' with a cup run as a bonus on top.

Kick some arses, Moshiri... out the door if you have too, but kick em and keep on kicking them hard and often, before your investment becomes unsaleable.

Liam Reilly
32 Posted 21/02/2018 at 08:23:35
It's true that Kendall Mk 1 was only a few minutes from the sack, Laurie, until an Adrian Heath equaliser on a damp night in Oxford in the League Cup.

But football was a different beast then; where most of the top flight clubs had a chance at the the title, unlike today, where sides like Everton celebrate the occasional win against the top 6 (at Goodison) like it's a cup win.

We've fallen like a stone under the current stewardship and as Einstein said: don't expect different outcome if you keep doing the same thing repeatedly. The mindset needs to change with fresh young minds running this club.

Phil Walling
33 Posted 21/02/2018 at 08:57:07
To be fair to Kenwright, we did better under his control than 'know nothing' Moshiri's. On the field, his investment has brought nothing but mess and muddle – Bramley-Moor will probably be the next disaster!
Ernie Baywood
34 Posted 21/02/2018 at 09:29:28
Phil, I think Moshiri has brought some good things. Actually one good thing – money. With a half-decent plan, money makes a big difference.

But someone at the club needs to front up to him about the decisions that have been made on his watch. Flip-flopping between manager styles, hiring and retaining an odd almost-DoF... it's no wonder we have a disjointed squad and disastrous transfer record.

Laurie Hartley
35 Posted 21/02/2018 at 10:29:20
Liam – football may well indeed have changed but I don't think men have that much.

Put the right characters together in a team and they will find a way to win – Leicester did.

Our friend Albert Einstein also said: "imagination is more important than knowledge".

So I am just going to keep on hoping – it's more enjoyable than the alternative.

Clive Rogers
36 Posted 21/02/2018 at 11:08:15
Phil (#33), it's a bit unfair to compare Moshiri's first 2 years with Kenwright's 20 wasted years. Mistakes have been made, but I think Moshiri will learn from them and improve in the future. Something Kenwright never did. He was only really interested in himself.
Dermot Byrne
37 Posted 21/02/2018 at 11:19:09
I agree about Moshiri, Clive (#36). The reality is fans want it now! And that makes footy exciting.

But it is a business with boring short-, medium- and long-term strategies. Hence, fans and owners inevitably clash.

David McMullen
38 Posted 21/02/2018 at 11:37:01
We might be potentially the best of the rest, but we are at present light-years behind the "top 6".

We may win the odd game against them at home but generally we don't and generally we don't win away at the top 6 and generally we don't win in a cup match.

We had a better mentality in the 90s and under Moyes in 2000s (at least at home) but these days we don't have that mentality. Until we finally wriggle free of those shackles that are holding us back.

It's not just the games head to head and the actual position that makes us light-years from the top 6. It's that we don't win anything anymore. Until we win a trophy and win another shortly after that, we will be belittled. The aim of the game is success, silverware, as well as finals and the Champions League.

Here's hoping for a better future, especially when we move to Bramley-Moore Dock.

David McMullen
40 Posted 21/02/2018 at 12:13:08
Totally agree, Kevin (#22). Phil (#33) we may have had some better results and positions under Kenwright (and Moyes) but the football club was allowed to fall away from the "big teams" as a club under Kenwright – and that's on the field, off the field, any way you like.

It brings us to now where we are light-years from the top 6 on the pitch and off it including the stadium and how the club is run, PR etc. This is Moshiri's job now to put right which he is giving it a go, stumbling along, yes, with some mistakes made. I hope we will be better run over the next few years.

Reluctantly I thank Kenwright for finding Moshiri. I still think the club are too parochial, a phrase someone used earlier. Does Elstone think we're a big club with a big fan base? I doubt that for one minute.

John Keating
41 Posted 21/02/2018 at 12:21:04
Geoff (#13),

Do you not remember just a few short months ago? We were an embarrassment, still are to be honest.

Would you really want us to finish 7th, qualify for he 16th qualifying round and get drawn against FC Vlad of Tirana and make an exhibition of ourselves. Have another non pre-season and go through a similar season as this?

Well, I'm all for playing in Europe and have been following us there since the 60s but just now, at present, I would sooner us get this disaster of a season over and start afresh next season.

Geoff Lambert
42 Posted 21/02/2018 at 12:30:11
John (#41),

And hope to do what next season, John? Play better and finish 8th again so we don't qualify for Europe, or hope to get knocked out of the cups in case we qualify for Europe through one of them?

Or do you think we will get top 3 and jump in to the Champions League and not make an exhibition of ourselves?

Got to walk before we can run and plenty of games in Europe will give us the experience we need to progress.


I

Joe McMahon
43 Posted 21/02/2018 at 13:35:41
John, take your point about FC Vlad of Tirana. The Champions League as we know it now has been going since 1992. It's nothing short of shocking that Everton have never played even in the group stages.

Apart from Joe Royle and Roberto Martinez, we have been blessed with the most morose miserable managers during this time also. Add to that we have Danny La Rue as the Chairman – Everton for the past 25 years has been a shambles.

I also don't want matches in desolate Russia playing Kemerovo. We never win these competitions anyway. Who could forget Dinamo Bucharest 5-1 Everton and this season in the Europa League???

Geoff Lambert
44 Posted 21/02/2018 at 13:46:08
Joe, I take your point about not winning these competitions, but I think you will find that Everton are one of only a handful of English teams to have actually won a European competition.

Who could forget Bayern Munich?????

If you don't want to play in case we get beaten, what's the bloody point???

Ian Burns
45 Posted 21/02/2018 at 14:11:25
Very interesting article, Rodger, and I'm glad you put the question mark at the end of the Title "Best of the Rest?" because sadly I'm not convinced we are the 7th best team in the Premier League. We should be on paper but Leicester City will finish best of the rest this season and deservedly so.

I am an avid reader of all articles and posts on TW but recently I find it extremely hard to post anything positive (apart from heartening news about Davies and Evans) because EFC have become a side-note as far as the media are concerned and watching us play this season has become less than pleasurable.

Moshiri needs to bite the bullet and cut a clean sweep from board level to management because to carry on as we are would be unacceptable to John Moores and should be unacceptable to Farhad Moshiri.

Sean Patton
46 Posted 21/02/2018 at 14:27:36
Kevin

This team cost more than Spurs?

Another stick to beat the club with... I saw the link that stated this and our squad, according to them, cost over €350M which is patently not true, I've no idea how they got that figure.

Brent Stephens
47 Posted 21/02/2018 at 14:41:58
Joe (#43),

"Who could forget Dinamo Bucharest 5-1 Everton and this season in the Europa League".

Er, remind me?!

As Geoff says, though, if you don't want to play in case we get beaten...

Len Hawkins
48 Posted 21/02/2018 at 14:44:01
I was reading recently that the "Top 6" are lobbying for a bigger cut of the TV money which, if it were to happen, would make bridging the gap damn nigh impossible. Money is killing the game – be it the lack of it or having too much of it.

As far as I am concerned, something must be done to give teams parity in being able to sign top players – not just Man City, Man Utd and Chelsea buying who they like.

Perhaps a salary cap, limit on foreign imports, or quota for the number of English players fielded should be in place or enforced more severely to make the playing field a bit flatter, rather than the sheer cliff face it is at the moment.

Jay Harris
49 Posted 21/02/2018 at 15:33:54
Good topic and post Rodger.

Despite what many of us consider to be an appalling season, I notice that Burnley and Leicester are the only two clubs to have played the top 6 the same number of times as us and only have 2 and 4 points more respectively.

That points to the fact that the top 6 are way ahead of the rest of us. That IMO is partly due to skill but mainly due to mentality.

The top players all have that will to win that was so evident in our 80s side. The current squad look beaten before they have even kicked a ball.

We need players who have the belief that we can compete and win and, more importantly, we need a manager who can creatively find a way to win.

I know I am getting boring with this but I would have a nuts and bolts restructure getting David Dein in as CEO and tempting Arsene Wenger as DOF and give them the task of restructuring the playing and coaching staff.

I am a firm believer in evolution but, in EFC's case, I believe we need a revolution.

Lawrence Green
50 Posted 21/02/2018 at 15:49:35
Sean #46

I have just had a cursory glance at the individual purchase price of each of our current squad and I arrived at a total circa 𧷤m. That figure doesn't include our home-grown talent such as Davies who cost nothing on paper but may have been given a value by the link you mentioned. Also they may have put a value on Wayne Rooney even though a figure wasn't given for his transfer as far as I know.

My figure also includes Henry Onyekuru and others who may have been bought for the future or have been loaned back to their original clubs and so technically not part of the current squad. Jagielka and Baines cost 㾶m when purchased and obviously their individual value will be nowhere that now.

I can't verify Spurs' current squad value but nevertheless circa 𧷤m is what Everton have forked out for the current squad and they are performing little better than the many squads who have cost considerably less.

Lawrence Green
51 Posted 21/02/2018 at 15:59:56
I believe this is the link that Kevin was referring to with regards to Squad Values.

Squad Values

John Keating
52 Posted 21/02/2018 at 16:31:04
Geoff 44

I certainly remember every game home and away the season we won the Cup Winners Cup.

If memory serves me right, we didn't need seasons before getting embarrassed by every crap European team to get the necessary experience to win the thing.

Even at present, this squad has loads of players who are full internationals, and have played in international competitions. We have many foreign players who are used to types and styles of non-British football. So I don't think they need much European "experience".

I really do not think we need a few seasons of the Europa League to "get used" to European type football.

Very few British teams have, for whatever reason, succeeded in the Europa League. Many have had poor domestic campaigns going hand-in-hand with their European ones.

Now if you want a European campaign because it's great to go away on the bevvy, then fair enough, and don't get me wrong going abroad with a bunch of Blues is great. I loved it. Now I'm getting older it's worn off a bit.

After the horrors of this season, I would just be happy for a nice domestic campaign next season and would suggest anyone who wants an overseas excursion during the season to get a few cheap EasyJet flights from John Lennon Airport.

David Barks
53 Posted 21/02/2018 at 17:08:05
Manchester United won the thing last year, seem to be doing okay... I'd put the reason for other English clubs struggling in the Europa League down more to what Pep said, that they don't prioritize it and the “physicality” brand of football that they try to play is easily beaten aside by clubs from Spain that play passing football.

So in that sense, John, if we have Allardyce as our manager next season, I most certainly would not want to be in the Europa League because I could see us getting played off the pitch by a team with far less talent. But there is no issue with our preseason being cut short by having to play a couple of qualifying matches that we should never have any problem with.

In fact I think one of our issues has been how poor our preseason scheduling has been, compared to everyone from Man City to Spurs competing against the other top clubs from Spain, Italy and Germany in these USA preseason tournaments. We flew off to do some training in Africa and with a team of Albino players. Spurs were busy playing PSG, Roma, Man City and Juventus. That's crazy.

Geoff Lambert
54 Posted 21/02/2018 at 17:57:54
John, "I would just be happy for a nice domestic campaign next season."

And finish 8th and not win a trophy in case we had to play in Europe!!!

Get real, lad, and if you want to drink on County Road for the rest of your life, you are welcome to it.

ps: I don't drink anyway so getting pissed is not my thing.

Answer my question please: Where would you like us to realistically finish so we don't get embarrassed in Europe? I take it you don't want us to win any trophies either then?

Phil Walling
55 Posted 21/02/2018 at 18:15:50
Of course it's unfair to compare Moshiri's time with that of Kenwright.

But... and it's a very big 'but', the only facts that matter are results in return for expenditure. Since the much-vaunted billionaire's arrival (which greatly enriched Kenwright, of course), the 'almost 50% owner' has thrown the club's money around like a lunatic. Okay, he apparently now underwrites all borrowings but how does ever-increasing spending on ludicrously over-priced players justify his intervention?

Kenwright continues to get the blame for everything in these columns but, if he still has a real say in choosing and sacking managers (four in a couple of years!), staff and players that must be with Moshiri's acquiescence. And so the buck stops with the money man for whom no price is too big to pay. For anybody it seems.

Randy Lerner, Ellis Short move over – there's another moneyed fool in town. Ours.

Sean Patton
57 Posted 21/02/2018 at 19:05:00
Lawrence,

Thanks for that... yes, that is the one I saw and, after a cursory glance, like yourself, I just dismissed it because, unless the figures are in Euros, it is way out.

As you say, it is a stretch to get to £300M yet that story has Everton at €365M when you are coming up with sensationalism as the author of that story is you need to get your facts right.

I know we have spent a huge amount of money and got precious little bang for our buck but it isn't as bad as is reported in that article which is kicking us while we are down.

John Keating
58 Posted 21/02/2018 at 19:15:08
Geoff,

You appear a bit hot under the collar regarding my opinion. So let's get straight exactly what I said.

I would prefer this season to finish one below whatever position Europa League qualifying is. So if that is 8th then that is where I would prefer to finish. I actually said – obviously you didn't read it – was that

At no time ever in any post I have ever put on this site have I ever said I do not want to win a trophy in case we had to play in Europe. Understand, or do I have to make it any clearer? Get your facts right, my friend.

What I did say is that I would be happy to have a nice domestic campaign next season. Now if that means winning the Premier League or the FA Cup or the League Cup then, nobody would be happier than me... and believe me, I will be there every game cheering them on. They are all part of the domestic campaign are they not?

Even if at the end of next season we have played well in the league, stabilised the Club, got a permanent manager in and a good squad playing good football and finished 7th I would be happy, not overly, to return to the Europa League.

My initial post was talking about this season and the disaster it has been. There have been a number of contributing factors and, in my opinion, starting off the Europa League campaign so early was one of them.

Hopefully this is clear for you. If you don't understand this, please don't bother to reply. Thank you.

Geoff Lambert
59 Posted 21/02/2018 at 19:50:40
So you are not happy too qualify for Europe! I understand that perfectly.

Thanks, John. Let's hope for a nice campaign next term.

Eric Paul
60 Posted 21/02/2018 at 20:01:06
What is a “nice domestic campaign”?

I've been playing/watching football for 50 years and I've never played in or watched a “nice” match.

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

61 Posted 21/02/2018 at 20:59:48
John Keating, I understand your (and other posters') reluctance to qualify for the Europa League, especially when we have to enter at the early pre-qualifying rounds that start in July.

However, I am firmly in the camp that believes, if we seriously wish to grow as a club again, we need to be in Europe every season, be it the Holy Grail of the Champions League or the much-maligned Europa League.

There are a number of reasons I feel this:

1) Playing in Europe does have the potential to attract better quality players (and managers!);

2) Playing in Europe every year raises your profile and media exposure, potentially leading to ever-increasing revenues from better quality sponsors;

3) As a club we simply need to 'learn' how to handle simultaneous European and Domestic fixtures without a detrimental impact on our overall season;

4) Every season we are out of European Club football, our Uefa coefficient diminishes, which pushes us further down the rankings. The consequence of this is – as was the case this season – we did not have enough ranking points to exempt ourselves from the early Europa League qualifying rounds. Arsenal, by contrast and example, qualified directly to the group stage because of two decades of consistently qualifying for the Champions League.

As things currently stand, 2 of the obvious 'Top 6' in the Premier League are not going to qualify for the Champions League. Man Utd failed to do so last season, but went all the way to win the Europa League which, of course, is another guaranteed entry to the Champions League.

So, for me, European qualification every year should be a bare minimum requirement of an Everton manager, aside from landing any actual silverware.

Tony Marsh
62 Posted 21/02/2018 at 21:17:31
Nothing new really. Everton FC have been dire since the 1980s when it comes to our record against the Big boys. Take Man City out of the equation as they are relative newcomers in respect of the bigger clubs. Our record away at Arsenal is worse than it is at Anfield. So forth and so on. We suck against all but Man City in the top six.

Basically we have been crap for decades. I hate that title "best of the rest" as it implies we are somehow proud to be also-rans. I never use the phrase and never will. We just have to accept history keeps repeating itself when it comes to EFC.

Mike Allison
63 Posted 21/02/2018 at 21:17:55
I agree 100% with Jay (#61). Apart from the fact that I can't understand Everton fans not wanting European football.

We've used somewhere on the region of 35 players this season, we have 8 or so out on loan ready to come back next season. Even if we played two separate 11s between midweek and weekends for the first two months of next season, we'd have the players to do both.

Even without new signings, we could play the following at the weekend:

Pickford; Coleman, Keane, Funes Mori, Baines; Gueye, Rooney, Davies; Lookman, Tosun, Walcott.

Then let them put their feet up midweek whilst the following played Europa League, League Cup and midweek league games:

Robles; Kenny, Holgate, Williams, Robinson; Schneiderlin, Sigurdsson, Klaassen; Bolasie, Calvert-Lewin, Onyekuru.

Meanwhile, the following would just have to wait their chance:

Stekelenburg; Martina, Browning, Jagielka, Galloway; Baningime, Joe Williams, Dowell; Vlasic, Niasse, Sandro

Connolly, Pennington and Garbutt don't even make my third XI, let alone any of the promising youngsters who would be hopeful of breaking through like Anthony Evans, Harry Charsley, Anton Donkor or David Henen. Have I missed anyone out? Probably only the unfortunate James McCarthy.

No, the idea that we can't handle the fixtures is absolutely not to be entertained. It means nothing to me that previous Everton managers have contrived to fail to handle the fixtures. Previous poor management should not be a barrier to future aspiration.

Rob Halligan
64 Posted 21/02/2018 at 21:19:50
Jay, agree with everything you say except one thing. Arsenal qualified directly into the group stages because they won the FA Cup.

Our season started early because of Europa League qualifiers. The team had been back in pre-season training for 4 weeks prior to the first qualifier. In between, they had flown to Tanzania, about an 8-hour flight, and also played friendlies in Holland and Belgium.

In the past, we have played pre-season games in the USA and the Far East. I really don't see the problem with exchanging some friendly games for Europa League qualifying games, which in all honesty, we should be able to stroll through.

I for one hope we quality for Europe next season, purely for the reasons stated by Jay above.

Mike Allison
65 Posted 21/02/2018 at 21:21:29
Just realised I did miss out Besic and Mirallas, mostly on the basis that I don't think either of them will be back. We have a huge squad that not only ‘can handle' the fixtures, but actually required them to keep everyone match fit and involved.

And that's before we make any signings.

Kevin Tully
66 Posted 21/02/2018 at 21:33:30
Sean (#57) – I have no idea whether the figures quoted are correct, but according to Transfermarkt, we've spent 𧷦M over the past three seasons. So not too much of a stretch to say the squad cost 𧷺M to assemble (€365M).

They've apparently assessed every squad in the top 5 Leagues across Europe, so it's a little paranoid to suggest they've inflated our figures alone just to make a point about our squad costing more than Tottenham's, don't you think?

As far as 'another stick to beat the club with' comment, we are talking about 𧶲M thrown in the air to see where it lands, wasting our biggest opportunity since we broke away with 4 other clubs to form the Premier League. The idiots also thought it was a good idea to sell Lukaku and replace him with nobody. They should be ashamed.

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

67 Posted 21/02/2018 at 21:36:21
Rob, you are correct in saying that Arsenal qualified directly to the Europa League group stage as FA Cup Winners.

However, Arsenal as 5th place finishers in the Premier League last season were already guaranteed entry to the Europa League before winning the FA Cup.

As this list from August shows, the Arse were waaay out in front of any other club on coefficient points and so would certainly have avoided the Europa League pre-qualifying games Everton faced, even without winning the FA Cup:

Arsenal (ENG) coefficient 105.192
Zenit (RUS) 87.106
Lyon (FRA) 68.833
Dynamo Kyiv (UKR) 67.526
Villarreal (ESP) 64.999
Athletic Club (ESP) 60.999
Lazio (ITA) 56.666
AC Milan (ITA) 47.666
Viktoria Plzeň (CZE) 40.635
Salzburg (AUT) 40.570
København (DEN) 37.800*
Braga (POR) 37.366
FCSB (ROU) 35.370*
Ludogorets Razgrad (BUL) 34.175
BATE Borisov (BLR) 29.475
Everton (ENG) 29.192
Young Boys (SUI) 28.915*
Marseille (FRA) 28.333
Real Sociedad (ESP) 27.499
Maccabi Tel-Aviv (ISR) 23.375
Lokomotiv Moscow (RUS) 20.606
Austria Wien (AUT) 17.070
Hertha Berlin (GER) 16.899
Nice (FRA) 16.833*
Astana (KAZ) 16.800*
Partizan (SRB) 16.075
Hoffenheim (GER) 15.899*
Köln (GER) 15.899
Rijeka (CRO) 15.550*
Vitória SC (POR) 14.866
Atalanta (ITA) 14.666
Zulte Waregem (BEL) 14.480
Zorya Luhansk (UKR) 13.526
Rosenborg (NOR) 12.665
Sheriff Tiraspol (MDA) 11.150
Hapoel Beer-Sheva (ISR) 10.8758
Apollon Limassol (CYP) 10.710
Ä°stanbul BaÅŸakÅŸehir (TUR) 10.340*
Konyaspor (TUR) 9.840
Vitesse (NED) 9.212
Slavia Praha (CZE) 8.135
Crvena zvezda (SRB) 7.325
Skënderbeu (ALB) 6.825
AEK Athens (GRE) 6.580
Zlín (CZE) 6.635
Lugano (SUI) 6.415
Vardar (MKD) 5.125
Östersund (SWE) 3.945

(actual site link): Link

You need to scroll down the list a fair bit to locate Everton on 29.192 points compared to Arsenal's whopping 105.192. There are some quite anonymous teams above us in this list, too.

The coefficienct points system really matters and is a key reason I want us playing in Europe every season, without fail.

Jay Harris
68 Posted 21/02/2018 at 21:53:03
I fully understand the point John is trying to make.

This season was ruined by bringing in a load of new players and allowing our top goalscorer to leave without replacing him and then bunging this lot into a squad playing in Europe with hardly a game to get to know each other, swiftly followed by a large dose of the top 6 who had all had a proper preseason with largely settled squads.

We are just about getting organised and settled (although I'm sure some with disagree with that) so a proper pre-season with no distraction would set us up for a much better season next time. Look at how well the top teams that were not distracted by Europe did.

Like John, I would love us to win the league, the FA Cup, League Cup or whatever but it all starts with proper preparation allied to a good squad managed by a top coaching team!!!!

Tom Bowers
69 Posted 21/02/2018 at 21:57:04
Hard to believe that Sandro in one season has played in the Premier League, the Europa League and now the Champions League (and nearly scored). What a player!
Rob Halligan
70 Posted 21/02/2018 at 21:58:07
Of course Jay, you're absolutely right. That's the only reason we qualified in the first place. But more research required on my behalf. 😕😕
Laurie Hartley
71 Posted 21/02/2018 at 22:00:42
If we are ever going to get back to the top, we have to start somewhere. That would mean Europa League qualification in the first instance.

Whether we can achieve that this season is debatable but we did beat Leicester recently – the up till then 'best of the rest'.

One thing we are though is survivors and that in itself is a start. Since the Premier League started, there are only six of the current Premier League teams that have not been relegated:

Arsenal
Manchester United
Liverpool
Chelsea
Spurs, and last but not least
Everton.

The only difference is the other five have won something in that time and Man City found a Sheikh and got promoted from the Championship.

From a financial perspective "mid-table mediocrity" is not to be scoffed at if you can maintain it. Perhaps that was the mindset of the previous major shareholder?

It will never be enough for Evertonians though – myself included.

I believe Moshiri has a different mindset; I hope I am right.

James Hughes
72 Posted 21/02/2018 at 22:07:59
Mike (#63). Interesting team selections there... a real mixture of players not at the club or injured. What are the suggested formations? I was thinking 2-3-2 on the 1st eleven. Unless Funes Mori and Baines are good for 90 mins and Lookman returns from Germany,
Jay Harris
73 Posted 21/02/2018 at 22:37:14
Laurie I think you'll find that Spurs, Liverpool and Everton have all won the FA Cup or League Cup in that time but not the Premier League.

Spurs have hardly done better than us except for league position over the last few years.

Clive Mitchell
74 Posted 21/02/2018 at 22:46:26
Good article, Rodger. What it tells you is that we've been an absolute disgrace this season: spineless, gutless, don't try a leg in the games we're expected to lose and even fail to turn up at Southampton and Bournemouth. Journey too far for you is it lads?

As you point out Rodger, it's the goal difference that is utterly shameful: 14 worse than Burnley's. Sean Dyche and his team would be rightly ashamed of our record – a team that Aaron Lennon has walked into on merit.

And don't go blaming it all on Fat Sam – he's not made a positive difference to this shambles, but it was in full swing before he turned up. Absolute bloody disgrace, which is why it's two cheers at best for home victories against the likes of Swansea, Palace, Bournemouth and Watford. Nil satis, my backside.

Sean Patton
75 Posted 21/02/2018 at 23:01:34
Kevin,

Let me get this straight: you've no idea if the figures are correct but then you believe them when they claim the squad is more expensive than Tottenham? How does that work?

I'm not being paranoid, I just want a factual article to get its facts right and not make stuff up!

Jerome Shields
76 Posted 21/02/2018 at 23:46:51
Well researched article. My take on it is that Everton is a building job for the next five years, and that thinking we are top six side, sleeping giant and a big club is unrealistic nonsense.

Obviously the Manager we have is not up to the job and will only bullshit us with the flannel that Everton are what we aren't. The other problem will be finding a suitable Manager who is prepared to be Manager of Everton. Also likewise for potential players.

Say we get the suitable Manager the work ethic of the Club will have to change. It's ridiculous that a Club with the finances available and players on large wage packets are out of all Cups and struggling in relegation mode most of the season. It's obvious they need to work harder.

Our performance over this past 10 years has been inconsistent. We may have had the odd good result against a top six side, but recently Everton have been hopeless, sometimes to the extent that we have seemed to give up for such a game before playing it (Tottenham, Arsenal).

Laurie Hartley
77 Posted 22/02/2018 at 07:58:01
Jay (#73) – Thanks for pointing out my blooper Jay – how could I have not mentioned the Dogs of War!!

You are also correct in saying that Spurs have only started improving in the last few seasons. It doesn't seem that long ago that I seem to recall us giving them a football lesson at White Hart Lane. Arteta, Pienaar, Osman, and Carsley played out of their skins that day.

I suppose my point is that – while we are still in it (the Premier League) – we are in with a chance of improvement.

Strange as it may sound, I think that is just around the corner.

Rob Halligan
78 Posted 22/02/2018 at 16:25:34
This thread has brought interesting debate as to whether we are the "Best of the Rest" or not?

One thing this football club is "The Best of the Rest" at is helping out in the local community and beyond.

We all remember the donation towards little Bradley Lowrey in September 2016. Today, it has been announced that Bill Kenwright has donated 㾶k towards an appeal for Alfie Evans.

For those of you who don't know, Alfie is a 21-month old baby with brain damage, and apparently he can't breathe or swallow on his own. A high court ruling earlier this week recommended that his life support machine should be switched off tomorrow. I'm not sure if this appeal is too late or not, but I'm sure everyone on ToffeeWeb wishes Alfie and his parents all the best with this appeal. I'm guessing Mr Evans is a blue as the Everton crest has been in view when the story has been on the news.

A lot of people criticise Kenwright over many things, but once again he has shown why Everton Football Club is indeed the best football club in the world. Well done, Bill.

Brent Stephens
79 Posted 22/02/2018 at 16:36:20
Agreed, Rob. Well done, Bill.
Paul Hewitt
80 Posted 22/02/2018 at 19:41:02
Great piece, Rob. Bill ain't so bad, is he?
Brian Murray
81 Posted 23/02/2018 at 15:12:35
Call me naive but I honestly thought eve Sam would embrace and thrive on the step-up in level we always yearned for; sadly not so.

Please, Mr Moshiri, don't waste another year... time for Fonseca or at least try for Simone or that level. Silva is a bit young yet and needs to prove he understands the defensive side of game – or is he just another Martinez fantasist?

Having said that, they are all a risk. We need to get lucky for once...

Brian Murray
82 Posted 23/02/2018 at 16:06:46
Paul Hewitt (#80), Bill ain't so bad?? If you mean as a human being who tries to do the right thing... yeah, maybe.

As a chairman? Perrr-lease! From merchandise to kit choice to ground moves to drawn-out ballsed-up transfers... yes, he's unbelievable.

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