Are you (allowed to be) entertained?

By Paul Traill 06/05/2018 24comments  |  Jump to last
Everton 1 - 1 Southampton

The last home game of the season and with Gaz unable to make it, my other half “benefited” from his ticket and, after much kerfuffle, with the shop loading my Walrus card with the wrong date, we eventually arrived over the water at about 3pm and headed for the Ship & Mitre and enjoyed a few ales outside in the sun, Steve also joining us.

On we went to Moorfields Station to get the train to the match. We don’t do this much anymore but, when we do, it always brings back memories. Back in the day, Ste and I would travel to every game by train and it is a nice change from time to time.

Settling into my seat at Goodison Park, I hadn’t heard about t78th-minuteute protest until Gary mentioned it to me. Not much of a walk out occurred in the end, but the unrest amongst the supporters is palpable. It was a strange atmosphere. Very end-of-season and there was a lot of chatter amongst supporters throughout, even if there was a noisy away end occupied by the Southampton fans.

That said, and certainly as far as Everton were concerned, there was precious little to get excited about on the pitch with only a decent-distance Davies drive and a looping Tosun header, both off-target, the fruit of Everton’s labours. At the other end, Charlie Austin forced Jordan Pickford into a good save with a distant effort in a half which saw Everton constantly on the back foot… so much so that Sam Allardyce felt obliged to change it at the break by withdrawing Yannick Bolasie to bring on another centre-back. Everyone scoffed but it was an attempt to get more width from Allardyce and bring Nikola Vlasic into play from the centre.

It didn’t work. Cenk Tosun tried a neat flick inside for Vlasic who couldn’t control, and with Baines pushed upfeld Southampton broke down our left with Cedric’s ball in headed home nicely by substitute Nathan Redmond. With three centre backs on the pitch I don’t know how he found so much space. “Fuck off Sam Allardyce” was chanted pretty loudly. He must have heard that one.

Southampton continued to carve out more opportunities as Everton, amidst an ugly crowd reaction, struggled to pull anything together. The introduction of Oumar Niasse helped create a few chances and he very nearly teed up Cenko Tosun for an equaliser. Maya Yoshida was given his marching orders when, already on a yellow card, he made a very needless challenge on NIasse to reduce Southampton for 10 men.

The Saints were getting nervy. They’ve conceded a lot of late goals lately, and were finding it difficult. In injury time, Seamus Coleman was chopped down outside the box and Leighton Baines stepped up with the free kick which Alex McCarthy stretched to tip over in the penalty area. Is it true Leighton Baines has never scored a free kick at Goodison Park, by the way? Does anybody know?

You sensed the chance had probably gone and when Ramiro Funes Mori got himself into a right mess down by the far corner flag; he was bailed out by Jonathan Moss awarding a free kick, which Everton took quickly and broke upfield. I’ve just seen this again on Match of the Day and you can see where Southampton have issues with getting games over the line. They were sat so insanely deep as Everton broke. A ball into the box wasn’t really dealt with by McCarthy but Ryan Bertrand chased it to the byline and, given we were in the sixth minute of stoppage time, should have smashed it into Row Z.

I’m pretty sure Moss had put the whistle to his mouth to blow up but, upon seeing the clearance only went as far as Idrissa Gueye, he felt obliged to carry on. Gueye carried it forward and played it to Tom Davies who hit first time, the ball deflecting off Wesley Hoedt and into the goal past the helpless McCarthy. A goal so unbelievably harsh on Southampton, but also of their own making somewhat. I’ve no dislike towards Southampton but I did find it pretty funny.

We didn’t stick around to applaud the guys on their lap of appreciation. Katja, totally bored, had already left with five minutes to go and waited for us on the island.

With still one game to play, and no more to play at home, I hope that’s a line drawn under Sam Allardyce’s term at Goodison Park. He seems pretty well protected by the media but I don’t know why. I get that they say “He’s more than done his job”, “You’re 8th, what more do you want?”, “He’s kept you up” etc, but those who say this, can’t have seen performances. He hasn’t entertained.

Brendan Rodgers wasn’t doing an especially bad job at Liverpool, but they saw an opportunity to bring in someone better, and have since gotten to three finals, one a Champions League final, and have become top four regulars. Nobody seemed to be crying about Brendan when he got the sack.

Going back further, Mark Hughes was doing especially badly at ambitious Manchester City, but their owners saw an opportunity to bring in Roberto Mancini, someone better, and they went on to win the league.

Tottenham Hotspur brought in Mauricio Pochettino and have improved and nobody seemed to mind. Manchester United weren’t doing well enough and sacked David Moyes; nobody cared. They progressed slightly and then sacked Louis Van Gaal; nobody cared... and now they're better off. Why can other teams try these things and get their arse kissed for it, but when we do it, it’s outrage?

Do the media have a problem with “little old rubbish Everton” being ambitious and not settling for mediocrity? Are us as supporters of a club with a rich history not allowed to want better? Are we not allowed to dream big? Are we not allowed to be entertained? Isn’t Nil Satis Nisi Optimum our motto?

Sam will be gone in a week or two. Let’s draw a line under it and go again next season with a new, better, manager. A big breath of fresh air is needed. There’s a lot of cobwebs to blow out of the club.

Player ratings:

Pickford: Performed well in front of the watching England boss. I’m looking forward to him representing England at the World Cup. 7

Baines: By far one of the better ones out there. 7

Jagielka: Did okay if not brilliant. 6

Keane: A bit sloppy really. 5

Coleman: Did pretty well and kept on going. Wears his heart on his sleave and cares at least. 7

Gueye: Did okay. 6

Schneiderlin: Did OK. 6

Bolasie: Jesus. 5

Vlasic: Maybe a bit unlucky to have been hooked but something had to change. Bright in spells but not consistent enough. Hardly surprising though given he’s hardly featured all season. 5

Davies: Gave the ball away quite a lot and was getting stick from the crowd. He never hides though and that’s why I’m so impressed with the boy. People are screaming at you and you’re 19 years old, but you always have the courage to show for the ball, and he got his reward for carrying on going. Well done, Tom. Don’t give in to them. 6

Tosun: Largely anonymous really. 5

Funes Mori (for Bolasie): Gets himself in impossibly bad situations time and time again. A defender who can’t defend. He would certainly be in the “get rid” camp for me this summer. 5

Niasse (for Vlasic): Made a huge impact. Was lively and showed good quality on the ball and helped get Southampton on the back foot somewhat. My Man of the Match. 7

Klaassen (for Jagielka): A section of the Gwladys Street were singing his name for some time prior to his arrival on the pitch and we were all pleased to see him get on the pitch. He did pretty well in his short cameo. His first touch to flick it on to Davies was sublime and he chased hard. He gave the ball away near the end trying to get it forward but he’s so short of match practice it’s hard to blame him. I hope to see more of him next season as currently we’ve no idea if he’s good enough or not. I can’t believe he hasn’t been given more opportunities. 6

Reader Comments (24)

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John Harrop
1 Posted 06/05/2018 at 14:23:26
I reckon that's an overly harsh comment on Funes Mori. He's just returned from a long layoff through injury and looks understandably rusty. A defender who can't defend, but he was good enough for Argentinia before injury. Maybe he's not the best we've seen at Everton, but we will need four central defenders next season, and he should be one of them in my view.
Christopher Timmins
2 Posted 06/05/2018 at 14:39:01
Paul, thanks for all the reports during the season, unfortunately
the story of how you arrived at the stadium was often more entertaining than the games themselves. Hopefully, the 2018/19 will bring more joy in terms of points and performances.

Sam has done his job, deserves to be paid in full for the remainder of his contract, and a younger and more ambitious manager should be appointed in his place. Hopefully, this can be achieved with some dignity over the coming weeks, however, with the management we have in place you just never know.

Michael Lynch
3 Posted 06/05/2018 at 15:17:39
Paul you're absolutely right about Citteh and the RS upgrading on not spectacularly bad managers, but they were in for Mancini and Klopp and we seem to be looking at Silva or Howe. Not much of an upgrade really.

Mike Hayes
4 Posted 06/05/2018 at 17:51:59
When asked for photos and signature Vlasic replied several times - I'm too embarrassed - whether that was from his own performance or the team as a whole we will never know - he looked upset but was calm in his reply - he is a passionate player as is Klassen Coleman Baines and Jags - we need more like these at the club
Ajay Gopal
5 Posted 06/05/2018 at 18:16:06
Absolutely right, Paul. You ask some very valid questions - especially the title of your article. I don't have any grouse against Sam, he came, did his job, and he should be on his way out. He has sometimes come across as egoistical, and making it about himself, but for doing the job, he was brought in to do, I can allow him that. I suggest that it would be in Everton's interest to let Sam go gracefully, instead of making it bitter and drawn out affair. You can be sure that he will be back in the media, and it would hurt Everton to antagonise him.

Enough of Sam. I hope that Moshiri is working hard behind the scenes to set a new organisation in place. Walsh needs to be shown the door, hopefully Brands comes in. I would like someone who knows the Premier League and the club to be in the management. So here is my list of candidates:

Eddie Howe (my preferred candidate)
Wenger (ha.. ha.., fat chance)
Nagelsman (Hoffenheim)
Brendan Rodgers

There would be many other candidates, I am sure, but I suggest that we cannot afford a 'big name' like Simeone, Ancellotti, even Benitez. I think that the Brands-Howe partnership would steady the ship, and bring some freshness and new thinking into the club, with the possibility of Everton playing some decent football, and having a go at the Top 6.

Bill Watson
6 Posted 06/05/2018 at 21:05:19
Bolasie 5? Did I miss something? I gave him 1 and that was for his one and only centre that got past the first defender!

This guy would be second on my list to ship out but it'll be difficult to find another club as mug as us and he's on a long contract, to boot.

Mirallas is top of die Liste!

Tony Everan
7 Posted 06/05/2018 at 21:06:13
Paul, you are a very generous character with those marks, all you have to do to get 5/10 is have a pulse.
Si Cooper
8 Posted 06/05/2018 at 21:21:07
Paul, if John Moss felt obliged to blow his whistle because a clearance wasn't as conclusive as it could have been, then he doesn't understand his job, which is to blow his whistle when he judges the match has reached its time limit irrespective of where the ball / phase of play is. We've all seen whistles blown as people were in the act of shooting.
Personally, I supported the protest and wished everyone had left at the 78th minute mark. I don't really understand people watching the whole match and then snubbing the players (and their kids). Since people are saying these players just aren't good enough, then the logical conclusion is that they are at least trying their best.
I don't believe the players are performing at their peak, but I happen to believe there is more to coaching than just drilling. I walked out of the pub at the 78th minute because I believe the players are inadequately coached and poorly utilised, and where the buck for that stops is higher than the players themselves.
Ray Robinson
9 Posted 06/05/2018 at 22:00:01
Si, that's three separate managers then that have failed to coach these players properly? I will throw brickbats at Allardyce as much as anyone where deserved, but with the exception of Tosun and Walcott, he inherited this team and they weren't performing any better for the previous two managers were they?

I don't even think it's lack of effort on the part of the players (maybe with one or two isolated exceptions) - just a complete lack of balanced and appropriate purchasing by Koeman and Walsh.

Steve Hogan
10 Posted 06/05/2018 at 22:23:43

I enjoy your pre-amble on actually getting to the game, a bit of light relief from what we have had to endure this season. A couple of points re Allardyce.

I was sitting directly opposite Kenwright and Moshiri during the game and I contemplated just what their opinions were on what they just witnessed and undoubtedly heard.

Clearly the MAJORITY of our match going crowd want Sam gone, do they risk further 'alienation' between the club and it's fan base by keeping him in the job for a further 12 months.

It will be a costly exercise of getting shut of not just the manager, but ALL of his backroom team, but they have to weigh up the fan reaction next season if we witness many more of the same performances we have witnessed since Allardyce took over the reins.

This is a team massively short on quality, not effort, we really huffed and puffed yesterday.

I keep stressing, this is a MASSIVE close season for Everton as we possibly lose the manager, CEO, Director of Football and possibly the Chairman if rumours are to be believed.

It does however, offer Moshiri the chance to start again with a blank sheet, and bring in the personnel (and they are out there) to put our great club back at the top table again.

Over to you Farhad.

David Barks
11 Posted 06/05/2018 at 22:58:08

In what world did the previous three managers have the same players? Keane wasn't here for Martinez and only had 8 games with Koeman (some of it injured). Rooney, 8 games Under Koeman, same with Sigurdsson. Bolasie wasn't here during Martinez, neither was Schneiderlin or Gana or Davies.

So to be clear, the only players who have been here during the last three managers are Coleman (much of his time injured Under Koeman) Baines (often injured), Jagielka, Williams, Funes Mori (injured most of Koeman's stay).

Walcott and Tosun weren't here for Koeman or Martinez. Calvert-Lewin only for 8 games Under Koeman. The players have changed massively over the course of the last couple of years. In no way have the same group of players failed to perform for the last three managers because the last three managers have not in any way had the same group of players.

Klaassen came on in the last 15 minutes and instantly looked a cut above any other player on the pitch, able to make a pass that was simply ahead of the player and not behind him. But he can't play according to Sam. Lookman was shipped off, with Sam trying to send him to fucking Derby before Lookman said hell no, I'll go to a top team in Germany and improve myself. Training and tactics make a difference, just ask Guardiola.

Jay Wood

12 Posted 06/05/2018 at 23:07:06
David... we have had THREE managers this season alone.

Surely, quite correctly, THAT is what Ray is referencing, doncha think..?

Damian Wilde
13 Posted 06/05/2018 at 23:55:18
Baines was terrible. Needs to go asap.
Bill Watson
14 Posted 06/05/2018 at 23:58:29
To be fair to Unsworth he was faced with 2 games a week, most of them away, including the Europa League.

I'd guess he didn't have that much time for coaching!

Damian #13

Since he returned Baines has added composure to the back four as has Coleman, on the right. He may not be the player of 3 or 4 years ago but he's still a very useful player.

James Stewart
15 Posted 07/05/2018 at 00:02:37
Keane was atrocious and the sooner he is shipped out the better. Agree with most of the other ratings.
Dennis Stevens
16 Posted 07/05/2018 at 00:12:23
Unsworth wasn't manager, he was only caretaker. He had two games a week & no real authority, so I doubt he got much coaching done.
Andy Crooks
17 Posted 07/05/2018 at 00:18:43
Paul, thank you for your reports. You give a really good view of the game for supporters who can't get there. I guess it takes a bit of time and I can imagine in a season like this there must be times when you really can't be arsed. But,your words are much appreciated even if your marks are generous. Too stuff, Paul.
Anthony Murphy
18 Posted 07/05/2018 at 00:26:05
Paul, you make some great points in your last few paragraphs about how other teams are perceived as showing (the right) ambition in replacing their manager, whilst we are portrayed as ungrateful and above ourselves. It's noticeable also that although Man U sit comfortably in second place with a world class manager, the media remain obsessed with their current style of football adopted. It's constantly scrutinised and commented on as not being fit for such a magnificent club, yet we are blasted by the same pundits for not accepting the appalling dross served up.
Jamie Sweet
19 Posted 07/05/2018 at 03:34:29
Likening Bolasie to Jesus is a strange one!
Brian Porter
20 Posted 07/05/2018 at 06:26:51
John Harrop #1, totally agree with you regarding Funes Mori. This lad could be picking up a World Cup winners medal in a few weeks if Argentina succeed in Russia yet we have a large number of fans prepared to write him off/ship him out. I think the point is that the Argentine national team coaches know how best to utilise his skill set whereas neither Koeman nor Allardyce had the first idea about how to handle either him or most of our squad to be honest. In Koeman's case we were shown ample evidence that being a world class defender did not necessarily make for a world class defensive coach.

As for Allardyce, my greatest fear, if he stays, is that if he remains, we will probably lose important assets for the future, such as Lookman and Vlasic. Lookman has already proved Allardyce to be a poor judge of players, his performances and scoring record for RB Leipzig already totally eclipsing the pitiful performances by Allardyce's choice, Bolasie. I can't forget Allardyce's reply one day when asked why Bolasie was getting game time ahead of Lookman and he effectively said "Because he cost a lot more". What a manager?

Ray Robinson
21 Posted 07/05/2018 at 08:09:04
David #11, I was, as Jay points out, including Unsworth. Whilst I accept that Unsworth hardly had time to do any extensive coaching with the players, they still seriously under-performed for him too.

I stick by my point that the team is ill equipped to achieve much better, irrespective of the manager / coach. How does another guy get Rooney to acquire some speed, Bolasie to even look like a footballer, Davies to regularly pass accurately to a team mate, Jagielka and Baines to roll back the years, the team to press, when Gana apart, the players do not have the batteries to do so? I could go on. The squad is totally imbalanced, collectively lacking pace and energy. On the form under Allardyce, extrapolated over a whole season, we'd have achieved seventh. Do you seriously think this squad could have achieved any more, irrespective of the manager?

On the subject of entertaining football, that's a totally different question but results-wise I'm not going to reproach Allardyce for effectively doing as well as he could.

In my opinion, to improve and play more entertaining football, we need a new manager and a much revamped squad.

Rob Williamson
22 Posted 07/05/2018 at 08:24:43
To add to your list of clubs who got rid of managers who ‘were doing ok but not good enough', you could include Everton. John Moores sacked Johnny Carey when we were sat 4th in the table. 4th FFS. How times, and our club's expectations have changed.
Ps I know we finished 5th in that season, but we were actually 4 th when he was sacked.
Phil Walling
23 Posted 07/05/2018 at 20:45:56
Truth is a team doesn't have to be very good to finish top eight these days !

The bottom half teams are so useless, I suspect they would finish bottom half in the Championship. Sam has been lucky but he can only beat what is served up to him because the miracle of Dyche will be relegation fodder in a year's time.

The game is up as far as I am concerned, I shall no longer damn Everton with faint praise. Trophies and top six are the only achievements and however substantial the money available to him, Moshiri is a walking disaster with or without the man he recently enriched -Kenwright !

Steven Jones
24 Posted 08/05/2018 at 07:59:39
I am one for optimism and stability. Sam brings hard headed results and professional preparation for the team and is steadfast.

Its the old Alan Curbishley, be careful what you wish for situation.

If they do get someone new, and by inference throw all the foundations that SA and his team have built over the last few months we could be in trouble. In a World Cup Summer we could make poor recruitment for the new man because demand is high and any talent brought in that plays in the world cup will need a rest, then the new man changes the styles, formation and player selections - it does not appear too far fetched we could be in an unstable position come October/November looking for yet another new manager.

I would be happy with pragmatic dour foundations with new style taking a few more months to come to fruition.

I for one will support the new man on the basis that is how we can make a difference as fans and as it is the hope that one day they will succeed and say for a long time. However the decision to stick or twist should not be based on frustration with our current playing styke as we have dug ourselves out of a mess this season.

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