Where did it all go wrong?

by   |   13/04/2018  26 Comments  [Jump to last]

It’s a pity last weekend’s derby wasn’t played on the Friday night. If it was, it would have been 4 years to the very day since Martinez’s dynamic Everton side demolished Arsenal 3-0 to overtake them in the Champions League places.

Arsenal picked apart by magnificent Everton

Compare and contrast


We had an innovative young manager who had the upmost confidence of the fans (see the attached report – only a few comments down and the demands start for him to be given a new, long-term contract).

In Stones, Barkley and Lukaku, the spine of the team was made up of 3 of the hottest young talents in the English game.

And we were a team. There was a spirit and togetherness about the players, who played with pride, passion and professionalism. Even the less glamorous ones who possessed more limited ability would play out of their skin and seemed to have a place in Martinez’s vision. Again, see the attached report for the plaudits Steven Naismith receives.

Okay, so Boys Pen Bill was still Chairman, and, as we sang, we had no money so we signed our players on loan. But all our transfer business had been shrewd and, in the aftermath of Our Former Manager leaving, the managerial appointment seemed to be a sound one.

Only 4 years ago... The future looked bright. The attractive, winning football looked set to continue, and Champions League football – and dare I say trophies – seemed to be on the horizon for the club.

4 years and 1 day later and an insipid derby display in which, barring the last few minutes, we played for a 0-0 draw against an understrengh Liverpool side who were asking us to attack them and we wouldn’t. Tomorrow, we’re expected to lose away to Swansea. So, where did it all go wrong?

No, I’m asking, where did it all go wrong?

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Alan McGuffog
1 Posted 13/04/2018 at 16:45:03
I would say the games against Panathanaikos in 1971
Paul Birmingham
2 Posted 13/04/2018 at 19:28:53
Alan agreed and spewing the old 1st division, in 1975, set the mould, bar a few mid 80s golden years, for a life time of mediocrity on the pitch.

Great laughs and banter and ale drank, but where it counts it's been rank poor.

This season has capped it, for me.

Alan McGuffog
3 Posted 13/04/2018 at 22:00:36
Paul, to this day, I hate the signs for bloody Carlisle on the M6.
John Daley
4 Posted 14/04/2018 at 03:22:18
Fragile confidence and the inability to keep the inferiority complex that has long infested the club from mounting an immediate comeback.

For me, the turning point in Martinez's reign (and the mindset of the players at the club at that time) came early on in his second season. 2-0 up and seemingly cruising against Arsenal at Goodison, with 7 minutes remaining on the clock, Everton somehow contrived to throw the 3 points away. The players left the pitch that day looking utterly shell-shocked.

Next time out, against Chelsea, they started the game in the same dazed state they finished the previous and were 0-2 down within 3 minutes. They ended up sloppily conceding 6, and the manner and timing of the goals kept hitting like repeated hoofs to the bollocks. 35 seconds (*HOOF*), 3rd minute (*HOOF*), own goal (*HOOF*), one a mere 5 minutes after making it 2-3 (*HOOF*), another just one minute after fighting back to 3-4 (*HOOF*), and one resulting from a cock up in the last minute just to round things off (*HOOF*).

Those two results tore apart the slow building confidence that had almost crept up on the players during the previous season. The first brewing of belief that they could close the gap on, and maybe even go toe to toe with, the big boys by playing a thrift store version of tika-taka.

When Martinez first came in with big talk of practicing a more expansive, possession based, playing style and that change being sufficient to enable the squad to challenge for a Champions League place, I believe many players left behind by Moyes initially viewed him as nothing but a naive, incognizant, bell. We all know the story about Lukaku, shortly after signing, saying he was surprised by the quality of player at Everton and how he would put them on par with those at Chelsea, only for Jagielka to completely piss himself laughing... and probably carry on snickering, non-stop, for weeks and weeks, when on his own, in his bed and on the bog, like Mr Burns when he recalled crippling a fairground worker by repeatedly ramming a dodgem car into his leg when he was a kid. Yet, when the results started to come, it forced them to reconsider and you could almost see the transition from them thinking "tit!", to "Fuck me, maybe this fella is onto something after all".

There were times during that first season when the key component of confidence looked likely to crumble... the hammering at Anfield, the cup defeat to Arsenal, the chucking away of all their recent good work against Crystal Palace... but there was always something to reignite it just around the corner. A rousing comeback to snatch a win in the last 15 minutes against Villa, a 6 game winning streak in which they hit 16 goals, the return of public enemy Presbo to Goodison.

However, those two self-inflicted horror shows, one straight after the other, against sides they had been kidding themselves they were in the same Champions League chasing pack as, caused their arses to empty completely.

From thereon it seemed to be widely accepted, both within and without Goodison, that Martinez's Everton team were defensively weak, constantly shooting themselves in the foot, that Howard and Distin in particular were now prone to having their pants pulled down in public more often than Huey and Dewie Duck, and the manager himself had no damn idea what to do about it.

The confidence to play without constant fear of fucking up has never really returned since, irrespective of who has been in charge. There may have been the odd game where things have gone our way and the wings temporarily unclipped (Man City last season being the most recent I can think of), but any excitement or belief engendered has always been tempered by an innate understanding that it was likely to be nothing more than a one off, a freak occurrence where everything came together, rather than something tangible that could be replicated and built upon.

That ever-present fear has consequently led to a prolonged period of playing with the handbrake firmly cranked to 'timid', the pace slowed to 'tortoise', the tactics set to 'keep it tight', with the resulting entertainment level for the paying punter barely transcending above "I wonder what's for tea tonight".

Martinez was a one-trick pony who lost the plot and was allowed to linger too long.

Koeman was an uninspired, inspiration free, half-arser, who couldn't even rouse himself into looking like he gave a flying fuck. The fact he had unheard of funds (for an Everton manager) to throw at it just makes his time at the club stick in the craw even more.

Allardyce was an unbelievably short-sighted panic move that has served only to poison the last shallow waters of lingering enthusiasm and good will remaining amongst long suffering supporters.

The continued presence of a man whose self-polished reputation persistently struggles to radiate beyond relegation proofing, firmly presses down the rubber stamp on the lowly, languishing, "small fry" label blues have spent years forlornly railing against. A losing battle finally brought to a definitive end by the custodians of the club lazily declaring "Sod it" and drafting in a figure whose remit extends no further than merely keeping them afloat.

Now, what the hell is needed to begin to reverse the situation and get us back on track is, by far, the more important question, and it's one that needs answering within the next couple of months; otherwise, next season could be even more toxic.

Mike Kehoe
5 Posted 14/04/2018 at 09:24:10
The relative success of Martinez's first season was built on the defensive solidity he inherited from Moyes. He encouraged the team to be more focused on attacking and in Lukaku he was blessed with a Glock rather than a Swiss Army knife. When things unraveled and the defensive shortcomings were exposed he could do nothing to rectify the situation throughout his tenure. It may well be that Martinez's style will bring success at an international level with the incredible quality at his disposal in the Belgium squad, but this is where football is a parallel universe because anybody: Jacob Rees Mogg or the cast of Made in Chelsea would get Belgium to the knock out stages.

We have gone from one extreme to the other: from the cavalier attacking cluelessly phenomenon moments of Martinez to the dour spirit sapping monotony of Allardyce's anti-football with an arrogant moron in between. All of which has been presided over by Kenwright, who seems to have genuine love for the club but hie strengths lie in musical theatre: I remain utterly unconvinced by the conspiracy theorist's who insist he some kind of despicable Bond villain.

The many failings of Allardyce have been explored in numerous posts on TW by people with more insight and knowledge than me: his greatest quality seems to be his boundless ignorance and his tenure represents nothing less than a tragedy that we have been allowed to fall so far from grace. On the evidence of Allardyce's entire career he knows one ‘style' of play and will stick to this without deviation. I wince whenever he is interviewed and feel shame to see him on the touch line: it is like watching a dog trying to set up a series link on Sky and he is paid an obscene amount. This season has been horrific, every bit as bad as anything served up by Mike Walker or Walter Smith and every bit as harrowing as Wimbledon 94. I sincerely hope others feel the same, Moshiri in particular who will never have witnessed Goodison at its best. This has got to be the nadir and Moshiri must carry out a ruthless restructure and remove the deadwood.

The next managerial appointment is so important to the club but is the right man? Many on here demand the biggest names, Conte, Simeone or Tuchel, but is that realistic? Everton have history but that counts for very little. Although I remember laughing at Jack Walker saying he would bring in Dalgliesh. Fonseca is a defensive minded manager who has succeeded in a two horse league and Silva has done little to suggest he is capable.

It is fair to say that the club is at a once in a lifetime position with regards to finally having the money to compete. In recent years we have witnessed epic managerial naivety and gross ignorance that shames the club. I don't expect to see a top name installed but we need competence as a minimum requirement.

I half expect Moyes to return.

Andrew Clare
6 Posted 14/04/2018 at 10:26:08
After the glorious sixties with the great Harry Catterick at the helm culminating in the fantastic 1970 League title, we were never the same again apart from maybe 1 or 2 seasons in the seventies and the all to brief glory days of the mid-eighties.

Kenwright's reign has just compounded the situation and now we have Moshiri who, so far, has been a disaster. We are like the flip side of getting it right.

Our neighbours are the example of getting it right and we are the example of getting wrong. Two big teams with big support, same city, one a success; the other a disaster.

It's all about leadership, ambition and football knowledge. We have none apart from money that we don't know how to spend.

William Cartwright
7 Posted 15/04/2018 at 03:52:12
Selling (giving away) Lukaku, sponsoring Rooney, £45M for Sigurdsson, other summer splurges, Unsy in Kenwright's pocket, Allardyce, Jim White as club spokesman, appointing Walsh – a scout – as a 'Director of Football', Allardyce and Shakespeare, Little Sam, Duncan Ferguson and other bandwaggoners, Banking heavily on Koeman (unfortunate that – the rest were and are self inflicted).... have I missed anything?
John Daley
8 Posted 15/04/2018 at 15:21:02
William @7,

If the club employing Steve Walsh, Sam Allardyce, his Smurfs and Duncan Ferguson constitute 'self-inflicted' wounds, why does the hiring and subsequent backing of Ronald Koeman escape the same charge?

Moshiri didn't inherit him as manager. He made him his Number One choice, enticed him with an exorbitant salary, installed a Director of Football to suit his favoured ("I want a few days free a week to fanny about on the course in me Farah's") working methods, let him treat players like shit in public and proclaimed "He's Koeman, he does what he wants".

All on the back of a couple of steady seasons at Southampton whilst overlooking the disharmony he had brought to previous clubs. There's no way he should be given a free pass on that one.

Joe McMahon
9 Posted 15/04/2018 at 15:31:55
During the Kenwright years, possibly Kings Dock failure all those years ago. Since then, Spurs, Man City (of course) and Liverpool have just left us standing – still standing in tinpot Goodison. If Newcastle keep Rafa, they will also overtake us.
John G Davies
10 Posted 15/04/2018 at 15:50:24
Where did it all go wrong?

Not sure of the exact date but it was 1999.

Clive Rogers
11 Posted 15/04/2018 at 16:05:00
It was the day Kenwright took control. He has ruined EFC and ended up making a fortune out of it. He still has never put a penny into the club.
Pete Clarke
12 Posted 15/04/2018 at 16:22:48
WW1; WW2; Harry Catterick's health; Howard Kendall's health; Heysel; Kenwright's takeover.... Andy, a lot more instances where our march has been altered.

We have been like a number of boxers who win a title by surprise and then lose it on the first defence but all this rolled into the history of one club.

I suppose accepting that we are just another club is really hard for us all to swallow.

Anthony Murphy
14 Posted 15/04/2018 at 17:38:29
An obvious choice, but the Kings Dock fiasco tops the lot in the Premier League era.

The disallowed Ferguson goal vs Villarreal, Distin's backpass in 2012, and (linked to the original post) the Crystal Palace home game in 2014 – exactly 4 years ago tomorrow – threw away a golden chance to finish fourth and the chance to build on Roberto's first season.

I think we started to believe the hype only for Tony Pulis to throw a spanner in our works. In all three games mentioned here, extremely narrow margins have been our undoing. That final push, that extra bit of belief needed, that little bit of good fortune.

Dennis Stevens
15 Posted 15/04/2018 at 17:49:49
It all went wrong when Everton vacated the cabbage patch & thereby created an unnecessary local rival when they could have had the Man City to themselves.
Phil Walling
16 Posted 15/04/2018 at 19:07:04
New stadiums apart, it never went seriously wrong under Kenwright until he decided to cash in his chips by selling to Moshiri.

Moyes kept him out of trouble and even his lazy appointment of Martinez brought us a good first season. Like so many more, I made jokes about his bloody 'train set' mentality but once he sold out to Russian Railways we were in the shit!

Of course it took so long for him to find a partner because he, Boys Pen Bill, wanted to bank the dough and keep the station master's bowler. But can you just imagine the chaos had Moshiri been manning the signal box all on his ownsome?

We are buggered, I tell you. Buggered.

Tony Abrahams
17 Posted 15/04/2018 at 19:22:08
Seriously wrong, Phil? Fuckin hell mate, I thought we used to exist to win a trophy, every so often.
Danny Broderick
18 Posted 15/04/2018 at 19:26:57
In Martinez's first season, everything clicked. The team was already so focused defensively from the Moyes years that he released the handbrake and it was a perfect storm. The fans loved it, the players seemed to enjoy it and we got a record points total in the Premier League. We made good buys in Barry, McCarthy, Lukaku and Deulofeu, and it all looked so promising. Martinez was like a breath of fresh air and he gave everyone confidence and made everyone believe.

The wheels fell off though. The players never looked as fit again, and the team became more and more fragile defensively. Martinez didn't know how to correct it.

The key thing for me in Martinez's first season is that we had a manager who seemed to get the club, and everyone was on the same side. We need something like this to happen again, because things seem to turn quicker and quicker at Goodison these days. We can't keep appointing managers that the fan base turns against after a dozen games. I just don't know who we could realistically get now. Maybe Silva is our man – he is up and coming, and seems to have something. It's just that he never seems to stay anywhere.

Whoever comes in, I just hope we can get someone young enough to want to build something. We need to give that man time, and we all need to get behind him. We need to get rid of the storm clouds and get some optimism back – the next managerial choice is key.

Phil Walling
19 Posted 15/04/2018 at 19:45:11
Tony at 17, no club has a FORGONE RIGHT to trophies but permanently 'safely in seventh' we were viewed as 'Best of the rest.'Now it's more like 'First of the worst' !'

Am I the only one who sees it all going down the shitter with the introduction of Moshiri ? And there's no going back so Moyes 2 is not the the answer !

Tony Abrahams
20 Posted 15/04/2018 at 20:02:19
I don't know if you are the only one to see it this way Phil, but we stop existing to win trophies once Kenwright, begged, borrowed, and stole, to make us best of the rest, which is a term that will never be good enough for me.

Best of the rest? What a fucking title that is.

Sam Hoare
21 Posted 15/04/2018 at 20:09:12
Reading that old Arsenal report was enough to make me cry. How long has it been since we've looked remotely like outplaying one of the top teams?

I think John@4 is pretty close to the answer.

My tuppence is that it all comes down to player recruitment. Moyes inherited a terrible squad bought mostly well and turned it into a good squad. Martinez inherited a good squad and adding Lukaku turned it potentially into a great squad; but two seasons of inflexibility and backward progress saw the best players leave/age/look to leave. Koeman inherited a good squad and absolutely screwed it!

The last two years were crucial. We were selling our best players and had genuine money to spend. Sadly we spent £30m on Bolasie, £25m on Schneiderlin, £25m on Klaassen, £30m on Keane, £45m on Siggurdsson. That's over £150m on 5 players none of whom would make first XI in top 6 clubs. It's early days but I worry the £50m on Walcott and Tosun could go the same way.

Not only were the players not up to it but there seemed no clear plan, philosophy or Identity, as Cahill put it, that they were bought for.

Whoever is responsible for player recruitment over last 2 years is hugely responsible in my eyes.

Phil Walling
22 Posted 15/04/2018 at 20:15:35
Tony, in over fifty years as an Evertonian, there were many, many of them without a trophy even before we'd ever heard of Bill Kenwright. After the glorious Catterick period, John Moores kept us waiting a long while for further success so don't give me 'Glorious Goodison' please !
Tony Abrahams
23 Posted 15/04/2018 at 20:31:21
I think most people prefer John's humor, but I prefer it when he talks about the football, because he usually makes a lot of sense, like he does in post 4.

I had never thought about them two games, like that before John, but you could be onto something, with regards the players and their confidence after those two games.

I would take it back to the first game at Leicester, when we threw away a game, when we should have been out of sight, and Martinez, kept Lukaku, on the pitch, although he was knackered, and it was crying out for Mirallas (who I've never liked) to come on and use his freshness, in a game that was a stroll in the park?

We started looking very vulnerable in the air that day, and I'm not sure we have ever truly recovered, and we have gradually gone backwards defensively ever since the start of MArtinez, second season.

Maybe this is slowly starting to change under Allardyce, who to fair has got a really poor midfield at present, but as the Bayern Munich coach, famously said to the Everton bench, this is just not football, and I just can't wait for Allardyce to do, what the Bayern coach, was told to do in reply!

Tony Abrahams
24 Posted 15/04/2018 at 20:42:42
Phil, read my posts, I'm not giving you any glorious goodison's mate. I'm just saying that once Kenwright got his paws into Everton, I just believe we have stopped existing to try and win trophies.

He never had the money, it was never his aim, but only in this modern era, have we ever been called plucky little Everton?

We were shite, and skint, when Kendall first became our manager, but we tried to win, and this is eventually what we did, but in the Kenwright era, robbing Peter, to pay Paul, became the most important thing, and this will always be Bill Kenwrights biggest victory, IMO?

Andy Crooks
25 Posted 15/04/2018 at 20:48:49
John D, you have surpassed yourself on this thread. Top stuff.
George Stuart
26 Posted 16/04/2018 at 11:49:38
I've had a good think about this and, after a few false starts, the demise started in a few places:

Firstly, we were back. 1984-88. Best team in the world in 1984-85. Yes, we really were. Denied a memorable triple only by tired legs (booze?) and a remarkable turnaround in a final we dominated, against a clog only Man Utd, caused by a retiring ref sending off a player in the Final for the first time ever. They were incensed and rallied.

The RS were at sea and delivered their only double the next season because God doesn't hate us but he must make us pay. But we rallied and the remnants of the great team were good enough to win the Championship again.

Then it happened. Howard Kendall left. I don't think he was a truly great manager but he was good. With some exceptional players. Then we built for the future (sic). The two Scandinavian lads (nice lads) and McDonald... a real candidate for worst Everton player ever.

The RS bought Beardsley and the England winger John Barnes and soon Hansen. Too late, we bought Cottee. Again a lad I liked. Nevin, whom I liked, for Steven? An 8/10 for a 10/10. Would Beardsley and Barnes have signed if Kendall had stayed? Would we have made them an offer. History does not record this.

Failure to consistently build on success was the problem. Bob Paisley invented it, Ferguson perfected it, with Wenger employing it very very well. Then Abramovich and the Arab chaps injected a financial differential which will never be breached until the multi-billionaires get bored.

Man Utd, Arsenal and Liverpool, once great clubs. Get used to it.

Craig Walker
28 Posted 26/04/2018 at 15:42:57
For all of Martinez's faults and there were a lot at the end, his first season was by far the best season I've experienced since we won the FA cup in 1995.

I remember the week where we went to Old Trafford and won and then got a draw at the Emirates where we were the better side. We should have beaten the RS in the Goodison derby that year as well – a silly free kick by Distin allowed them to equalise (familiar Everton trait). Even in his second season, which was a huge disappointment, we comprehensively beat Man United at Goodison and had a few memorable matches in Europe.

I think John Daley has hit the nail on the head when he says we threw away a 2-goal lead against Arsenal at Goodison and then it all came down like a pack of cards. That does seem like a turning point in that era. By the end of Martinez's tenure, it was desperate but that first season was special and was the only time I genuinely felt that we were close to something. The only thing we had to worry about was the terrible club badge.

My spirits are back down to the time when we had the likes of Ginola and Gazza turning out for us. Totally depressing.

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