Much for Big Sam to ponder

by   |   20/03/2018  36 Comments  [Jump to last]

A season that promised so much has failed to live up to expectations for Everton and any chance of threatening to break into the top six has long since passed.

Last summer’s spending spree seemed to herald a new era at Goodison Park but, with a managerial change in November last year, it has been very much a case of one step forward and two back.

Sam Allardyce has steadied the ship and three wins from five has ended any talk of relegation, but there are clearly issues that need to be addressed as thoughts turn to next season’s challenge.

It seems as though spending £150m on recruitment is not enough for success these days and, as politicians clash over bookmaker shirt sponsorship, it seems as though the Toffees, who recently announced SportPesa as their new shirt sponsor, will have to find more money in the summer to solve a number of problems.

Big Sam will doubtless start from the back and the centre half position needs work in the off-season, with Ashley Williams and Phil Jagielka not getting any younger.

Michael Keane arrived to much fanfare but has failed to hit the heights while the jury is still out on Ramiro Funes Mori.

The Blues shipped 50 goals in their first 31 games this season and that is not something you normally associate with an Allardyce side.

Leighton Baines has never let anyone down in his 11 seasons at the club but is also the wrong side of 30, while Séamus Coleman will need to prove himself after his injury absence but has the class and work ethic to get back to his best.

Goals have been hard to come by, especially away from home with just 12 on the road all season, and it is a collective failing of the attacking players and cannot be levelled at just the strikers.

Romelu Lukaku’s goals were always going to be hard to replace and it is telling that Wayne Rooney leads the goalscoring charts with just 10.

The former England captain has played with passion and no little skill but Allardyce has made it clear that he does not want to partner Rooney with Gylfi Sigurdsson, and it is open to question whether the current set-up is getting the best out of the Iceland international.

He will surely be persevered with as he has obvious class but other big-name players might be on their way at the end of the season.  

Strikers feed off the midfielders and Morgan Schneiderlin has failed to make much of an impact despite having plenty of top-flight experience, and it seems inevitable that Allardyce will look to strengthen his midfield ranks at the end of the campaign.

Cenk Tosun has started to find his feet and the net after his winter arrival but the fans are crying out for a 20-goal man up front.

It is not all doom and gloom at Everton, however, and, with the upheaval of Ronald Koeman’s departure, it always seemed as though the remainder of the campaign would be about consolidation.

That will not be enough next season and it looks set to be a busy summer for the veteran coach as he plots a way back to the right end of the table.

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Reader Comments (36)

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Dave Ganley
1 Posted 20/03/2018 at 09:09:39
God forbid that Allardyce will be manager come next season. The football has been as dour as his personality and it won't change next season should he somehow still be here.

As to the transfer market, well it's not rocket science, you do your homework on players before you buy. Since Moyes left, the recruitment drive has been little short of pathetic. Players have seemingly been bought without any kind of plan where to play them, whether they will fit in with the dressing room, whether they will fight like hell to save a lost cause, will they upset teammates with bad attitude, the list is endless.

There have been very few players that you can look back on in the last 5 years and say he's been an excellent buy, the club have been lucky to have them. Gareth Barry maybe, Sigurdsson may turn out like that, Pickford maybe when he matures a bit more, the point being that I'm really struggling to find players who were right for the club.

Lukaku being one of the worst despite his goal scoring record. We became totally reliant on him and he knew it. Rarely if ever (Chelski cup game excepted) did he turn up for big games, he just did it when he could be arsed, Man Utd are seeing that now and are complaining bitterly. All the attributes for a fine player but it's all about him, definitely not a team player.

The shift from Moyes teams to the current lot is stark. No team spirit, no willingness to fight for each other, basics shocking, no appreciation for the fans. By the way I'm not extolling Moyes just showing how poor the decline has been since he left. At least his teams cared.

As I pointed out earlier, it's not rocket science and you don't need to spend a fortune, just do homework on players and if they don't fit then don't buy them. The last 5 years seems like players have been just pulled out of a hat and said "Yeah we'll have him". Same could be said about the last 3 managers too (Unsworth excepted).

Shocking planning all round. Let's start with identifying a manager who has a plan, can execute said plan and has a plan to get players who can fit into a system. Let this manager be someone who has proven he can motivate players and doesn't unnecessarily fall out with players. Let this manager be someone who has a decent defensive record but can also attack. The board need to do their homework as much as the next manager.

If Sam Allardyce is still our manager next season, then God help us.

Martin Nicholls
2 Posted 20/03/2018 at 10:26:02
The only planning Allardyce should be doing is for the team of part-timers he should be managing in Dubai next season.

It is of course a matter of opinion as to whether or not he has "steadied the ship" since he was foisted on we supporters – mine is that, if a man whose sole supposed strength is being able to organise a defence cannot achieve more than one clean sheet in his last twelve games, even his "strength" is weak (if that's not a contradiction in terms!)

Don Alexander
3 Posted 20/03/2018 at 11:26:41
Dave Ganley, I've been saying the same thing as you for most of this season. A mere change of manager, without major re-organisation of the boardroom, Finch Farm, and the Director of Football function, is likely to see the next bloke fail as dismally as the last three. That's why Moshiri needs to urgently find an adviser with a track record of imposing winning systems and thereby achieving success for the club.
Dave Abrahams
4 Posted 20/03/2018 at 12:21:14
I can't see where Sam has impressed enough to be given the nod to carry on next season. He's had his chance to prove he is able to move Everton forward but has failed miserably, in my opinion, especially in the defensive work of the team, which is supposedly his forte.

Maybe some of the 7% who are voting for Sam to be kept on can educate us fans why they think he can be the man to make us proud of the club.

Tony Abrahams
5 Posted 20/03/2018 at 12:54:33
So Allardyce would apparently have Everton in 6th place if the season started from his first game in-charge against Huddersfield. It shows me how poor the Premier League has become, and it's switched me on to how many teams are now employing something I will term “The Allardyce Effect”.

His first game against Huddersfield, and they brought a load of first-team players back, because they had been rested against Arsenal, thinking Everton was their better chance of getting 3 points?

The league is poor, but so are we. Walsh, has got to be taken to account for such an unbalanced squad, but at least recruitment has improved under Allardyce, whilst the football has stayed the same as his predecessor, which was also just unadulterated shite!

I'd love someone like Fonseca, but if not give it to little Arteta, who knows the league, knows the club, seems to possess a lot of (football) intelligence, and is someone I'm sure the fans will get behind, which is something the club hasn't had for a few years now.

The league is shite, so let's stop wasting money, and let's start building from with-in.

Ernie Baywood
6 Posted 20/03/2018 at 13:14:32
Ignoring my own views on Allardyce and any impact he has had, I wondered today about the next set of games. They could go really well or they could go really badly (or somewhere in between, but stick with me on the two extremes)...

With Sam... if we did really well, we would go into the summer as a club that under-performed but got 'saved' by a manager who makes teams hard to beat. If we did really badly, we'd be seen as a team that needs a complete rebuild with a new manager. Even with the best case, we'd go into the summer with little expectation.

If we now thanked Sam for our 40 points and brought in a new man... if we did really well, we'd be looked at as a team ready to challenge again with a new manager who can finally deliver for us. If we went badly, we'd be seen as a club that had some turmoil but is ready to rebuild with a manager who has had time to assess the squad.

Is that a fair assessment?

I'm struggling to see any benefit of retaining Sam. If we're going to attract any players to improve this squad, we need one of the last two scenarios, don't we? Who is going to join Sam's Everton, or even post-Sam's Everton?

Surely the best case here is we bring a manager in. The players can play for their Everton careers – who really thinks that they'll be playing for Sam next season?

Jay Wood

8 Posted 20/03/2018 at 14:18:16
Dave @ 4.

It's probably rude of me to point it out, but you recently held your hand up as one of those who canvased for Sam Allardyce to be appointed.

Now I write that not to ridicule or castigate you. You are fully entitled to that opinion, as you are now entitled to change your stance on Sam.

Nor were you alone. The rationale was that he was the ideal appointment in the situation we found ourselves in after the Koeman-Unsworth double act after 14 games.

Others considered it a panicked and unnecessary appointment. Yes, the team and performances were dire, but the most challenging of opening fixtures compounded our problems.

But a quick glance at the fixture list Sam inherited would have told you Everton could – and indeed did – start picking up points and move up the table.

He immediately addressed the season-long problem we had encountered: 28 goals conceded in the opening 14 fixtures, averaging 2 a game - and tightened up the defence. In his first 6 Premier League games we had 4 clean sheets and gave up just 2 goals.

He did this with a largely settled back four of Kenny, Holgate, Williams and Martina. Due to the congested Xmas and New Year fixture list, out of necessity, to give players a break, he tinkered with that line-up and... we started conceding goals again and he never reverted back to what had proven to be his most reliable back four.

For me, that has been the most curious aspect of Sam's tenure at Everton. He seemingly quickly addressed and identified the best and most effective back four available to him... but then, broke it up and didn't revert back to it when other combinations did not perform as effectively. Very un-aSm-like for me...

Whilst your enthusiasm for Sam's candidature waned, Dave, your fear of relegation did not, even when presented with ample evidence that we were never seriously under threat of relegation since his appointment.

Ron Marr recently posted this link showing the league table of all teams' form since Sam was appointed:


This further reinforces that there are clearly many more worse teams than Everton in the PL as in that table we sit a very heady sixth. SIXTH!
Just 2 points behind Chelsea, 2 points clear of Leicester and – even with the two twattings by Arsenal – 5 points clear of the Arse (admittedly, all three of those have a game in hand on us).

I personally don't think it is particularly meritorious. Like brother Tony, I think it rather reflects just how impoverished the overall standard of the Premier League now is that we could occupy sixth in such a form table.

But such data could be enough to sway the powers that be to allow Sam to see out the full-term of his contract. I would rather hope otherwise, but it is far from a foregone conclusion for me that Sam will be released in the summer, or that other necessary management changes will be the order of the day.

Mike Doyle
9 Posted 20/03/2018 at 15:03:41
'Allardyce' just finished 2nd in the 2.10 at Clonmel... a distant 13 Lengths behind the winner.

Can or should anything be read into this?

Mike Benjamin
10 Posted 20/03/2018 at 15:41:11
Mike (#9). Was he the jockey or the horse?
Paul Tran
11 Posted 20/03/2018 at 16:10:15
Yes, Mike, even in a moderate race, he can't win!
Danny Broderick
12 Posted 20/03/2018 at 16:17:49
There's one thing that needs sorting out before the manager for me: Steve Walsh. He has done a terrible job so far, and he has not unearthed anyone. We have been buying the likes of Walcott, Sigurdsson etc – we all knew about these players. Who are we being linked with in the summer? Vardy, Wilshere and Nzonzi. Where are the gems he was supposed to be bringing in? We need to get rid of this clown ASAP. We don't need a director of football based on the players he is targeting.

In addition to that, we need to clarify the manager's situation. I am torn between wanting a new manager to come in, and Allardyce staying.

If he stays, I would like to think he will ship out the likes of Williams, Schneiderlin etc and hopefully he has identified where our weaknesses lie by now and will be able to bring in some players to improve the squad. We need to get rid of this soft centre we have throughout the squad, we are paying mega bucks to players who are so precious that they can't play away from home.

If he goes – who replaces him? There's no outstanding candidate for me. The other thing is that any new manager will wipe the slate clean and give some of these players who have now stunk the house out under 4 managers a chance to impress again. We all know that there are 7/8 players that need shifting. Will getting a new manager prevent this from happening?

We are caught between 2 stools, I don't know what Moshiri will do...

Dave Abrahams
13 Posted 20/03/2018 at 16:21:52
Jay (8), I take no offence whatsoever. I wanted Sam brought in because of his record of being a "firefighter" and saving clubs from relegation. I even thought it might be possible that he could, for once, be able to get the club moving to a much better position in the future, even getting an extended contract. I couldn't have been more wrong.

However, I started having misgivings about Sam not too long after he came, with the two away games around Christmas: Bournemouth and West Brom... plus the home game versus West Brom when his lacklustre team selections and gameplans (if any) were woeful to watch.

Since then, he hasn't given any indication he can make us a better team over the long term, although I give him credit for signing Walcott and possibly Tosun.

I admit I was terrified of relegation and what it would do to the long-term of Everton's future and to me relegation was very realistic. No matter what stats yourself and other people were sending, I looked at how Everton were performing and couldn't see a worse team in the league than them.

Now I don't want Allardyce at all and think Moshiri was pushed into giving him the longer contract after Sam refused the shorter one of just the rest of this season. I believe he will go before next season, hopefully at the end of this season.

Finally I have never been more glad to be wrong over Everton going down and I am very pleased you and a few more on ToffeeWeb were proved correct.

Robin Cannon
15 Posted 20/03/2018 at 16:40:53
@Danny (12) – I think the need for a new manager to assess the players is why it would be best to make a change now, rather than in the close season.

Howard Kendall used to say that becoming a new manager in the close season was the worst time. You didn't have a chance to assess your players properly, and could waste weeks persuading someone to stay and sign a new contract and then realize they were surplus to requirements.

Far better, he said, to change manager with 8-10 games of a season remaining, so that the new boss can use that period to assess the squad and go into the close season with a much more accurate idea of who might stay, who might go, and what the real squad needs were.

Brian Harrison
16 Posted 20/03/2018 at 17:27:34
The original post said, "Much for big Sam to Ponder". I think the man who has much to ponder is Farhad Moshiri. Does he fundamentally change his ideas on a DOF position, which he personally created. There have been rumours in the press of appointing someone else but keeping the role.

How you can appoint someone who was basically a PE teacher to recommend potential purchases, puzzles me. I know when Koeman was here and again under Allardyce it has been stated quite publicly that Walsh has 50% say on any new signings. Doesn't seem as he has unearthed too many stars so far.

Then an even bigger question for Moshiri is do you stick or twist on Allardyce. I don't think he will take much notice of our poll on ToffeeWeb, so what will he take into consideration come the end of the season? He may well think if we finish 7th "I cant possibly sack Allardyce," finish between 9th and 11th it makes his choices harder. Does he think most have renewed their season tickets as I and many have done, so there wont be a down turn in fans attending matches.

He might have picked up that a lot of match going fans don't like Allardyce, but does he think if he gives him more money in the summer and he turns things around then more fans will be onside. I guess in Moshiri's position all these thoughts will be going round in his head.

He might think Allardyce is incapable of playing the style of football that will get the fans onside. So he may end his contract in the summer. But, if he does dispense with Allardyce, then that will have been the 3rd manager he has sacked in a very short amount of time. So the pressure on him to get it right will be immense, and does he have the knowledge to appoint the right man?

I personally hope he does dispense with Allardyce, I cant see any scenario under Allardyce were we could even dream of challenging the top 6. I would suggest that, if he does change, make sure that you ask the next manager does he want a Director of Footballl so heavily involved in player purchases.

Jerome Shields
17 Posted 20/03/2018 at 21:53:53
David (#1) I couldn't agree more. You have correctly evaluated where the problems lie and the type of Manager we require. The problem is that the previous incumbents have made such a mess that finding such a Manager who will want to take the job will be difficult.

Allardyce still there this week is a real problem. Not in a million years would he be up to the task to fulfil your necessary requirements. The quicker he is gone, the better. The Board should have the necessary Manager resourced and ready to take over charge.

It's obvious that Allardyce has no tactical or coaching ability. He relies on old professionals stifling the game. It makes you wonder about the England set-up, who engaged Big Sam. No wonder Southgate isn't bothered if the World Cup is boycotted, a good way for him to stay in place without the inevitable scrutiny a World Cup would put on his ability.

Jim Bennings
18 Posted 21/03/2018 at 16:13:53
With all due respect, if – as likely – we get swatted aside by Man City and Liverpool in the Goodison games, then it's all going to be a negative vibe again and there won't be much for anyone to ponder other than a overhaul in the summer and an inquest into what has been a major cock-up of a season.
Pete Clarke
19 Posted 21/03/2018 at 16:54:49
If Sam Allardyce is kept on a long contract then Moshiri should be hounded out of the club. He is the boss who makes the big decisions and although it's difficult to forgive him for bringing the Neanderthal here it will not be possible if he leaves him in charge.

There was a reason he brought him here but he can have no reason for keeping him long term and everyday now is a day wasted by the club in holding on to him. Some people are cutting him slack because he signed Theo and Tosun but they have proved nothing yet. I hope they do but I have my doubts.

The games we have won lately were won in ponderous displays against shockingly poor teams so let's get real with the praise. If Adams had not walked last week, then it's a different game.

Very soon he will be back blaming the players because they can't pass to each other or missed the only chance we create in a game.

If I see Williams and Schneiderlin in our team together soon I will know then that negotiations for an extension on his contract are not going well for him and he is just trying to piss us all off before he leaves. I can suffer that one!

Lev Vellene
20 Posted 21/03/2018 at 18:50:54
I've always seen Keane as a gifted apprentice to be made into a traditional centre-back of top class. Jagielka might be the best one to teach him, if they can play together often enough. The Stones role imagined by Pep is not for Keane, so don't try for that!
Des Farren
21 Posted 21/03/2018 at 19:10:39
Allardyce and Everton... the words grate... like chalk and cheese. How did we ever end up with this fraudster? His every utterance is an embarrassment to this great club.

If he is still here this summer, making decisions for next season, I'm done. His appointment was the lowest point in our history... an insult to all those who have gone before.

His continuance in the role will only confirm the depths to which we have sunk.

Christine Foster
22 Posted 21/03/2018 at 19:56:53
Des Farren (#21), we arrived here because of the utter disgrace of the previous manager and the board of directors incompetence in failing to replace Lukaku, in bringing in players that were unplanned and without any idea of a go-forward strategy. A manager who was arrogant and dismembered a team with his ultimatums until the dressing room was lost. I could go on and on... but what's the point?

Allardyce was chosen because we were two points off the bottom three and we were awful. As Dave said, if we weren't the worst in the league, we were almost as bad. Moshiri protected his investment at the cost of this season.

I have never, repeat, never in all my years seen an Everton team as bad, so I understand why and how we came to have Allardyce. He has done his job and hopefully Moshiri will pay the man, show him the door and thank him for keeping us in the Premier League because, under Koeman or Unsworth, it was never going to happen.

But that's it. He should replace him in the summer and get the project back on track. But is Moshiri strong enough to do it? Will he find the right replacement? We need a better team in the boardroom as well as on the pitch.

So, we got there as a result of the mismanagement of the board and the playing management. It's worth noting too that, no matter who was appointed to replace Koeman, the result would be the same, with the fractured squad, lame ducks and lemons, a real poisoned chalice; it would take a miracle to transform them into a top six side.

We were let down as supporters by incompetence way before Allardyce was appointed. He has become the focal point of all that is wrong at the club – not the reason it happened – and that's letting the board, Walsh and co off the hook. I hope Moshiri replaces all concerned asap. Fresh management on and off the field required.

Des Farren
23 Posted 21/03/2018 at 20:36:42
Christine. I am as familiar with what led to the appointment as you are. I have no differences with you there.

I have supported Everton since 1954 – don't ask me why, but it happened. I was satisfied/dissatisfied with Moyes, Martinez and Koeman but never asked for any of them to be dismissed. Even Unsworth did an admirable job. Allardyce, however, is a completely different animal.

You dismiss Koeman and Unsworth as not able, yet commend Allardyce on saving us? Allardyce is as contemptible an individual inside or outside of football as you could wish to find.

I commend your support of this club which I have admired from afar, but your acceptance of this despicable individual purely on the questionable basis that he kept us up is, to my mind, un-Evertonian.

I don't care what he is attributed as doing. He should not have been appointed in the first place to a club with a culture such as ours.

James Flynn
24 Posted 21/03/2018 at 21:04:50
Allardyce was hired specifically for his "Fireman" reputation. He has fulfilled his remit. We have the 40 points.

Panic move hiring him? I'd say. It's irrelevant at this point, though. His job is done.

There's no way he's staying beyond the end of the season.

Christine Foster
25 Posted 21/03/2018 at 21:12:20
Des, Un-Evertonian? That's a crap comment and unwarranted. Sorry but do try not to cross the line, I am not an Allardyce supporter but I am pragmatic enough to understand why Moshiri appointed him. I dismissed Koeman and Unsworth (not because of his heart and love for the club) because of the neglect of the former and the lack of experience of the latter.

Should he have been appointed in the first place?

We should not have been where we were and where Moshiri felt he had no option but to protect his money. He is not and was not our choice. The fact remains we are not going down, the rest is conjecture. Moshiri will feel vindicated, does it sit well with me? No, of course not – don't confuse pragmatism with praise or satisfaction, the man's sole claim to management is his ability to keep clubs from being relegated. Not to play football. Certainly not in my eyes in keeping with the culture we all believe in.

No matter who or how we get there, we will play in the Premier League next season. But don't for a moment think I would praise Allardyce for his style or attitude or his personal values, or think he is the answer to our future.

As I said.. his job is done; move him on.

Don Alexander
26 Posted 21/03/2018 at 21:34:28
Christine (#22), well said indeed. This Evertonian completely agrees with you that to deem Allardyce to be the be-all and end-all of our problems is dangerously short-sighted.

Until Mr Moshiri arrived, this club had been brought to its knees by boardroom inertia – and that's putting it very mildly – for decades. With him, we've just about prised one knee off the floor despite squandering more money than all but half-a-dozen other clubs in Europe spent over the past 18 months.

And then there's the stadium issue.

Moshiri must surely be ruing the day he took the advice of the inadequates around the table in the boardroom and if I was him I'd be searching for much better qualified people to occupy all of those chairs.

EiTC does not need a club director to run it for instance, eminently worthy as the enterprise is. If we need to see tears at the ground, we could hire Gazza for the day so that's Kenwright's part covered.

And why it's taken so long to establish that Elstone is more comfortable with different shaped balls amazes me. The two new guys need to have their record made known so that appropriate verdicts can be made because, right now, they're tarnished with the same Blue-Bill brush.

Dennis Stevens
27 Posted 21/03/2018 at 22:11:01
Christine, I respect your opinion but I do disagree with your comment: "under Koeman or Unsworth ,it was never going to happen." That is an unfair criticism of Unsworth, not supported by the results he achieved.
Dave Abrahams
28 Posted 21/03/2018 at 22:34:34
I don't think for a moment that Allardyce will be here next season, but the fact is he was hired to keep us up this season; maybe we would have stayed up without him, maybe not. The panic, whether it was justified or not, is over, for now.

Next season, we will be still as bad as we are now unless the squad on the field is changed in quite a few positions, starting with the centre of midfield.

If the team in the boardroom and the managing staff, manager and coaches are not dramatically changed, the panic will start all over again in early August.

Allardyce, the manager, came and did what he was asked to do, at the time he came. To be honest, I wasn't worried about Allardyce the man – he could have been a serial killer as long as he kept us up.

Don Alexander
29 Posted 21/03/2018 at 23:29:14
Dennis (#27) it's obviously hypothetical to consider the effect on our results that any manager other than Allardyce would have had but Koeman was massively hampered by an inept Summer window and then an initial fixture list that was as difficult as any team in history has had to deal with.

Unsworth is nine years into a non-playing career and is already 44 years old. Howe, Dyche, Pocchettino, Wagner and Guardiola are more or less the same age. Unsworth hasn't wanted to leave his role with us. He is, by definition, complacent, unlike the five I mention above. That, I suggest, surely transmits to any senior squad he's allowed to manage, "good bloke" as he may well be.

We surely have to aim way higher than a youth team manager/coach if we have any hope of hitting the targets we all agree we aspire to don't we?

The Kenwright-inspired "He Gets Everton" mentality has resulted in grossly indulgent contracts being afforded certain people who have clearly demonstrated their individual and collective inability to deliver the coaching/managing goods for decades, Unsworth admittedly excepted lately in his relatively minor duties with the Reserves but come on, the only club to court him as a manager seems to have been Hibernian who he knocked back causing them to hire Alan Stubbs.

Alan Stubbs was an Everton coach at the time who in 2013 was interviewed by Kenwright as our prospective successor to Moyesy (he chose Martinez instead)! Stubbs did well enough at Hibs to then win a management job at real-world Rotherham United. He lasted a mere four months before getting the chop and evidently realising management wasn't for him, even though I'm sure "He Still Gets Everton".

If Kenwright's still there next season, I'm sure Stubbsy's looking forward to answering the tearful plea to "Come back Alan – we need you!"

Andy Crooks
30 Posted 21/03/2018 at 23:53:30
Don, I haven't read all this thread but many thanks for sending me to bed with "Unsworth is already 44 years old". Now I can reflect on the passage of time, the long days, short years etc, etc.
Don Alexander
31 Posted 22/03/2018 at 00:15:28
Sleep well Andy, one is obviously quite tired!
John Smith
32 Posted 22/03/2018 at 20:02:51
FYI – It took until February this year for Lukaku to score against a top 6 team!
Laurie Hartley
34 Posted 22/03/2018 at 21:39:52
Christine Foster (#22) – a well thought-out and even-handed post. So also your follow ups.

Eight games to go and, if recent history is a guide, this is the period when we are most likely to fall in a complete heap.

So I see these last eight games as the real test for Sam Allardyce. If we do well, he'll stay; if we do badly, he will go.

For the record, I am in the undecided camp as far as Sam Allardyce is concerned. I called for him before the West Ham game for reasons that have been stated a 1000 times by others on here.

I have to say though that a couple of posters, for whom I have a great respect, have made me take stock of where I stand on this matter. This is because of their obvious long-lasting love for the club, their fair-mindedness, and their view that he is most definitely not the man for Everton Football Club.

The upcoming period will tell me all I need to know to make my mind up. The squad has some talented players but some glaring weaknesses. The games against Man City and Liverpool in particular, are the acid test for Sam Allardyce.

Now that the pressure is off, can he get them playing better football and get some decent results? If yes, I think Farhad Moshiri will keep him on. If it goes the other way, we will be back on the manager and transfer merry-go-round.

Trevor Peers
35 Posted 22/03/2018 at 22:19:45
Well done, Christine (#22), your pragmatic appraisal of our situation is welcome. Realistically, Moshiri either finds a better option than Allardyce in the summer, or sticks with him.

He's a safe pair of hands. All the moral judgements are a bit rich; in the modern world, dig deep enough and you'll find the dirt on most people climbing the greasy pole to monetary success.

The injury list we have will make the next two games even harder to gain a result but, if things go badly, stand by for the inevitable personal abuse, which is becoming laughable and totally predictable, also sadly irrelevant.

Kunal Desai
36 Posted 22/03/2018 at 22:46:43
I'm not really fussed as to which players come in or go out. Like every summer, we follow the rumour mill on players in anticipation of players joining; however, this summer my only interest is on a new vision and outlook at this club and those that have a clear plan.

I'm eager for this current board to be gone and the managerial team to follow once a new board has been appointed. Only will we then, I feel, start a new chapter otherwise it will more of the same shit like seasons gone by. The change is imperative and must be made this summer at board level.

Pete Clarke
37 Posted 22/03/2018 at 23:52:22
With each passing day, I am now making my own reasons up as to why Allardyce is still with us. After last week's victory he can now claim that his job is done so there's reason in that.

My next thought is that any more turmoil before the derby may throw our very fragile bunch of players into chaos; to avoid a real thumping, he is better with us.

Beyond that, I will have run out of reasons for him to be here.

John Davies
38 Posted 24/03/2018 at 14:01:49
Trevor (#35) – you are wrong. Allardyce is most definitely not "a safe pair of hands". The man is archaic in his approach to man-management, coaching (if he actually does any), match tactics, etc.

His ego and arrogance know no bounds. He is the only reason we ever win games and bears no responsibility for any game we lose. He constantly self-promotes himself up as one of the best managers around by virtue of the fact that none of the teams he has managed have been relegated. Really? Is that the criterion?

No, the best managers around – just like players – are the ones who have actually won something. It's the winning of trophies that entitles a manager to claim to be successful.

So no, Allardyce is not a safe pair of hands if this fabulous club of ours is ever going to find its way out of the gloom that currently surrounds it – if Moshiri hangs onto him, we might as well all throw our season tickets in the bin.

Peter Dawson
39 Posted 11/04/2018 at 10:57:14
Please, Big & Little Sam...

Take your payoff and GO!!

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