Everton's Identity

by   |   08/02/2019  12 Comments  [Jump to last]

Ever have that feeling of not being sure of yourself? Not sure what you’re aiming for or how you’re supposed to get to where you are going? Listlessness sets in. Complacency. No sense of purpose. Lost. No identity. That is how I feel about Everton. I believe this is how Everton feel about Everton.

We have consistently been fed the line about our ‘project’ from the time David Moyes left to the present day. Can anyone tell me what the ‘project’ entails? What is the purpose? What is the aim? I’m not talking about platitudes and the general football patter which gets continually talked about.

I mean, what is Everton Football Club’s identity? The ‘project’ must grow from our identity, but what is it? I feel lost as a fan and supporter because there is nothing for me to get behind; to root for.

Back in Joe Royle’s management days, Goodison Park used to rock. We had an identity. The Dogs Of War. I could get behind that. It was blood and thunder, mixed with some skill. A never-say-die attitude. If we got beat, it wasn’t because we were out-fought. Or due to a lack of effort.

Under David Moyes, we also had an identity. Tough to play against. Rigid. Compact. Competitive. There were times Goodison Park rocked. I could get behind that.

Since Roberto Martinez’s first Christmas as Everton Manager, I’ve been steadily getting further disenchanted and disconnected from Everton. I place the blame on the club not having an identity I can get behind.

Does this stem from the manager? Well, we have a Director of Football now. For all intents and purposes a competent one. I like Brands. He appears no nonsense. He appears to know his football. Does our identity stem from him now?

Or does it stem from our owner? The majority one, not the old, bumbling, watery-eyed one. Does our identity start and finish with just one man, or as a collective? I’d suggest the latter, but cannot help but feel the manager plays a huge part in any identity the club develops.

Do we as fans and supporters know what identity we want? Or is it a case of just getting behind an identity we can relate to?

The players don’t seem as committed to the club as the players of yesteryear were. Do they suffer the same issue? Is it hard to motivate yourself if you don’t know who you are? It gets harder to motivate myself to support the club, so I imagine it’s pretty tough for the players too.

An identity the club can unite under is required. An identity everyone can buy into and support. An identity to get Goodison Park rocking again.

Even under David Unsworth’s brief management stint, Goodison Park was rocking. Was this due to the fact that we expected a return to the identity David Unsworth was moulded within?

Most successful clubs have an identity the players and fans and supporters bought into. Look at Ole at Old Trafford – he’s got Man Utd looking as close to a Ferguson side as anyone since Ferguson left. Klipperty has given them lot an identity – although they’re yet to win anything (fingers crossed that remains their identity).

I’d be happy to go to Goodison Park knowing who Everton are, so I can get behind them win, lose or draw. So I can say “That’s what we expect, that’s Everton!” At the moment, I go to Goodison Park not knowing who or what is going to turn up.

We are currently the Lost Boys of the Premier League.

Personally, I’d be happy if we built our identity on youth, interspersed with a number of key signings for key positions – with 100% commitment, aggression, speed, and never-say-die attitude as a bare minimum.

This, as a starting point, I can get behind.

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Reader Comments (12)

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Paul Richards
1 Posted 08/02/2019 at 16:41:37
I think I've got this one, Winston:

We are "The People's Club"! Whaddaya think of that? Pretty catchy, uh?

Something inspiring to rally behind, enliven the throng. Our old comrades, Marx and Lenin, would be proud to follow this Everton forward into battle against the capitalist-imperialist multi-national global machine, kicking all before it.

What's that you say? "Nowt to do with footie"...? Yea, I guess you're right. The Wolfie Smith in me got a bit carried away there... Well, let's try something different:

Everton in the Community — Oh yea, this one's just lovely!! All soft and nice and generous, a real charity, on and off the pitch. Helping those in need. Sleeping rough in the Gwladys Street. Teams coming here with no points, needing a win. Zonal marking, gifting goals at set-pieces. We are the World!!!

What's that you say? "Not the kind of charity we want"...? Yea, I guess you're right. But we made the no-doubt very highly paid boss lady of this fantastic charity our new CEO. That coonection has to be worth something surely? No?

Okay, last attempt: "The People's Project"!!!

This is a winner every which way. It'll make them Reds so jealous, a blue icon on the Banks of the Royal Blue Mersey. The best new stadium in the Premier League. Not the biggest, but the best. Too little at 52,000 and any of 3 to 8 to 25 years too late... but it's something we can get behind, isn't it?

No... I guess not. The only identity we should have or need is playing good football and winning trophies.

Mike Galley
2 Posted 08/02/2019 at 19:09:27
Winston, you've summed up how I am with our football club at the moment far better than I ever could.

There also seems to be a sense of apathy in the Goodison crowd.

Anthony Murphy
3 Posted 08/02/2019 at 20:09:38
I think a lot of it has got to do with the success of the Premier League. We are like many others – full house and waiting list for season tickets but total detachment between fans and club. How can we identify as a traditional working class fan base with the modern game?
Derek Thomas
4 Posted 08/02/2019 at 20:32:46
Purpose: New Stadium. Reason: Money - Next question?
Tony Abrahams
5 Posted 08/02/2019 at 20:59:00
If we could get from the players each week, what you describe as a bare minimum Winston, we could become like the Everton FC we once knew, again.

It sounds stupid, because it’s that simple really? One of the things that has always made Everton great is the crowd, and if the players played with heart, passion, fight, aggression, speed, and 100% never say die commitment, then I’m certain the crowd would do the rest?

David Hamilton
6 Posted 08/02/2019 at 22:59:59
Seems like School of Science has gone out the window, then?
Derek Thomas
7 Posted 09/02/2019 at 02:51:02
David @6; we do defend like a 'best of' clip from the 'Science of Stupid' show though.

Not withstanding a keeper that can't (under orders?) or won't (plain old chicken? / confidence gone?) come off his line... all our woes stem from the midfield, as in – we don't have one, we don't have a 3, or a 4, or even a 5.

We do however have a collection of Individuals, an 8, a 10, a defensive midfielder, not sure what modern trendy number / term Davies is.

I know what Walcott is though, take your pick from shite, not arsed, even again acting under orders, out of form.

Bernard is a great little player, but not much end product. I think he came 4 years too late for Baines.

4-4-2: Pickford, Kenny, Keane, Zouma, Digne, Davies, Gana, Gomes, Bernard; Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison.

Gomes flatters to deceive, I hope Spurs sign him, though he'll probably shine there in a decent team.

Back on point: How many times have I got to say this... The game is both won and lost in the midfield – was, is and always shall be.

Mike Kehoe
8 Posted 09/02/2019 at 11:12:35
Everything changes and evolves, so in the sixties Everton were the Mersey Millionaires, bank rolled/ underwritten by Moore’s and the successful club in the city. The seventies saw a rise in DIY and the older, arguably more respectful and constrained, fans spending their Saturdays doing home improvements and the youth being unsupervised and so the birth of hooliganism.
With the advent of Sky, football became ‘family’ entertainment and it was suddenly perfectly acceptable to go the game: so long as it wasn’t a Merseyside club, in which case you were automatically a thug/thief.
I think you could argue all clubs identity reflect their playing style, manager’s character, history, environment and fans but this changes constantly. For example the Tottenham sides I have grew up seeing seemed to always comprise a selection of delicate, dainty little fancy dans who could do lovely things with the ball if you would be so kind as to let them: then inevitably go to pieces when tackled by a big nasty brute. Not really the case now is it?
Our identity was evolving into a fantastic footballing team until the mid eighties when the dream was murdered. What followed was outrage and horror as everything decayed until the dogs of war emerged, shaped by necessity: surely that team’s identity perfectly reflected the anger and injustice felt by us all.
I could always get behind Moyes and his enforced pragmatism: I will always wonder what could have been achieved with a decent transfer kitty and wince when he is slagged off. Since Moyes it has been chaos, Martinez briefly looked capable until the defence Moyes had developed and nurtured was neglected and failed spectacularly. Another false dawn with Koeman and Allardyce to follow: truly the clubs nadir.
The identity we have of the club is different to how others perceive us: for many the club is little more than an average club with a good history. To us we feel cheated and angry, the golden age cut short to three glorious seasons. The identity of this team at present, I would argue, is to try to play expansive football but achieving little more than an utterly predictable style which is very easy to defend against; combined with an almost comical inability to defend set pieces. The players are not good enough and obscene amounts of money has been lavished upon dross. It seems the club has been asset stripped down the years and the rot and decay has infected many levels, from the board to the training staff: it all seems a bit comfortable and complacent.
I would be happy for the club to build on youth, for the identity to then be based on passion and commitment rather than purely money and career advancement: I would have rather Unsworth had a go than suffer Allardyce.
A lack of ability is regrettable but teams can be effective if the spirit is right. A lack of commitment is unforgivable. My worry at present is that Silva presents as lacking in spirit, guile and charisma while seeming to fail miserably to inspire any kind of passion or fire in the playing staff.
At the moment the club has no soul on the pitch so the identity is sheer and absolute mediocrity.
Robert Williams
9 Posted 09/02/2019 at 12:05:33
Something I remember from long ago - when Everton had an identity, when World Cup qualifiers played at Goodison, when we had oval spaces behind the goal. when we had a Golden Vision and those Fruit Melba sweets. I loved them always bit through to the soft centres. Funny, that is exactly what I remember about these last few years of being an Evertonian - soft centres - we've got a team full of them. Wife prefers ones with a hard nut in the centre!!


Stan Schofield
10 Posted 09/02/2019 at 19:31:47
I believe our identity is a combination of our history and our supporters.

Although we're going through a 'bad period', we do have a rich history (8 trophies since I started going the game) and knowledgeable and demanding supporters. It's the rich history that makes us demanding.

We're not like most other clubs outside the current top-6, because those clubs are largely content to be in the Premier League, and mid-table to them is success, but mid-table to us is mediocre.

For me, the essence of Everton is Alan Ball, Alex Young, Brian Labone, Howard Kendall, Colin Harvey, Joe Royle, Neville Southall and Peter Reid. Plus great quality football which we produced in our best years. And Goodison Park making the hairs stand up on the back of your neck.

The identity of Everton is quality, and the Latin motto represents it well. That identity will never die, because history cannot be changed, and the spirit of our supporters also cannot be changed.

I believe that this identity will return us to greatness. Not just yet, but soon.

Tony Harrison
11 Posted 11/02/2019 at 00:10:48
We have won nothing since the Johnson era! Despite his loyalty and being a “True Blue”, Bill Kenwright delivered nothing of substance.

When he eventually brought in money, he raised our expectations but, to date, Moshiri has been a disaster. He meddles far too much in an area he doesn’t understand and, if he is taking advice from Blue Bill, then you have to question his decision-making given Kenwright's record over many years.

I am assuming that we & Farhad Moshiri expect to push for top 5/6 and trophies. The current manager has a record of failure, why did we push and potentially pay big money to bring him in? The team, who we have paid massive money for, are poor at best, they deserve a lot of the criticism, over-paid under-achievers with no heart, fight and don’t or won’t show what we as Evertonians expect.

I understand (to a degree) the die-hards who hate any constructive cristisism of Everton, justified or not, but let’s be realistic: if we want to progress and remain in the Premier League, we need to start from scratch. Our squad is not good enough and is full of overpaid players who will not be part of a successful future.

We are currently (and have been for a while) relegation quality; our players, management and the board are not good enough. Change is needed and needed now, in my opinion, given the points above; we have nothing to win this season and hopefully nothing to lose. We must however get it right this time as the constant change is not good. It starts with Moshiri as things stand at the moment, please don’t let us down and subject us all to another year like the last two or three.

Stan Schofield
12 Posted 11/02/2019 at 18:52:09
Tony, be realistic. Every year, people say we're relegation material when in fact we're consistent midtable material. We're not happy being midtable, and are trying to be top of the heap. Relegation is, of course, a possibility for any team, but you have to be realistic, and not ponder on worst-case scenarios.

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