The Skeleton Crew

Martin O'Connor 08/01/2020 8comments  |  Jump to last

The Blues have hit some real depths during the last 25 years and that long-ago FA Cup win, but standing at the shithole on Sunday I realised once we went in against a bunch of kids and reserve players 0-0 at half time that we would lose. Every time we turn up against the Devil’s spawn, we plumb new depths, but Sunday must finally be the final straw for most if not all of the pathetic, gutless squad, which represents us.

We don’t just have dead wood at the club, they have been here for so long the dead wood has rotted away and become nothing but dead bones. As we now enter the January window it is that time again to look at the squad and hope we can at least ship out some of the rubbish, but this is in hope more than expectation.

Of the current first team squad, those who have half a chance at the club are, in my opinion, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison, Moise Kean, Mason Holgate, Tom Davies, Yerry Mina, André Gomes and Jean-Philippe Gbamin. I would also add Anthony Gordon to this list, a player who really should now be given minutes on the pitch. One short Carabao Cup appearance for our supposed academy shining light is not good enough, especially when you consider the dross which are getting starts in front of him.


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Kean needs to be given his chance with games under Ancelotti, while although overhyped because of a few goals in December, Calvert-Lewin has shown that he can be a good outlet for holding the ball up, but he really needs more goals after his mini December. Richarlison is our best forward although he now needs to be played full time on the wing with DCL and Kean as the central attackers. The Copa America last Summer and the ridiculous playing in friendlies all over the world for Brazil are taking their toll on Richarlison at present, he is looking tired and could do with a break for a week or two.

Tom Davies has put in a few good performances this season and adds work rate and energy in midfield and can still be a valuable asset for the blues. Gbamin has been unlucky with his injury and no judgement can be made on him until next season, although he did show a few good signs in his fleeting appearances this season. Gomes, when he is on form, is the heartbeat of the midfield and we have missed him since “He is not that sort of player” Sonny had his way.

Holgate has grown this season and has a good range of passing, still a bit lightweight and needs to be stronger but think he can have a future with us. Mina has quickly become our best defender and, may not be saying much, been to date our best player this season.

Besides the above I think we have a few “maybes” in the squad. Jordon Pickford is a good goalkeeper but who has too many inconsistent mistakes and brain freezes to be considered anywhere near a really good goalkeeper. He needs to start eliminating these traits in his game ASAP or a replacement may be needed.

Bernard is another player in the “maybe” bracket. Incredibly skilled he needs to add goals to his game and improve his final pass as well as staying fit. Finally Alex Iwobi has shown glimpses especially in his early appearances for the Blues, although he has also been awful in some games. But he is a player who never hides and will still wants the ball even when off form and it is to early to give up on him just yet

As for the rest they are nothing but dead wood who have hung around so long they are now just bones, dead skeletons and need removing from the Club as quickly as possible.


Apart from the aforementioned Holgate and Mina and maybe Pickford, the rest of our defence is not fit for purpose. Michael Keane, a £25 million mistake, runs like a snail and turns like an oil tanker. Seamus Coleman is clearly past his best and is not of first-team quality anymore. He can still get forward but as for defending, it was never his strongest suit, he has been regressing in this area for at least two years.

Djibril Sidibé, thank God, is only on loan. He can put in a good performance one game and then be absolute rubbish the next. Sidibé always has a mistake in him and has no positional sense and was useless in his last couple of seasons at Monaco. Leighton Baines is just too old and way past his sell-by date, yet typical Everton gets a one year contract for this season.

Lucas Digne is the most over-hyped player we have had in a long time. Anointed Player of the Season last term with Blues raving about him, when in reality he was not the Player of last Season, that was (missing you) Idrissa Gueye. Digne was culpable for all three goals in the harrowing night at Millwall in the FA Cup and has been terrible this season, with a brilliant skill of giving away cheap free kicks and hitting the first defender when he takes a corner kick.

Martin Stekelenburg is still at the club. One question: why? He was never good enough when he was playing as first-choice goalkeeper. As for Jonas Lössl, he seemed at best competent when at Huddersfield Town but at present can’t even get on the bench ahead of the Stek, which may tell its own story. With Joao Virginia’s loan spell ended at Reading and him heading back to skeleton farm, we might as well give him the second-choice goalkeeper spot ahead of the above mentioned two.


The slugs of Schneiderlin and Sigurdsson need no introduction. It was like watching a snail race with those two in midfield in the disgraceful cup derby. Schneiderlin is a man who gets a contract, performs for his new club for a few months and then does not bother. As for Gylfi I am still fuming over the £45 million paid for this bang average player whose only redeeming factor was that he could (“could” being the operative word here) take a good free kick. He has not even done that since he joined the Toffees. As for Mr Leadership, the man of glass, Fabian Delph, where is the leadership from him on the odd time he is fit to play? I wrote in the summer that he was a gamble with his fitness and that gamble has failed but I forgot to mention that he is crap.


Yannick Bolasie £28 million (on loan at Sporting Lisbon)

Cenk Tosun £27 million

Theo Walcott £20 million

Oumar Niasse £13.5 million (now in his last 6 months of contract)

Sandro Ramirez £5.2 million (on loan at Valladolid)

It’s absolute staggering the amount of money the club has wasted on these dead skeletons. Yes, every one of us thought Sandro was worth the risk but that soon went pear-shaped. As for letting the gravy boat spend £47 million on two absolute pieces of garbage in Tosun and Walcott… just astounding. Although I still get a chuckle thinking of those Blues who, when he joined — and there were plenty of them — thought Walcott was a good signing.


But lets not stop with the above. Don’t forget the ones who have been around for just as long, are nowhere near good enough and are at present plying their trade out on loan, but who will be back at the skeleton farm in the summer, although a couple do have their contracts up in the summer, small mercy.

Kieran Dowell

Callum Connolly

Mo Besic

Mathew Pennington

Luke Garbutt

Nathan Broadhead

Jonjoe Kenny

Korede Adedoyin

Josh Bowler

Shani Tarashaj

I will make an exception here for Adedoyin who at 18 was sent out on loan to Hamilton Academical, a team which has a reputation for playing young players. Adedoyin has not got anywhere near the first team this season at Hamilton and if possible should be recalled. [He already has been — Ed.] As for the rest of this list, yet more members of the skeleton crew who have moved on from dead wood to bones but still take a wage from the club.

Jonjoe Kenny has been having a good season at Schalke in the Bundesliga, but I have seen him make mistakes in Schalke games this season, two against Bayern Munich and Paderborn leading to goals for the opposition. At least in his case we can sell in the summer.

This dead bone state of affairs actually trickles down into all areas of the Club. Under David Unsworth the Blues have won the Premier League 2 title twice in the last three seasons, plus the Premier League 2 Cup. But we are now in the fourth season since that first title win and where are the players to come through from that area? Davies, Holgate, DCL all came through in Koeman’s first season as manager. Anthony Gordon hopefully will be another but he has really emerged quickly over the last 18 months. In reality we still have a large number of players who have been part of the Under-23s set up for way too long.

Anthony Evans, Morgan Feeney, Matty Foulds, Nathangelo Markelo, Nathan Broadhead, Josh Bowler for example. The club seems incredibly slow to decide on young players, leaving them playing with the Under-23s or out on loan without having the guts to make a decision on their futures, thus blocking spaces for new younger talent, while holding these players back in their own footballing careers.

The ultimate folly here is the case of Harry Charsley. Charsley was a player Everton did make a decision on and released him last summer. But as no Club picked him up what did we do? We took him back as part of the Under 23s. Absolutely nonsensical.

When you consider the above, even though Marcel Brands has moved some players on during his time at the club, the task in hand is still monumental and shows the appalling way the Club has been run since Moshri’s millions turned up. Can we ship any of the above named dross out in January? Maybe one or two but in the next summer transfer window, Brands will need to pull his finger out. He will not only need to ship out all the above named players but also needs to get a grip of the sentimentally of Unsworth and the Under-23 and instil a ruthless decision making process on young players.

As well as all this we may bring in a couple of players in January but it will be the summer where we will have to recruit heavily again with, basically, half a new squad. With planning permission probably being granted some time around the Summer for Bramley-Moore, once that comes on stream the period of Moshri largesse in the transfer market will be a thing of the past. Next summer will be our last big chance in the transfer market. Brands and Ancelotti will need to get it right or we will be in one hell of a mess.

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Reader Comments (8)

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Barry Rathbone
1 Posted 08/01/2020 at 21:50:06
Trouble is we buy failures, crocks or past their sell by date players discarded by challenging clubs then wonder why they haven't transformed us into challengers.

Only Mina, Gomez, Digne and possibly Richarlison look like they can play football at a reasonable level the rest must chuckle cruising along in their Bentleys about getting game time at one of the great institutions of football.

We buy clapped out cars to race in formula 1 failure is guaranteed

John P McFarlane
2 Posted 08/01/2020 at 21:59:26
The Daily Mirror - unsurprisingly fro the same stable of papers as the Echo - are obviously piling on the club but nevertheless the wages of our players are staggering.


Here is the full list of Everton player salaries (Annual/Weekly):

(all data taken from spotrac )

Bernard - (£6.24m/£120k)
Yerry Mina - (£6.24m/£120k)
Andre Gomes - (£5.835m/112k)
Jordan Pickford - (£5.2m/£100k)
Morgan Schneiderlin - (£5.2m/£100k)
Gylfi Sigurdsson - (£5.2m/£100k)
Theo Walcott - (£5.2m/£100k)
Richarlison - (£4.8m/£90k)
Lucas Digne - (£4.8m/£90k)
Fabian Delph - (£4.16m/£90k)
Yannick Bolasie - (£3.9m guaranteed salary) - on loan at Sporting Lisbon
Seamus Coleman - (£3.64m/£70k)
Leighton Baines - (£3.38m/£65k)
Sandro Ramirez - (£3.38m guaranteed salary) - on loan at Real Valladolid
Michael Keane - (£3.12m/£60k)
Cenk Tosun - (£3.12m/£60k)
Oumar Niasse - (£2.86m/£55k)
Moise Kean - (£2.765m/£53k)
Alex Iwobi - (£2.6m/£50k)
Cuco Martina - (£1.82m/£35k)
Muhamed Besic - (£1.56m guaranteed salary) - on loan at Sheffield United
Jonas Lossl - (£1.456m/£28k)
Luke Garbutt - (£1.456m guaranteed salary) - on loan at Ipswich
Tom Davies - (£1.3m/£25k)
Mason Holgate - (£1.3m/£25k)
Dominic Calvert-Lewin - (£1.04m/£20k)
Kieran Dowell - (£780k guaranteed salary) - on loan at Derby
Jonjoe Kenny - (£780k guaranteed salary) - on loan at Schalke
Shani Tarashaj - (£780k guaranteed salary) - on loan at Emmen
Beni Baningime - (£416k/£8k)
No data for: Jean-Philippe, Djibril Sidibe, Anton Donkor, Lewis Gibson, Nathangelo Markelo, Josh Bowler, Callum Connolly, Matthew Pennington

Barry Thompson
3 Posted 08/01/2020 at 22:17:22
Gizza job
Steve Hogan
4 Posted 08/01/2020 at 23:52:27
Agree with what your saying, but please don't slag Baines off for accepting a one year extension to his current contract.

Possibly our single best standout player over the last decade, turned down a move to Man United, where he most certainly would have won a number of trophies whilst he was there.

A great pro for Everton who only ever gives 100% for the team and never whines or bitches when not playing first team football.

In other words, a modern professional. Looking at some of the charlatans playing for us at the moment, and stealing a living, he's one of the few remaining 'good guys'.

Alan J Thompson
5 Posted 09/01/2020 at 07:47:53
There's some merit to the piece and I hope I'm not just rewording it but leaving aside the players whose contract means there is difficulty moving them on you have to consider that you need a squad not just 11 starters. Aren't the club required to name a squad of 25 at season's start and only allowed to bring in extra players under 21, is it, or to replace those transferred out in a window or fill gaps. Remember the left back fiasco under Koeman and Silva's seeming reluctance to play juniors.

Extending Baines contract for one year made sense rather than buying somebody to cover for Digne and especially as Robinson appears not to have been considered for the role.

Similarly at right back Sidibe was brought in on loan, possibly with a permanent option, or may be until Kenny's loan in Germany showed something one way or the other but with Coleman it looked sufficient.

Attempts were made to have the necessary cover in central defence but who would have thought that Chelsea would require both their reserve central defenders while Mina, Keane and Holgate could be considered adequate although it must have been a matter of some concern for those efforts with Chelsea to be made.

Midfield? Losing two players to season long injuries could not be foreseen but you might forgive thinking at the beginning of the season that such events still left you with Davies, Delph, Iwobe, Schneiderlin, Sigurdsson, may be Bernard, Richarlison and possibly a junior. This is most definitely an area that needs sorting and fairly soon as playing two right backs and Walcott shows.

Striker? Perhaps having a couple of inexperienced strikers in DCL and Kean is not the best and perhaps someone more prolific was required to partner Richarlison. Tosun while a sniffer is not a target man. Nobody seems to fancy Oumar but I have this quirky thought that won't stop floating around in my mind that given what he has done in those U-23 games he might have terrified the young opposition in that FA Cup game but that would have taken quite some courage.

As for those out on loan, if we can't agree to move them to some club then recall them all at season's end to be settled for pre-season and assessment, if they won't move with or without a pay cut then uproot them back to where their employer is based.

Oh and goalkeeper, we won't find many better than Pickford, maybe Pope at Burnley, and I don't understand all the criticism he gets. Our biggest worry isn't his kicking and like so much it depends on the midfield being sorted so that we have the option of playing out from the back most often.

Whatever, we seem to have this continuous task of moving on and replacing so many players which may be just as well given the number of managers, and their playing systems, we seem to be going through.

Richard Cusworth
6 Posted 09/01/2020 at 09:48:27
Very much agree with most of the assessment of the squad in this article. Reality is to change this is probably going to take 1 to 2 years and if we believe everything we read FFP is going to be a little restrictive. The biggest problem (putting aside mentality and attitude) is midfield. The impact of losing Gueye has been massive coupled with the unfortunate injuries to Gomes and Gbamin. Current personnel neither support defence or attack in any way shape or form. Too slow to receive, carry or create. Tom Davies I still have hope for and at least doesn't shirk it but its unfair to lay the responsibility of the teams engine room on his shoulders. If Gomes & Gbamin return decent players then maybe there's a little more quality That's a big if and probably something we wouldn't see until 2021. There will be no mass overhaul any time soon so we have what we have For all the dross of this season we are still only 5-6 points off top 6 (I concede the same off bottom 3). Urgently for this window we need a quality midfielder, centre back and possibly right midfield. I agree Moise Kean now needs a run so he has chance to show what he's got - the lad has not helped himself at times but equally 15-20 mins here and there ain't doing his confidence any good. He needs a goal to kick start his career with us - not going to get it warming the bench all the time. Probably wasn't the right time before the recent results given the position was dire Saturday feels massive now in the context of the atmosphere for the remainder of the season. The travesty of Sunday was in recent weeks it felt like Everton had been rediscovered again All that repair work and good will torn to shreds with one pathetic 90 mins of football. How different would these forums have been had we shown up... Such a shame. I'm still as angry as anyone but it's gone now and if we are to progress in the right direction we have to accept it will take time and a lot of patience. Yes we have been patient for 35 years but frankly there is no other option.
John Zapa
7 Posted 09/01/2020 at 10:34:07
I think the next batch of summer signing will make or break Brands, Ancelotti and possibly the Moshiri regime. If the next signings are at the level of Iwobi + Kean, I fully expect a disastrous season ending in relegation, dismissal of both Ancelotti and Brands along with the new stadium being abandoned. Moshiri will be running for the exit. The circus cannot be allowed to continue, there is no room for anymore transfer mistakes.
Robert Tressell
8 Posted 09/01/2020 at 19:22:07
Right enough, Gbamin and Gomes are really good. We are v light without them because schneiderlin and sigurdsson seem to be dreadful again. Someone suggested recalling Besic to cover for the rest of the season. Not a bad idea. He is quick and violent and not hopeless at football. Not good enough for us generally but probably good enough for what we need. Then we can get something better in summer that complements the returning cavalry.

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