Holding Out For A Hero

by   |   27/10/2019  17 Comments  [Jump to last]

Forgive the obvious pun on the Tina Turner classic (our younger viewers might not have even heard of this song), but I guess the title kind of sums up where we are at, at the minute: someone in the team who can grasp the nettle.

Leaving the VAR debacle at Brighton to one side for a moment, this team lacks 'bottle', and I mean REAL bottle. Going back over 30 years, a young nervous apprehensive Everton team, containing youngsters like Sheedy, Mountfield, Stevens, Sharp etc were going through a wretched spell and as well as losing a considerable number of consecutive games, were regularly being booed unmercifully off the Goodison Park pitch, and fans were calling for Howard Kendall's head.

I even remember a petition asking for him to be sacked doing the rounds.

One abiding memory during this horrible (and it was horrible) period, was the sight of Peter Reid, demanding the ball from Neville Southall and playing from the back, cool as you like.

The easy option for 'Reidy' was simply to turn his back and let Neville boot the ball upfield, rather then run the risk of a volatile Goodison crowd.

I look at the current Everton squad and the way players visibly wilt when the going gets a little tough. The capitulation after the Brighton penalty was bordering on cowardice. This has happened too many times away from home for it to be a single occurrence.

Where were the experienced players when we needed them? Silva only seems to be able to get a tune from them when they're playing in front of a Goodison Park crowd with the sun on their backs.

Where is the dominant centre-half bollocking the 'invisible' midfield when the Brighton forwards were running at will through our desperate defenders with 10 minutes still to go?

Although this is a much younger Everton team we see now, there are at least six players with hundreds of games behind them at various clubs.

Kean, Digne, Gomes, Delph, Sigurdsson, Pickford, Walcott, all quiet as the proverbial church mouse. Silva and his tactics seem to have sucked the life out of them. God forbid, even a half-fit Duncan Ferguson was prepared to put up a fight (quite literally) when the chips were down.

Who can Evertonian's hang their hat on this time around?

Spineless… gutless… if you're going to go down, as least go down with a fight.

They say a team often reflects their manager; if that's the case, the general demeanour of Silva on the touchline doesn't bode well for that future.

Come back, Peter Reid...

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Reader Comments (17)

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Michael Kenrick
1 Posted 28/10/2019 at 04:25:26
Hmmm... interesting thoughts, Steve.

So there's Holding Out For A Hero by Bonnie Tyler, complete with shoulder pads and big hair.

And then there's We Don't Need Another Hero by Tina Turner.

Both of the same vintage, but very different sentiments. I think we are in dire need of many heros, so I'm going Bonnie Tyler on this one.

Steve Hogan
2 Posted 28/10/2019 at 08:53:57
Hi Michael, your spot on, right song title, wrong artist, dementia catching up early on me!! I should know better as my teenage years were often spent dancing to many of TT hits.

But you get the 'sentiment' of my article?

PS, I was never a Bonnie Tyler fan anyway.

Nigel McDonagh
3 Posted 28/10/2019 at 16:25:42
Song titles aside, I certainly agree with the sentiments of this article. For me, Everton haven't had 'bottle' since the Moyes era.

Granted, they were fairly hard to beat when Martinez stumbled upon a successful formula and balance in his first season - almost a combination of the Moyes 'bottle' and a bit more verve in terms of the attacking football Martinez favoured. However, over the next few seasons, Martinez seemed to sacrifice a lot of the defensive solidity which had been at the team's core in favour of his footballing principles. The 4-0 thrashings by Liverpool are just two of many capitulations suffered under the Spaniard when 'bottle' became non-existent.

What has baffled me is how this 'bottle' has still been absent under different managers (and players) since. It's not just a Silva trait, it's infuriating but, to me, this weak-minded mentality seems to run deeper than the players and manager we have at the moment. The team is desperately lacking a proper leader on the pitch, for starters.

It's got to the stage where I don't even know if sacking Silva will make much difference, several managers have come and gone in recent years but – for me – this fundamental problem remains.

Holding out for a hero indeed...

Stan Schofield
4 Posted 28/10/2019 at 18:46:05
The problem is clearly deeper-seated than the current manager. It's an Everton problem. Everton have been very good at talking the talk, such as waffle from players saying how much better we aim to be, and waffle from the board with all the politically correct bullshit. But the club seems incapable of walking the walk. It's as if there's no ambition from the top, no real fire and leadership, as if the board members are just happy to draw their dividends while we linger permanently in midtable. And when there's no fire at the top, there's likely to be no fire through the entire hierarchy.

It's difficult to see the culture changing unless the entire board is changed for more dynamic individuals with real ambition and less waffling.

Peter Neilson
5 Posted 28/10/2019 at 19:16:16
I think a lot of people will agree with you Stan. It needs a leader with high standards. I imagine Moshiri wants the same if he is to turn a profit on this and we can largely only guess at who’s been advising him up to now.Hopefully Brands has better advice to offer on Silvas replacement.
David Pearl
6 Posted 28/10/2019 at 19:21:15
A classic? Hmm

Anyway, agreed. We need a leader at the back and in midfield, oh and a goalkeeper too. And then of course a couple cool headed goalscorers.

I'm holding out for a leader. Until then... pass the kutchie pon de left hand side.

Brian Harrison
7 Posted 28/10/2019 at 19:47:25

No ambition from the top, Moshiri has ploughed in £450 million and has sacked 3 under performing managers, he has also sacked our 1st DOF.
I think Moshiri is very ambitious, but sadly his choice of managers has let him down. All an owner can do his back his manager with as much money as he can, Moshiri has done that the rest is up to the manager and the players.

I think Moshiri in his tenure has spent more than the board at every Premier league club apart from Man Utd, Liverpool and City. So lets stop blaming the board, the real problem is lack of quality in the managers and players thats why we are struggling.

Don Alexander
8 Posted 28/10/2019 at 19:59:26
What's being a Toffee like these days? In the immortal words of a warbling druidess, "It's a Heartache, Nothing but a Heartache".

(I'll get me coat).

Joe McMahon
9 Posted 28/10/2019 at 20:05:53
Brian @7 I feel the recruitment of managers is the issue (apart from too many Championship players in the squad). I got laughed out of town on this site suggesting Rodgers 2 years ago and Benitez for years. Apparently too many don't want ex Liverpool managers, even though they have won Shiny Silver things.

Let's keep looking at Unsworth and Moyes then shall we, and we will be the envy of many European Football clubs.

Kieran Kinsella
10 Posted 28/10/2019 at 20:21:43
Our recruitment has been akin to a world war I general creating a platoon of shell shocked soldiers and deserters. They all have their stories of being picked on, booed, etc Gomes at Barce, Keane at Everton, Schneiderlin at Everton and Utd. Those that haven't had emotional trauma have had physical trauma e.g. Walcott, Coleman etc. If we were putting together a Home Guard Dad's Army like outfit to play in the Pontin's regional league we might be OK. But for the EPL this lot are hopeless.
Stan Schofield
11 Posted 29/10/2019 at 09:54:33
Brian@7: The very fact that we sell our best players in their prime without signing adequate replacements is a clear sign of lack of ambition at the top. Regardless of what people might say about Lukaku and Gana wanting to leave, the fact is that they were sold whilst in contract, without adequate replacements being secured. Real ambition would have been shown if we had signed the players we had signed AND ensured that Lukaku and Gana had stayed.

Before Silva came here, we played a lot of hoofball and relied too much on Lukaku. Then we let Lukaku go, brought in Silva and players who are able to play football, indeed often taking other teams apart until we get near the goal, but then cannot score because we lack firepower. If we'd had Lukaku last season for example, we might well have scored many more goals and finished far higher up the table, thereby securing real progress through a proper policy of refusing to let the best players go.

And then we do it again at the end of last season, letting Gana leave when we fully know that losing Zouma will weaken us defensively, at the same time failing to sign an established centre half.

The board shows every sign of being happy just to stay in the Premier League. They talk the talk (bullshit business school style) about ambition, but their actions are not commensurate with that talk.

You might reply that selling players like Gana and Lukaku is part and parcel of business (many have said such on Toffeeweb). But I would reiterate that the money obtained through selling them does not prompt real progress unless it is spent wisely, on adequate replacements who can hit the ground running and are in their prime. Otherwise, we're not progressing, and we have the usual Everton midtable hamster wheel.

Rob Dolby
12 Posted 29/10/2019 at 10:24:06
Modern football has moved on from players running around bollocking each other shouting and screaming like madmen.

Letting the opposition know your there, get you revenge in first. That mentality has been replaced with shithousery of the finest order. Diving cheating, earning pens, being cute, falling over a shadow.

It's a bygone era and probably part of the reason why the English game is well behind on the world stage. Aggression gets you nowhere in modern football. It's becoming a non contact sport and Var is enforcing it.

I don't see City players with blood on their shirts bollocking each other.

Bottom line is when we genuinely get quality players we don't hang onto them for long.

We have a team full of internationals. The manager should be getting more out of them. I didn't see any cowardice on Saturday. I seen a manager get out thought in the final 15 mins, their left winger looked a threat but Sidebe still pushed on far too high up the pitch as he is under instruction to do so. Surprise surprise the winner comes from their left hand side.

I have already written Sunday off so get beat tonight and he could be gone by the weekend.

If Moyes comes back I may well be gone myself.

Alan J Thompson
13 Posted 29/10/2019 at 14:10:19
I see the bright lights but I think they're turning black...
John Pickles
14 Posted 29/10/2019 at 15:20:06
I think it's not just guts, there are other necessary ingredients.
Moyes's sides at their best had an incredible team spirit, similar to the Everton side of the mid eighties. They would run through brick walls for each other and it created a tremendous amount of self belief which was transmitted to any mentally weaker individuals.

A strong core of mentally tough individuals is vital, in 2004 EFC had Nigel Martyn in goal, Davie Weir and Alan Stubbs in the center of defense with defensively sound Hibbo on the right. Further up the field, characters like 'Super Lee' Carsley, Cahill, Gravesen, and Ferguson weren't going to buckle easily. They would fight to the last and unlike now, you would back them to be going forward to get a goal in the final moments not on the back foot trying not to concede one.

The arrival of Phil Neville, another character of huge determination, added a level of professionalism to the team, another quality that is sadly lacking nowadays.

The modern Everton squad are technically much better than the Moyes era ones but without their team spirit, self belief, determination and professionalism I can't see them challenging at the top.

Tim Cahill was brought in as he approached his peak so we benefitted for many seasons, Gareth Barry and (to a lesser extent) Fabian Delph were brought in at the end of their careers so we only get a taster of their qualities. Everton would benefit if Brands could locate and acquire the next Barry or Delph early so that they can help grow a strong team spirit with good determination and self organization.

Steve Hogan
15 Posted 29/10/2019 at 15:28:19
Many thanks for the musical/song contributions Don (8) and Alan (13), it's lightened my mood a little. Watching Everton is like 'the long and winding road. OK Don, you started it.
John McFarlane Snr
16 Posted 29/10/2019 at 15:36:25
Hi Steve [15],

I haven't read every post, but has anyone nominated 'All Together Now', or is that not applicable to Evertonian's at this point in time?

Steve Hogan
17 Posted 29/10/2019 at 17:59:07
John (#15),

Very apt, and no, you're the first. All contributions welcome.

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