Wind of Change

Santosh Benjamin 13/01/2021 13comments  |  Jump to last
As I sit down to write this article and think of the song by The Scorpions, I cannot help but feel a real sense of joy. It is not a transient feeling of happiness that comes with a last-minute win, but a joy from deep within that comes from knowing that we are headed in the right direction.

I am generally known in my family and friend circles as a pessimist. The only exception to this rule is when I look forward to each new football season with Everton. I always start off thinking – this could be the year that everything changes for the better. This wears off at different intervals based on how badly we do each year.

Throw in early cup exits each year and you have the recipe for a lot of heartache and disappointment. I agree that these emotions are not exclusive to me – I assume that the vast majority of Evertonians have similar feelings.

I have to admit; I was a huge David Moyes fan and was deeply disappointed by his departure and the subsequent managerial musical chairs that our club endured. After years of perennial relegation dogfights prior to Moyes, we finally started to look up rather than down.

I agree that he had his share of times when we looked shaky. We also never threatened the “top” teams and were woeful away from home. The team did have an identity though – we were a tough team to beat, especially at home.

I am not one for the Watford style ruthless hiring and firing of managers. I prefer to give them time to build the team up in the way that they envision. However, Messrs Martinez, Koeman, Allardyce and Silva did very little to transform the team into something that I could be proud of.

The arrival of Farhad Moshiri turned us into the nouveau rich and we splashed the cash in ridiculous ways. We brought in a Director of Football but that didn’t seem to help either.

The rest of the Premier League found ways to use us as another example of how NOT to spend your money when taken over by a rich owner. They made it a point to describe, in depth, the amount that we had doled out on players who were happy to pick up hefty paycheques and do very little to justify those huge sums of money.

But the end of last season and the beginning of this one have felt different. It is not just the players who we brought in but the belief and attitude amongst the existing players that seems to have changed for the better.

Mr Ancelloti does not strike me as a hairdryer or shoe-throwing type of person. Somehow, he has managed to improve the morale and get us playing as a team. The players genuinely respect him as a manager and as a human being. This is not to suggest that there aren’t days when I look at the starting line-up or the substitutes and yell – “What are you thinking, Mr Ancelotti???”

I suppose this is a very different kettle of fish for him as well after having only managed well-established contenders in the past. But you just have to see how players have been transformed this season:

1. Calvert-Lewin – Was always full of running but this season he has added goals and this has made him a vital part of our team. So much so that his absence led to a complete change in formation.

2. Iwobi – I am not saying that he is the finished article but he has proven me wrong many times over with his energy and defensive duties. I think he can evolve into a really good player.

3. Michael Keane – solid player at the back and complements the more flamboyant Mina well. I have also noticed that he can pick a pretty good cross-field pass. Chips in with important goals too.

4. Yerry Mina – I would still keep him. I know that he has some lapses of concentration but I think we can weed them out if we try.

5. Pickford – This is a hard one since I would still prefer a more reliable keeper but, considering where he was over the last year or so, things could have been a lot worse.

6. The new players – Allan, James, Doucouré, Godfrey and Olsen have all been great acquisitions.

7. Winning, somehow: Seems like a new signing this one! We are not always playing our best football but we are finding a way to win those games. We are converting draws into wins and losses into draws. We are getting goals from different sources too.

Overall, I have noticed after a long time that, when we score, almost the entire team gets together to celebrate, the provider of the assist is acknowledged (most times) and the lads seem genuinely happy for each other.

Despite all that we have achieved over the last year, we continue to have some of our old problems:

1. Bias against us in the media – This could be in the form of commentators referring to fouls on our players as “soft” while condemning our fouls as pre-meditated murder attempts. It could be in the form of “pundits” writing our season off before it has even begun. The list is exhaustive and frankly quite repulsive, so I will stop.

2. Match officials hardly ever being fair to us – I know that every fan and every team will tell you that they never get the rub of the green but I think that we are somehow singled out for special treatment. Going through almost a whole season without a penalty a few years ago, having a player penalised retrospectively for simulation to name a few.

My wife often asks me during or after games – “What reason do the officials have for being against us, when we aren’t playing Liverpool or Man Utd?” I am yet to give her a good response… answers via e-mail or on TW would be very welcome!

In spite of our good first half of this season, the news is always about:

1. Liverpool and their woes – Not at all bothered… move on!

2. The title contenders – Liverpool, Man Utd, Man City, Leicester City, Spurs, Chelsea, even Aston Villa and Southampton.

3. Manchester United bringing back the glory days.

4. Jose Mourinho getting ready to fulfil some 3rd season prophecy that has always come true.

5. Lampard and his woes despite spending massive amounts this year.

6. Ralph Hassenhutl and his amazing band of players.

This troubles me at times as I think of the other teams getting the attention that we possibly deserve. Then I realise that it is much better for us to stay with the pack of teams who have started the season well and keep grinding out results while being almost invisible.

The less attention the media and other teams give us, the more likely that we can make them pay for their lack of respect by ending the season in a great position. Ignore us at your peril as we are building something great once again at our club.

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Reader Comments (13)

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Jerome Shields
1 Posted 13/01/2021 at 17:03:29
I agree that Everton are not getting the attention they deserve and others are the subject of premature hype. But it maybe better to be under the radar at this stage of the season.

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Mal van Schaick
2 Posted 13/01/2021 at 17:22:17
The top four looks wide open. Seven points covering seven teams. Some teams have games in hand.

The wind of change has come with a new ambition owner and a lot of money spent, and yet we are not the finished article yet.

The current transfer window could define our final league position, some studios signings up front and in midfield would see the owners and managers ambition of European football sorted.

Take no notice of the press they have their own agenda.

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Barry Rathbone
3 Posted 13/01/2021 at 17:25:23
We need to drop this martyr complex regarding the media if something remotely newsworthy happened the media would be here in droves. Crews from 30 nations turned up to record and report our demise against Wimbledon which thankfully didn't happen.

Beyond beating a Rooney bereft Utd on pens in the semis nothing has happened here for decades Journos must yawn at the mere mention of our name

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Dennis Stevens
4 Posted 13/01/2021 at 17:48:30
Relating Scorpions song titles to our squad has me thinking of In Trance & Robot Man when I consider some of our recent stars. Still, with this new transfer window, let's hope Speedy's Coming to make us Top of the Bill!

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Dale Self
5 Posted 13/01/2021 at 18:04:51
Never heard that Barry. I do remember some less than enthusiastic reporting of Everton staying up after that match.

Nice article Santosh, don't let media neglect cause you discomfort. Stuffed shirts for the most part. And on the Scorpions thing, never my cup of tea if you will, nor the NWOBHM stuff. That Lucifer's Friend initial LP does it for me though. Oh and maybe some System demo when the situation calls for it.

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Alun Jones
6 Posted 14/01/2021 at 03:39:26
A Wind of Change certainly strikes a chord.

I am not really for this media conspiracy stuff as every team seems to like to use it. I think Everton get some reasonable coverage but I am totally used to the Big Clubs dominating the limelight and I don't really care that much.

I also like to see teams like Southampton taking the plaudits because I do think they have been exceptional during Ralph Hasenhüttl's tenure and he also seems like a good guy to me.

As for Carlo, I think we are benefiting from calmness, experience, and a shrewd tactical brain. We are not the finished article by any stretch but I do think he is really getting as much out of this team as he can, making us hard to beat (we have been a soft touch for years ever since Moyes left) and setting a good foundation. The difference between Ancelotti and Moyes is the former has the will and ambition to take us to the next level whereas I never felt Moyes could.

We will have setbacks and poor games but I don't doubt Ancelotti can take us somewhere we haven't been since Howard Kendall was the boss.

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Ricky Oak
7 Posted 14/01/2021 at 06:35:49
At last, great article, although I agree that Everton haven't exactly ripped up any trees for years. The constant bias from officials, commentators and media are indeed detrimental to our club.

Watch when we play most anyone, we go in hard but fair, opposition players almost always roll around screaming and ultimately get our guy a card. Everyone knows how unfancied or is it unfashionable we are.

You see it more with unfancied teams – biased VAR is run by the same villains that decide who they want in Europe etc. – I'm still fuming about Collina!

I realise it could seem like victimised behaviour, however, just because your paranoid, doesn't mean it isn't happening, right?

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Tony Abrahams
8 Posted 14/01/2021 at 08:01:41
Get rid of the paranoia, Ricky, because the last thing you would want to be is like our neighbours, mate.

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Ricky Oak
9 Posted 14/01/2021 at 14:44:50
Wish I could Tony bud, is that one of the differences between us and them, then?
We suck it up.
They spit the dummy out?
If so, I hear you, and consider myself lovingly told. 💜👍

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Eric Myles
10 Posted 15/01/2021 at 11:17:05
Santosh, I remember us going TWO seasons with no penalty awards except in the last game of the second season.

In one of those seasons Moyes submitted 20 penalty appeals to the head of the refs only to be told that 12 of them SHOULD have been penalties.

VAR was supposed to correct this but it seems to have gone the other way with the same institutional bias.

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Gary Mortimer
11 Posted 15/01/2021 at 12:44:51
I see Everton were top of a recent list for VAR "corrections" and Liverpool were bottom of the same list.

That does not mean we are a lucky side, that means that the officials had to be overruled for decisions against us more times than any other club. Similarly Liverpool had the most incorrect calls in their favour overruled by VAR.

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Martin Nicholls
12 Posted 16/01/2021 at 12:25:03
On the subject of penalties, I see Mr Ed is making a big thing of the fact that since the start of last season, manure have had twice as many penalties as the red shite. He seems oblivious to the fact that both are hugely favoured - in the same period, his own bunch have had 2.5 times more penalties than our paltry four.

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Dennis Stevens
13 Posted 16/01/2021 at 12:57:46
My own paranoid view is that the biased media, etc. are happy to patronise "lesser" clubs who are having a purple patch as they assume it's fleeting & there'll be no lasting impact on the favoured few regularly at the top of the pile.

However, with Everton, it's not quite the same as we are traditionally one of the big clubs, at least pre-Sky era anyway. Consequently, there's an underlying concern that a good spell for the club could become sustained and eventually allow Everton to elbow their way back amongst the top echelon of clubs and, who knows, maybe even consolidate there! That cannot be allowed, as we all know.

See, now that's proper paranoia! ;-)

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