Is it Really That Bad?

Richard Parker 01/09/2021 49comments  |  Jump to last

"Only a crisis, actual or perceived, produces real change."

Reflecting on Deadline Day and the summer as a whole, the last 3 months since the horror-show at The Etihad have been lively, to say the least. Our ‘Hollywood’ manager did one as soon as Real Madrid made eyes at him and we had nothing to spend due to the artificial constricts of Financial Fair Play, all of this resulting in the appointment of ‘one of them’ to lead us into the unknown.

Wind back 12 months and we’d just signed arguably our most talented player since probably Beardsley, in James Rodriguez, and finally replaced Gueye with Allan, as well as bringing in the dynamic midfielder we’d been missing in Doucouré. The unknown Godfrey actually turning out to be the surprising star of the incoming transfers. Best transfer window that I could remember.

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The early promise of last season was absolutely the most I’ve enjoyed football at least since our top 4 finish under Moyes, if not my first memories of being a Blue in the mid-80s. The combination of our new signings, Calvert-Lewin hitting form, and Ancelotti as manager brought 26 goals in the first, unbeaten, 8 games of the season and we really looked like we’d found the winning formula. Expectations were checked in the loss to Southampton, following the 2-2 derby draw, with a losing run of 3 on the bounce. But we managed a strong finish to 2020 and were well-positioned for a run at the Top 6, if not the Top 4.

I don’t want to go into what followed, we were all there and watched with the gradual, grim realisation that Top 4 was not going to happen, as we fell away horrifically in the second half of the season. Even our world class manager had no answer; with hindsight, you do wonder if there was more going on under the surface. But the drop-off in performance and singular lack of ability being demonstrated on the pitch, from the same group of players that ran rampant in the first 8 games of the season, was bewildering to me despite injuries to a handful of first-teamers.

Still, despite the terrible second half to the season, I took solace in the 2020 summer transfer window and, with names like Koulibaly being linked to Everton, I figured another strong window under Carlo, to adjust the balance of the squad and offer more options, and we’d be back at it. That all went out the window as soon as Real Madrid made their interest known in Ancelotti.

I think we all knew, as soon as the link was made, that the writing was on the wall and he was going. Despite hoping against hope that Carlo Magnifico would stay and finish the job and prove that the first part of the season wasn’t a flash in the pan and that he was better than the football he had just served up for 5 months. The end result being a final spot 2 positions lower than Allardyce’s finish.

Benitez would not have been my choice; although I certainly wasn’t as opposed to him as some, I didn’t like the idea. As the summer unravelled and Koulibaly, Diaby and Dumfries became Gray, Townsend and Begovic, it became clear that there was a certain logic to the hiring of the “Fat Spanish Waiter”. We’re going through a period of transition, enforced by horrendous decisions in the transfer market over the Moshiri tenure.

I don’t blame Moshiri for any of this: he employs knowledgeable people to make these decisions. Walsh, Koeman and Allardyce set us down this path and they are the people that I truly hold responsible for our current situation. Brands has taken quite a lot of flak and has made mistakes, but looking down the list of transfer dealings since June 2018, the only ones that I would call failures are Iwobi (hoping this season he will prove us wrong, whilst not really believing it), Kean and Delph. But we also got Richarlison, Digne, Godfrey, Doucouré and Gray (premature? Maybe…) in that time. Even Alex Ferguson signed some howlers.

Anyway, that’s all a long-winded introduction to the point of writing this. The net result of all the above is that we needed a reset; a summer of taking a step back actually might not be the worst thing to happen to our club. There are still players to get rid of and wages to free up, despite having spent 2 or 3 years already on that tack. We have created a mess of overspending and the gamble on Europe hasn’t paid off. We played the game and we lost.

We have to take the hit, plot the course for solving our current problems, and move forwards. Benitez is here with that mandate and is accepting the responsibility that comes with it. It’s not going to be an easy job, the first 4 games have removed some of the pressure that his alliances with the old enemy brought… but, when we hit a bad patch, that will surely resurface.

I for one will support the manager. The players he has brought in aren’t the stuff of dreams; neither were we realistically expected to be after 5 years of Moshiri’s reign, but they do seem to have gone some way to solving our biggest problem when the wheels fell off last season. We have some options up-front and the players seem to be happy to play for Benitez. The noises being made are that he is laser-focused on the details to give the advantage to our lads.

If he is able to extract a little more from what we have and – despite his mismanagement of James, in my opinion, as well as the fact that we have seen the last of Sigurdsson – can guide a squad in making small steps to improve on last season, I’ll be happy enough in the circumstances. We still need players in certain positions that have been well documented, but I don’t fear for us this season. I actually think we have a more balanced group of players than last season.

What we really need is a manager who is in for the long haul, who will rebuild, and who will actually see the job through. If Benitez is that guy – and I hope he is, because he’s all we’ve got – then I’ll take slow and steady improvements over further mistreatment of our club. Maybe the current crisis will see real changes at Everton in time to be in a position to take full advantage of the new stadium?

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Reader Comments (49)

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David Ellis
1 Posted 01/09/2021 at 15:56:41
Totally agree with the OP. I remember in 2003we did not bring in anyone significant in the transfer window and it turned out to be a blessing in disguise as the team really gelled; we finished fourth that season, despite losing our best player, Tommy Graveson in January (to Real Madrid).

I really didn’t want Benitez, but he’s got the team playing well and the squad look stronger than before. We’ve kept Richarlison and we strengthened in a few areas. More work to be done but given it’s a net spend of -5,000,000 with the wage bill probably down as well this is I think an excellent window.

Steavey Buckley
2 Posted 01/09/2021 at 16:13:52
Next season, hopefully, Everton will be a lot leaner, fitter and keener under the excellent stewardship of Rafa Benitez. But for this season, Rafa will need the support of Everton fans when football matters are not going well.
Billy Roberts
3 Posted 01/09/2021 at 16:17:17
Excellent piece Richard

A good counterpoint to Lyndon's (as usual ) also excellent but sombre piece.
I agree with nearly all your points especially the criticism of Moshiri.
I'm not sure Rodriguez has been mismanaged as such by Benitez though? I think he envisaged him leaving so basically left him out of his planning and set up of the team.
We will now find out wether Rodriguez is to be given a chance, and takes his chance to leave his mark this season.

Jerome Shields
4 Posted 01/09/2021 at 16:39:18
This article is spot on. There are enough players to rotate the squad and lessen injuries. We now have more leaders on the field and can adjust the play to suit different opponents. with differing tactics.

Ancelotti did start well , but teams did cop on to his tactics and he did have to resort to a defensive mode right out of the Big Sam playbook. On top of that there where few leaders on the pitch to rally play. A walk through midfield play hopefully is a thing of the past.

I expect that Benitez will be able to adjust as teams probe Evertons perceived weaknesses and his teams will play for the full game. Ok we still have Rodriguez , but is that all that bad , with his ability to give the attack that extra edge.

Chris Corn
5 Posted 01/09/2021 at 16:59:45
Dave Ellis, 2004/5 you mean. 2003/4 was the year we finished 4th bottom. Sorry to be picky.

As I said in Lyndon's thread, we have cover in the relevant positions. Just not the cover punters want, dependent on opinion.

Chris Gordon
6 Posted 01/09/2021 at 17:23:23
Never has an opportunity been so mismanaged and ultimately thrown away as Everton's pursuit of CL football over the last 5 years. Half a billion quid spent and an unbalanced threadbare squad, overpaid players bought on inflated transfer fees, terrible managerial appointments and a plethora of waste created. We will be a case study in future years of how not to run a football club. We're a basket case club who is arguably worse off than before it managed to spunk 500 million quid up the wall. I for one have no expectation above mid table mediocracy for the next 10 years.
Bill Hawker
7 Posted 01/09/2021 at 17:40:31
Could be better, could be worse. We're in a bit of a pickle right now until we get our finances in better shape but at least we didn't do a Leeds United in chasing CL football and ending up in the cellar.

I believe Rafa is the right guy at the right time. Time will tell but my hope is that this group of players finds a way to finish top ten and we build from there while continuing to unload the dead wood.

Allan Board
8 Posted 01/09/2021 at 17:49:55
I get the impression Mr Benitez is not interested in players who have injuries and can't play/add anything to the team. I happen to think this is the best way to cultivate a hard nosed, winning mentality amongst a group of sportsmen.
It's good to have real competition for places and that little bit of fear of dropping out of the 1st 11.
Hope I am right in my thinking, and wish our new manager all the luck going.
Barry Hesketh
9 Posted 01/09/2021 at 18:19:34
EFC Statto has produced a list of purchases and sales of players since Moshiri was brought to the club. He doesn't blame Brands for the situation we find ourselves in as a whopping £59m was lost in player trading prior to Brands. Whilst accordingt to Statto's figures Brands' has turned a profit of £850k.

On another note it seems that the Colombian James could still leave Everton as there are other nations where the transfer window is still open, including Portugal, Russia and Turkey.


Moshiri's Players

Lee Courtliff
10 Posted 01/09/2021 at 18:26:07
I'm actually quite encouraged by all this. Maybe it's because I came along in the 90s, missing all the glory of the 1980's?

I think we've got a pretty good team. DCL, Richy, Digne, Godfrey, Doucs, Pickford, etc plus our new signings and other squad players from last season like Davies, Gomes, etc.

Yes, we lack cover in certain areas but, apart from the very top clubs, who doesn't? Every manager in the league wants more players to select from.

I'm encouraged because I think we've got a real coach to actually manage the players better. Form an understanding, instill work ethic and all those kinds of things. Look at how we've played already this season, very enjoyable to watch.

I'd much prefer to stick with our squad and see if Rafa could coach them properly rather than panic and splurge another fortune on last minute deals for players who don't really improve our team. I know it's early days and there will be bumps in the road, but I'm feeling quite confident we'll do well this year.

This period of 'austerity' might actually help us learn some valuable lessons.

Ajay Gopal
11 Posted 01/09/2021 at 18:39:25
Well articulated article, Richard. BTW, is this your 1st contribution? Because your name sounds unfamiliar to me around these pages.

Agree with almost everything you say, except your last sentence, where you seem to assume that everything will be hunky dory once we move into the new stadium. I fear that the financial hangover of the costs of building BMD will spill well over for a few years at least, maybe until 2026/27. Who knows where the others will be relative to us by that time? As fans we can just pray that lady luck smiles on EFC and something like a ‘Leicester’ happens to us!

Everton Caetano
13 Posted 01/09/2021 at 19:00:38
Perfect article, reflects our feeling saddened by the moment that the club is going through. I write from Brazil, sharing my pain and shame with you. The culture there in England is to see the club reach the top 4 and play in Europe. For us, the glory of a club is to win a title, and we've been in line since 95...

How many generations have passed? Why so much clutter? Why did Brands lend Niels as he was Digne's immediate backup? MORE THAN NEW STADIUM, THE FANS GROWS AND BECOME FAITHFUL WITH BOWLS... When will the OBE wake up from this sleep?
Hugh Jenkins
14 Posted 01/09/2021 at 19:07:41
What Chris at (6) has said "Never has an opportunity been so mismanaged and ultimately thrown away as Everton's pursuit of CL football over the last 5 years. Half a billion quid spent and an unbalanced threadbare squad, overpaid players bought on inflated transfer fees, terrible managerial appointments and a plethora of waste created. We will be a case study in future years of how not to run a football club. "

Is all true, up to a point.

What I now believe (and fervently hope for) is that somewhere, out of the back issues of "Roy of the Rovers", a management / playing personnel team is gelling, made up of mainly "misfits", that somehow come together to be a sum greater then the parts.

Who would beleive that a former RS manager, coupled with some rejects from Leicester/Crystal Palace/ etc. etc. might ( and I emphasise "might") be able to gel with the remnants of the catastrophic recruitment drives of the past five managers, to actually put out a combatative and winning team in the EPL.
Eary days, I know, but I think that Rafa's attitude and influence has already opened quite a few eyes in the blue half of Merseyside and long may it continue.
As I said on another fan site earlier this week, for the first time in a very long time, I am looking forward to our next game and going into it believing we will win.
There will, no doubt, be potholes and ruts in the roadway, but, so far, so good!

Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
15 Posted 01/09/2021 at 19:08:40
"But the drop-off in performance and singular lack of ability being demonstrated on the pitch, from the same group of players that ran rampant in the first 8 games of the season"

It is amazing what a kind set of fixtures can do for you.
We finished 2019/20 with 49 points.

We improved by 5 points in the first 5 games, dropped 7 in the next 3 and 12 games in we had one fewer point than we gained in the same fixtures in 2019/20. By that stage we were 7th in the table. By the time we played Chelsea again we were still 6th, but had now improved by a further 10 points compared to the previous season. It was the last 11 games that stuffed us as we only improved by 1 point compared to 2019/20.

So we improved by 1 point in the 1st half and by 9 points in the 2nd half compared to the previous season. Weird isn't it. Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics, eh! Because we all believe the second half was bad. Was that because the tough games were in the 2nd half (as well as the goal drought - 18 v 29 as Ancelotti went Catenaccio)?

But good piece. However surprised you were enjoyed the 2004-5 football under Moyes as that was KITAP1, a host of 1-0 wins (9 of them) and boring football and which has been widely condemned here on TW.

And just in case anyone is getting excited - last season we got 7 points from the 3 fixtures we have played so far. Roll on Burnley - a chance to take us to 60 or 62 points for the last 38 fixtures - but still 8th.

Kieran Kinsella
16 Posted 01/09/2021 at 19:47:01
Barry 9

I have to query EFC Statto's numbers. Brands joined Everton in 2018. According to transfer markets figures (these are in dollars not pounds just FYI. Our Incomings and Outgoings have been as follows:

2018: Spent 109 Million (Rich, Digne, Mina etc
Received 31 Million (Klaasen, Fumes etc

2019 Spent 133 Million (Iwobi, Kean, Gomez etc
Received 96 Million (Gueye, Vlasic, Lookman

2020 Spent 82 Million (Godfrey, Docoure etc
Received 4.8 Million (Scneid, Dowell

2021 Spent 2 Million (Gray
Received 8.8 Million (loan fee for Kean, Bernard

So by those numbers under Brands we've spent $326 Million
and received $140 Million. So Brands has a net spend of 185 Million. That's a huge difference from an 800k profit. So are his states factoring in not just players sales but other income? Otherwise I must be missing something?

Shaun Laycock
17 Posted 01/09/2021 at 20:38:40
Yes, we spunked a shed load of money.
Yes, we are having to tighten our belt.
Yes, we had a 'quiet' window.
Yes, we still have 'deadwood' to offload.

Looking forward, I am optimistic that we have a squad that will take us to Top 10 at least. Top 8 possible.

I am also looking forward to the end of the profligacy and a leaner/meaner squad under the stewardship of some one who can wring a tune out of them and – probably most importantly – a more responsibly run and fiscally savvy club.

Billy Roberts
18 Posted 01/09/2021 at 20:51:46
Keiran @16,

Like you, I'm always confused by different accounts of spending and receiving. This £500 million or the even more sensational "half a billion" keeps getting used like a wet fish to slap silly old Moshiri over the head with.

I believe he has been let down by the managers he has given free reign to spend but that's another conversation altogether.

What I'd like to know – categorically would be nice – is how much has been spent and how much has been recouped under Moshiri's time. I know it's not going to be pretty but I would also like to know how it stands with let's say the average Top 8 positioned teams.

If anyone could clarify this, I would be grateful as I haven't a clue myself how to gauge the mess we have undoubtedly got ourselves into. To be basically handcuffed by FFP isn't an illusion obviously. Much like the tone of Richard's piece, I don't think it's as bad as it seems.

Or maybe I'm just kidding myself.

John Raftery
19 Posted 01/09/2021 at 21:11:49
I suggest the drop-off in performance last season had a lot to do with injuries and suspensions to key players. First, we had Richarlison's three-game ban. All three games were lost. Later, we had Allan's torn hamstring which ruled him out for the winter months, followed by Doucouré's injury in the spring.

Throw in James's recurring calf problems and Ancelotti was reduced to relying on the team which failed so miserably the previous season. Hence it was no surprise there was a drop-off, especially at Goodison, where teams were able too easily to play through our midfield.

Although we have again started well and have better attacking options, it is almost inevitable we will struggle when key players become unavailable. That will be the cue for the ‘Rafa Out' brigade to mobilise in yet another round of blaming the manager.

Mike Doyle
20 Posted 01/09/2021 at 21:33:23
Hugh #14,

Though times are different, Rafa's being tasked to develop Everton in the way Clough & Taylor assembled Nottingham Forest into being English & European Champions using and finding roles for the likes of Kenny Burns and Larry Lloyd alongside the talents of Peter Shilton & Trevor Francis. Dare we dream?

Bobby Mallon
22 Posted 01/09/2021 at 21:41:12
Barry at 9,

How can Theo be a loss? He was bought for X, amount, went to Southampton in his last year on loan, and then signed for them as a free agent. That's just how it goes.

Barry Hesketh
24 Posted 01/09/2021 at 22:10:23
Bobby @22,

I didn't compile the table, I only put it up to show what EFC Statto had deduced from the figures; any questions should therefore be addressed to EFC Statto.


Brendan McLaughlin
25 Posted 01/09/2021 at 22:28:18
Bobby #22,

EFC Statto is simply comparing what we paid and what we sold players for. We paid £20 million for Walcott and let him go for free a few years later... are you suggesting we made money or broke even on Theo?

Joe McMahon
26 Posted 01/09/2021 at 22:37:48
Bobby,

When Walcott was on loan at Southampton, who do you think was still paying half his wages?

It's like paying half of someone's mortgage for them to live in their house (although his wages would have been a lot more than a mortgage).

Tom Bowers
27 Posted 01/09/2021 at 23:02:17
If all the experience of Rafa cannot make something of this squad, then I don't know who could with what funds are available.

I think he has a lot more talent on paper than Mancini did when he took over Leicester although some may say it was a one-off fluke when they won the title.

Being an ever-optimistic lifelong fan, as are many of us, I would like to think that right now the glass is half-full and not half-empty. He has brought in some players he is familiar with and so far they haven't let the team down.

These players have settled in quickly and Rondon may just be what we need to keep the offence on its toes and is a better option than Tosun when he is ever fit again.

We know that Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison will not play every game for varying reasons and hopefully some of the younger players coming through can only help the cause.

Iwobi, Allan, Doucouré and Gomes already look different players under Rafa. I, like some fans, would have liked something extra at full-back, especially with Nkounkou going out on loan, but Rafa must be confident in the guys he has for the back three (or four).

I am sure that, if they had been able to free up some money, either in wages or transfer fees, they would have gotten some other players but Delph, Rodriguez, Tosun and Sigurdsson are still drawing big wages even though they are basically unavailable so far this season.

Peter Warren
28 Posted 01/09/2021 at 23:21:46
My concerns are the full back positions. Letting the French full back go out on loan seems odd, unsure if season loan and/or call back option. Coleman can't play every game so perhaps he will trust Kenny but right-back is a clear weakness.

Everywhere else, I'm fine with certainly a better squad than last year.

I hope if James stays that Benitez utilises him when he feels appropriate. Surely James will get his heart out to either get us to extend his option or put him in the shop window. Unfortunately, throughout 2021 he looked about 50% or less fit. If that's the case, Benitez is right to fuck him off, whether or not he's on £200k a week!

Ian Riley
29 Posted 01/09/2021 at 23:39:27
Time for the players to deliver the big salaries we are paying them. I personally believe we have the right manager to do this. Unless we spend £500 million plus would it guarantee us the league title? No!

Again the bigger picture is the new stadium. Bigger gates receipts to sustain the salaries we are paying out. Fees and salaries will only increase. Our squad has quality and will improve with performances.

The doom and gloom of not buying that player or this player is pointless. It is what it is. Get behind Rafa and the team. It really isn't that bad!!

Barry Hesketh
30 Posted 01/09/2021 at 23:51:36
Kieran @16,

Sorry, I didn't notice you had directed your post to me earlier. Anyhow, I think EFCStatto has only looked at what a player cost and what fee Everton received when he joined another club.

As per usual, stats and financial information can be interpreted many ways in order to prove a point, but I do think that the compiler of the table has attempted to simplify (perhaps wrongly) the profits and losses made on each player and assigned the sums paid and received to the incumbent DoF when they purchased the individual player.

For example, Davy Klaassen was signed under Walsh's watch for a fee of £23.6M and sold for £12M making a loss of £11.6M which the compiler has assigned to Steve Walsh's balance, even though it was Brands who was DoF when Klaassen was sold.

Chad Schofield
31 Posted 01/09/2021 at 00:59:24
A very good article, but I think I do levy blame on Moshiri too - as laid out in Lyndon's frustrated article.

We haven't been the worst and Financial Unfair Play is ridiculous. We can't afford to be the Niasse-scapegoat though, especially when there's no appetite by the FA, Uefa or Fifa to punish their besties.

Moshiri needs to keep out of it, focus on Bramley-Moore Dock and getting a strong team off-field. For all the Brands bashing, I don't think the board are that bad.

Anyway, Rafa has been brilliant... I really disliked the idea of him, but he is hopefully the man we need now.

Kieran Kinsella
32 Posted 02/09/2021 at 02:20:19
Barry and Brendan,

Seems like statto has a big flaw. He's basing it on what we paid versus what we received. But most of Brands's signings were too shit to sell so they're not included. I guess Bernard is his success story. Give it some time and, once Gomes, Delph, Iwobi, Mina etc retire or expire, we will really see the sum of his work.

Jon Wit
33 Posted 02/09/2021 at 08:47:42
Ancelotti lost Doucoure and Allan in the second half of the season. Personally, I think that made it very difficult for him.

It will be interesting to see how Benitez manages without them if they get injured or tired etc.

Bobby Mallon
34 Posted 02/09/2021 at 10:20:47
Brendan 25. I'm suggesting that's just the way it is. Theo got bought and had a contract. At the end of the contract, he can do what he likes. You can't always sell a player.
Bobby Mallon
35 Posted 02/09/2021 at 10:27:58
Here's a question for you all. Would a salary cap imposed by Everton of £50,000 a week be plausible? Surely we could get decent top-class players for that in the future.
Bobby Mallon
36 Posted 02/09/2021 at 10:34:14
Everton Payroll at Spotrac

Calvert-Lewin will be off sooner rather than later unless he gets a mega pay rise.

Barry Hesketh
37 Posted 02/09/2021 at 10:37:55
Bobby @35,

I suppose it depends upon the definition of top-class, look at the wages being given to players at the rich clubs. However, it would be nice to know what wages are being paid out by Villa and West Ham following their recent arrivals.

Everyday economics at Everton may restrict the wages on incoming players in the next few years; however, imposing an artificial ceiling could be detrimental to the club in the long-term.

Bobby – I refuse to believe that a player signs an extended contract in 2020 but remains on the same salary – I think something is amiss with the information that is provided via your link.

Tony Abrahams
38 Posted 02/09/2021 at 10:44:43
I think that is another reason why we've signed the players that we have, Bobby; they will all have come for lesser money than their predecessors.

It's quite conceivable that, if we could have gotten rid of Rodriguez, that financial gain alone might have been nearly enough to pay the wages of all our new players.

Danny O’Neill
39 Posted 02/09/2021 at 11:01:48
Bobby, the salary cap point is definitely an interesting one, but I think it would have to be implemented across the Premier League to work, not just by one club. I don't claim to understand it, so would have to rely on the US-based blues, but the NFL has this, right? But it is league wide.

I would be an advocate of Everton adopting a RB Leipzig style approach to their transfer strategy in terms of a spending cap. They have rarely spent over €20M on players.

We, on the other hand, have been caught between spanking huge amounts to appease Sky Sports and look like a big club or, as is the case now, paying the price for that and shopping in the bargain basement.

Liverpool and Leicester are the best English club examples I can think of in terms of that type of transfer strategy over recent years, regardless as to whether they are buying or selling. Within reason; Liverpool have obviously spent big on the likes of Van Dijk, but have also always got good money for players they sell. So relative.

John Skelly
40 Posted 02/09/2021 at 18:09:10
Bobby @36,

If any player, whoever they are, is performing above and beyond, I for one would have no problem in increasing their salary,

It's cheaper than finding a replacement.

Peter Neilson
41 Posted 02/09/2021 at 18:55:33
I think Leagues One and Two voted for squad salary caps, not sure if it's been implemented.

Anything similar for the Premier League would surely need to be across all teams but I couldn't imagine clubs in European competitions voting for it unless it was being introduced by Uefa across all Euro leagues.

There's also the massive difference in club revenues; I couldn't see the likes of Man City agreeing to be capped at the level of, say, Burnley. We could introduce our own upper limit without publishing it but that would require budgetary common sense which we have completely lacked. Having said that, it's now being forced on us.

Brian Harrison
42 Posted 02/09/2021 at 19:17:17
Bobby,

Yes, of course Everton can impose their own salary cap, but all that would do is make it impossible for a manager to build a side, because he wouldn't be able to hold on to his better players.

The money in the Premier League is staggering and if we imposed your £50,000 per week salary cap, then most, if not all of our squad would get more than that at most other Premier League sides.

Also, once you bring in a cap, how do you reward a player who has had a brilliant season? You can't... because it would mean breaking your own salary cap. In this day and age, it would be suicide to impose a club salary cap and would be completely unworkable.

Billy Bradshaw
43 Posted 02/09/2021 at 19:56:03
Richard Parker, great article, as are all the comments that have followed.

Certainly picked me up after reading Paul the Esk.

David Currie
44 Posted 02/09/2021 at 20:11:12
Mina on £120 grand a week?? According to this, he makes £100 grand a week more than Calvert-Lewin. Crazy!
Brent Stephens
45 Posted 02/09/2021 at 20:26:48
Good article, Richard. Go get em, tiger!
Bobby Mallon
46 Posted 03/09/2021 at 08:58:58
Brian 42 the players could be rewarded with bonuses, I think. Goals scored for attackers etc.
Richard Parker
47 Posted 03/09/2021 at 12:10:38
Thanks for all the positive comments, much appreciated.

Billy @3 – I feel James was mismanaged in as much as we are now stuck with a fantastically talented, highly expensive player who will probably contribute zero to the season because he was effectively shut-out before a ball was kicked. Poor management of an asset. If he was easy to sell, we probably wouldn't have had a look in last season.

Ajay @11 – first one for some years now. Had twins and 7 years of my life disappeared :) 2 more blues at least... :D

I don't think Bramley-Moore Dock is a magic bullet for our woes, but if we've oiled the machine and got a leaner, more sensible playing staff by then, hopefully we can realise the benefits quicker rather than find ourselves still rebuilding at that point. Again, I feel that now is time to build with that horizon in mind.

Phil @15 – performances were chalk and cheese from the first 10 games to the 2nd half of the season, the creativity gone, struggling to find a goal from anywhere... interesting stats tho.

John@19 - injuries certainly played a big part, I think Carlo's tactics were understood by then. I was amazed that he had no response tho... not what I hoped for for £11.5M a year!!

Lee Robinson
48 Posted 03/09/2021 at 19:07:24
I'm actually really encouraged looking at our first team squad for this season.

For the first time in a long time, it looks nice and lean with very little deadwood. It is a nice mixture of youth, pace, good professionalism and experience.

The only deadwood I can see are Tosun and Delph, of which both contracts run out in 2022, along with Gomes. Brands needs to take credit for this.

Surely this is a perfect clean slate to begin the Benitez era to build on; based on the start he's made, I believe he's the best man out there to do so.

Gary Smith
49 Posted 04/09/2021 at 21:47:50
Anyone else getting wound up by the latest James “jet and yacht” pictures? I’ve been defending the lad strongly, but yet again it appears Rafa is right and I am wrong…….could be training and sweating, instead he’s drinking and tanning. What a cnut he is.
Brian Murray
50 Posted 04/09/2021 at 22:09:40
The boss is all about work ethic and fitness so he must know he's been told he has no chance of being picked. No way would he post a pic of himself winding the manager and fans up otherwise.

No-one shedding a tear for not seeing him play. Well, I'm not. He's just another what might've been. Join the queue, mate we have loads.

Jim Lloyd
51 Posted 05/09/2021 at 12:00:29
I think Rafa appreciates skill very highly; but I think he demands maximum effort and teamwork. Some of the players he bought I think we'd have loved to have. Alonso and Mascherano, Luis Garcia, Fernando Torres, Robbie Keane, Glen Johnson, all had the attribute of effort as well as the skills they brought to that lot on the other side of the park.

The first things that Rafa demands are pull your tripes out and play your part to the maximum benefit of the team, and use your skills to improve the chances of winning.

If he doesn't think Rodriguez will provide the former, then I don't blame him one bit for not playing him. If Rodriguez proves himself in training, he would be in the squad and would be used.

I hope he does, as he's extremely skilful. but history shows there's been doubts all along.

Sukhdev Sohal
52 Posted 08/09/2021 at 11:08:37
27- Tom- Did you really just say Mancini was at Leicester? Wow.

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