Qualities of Lampard’s Everton Bode Well for the Future

Matthew Parry 03/05/2022 105comments  |  Jump to last
Sunday, 1 May 2022. It could go down as one of the most significant days in the history of Everton Football Club, as the day that kick-started our push for safety in the Premier League relegation dogfight.

It's a situation no club wants to find themselves in, least of all a club that has spent just four seasons out of the top-flight since the inauguration of the Football League in 1888.

A quick look to the present, and Everton have spent over £600M in less than 10 years. We have aspirations to be challenging for the biggest accolades on the English and European stages. Relegation should never have been on the cards but, at the back end of a dismal 2021-22 season, we sit in 18th place with just 5 games to go.

The club has been in turmoil since September, but the rot dates a lot further back than that. A total spend of £1.7M in the summer indicated just how serious the club's financial problems were and how the effects of years of mismanagement plague the club throughout the hierarchy to this day. And with a new manager in Rafael Benitez looking to reshape the club to his liking, it created a recipe for disaster when he didn't have the resources to do so.

But that cannot excuse the atrocity that was the final fifteen-or-so games of his tenure, taking only 6 league points from 14 league games between 2 October and his dismissal on 16 January. Granted, he had lost some of his best players that might have been able to turn some of those terrible results around. But the utter lack of confidence and belief that the players had in themselves and their teammates was deeply ingrained by the time Benitez was out the door.

The squad was already in need of a significant and long-term overhaul, but the Benitez reign sending the players to rock bottom had made the Everton manager's job an uphill battle through treacle in hiking boots.

That unenviable job fell to Frank Lampard, the feisty stalwart who had won every major honour there was to win as a player with Chelsea. But doubts lingered about his managerial abilities after his time at Derby County and Chelsea, notably whether he'd have the tactical nous to drag Everton out of their rut.

But tactical intelligence wasn't really the main thing that Lampard needed in this situation. He needed to make the players work together and believe in themselves again. He needed total commitment, motivation and relentlessness — things which we have accused this same group of players of lacking for a long while. Unlike other teams who come to expect a ‘new manager bounce', it was unlikely Everton were ever going to get the same from Lampard. The cuts were too deep for that.

What Lampard needed to do was chip away gradually at the problems, tackling the overall task that faced him piece by piece, rather than taking all of them on at once and overwhelming the group. And why would he try to change everything at once when it's not sustainable? I think his approach has led to a gradual improvement in the team which probably sets them up better for the games ahead.

Lampard has shifted away from his original philosophy of playing neat and tidy, ‘attractive' football and opted for the defensive compactness and directness that his former mentor Jose Mourinho is famed for. Over the last few games, it has certainly worked in delivering results.

It won't be what Frank wants to maintain going forward but, in the midst of a relegation battle, he has to be applauded for making such a significant fundamental change. Willingness to admit when your style isn't working can be a difficult pill to swallow for a manager, but Lampard has already shown he will do so for the good of the team.

Although we were not in the relegation zone when Benitez departed, the trajectory we were on was clearly taking us there. A lot of people in the media and across other fanbases call out Lampard for the fact that we now occupy 18th spot, but I simply do not agree with any suggestion that this is on him.

If Benitez had stayed, we may well have had a similar points tally at this stage. But the thing that Lampard has instilled more than anything is unity within the club — something which gives us the passion and fight we need to get ourselves out of the problems we are facing. Whatever you may think of Lampard, Benitez would never have been able to replicate that togetherness. If the Spaniard was still in charge and the table were identical, our fate would have already been sealed.

Under Benitez, we could not stay in games when we conceded the first goal. Although we won some early games having gone behind, this belief began to elude the players pretty quickly. By the time Lampard was appointed, our inability to overturn a result was a serious problem, both at home and away.

Although our away form remains worrying and we still haven't won on the road since Brighton in late August, we now stay in the battle and react better under Lampard. A result away from home feels more imminent than it has done for a long time. It almost came against Burnley, but for a few costly individual errors which are difficult for the manager to mitigate.

The penny is finally dropping for the players. Fighting spirit, working together and giving the fans something to cheer about earns us points — particularly at Goodison Park. Lampard has consistently begged for the return of the fortress that our stadium is at its best, and we as fans have delivered in the recent home fixtures. The team have responded brilliantly. They may not be textbook performances, but we've not seen this team fight like they have done under Lampard for as long as I can remember.

Frank is already setting out the blueprints for the direction of this football club in the future. He's slowly plugging the gaps that exist as excuses why the club is not succeeding. He is showing the team, the board and the fans that hard work does indeed pay off, that having 11 individuals on the pitch fighting tooth-and-nail is just as important as having individuals with mesmerising ability. I don't think any manager we've had since David Moyes has instilled that mantra quite like Lampard has, and the fans have responded by taking their support for the management staff to a new level.

The victory over Chelsea should also become the blueprint for every matchday at home. Fans lining the streets, blue smoke billowing as far as the eye can see, pubs and chippies bouncing as the players arrive and prepare.

Once the whistle is blown, Goodison should never fall silent. The fans relentlessly cheering every little positive we see, the players thriving off that positivity and constantly aiming to generate it. We don't really have an excuse anymore and neither do the players. This should be the norm from now on, week-in & week-out. The circumstances are not what we'd like, but sometimes the best lessons are learnt when your back is against the wall.

We're not out of the woods yet and, as fans, we're finding waves of optimism and pits of dismay as the matchdays pass and results go for or against us. Whatever happens this season, I think we have to stick with Lampard and give him a run at managing our club.

Previous managers haven't had much time and we need to break that habit eventually.

Frank has shown more desire to be in this job than virtually everyone that's gone before him, and that has to count for an awful lot. He may not have the track record that proves he can lead us in the right direction, but let's not forget that Moyes didn't when we appointed him either.

I, for one, am fully behind the boss. We just have to support him in the right way. We were robbed of a proper chance to appreciate Carlo Ancelotti, but we have another born winner in Frank Lampard and we can nurture and support him into becoming an Everton great.

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Hugh Jenkins
1 Posted 03/05/2022 at 12:45:25
Well said, Matthew!

I'm with you 100%

Mark Ryan
2 Posted 03/05/2022 at 13:14:12
Totally agree. We now have a proper coaching team and a manager who has been a breath of fresh air since he came to us. Difficult to see why some still moan like fuck about him not having a clue, being a southerner who'll soon be back down the motorway.

Someone at the weekend actually wrote just after we had kicked off "Frank on the touchline not wearing any logos, no club badge anywhere to be seen, he's already distancing himself from the club!!!!"

I mean, for fuck's sake! Perhaps he needs to get a tattoo, maybe on his upper arm. Would that make people happy?

So many doom-mongers on this site, constantly slagging him. Wish we could be more united as a fan base and get behind the manager.

On Sunday I got this posted back at me on the Live Forum when I was praising Lampard, "Mark, we were 15th under Benitez, look at us now!!!"

I understand it's a game of opinions but really, Benitez over Lampard?!?! Really?

Alan McGuffog
3 Posted 03/05/2022 at 13:22:52
I quite like Lampard and agree, broadly, with what has been said. We are, however, still in pole position for the drop so, if it comes to that, I hope he has a plan for the Championship.
James Fletcher
4 Posted 03/05/2022 at 13:38:49
So far I've been a big fan of Lampard. He puts out a good team, he uses tactics that I can understand and agree with and his substitutions are sensible. He also seems to want to play relatively high tempo footy which is nice. If we can dodge the drop, then I'm keen to see how he does with a Summer to put his mark on things.
Colette Black
5 Posted 03/05/2022 at 13:39:27
Great article, Matthew. I think most fans are backing Lampard. Whether we stay up or not we must keep him.

What other manager would break his hand celebrating one of our victories? Look at how ecstatic he was when we won against the club he represented for so many years. He's on board, and he's loving it.

Give him all the time he needs.

Jamie Crowley
6 Posted 03/05/2022 at 13:53:15
This is a fantastic article, and I couldn't agree more.

Even if we, dare I say this, go down, I want Frank leading us as manager.

This Club has been on a rollercoaster managerial ride for far, far too long. It desperately needs continuity, come what may.

I've seen a squad that, over the last 5-6 games, admittedly realize disappointment, but has truly fought. Even the damn Burnley game, as the negative example, they didn't lose through lack of effort but rather through individual mistakes in my opinion.

Then you have a 10 man, never say die display netting three points against Newcastle. You have an at-the-death point against Leicester, and of course the Miracle of May this past Sunday.

Under Frank they are absolutely putting the effort in. Frank's tactics have changed dramatically since he first took charge (not near as much of an attempt at play-it-out, pretty football but pragmatism) and the players have responded and bought in.

Frank has done a fantastic job, and I for one am squarely behind him no matter what the final outcome of this shitty season holds.

Our demise this season is down to Rafa and his incompetence, his lack of acceptance by a fanbase that any fool could have predicted, and a stubbornness by management to not have the balls to rid us of his toxic affect on fans and Club. Frank is righting the ship, but ships turn slowly, not on a dime. Stick behind him. He's trying like hell and he is getting it right. Whether or not the correction will be fast enough remains to be seen. But for me, there's no doubt in my mind he's the elixir to the red pox afflicted upon us with Rafa's appointment.

Great article Matthew.

Pete Clarke
7 Posted 03/05/2022 at 13:58:07
When it boiled down to the few candidates of who would replace agent Benitez, it showed once again how clueless our leaders are by the way they dragged the situation out when for me anyway, there was only one choice and that was Frank Lampard.

We all know quite well that great players don't always make great managers (eg, Alan Ball) but this young, intelligent natural-born winner ticks all of the boxes for me. He will also get a lot more respect from other managers, referees, players and those pricks at the FA because he knows how it works and can vent his feelings in a well mannered respectful way.

We have made way too many mistakes by chopping and changing managers especially with Allardyce and Benitez for obvious reasons and Marco Silva may well prove we made another mistake there too. However it is time for us to accept that no manager is perfect and patience is needed to allow, in this instance, Frank Lampard to learn his trade, understand the club and its fans and just get on with doing what I believe is in his DNA and that's winning.

Even the German fella across the park was wanted out by some of the support a few years ago but look what he's doing now.

There are no guarantees of course and I think this group of players and the job have taken a lot out of Frank but he looked refreshed the other night and I believe that's because the players are finally responding. The team he brought with him are helping him change the shit show at Finch Farm and I can honestly say we would not have got that result the other night with Benitez in charge. No way.

Still difficult times ahead but let's stick with him and give him and his team all of our support. He's a Cockney Blue now and ESCLA will be growing in numbers again.

Jamie Crowley
8 Posted 03/05/2022 at 14:08:51
One more personal note.

When Everton came to Orlando this past August, I didn't even want to go initially. Why would an American not jump at the chance to see his beloved team play, live and in the flesh you may ask?

I was so pissed at the idea of watching a team lead by that fat piece of red crap, that I literally was like, "What's the fucking point?"

I did not want to spend my hard-earned traveling - no matter how short a distance for me - watching a team lead by that man. I was FURIOUS Everton had appointed him. It sucked the passion clean out of me for Everton - literally like an emotional personal vortex was placed above my body and sucked the Blue soul clean out of me. That's how pissed, distraught, and angry I was. We appointed a red manager, with a shit record, an arrogant piece of dung, who was a manager who would never, ever be accepted by the fans. The mantra of, "Once Everton touches you" would never apply or be understood by this fella.

I went. I'm glad I did, but NOT because I saw Everton play. The game was blah, it was hot as fuck, and the team played largely crap - a sign of things to come. I'm glad I went because I met Dr. and Elizabeth France, Lyndon, Kristian Boyce and Jay Harris, as well as a host of maniac Blues.

But that is the extent of it. I didn't even do a write up on my experience here at TW because I was so uninspired by the state of the team under Rafa's influence.

Now, if that was how I felt, an American Blue not even brought up in the culture, how in the world might one who's entire life was dedicated to Everton in and around Liverpool feel?

We have a manager now that I think everyone believes is fucking trying. And he gets us, he really does. We finally have the convergence of manager who's going to be touched by Everton and lift the fans, and we need to ride this out and get behind him 100%.

It's a healing phenomenon it stark comparison to the five wounds of Christ that Rafa's appointment inflicted upon us. It's Rafa's appointment - and I'll bleat on about this for an eternity because it's so freaking shocking and unforgivable - that sees us where we are.

And Frank is lifting us away from that, thank God.

Paul Cherrington
9 Posted 03/05/2022 at 14:35:34
I agree that Lampard is a decent manager who we should give time to succeed. The club needs stability whatever happens and that means keeping him on as boss, rather than changing again. Plus I do think we have improved under him and look a better side - even if the league table is not pretty reading still.

As this article says, it takes a clever manager who knows the game and just wants to win to change philosophy when required.

Tony Abrahams
10 Posted 03/05/2022 at 14:47:32
I like Lampard, I hope he stays for many years, but the biggest change has been with the fans, proving that Benitez was just to divisive for our fan base.

I like that Lampard questioned the players balls, I like that Lampard is trying to make us more cynical, but the biggest change has definitely been amongst the fans, and they have always been the only thing that “still” makes Everton a very football club special, imo.

Robert Tressell
11 Posted 03/05/2022 at 14:48:44
I have been critical of Lampard because I think he was over confident about getting this group of players to play their way out of trouble. As a result, he's been much too slow to accept we have a poor side and need to grind it out.

However, he has certainly learned now and no surprise the results are improving.

In a few months therefore he's matured and adapted as a manager - something which Silva for example was unable to do when things went pear shaped for him.

This should stand us in good stead if we pick up the home wins and away points our recent performances merit.

Next season we need to be more ambitious in our play but it's always relative to the quality of your players, especially in the attacking third.

This sort of experience could potentially be the making of Lampard. I hope so.

Dave Lynch
12 Posted 03/05/2022 at 14:49:53
Anyone who thought Lampard would turn this team around in a few weeks is kidding themselves.
It was always going to take time and time was not on his side, he has done a great job imo.
Jay Harris
13 Posted 03/05/2022 at 14:59:11
I use two words to sum Frank up honesty and integrity and those qualities will endear him to the players and supporters alike.

What a refreshing change from "Phenominal". "Im off to play golf" and "The supporters don't understand".

Soren Moyer
14 Posted 03/05/2022 at 14:59:38
If he gets us out of this mire, he will be one of the greatest managers this club has ever had. For me anyway.
Stephen Williams
15 Posted 03/05/2022 at 15:03:59
It is clear that Lampard inherited a poor squad, low on confidence and in a downward spiral for which he shouldn't be held responsible. Indeed such things have built up over 5 years. However he also shouldn't be given a completely free pass for performances since his arrival.
He started off by changing the playing style overnight to a more possession based system that built from the back and tried to be fluid in midfield. It is clear that the players at his disposal were ill equipped to play that way. How many times have we called for a stiffer midfield two? In my view he took too long to assess the squad to understand that was the case. We were way too open and needed to be far more compact, particularly on the road. That lesson has now been learned but it took longer than it should have and only after seriously damaging defeats by Newcastle, Southampton, West Ham and Burnley together with a moral sapping thumping at Spurs.
Since the Man Utd game we have been much more pragmatic and competitive, only the first half against Leicester bucked that trend when again we were too open.
I just hope that finding this better way of playing to suit the players at his disposal hasn't come too late. If it has then serious questions about those first 10 or so performances will ramp up pressure on Lampard that he might find hard to resist.
Stay up on the other hand and he will deserve a crack at getting us playing a more attractive style that we do at present.
It's too early to call either way. Results will always dictate a manager's future. Five massive games to go and then assess then.
Joe McMahon
16 Posted 03/05/2022 at 15:07:18
Mark @2 they did, and I was thinking the same of you. It was a pathetic statement. Everyone can see how much it hurts Frank when we lose and Everyone can see how he celebtrates when we score/win.

If we do go down U want him and his team to stay.

Mal van Schaick
17 Posted 03/05/2022 at 15:26:59
Spot on Matthew. Lampard has good back room staff behind him now and it looks like their messages are getting across to the players and it shows in their recent performances.

If we can stay up and keep our best players, get rid of the dross and rebuild with Frank in charge, I am sure that the club will stabilise and we will have a better future at the new stadium.

Joe McMahon
18 Posted 03/05/2022 at 15:30:07
Mark @2 auto correct on my phone plays havoc. I was agreeing with you and I want Frank to stay.
Jay Harris
19 Posted 03/05/2022 at 16:02:21
stephen #15 I think you will find we beat Newcastle 1-0 with 10 men.
Mark Ryan
20 Posted 03/05/2022 at 16:03:51
I'd agree with others on here. If we go down, it's not on Frank's watch for me. We were fucked over by a fleeing Ancellotti who fiddled whilst Rome burnt all around him and then Caligula Rafac**tus turns up and makes matters far worse. I hope Frank keeps us up. He and all of us deserve a break. Staying up will be like a Cup win for me. UTFT's
David Graves
21 Posted 03/05/2022 at 16:14:32
The atmosphere and support at Goodison has changed and I like and respect Frank but If we survive it will be the Goodison crowd that gets us over the line. This is in-spite of Frank's qualities and the experience of his back room staff.
Scousers can be the most hard faced, outspoken, passionate and belligerent of people but for too long Evertonian's have been too acceptant of the disgraceful way that the club has been run. Something has obviously changed over the last few weeks though and I'm not so sure that Frank and his backroom staff are the catalyst as it feels like as fans we have taken a collective responsibility to ensure that the club stays in the Premier League.
Frank has a massive task ahead of him in the two away games at Leicester and Watford away from the Goodison fans (although there will be a massive away support). Surely "tactical intelligence" will be an absolute necessity and Frank will have to show just how good of a manager he is.
Let's see if he can set up a team to go away from home and get the results that are needed before we laud him as the saviour.
Brian Harrison
22 Posted 03/05/2022 at 16:15:36
Usually when a big club like Everton are where we are in the league then the fans turn on him and the players, but quite the opposite has happened. The home support has never been better, and I don't hear anybody who sits around me in the ground calling for Franks head. I think the first couple of games with wins over Brentford in the cup and Leeds in the league kidded Frank into believing this group were capable of playing a possession based game, which starts with playing out from the back. But he has quickly learnt that these players don't have the skillset to play that way, so he has set the team up to play a more pragmatic game, which they seem far more comfortable with. I also think not having Mina for so many games has really hurt us.

Our away form was awful under Benitez and to be fair it hasn't improved under Frank, and for me if we are to survive it will be as much about the results in the away games as much as the home games. Although not pretty Ancelotti soon realised the only way this group would get results away from home was sit back and hit teams on the break. Whether we stay up or not our away performances have to improve dramatically and we need to improve our goal scoring ratio. At the moment it looks like its Richarlison who will score as neither Gray or Gordon contribute enough in that department and goals from elsewhere are nearly non existent.

Trevor Powell
23 Posted 03/05/2022 at 16:16:37
Jamie Crowley @8. I am with you totally, "It sucked the passion clean out of me for Everton - literally like an emotional personal vortex was placed above my body and sucked the Blue soul clean out of me."
I am exiled from Merseyside through all sorts of reasons and this is the first season when I have actually been unable to listen to or watch EFC live because of the dread at what better supporters than I have had ot witness directly. My wife has been stunned to see my so worried about 'my lifelong team!

I am an old fart rapidly approaching 70 and diagnosed with chronic depression. I was taken by my Dad to Goodison in 1961 and hence became engrossed in EFC. I was there when they won the FA Cup in 66,84 and 95 and WBA to see Alan Whittle and Colin Harvey seal the league title. I have indoctrinated my daughters in Evertonia. They both went to university in Manchester at different times of Moyes' era. I always went to see them when EFC were at home and through some 30+ games niether of them saw us lose!

I was a maths/geography teacher on the south coast for 35 years, a member of ESCLA and went to matches in the south and midlands. I was there on that unbelievable night at White Hart Lane when the lads won 2-1 to effectively win the title!

A lad called Tim Jupp wrote about me on the now defunct Friends Reunited website, "Imagine my horror, when I opened my GCE 'O' Level Geography paper to find that were no questions about Everton and Cricket".

I never thought that I would ever see EFC relegated in my lifetime, even the scares of 1994 and 1997 did not register high on my personal Richterscales!

I am for the first time this season actually believing that we will get out of this with Frank Lampard and I might not going missing behind the sofa when the Blues are being broadcast on radio or television.

Dale Self
24 Posted 03/05/2022 at 17:04:44
We'll know that fans are comfortable with Frank when the Carlo and Benitez insults fade. I'm completely in support of Frank finding a way to win but for a bit of realism here-that was straight out of Carlo's playbook. Get the wins and I'm fine. In fact get on with another season to see if his aggressive swashbuckling ways resonate with the players that we will be keeping. Just stop with the Carlo and Benitez slams when praising Frank as he's not revolutionized anything yet he has only just figured it out.
Martin Mason
25 Posted 03/05/2022 at 17:15:39
Very good article Matthew and I agree. Frank Lampard could at last be the Manager that makes it all gel. It could be a lot of hard work yet though.
Sam Hoare
26 Posted 03/05/2022 at 17:34:24
I like this article and agree in particular with the need for consistency.

But I cannot jump aboard the Lampard train yet. Yes, we have shown some fight in the last few weeks but if a manager had not coaxed some effort from a team slipping into the relegation places then that would be dire. The players ‘fought’ at times for Benitez, he often referred to the running metrics, but it was not enough. Fight alone is not enough.

If we go down it will be primarily be to do with the board and Benitez. But Lampard will not be free from blame. He will have managed us for just under half the season and though he seems to be learning, there have definitely been mistakes in tactics, selection and game management that have cost us precious points.

His apparently genuine love for Everton is encouraging and I like his coaching staff and the way he talks. But again, this is not enough. Can he organise us? Can he make subs that tilt the game in our favour? Will he get us back towards the top 6 if we stay up or immediate promotion if we go down? I don’t know.

So far Lampards points per game is 1.19. Benitez was 1.14. While Ancelloti was 1.60 and Silva 1.38.

I like Lampard. I’d like him to be the manager his fans believe him to be. But I’m not sure he’s proved that yet. The proof may well be in the pudding and if he can get this team picking up points away from home (without the crowd dragging them on) then that will add to his case. Sunday was great, but one swallow does not make a summer.

Duncan McDine
27 Posted 03/05/2022 at 17:38:29
Good article which sums up my thoughts. It certainly seems like Frank can tell now which players in our squad have the bollocks to fight. I never thought for a second that Iwobi would be one of them, but my God, he works his nuts off and suddenly has the aggression required since Lampard got hold of him. Gomes, Keane and a few others will be near enough impossible to keep… we can no longer put up with half-arsed weaklings dragging our team down with their depressing and lethargic body language. Once we have established a work ethic and hard as nails spirit, we can then look to introduce some quality… but only players with the correct attitude. The recipe for winning is simple - gifted footballers who are stronger and work harder than the opposition. If a player only has one of those qualities, I don’t want them near our club.
Charles Brewer
28 Posted 03/05/2022 at 17:42:31
The malaise in this team has gone on for something like 30 years. By some miracle, David Moyes, with no money at all, mostly kept the team from relegation, but once he left, even the rather good Martinez wasn't enough to keep the lid on the underlying decline.

I though Allardyce might have kicked enough players to get them performing properly, and Benitez might even have been a decent appointment at the right time, place and with the right club management. But he certainly proved not to be such with a club in near vertical collapse.

Whether or not Everton avoid the drop this year, I think that the club has to commit itself completely to a Lampard led revival. He comes across as exactly the right sort of manager - young, intelligent, personable and highly successful as a player - who can be part of the complete rebuild that is required.

I think the analogy required is probably Twitter, which degenerated from a platform open to all opinions into a censorious, biased mess run by (but not owned by) semi-fascist idiots who thought it was there for them to censor anyone they disagreed with. Elon Musk is now showing them the error of their terminally stupid ways.

We need a similar clean out at Everton.


Stephen Williams
29 Posted 03/05/2022 at 17:44:54
Jay (19), I don't have to 'find' we beat Newcastle at home 1-0, I was there. Just like I was when we got turned over 3-1 with 11 men having lead 1-0, or got beat 2-0 at Soton, thumped 5-0 at Spurs or 4-0 at Palace. For me, the most damaging result was Burnley away when presumably because of his tactics, we committed hari kari by pressing on the half way line to win a ball we didn't need when 2-1 up and the game changed in an instant. A point would haver been ok and even now after Burnley's unbelievable run, we'd still be a point ahead with a game in hand.
The point I was making is that it's just too early to go overboard with 'Frank's the man' - it's so easy to write such an upbeat article on the back of Sunday's 'occasion', I didn't see many such articles after those other games I mentioned.
I like what Frank says and how he seems to 'get' Everton and Evertonians and hope that he gets the chance to manage us next season in the PREMIER LEAGUE. But that's down to him and how he gets results to make that happen. A bit of perspective.
And this is from the guy who is roundly accused on here of being an eternal optimist.
Michael Lynch
30 Posted 03/05/2022 at 17:46:16
I tend to agree with Sam @26. I like Frank too, but if all we wanted was someone to give the players a kick up the arse, then we could have given the job to Big Dunc til the end of the season. In fact, it's taken Frank months to reach this Dogs Of War point, whereas Ferguson would have started that journey on day one.

At the time of his appointment, I said that if Frank could keep us up, next season might be very entertaining. I still think that, but if we go down then Lampard has to take his share of the blame in my opinion.

Sean Kelly
31 Posted 03/05/2022 at 17:47:57
Jamie # 8 Spot on lad. I will add that those that appointed that red piece of "dung" don't get Everton either. Moshiri and the teary one might claim to understand what it means to us fans but they sold their souls to the dark side.
Hopefully Frank Lampard will get us over the line. I didn't want him at the time because of his inexperience but he is growing into it. If he succeeds he should get a longer go at the job and with a bit of luck we will get rid of those two gobshites.
Shane Corcoran
32 Posted 03/05/2022 at 17:49:05
No, not in full agreement.

Frank assessed our squad and decided that we could play our way out of trouble. He was badly wrong and whilst I applaud his willingness to change, he was negligently late in doing so.

So yes, he's managed to motivate and lift the group well, with a huge amount of help from the Goodison faithful, but it should have happened earlier and, if we go down, this should not be wiped from history.

Joe McMahon
33 Posted 03/05/2022 at 18:00:40
Micheal @30,

Duncan's day one was a defeat at home to Gerrard. I still feel he needs to manage somewhere else first, like Gerrard is doing, Lampard did, Rooney is and Lee Carsley is doing and countless others.

We have to move on from the Blue Teary One's dream.

David Graves
34 Posted 03/05/2022 at 18:06:10
Stephen, I agree with much of what you've posted on this thread.

Newcastle, Spurs and Palace away were terrible results and Frank certainly didn't demonstrate any of the skills or nous required to get us out of this mess.

The Burnley game was the biggest horror show though and let's face it if the fans hadn't contributed so much to the result on Sunday I'm not sure the result wouldn't have been the same and there would be very few people prepared to sing Frank's praises today.

As you say, he's still got a massive job to do. Our away form and how he manages the team to get the required results is key to survival.

Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
35 Posted 03/05/2022 at 18:21:22
Much as the anti-Boys Pen Bill brigade would like to believe different - I am firmly of the opinion that Benitez's appointment was 100% Moshiri. Same goes for Koeman, same goes for Ancelotti, same for Marco Silva and his sacking and also the Martinez sacking. Allardyce is the only one where I can't make up my mind if other board members were involved.

And to be fair, our manager walked away, our creative midfield duo were then also removed, we suddenly discovered we had spent too much, we appointed a toxic manager, our 16-goal striker from the previous season got injured and has played in 33% of the games, we bought a replacement full-back who is out for the season without playing a game and one who arrived 6 weeks before his country was invaded. It is not exactly a good hand.

Mike Gaynes
36 Posted 03/05/2022 at 18:43:06
Matthew, this is an exceptional article and I agree with you pretty much down the line. Lampard is an inexperienced manager and, as Sam points out, he has made some errors both strategically and tactically. But he has learned from them, and he has made some excellent mid-course corrections when necessary.

What impresses me most is his passion and openness. There is no arrogance in his approach, no avoidance of responsibility, and most of all no fear -- he is willing to make difficult decisions and stand by them without concern about criticism. He was a natural leader on the pitch, and a winner, despite having less-than-ideal talent. And I think that characteristic has carried over to the touchline.

He will make more mistakes, but I think he will turn out to be an excellent manager in the long term. Let's just hope he proves it in the Premier League rather than the Championship.

Bill Hawker
37 Posted 03/05/2022 at 18:55:36
I get a real laugh on social media of those who think Frank isn't qualified or got the "fast track" to managing at a higher level. These are the same people who think that Sam Allardyce was a "good appointment" for Everton. Laughable. Frank has done as good a job as any of our recent managers under the circumstances.
Jerome Shields
38 Posted 03/05/2022 at 19:01:50
An article with good observation and Frank is heading in the right direction, now realising what this squad can and can't do. But the pressure of relegation and the Everton faithful has some players putting in more work and effort than usual. This is particularly the case when Frank's tactics are matched by selection of players with the right attitude.

But when the shackles are off, I expect players will revert back to type and consistency will be a problem. Frank will need to work hard on his objectives and changes this summer, if he is to have a competitive consistent squad next season.

Tony Hill
39 Posted 03/05/2022 at 19:06:38
Some of the language and sentiment on here about Benitez is an embarrassing disgrace. We spend a lot of time congratulating ourselves on how wonderful we are as fans. I don’t think that’s true any longer and it hasn’t been for quite some time.

We have developed a very unpleasant streak indeed and I’m very sorry to see it.

Danny O’Neill
40 Posted 03/05/2022 at 19:11:34
One of the best articles I've read on ToffeeWeb Matthew.

I know I'm a scratched record, but we can't keep blaming and churning through managers.

Something else has to change. The managerial position has become the sacrificial lamb for failure at this club. I'm off again so I'll stop.

I was on the fence with Frank's appointment. I still am, but I like his honesty and I'll give him a chance and my support. At least I can call him by his first name. I couldn't say that about the last one or the other one I wish had never been associated with us.

Even though its early days, for the first time in many years, I'm actually impressed with what is being put in place on the football side in terms of the coaching setup. I'm not getting carried away, but there seems to be a plan and he (Frank) is building his coaching team, not one imposed on him and previous managers. It looks and feels promising.

Maybe times are changing. Maybe it will get worse before it gets better, but this club needs cleasing from top to bottom. And we need stabity, not constant turbulence and change every 5 minutes.

Not the supporters though. If there is one consistent, it is the supporters. The heartbeat of the club.

Benitez went about it in a disruptive, bull in a China shop and control freak manner. He saw the need for it but his approach amd history meant it was always going toxic early.

Maybe Frank is the one to influence and implemet that change in a more considered manner. I hope so.

Tony Everan
41 Posted 03/05/2022 at 19:13:09
Matthew, thanks for a great article, I think Evertonians want to believe, in the players, the manager and club. The previous manager was never going to get that belief from supporters or players. Benitez’s appointment was like a 500lb bomb dropped on Everton football club, unexploded and just ticking away waiting to be detonated. Eventually the bomb disposal squad were inevitably deployed.

Frank Lampard has the passion and desire fans can easily buy into. The players just have to look up to him he is so decorated in the game. Whilst friendly and unassuming he is definitely a determined and professional character , the insatiable will to win attitude is all there . He is all in for us , there’s no holding back . Also, has now a great team around him supporting him.

All leads me to be 100% behind him and the team. I truly do believe that he can turn us around given some time and financial backing even if partially from player sales. The Mourinho tactics coupled with hard graft and a sprinkling quality are working.

Just one more thing, Yerry Mina, changes us when he plays. We look way more assured as a team. If/when the big man goes in June, replacing him with the right calibre of CB is of huge importance and has got to be a big priority for Frank.

Lee Robinson
42 Posted 03/05/2022 at 19:43:14
I think one of the problems in getting us to look like a coherent team was Frank's two first home games, Brentford and Leeds. Gomes had a worldie one week and Van Der Beak the other. I think this maybe gave Frank a false impression of how quickly he could implement his style on the squad. He was quickly let down week in, week out. He has a base of a team now who he knows he can rely on, and who would have thought Delph, Iwobi and Mykolenko would be at the heart of it. Frank should be applauded as many have mentioned on here for adapting also, hopefully if it's not too late for us.

I'm thankful we have as many points as we do at the moment. For me there aren't any games this season where you could say we were unlucky to have not picked up any points, apart from maybe Burnley and West Ham recently where you could argue we deserved a draw, when we have been beaten it's been deserved. If it wasn't for individual flashpoints, the Gray last minute winner, Iwobi in the 99th minute, Richarlsons equalizer and Pickford's save we could be gone now.

This summer feels pivotal for Everton in so many ways, not just the new stadium on the horizon but with a new young coach and staff with the fans fully behind them, a foundation of some great young talent and it feels like a line in the sand to shake off the past signings on big wages and 5 years contracts coming to an end.

These next 2 weeks are the most important in the clubs history and there's no doubt us fans will give it everything we've got. 3 wins should do it COYB!

Brian Harrison
43 Posted 03/05/2022 at 19:48:53
We have gone through 6 managers and 3 DOFs in Moshiris time and spent hundreds of millions in getting to where we are now. So chopping and changing managers hasnt worked and neither has throwing money at the problem. We have a young articulate manager who has played under some of the Worlds great managers, and will have learned an awful lot from them. He knows what it takes to become a top side and in Ashley Cole another who has had that same experience, so surely whatever happens this season securing Frank and his coaching team going forward is a no brainer.

Should the unthinkable happen he has experience at managing in the Championship and that could be important. Because if it did happen every team in the Championship would relish trying to beat Everton. It would be every clubs Cup Final. Equally staying up will still provide as many questions, but having worked with the squad he will know what he has here and where he needs to strengthen. But there will also be players who want to move on who he would love to have kept.

But his job would be made significantly harder if they fail to stay up as finances will be very tight and the ability to bring new players in will be much harder. But to change the manager whichever league we are in next season would be utter madness.

Paul Kossoff
44 Posted 03/05/2022 at 20:10:28
Let's not get carried away, our immediate future is in the remaining games, if we lose more than we win in them, then our future is bleak.

If we get relegated, then we won't come right back up. Most of the current squad will be sold or walk for free. The remaining players aren't good enough to get promoted from the Championship.

Lampard has not done enough, he should have had the mentality to go for draws and frustrate the opposition in certain games. His tactics have been lacking.

So onwards and upwards, and let's hope the bunch of slackers we have put the effort into the remaining games to keep us safe.

Lee Courtliff
45 Posted 03/05/2022 at 20:45:40
There were a few times where Moyes could easily have been sacked. Finishing 17th in his second full season in charge, losing 6 out of the first 7 games of the season in '05. Probably a couple of other occasions too.

But, we stuck with him and he repaid that by turning us into a regular Top 6 club. I think we need to do that with Frank, even if we do go down.

He has my full support. Good article, btw.

Jamie Crowley
46 Posted 03/05/2022 at 21:15:26
Charles Brewer -

I think the analogy required is probably Twitter, which degenerated from a platform open to all opinions into a censorious, biased mess run by (but not owned by) semi-fascist idiots who thought it was there for them to censor anyone they disagreed with. Elon Musk is now showing them the error of their terminally stupid ways.

I got a "right chuckle" out of that! Thank you! Analogous indeed in my opinion!

Pat Kelly
47 Posted 03/05/2022 at 21:27:07
Dele Alli and DVdB were not Lampard's finest moments.

I saw where he referred to Tosun as a fantastic professional and said he's watching his contract position. Tosun never wanted to leave while he could ride the Everton gravy train. Please God, Frank, don't renew his contract or we'll never forgive you. The jury is still out on Frank for me. But he was a fantastic professional as a player. Unlike Cenk.

Barry Rathbone
48 Posted 03/05/2022 at 21:39:22
Been here far too often to be taken in by early glimpses of apparent light especially when parked firmly in the drop zone.

No one KNOWS where we would be if Benitez had stayed and whilst a mad appointment he got stuck into the changes everyone was calling for but the pain was too much for some amidst a mad idea revolution can be affected without blood on the carpet and the hatred of his red past.

The worry is the self congratulatory backslapping and desperate optimism of the moment hints something can be done with this group - it can't. They are mid table journeymen at best reflecting the unchallenging stupor of decades past. If Frank doesn't make wholesale changes this summer and improve that predicament fans will do what they always do and turn on him.

But he shouldn't be judged on this season whatever happens given the paucity of this squad he needs the summer to effect transformation. If he doesn't then it's wash, rinse, spin and repeat and he'll be down the road by xmas

Ian Hollingworth
49 Posted 03/05/2022 at 21:42:32
Great article and positive comments.
It appears we are all enjoying Everton again which is fantastic.
Tony A is right it’s the fans that really make this club special
I just hope the club gets what has happened this year and moves forward rather than just plodding along thinking everything will be ok.
Justin Doone
50 Posted 03/05/2022 at 21:55:13
Like others have said it took Frank to long to realise and change the tactics, method's and his own mentality of playing hard for the points, not simply to play attractive, easy on the eye 'Frank's way'.

I'll give him credit for finally changing, something Martinez and Silva couldn't do.

If he keeps us up, give him 10 games next season to assess what and how he can improve the team and squad.

If he doesn't, he doesn't deserve the chance to remain our manager.

It's now upto him and the team.

Bernie Quinn
51 Posted 03/05/2022 at 22:14:58
Excellent article Matthew and I fully agree with all you wrote. I have been a Frank supporter from day 1 and he has shown himself to be a real Evertonian and a skilful Manager. No matter how the season ends I hope Frank remains with us for many years. But I'm scared that 'Luvvy' Kenwright and his minions will be really stupid during the summer and get rid of him.
Brent Stephens
52 Posted 03/05/2022 at 22:15:03
"If he keeps us up, give him 10 games next season to assess what and how he can improve the team and squad. If he doesn't, he doesn't deserve the chance to remain our manager."

Impatient short-termism that has ruined this club in recent years. I despair.

Paul Kernot
53 Posted 03/05/2022 at 22:53:01
Pat #47. I agree but at least he can send them both back from whence they came rather than giving them 5 yr contracts.
Pete Clarke
54 Posted 03/05/2022 at 23:47:13
This is not just about Frank Lampard and how good or bad he is because the shit players we have tell us that any manager would struggle with them. We can all keep guessing about who we should and shouldn’t get to drag this club back into the modern game. Unfortunately the one who could probably do it is employed across the park.
We have stumbled on a manager who is a born winner but still learning his trade. We are lucky to have him and stability is what this club need whether we are relegated or not. People can pick through results and decide for themselves who was at fault if it went wrong but the fact is we have some very average players in our team and also have a shocking list of injured players so any manager would struggle as we have witnessed that. Ancelotti told us that he didn’t have a magic wand and neither does Frank.
If supporters want to harp on about change then aim all of your disgust and anger towards the directors box because that’s the reason this club is in a never ending mess.
Let’s just get behind the team for the final push for safety. Flarecharlison has a good record against Leicester and he will be bouyed by the events of Last weekend.
COYB
Ed Prytherch
55 Posted 03/05/2022 at 00:07:11
Frank had little time to get players in between becoming manager and the closing of the transfer window. Donny van de Beek is just a loan and looked okay when he played. It remains to be seen how Dele works out.

Both players have tremendous ability. Donny will get a second chance at Man Utd and Dele will have a pre-season to get fit and compete for a starting place. Frank obviously has more insight and patience than the pundits who dismiss them after a few games.

Mike Gaynes
56 Posted 04/05/2022 at 00:38:02
Ed #55, amen. Donny and Dele were most definitely gambles worth taking for a manager appointed just hours before the window closed. Both are 25 and talented, and were available for virtually nothing.

No, they haven't worked out yet, but how anyone could think Lampard could have done better under the circumstances on January 31 is beyond me.

What were his better choices? Should he have gone after Diego Costa? Promoted a U23? Would those have been "finer moments"?

No way.

Bill Gall
57 Posted 04/05/2022 at 01:50:25
I was a little surprised that Lampard was hired going on the position we where in the league at that time. Even after managing Chelsea, and that to me may have been more of a supporter’s backing.

Even with top class premier players to work, with he showed inexperience in managing and never lasted long. Dropping down a division with a different standard of players and tactics, he improved his managerial learning to a degree that he felt he could manage again in the Premier League. So when Everton started looking for a manager, he applied and was hired.

As I said, I was surprised he was hired and I think he was surprised after the first few games and thought it is not as bad as people were saying… and then got a rude awakening.

There isn't any young manager starting off as a manager that doesn't make mistakes, the good ones realize what their mistakes are and rectify them, the poor do not.

Lampard to me brought in an experienced backroom staff but believed as manager it was up to him. He has since realized his mistakes and is now working more closely with his staff and the players.

It is early days yet but, when he was hired, I didn't think he was ready for the Premier League again. I don't want Everton to go down and, over the last 4 games, there has been a change in style, tactics and fitness levels that make me believe he is not a one-man band, is listening to his staff and is one for the future, and to keep us up.


Christopher Nicholls
58 Posted 04/05/2022 at 03:21:24
100% behind the sentiment of this article and many of the posts. Calling out Jamie's, particularly. Frank all the way; the next 5 games and beyond.

Rafa almost wrecked this club. Digging out from there with honestly, integrity whilst healing a broken squad is a Herculean task and I hope the blue skies are shining at the end of the month.

Pete Clarke
59 Posted 04/05/2022 at 04:25:32
Positivity aimed towards the players and manager right now and keep the vitriol aimed at the board.
Benitez and Allardyce had no right to be at this club amongst a shitload of players who should never have been brought in. This is all down to Our luvvie chairman and the owner who simply do not have a fucking clue what they are doing.

Ancelotti was on a cushy little number with us but I believe he saw through the two tossers at the top, had a good look at what was happening at Finch Farm, and thought “I'm outta here“. He probably knows he'll get the sack at Real Madrid if they don't win the Champions League because winning that La Liga is not big deal right now.

Let's get real here for a minute though and realize that we are not going to bring in any top notch managers in because we are nothing to most big names anymore and now that the money is not there we have even less chance of a big name ever coming.

Let's embrace Frank Lampard and hope he sticks with us.

Kenwright Out.

Kieran Kinsella
60 Posted 04/05/2022 at 04:44:15
I'm a Frankophile but, if we're relegated, I wonder if the club will be able to afford the wages of him and his crew. I suspect they'll activate the break clause in his contract and bring in some cheapskate who agrees to work with Ebbrell and Co.

But luckily I don't think that will happen. I don't see Burnley's win streak continuing or Leeds getting many more points. So, even though I'm a “glass more-than-half-empty” guy, I think we will survive

Pete Clarke
61 Posted 04/05/2022 at 06:39:29
If the board decide that they cannot afford Lampard and his crewe then I can only think of 1 person that becomes our manager and that's Duncan Ferguson. In their madness they would also tell Duncan that it's take it or leave and if he doesn't take it then we could end up with Ebbrell or maybe Unsy will come back to save us. All pretty good options in the eyes of our board I imagine. Cuckoo cuckoo (with an image of Jack Black in my mind from Shallow Hal).
Greg Anderson
62 Posted 04/05/2022 at 06:39:53
Great article, Matthew. I would actually go further and think that Frank may turn out to be a truly special manager for us. In just a few months, he has already built up an incredible rapport with the fans. He is clearly very thoughtful, intelligent, articulate, honest, open, decent, and, perhaps above all, empathetic, a bundle of qualities which no other Everton manager has had in my memory, except possibly Howard at his best. He truly cares about us and is totally committed to the cause. If he can steer us through our darkest recent hour, cleaning up a mess created largely by others, he will also have our eternal gratitude.

While I only watch from afar these days, I cannot remember the last time I saw the crowd as fired up as they have been at multiple recent home games (esp. Leeds, NUFC, MUFC, and now Chelsea). To be sure, these are unusual, desperate times. But the shared triumphs and agonies of these weeks could be the basis for a truly special relationship with this manager in the future. And if the worst happens, and we do go down, he will make that experience just that little bit more bearable for us, because he has already earned our trust, our respect, and our affection, unlike most of his recent predecessors.

Phillip Warrington
63 Posted 04/05/2022 at 08:00:15
I’m still on the fence with Frank, the only thing that has got us near a chance has been the support of the home crowd. Under Frank, we are and still the worst away team in the Premier League. So until that is fixed I'm still unsure about Frank and remember after the first five games everyone on this site was believing in Rafa.

The one thing that is true is how passionate and loyal Everton supporters are and will always be. Now we need the team to repay us by turning up on away games and the board to pull their fingers out and give us something to shout about.

Steve Shave
64 Posted 04/05/2022 at 08:12:50
A really good article and talking point thanks. I too have been reflecting on his rapport with us the fans. He hasn't always got it right on the pitch, a few interesting selections and subs decisions at times. A naive high line in a few matches which have cost us, the Burnley result another. However, despite this he has the fans on his side due to his effort, his honesty and clear love of the place. I think he has been almost flawless in his use of the media. Superb.

I for one want to stick by him no matter what this and next season. He and his expensively assembled coaching team need time and support. Well you have mine Frank, I was unsure about the appointment at first but remained open minded. The way he has "got" us has turned my head. COYB!

Danny O’Neill
65 Posted 04/05/2022 at 08:20:18
Total different circumstances, Steve, but comparisons to across the Park? Had to work with what he had initially and took 3 years to get what he wanted in terms of players, mentality and attitude?

I too was on the fence, but we can't keep changing in the wrong position. We know where the change is needed.

Had it not been the fact he was Benitez, I wonder if we'd have been chanting someone else's name at Norwich away to get out of our club?

Tony Abrahams
66 Posted 04/05/2022 at 08:30:37
After reading all the posts, it's Stephen the eternal optimist @29, that makes the most sense regarding Frank Lampard, imo.

Your post has a touch of what Darren Hind has always spoken about on these pages, Stephen.

I'm pretty certain, me, you, Darren and every single Evertonian in the world wants Lampard to be a success, but it's not going to be easy, especially whilst so much deadwood remains at our club.

Jerome Shields
67 Posted 04/05/2022 at 08:42:34
Benitez repeatedly gets unfair criticism. He was brought in on the back of a successful and loyal stint at Newcastle. He accepted getting £1.5 million in transfer funds working with the FFP situation.

He was initially successful and his transfers were good. On the first International break, he tried to get the players to shape up .But was met with resistance which included staff at Finch Farm. He was following Moshiri's remit to sort that particular place out. When play resumed after the break, we got a typical apathetic and poorly prepared Everton, only over an extended period. It materialised with the aim of getting rid of the manager. On not being backed or not consulted in the January Transfer window, Benitez offered to leave, which was reluctantly accepted by Moshiri.

I for one am glad he did try to change the under-performance of Finch Farm and the players. But he was on a hiding to nothing since he was limited in what he could change, as Moshiri was not going to effect any necessary complementary change in other areas of Everton's management.

Everton being in a relegation dogfight is result of efforts within Everton to get rid of Benitez.

Lampard is likely to have similar problems at some stage, as did managers before Benitez. The difference with Benitez is he tried to effect change early on the season, whereas others (except Silva) suffered a similar fate nearer the end of the season, when managers tried too late to change things. Of course Benitez being a ex-Red was mana to those that wanted him out.

Rob Halligan
68 Posted 04/05/2022 at 08:48:34
Kieran # 60.

I can't see Leeds getting many more points either. They have four games, Arsenal away, Chelsea and Brighton both at home, and Brentford away. From that little lot, I can see Leeds getting one point, a draw at home with Brighton.

With there being a difference in the GD of 14 in our favour, we could be one win away from safety, although I would like a few more points than just the three!!

Mike Doyle
69 Posted 04/05/2022 at 09:00:06
Rob # 68. In the rush to credit "the Everton fans", Frank's coaching team, all and sundry etc for Sunday's win do you share my slight disappointment that nobody has mentioned our 'Any Given Sunday' speech proposal? At least you and I know the truth!
Rob Halligan
70 Posted 04/05/2022 at 09:15:28
Mike, yeah I forgot about that. I did forward it on to a mate who is a close friend of a member of the backroom staff at Everton. Maybe it was forwarded on again, though I've not been told if it was?

By the way, I've read another welcoming party is planned for the Brentford game, so let's all get “Marching down the Goodison Road”.

Robert Tressell
71 Posted 04/05/2022 at 09:20:40
Jerome #67.

None of really know all of the facts but I agree Benitez seems to be held responsible for all ills at Everton. I get that he's always going to be despised in some quarters but this mindset also excuses a lot of people who have also contributed to our slide - dating back in reality to pre-1992.

Benitez was here for 6 months, did quite well with a fit squad at the start, having had only 50p to spend on a rapidly deteriorating squad and losing Sigurdsson. He then lost Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison, Mina and others for long stretches and the results fell apart.

Yes, he made mistakes but, with a fit squad, we'd be in mid-table with fans calling him a coward and a dinosaur for not getting us into the Champions League.

The weird January recruitment was not his choice by all accounts although clearly he'd burned his bridges with Digne by then.

The real issue is the behind-the-scenes club management which is a disgrace and has been for years.

Dale Rose
72 Posted 04/05/2022 at 09:29:03
Always wanted Lampard, and am behind him 100%. Great article.
Rennie Smith
73 Posted 04/05/2022 at 09:34:34
Jerome #67,

I'm not discrediting what you're saying but is your post based on facts you've heard from others or just your opinion on what went on with Benitez?

Ray Roche
74 Posted 04/05/2022 at 09:34:45
Robert, Jerome,

Whatever reasons or excuses you proffer for Benitez's performance, you can't deny that his insistence on using an unfit Rondon week after week, despite having younger and fit and willing players at his disposal, was a major mistake and serves only to underline his stubbornness and intransigence. It was just one reason why Everton fans didn't take to him.

Rondon has recently shown some semblance of ability but it's taken him months to attain anything like the required fitness levels. Benitez's ship had long sailed and was in the knackers yard when he was appointed. He was unemployed for a reason.

Danny O’Neill
75 Posted 04/05/2022 at 09:38:36
It started after we last won the title Robert. We failed to build. We failed to capitalise on our then position.

We had a brief glimpse of a revival with Joe Royle and I think, in hindsight thought Moyes was going to overachieve. But he had his glass ceiling and was a perfect fit for Kenwright. They complemented each other so neither were really under any pressure as we descended into the People's Club. I personally don't like that tag; smacks of cosy little Everton.

The focus on the manager has detracted many from the real issues with the management of this club.

And, being brought up to be honest, I've fallen foul of that over the years. Hope and blind belief is what I've been guilty of more than anything.

That's why it's so important to get the structure right, not just the managerial appointment. That is just a mask for what's really gone wrong.

Anyway, still feeling upbeat after Sunday.

Dave Abrahams
76 Posted 04/05/2022 at 10:13:15
Robert (71),

Benitez wasn't wanted by a good majority of Everton's fanbase, he knew this and was warned by people close to him not to take the job but thought he could do a good job here.

Like Lampard when he took over, Benitez inherited a very poor disjointed squad and was hit with injuries and suspensions which weakened the squad further.

He made mistakes, of course, and using Rondon when it was patently obvious he was nowhere near fit enough was a big one, although it must be stated Calvert-Lewin was unable to play at the time and Richarlison was also out injured or suspended, so Benitez was left with little options there.

Who knows what Benitez had planned, if allowed, to bring in the transfer window? El Ghazi was forced upon him, I doubt he would have wanted Dele Alli or Donny van de Beek, so we'll never know how he would have carried on.

It is obvious the Board had no plans about transfers or bringing in a new manager, even while they were getting rid of Rafa, and Frank was put in charge at the last minute, leaving him to tie up last-minute deals.

Like most Everton fans, I want Lampard to succeed – why wouldn't we? So let's see what transpires in the fight to stay up and what happens in the close season.

The job of getting sensible people in to run the club properly must be carried on and the ones who have taken the club to where we are now must be replaced. They have been here far too long, they are keeping the club back, and are no help at all to any progress.

Phil Lewis
77 Posted 04/05/2022 at 10:16:58
Although we are far from 'out of the woods', our predicament is still in our own hands. Regardless of if we survive or not, then radical surgery is needed next season to finally eradicate the unseen backroom and boardroom structure which has plagued our club for decades.

Every incoming manager has been forced to accept the 'old boys brigade' which come with every new tenure. It's like being given the keys to a big flash historically famous house, the money to restructure and modernise it, but told it comes with outdated geriatric sitting tenants that you have to accept because they've been there forever and they want the big old house to retain its old features that they're accustomed to.

So it is with a certain sadness that I have to say "Big Dunc, thanks for the memories, but it's time to go, old friend." I'm not singling him out. There are several old former stalwarts and hangers-on, in various prominent positions within the club who need to be removed. For one simple reason. That is, they have consistently under-achieved for so long that they have taken us to the brink of Premier League extinction.

Lampard needs to make these demands poste haste and orchestrate a complete clearout. He needs to make it 'his' Everton. An Everton structured for the future. Not constantly being reminded of 'The Ghosts of Everton past'. Because they have almost taken us to their graveyard.

Christine Foster
78 Posted 04/05/2022 at 10:40:31
Excellent article, Matthew.

Everton FC have been the architects of their own failure since Moyes left. That felt like a Judas moment as he took the 30 pieces of silver and slid the knife in as he left.

Since Moshiri came on board, we have had a succession of managers all requiring instant impact, all bringing in piecemeal players resulting in a squad of players poorly suited to making a cohesive team. Managers came and went, but the task before each of them grew more difficult as the seasons progressed and the budgets disappeared.

Ancelotti, who I had the greatest respect for, sadly left us in the lurch. But he must have known turning around the squad and replacing with a few high profile, high wage bills, could only be a short term solution; the road to greatness would take longer than he, or the supporters, wanted.

The replacement was akin to appointing the anti-Christ for some, it felt doomed to failure from the very start. So wrong for so many reasons – no matter how good some thought he was. In the end, his impact has been the greatest of all management appointments since Moyes, his arrogance was only matched by his fabulous man-management skills.

The concocted rationale for the dismissal of James set the tone and playing a clearly unfit Rondon, the most boring, defensive tactics that made Big Sam look on a par with Ancelotti, the shocking run of defeats this season that left the club, the players and supporters so badly damaged that anyone coming in to manage would have to contend with a brittle squad who didn't know their arses from their elbows...

Lampard has had to made calls on players; seeing them in training is one thing, in a game is another. He gave them the benefit of the doubt but, in the end, he has no room to move or wait for players to get fit, regain form or confidence.

Calvert-Lewin may not be seen again, nor Gomes, but Tom Davies will, Rondon will, those with fight and bite, who will run into the floor... because right now the mantra has to be "Stop the other team scoring". I don't care if we have 35% possession for every game left. As long as we will or don't lose...

That's what Frank has to do... that's what he is doing. That's why we ain't going down.

Brian Harrison
79 Posted 04/05/2022 at 10:50:51
While agreeing with many that what Benitez took over was a poor squad of players, and again this has happened to Lampard. I haven't checked the records but I would think they have both got the worst away records of any Everton manager.

Now while some will say "What do you expect, with the players they have?" But correct me if I am mistaken – didn't the guy who was in charge before Benitez and Lampard win at places we haven't done in years? With (apart from a couple of players) exactly the same squad as we have now.

I think he even had us round the top 6 for most of the season, but remembering all the comments on here about Ancelotti playing anti-football.

He bought 2 players, Allan and James. Doucoure and Godfrey have both admitted that Ancelotti didn't sign them and knew nothing about them. But being a top manager – unlike Benitez – he decided this group couldn't play an open attacking game that Ancelotti's teams were famous for, so adopted a more pragmatic approach. Just look how many away wins we achieved under him, even winning at Anfield and Spurs, two places we hadn't won at for ages.

Yes, he walked out. I just wonder if the break-in to his home while his daughter was there changed everything, and maybe after that he was never settled here?

So can we stop with the "Nobody could get this team winning away"? When you appoint toxic managers like Benitez who, despite having a Champions League win on his CV, had done nothing in the last 10 years of management to warrant being appointed our manager. He had to go to China for work – that says it all.

I see the anti-football manager has just done what no other manager has ever done: he has won the domestic league in all the top European countries, as well as winning the most Champions League wins. Just a pity he wasn't Moshiris first manager – imagine what he could have done with the war chest Koeman was given.

Clive Rogers
80 Posted 04/05/2022 at 11:15:56
After losing the Icelander, it was a disastrous decision by Benitez to get rid of our two most creative players, Rodriguez and Digne. It wasn't even for footballing reasons, he just didn't like them personally. I feel sure, if they had stayed, we would have had an extra 10 to 15 points.
Dave Abrahams
81 Posted 04/05/2022 at 11:35:06
Clive (80), I think Benitez was following orders in selling Rodriguez to get his massive wages off the bill, although I've no doubt he didn't fancy working with him.

Digne was also sold to get money in and we got a good price for him at his age and Mylolenko has come in as replacement and is looking like a good buy – although I don't give Benitez any credit for his signing because who knows who recommended his signing?

Rodriguez and Digne might have got us some extra points but who knows how many they might have cost us with the Colombian's half-hearted approach at times and Digne had been very poor for well over a season before he finally went.

Rodriguez is really tearing it up in the Middle East at the moment, nobody else wanted him before he went there and he is being touted out now to anyone who is listening… apparently not many if any.

While at Villa, Digne is not making many fans happy with his signing; is he back in the first team yet?

Steve Brown
82 Posted 04/05/2022 at 11:45:44
The blame for what has happened this season sits beginning, middle and end with everyone involved in hiring Benitez. He was given license to tear up the club’s infrastructure, sell the squad’s creative players and destroy player morale. All during a period over 3.5 months where he managed one win.

Then to maximise this impact in utter dysfunctionality, they sacked him in mid January after he’d ousted the DoF, Head of Recruitment and the medical team. That is some crazy shit right there.

Lampard has made mistakes, particularly in moving the squad to a possession based game away from home. But, he has show willingness to adapt, his backroom staff seem to work better with the squad and Frank has an emotional connection with fans. In addition, the recruitment of Lampard and his team seems to align with the plans of the new DoF. So stay up or go down, I want Lampard and his team to stay.

Derek Taylor
83 Posted 04/05/2022 at 12:37:48
Well said, Matthew. I am persuaded.
Bobby Thomas
84 Posted 04/05/2022 at 12:49:06
This obsession some have with us selling an increasingly injury-prone full-back that we'd had the best of never fails to baffle me.

Digne is 29 years old. Attacking full-back is a young man's game. Digne got a sideways move as he isn't top class. He's also on the fade. It’s a short-sighted signing by Gerrard. He's paid £20M for a full-back he'll be replacing in 2 or 3 seasons tops.

Everton needs to move away from being a refuge for players that were never quite good enough to sit and coast on fat contracts. We have also held onto players for far too long.

Selling ageing players such as Digne is exactly what we should be doing.

Jerome Shields
85 Posted 04/05/2022 at 13:20:44
Ray#74

Rondon was brought in for the purpose of leading the line, holding the ball and maintaining Everton shape, more than too score goals.He has fulfilled this roll, improving with fitness and is continuing to provide this valuable contribution under the present Manager.He is better than any other Everton forward in fulfilling this role.This has been a noted Everton weakness, which signing Rondon sought to address and has done, when selected.

Joe McMahon
86 Posted 04/05/2022 at 13:38:22
Bobby@84, fully agree there, and his form had been poor for a long time. He was also in defence when Watford scored 5.
Christopher Timmins
87 Posted 04/05/2022 at 14:20:48
Hopefully at the season end it will be a given that the manager should be allowed to carry out the task of bringing the club back to where it belongs.

I often hear managers talking about evolution rather than revolution when appoint to a post, with us we need a revolution in June, but hopefully starting from a position of being a Premiership club.

Micky Norman
88 Posted 04/05/2022 at 14:47:54
Whatever happens, we have to keep Lampard. Not that he's a great manager yet- but because he is young and hungry for it which is what we've needed for years. He seems to be learning, albeit the hard way that tactics have to change to suit circumstances. You need Plan A, B and C.

If only Martinez had learned that during his second season, four or so better results from digging in like we did on Sunday would have saved his job and we might have been saved the ridiculous managerial changes we've had since then.

Robert Tressell
89 Posted 04/05/2022 at 15:47:03
Ray # 74. Absolutely right, Benitez had many faults.

I expect the Rondon situation was a case of Benitez trying to get a player match fit. However, it was like playing with 10 men unfortunately and, who knows, Simms or Dobbin may have been a better bet (albeit Simms was returning from injury too at the time and Dobbin is a very different sort of player). There were also alternatives by reshaping the team / playing without a striker.

So yes Benitez undoubtedly takes plenty of blame. I don't dispute that at all and was one of many who really didn't want him at Everton.

But the real issue is why a club of Everton's stature and recent considerable wealth had only a fat has been on a free transfer as their only striking back up of any meaningful experience.

This is about club mismanagement over an extended period - particularly in recruitment. It's not just something that happened on Benitez' very brief watch.

Mike Gaynes
90 Posted 04/05/2022 at 16:02:11
Ray #74, Christine #78, agreed. The Rondon situation and the exiling of James, a player Benitez simply didn't like, turned out to be massive errors. And the shocking loss of #10 was a much greater blow than anyone realized at the time.

Bobby #84, amen. Selling a player over a personality clash is stupid, but the bottom line is, it was good business. We got a great price for a weakening player, and Mykolenko is eight years younger, a whole lot cheaper and much better defensively.

Dave #81, yes, Digne started for Villa in their home win over Norwich this past weekend, but he was overrun in their 0-4 home loss to Spurs. Watching Mykolenko, I haven't missed Digne one bit.

Ed Prytherch
91 Posted 04/05/2022 at 17:32:23
Selling Lucas Digne and bringing in Mykolenko is a rare example of good business at Everton.
Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
92 Posted 04/05/2022 at 18:03:41
Lee #45 - if you come back on this thread. Moyes 2nd season when we finished 17th - with 6 games to go we were 13th and safe and the team gave up and we drew 2 and then lost 4 to finish 17th. But we still finished 6 points better than the relegated clubs so never in danger and neither was Moyes.
Lee Courtliff
93 Posted 04/05/2022 at 18:07:05
I know that, mate. I was there for most of them.

The point remains, finishing 17th in your second season in charge could easily have you the sack. Very easily.

But we didn't sack him, we stuck with him and it paid off. I never wanted Moyes sacked at the end of that season, btw.

I just thought it was a good example of how perseverance can pay off.

Danny O’Neill
94 Posted 04/05/2022 at 18:30:21
Phil, if you gave most of us that right now, we'd take it. Both you and Lee make good points.

But is that really what we want for Everton? Get to 13th, be safe and switch off as we look to the summer?

That's not the Everton any of us want and it's been the problem of the way they have beaten down the expectation of a generation. Be happy with your lot. Just be content to exist.

From being the club with the second most league titles in English football to one that hasn't won it in 35 years and counting. It really grates me.

Get us over the line and then I hope there is change. Let Lampard and his team get on with the footballing side. It doesn't always translate from player to coach, but he is a winner that has won everything. Let's see what he can do. We did with Moyes. It wasn't good enough. Not for my Everton.

Ray Roche
95 Posted 04/05/2022 at 18:33:04
Jerome@85

Jerome, whatever brief Rondon was given, or indeed signed for, his poor physical state when he arrived meant that he had no chance of being successful. Your claim that “ He has fulfilled this roll, improving with fitness and is continuing to provide this valuable contribution” is, sorry, nonsense. If you had said that he has belatedly fulfilled the role then, yes, you’d be right, but under Benitez his performances were dire. As for his fitness, he’s been at Everton for what, nine months? He should be fit by now!!
His performances during his early months….not weeks…place him alongside Brett Angel or Bernie Wright.

Andy Crooks
96 Posted 04/05/2022 at 19:12:52
True, Ray. Rondon looks fit now and has a role to play. However, earlier in the season his physical condition, when he actually started games, was an embarrassment to the club Benitez and himself.

In fact, after the Norwich home game, I remarked to Derek Knox and Danny O'Neill that he looked like one of the over-the-hill heavyweights who came out of retirement for one more payday after Buster Douglas had slain the beast that was Tyson. Shorts that looked elasticated to hide an 80-inch waist.

Fair play to him, though, he has clearly worked hard and can still be the unlikeliest of heroes.

Ernie Baywood
97 Posted 05/05/2022 at 01:19:05
What do you want in a manager?

They all come with their foibles, players they like and dislike, talk of projects and tactical approaches.

What I like about Frank is that he's prepared to do what it takes. We've gone from being everyone's second team, to the team that everyone hates because we're doing what's required.

No more "too nice". We're outright bastards. If that's what it takes to stay up then fair enough.

He might be exactly what this club needs. Someone to explain that it's not good enough to be admired while losing. That kind of attitude needs to go right through the club.

Mike Gaynes
98 Posted 05/05/2022 at 02:14:44
In one area at least, Frank has proven himself to be an absolute miracle worker.

He has turned Alex Iwobi into an effective, quality player. He has transformed him from a totally hapless winger into our best attacking midfielder. And a defensive dervish.

Nobody in the world would have thought it possible.

Len Hawkins
99 Posted 05/05/2022 at 11:57:15
Just been reading an "Insiders" view on Fancast who thinks Lampard will be ditched no matter what League we end up in and Bilic brought in.

Just when you thought at least ONE lesson had been learned it seems new bearings have been fitted to the Managers office revolving door to speed it up.

And in agreement with Mike Gaines Lampard has done a great psychological job with Iwobi, that alone deserves him the time to try it out on the rest of our unfootballing footballers.

Mark Ryan
100 Posted 05/05/2022 at 14:58:21
@99 don't believe what you read.

More chance of you and I being selected as the Dream Team than Frank being binned off.

Bill Rodgers
101 Posted 07/05/2022 at 18:18:12
Here is the key: Top 6 teams are self-motivated. Players are there because they want to be and commitment is demanded by the squad. If any team is only motivated when it stands on the brink of the abyss, then it will keep returning there. That is what has happened to Everton and that's what must be rooted out of Finch Farm.
Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
102 Posted 08/05/2022 at 19:36:59
Danny #94 - I would take a repeat. Close season we sold the one world class player we produced in a generation, brought in Marcus Bent who ran his socks off and kid from Milwall and qualified for the Champions League.

Now if that happened again, would we be happy? Especially as Collina is not around.

Si Cooper
103 Posted 10/05/2022 at 17:34:02
The night before the Chelsea game, I met up with a mate and fellow Blue I haven't seen since Christmas. We cycled through the various subjects of conversation until we got round to the perilous position of the club.

The thing that really surprised me was his vehement and unrelenting attack on Frank Lampard who he basically characterised as a know-nothing, self-serving chancer who would be cheerfully hailing his taxi back to whence he came as soon as his pig-headed insistence on trying to get his players to actually compete with the opposition had led to the inevitable relegation.

Basically, we should have been playing all opposition as if they were Liverpool or Man City, and his inclination to attempt to go onto the pitch as equals against anybody was a clear sign of his self-absorption, which meant Frank Lampard would have no interest in Everton if we did get relegated.

I couldn't believe how diametrically opposed we were, and I know he must have been getting his view reflected back at him from family and friends who are also out-and-out Blues.

Perception is obviously a factor, as is the potential for ‘echo chambers' where certain personalities dominate.

Personally, I admire Frank Lampard for his ambition in trying to get the players to play up to a standard he believed they should be capable of. I don't hold him accountable for the stupid mistakes / poor decision-making that cost us some important points and I think hindsight makes it easy to call out tactical mistakes.

I'd actually be more suspicious of a manager who hadn't really taken the opportunity to challenge the players before going for a purely reactive game plan, as to me that is the way he wouldn't really know who is worth keeping long-term. I also don't think that parking the bus would necessarily be a guarantee of getting a share of the results against any Premier League opposition.

Frank Lampard, to me, sounds like he won't simply cut and run. I'm hopeful he gets to attempt the necessary squad rebuilding without us being relegated but, if the worst happened, I'd still be happy for him to stick around and give it his best.

My nerves are still shredded and I can't deal with anything other than taking things one game at a time, but I hope to be able to say ‘I told you so' to my mate sooner rather than later.

Danny O’Neill
104 Posted 10/05/2022 at 18:41:26
Hopefully your mate has realised that Frank Lampard is bought into Everton Si.

Many of us were on the fence. I was dubious about his managerial ability and experience. Who knows what will yet happen in the next few weeks or in the summer? I don't, but I am warming to him all the time.

In front of the Gwladys Street and Main Stand after Chelsea. Fist bumping as many supporters as he could as the coach left Finch Farm. Coming back on the pitch at Leicester on his own and shrugging of the Stewards at Leicester to be with the supporters. I hope he's doing it tomorrow night, because I might run on the pitch risk eviction to hug him. Yes, a 50 year old child!!

What can't be denied is that he is bought into our club. What can't be denied is he has been touched and there is no going back as the saying goes. What can't be denied is his frank talking when necessary (excuse the unintended pun). What can't be denied is he is a serial winner. What can't be denied is his professionalism.

I'm more than willing to give him a chance as he's done more to unite our fanbase than most of his predecessors under the most difficult of circumstances.

I hope he is the next Everton manager to win a trophy. And I hope he does the corner flag celebration in respect of his dad even though when his dad done it I was in tears.

Tony Abrahams
105 Posted 10/05/2022 at 18:57:51
One word stands out to me in your description of Frank Lampard, Danny, mate - “Professionalism”

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