Just Embarrassing

Lyndon Lloyd 23/10/2021 136comments  |  Jump to last

In the expectation of a busy summer of transfer business, few doubted the decision by Everton to let Josh King go at the end of last season. The Norwegian international had shown flashes of promise off the bench in his few months with the club after arriving from Bournemouth in January but he was largely over-looked by Carlo Ancelotti and failed to make a single start under the Italian. If he wasn’t going to play, better to release him and sign someone more to the manager’s liking.

As it would turn out, Ancelotti left Goodison Park at the start of June and following an alarmingly austere summer, Everton effectively ended up trading King for Salomon Rondon, a player whose limitations have been a hugely uncomfortable feature of Rafael Benitez’s reign so far and who was shown once again today to be utterly ineffective up front for the Blues.

At the other end and perhaps with a point to prove, King ran riot for Watford, scoring on his return to Goodison to level things up in the first half and then completing his hat-trick as Everton utterly fell apart in the final quarter of an hour.

Not for the first time as Benitez tries to build his fitness, Rondon ended up playing the full 90 minutes while Anthony Gordon, the Toffees’ star man for the first hour, was the man withdrawn to enable Richarlison to enter the fray. The manager would explain afterwards that it was a decision based on the teenager’s energy levels but the denizens of the Old Lady let their displeasure be known in no uncertain terms with a loud chorus of boos as Gordon left the field. After all, Rondon hasn’t looked remotely fit since making his debut as a substitute against Burnley in mid-September but he stayed on to the increasingly bitter end.

Richarlison’s goal within three minutes of coming on might have provided Benitez with a veneer of vindication but after Demarai Gray also departed the fray with 13 minutes to go — he had come out of a challenge hobbling a few minutes prior but he has been substituted late in matches before with the team ahead — Everton fell apart.

The inquest over the substitutions often dominates the aftermath of a game that turns so decisively but this match was lost just as much in midfield and at the back where Benitez’s team were utterly shambolic, particularly in the closing stages, and — once again — worryingly vulnerable at set-pieces. Michael Keane and the 2021-22, post-Covid version of Ben Godfrey have made for an awkward and susceptible-looking pairing at the best of times but today, with both players turning in often shocking performances, it looks to be a doomed partnership.

Yerry Mina was a big miss against West Ham last weekend and he proved to be again today, sidelined as he was by a hamstring complaint, and with Abdoulaye Doucouré and Dominic Calvert-Lewin missing, Everton proved that without those important components of their metaphorical spine, they have no real spine at all.

In Doucouré’s absence, Tom Davies looked to have stepped admirably into the breach by grabbing an early goal and had some bright moments in the first half but after Benitez’s substitutions, the Blues’ mid-section became something of a void as Watford players poured through it on the way to a four-goal assault in the space of 13 minutes. It was an absolute horror show, evocative of some of the worst collapses in a recent club history littered with embarrassing and gutless capitulations.

In terms of the time-worn “Everton, that!” tradition of scripted narratives, this one had it all. Together with King’s triumphant return — his opener was his first Premier League goal since finding the net for Bournemouth at Goodison on the final day of the 2019-20 season having, of course, failed to net for the Toffees in the interim — Watford won at Goodison Park for the first time in their history and Juraj Kucka also scored his first goal in the Premier League to deliver Claudio Ranieri his first win as their boss just a week after watching his side get mauled 5-0 by Liverpool.

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With so many key players missing, Everton would have been expecting a difficult assignment against the recently-promoted Hornets but they got off to the perfect start. Flying down the left flank, Gordon fed Gray and when he crossed low into the six-yard box, Davies arrived to slide home from close range to score his first goal in over two years in only the third minute.

Seven minutes later, Gordon was involved again, playing a smart one-two pass with Davies before playing in Andros Townsend whose snapshot was parried away by Ben Foster and Gordon could only head wide the resulting cross from Seamus Coleman.

The Toffees’ good work was undone, however, by another failure to deal with a set-piece. A free-kick was whipped in from the right near the corner flag, the ball came off Ben Godfrey’s head and dropped to King who was free to prod it into the gaping net. Though the goal was initially ruled out for offside, a check by Video Assistant Referee, Martin Atkinson, revealed that Gray’s trailing foot had played King on.

Disconcertingly, the goal visibly drained much of the Blues’ early belief and it would be while before they rediscovered some of their mojo. Moussa Sissoko tried to punish a poor defensive header from Godfrey but smashed a 25-yard effort wide and Allan had a shot deflected behind at the other end before strong claims for an Everton penalty for a suspected foul on Gordon were waved away by referee, Graham Scott.

Just before the interval, Gray’s cross ended at the feet of Gordon in front of goal but his shot was blocked while back at the Gwladys Street end, Kucka hammered a promising opportunity over the crossbar after Michael Keane had given the ball away cheaply.

If Everton needed further warning that Ranieri’s side could be dangerous without alert defending, it came in the 58th minute when Ismaila Sarr got around Lucas Digne too easily and centred to King unmarked in the middle but he was foiled superbly by Pickford at point-blank range.

What should have been the turning point of the contest came shortly afterwards when Richarlison, absent for the past few games with a knee injury, came off the bench to score within three minutes of his introduction. The Brazilian ghosted into space to connect with Keane’s clipped ball into the box and launched himself to guide a header past Foster and send Goodison into rapture.

With 16 minutes left, Keane could have killed the contest but, crucially as it turned out, planted his header off a free-kick the wrong side of the post and just four minutes later, Watford were level again. Sloppy play by Davies forced Keane to put the ball behind and the resulting delivery found Kucka who bulleted a header past Pickford.

King’s second goal turned the game on its head at 3-2, Pickford kept it close after Allan’s error was almost punished by Emmanuel Dennis and Kucka headed another good chance over while Digne wasted a good opportunity at the other end when he lashed a wild effort high into the stands off Richarlison’s cross.

Any chance of Benitez’s charges getting anything from the contest evaporated three minutes from the end of the regulation 90. Hernandez was given the freedom of the flank to cross from the visitors' left, Godfrey failed to clear his lines as three Everton defenders got in each other’s way and the ball was poked through to King who side-stepped Keane and slotted past the keeper to make it 4-2.

And Everton’s misery was complete in added time as Dennis took advantage of an AWOL defence to stroke home Watford’s fifth in front of rapidly emptying seats, a sight that might alarm the hierarchy in the wake of proposed ticket-price hikes for next season.

So, just as a year ago, Everton have seen a flying start to the season massively undercut by injuries to key players and the horrendous recruitment that has left the squad so thin, questionable decisions from a manager whose “honeymoon” is well and truly over, and yet another meltdown by the players. What began as a campaign infused with optimism that the wily, experienced Spanish campaigner could navigate a squad lacking in depth but blessed by sufficient quality when everyone is fit, to an improved final placing on those achieved in recent seasons has been supplanted by fears that the Blues’ chief focus should be on getting to 40 points as soon as possible.

Back-to-back defeats at what is supposed to be Fortress Goodison have ratcheted up the pressure on Benitez to quickly find the solutions to his team’s inability to consistently defend set-pieces and to plug a large, Doucouré-sized hole in midfield with the winter transfer window still more than two months away.

Having dropped six points from two winnable home fixtures, the manager must now try and pick up a result at improving Wolves before entertaining Tottenham ahead of a daunting run of games against Manchester City, plucky Brentford, Liverpool and Arsenal.

No manager can escape criticism for a 5-2 defeat after letting a 2-1 lead slip so late in proceedings but Evertonians knew once the injury curse bit that they were in for a long grind of a season. Even so, Watford arrived on Merseyside with a reputation as one of the worst sides in the division; Benitez has enough at his disposal to have ground out the win his players were heading for or at least earned a draw. To have been beaten so emphatically means that his result will live long as one of the worst in living memory; the key now is to ensure that the ramifications for the team’s form aren’t as enduring.

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Reader Comments (136)

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Bogdan Kotarlic
1 Posted 23/10/2021 at 20:02:40

I am very disappointed; to lose against Watford at home in this way is a disgrace.

We should have won but, in the end, we conceded four goals and lost. I don’t know what our defence was doing in those 15 minutes when we let Watford score four times.

We haven’t played well in the last few matches and today’s performance was awful. I hope we improve; the next match is versus Wolves and I hope this is just a bad day.

King showed that he should have got more chances to play while he was at Everton. I rate him very highly and I think that he should and could have contributed more to our cause. We let him go and, the first time he comes back, he scores a hat-trick.

Once again, I am very disappointed but maybe we will overcome this crisis and start playing well again.

Callum Jones
2 Posted 23/10/2021 at 20:15:47
Davies is not good enough, he will never be either. Why do we as fans, despite seeing it week-in & week-out for 3 or 4 years now, have to watch Iwobi, Keane, Davies put in abject performances every week? Not to mention even more you can add to the list.

The club is a laughing stock and so badly run by inept people on the board and coaching staff.

Paul Hewitt
3 Posted 23/10/2021 at 20:40:33
Losing 5-2 at home to any club is embarrassing, but I'm not surprised we lost. All I've heard all week is "It's Watford, they're crap, we will beat them." What have we done to simply think we are just going to beat teams like Watford?

This club has been in decline since Moyes left, and it doesn't look like it will change anytime soon. The club is rotten from top to bottom.

We need to clear the club of the rot and start again. But that won't happen either.

So, yes, I will carry on supporting this (once) great club. But I won't take any result for granted – unlike some on here.

Kunal Desai
4 Posted 23/10/2021 at 20:42:49
As the title states, 'Just Embarrassing'. Well, we've been here before over the years under various managers and will continue to have results like these in the future.

I'm firmly of the belief that there are some weird shenanigans going on within the hierarchial structure at this club. Something is very odd and doesn't seem right, you spend millions only to have a threadbare squad to show for it.

You have an academy led by a former player who hasn't produced anyone of note; you have another former player who has been forced upon numerous managers as a Number 2.

We bring in players on loan or permanent deals and they either never get played or are permanently injured.

What exactly does Marcel Brand do and why did he warrant a contract extension after the majority of his purchases have been failures?

It's all just very odd and doesn't stack up. The biggest changes we as fans need to see is not on the playing field – it's at board level.

Michael Boardman
5 Posted 23/10/2021 at 20:43:08
Thanks, Bogdan, but I don't think we will. We'll draw 1-1 at Wolves, then get smashed every game till Christmas...

This stinks of an earlier season in the '90s, when we marginally stayed up, but we don't have the pedigree now to matter, so no dodgy dealings to keep Everton in the Premier League.

I think Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison will be gone in January.

Colin Battison
6 Posted 23/10/2021 at 20:58:36
I've now watched this shite, week-in & week-out, for 40 years, but that has to be the worst capitulation in a game against supposed cannon fodder that I've witnessed. £500 million spent in 5 or 6 years and we have one of the worst squads in the Premier League.

No game management, terrible substitutions, and leaving Rondon on for 90 mins again is bewildering. This lad would not get a game in a Sunday league team.

This needs now more than ever a complete overhaul from top to bottom. We as fans feel sick tonight but I bet not one of the players is hurting tonight. Gutless, Spineless, Cowards, totally unacceptable that.

Tony Everan
7 Posted 23/10/2021 at 20:58:58
Lyndon. Two adjectives that came immediately to my mind too were shambolic and embarrassing.

Keane and Godfrey look very fragile as a pairing, the sooner Yerry is back the better.

Without Doucouré, the midfield is lost, Benitez has to rethink his strategy there. Without Calvert-Lewin holding the ball up the it keeps coming back, the midfield is always on the back foot, overpowered and seems consistently outnumbered. The Rondon experiment has to be put on the back burner now, enough is enough. I know he's Benitez's man but he has to cut his losses. I expected better too, but I was wrong.

How Gbamin can't get in this side is unbelievable. We need a dominant midfielder to step in but he's nowhere to be seen. Has he really regressed that much? Iwobi is never the answer to any situation, but he gets brought on ahead of Gbamin, just when we need the midfield bolstering.

Anyway, we're all used to the "one step forward, two steps back". Just when a draw against West Ham and win today would have propelled us into the top four we take our customary two steps back again.

Us poor, poor Evertonians are becoming weather-beaten by it. 40,000 hope-ridden Easter Island faces, slowly eroding with each passing year.

Michael Connelly
8 Posted 23/10/2021 at 21:00:20
Rafa going for the win left us far too exposed. With Gray and Gordon off the pitch and Richarlison, Rondon, and Iwobi offering little defensive help, the frailties of Davies, Godfrey, and Keane were brutally exposed.

Davies started the rot by, as is the norm for him, giving the ball away cheaply in a dangerous position, leading to their corner, which made it 2-2. If he doesn't give it away, they don't get the goal at that point, and it is obviously far less likely that we fall apart like we did.

Rick Tarleton
9 Posted 23/10/2021 at 21:27:06
We have tried to play counter-attacking football and win games without having possession. When you play the teams out of the top six, you need, particularly at home, to be able to play by controlling possession.

If your best strikers are injured and your box-to-box midfielder (Doucoure) is out as well, it becomes very hard to play effective counter-attacking football. In addition, I read in my morning paper that Ben Godfrey is still struggling with the effects of long covid, yet we keep picking him.

Add these factors together and add the effectiveness or lack of effectiveness of Iwobi and Rondon, then we have the lack of impact Gomes has, Allan is a year past his sell-by-date, as is Coleman, Digne is excellent as a wing-back, but cannot defend to save his life.

Benitez has a mentality, similar to Moyes,that he starts off with a point and keeping it his real aim. There isn't a lot going for us till we sign some real midfielders and get Godfrey sorted. Perhaps Newcastle will take the Spanish waiter off our hands and Rondon and Iwobi can go on a free. Otherwise I fear another season when I can weep.

My son was born in 1979, he was just too young for the great '80s team, I can remember them and the two great sixties teams but, for Evertonians under 40, they must despair.

Kieran Kinsella
10 Posted 23/10/2021 at 21:31:00
Here's a cheery thought: Richarlison's contract runs out in a little over 18 months. But don't worry – once we cash in on him we can use the money to cover wages for Gomes and Gbamin who have three years left on their contracts.

With no youth production and no money, the Bramley-Moore Dock season opener could be versus Grimsby at this rate.

Gaute Lie
11 Posted 23/10/2021 at 21:33:00
Ok. Davies scored. But otherwise, he has not improved at all for the last 3-4 years. How can that be??

Iwobi is CRAP. Allan looks like he's 40. Rondon not fit and is a crap player. Godfrey suffers from Covid-19 and should be rested for a couple of months.

Also, Benitez's tactics failed. Coleman is getting old. Digne is not up to par. Keane is a bit slow. Gordon was okay, same with Gray and Townsend.

Irritating that my fellow Norwegian, King, scored 3 goals.

David Pearl
12 Posted 23/10/2021 at 21:38:07
First off, I don't want Benitez to fail and I am not happy in the slightest whenever we draw, never mind lose. However, I could see it coming all game. I'm sorry but being happy to sit back at home waiting for the counter just isn't good enough. Not bringing on a central midfielder to bolster the team... not good enough.

King is no great shakes. I wonder how many more goals he will score this season? He did so against us with calamitous defending through the middle and going to ground too easily. I don't think it's a lack of effort, its a lack of nous.

Mina, Calvert-Lewin and Doucouré are obviously big misses in both general play and in both boxes. Pretty certain of that. However, to be left with such lack of depth after the spending spree of the last few years, you have to only look up.

And on Benitez? We couldn't afford to sack him even if we wanted to. Hold on to your seats, Blues. Yes, he needs time... but it's ever so hard to bite your tongue with him.

Rick Tarleton
13 Posted 23/10/2021 at 21:53:21
Just a small point, but Josh King, like all Premier League players, even Iwobi and Rondon are on a different level to us mortals.

Years ago in the sixties in an inter-university game I played against Alan Gowling, my job as right-half, yes, it was that long ago, was to mark him and I knew of his reputation. Gowling was outstanding at our level and did eventually play for Man Utd.

On the afternoon in question, we lost 2-6 and Alan Gowling scored four. His superiority to my teammates and I was enormous. I also played against Alan Banks and he too emphasised the difference between professionals and us lesser mortals.

So Josh King and even Iwobi and Rondon are honestly a lot better than most of us.

Chris Leyland
14 Posted 23/10/2021 at 21:58:04
Just embarrassing?

Just shameful.
Just pathetic.
Just woeful.
Just gutless.
Just Everton.

Brian Ronson
15 Posted 23/10/2021 at 22:09:38
We'll see how good Benitez is (or isn't) next match. He must accept his part in this farce, though he isn't responsible for the dreadful management over many years.

He needs to drop those culpable for this disgrace or they will think they've got away with taking the piss!

Andy McNabb
16 Posted 23/10/2021 at 22:25:37
Woke at 3:30 am, flicked on ToffeeWeb and to my dismay saw we had lost 3-2.

Now in the light of morning I see my eyesight deceived me and it was 5.

I have no words.

Gaute Lie
17 Posted 23/10/2021 at 22:26:01
Rick Tarleton,

What the fuck? What do you mean, seriously?

Don't you think Rondon and Iwobi are bad players? Have you been watching the same games as I, or have you been playing FIFA?

Kieran Kinsella
18 Posted 23/10/2021 at 22:28:03

So you're opposed to a ToffeeWeb select 11 for the next game?

Lee Courtliff
19 Posted 23/10/2021 at 22:30:11
Is anyone else finding it hard to even be all that pissed off?

I mean, I'm just tired of it all. So very, very tired. During the game, well before the collapse, I said to myself... "Why do I bother?"

I didn't have an answer, I just sort of went through the motions of watching the game. 26 years of nothing have taken their toll on me.

Simon Dalzell
20 Posted 23/10/2021 at 23:46:37
Colin (6),

You sum it up perfectly. (I have served 40 years also.) At least we witnessed the magnificent team of the '80s.

My son is 21, so he and all the other younger ones have only seen nearly 30 years of crushed hopes.

Danny Baily
21 Posted 24/10/2021 at 00:04:00
It's embarrassing. But the last few decades have prepared me well for this kind of capitulation. Next match can't come quickly enough.
Robert Miller
22 Posted 23/10/2021 at 00:08:22
Everton are an irrelevant and silly club.

Irrelevant of course because we haven't had even a sniff of success for decades. And silly because, for some reason, despite all the evidence to the contrary, we think that one day it's going to happen. Even with a billionaire owner, we've gone backwards.

It didn't take 15 minutes of amateurish capitulation today to make it clear that were an irrelevant and silly club. It's been a growing and sickening certainty for 3 decades.

Jay Harris
23 Posted 24/10/2021 at 00:41:36
Very appropriate title and apt write up of the game, Lyndon.

Despite being poor, we were the better team until he took Gordon off. Gordon had been backing up Digne against Sarr and also moving forward quickly on the counter.

Once Gordon went off, the link-up play that had seen Tom Davies in an advanced position now left him in no-man's land and, with Godfrey having to cover Digne, the gaps left were alarming.

It was easy for Josh King to score because he might as well have been playing against lampposts, such was our centre-back pairing.

Everybody but Rafa sees that Rondon is not even a poor man's Tosun. He really is that anonymous. Richarlison showed him up withing a few minutes of coming on but then, instead of controlling the game, we just played like a collection of amateurs.

Oh and Rick #13, I believe I would give Rondon a run for his money and I am 70 years old. He wasn't even that good when he was at his peak. Nice guy, useless footballer.

I won't even comment on Iwobi.

Kevin Prytherch
24 Posted 24/10/2021 at 00:59:55
How the hell have we replaced King with Rondon?

Why does Keane still play at home against weaker teams?

Why is it a nap that Gordon will be the first one substituted?

Why play Godfrey if he is still suffering from covid?

How have we spent £500m and have 2 keepers on the bench?

Is Iwobi George Weah's cousin in disguise?

So many questions…

Bob Parrington
25 Posted 24/10/2021 at 03:41:48
If ever there was a "What the Fuck?" moment, it was this result and the manner in which it came about.

Why was Gordon substituted and not Rondon??? Was it that Rafa detected that he was tiring – after all, he had virtually never stopped running since kick-off.

Defensively, we were shocking from the start of the game. Nervous in our own area and hopelessly dithery. Passing out of defence went from bad to worse throughout the game.

Why does Rafa continue to start Rondon?

Phillip Warrington
26 Posted 24/10/2021 at 05:01:00
The Rondon situation is getting ridiculous. It was bearable while we weren't losing but, Christ, this guy offers nothing and can't catch the centre-backs running off him. Surely Lewis Dobbin would offer us more, and also with his pace, the opposition centre-halves wouldn't have such an easy time playing out from the back.

Keane and Godfrey are okay as long as they are not rushed; as soon as they are, they go into panic mode and start chasing the ball, which is why the opposition always seem to have free players at set-pieces.

Gbamin is a good player when fit so why has he been on the bench for the last 3 games without getting any game time? So, is he fit? Or are we saving him for...?

James Hill
27 Posted 24/10/2021 at 06:00:50
It's the modern-day players. Unless you can afford the cream you are stuffed. The rest of the players are just earning a living and couldn't give an fuck.
Christine Foster
28 Posted 24/10/2021 at 06:53:21
Been here before, so many times, it's painful, embarrassing and disgraceful. But it's Everton.

We have too many fairweather players, who perhaps perform one match in three. The absence of quality and consistency is down to poor recruitment and faith in players who are either no longer good enough or frankly never were.

Then there is the removal of players in key positions, shipped out, loaned out or got rid of without care or concern other than cost. We kept the wrong ones, we have aging players with no cover for injury or loss of form.

We brought in a centre-forward in Rondon, yet let James go. We have no No 10, no centre-forward worth considering, and three centre-halves who cannot play together or are worth keeping.

In short, we have 6 players worth selecting in a squad of 24.

I said as the season started, we should gather as many points as we could as winter was coming. It's come early and I think the next 2 months will be torrid affairs unless we try something completely different. Forgive the reference to Monty Python, but rather apt considering. If Benitez can conjure another 4 wins by Christmas, then the January window will be open.

Austerity has to end.

Alan J Thompson
29 Posted 24/10/2021 at 07:17:36
I'm sorry but I can't agree that Tom Davies was the major problem that some of you seem to have seen, to me he was one of our better players. Substituting Gordon instead of Rondon was the biggest mistake and the second substitution not much better.

I don't have access to a replay but I have come up with a way of increasing Rondon's contribution by 200%; let him take the kick-offs.

Steve Brown
30 Posted 24/10/2021 at 07:28:49
Alan, I agree.

Benitez said we should have played compact when we went 2-1 up, but he brought on Iwobi. If Demarai Gray had a knock, he should have brought on Gbamin to sit in front of the defence and Richarlison to play lone striker with Rondon also withdrawn.

Gordon should have stayed on, as his withdrawal left our left side exposed. The players were a disgrace yesterday, but the manager made serious errors as well.

Bill Rodgers
31 Posted 24/10/2021 at 07:44:38
This should be rock bottom. We are routinely outplayed by bottom third teams but, in this case, we simply folded.

And the cause has been clear for several years: our players are not motivated, they lack commitment, they have no intensity. This is a direct result of whatever goes on at Finch Farm. Clear it out.

Danny O’Neill
32 Posted 24/10/2021 at 07:58:23
This is one of those that you just want to go away, but will take a few days to get out of the system. When you want the next match to come along quickly. But guess what, we've got an extra 2 days to wait until Wolves!

Just switched on Match of the Day and missed Everton. I think that might have been a good thing.

The dreaded Everton October has well and truly presented itself.

Joe McMahon
33 Posted 24/10/2021 at 08:12:40
There have been many dreadful days for Evertonains to suffer over the decades, unfortunately this is another one of many. This is what happens at Everton, rose-tinted specs are often on, but realisation is even on the few times we were good, we often didn't seize the chance (full on), and this goes back to the 60s (which many still talk about, including Blue Bill).

Supporting Everton is summed up by this result (chance to get in top 4 again) and Everton 0 Wigan 3 (FA Cup semi-final awaiting).

Enjoy work this week, everyone, with the comments, laughter and piss-takes, more fun awaits.

Andrew Clare
34 Posted 24/10/2021 at 08:49:17
I can't believe the Gordon substitution. Even before Watford were rampant, we looked dreadful. All of the money spent since Moshiri took over completely wasted. So much so that we barely have a squad of any quality.

We are well and truly in the wilderness and have been for decades. Standards are just so low at Everton.

Jim Bennings
35 Posted 24/10/2021 at 09:19:09
In hindsight, Everton should have reappointed Moyes before we got Ancelotti.

Bundling Moshiri and his merry men of Blue Bill, Denise, and Marcel "cool as fuck" Brands all need to start looking at what's in front of them.

£400 million and, 5 years down the line, we can't even put a team out that can look as good as West Ham or Leicester.

£400 million and still the only way we have to play is cross it to the big lumbering Number 9, be it treacle boots Rondon or Calvert-Lewin.

The club has become a blot on its own history.

Jim Bennings
36 Posted 24/10/2021 at 09:21:27
Get ready on Monday for Mr Captain Fantastic, Seamus Coleman, with the soundbites and warcry.

"This isn't good enough and won't happen again while I'm captain."

Yadda Yadda blah blah.

Micheal Lynch
37 Posted 24/10/2021 at 09:30:18
Always lost in comments how Lucas Digne isn't in the same category as Iwobi and Rondon. I am sure most opposition managers look to go down the right side to isolate him. He was in my opinion the worst player we had yesterday – and yes, I am including Rondon in that analysis.
Peter Neilson
38 Posted 24/10/2021 at 09:41:04
Worst performance since Atalanta thrashed us. Another 4 years gone with the occasional green shoot then the old frailties show again.

Yesterday, similar to the Atalanta game, undisciplined collapse and no leadership on the pitch (maybe exclude Pickford who was as least asking them what they were playing at).

Benitez screwed up yesterday but the players and the previous 5 years of recruitment are now fully exposed. A first eleven that might make it into the top half of the table. A few injuries and we are thankful Norwich and others are making such a poor fist of it.

Joe Corgan
39 Posted 24/10/2021 at 09:52:17
Quite a few comments on here criticising Tom Davies, stating that he’s not good enough. I agree and so does Rafa Benitez apparently.

He’s likely behind Allan, Doucoure, Gomes and Gbamin in the pecking order and would not have played if any two of those had been fit. I also doubt he would have played if Sigurdsson or Delph had been available.

So, far from blaming Davies for his shortcomings, I blame whoever is responsible for putting together our threadbare, injury-prone squad.

Sean Kelly
40 Posted 24/10/2021 at 09:52:25
Still angry. Watched it again this morning. Plain and simple for me: no desire, no commitment and no ideas. I'm not just talking of the zombie up front. It's the lot of them on and off the pitch.

Steptoe with his horse and cart could have gone through our midfield and defence, collected his scrap, and we still wouldn't have noticed him or caught up with him.

I was at an Under-9s match yesterday and their desire and passion was far better than that seen at Goodison Park. We are the patsies of the Premier League.

Two teams needed to bounce back yesterday but only one wanted to and it wasn't Everton. Get ready for a BMD update on the infill. We could save ourselves a few quid by dumping yesterday's lot in the dock.

Oh, and by the way, Seamus, your words are hollow. Move on.

Rory Grant
41 Posted 24/10/2021 at 09:56:49
Lee #19 sums it up perfectly. This club has drained me out. Completely.

I don't have any matchday expectations left; I check the results mainly in a hope that Liverpool lost. And to see what kind of shambolic record has been broken by my beloved club.

Everton is like a toxic relationship, it either ruins your life or you manage to distance yourself from it. All these clowns running the club are professional only in name, nobody is responsible except the manager who is sacrificed when discontent threatens the board.

Money has been wasted in piles, we still find Davies starting and we "acquire" players like Rondon. It is a never-ending nightmare which requires complete collapse, like relegation, to wake us up.

Peter Mills
42 Posted 24/10/2021 at 10:00:02
Many of us received an email from Ms Barrett-Baxendale recently, informing us that we have to understand economic realities. It was an undisguised word of caution to us that we will have to pay more to watch our “heroes”.

I thought she got off rather lightly on here, many people seeming to accept it as “fair enough”. To me, it smacked of a politician telling us that “We are all in this together”, ie, “You lot are going to have to fork out for the mess we have created, and towards the new stadium”.

I doubt there is anyone who contributes to this site who doesn't understand economic realities. Many spend large amounts of their hard-earned cash travelling around the country supporting the team. I suggest they have a far better grasp of financial matters than those who have agreed ridiculous contracts for managers and players who have no interest in Everton Football Club other than taking its money.

It will not take many more performances like yesterday's for people to start deciding their pounds can be spent better elsewhere.

Dan Kemp
43 Posted 24/10/2021 at 10:04:26
Supporting the team through thin and thin. Don’t know how much longer I can do this.
Ian Bennett
44 Posted 24/10/2021 at 10:04:49
I was there with my daughter yesterday, her first ever match. So well done, Keane & Co, for that experience.

Re-reading the BBC commentary: 77 minutes – Iwobi came on, after which we conceded 4 goals and 8 goal scoring chances in 15 minutes plus stoppage time. White flags all round.

I doubt you'd find any grassroots football team so unorganised and gutless as that. The back 4 all over the place, international players, btw.

Look at the goals, right back awol. Keane a good 10 yards behind the line, playing everyone on. Godfrey chasing shadows. Digne losing every battle.

A midfield that contains Davies and Iwobi has 'defeat' written all over it. Rondon did nothing all game, again, with everyone willing him to get a red, so we don't have to see this dog shit for another 4 games.

Surely the manager could have gone to a 5 at the back, and defended our 50% of the pitch to see the game out? Watford were only ever going to score on the break or set-pieces, and we willingly bent over for both.

Mal van Schaick
45 Posted 24/10/2021 at 10:07:11
Agree with #31. Benitez has to unravel the players signed by previous managers and, unfortunately for the owner, clear out and rebuild. This is the only option for the owner to see his and the fans' ambitions realised.

There are players in our squad who are not up to Premier League level and should be moved on and replaced.

As a footnote, wouldn't it be ironic if Newcastle appoint Benitez as their manager after the debacle of Ancelotti?

Andrew Ellams
46 Posted 24/10/2021 at 10:08:38
It's simple: as long as the club is dominated by Moshiri, Kenwright, Brands and Barrett-Baxendale, it will continue to slide into decline. It's time to let them know that we don't want them at our club.

They don't care, they're all in it to sell their increased value shares when the new stadium is opened.

Ed Fitzgerald
47 Posted 24/10/2021 at 10:26:59
Benitez's inexplicable stubbornness in continuing to start with the statuesque Rondon when our brooding Brazilian was clearly fit, coupled with a baffling decision to remove Gordon, led to one of the worst capitulations I've ever witnessed at Goodison Park. For fuck's sake, it was Watford – not Man City or Chelsea.

We've been fortunate to secure the wins we have already chalked up and now without Calvert-Lewin and Doucouré, we are royally fucked.

If Newcastle approach us, I'd let Benitez go with no compensation in a heartbeat. He isn't and will never be the right person to manage our football club.

Rob Halligan
48 Posted 24/10/2021 at 10:29:16
Mal # 45, here’s hoping.🤞🤞🤞

As a footnote, wouldn’t it be ironic if Newcastle appoint Benitez as their manager after the debacle of Ancelotti.

Brian Harrison
49 Posted 24/10/2021 at 10:31:13
The facts are that half the goals we have conceded this season are from dead-ball situations; this is very similar to the stats we had when Marco Silva was the manager.

We are usually second best in possession stats, and although some teams have been successful using the hit them on the break philosophy, then surely you need to have a quick and mobile striker if you are to have success in playing that way.

Seems managers these days are reluctant to have a defender on the far post when defending corners, yet the amount of goals scored either direct from flick-ons at the near post or result in tap-ins at the far post happens every week to teams.

I also think zonal marking has become a fad over the last 10 years. Again it suits some sides but not all, and when we have adopted this system, it has proved to be our downfall.

I haven't named any player that played yesterday as I would end up still typing away on my keyboard for another 20 minutes.

I could put this down to a one-off if the same thing hadn't happened against Villa a few weeks back when we went to pieces for 10 to 15 minutes and we conceded 3 goals. Can't just be bad luck, can it?

Brian Harrison
50 Posted 24/10/2021 at 10:50:17
I would just add to my post that I listened to Benitez explain why he subbed Anthony Gordon he said " Gordon is a high energy player and he didnt have the legs to see out the 90 minutes".
Geoff Williams
51 Posted 24/10/2021 at 10:53:40
I despair at the continued abuse shown to Tom Davies. He may not be like Mount or Foden but he is a decent player.

He has had very little playing time this season due to the performances of Doucouré and Allan so to expect him to hit the ground running for 90 minutes is unreasonable. He had a decent game for 75 minutes but then tiredness, due to lack of match fitness, affected his game.

I have no doubt that this loss was down to the manager, who selected Rondon and kept him on for 90 minutes and withdrew both Gordon and Gray. Richarlison should have replaced Rondon and Iwobi shouldn't have been used.

Sean Kelly
52 Posted 24/10/2021 at 11:10:00
Man City play with a false number 9.

We play with frauds, 1 to 11.

Colin Glassar
53 Posted 24/10/2021 at 11:19:22
I'm not trying to excuse him or his shameful exit from the club but, in hindsight, can anyone really blame Ancelotti for running away?

He knew the quality he had to work with. He knew there was no money for new players. He knew the club strategy is to survive until the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock is finished. He knew Goodison is run by incompetent idiots etc…

I lost all respect for the man for what he did. I shall never forgive him... but, in hindsight, maybe he made the right decision for himself and for his family?

Ian Bennett
54 Posted 24/10/2021 at 11:26:38
Geoff – watch the last 15 minutes again, mate.

Tom gives away a corner, he's outplayed by Sissoko for another goal, he's cowering at set-pieces like a frightened 10-year-old.

He is a fraud, along with a number of other Everton players. They don't deserve to be in a Premier League team. You certainly wouldn't sign them above anything in the Championship.

The whole squad needs to watch that last 15 minutes again. Home truths need nailing to the door. We are on 14 points and, with the run of fixtures, I could see Benitez not making Christmas. These same players are selling another manager down the river.

Tony Gavin
55 Posted 24/10/2021 at 11:29:30
I'm 40, like a lot have mentioned, and at half-time, I seen a fella in his 70s. I stopped to think how he must despair of how bad we are. He's seen great sides; now puts up with this.

I walked out when Gordon was taken off. Benitez shouldn't be anywhere near our club. He is years past it, a full-blown Kopite, and his football is absolutely horrendous.

Even with injuries, we should have had enough to beat a very poor Watford team I honestly think this season is already all about survival. Forget Europe… Forget Top 10…

Yes, Calvert-Lewin is out with a couple of others, but that's football. A forward-thinking club would have hired someone like Potter. It is rotten from top to bottom, as others have mentioned.

The sole reason I still go is to go with my Dad. If it wasn't for him, I'd pack in right now. Everton have brought nothing but misery and let-down through my life and I'm confident it'll never change.

Danny O’Neill
56 Posted 24/10/2021 at 11:32:06
Geoff @51, I said on the other match report that, despite not having seen yesterday, when you see a result like that and the reports, you can't single out an individual. Frustration leads people to find scapegoats, but surely the team & manager collectively need to look in the mirror for that one.

Colin, just commented on the Benitez 5 - 10% improvement thread that Ancelotti and Benitez clearly identified the same problems. Different approaches and attitudes as to how to fix them, but it goes beyond blaming the manager all the time.

There are fundamentals that need fixing top to bottom to rid this club of the comfort-zone mentality. There seem to be too many happy just turning up for work with little ambition to achieve anything beyond just doing that. Clock in, clock out. Job done.

And I don't just mean the players. This is where I feel Benitez may ruffle some feathers and start to make some feel uncomfortable.

Chris Leyland
57 Posted 24/10/2021 at 11:42:43

You've summed up the Everton mentality: “There seem to be too many happy just turning up for work with little ambition to achieve anything beyond just doing that. Clock in, clock out. Job done.”

That is the club in a nutshell, from Boardroom to players to coaches. There are no leaders at at any level in the club.

We as fans are largely complicit too. We come on here and we go on social media to vent but we still turn up, week-in & week-out, to watch the shite served up to us for decades. We don't do organised protest because it's ‘Kopite behaviour'...

Callum Jones
58 Posted 24/10/2021 at 11:45:42
Anyone who backs up Davies and praises him is a disgrace and exactly why we are in this position. 4 years of woeful performances. I'm absolutely sick of him playing for us and being in the squad when he wouldn't even look out of place in League One.
Brian Harrison
59 Posted 24/10/2021 at 11:45:43
Tony @55,

No, you're wrong, it's not the over 70s like me and many other posters on here that you should feel sorry for, we are the lucky ones: we have seen this club win league titles and cups.

I go the match with my two sons and grandson; they're the ones I feel sorry for who have had to watch years and years of dross.

I said to my son coming out of the ground on Saturday, it's my grandson I feel sorry for – he is 12 and loves being a Blue and he is up there singing and clapping, and I think he may have to wait a very long time to see this club win trophies again.

My son reminded me that, all the time he has been a season ticket holder, he has only seen us win the FA Cup.

Barry Hesketh
60 Posted 24/10/2021 at 11:49:50
I don't mind losing but throwing in the towel was never an option.

A pretty accurate description of this Everton squad from Tim Cahill; it's been like this for half-a-decade at Goodison and it appears that the players' confidence is, as described elsewhere, "a paper towel in a hurricane".

There are so many issues with this squad, not only the injury list, but the lack of quality and the galling lack of fight and spirit.

I wasn't at all worried about Everton and the likelihood of us being dragged into a battle to avoid relegation but, following the last two home games, I'm mindful that we looked like relegation fodder, particularly yesterday.

The list of opponents this side of Christmas was always going to be a testing one, even if we had our first choice eleven available, but now it looks absolutely daunting with a team lacking form and confidence and a manager who stubbornly refuses to realise that Rondon is no longer fit for purpose.

We may well get a few positive results this side of Christmas but only if the players realise that 100% focus and effort is required 100% of the time. If they falter in that, then 2022 may be very unwelcome for us Evertonians.

Everton FC may be well advised to hold off any proposed season ticket price increases until they know which division we are playing in for the 2022-23 season, because it isn't a certainty that it will be in the Premier League, not if the current form is a barometer for the remainder of this season.

Rick Tarleton
61 Posted 24/10/2021 at 12:58:23
Josh King would never have been as motivated to do well as he was yesterday, and he took his opportunity brilliantly. He, like Iwobi and Rondon, is not one of the stars of the Premier League but, in the right circumstances, he showed that ability that made him a Premier League player in the first place.

Iwobi and Rondon have not, and I don't think ever will do that, at Everton. By Premier League standards, they are poor and to me, seem decidedly lacking in confidence. I'm not excusing their display, but I am suggesting that sometimes we forget how far above us in ability all professionals are, even Bernie Wright!

I quoted the case of Alan Gowling, who wasn't Law, Charlton or Best, or even Brian Kidd, but he made me, a player in semi-pro teams, look useless, which wasn't my normal experience week-in & week-out.

My point was that Benitez's style of relying totally on a counter-attacking formula, only works against teams who come at you. At home to Watford, Norwich, West Ham et al, you need to be able to control possession, especially if you are lacking key players (Doucouré, Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison in particular). Everton cannot do that.

The manager, even with the talent he had at his disposal across the park, still espoused this negative style and has no Plan B.

I do not want to see Iwobi or Rondon ever picked again... but looking at this half billion pond squad, I cannot see choices jumping out at me.

Tom Bowers
62 Posted 24/10/2021 at 13:11:27
I wouldn't have been shocked by a 0-1 scoreline in this game given the very average squad we have but the final score was unbelievable thanks to some atrocious defending.

We have now lost to two teams (initial 'W') in two weeks and coming up a third (Wolves) next week – what are the odds it will be another winless game? Go figure!!

Anyhow, Rafa has a big headache after all of us chewing his ear off over the Rondon affair so finally this player should be sent packing asap... or will he start him again?

Having said that, it was not his fault we conceded five goals.

I have said for a while that Everton do not have an influential captain in Seamus who is nowhere near the player he was.

Everton let Nkounkou go, which now seems a big mistake, and I also question why we still cannot use Gbamin if he is fit to play. Mina has to come back in asap.

The weaknesses in the middle of the park were brutally exposed even very early on when Watford had way too much room.

Better get this sorted soon, Rafa; otherwise, it's a taxi for you!

Jay Wood

63 Posted 24/10/2021 at 13:15:51
It's inevitable after such a galling defeat that people look for scapegoats. Individual players are being named and shamed.

But as others have already said, defeats such as yesterday are never down to one individual. The collective, not individuals, are to blame. Players and management alike.

I did some quick research. Our back four yesterday are all full internationals. Between them they have:

50 seasons of playing first class football (Seamus Coleman 22, Lucas Digne 11, Michael Keane 10, Ben Godfrey 7).

1,257 first class club games (SC 429, LD 317, MK 320, BG 191).

117 international caps (SC 61, LD 42, MK 12, BG 2).

For 12 mad minutes yesterday, it was like the Keystone Cops met the Three Stooges.

Again, as others have already pointed out it was like watching Under-10s with no positional or tactical awareness. All the above listed experience... melted. It was totally absent. Collective amnesia.

Now like many I've seen Everton twatted a few times down the years. I've seen other teams get twatted. But I simply cannot recall any top league professional team – never mind just Everton – disintegrate in the manner the Everton defence did yesterday. And yes, I'm aware players forward of the back four were culpable also.

Anyone able to recall a like-for-like example from any team to the shitfest that concluded yesterday's game? I can't.

It is also perfectly legitimate to question Benitez's role in yesterday's debacle, including the contradictory nature of some of his post-match comments.

We do have a decent starting XI. We don't have much beyond that. We should have more for the money shelled out under Moshiri, but that is another debate.

Thus, any injury to that starting XI seriously weakens us.

In an ideal world, Rondon would be building up his fitness away from the game. Circumstances torpedoed that.

Again, in an ideal world, a fit and firing Ellis Sims would have been the perfect replacement at this time for the injured Calvert-Lewin. He, we, the management would have seen if his development on loan at Blackpool last season could bear fruit in the Premier League. There is no reference to it that I can find, but he is obviously still injured and never appears in the weekly training videos the club posts. Unfortunate timing for all concerned.

The conundrum of persisting with a clearly unfit Rondon, then commenting post-match that 'Anthony Gordon hasn't got 90 minutes in his legs' naturally puzzles Blues.

The substitution was roundly booed, but you could argue that it initially worked. Within 2 minutes, Richarlison scored to give us the lead with 27 minutes to go.

In a scrappy game and keeping things 'compact' as Benitez said post-match, it could have been enough to see us over the line.

So with that in mind, why would you replace Gray with Iwobi on 77 minutes, 1 minute before they made it 2-2?

Personally, I have no issue that Gray was withdrawn. Just before he was taken he clearly felt something. Given our injury list it could have been a precautionary move. However, Iwobi is never going to give you 'compactness', is he?

If that's what Benitez wanted, then there were two – possibly three – better alternatives to bringing on Iwobi. Gbamin, Holgate or Kenny, with different options how you re-jigged the team to accommodate them.

As I said in my opening, IMO it's best to look at the collective rather than individual players as to what unfolded yesterday.

Nick Dermott
64 Posted 24/10/2021 at 13:25:45
This is yet another sea change moment. A performance so bad that it forces us to reassess things. They have been many in the last 5 years, too many to list.

What are we to do though? Turn our anger on the manager, yet again! This might be controversial but I think Benitez is the only part of our club, fans aside, that is definitely right, or at least a step in the right direction. His mentality is that of a cold, intellectual winner, a pragmatist who, although, far from perfect is trying at least to do the right things, as evidenced by him bringing in a new fitness and rehab coach.

Calling him a Kopite is just a copout. What does this even mean. That he is some subversive agent of the red? This is a person who didn't pander to arguably the best player in Europe at the time, Gerrard, and gave him little affection, time or praise. Why – because he wanted more from him!

Or perhaps you would like Ancelotti back. A guy who's raison d'etre is massaging egos! The whole concept of “player whisperer” is strange to be and should be abhorrent to everyone connected to the club. That these overindulged players should need someone to manage their ego is ludicrous.

They get paid a fortune whether they play or perform. That the People's Club should buy into this is absurd. The guy was hopeless and not even the worst, morally or tactically. For me, Koeman represents the low. A scumbag treating us as a stepping stone to bigger opportunities; which did and could only arrive in today's crazy times!

What is the real problem though? In my opinion it is the culture. Yes, the investment has been abysmal but how is it that these coddled players are allowed to get away with the level of performance we have seen over this awful period? To echo a point made on here today – where are the players like Henderson, Gerrard, Terry? And this is just on the playing side. What the hell is happening at Finch Farm?

Where is the improvement in the players? Digne, Gomes, Sigurdsson, Keane, Allan have gone backwards. And then there are the likes of Davies who should never even be considered. How is it the club thinks he is worthy of consideration. He struts about like he has made it with this unjustifiable swagger! Iwobi – I don't have the energy to talk about both his transfer and his subsequent performances.

We talk about “getting the club”. As if there is something secret about Everton FC that people need to get. It is a great club with a proud history but what we are really talking about is that we want players to simply play like the game means something to them.

I never thought I would be one of those people banging on about blood and guts effort and desire. I witnessed it in the 90s as part of the dogs of war and presumed it was a given. For me football should be entertaining and full of flair as showcases by Messi, Inesta, Baggio etc. I understand we cannot deliver the latter but the former should be a given! These players get paid to do what we love doing on the weekends. Yet they make it look like the 9-5 grind.

Let's not waste time referring to Benitez as the FSW. Let him, as one of the few, if not only people who know what the hell they are doing, get on with it.

Alan J Thompson
65 Posted 24/10/2021 at 14:18:48
Callum Jones (#58);

Save your money, son, don't go to the match as you don't seem to understand what you are watching.

Joe Ross
66 Posted 24/10/2021 at 14:40:22
Points made on here regarding the sub decisions by Rafa are spot on. Richarlison should have replaced Rondon, no argument.

I agree that Gordon being removed destroyed what shaky consistency existed prior. Iwobi's cluelessness only exacerbated this when he came on for the injured Gray, rather than an additional defender such as Holgate or Kenney.

Blame for this collapse in form lies at the feet of Rafa.

Stan Schofield
68 Posted 24/10/2021 at 14:51:01
It wasn't embarrassing at all. It was simply very annoying – but not unexpected, as usual with Everton.
Ken Williams
69 Posted 24/10/2021 at 15:55:20
Unfortunately this team will not feel this defeat as much as the fans, I am beginning to feel that, bar the odd couple of players, the team are just not arsed or are totally inept. Take your pick, I know which I would go for.
Paul Niklas
70 Posted 24/10/2021 at 15:55:36
We are in serious trouble until January. This squad is poor on paper never mind on the pitch.

Outside of the previous game's centre midfield – and I am Doucouré's biggest critic – we have nobody to fill that spot.

Our strike force is abysmal, particularly when you consider King to Rondon which looks like a serious error of judgment on behalf of Ancelloti, Brands, and now Benitez. I can't believe how bad Godfrey was yesterday also.

We have three players of class or relative class compared to the rest of the squad: Calvert-Lewin, Richarlson and Allan; add Pickford at times to that. I'm not blaming Benitez but, my God, Ancelloti and Brands have a lot to answer for.

Moyes haters may want to rethink there attitude to him because I can tell you one thing he would get more out of this shit squad than anyone out there.

We really need a major change in thinking at this club starting with the removal of Brands immediately. Benitez doesn't need him and neither do we.

Michael Lynch
71 Posted 24/10/2021 at 16:22:41
I love Tom Davies and he was a breath of fresh air when he first broke into the squad. I really hoped he'd go on to become a great Evertonian, but sadly it ain't happened. He clearly enjoys being a footballer, he's always got a smile on his face in training videos and he's known as the joker in the team. But I get the impression that, over the years, he's become complacent, happy just to be wearing the blue shirt. It's not enough.

Sure, you don't need to be the most talented player in the world – Tim Cahill wasn't – but if you haven't been gifted with great skills you've got to make up for it by using your brain, improving yourself, and by hating to lose. I don't see that with Tom.

Same with the rest of our squaddies. Holgate, Kenny, Iwobi - you get the impression they think they're good enough and that's the end of it.

The problem with our squad in general? They all seem to think they're good enough. Thankfully we've got shut of a few with that mindset – Walcott, Bolasie, even the elusive Sandro - and soon we'll be rid of Tosun and the player the courts don't want us to name. But we can't afford to buy any more like that.

There's no answer this season. We just have to hope we can go on a few good runs and finish in the top half. Next summer is massive for us. But how many times have we said that?

David Hallwood
72 Posted 24/10/2021 at 16:44:15
For all the vitriol, the two-word headline sums it up.

All the "Benitez Out" brigade should give your head a wobble, we simply cannot become the Watford of the north replacing managers every time we have a setback.

Nevertheless, some alarm bells are starting to ring. Zonal marking practically got him the sack from Liverpool, and all my RS mates used to be apoplectic at the latest set piece goal conceded. But he's in his 60s and old dog new tricks and all that, so we can only hope he gets in right.

The substitutions were eerily familiar to a Martinez era game vs West Ham. Down to ten men, 2-0 up and he brings on an unfit Niasse, with Barry sitting on the bench and we lost that on 3-2.

Once again, we had the anti-Davies faction; yes, apart from the goal, he wandered round looking for the lost cause, but why focus on him? Digne & Godfrey were shocking, almost to the point that they were like lookalikes; non-football playing lookalikes at that.

But the decline of Davies is tragic. When he was in the England Under-23 team, he was the star man in a team with Foden, Mount, Maddison etc. Now he's one of six centre-mids, Doucouré, Allan, Gomes, Gbamin & Delph, if everyone were fit, he would be sixth choice – yes, even behind that fraud Delph. He really needs to move to save his career.

We can only hope this was a bad 20 minutes at the office. West Ham was a toss of a coin, Man Utd could be argued was 2 points dropped, but IMHO we need to go to a three in midfield. Personally, I think Gray, Townsend and Richarlison would be a reasonable front three, and get someone in with Davies & Allan, surely the other three can't be unfit for ever.

Jerome Shields
73 Posted 24/10/2021 at 18:00:37
Simply no evidence of committed work and training during the International break. Benitez, in his "improvement across all board" comments on Friday, is as good as admitting that he encountered resistance to his hands-on approach during the International break and since.
Ken Williams
74 Posted 24/10/2021 at 18:06:05
"Nearly a decade of constant humiliation and disappointment since Sir Alex retired. Absolutely sick of it. Half the team need to go, entire "coaching" staff, the board and the owners too.

This is not just the story of Ole's ineptitude and the players' complacency, but the climax of a terribly run club that has put profit over football and tried to placate fans with nostalgia and memories instead of results. Pathetic."

The above was a comment today from a Man Utd supporter; it could also sum our club up under Blue Bill's tenure

Martin Mason
75 Posted 24/10/2021 at 18:11:27
While I often defend Bill Kenwright against the more ridiculous criticism that is levelled against him, I have said many times that, regardless of this, he is the problem and we will never recover as a club until not only he has gone but everybody else in the chumocracy that Everton is. Being associated only with failure makes achieving anything else almost impossible.
Karen Mason
76 Posted 24/10/2021 at 18:19:09
I want to start by saying that I wish I didn't care, but I do.

I have recently had major surgery, which was/is painful & the prognosis is not what I wanted to hear, so there is despair to add to the pain. But... all that pales into insignificance after watching my team yesterday. Like I'm not in enough pain!!

I agree with many of the comments about Rondon & substitutions. I never wanted Benitez, not just because of his Liverpool connection, but because he has achieved nothing of note for over 10 years, plus his 'style' of footy is not what I want to watch at Goodison.

It was Moshiri's decision to employ him, despite the vehement objections of almost all of the Goodison faithful. Your decision, your responsibility, Moshiri and for a smart businessman, you've been had again.

I clearly see that we do not have a squad of top players, but player for player, we are no worse than many of the mid-table clubs who seem to find a balance to their squad and play in a way which makes the best of what they have & find consistency. Why can't we? When not one defender seems to know what to do, where to be, who or what space to mark, seems to me to rest squarely on the shoulders of the Manager / coaches.

This is not personal and I'm sure that Benitez is a very nice man... But his stubbornness and unwillingness to give younger players, brimming with energy, an opportunity, if he is to play counter attacking football, over the laboured efforts of the likes of Rondon, will cost us dearly.

I live in hope that Newcastle make an offer Benitez cannot refuse. He is & never will be the right fit for our club.

Ken Kneale
77 Posted 24/10/2021 at 18:21:55
Jerome @73,

I have no doubt about it – his comments were politically correct code for lots of people who are promoted above their grade and who know the jobs are safe no matter what.

Just look at the survivors at Finch Farm whatever the 1st team management regime: Unsworth who seems bombproof for some reason; Ferguson employed on a sympathy card then surviving every managerial change.

I am afraid I cannot forgive or forget his sycophantic praise of Sam Allardyce when every supporter was incredulous at the level of football on offer. I could go on and on but we all know such appointments are not possibly made on merit.

The shambles extends to all areas including the medics. Why do so many Everton players seem to develop injuries and why do those injuries seem to take an age to recover from?

I think Seamus Coleman has been a great servant and I admire him as a bloke too who does not seem to have forgotten his roots but I am just waiting for his announcement of retirement followed by the appointment as some form of coach at Finch Farm.

Kieran Kinsella
78 Posted 24/10/2021 at 18:33:10
Ken and Jerome,

Steve Jobs was a notorious perfectionist known for demanding high standards for the aesthetics of the internal components of his phones no one ever sees.

Kenwright in contrast:

Player who wouldn't train, went to prison, drank too much and spent 10 years mostly injured or unfit: give him the first team coach job.

Jeffers, profligate chancer too big for his boots: let's bring him back after he failed at Arsenal. He fails again, disappears into the abyss, assaults his wife: bring him back as a coach.

Ebrell, another mediocre player from that era. Bring him back.

Jose Baxter, pot-head waster out of work in tier three: give him a new contract to “help him get his career going” with no intention of it being at Everton. He fails to find a club as a player so bring him back as a coach.

Nothing but the best eh? It's more like a support group for Alcoholics Anonymous or homeless veterans.

Ray Robinson
79 Posted 24/10/2021 at 18:33:43
Ken, I totally understand your frustration but how can you include the medics in the shambles? My guess is that you have absolutely no evidence for that assertion. They may even be the very best in their profession for all we know.
Jay Evans
80 Posted 24/10/2021 at 18:48:45
I see the defence of ‘Our Tom' continues with some people.

From my seat yesterday – my actual seat in the ground, by the way, not some 3rd hand BBC internet match report – I saw ‘Young Tom' having a hand in the last four Watford goals.

Be it half-heartedly failing to win headers, jumping out of tackles, needlessly forcing team mates to give away unnecessary corners, or mistiming a sliding challenge to intercept a cross, ‘Alan Whittle's Nephew' had the lot in his locker yesterday.

Also in his locker was his skateboard. And a spare bobble.

Mike Owen
81 Posted 24/10/2021 at 19:08:10
Karen, 76, I am sorry to hear about your health issues. I certainly hope things improve for you. I disagree with you on Benitez but I do agree when you say:

"We are no worse than many of the mid-table clubs who seem to find a balance to their squad and play in a way which makes the best of what they have."

Accordingly, as for Tom Davies (yes, certainly some mistakes yesterday, but at least he got himself in the right place to score that goal), like many other players, I reckon that if he was in a settled, confident, well functioning Everton team, we would see better performances.

When was the last time we had the same starting line-up for just three consecutive games? And how many times has that happened in the last five years?

Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
82 Posted 24/10/2021 at 19:42:54
Just putting on the tin hat first.

Having the joy of never having watched a minute of Rondon wearing an Everton jersey, can I ask a serious question.

Yes, I get everyone on here saying he is slow and he has not scored in the 432 minutes he has been on the pitch. But I would suggest the job of a No 9 is:

1. Score goals;
2. Chase down the opposition defenders into making a mistake; and
3. Hold the ball up when we boot it upfield and bring other players into the attack. Simple really when you put it like that!

We may find that the likes of Dobbin and Simms are better at No 2 simply on the basis that Rondon's speed is such that he may struggle chasing down a snail (given the comments). No 1 is possibly debatable between a young inexperienced lad and an older but slower guy. But, in terms of No.3, how is he doing and is he equally useless (or more useless) than Dobbin and Simms?

And if he is the best at holding the ball up, is that why Rafa keeps playing him?

Fire away – I am just asking.

Brent Stephens
83 Posted 24/10/2021 at 19:54:21
Phil #82, At the risk of repeating myself, but in response to your question, I can't discern a single redeeming quality that Rondon shows – not one. So somebody like Dobbin, with greater pace than Rondon, is already ahead of him.

I understand the argument about protecting young lads, but Dobbin doesn't necessarily need to start a game – just be given sufficient time on as a sub to show he can at least chase a defence down and put them under pressure that way.

Stephen Williams
84 Posted 24/10/2021 at 20:17:01
Jay (80),

Your review of Tom Davies's culpability for Watford's last four goals excluded his culpability for the first: he was detailed to mark King at corners (I don't know why) but he proceeded to lose him every time, particularly allowing him a tap-in for the first equaliser.

However, Davies was only one of many who were culpable. I know this is heresy but I've never understood the adulation of Godfrey, particularly as a centre-back. He did okay as a full-back last season but as a centre-back, he is completely unaware of everything around him, can't read the game,and won't mark his man.

When everything was going to ratshit yesterday, the two centre-backs should have held their positions but instead, Godfrey goes haring all over the place, chasing people into midfield, vacating the crucial space in which counter-attacks thrive.

He also fails to defend the space allotted to him generally but also specifically on corners, giving up goals along the way (Burnley, Aston Villa, Man Utd, West Ham, Watford). This incompetence has nothing to do with Covid-19 and he should stop getting a free pass on that excuse. If he's down on energy, then stop haring round and just occupy your space and do your job.

The reason we fell apart yesterday has nothing to do with Gordon being subbed (I'd have done that as he was increasingly becoming a headless chicken – not that Iwobi isn't) but is instead wholly because the central defensive square of Keane and Godfrey with Allan and Davies in front completely abdicated their responsibilities. Proper professionals don't do that – they are too proud to give up cheap possession, let alone cheap goals.

Going forward, we must play three narrowly across the middle to shield the centre-backs with the hope that the front three, supplemented occasionally by the full-backs, can create something at the other end.

Don't get me started on the manager – I still can't bring myself to say his name. Not because of past Liverpool connections but more that he is yesterday's – no, last decade's – man. I always thought that we'd be more than okay as there are many worse sides than us... but, after not just yesterday but also other previous performances, I'm no longer sure.

Depressing. But the madness that's in me will still mean that I continue to go to every game, home and away. Why do I put myself through it? Along with many of my brethren, I care deeply for my club and hope that, one day, we might just get more than one or two players that feel the same – as opposed to it being a very expensive meal ticket.

Tony Everan
85 Posted 24/10/2021 at 20:36:08
David @72,

For me, it all stems from that point about the necessity of us having a midfield three, particularly whilst Doucouré is out. Allan and Davies were just struggling from the off, we never had control of the game against a poor, struggling side.

Watford are not a proper football team, they are a bunch of mercenaries, hard men, brought in to do a job of finishing 14th-17th. First and foremost against suchlike teams, you have to fight fire with fire. Then our superior quality will find a way through.

I thought yesterday we never competed physically enough with Watford. They bullied us all over the pitch, the mercenaries doing their job with aplomb. They earned their money and well done to them: mission accomplished.

With Doucouré, out we lose too much of the physical side of our midfield. Allan and Davies couldn't cope.

Benitez made some strange comment in the pre-match presser about this being an easy game. The comment made me uncomfortable, such a comment will fire up an opposition. I think his team selections need to try to become more compact and tenacious in midfield for the next 2 months at least.

Trying the same formation and system as yesterday is asking for trouble on a grand scale, both results-wise and it will inevitably create a vehement backlash from the support. It's not easy with the players at his disposal but something has to be done.

Stuart Sharp
86 Posted 24/10/2021 at 20:52:55
Phil #82,

From my view... Rondon rarely held the ball up successfully. He was bullied by the Watford defence. It is a cliché to say 'it's like playing with 10 men', but yesterday came close to just that. I can only recall 1 or 2 vaguely meaningful contributions.

However, it's not his fault that we shipped 4 goals in less than quarter of an hour. Few players came out of yesterday with much credit. Gordon, Gray... Richarlison maybe.

Stephen W #84 has it spot on about Godfrey. I loved watching him last season, but he was out of position over and over again yesterday. Pickford made a couple of great saves but his distribution is maddening. Digne is an average defender at best. Allan does okay but usually fades, especially without Doucouré. Davies was also out of position repeatedly.

So, while Rondon is making a case for being one of our worst ever strikers, our problems are much bigger than that.

Chris Hockenhull
87 Posted 24/10/2021 at 21:44:40
@78 Spot on. Anyone want to argue against this (factual) comment???

And that's why today's other result, I hate to say, puts it all in perspective Because that's why they are there and we are not.

What a horrible weekend.

Christine Foster
88 Posted 24/10/2021 at 22:29:15
It's hard to know where to start but, in trying to, I was left with the realization of exactly why we are in this mess. It's blindingly simple to the point of one who cannot see the wood for the trees.

Since the millennium, this club has compounded every mistake by never once eliminating the common denominator to them all. It's not the players, the managers or Moshiri, it is the ethos of the club run like a charity, it is a club that was, and still is, run by and for the personal satisfaction of an owner who has more front than Lewis's.

It has been run as an object of self-gratification and sold on to a benefactor who thought he has just bought the Tower Bridge, not the Runcorn one, only to find, like all the years before him, the lies were built on sand, the future is as well, literally.

I had an uncomfortable thought when dismissing a Richard Keyes blog saying that Everton were being hawked around the Arab states for a new buyer a couple of months ago, that Moshiri had had enough and wanted out. I may have been too quick to try to dismiss it but, like a worm, it's been boring into my thoughts. To the point it makes sense; and in truth, who could blame him?

The incompetence of management and ownership of this club for the past two decades has led to a succession of failed managers, half-built teams, huge cost and a club who are a reflection of that other Mersey memory, the Royal Iris, once proud, but now rotting in the Thames.. a bit Everton that.

Money won't fix the club. Not on its own; removal of the lynchpin of incompetence and a realization that a family club cannot survive in a cut-throat business but needs to adapt to survive, and remember – or rediscover – just why they exist at all.

Kieran Kinsella
89 Posted 24/10/2021 at 22:58:39

You're absolutely correct. I'd equate to one of those reunion shows. Are You Being Served – great old sitcom... then, 20 years later, they wheel out the decrepit actors for a one-off special.

You watch as a fan out of loyalty and nostalgia but there's no effort to hold to the standards of old. It's just nods and winks to the good old days but the producer gets another credit on his IMDB page.

Pete Clarke
90 Posted 24/10/2021 at 23:46:37
Benitez simply has to take a lot of blame for sending the team out with ten men. Very early in the game, when Tom Davies scored, you would expect the main striker to be in or around the 6-yard box. Rondon was still in our half of the pitch, for fuck's sake!

He has never been a top player and Benitez decides to bring him to Everton when he is shot to pieces and should be laying around his poolside enjoying retirement. Shocking decision to bring him to Everton and worse still that the powers to be allowed it to happen.

Anthony Gordon has an awkward style but decent enough on the ball so I can't really fault him for his general play. What I did notice was how he constantly turned his back on any aerial challenges and I am talking literally, pulling away like a little kid.

I have watched that shambles again to see how we folded and this is a trait that runs through the whole team. You would think that would be Ferguson's job to teach them how to challenge for the ball in the air.
The other shocking trait was diving in to challenges when staying on your feet is a better option. Michael Keane was poor yesterday and should have actually scored if he had shown a bit more bravery.

There are too many fundamental problems at the club which tells me that the level of professionalism required is not there. Rafa may well sort this out but he has not helped himself with the Rondon issue and he does not have the supporters' patience on his side.

That collapse yesterday shows how fragile we are and the next few games are going to put us all through the mill.

Sean Kelly
91 Posted 24/10/2021 at 23:51:50

You are spot on.

I said on a different thread that we are the patsies of the Premier League. Kenwright has played us and Moshiri for fools. I think the only way to get rid of him is for Moshiri to pull the plug and let us drop out of this league. Drastic, I know... but he won't leave til forced out, Ashley style.

I'm not looking for this to happen but desperate times call for desperate measures.

Jerome Shields
92 Posted 24/10/2021 at 00:20:36
Ken #77 and Kieran #78,

Most people agree there has been a parental attitude to staff appointments, This extends to 1-year contract extentions for old players. The problem is it enables staff to bring in friends who will support them and increase their power within the club. Empires within Empires.

Everton's internal management has developed a structural base for failure, which is supported by permanent contracts and not being accountable for performances. This has been going on for years and they have successfully shifted the blame for failure onto successive managers.

The managers have come and gone. . . but they are still there. The poor performing Everton template we have seen season after season, which is very identifiable, which you could put the kettle on for, is a reflection of their standards and not the managers.

This is particularly the case when the manager attempts to take them on. Benitez has obviously taken them on at Finch Farm, by the appointement of a new fitness and recovery coach, and by his 'improvement across the board' comments.

They are in a position through training, fitness, coaching to set the playing standards and motivation of the players. I believe they have used this negatively to get rid of managers who threaten their jobs.

This influence is collective rather than individual. It is a culture that exists within Everton. It is based on survival in the Premier League and conflicts with Benitez not being prepared accept ending the season in mid-table.

Jerome Shields
94 Posted 25/10/2021 at 00:40:24
Ray #79,

This comment from Darren Burgess gives you a idea of what goes on in medical services in most Premier League Clubs and where Ken is coming from. In his 'improvement across the board' comments, Benitez included medical services for a 5 to 10% improvement in performance.

''The players often ran the place. In a lot of clubs, masseurs and physios in particular, as they spend a lot of time with players and provide them some relief, can develop really strong relationships.

"That can make it a little bit harder for people — doctors, physios and other therapists — to have the really difficult conversations.

"I think there was a reluctance of some of the people involved to use hard training as protection, and so instead they'd do more rest and recovery. Because that was the easy option. It's easier to sell to players, in particular.

"Essentially there's been a fair bit of research that shows that if you can build up players' resilience to hard training, that the impact of a game becomes less and less because your body is accustomed to it.

"Hard work is the best form of injury prevention and injury protection. You should be slowly but deliberately building up people's training tolerance because then, in December and January, when the games come thick and fast, the players are used to it. ”

Darren Burgess was appointed by Wenger at Arsenal and later joined Liverpool. He is a expert in fitness and recovery.

I agree with Ken that there is a problem at Everton's medical services.

Karl Meighan
95 Posted 25/10/2021 at 00:53:18
I'm probably in a minority but I agreed with leaving Rondon on, he's a striker, we needed a goal, and maybe having Richarlison alongside him would have helped.

I also had no problem with bringing Gordon off, he doesn't seem quick enough to me and he lacks badly in the strength department. Any one of the midfielders could have been replaced yesterday.

The first ten, we started okay, Gordon missed a headed chance to put us two up. After that, I remember Townsend making their keeper work. That apart, Foster had very little to do.

Gordon, along with every other Everton player, was average at best, imo. I don't buy that "we took our best player off". I've not watched any highlights but I don't remember any of our players creating a clear chance or testing Foster, so I don't think anyone stood out as "our best player".

It worries me that we have crumbled twice and don't seem to be able to cope with any kind of pressure. I've pointed it out before, the defending of corners and set-pieces is shambolic yet we give corners away cheaply game after game.

Defenders not getting off the ground, being out-fought and losing their opponent, wandering around looking to pass the buck, and a keeper who won't come and collect crosses – these issues all need sorting out or we will continue to concede cheap goals.

The Premier League is hard enough with the slightest mistake punished, yet we continue to gift goals to opponents we should have enough to beat.

Brendan McLaughlin
96 Posted 25/10/2021 at 01:15:59
Jerome #93,

Most people agree there has been a parental attitude to staff appointments

Not expecting a response but how exactly are you quantifying that, Jerome?

Kieran Kinsella
97 Posted 25/10/2021 at 01:29:24
Bizarre Qanon-type rumor on ToffeeWeb that Big Dunc is a secret fan gathering dirt on Kenwright, Denise etc, so he can bring them all down during some kind of fan revolt to save the club.
Nicholas Ryan
98 Posted 25/10/2021 at 01:39:50
Watford play Liverpool and concede 5, Watford play Everton and score 5... hmm!
Ernie Baywood
99 Posted 25/10/2021 at 01:43:43
I don't have any issue with leaving Rondon on as long as you use him right.

Don't expect him to be Calvert-Lewin. He can't chase down, he can't take players on, he can't be disconnected from the other attacking players. If he's isolated, then he's useless.

Yes, that makes him little use, but at least use him right.

We lost our identity with these injuries. The team got worse... our response was to start moving the ball slower out of defence. Just plain odd. We never got Gray or Townsend going. They want the ball early.

Allan and Davies will run all day but the last thing they want is the ball at their feet.

And Keane and Godfrey surely want rid of the ball ASAP.

So why the mucking around? Go long, go early, win the second ball. We did it earlier in the season... why not now?

Alan J Thompson
100 Posted 25/10/2021 at 06:03:00
Just on another point. If Watford's equalizer was allowed because Gray's trailing foot kept a player on the far side of the goal area onside, then why wasn't the Watford player Gray had been marking considered offside as his presence obviously interfered with play by keeping an opposing player in a position to affect the game?

I know, I know, it's all about interfering with play and having to actually touch the ball which merely highlights how poorly thought out (one sided?) some of these rule changes are.

Perhaps some need to revert to their almost original previous idea or go the same way, moving free-kicks forward if players don't retire or keepers having only 6 seconds to move the ball on.

Oh, and no, it probably doesn't affect the other 4 goals.

Ian Jones
101 Posted 25/10/2021 at 06:28:55
Alan, I thought the same about the offside and the guy taking the free kick.

Offside should be easy to work out. You are either on or off. I do get the interfering with play aspect but it's a bit of a nonsense. If you are on the field of play, you must be interfering, although it could be argued that some Everton players don't interfere too much... but that's a whole different thread.

This is what Brian Clough had to say...

'If any one of my players isn't interfering with play, they're not getting paid.” – When the new offside was introduced.

The other thing that gets me is the phases of play. So a player could stand for a minute or two in an offside position whilst play develops in the build-up to a goal and then wait for Phase 2 to kick in and magically be onside...

As for your point: 'Oh, and no, it probably doesn't affect the other 4 goals.'

I disagree. If Watford's equaliser had been disallowed, it would have been a completely different game. We may have still gone on to lose 5-2 but the journey getting there would have been different.

Jerome Shields
102 Posted 25/10/2021 at 07:02:14
Brendan #96,

The number of ex-players that are in positions, and the apparent emphasis on their loyal service to the club, is the main reason for their appointment.

At times, I have felt their appointments were to court the favor of the fanbase, rather than their actual ability to do the job. Many are not interested in developing their careers at other clubs to gain experience. This could be because they fear that they would not be able to keep their jobs.

Managers appear to have these ex-players imposed on them. I would even go as far to say that the retention of some ex-players in coaching positions is a condition of a manager being appointed.

The main subjects above are often highlighted on ToffeeWeb threads by posters in efforts to suggest the reason for underlying problems rather than scapegoat individual players, whether they are guilty or not.

The main problem is: Where is accountability for performance considered? The answer is never. It was never part of the selection process from the start.

Rafa's 'improvement across the board' by 5 to 10% is an attempt to quantify performance and ultimately impose accountability at Finch Farm. Even Rafa suggesting that there has been no results for money spent is an attempt to introduce accountability on future performance.

The hallmark of a parental regime is a lack of accountability for performance.

Mike Gwyer
103 Posted 25/10/2021 at 07:32:26

Karl Meighan #95.

Is Benitez your dad or some distant relative? Rondon is beyond shite, slow and has no passion for this great club. He should never be anywhere near the starting 11 or even anywhere near the first team squad.

All this chat about relegation to get rid of Kenwright, why? This is Everton, our heart and soul, I've never ever thought about a good reason for Everton to be relegated. If Moshiri wanted him out, he would just walk into his office and tell him to fuckoff. Or just refer him to HR who would do something very similar.

The blame game always stops at the manager, not his coaches or medical staff. The Fat Spanish Waiter picks the team, tells them what to do, and – for some totally unknown reason – will continue to select Rondon and Iwobi. For me, all the blame goes directly to our man Benitez,,

Billy Dawber
104 Posted 25/10/2021 at 07:44:08
Deary me, what the hell was that all about?

I've never seen an Everton team so abject in all my years of supporting them, and there have been some shite games, but this was the worst. How can you even play that badly in defence and midfield and still come off smirking like some of them did, or so it seemed?

Absolute garbage, to say the least. We looked like winning when Richarlison scored and then we fell apart for some unknown reason.

When you look at Liverpool across the park, they are a million miles ahead of us and the gap is becoming more laughable every season. We are a joke of a club and we are going nowhere. Get used to it because the next 5 to 10 years ain't gonna get any better, I'm afraid.

Steve Griffiths
105 Posted 25/10/2021 at 07:52:12
Karl (95),

Well, it's a minority of 2 then, because I agree with you entirely.

Great post & about time someone said it how it is.

Jerome Shields
106 Posted 25/10/2021 at 08:51:25
Karl #95,

I also agree.

Stu Darlington
107 Posted 25/10/2021 at 09:43:47
The short-comings of the squad, the overall performance, the lack of fight, and on Sunday the seemingly lack of football nouse is indeed frightening. All of this has been discussed at length on this forum so I don't intend to go through it all again.

The real problems lie in the sheer unprofessionalism and incompetence of the club's senior management. Professional football is today a hard-nosed business – all about money and making the right commercial decisions. There's no room for Mickey Mouse paternalism which we have got.

What other club would tolerate a situation where four senior people in the club were all disagreeing about which players or manager to recruit? Which other clubs could spend the amount we have and end up with such dross?

The only way the club can improve is to get rid of these incompetent imposters and replace them with genuine football credentials at this level. Easy to say but more difficult to do.

But I do believe the only way to do it is through us the supporters protesting in every possible way at every opportunity that what is happening at our club is not acceptable. For anything to change, there has to be a drastic change at the top or we will be in the mire for years to come. Not good enough for Everton.

Derek Cowell
109 Posted 25/10/2021 at 11:57:20
Ken at 74.

Yes, the Man Utd fans are furious with their ownership and manager after a humiliating defeat (but against a top in-form team) but they have finances, top players and are in the Champions League. Their fans are over-reacting because they have realistic aspirations based on fairly recent history.

I have no sympathy though because they got rid of a (marmite) world class egotistical manager because winning 2 trophies in 1 season wasn't good enough for them.

We, on the other hand, are simply shite from top to bottom!

Rennie Smith
110 Posted 25/10/2021 at 12:39:52
Ernie @99,

"I don't have any issue with leaving Rondon on as long as you use him right."

I'd love to know how you use him right?

One of the legs of my dinner table fell off the other day, maybe I could use him to prop it up? Although I wouldn't trust him to keep it horizontal for long...

Maybe people can suggest some more uses for him?

Andrew Ellams
111 Posted 25/10/2021 at 13:03:01
Rennie @ 110, he'd be no good for that, he's never in the right place!
Danny O’Neill
112 Posted 25/10/2021 at 13:32:36
With all this banter, I can sense it.

The dinner table leg replacement and former West Brom player breaks his Everton duck against old Black Country rivals at Molineux next Monday.


Rennie Smith
113 Posted 25/10/2021 at 14:00:41
The only duck he'll be breaking is the one innocently flying high over Molineux.

I've got it! We could use him as a barge to deliver the sand to Bramley-Moore Dock. Although he'd probably get stuck in the Mersey somewhere like that tanker in the Suez.

It's a good job we can laugh or else we'd cry.

Karl Meighan
114 Posted 25/10/2021 at 16:52:40
Mike @103,

One important thing the Fat Spanish Waiter doesn't do is play for 90 minutes. Yea, Rondon is shite but, if you want to score a goal, replacing a striker for a midfielder or defender is unlikely to get it done.

Managers cannot teach pros basic defending; Godfrey's and Davies's attempts at clearing the ball against West Ham and on Saturday giving away corners that both led to goals. Regardless of how much you hate the manager, how that is anybody's fault other than the players, fuck knows.

We're depending on a player who cost £1.7 million and a journeyman as our best chance at creating and scoring goals. Shite players left by a posse of managers can't and won't be moulded into quality players, regardless of who is in charge.

Who does he replace these players with? If you put kids in, you risk doing damage to their confidence, playing in a very average team. Kids play at a level light-years away from the Premier League... and exactly who is kicking down the door to start anyway?

Whoever is in charge would need time, money, and a lot of patience to turn things around. As pissed off as I am, the last thing we need is another change of manager.

Rennie Smith
115 Posted 25/10/2021 at 17:21:44
Of course he doesn't miss defensive headers or misplace passes but he's responsible for who's on the pitch and the plan.

If he wanted to shut the game down at 2-1, why not bring the milk float off, leave Richarlison up front, and put Gbamin or even Holgate on to shore up the midfield?

Karl Meighan
116 Posted 25/10/2021 at 17:35:57
You can also shut the game down by scoring a third. Gbamin, I don't know... but Holgate is not good enough, proven by the fact he cannot get a shirt in that side. I would go as far to say that Holgate's defending is absolutely shocking.

It was an option, Rennie, I don't deny... but I don't believe any manager in the world would have went with Gbamin over Iwobi, given his lack of game time and – as shite as Iwobi is – he is an experienced Premier League player.

Mike Gwyer
117 Posted 25/10/2021 at 17:52:41


We are all Blues and like most blues we are still fuming about Saturday's result.

Firstly, I never wanted Benitez here, ever. But he is. However, Southampton and Burnley at home, he turned both games around with his half-time chat. Brighton away, then Old Trafford, you know what: Benitez was getting to me. I was loving Everton's style of play and we were scoring goals. Lots of them.

Now to answer your question about Rondon. Hand on heart, I would play my 2-year-old grand daughter before that lump. Take a look at Tom's goal and also Townsend's goal at Old Trafford, we break at speed and get that ball to the front man where both players put the ball into the net. In both instances, tell me where the fuck Rondon is?

When Townsend wheels away to celebrate with the away support, Rondon has just made it into Man Utd's penalty box and celebrates. Is he celebrating making it to the penalty box or Everton scoring? When Tom scores, Rondon is about 10 yards from the Watford penalty box. Now Rondon's job is to do what other Everton players are doing for him.

Please get real about players being too young. There are loads of 18- and 19-year-old players getting playing time throughout the Premier League. Dobbin and Simms must be fuming at being left out for that lump.

Dobbin has pace and will cause defenders no end of issues with the likes of Gray, Richy and Townsend flying down the wings and looking for a Number 9 who can actually keep up with them. The likes of Saka are not overlooked because they are young, they are played because they are good.

I'm now finding Benitez extremely stubborn and being honest I think he needs a fucking slap about sticking with Rondon. For me, Benitez is not doing what is right for Everton, he is doing what he thinks is right and fuck Everton.

Ben Attwood
118 Posted 25/10/2021 at 18:52:25
Yes, we have injuries... and yes, some of the refereeing decisions were poor... but this was Watford – not Man City or Chelsea.

Easiest way to stop conceding from set-pieces (1 vs West Ham, 2 vs Watford) – stop giving them away. How many times do we see a needless free-kick or corner conceded? This should be drilled into the players.

Stop the zonal marking asap. We have everyone back and still concede free headers??? How about leaving 1 or 2 up to cause the opposition to leave 3 defenders back? They can then only attack with 7 meaning 6 in the box man-marked by 6 defenders. How about a man on a post?

Go 4-3-3. Coleman is past it so we have Godfrey at right-back. Get Mina back at centre-back asap. Digne needs dropping but we have no cover so he has to play. Gbamin now needs to play with Allan plus another, Gomes for now? If not, then it has to be Davies. Up top, pace in Gray, Richarlison and Townsend. Subs: Gordon, Dobbin, Simms, Davies, Holgate...

No Rondon, Iwobi, Delph, or Tosun.

Fingers crossed Calvert-Lewin and Doucouré are back soon.

Rennie Smith
119 Posted 25/10/2021 at 19:33:16
Karl @116,

Errr.... why not go with Gbamin over Iwobi? You're basing it on lack of game time and experience; he made that sub on 77 minutes, are you saying he hasn't got 13 minutes in his legs?

I wouldn't be surprised if Iwobi started the next game over Gordon, that's just the sort of stubborn, "Up yours, I'm in charge" thing Benitez would do.

Oh, and of course Rondon will "play" for 90 minutes. The more we boo his decisions, the deeper his reinforced platform heels dig into the ground.

Karl Meighan
120 Posted 25/10/2021 at 19:44:23

I also believe if you're good enough, your old enough... but if Simms and Dobbin are overlooked for Rondon, who has looked nothing but shite since he signed, then Benitez must have no faith whatsoever in them.

Playing either of these alone upfront in a side that looks better on the counter is asking a lot of them. I imagine Benitez has blooded youngsters across the park and I know he did at Newcastle. That tells me Dobbin or Simms are not ahead of their age group and we have nothing to go on regarding how they would do in the Premier League.

We scored twice against Watford, which should be enough to win our home games; I am more concerned with how we were defending, both as a unit and as individuals.

Karl Meighan
121 Posted 25/10/2021 at 21:46:47
Rennie @119,

On what basis is Gbamin a better bet than Iwobi? He hasn't played for how long?

13 minutes was long enough for Watford to score four times. An experienced Premier League midfielder – or one who hasn't played who we have no idea if he will ever regain full fitness – nevermind how good he is or what he offers the team?

If he did go with Gbamin and his mistake had gifted Watford the points, he would have been slaughtered for taking such a risk.

Soren Moyer
122 Posted 25/10/2021 at 21:55:46
Yes. Iwobi, Rondon, Keane and Davies are all shite!

And yes, Davies was at fault in 3 (yes 3) of their goals:

For his 1st, he lost the ball in their half and that led to a Watford corner from which they scored.
His next big error was when he lost King at the far post for Watford's equalizer from the very same corner kick!
His 3rd was when he failed to clear it in the edge of our 18-yard box resulting in their 4th goal.

So yes, he is crap!

Andy Crooks
123 Posted 25/10/2021 at 22:35:44
Rondon is not a striker out of form, just needing a goal to start things rolling. He is not missing chances. He is not not getting the rub of the green. He is not lacking a little bit of match sharpness.

In my view, he is over the hill. A shot-to-pieces journeyman whose journey has brought him to our club for a big final payday.

He is a paceless, disinterested, ambling embarassment. He is the worst striker I have ever seen play for Everton. He has not looked remotely like scoring a goal for our club.

This is a term I have never used for one of our players before, but... he is shite.

He is not even good enough to be a scapegoat. A scapegoat would be someone who played badly. Rondon is as relevant to our performance as me. He wasn't there.

Brent Stephens
124 Posted 25/10/2021 at 22:47:44
My sentiments too, Andy. I would challenge anybody to name one, just one, quality that justifies his selection.
Kieran Kinsella
125 Posted 25/10/2021 at 22:51:37
John Spencer wasn't crap. He scored 50-odd top flight goals for Chelsea and QPR but he was on the wane when he joined us.

Rondon? Remember Tomas Brolin at Leeds? The Parma superstar who just needed to get match fit. Ended up up going back to Sweden and becoming a goalie?

Rondon was okay at his peak but now he's lost it. It happens. Even Lineker turned to shit at Grampus 8. But we've just given this joker a 3-year deal.

Tom Bowers
126 Posted 25/10/2021 at 23:01:42
Sad to say but Rondon is out of his depth.

He looked half-decent when he first came to the Premier League and I suppose that Rafa rated him having had him before. I thought also he may be a half-decent stop-gap until Calvert-Lewin returned but he has been totally inadequate.

Like most of us I thought he should have been substituted in the Watford game and it must have been that Rafa is the only one who thought otherwise.

Despite that issue, Everton blew a 2-1 lead in such a devastating way one has to look at the defensive qualities of the team overall. The games against Villa, West Ham and Watford have shown up the quality of the product on the field.

I have thought for a long time that we cannot defend like other teams even against teams normally outside of the top six.

When I watch Everton these days, I get nervous every time any opposing team gets possession in Everton's half as they always get too much space.

The buck has to stop at the manager's feet and not just the current manager, who is trying to cope with some solid players missing.

Alas it seems he is now facing a losing battle.

Dale Self
127 Posted 25/10/2021 at 23:23:17
John Spencer was a tough one as well. Julian Dicks stepped on his head one time and John got bandaged and played on, if I recall correctly.
Kieran Kinsella
128 Posted 25/10/2021 at 23:51:43

I remember that. Also, while he didn't get all the media hype, he was a Catholic who dared to play for Rangers prior to Mo Johnston making headlines for crossing the ridiculous 16th Century sectarian divide. I always respected him as a competitor but his Everton spell was sadly forgettable.

Karl Meighan
129 Posted 25/10/2021 at 00:03:02
Brett Angell, Mick Ferguson, Denis Stracqualursi...
Karl Meighan
131 Posted 26/10/2021 at 00:09:06
Aroune Kone... I could go on. All worse than Rondon.
Rob Halligan
132 Posted 26/10/2021 at 00:12:12
Surprised nobody hasn't mentioned…

Wait for it!!!

I give you…

Oumar Niasse!!

Dale Self
133 Posted 26/10/2021 at 00:19:15
Hey Kieran, I forgot that spell at Rangers. Yeah, he was good elsewhere.
Martin Mason
135 Posted 26/10/2021 at 19:04:46
Ben @118,

I believe that every club in world football plays a zonal marking system.

Frank Thomas
137 Posted 27/10/2021 at 11:28:07
Well, Rafa told us against Watford that he is in charge and will make his own decisions – not the fans, not the players, nor the owners.

I would ask you, what kind of manager would you like to have?

One that wins against the teams we would love to beat (fans' choice). Maybe one that wins league titles and trophies or one that gets us into Europe and wins cups and maybe even the Champions League, maybe a manager that plays entertaining football or even a manager that makes money on players and games (owners' choice). Maybe a manager who is loyal and will stay with us through thick and thin and will not leave us when a seemly bigger club like Real Madrid or Man Utd comes calling.

Well now we have a manager in Rafa Benitez that encompasses a lot of the above qualities, most of all: loyalty and trust. He will not leave us for Newcastle because he has given his word to us to stay and rebuild. Think where would we be without Townsend and Gray... and do not forget he was very close to signing Luis Diaz except he had to deal with the mess he inherited and that stopped him.

I understand (but do not agree with) the reasons that Rafa is playing Rondon and Iwobi; he is loyally trusting them to perform and they are letting him down and the fans. Both players should be doing extra training, shooting and exercise in Rondon's case. In fact, a lot of players should be doing extra training. If Tom Davies had confidence in his shooting accuracy, he would have shot against Man Utd thus winning the game. It is not Rafa's fault that Calvert-Lewin has had a setback and he cannot play him instead.

I think Rafa sees a successful coach or manager as someone who has all the above qualities, and he has achieved most of them, but also a coach is a mentor who brings out the talent and instills confidence. When Rafa was dismissed by Liverpool FC, he would play a player and then, when they scored, he would drop them and play a different player in the next game. Like Moyes, I think he has learnt from his mistakes.

Jay (63) and Nick (64) make excellent points: it is a team game and, in the Watford game, we had a major player out in defence (Mina), midfield (Doucouré) and attack (Calvert-Lewin) – all three are being actively sought-after by other clubs. We also had a great player (Godfrey) recovering from Covid and playing well. I know three people recovering from Covid and they cannot walk fast – never mind run. The chap across the park complained last season when he had one major player out in defence.

Rafa is working very hard to take us to the top, changing the medical care and testing, working with management to change the way we select players for purchase. Changing the training regime across all the football levels in the club and trying to buy players who want to play for us, to win and who want to improve.

So far, the man has spent £1.7M and the ex-manager from Bolton Wanderers spent far more than that with much poorer results.

I think Rafa could become a legend at this club. I think with time, money, love, support from the fans, he could be the manager that finally gives us Champions League success, possibly just when the new stadium is ready.

"Judge me when it is my team, bought by me, selected by me, coached by me, said Moyes" – and he got us to 4th position.

Rafa has a lot to prove to Liverpool FC. He was not happy that he lost that job and the next Liverpool manager took over a very good team. He will want us (Everton) to prove that point for him for the next 8 years.

Those are the two games we all want to win; that and Champions League qualification at the end of this season.

Frank Thomas
138 Posted 27/10/2021 at 11:44:41
Josh King left Everton on 30 June, just before Rafa became manager.

I think Rafa may not have brought Rondon into the team if he had been appointed manager a week or two earlier.

Barry Hesketh
139 Posted 27/10/2021 at 12:01:12
Looking at the home results in the league, this calendar year, shows that the team is letting itself and the fans down, winning only 5 matches – 3 of which have come this season – with 9 home defeats from 17 matches, it's little wonder that the fans are concerned and that the players lack confidence.

Consequently, 18 points from 17 matches is a very poor return for Everton at Goodison Park; the side has found the net 18 times but the opponents have scored 25.

Fortunately, the away form has on the whole been pretty good, with the team taking 3 points on 7 occasions and only losing 3 times. So 26 points from 15 games away from home is a very good return; with 16 goals scored and 18 conceded, it highlights that, the more expansive Everton are, the less likely they are to keep clean sheets.

At Goodison, Everton have managed to keep out the opponents just 3 times, whilst away from home nearly half (7 of 15) of the games have resulted in clean sheets.

Frank @ 137,

If Benitez survives at Everton for 8 years, I would think that we are headed for a golden era at Goodison and Bramley-Moore Dock?

Mark Andrews
140 Posted 27/10/2021 at 12:10:26
I've said it before and I'll say it again. Rafa has been brought in to keep us in the Premier League whilst finances are tight with the stadium. I've been surprised with the good start to the season because of the lack of depth at the club.

I'm shocked that we can spend so much money and end up with such a shallow squad. Brands isn't the messiah, he's a very naughty boy.

We should brace ourselves for a few seasons of rank mediocrity, which shouldn't be too difficult, as we've been bang average for years.

Joe McMahon
141 Posted 27/10/2021 at 12:28:47
Mark @140, you are not kidding. I'm 52 and I'd say Everton have been an achieving trophy-winning force for (since I was 6) 5 years. When I compare to the lot across the Park, it's the type of misery that would make Giant Haystacks cry.
Steavey Buckley
142 Posted 27/10/2021 at 13:03:10
The Everton defence now has a very serious defensive problem, while Everton can't now win at home. At around Christmas time, Everton could find themselves close to the wrong end of the Premier League table.

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