That Sinking Feeling

Lyndon Lloyd 28/11/2021 88comments  |  Jump to last
Brentford 1 - 0 Everton

Surveying both the fixture list and the injury absentees crippling an uncomfortably shallow squad as the last international break began, Rafael Benitez will surely have viewed this trip to Brentford as a vital one in terms of picking up much-needed points to not only boost morale but also buy some time before the likes of Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Yerry Mina and Abdoulaye Doucouré returned.

The Bees may have started the season strongly, as newly-promoted teams, hopped up on the adrenaline from promotion to the top flight often do, but as their own injury problems have set in, Thomas Frank’s men have been struggling for points as much as Everton in recent weeks. Indeed, they hadn’t won at home since the opening day of the season when they comfortably beat Arsenal and Ivan Toney’s last goal at the Brentford Community Stadium was six months ago.

Naturally, the Toffees obliged to help their hosts end that winless home run and Toney to score in front of his own fans, in the process extending their sequence of matches without a victory to seven. Depressingly, Brentford were poor on the day, a shadow of the side that beat the Gunners and rallied so impressively against Liverpool to draw 3-3 here two months ago, and really were there for the taking had Everton been able to get their act together in the final third.

Instead, Benitez’s men were staggeringly inept for long stretches, particularly in the second half where they controlled the match but proved incapable of breaking Brentford down until Demarai Gray stepped off the bench with 20 minutes left to add some desperately-needed creativity. Unfortunately, with his manager persisting with the much-maligned Salomon Rondon while a trio of alternative or supplementary attacking players remained idle on the bench, Gray’s efforts were in vain and the Blues’ players were left to face the ire of almost 2,000 frustrated, worried and angry supporters at the final whistle.

Doucouré may have returned from a fractured foot to line up alongside Allan in midfield but it wasn’t enough to overcome the twin absences from the starting XI of Gray and Richarlison which meant that Rondon had to lead the line alone with Alex Iwobi playing behind him. Central attacking midfield is supposed to be the Nigerian international’s preferred role, one he has only occasionally been allowed to play since arriving from Arsenal two years ago, but he failed to grasp the opportunity to impress. Rondon, himself badly in need of something to convince Evertonians he should even be in the squad let alone the line-up, was equally ineffective, although he did come closer than anyone in blue to scoring when he forced a decent save from Alvaro Fernandez in the first half.

Rondon might also have had a penalty were there any consistency in the application of the rules as they pertain to shirt-pulling in the current rules but the lack of any appeals from the Everton players perhaps spoke volumes about the collective mentality of this massively disappointing collection of players. In that sense, they got what they deserved — absolutely nothing — and it was the same when Sergi Canos probably should have picked up a second yellow card in the second half for a cynical foul on Lucas Digne. The Toffees went down with barely a whimper and the worrying thing is that it was emblematic of a general air of resignation that seems to have set in at Finch Farm; Wednesday’s Merseyside derby is terrifying for that very reason.

The contest started in fairly hectic fashion but once it had settled down, Brentford looked the more likely of the two teams to cause the opposition defence problems. Benitez’s decision not to deploy Fabian Delph in a midfield three meant that Everton were light in that area as a somewhat rusty Doucouré tried to feel his way back into action.

Frank’s players had clearly been instructed to close Benitez’s men down quickly and deny them space, particularly Anthony Gordon who was his usual purposeful self even if quality the final third remained elusive. The teenager won a corner in the 10th minute that came to nothing but it was following a set-piece at the other end that Brentford were awarded the decisive penalty.

Andros Townsend waved a high foot into the face of Frank Onyeka as they challenged for a loose ball and though referee Darren England saw nothing untoward at the time, he was eventually persuaded by Video Assistant Referee Jon Moss to review the incident on the pitch-side monitor, after which he reversed his decision and awarded a penalty which Toney confidently stroked home from the spot.

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Rondon’s chance immediately afterwards was a rare moment of promise in the final third for Everton. Digne found the striker with a low cross from the left that he controlled and tried to fire across Fernandez but the keeper diverted it wide with his leg. After that it was the home side who had the only other half chance in the first period, a half-volley from Bryan Mbeumo that was comfortably saved by Jordan Pickford.

However, Rondon had a strong case for a penalty of his own in first-half stoppage time when Charlie Goode almost pulled his jersey over his head as they challenged for a centre by Townsend but Moss did not see a “clear and obvious error” from the match-day referee on this occasion.

With Brentford offering almost nothing after the break, Everton just needed to find some rhythm and the semblance of an attacking plan to break the Bees down. Rondon had had a shot charged down in the 57th minute and Iwobi’s snapshot was saved by Fernandez three minutes later but despite seeing much more of the ball in the second half, though, Benitez’s men remained pitifully toothless overall.

It wasn’t until Gray came on for Townsend, who had his worst performance in an Everton jersey so far, that they finally looked capable of causing their hosts problems but while the substitute managed to deliver three inviting crosses from the flank he found no takers in the middle until Rondon met one of his crosses but could only steer a header well off target.

Somehow, Rondon remained on the pitch for the full 90 minutes as the only striker with Benitez opting not to make any further substitutions, leaving Cenk Tosun, Ellis Simms and Lewis Dobbin watching on from the bench. It was further evidence of the Spaniard’s lack of faith in youth when an injection of precocious exuberance and fearlessness (in the case of the latter two), even for just a few minutes at the end, might just have been enough to rescue a point.

As it was, the game fizzled out in uninspiring fashion from the Evertonian perspective and though most of the players went over to thank the visiting fans for their support, they were told in no uncertain terms how unsatisfactory the overall performance was. Gordon in particular seemed to be genuinely affected by the reaction – given his local roots and relative youth, that was understandable – and Coleman held his hands up by way of apology but none of it will mean anything until things change on the pitch.

More of these kinds of displays and this Everton team is going to get sucked into a relegation scrap for which they look singularly ill-equipped on this evidence; certainly with this personnel and lack of inspiration from the dugout. Games against Liverpool, Crystal Palace, Chelsea and Leicester loom before Christmas and it’s difficult to see where the next goal is coming from let alone the next point.

Richarlison’s return for the derby will add some steel up front and if Gray can start, he will offer more incisiveness in attack but unless the team toughens up in midfield, tightens up in defence and can add both Calvert-Lewin and Mina back into the ranks in fairly short order, on the evidence of today it promises to be a miserable month ahead with Everton sinking further down the table.

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Ajay Gopal
1 Posted 29/11/2021 at 06:25:29
Sure, it was a miserable result for us suffering fans, but there were a few positives for me.

Pickford and the back 4 were rarely worried. Yes, a couple of speculative efforts could have tested Pickford if they had been better but, other than that and the unnecessary foot that Townsend struck out at the attacker's face, there was no real threat to our goal.

Allan and Doucouré did okay to break up play and carry the ball forward, but it was in the final third that the team ran out of ideas.

For me, all our forward players – and I include Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin in this – lack composure. They snatch at half-chances instead of trying to find a better-placed teammate, whereas the free-scoring teams like Liverpool, Man City, Chelsea, etc – they all find that one player who is better placed and results in a goal more often than not.

Yes, I get that the quality of their forwards is on a different planet to ours, but keeping calm and unselfishly finding a better-placed teammate will create better chances for us.

So, where do we go from here? Yes, I have read outpourings of doom and gloom from several TWers following the result yesterday, but the players need our support.

I agree with Benitez, I did not see anyone shirking from their tasks yesterday; if anything, they are anxious and short of confidence at the moment. They have forgotten what it feels like to score a goal and get a win.

Benitez needs to do what got him success at the beginning of the season. Give Doucouré a free role further up front, and get Gray and Townsend to put in crosses to Richarlison, who is an excellent header and is available for the derby. I would also shore up the midfield by playing Delph alongside Allan. Digne and Coleman need to step up and have a huge game on Wednesday night.

Pickford
Coleman Keane Godfrey Digne
Allan Delph
Townsend Doucouré Gray
Richarlison

Oh, and I fervently hope that Brands is busy lining up his ducks for the January transfer window. We need a strong window with at least a couple of loans and a signing. A centre-forward, a creative midfielder (Van de Beek on loan?), a right-back (Patterson from Rangers?), and we should be able to see out the relegation threat.

Christopher Timmins
2 Posted 29/11/2021 at 08:19:43
Yesterday's performance shows why we are set up as a counter-attacking team; the more time we have on the ball, the more obvious it becomes that we have very few players, if any, who can unlock a team who parks the bus. Indeed, we had no such player on the pitch yesterday, with the possible exception of Gray when he was brought on.

The standard of crossing was just pathetic and then, when we did get some crosses in with the introduction of Gray, there was nobody there to take advantage.

Allan and Doucouré are our best midfield options; however, they don't possess any creative flair. We spent around £50M to bring both of them to the club but they are limited in what they can bring to the party. They can both do a job but neither is the complete package.

Gordon, played out left, given that he is more comfortable on his right, it was all too easy to push him inside into traffic where his lack of power was apparent. He should have been switched to the right where he would have had more space.

Rondon is everything that his transfer fee suggests. Iwobi... well, how in God's name did Brands survive after signing him, did he mistake his picture for that of Saha?

For Wednesday, Mina for Keane if fit, Gray for Iwobi and Charlie for Rondon.

Whatever else is being said this morning, I am pretty sure no-one out there is saying "Everton are too good to go down."

The one positive from yesterday: Danny did not have to travel too far to watch another poor performance.

The nation must cringe when we form part of the Sky double-header.

I see where Silva is not doing too badly at Fulham, there is life after Everton Football Club. This time 2 years ago, he was on the ropes.


Niall McIlhone
3 Posted 29/11/2021 at 08:23:50
Thanks for the match report, Lyndon. "That sinking feeling" pretty much sums it up, sadly. All too familiar.

I admire your positivity, Ajay, and agree with your suggested line-up; however, I feel we are on a hiding to nothing on Wednesday. The very least our fans will demand is energy and competitiveness, but I think they just have too much for us, even if we play to our maximum output.

This is not an Everton side with the guts of players like Reid, Bracewell, Horne, Sharpe etc, all of whom loved the physical side of a derby game. I've no doubt it will be a high octane game, but we have very little quality to offer right now.

Tony Abrahams
4 Posted 29/11/2021 at 08:32:09
A headline that says everything.

Things are beginning to turn, and who knows how it's going to pan out? I look back to that semi-final that we lost to Liverpool at Wembley, and think it hurt so much because we were probably a better team than them around that time, and now the distance between the two clubs is fucking massive.

Will Moshiri stay once the fans really begin to turn? Is there a contract that says Kenwright must stay on at Everton? If true, is this one of the reasons that we have begun to stop spending money?

All speculation, but I'm very worried about Everton's future right now, especially because I don't think things are going to improve anytime soon – and I don't see how it can – when we have so many incompetent people in very high places inside “our club”.

Jimmy Hogan
5 Posted 29/11/2021 at 08:43:24
There is nothing worse than being beaten by a team worse than us. We are sleepwalking into a relegation battle.
Brian Murray
6 Posted 29/11/2021 at 08:56:04
The only good that will come with this humiliation, probably on Wednesday and the dog fight, is the chairman's position will be so untenable he can't hide behind our idiot owner any more.

I'm convinced as soon as he is gone it will be a domino effect and one by one we will replace his mates with professional people including the coaching staff.

As for the manager, he deserves all he will get for persistent use of his favourites because he's terrified of youth. What's really shocked me is how naive or stubborn he is. We can't keep relying on there being three worse teams.

Rick Tarleton
7 Posted 29/11/2021 at 08:57:25
At least we had some possession today against a very poor team. The problem is that we don't actually know what to do when we have the ball.

Our midfield is totally uncreative. Allan works his socks off and often makes great interceptions; however, he then has in his armoury only the square 10-yard pass. As Christopher Timmins points out, Gordon is not and never will be a left-sided player, he has no left foot and hasn't the pace to go round his full-back.

Doucoure has energy and brings it to the midfield, but rarely has the composure to pick out a man with an incisive pass.

Rondon ranks with Harland, Shackleton, Angell and Bernie Wright as one of the worst strikers Goodison has seen, but he gets scraps. It's not that he is missing sitters, but that his fare is meagre and he lacks the ability to create anything for himself.

Benitez seems averse to giving the youngsters a chance. Tosun must be appalling in training because, no matter what, Rondon gets the nod. Until Calvert-Lewin returns and we manage to sign a midfielder (Lingard?), we will continue to struggle against even the more mediocre teams.

Danny O’Neill
8 Posted 29/11/2021 at 09:03:43
Thanks Christopher. It still felt like a long journey home after that!!

It's all been said. Brentford were there for the taking and, penalty aside, posed little or no threat. But we hardly did either. I really don't know why the manager didn't change it, but most of us don't.

Yes, Gray gave us more spark and created a few chances. Good passes. Good crosses. But no-one there to convert and at least one would have been a tap-in that even I would have converted.

It was mentioned above, but I'd rather play wide players on their natural side. I'm not a big fan of the cutting in. I appreciate the reasoning in that it gives a more likely option of getting a shot on goal (Townsend), but I'm not sure Gordon has that. Not from what I've seen so far. I'd like to see him on the right.

I don't care who we are playing next and thereafter. These players need to respond and pick themselves out of the slump. And the manager needs to help too. One change when it was clear something else was needed in the attacking 3rd. Not good enough, Everton. Not good enough, Mr Benitez.

I've just commented on Michael's thread about the players' and fans' reaction at the end. Thinking back, one thing that also struck me was a lack of togetherness. They came over, but hardly as a united group. Definitely some social distancing going on amongst them. Worrying sign. This headline is apt, but so is an earlier one last week: this could get worse before it gets better.

Brian Murray
9 Posted 29/11/2021 at 09:11:52
Rick @7.

Unless I'm missing something in our ex-strikers list. Shackleton (the Clown Prince) played for Newcastle and Sunderland. As for Harland, I'm scratching my head also over that one.

Anyway, we have all seen enough of Tosun and he's not much better than Rondon and that's saying something. Youth is a taboo work for this catering Kopite. Until he has no choice... when it may be too late for him.

Ken Kneale
10 Posted 29/11/2021 at 09:14:40
Tony,

I share all of those thoughts; we could and should have been the winners in that game but, as ever in that era, the manager bottled it – he was a very lucky man in my view to get so long in the hot seat without any pressure from higher up to do better.

We are in a desperate place right now, with a team that looks disjointed, no real leaders on or off the pitch, and very ill-equipped for a relegation dogfight in terms of character.

Factor in that none of us really know the elements in play within the hierarchy or at Finch Farm and you have virtually every element of the club operating in a dysfunctional manner, as Paul the Esk has identified time and time again.

I really do wonder on days like today how much people within the club really do care, when you look at the anguish and outpourings on this site. I spoke to my son last night who made the trip to Brentford and got an update from him and it all paints a picture of fans utterly bewildered that the club has arrived at the present position when much of it was obvious to us but seemingly not to those charged with handling affairs.

I don't know how this will pan out over the season but my alarm bells a truly doing overtime at the minute.

Rick Tarleton
11 Posted 29/11/2021 at 09:21:22
Alan Shackleton, ex-Burnley, not Len. He played for us in the late fifties.It was Harburn, not Harland, I apologise; he only played a couple of games, again before the birth of our Lord.
Brian Murray
12 Posted 29/11/2021 at 09:23:41
Rick. Right on, kidda. I didn't know that.
Jack Convery
13 Posted 29/11/2021 at 09:24:57
We've had the Good, then the bad and now get ready for very, very ugly. We are on the road to nowhere and the fans are finally waking up to the fact that we are totally and utterly mismanaged from top to bottom. Our tenure in the top division is now under serious threat.

A raucous Goodison on Wednesday night – fans on both sides tanked up – a rampant RS team ready to give us a real good hiding – and Evertonians on the point of exploding at the ineptitude of anything blue... Wear a tin hat if you are going!

If I were Brands, Kenwright or Moshiri, I would hire bodyguards in case the RS play as they can do.

Len Hawkins
14 Posted 29/11/2021 at 09:28:47
I remember when players used to say "When Everton come in for you, then you would walk over broken glass to play for them." Now, it would be a laugh around the dressing room if a player said "Everton want to sign me."

Alas, no more players like Alan Ball, Howard Kendall, Bob Latchford, Gary Lineker, Romelu Lukaku... today's players of that ilk would be insulted to hear Everton want them.

What interest is there, season after season, when everyone and his dog knows full well that one of six teams will win the League Title? Of course there is the odd blip: Blackburn Rovers, Leicester City.

The future for Everton unfortunately can only be mediocre at best. The chance of breaking into the Top 6 are akin to Albania outdoing USA or Russia in the Space Race.

I posted either last year or the year before asking: Would it do Everton good to be brought to their senses by being relegated? After all, the top of the tree have all been relegated since Everton last were, with the exception of Arsenal if you include them.

I know the Wimbledon game was make-or-break but I wouldn't back this team to win a game of that stature now... In fact, the last few seasons have in a lot of ways resigned the Evertonians that, the more overpriced crap Brands overloads the team with, the trap door will have a hell of a job to stay closed.

A very worrying time; even the Russian and Chinese threats of war are insignificant to the plight Everton are in.

Mark Dunford
15 Posted 29/11/2021 at 09:37:57
Taking positives from a woeful defeat like yesterday's is virtually impossible. The defence were rarely troubled by the dire opposition yet we contrived to lose. There was no real threat going forward until Gray appeared and that just highlighted the absence of a free moving forward.

It was regrettably more or less the first choice midfield that failed to impose itself on the game with real authority. Pickford escapes criticism by dint of the dreadful opposition leaving him with nothing substantial to do so he did everything asked of him as well as could be expected.

Living in London means I have tickets for Palace and Chelsea. No doubt the former will fancy their chances and the latter will field an under-strength team as they stroll to 3 points. We're all just assuming this run will extend till at least Xmas. After all, we've now lost to Watford, Wolves, Brentford... It is the New Year that matters.

For me, Benitez is yesterday's man at best. His background will always count against him for too many Evertonians and his success across the park, and in Spain, was some time ago. Wrong choice from a poor field. In the absence of an alternative, there is no compelling reason to dismiss him, but that doesn't mean there is a case to keep him in post when the transfer window looms.

Allan Board
16 Posted 29/11/2021 at 09:49:44
Rondon,10 games and zero goals. Would it not have been worth trying Simms for 25 minutes? You are losing the game, Benitez!!

Not interested in all this 'trying to make a point to the owners' and 'he's showing how shit our squad is to the owners'. The fans come first, and you should concentrate on pleasing them, fuck Brands and the directors, the CEO et al.

Don't let the incompetents cloud your judgement and make it personal. That's what they want: division, so they can heap this shit onto you when they sack you. They have done it to every manager since Kenwright took over.

Us as fans now have to turn our attentions to him and the board and make it so unbearable that they quit in their droves. Starting Wednesday, a full-on assault of barracking aimed at the posh seats in the Main Stand.

Forget the game, that's lost anyway and won't affect where Everton finish, but getting rid of the majority in the posh seats and instating a real, savvy, current thinking selection of a modern board will give Everton a chance to be run professionally and ruthlessly.

One last thing: How can our CEO clearly have such zero interest and knowledge of football, yet never be bought to book for presiding over such a shit show on the pitch?

She's the CEO and is completely culpable when it goes wrong – that's the job remit of a CEO: receive the plaudits when it's good and get pelters when it's bad.

But of course, how silly of me, this is Kenwright FC.

Rick Tarleton
17 Posted 29/11/2021 at 10:15:02
Lewandowski and Messi wouldn't get 10 goals a season between them with the service our midfield gives them. Blame Rondon and Iwobi, who are atrocious, but our midfield is set up to support our defence and it doesn't do that badly, witness Doucouré's magnificent last-ditch tackle. However, in attacking terms, it is non-existent, square passes and even a series of passes back to Pickford are its modus operandi.

Forwards need service, our forwards only get service from the full-backs or Gray, even Townsend looks lost at the moment. So though, without Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison, we have an inadequate pair of strikers, I suggest that even the best of strikers need some creativity in the midfielders that supply them.

Everton's midfield is set up to defend, not to support the attack. Benitez, when at Anfield, loved Hammann who epitomises the destructive midfielder. Creative players are luxury players in the Benitez mindset.

Blame Rondon and Iwobi as most do on here, but Royle, Latchford, Sharp, Gray, Lineker, Ferguson et alia would have had problems getting 10 goals a season with this lot in midfield.

Kevin Prytherch
18 Posted 29/11/2021 at 10:22:48
Ajay @1, Do you not remember when Tom Davies showed composure in finding a better-positioned teammate? He got slated on here for it!!!!

I was reading a preview from Baz Rathbone's new book that rings very true. He said that, when Moshiri came, we stopped doing what we had been doing so well and instead threw ridiculous money at players who were no better than the ones we were replacing. This is merely the culmination of it.

Digne isn't fit to lace Baines's boots, Coleman's still here, Keane and Godfrey aren't a patch on Jagielka and Distin.

Either Barry and McCarthy or any of Neville, Arteta, Fellaini, Osman or Carsley dovetail better than Allan and Doucouré.

Pienaar was head and shoulders above any wide midfielders, with the possible exception of Richarlison, that we've had since.

The only improvement has been Calvert-Lewin, who would have shone in Moyes teams (although whether he's better than Lukaku is debatable), and possibly Pickford compared to Howard.

We've had terrible recruitment for a long time, yet Brands seems to get off Scot-free from many people.

Now we have players who are simply not good enough, a squad that is embarrassingly thin, an astronomical wage bill that is completely unjustified, and a stubborn, ex-red manager who continues to look like a dinosaur.

We've got rid of the one player who can break teams like Brentford down, signed a striker with zero anticipation, are starting to lose promising youngsters who might put a bit of effort in, and seem to have little in the way of a game plan beyond “Let's play 4-2-3-1 and hope for a result”.

Onwards and upwards!!!!

Jerome Shields
19 Posted 29/11/2021 at 10:24:48
Either Rafa will be supported or he will be gone. Then the worms will come out of the woodwork in backroom Everton to rally to avoid relegation. Mission accomplished till the next Manager decides he wants to progress.

Getting rid of the Board and internal management is a small town outside wishful thinking. Look at the reaction to Rafa getting rid of Head of Medical Services.

It is not beyond the realms of possibility that the former head of Medical Services will return after Benitez is gone.

Everton will not be relegated. Everton do have capability, it is just currently in the wrong hands.

David Greenwood
20 Posted 29/11/2021 at 10:28:52
We are in a world of pain right now. God knows when it stops but it's going to get a lot worse before it gets better.

First up, every travelling fan deserves a medal (cost of tickets refunded perhaps?) from those spineless cowards masquerading as Everton players.

There are a small number of players who clearly care about the club, the rest are basically wage thieves. Thousands of pounds a week to live our dream and they just don't give a fuck.

Our board and governance is an utter disaster, as continually highlighted by Paul the Esk.

Our Director of Football... Fuck's sake! If there was any shred of accountability, personal pride, responsibility, he would have resigned for the signing of Iwobi.

Our manager. Again, fuck's sake. We're 1-0 down and no forward substitutions. Rondon plays the whole game and we have three forwards on the bench. Any goodwill, such as it was, for our manager is quickly disappearing. Substitutions and tactics, or the lack of them, will be what does for Rafa, not his RS background.

Bit of a rant, apologies, just needed to get that out my system.

Fingers crossed for Wednesday, hoping for the best, fearing the worst.

Robert Tressell
21 Posted 29/11/2021 at 10:38:50
The limitations of this badly assembled squad have broken Silva (inexperienced but not without ability), Ancelotti (highly experienced) and are threatening to break Benitez (also very experienced).

Since finishing 10th, we've lost Rodriguez (15 goal contributions) and Sigurdsson (18 goal contributions) and spent £1.7M.

Losing Mina, Doucouré, Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin all at once obviously hurts. We'll be better once they are back.But we need to pick up a couple of players in January, that is obvious.

I think it's clear there'll be no spending spree but there is probably enough slack for the likes of Maitland-Niles and one or two others (perhaps on loan or nominal fee as they approach the end of a contract).

Danny O’Neill
22 Posted 29/11/2021 at 10:42:09
Kevin, I'd counter you on Godfrey and give him time. I've said many times, let's not berate him like the Park End did with John Stones. He is very young for a centre-back (23). Comparing to Jagielka and Distin is, well, not comparable. When they paired, they were in their prime as centre-backs and very experienced; centre-backs mature later.

Ben needs a wise experienced head next to him. Sadly, Michael Keane, who's approaching 29, should be that player, but he isn't. I don't want to bash Michael Keane as I'll get told off again. It's why I for a long time now have prioritised a true footballing centre-back who is a leader. Not a fairly decent defender who is as vocal as a mouse.

Rick; I'd also disagree with you on the midfield. Those two can leave gaps, which can either be solved with a deeper-sitting 3rd midfielder or a higher-sitting defence that drives the team up the pitch.

But in my opinion, the problem (evident yesterday) is the forward options. Allan in particular has shown this season and last season that he looks for the forward pass. Both goals at Brighton for example. I can quote others.

I watched closely yesterday and you could see the frustration. They looked up. Nothing. So, in the interests of keeping possession, they are forced into the 10-yard sideways or backwards pass. If there are no runners ahead of you, what do you do? Punt it aimlessly back to the opposition for the sake of being seen to go forward? Very Graham Taylor.

It's not through intent. It's through lack of options. And Allan in particular got very frustrated with what was available in front of him yesterday. Different slant and case for the defence of the midfield!! It was our attacking 3rd that had literally nothing. But we had 3 attacking options on the bench to change that.

Rob Halligan
23 Posted 29/11/2021 at 10:47:17
David # 20.

I don't know if you saw last night, but my dog and bone is cream crackered and looks like I will need to get a new one, so haven't been able to get involved in our WhatsApp chat group. Give my regards to everyone on there and hopefully I can get involved again when I get a new dog!

David Greenwood
24 Posted 29/11/2021 at 10:55:20
Cheers Rob, will do.

Prediction for Wednesday?

Danny O’Neill
25 Posted 29/11/2021 at 10:56:07
Everyone's got a pass today, David Greenwood!

Rob, I recommend a Ridgeback. My boy was very sympathetic this morning. I would say bordering on worried and concerned for me! He even didn't chase a squirrel to stay close.

That said, if your new dog is your phone, I hope you're back up and running soon. And hopefully meet up again soon.

Clive Rogers
26 Posted 29/11/2021 at 11:00:55
Kenwright is there for life. According to reports, Keith Harris the financier confirmed it was in writing when he sold up.
Rob Halligan
27 Posted 29/11/2021 at 11:12:19
Dave, I'm going to go with my usual silly prediction, but don't tell anyone. Got to keep the faith! I will let you make a prediction for me. 😀😀.

Definitely my phone, Danny.

Finn Taylor
28 Posted 29/11/2021 at 11:14:15
My first post. Lifelong Blue of 50 years.

My fingers are burning with frustration. I've never felt so low as a fan, especially surrounded by a family of Reds who just don't get it.

Everton's motto should have been changed to 'The Going Nowhere Club' years ago.

Would us fans accept that, inside the club, board and staff are happy to tread water just staying at the Premier League party? That there is no real desire to improve and progress? That there is an almost contempt towards the fan base?

Are our finances that stretched, we just can't afford to be in this league anymore? We are holding on, clinging desperately and I feel that relegation is a serious threat this season. A mate of mine has already accepted it.

We can't do the basics. Pass to each other. Shoot. Defend. We get scrappy goals. Players with egos that think they are better than they are and can't wait to get off the pitch to play Call of Duty with their pals.

I am going on Wednesday. I am a season ticket holder. It'll be embarrassing. 6, 7, 8... I will sit there in the stand, knowing I am, we are, as fans, powerless to do anything. The only thing uniting us now is the misery. But that's what it is and I wouldn't change it.

Can anyone tell me more about Baz Rathbone's book which Kevin Prytherch mentioned @18? Thanks.

Tony Abrahams
29 Posted 29/11/2021 at 11:34:56
That's a very good post Robert, although I think it was Brands who destroyed Silva's chances, and possibly because of his inexperience towards the Premier League?

Interesting point on Allan, Danny, and this is the reason why most grounds are full, because being inside the stadium definitely gives out the biggest picture, even if it was clear on TV that the only really determined runner in Everton's team yesterday was the man playing alongside Allan and who was also returning from injury but still put the rest to shame in this department. (Maybe I'm being harsh on Townsend?)

Clive @26, people say he has no influence, but how can this be the case when Finch Farm is full of ex-players? Maybe having separate training facilities, rather than everyone being under the one roof, might be the best way to take away such influences that must naturally exist?


Danny O’Neill
30 Posted 29/11/2021 at 11:43:11
@ Rob: 0796 600 7546
John Hood
31 Posted 29/11/2021 at 11:49:18
Brentford fan here, I've been supporting since 1961. I also saw my first Everton match in 1962-63 at Fulham, 3-2 to Blues, if my memory has not totally gone.

Might I add a different perspective to this always interesting forum? It wasn't a great game by any means, and in terms of football quality, it was Brentford's worst performance of the season by a street. However, I think Thomas Frank deliberately went for a more physical approach. Against Liverpool, Chelsea, Brighton and Leicester, The Bees played a very open attacking game, won lots of praise from the media, but only gained 1 point. Against Everton, it was much more pragmatic and I think Frank had Everton worked out. Backs to the wall at times but defended stoutly and got the result. Not pretty but it will do in the short term.

As for Everton, I think many years of terrible mismanagement are now beginning to hurt them. What has gone wrong has been discussed many times on this forum and I can add little new. However, I thought the players yesterday were trying but the team did not really have enough quality.

What would be the point of sacking the manager... who would be an improvement? Short-termism has bedevilled Everton for too long. Any manager at Everton needs 2 or 3 years to sort it out.

Anyway, good luck for the rest of the season. I am sure that, once the main players are back, you will soon start climbing the table.

Joe McMahon
32 Posted 29/11/2021 at 12:00:11
Tony @4 that match v Liverpool is sadly etched in my memory, and amongst many performances/results (eg Everton 0 Wigan 3) is the reason I would never want Moyes back.

Like you say the gap with Liverpool now on and off the pitch is the biggest it's been in my lifetime. We will never compete with them again, we will never win the league again. Kenwrights reign has been shocking even looking at him makes me want explode, and yet others still clap him. I'm taking more of an interest in lower league football now, as Everton are a nothing in the world of what is now a grotesque global game.

Apologies to be so negative, but Everton under Bill's reign are Nott County when Forrest were winning back to back European Cups.

Kevin Prytherch
33 Posted 29/11/2021 at 12:07:20
Fin 28,

It's called "The Smell of Football 2".

I read about it on the Echo site. There's an interesting bit about Ferguson at the bottom as well:

Everton man sacked by David Moyes, blanked Marouane Fellaini and sent Duncan Ferguson warning before being re-hired under Farhad Moshiri

Tony Everan
34 Posted 29/11/2021 at 12:17:34
Thanks Lyndon,

Sinking but not yet sunk, it's been a titanic struggle with injuries and inadequate quality of back-up to our first eleven. Benitez hasn't helped himself with the substitute decisions like yesterday's and selection of players who are maybe trying but have no heart and some sadly just not good enough.

It's coming into focus more and more how the historic, shambolic transfer strategy is killing us. Ever since Lukaku was sold we have been relying on Calvert-Lewin to score the goals from boyhood to present. When he is out, the team is inert and toothless.

Richarlison is a player I love because, as well as his offensive quality, he brings strength and tenacity to the midfield. A brilliant player to have attacking from wide positions. He is wasted when used centrally; when he is, we suffer as we really miss him on the left.

We made a scrambled attempt at rectifying the goalscorer situation, buying Tosun for £27M. He's still at the club 3 years later, having contributed nothing. I'm not blaming Cenk here – he's tried, it's our shocking decision-makers. It has damaged the club.

A massive priority is investing in a player who can score goals in the Premier League. Someone who as well as back-up can share duties with Calvert-Lewin, when fit, and also challenge for supremacy. It's never easy finding such a player but, if our team hasn't got a goalscorer, it doesn't matter how many crosses Gray or Richarlison fire in to the middle, no-one will be there to ram them home.

Yes, there are other positions to be filled but, without the team having a goalscorer to provide for, we are going to struggle. We can't put all our eggs in the Calvert-Lewin basket, he could easily break down or get a reoccurrence or different injury.

This is no time to gamble for that position; Rondon and Tosun have to go and we need better. Much better. What's the club motto? For a goalscorer, at least, we can't ignore it and continue as we are.

In a nutshell, I think a team can get away with good journeyman back-up in some positions. But when it comes to the live or die business of scoring goals, substandard, slow, journeymen attackers do not cut the mustard.

I am furious with the club's ineptitude. I can fully understand the pent-up anger being vented by our incredible away support. For me, the frustration goes far deeper than the manager – without any doubt, the whole club needs to take responsibility.

For one, how Kenwright is still at the club is beyond all comprehension. And the DoF has to start producing the goods. Marcel Brands, wake up and smell the coffee before it's too late.

Dave Abrahams
35 Posted 29/11/2021 at 12:23:09
John (31),

1962-63 was Everton's Championship-winning season and they got beat by Fulham, 1-0 at Fulham, they clinched the title by beating Fulham 4-1 on the last day of that season.

They did beat Fulham 3-2 but it was earlier than the season you mention because I think it might have been Billy Bingham's debut game for the Blues and, although he was still at Everton in 1963, he had lost his place to Alex Scott.

Tony Abrahams
36 Posted 29/11/2021 at 12:27:39
Notts County are not even in the Football League anymore, Joe, and I'm sure your feelings about watching lower league football is being replicated by a few on this website.

I think there was a very sensible point in that post by John H, the Brentford fan, but when anger rises to the surface, people usually want change, especially when the appointment of Benitez was so divisive to begin with.

I want change myself, but in a different place, and personally think that, with regards to that massive Evertonian, Marcel Brands, Tony, the coffee would smell much nicer if he went back home to Holland.

Barry Hesketh
37 Posted 29/11/2021 at 12:28:24
John @31,

Thanks for taking the time to write on this site, ordinarily I would be offering my unconditional best wishes to your team in the future, but as your team is likely to be in direct conflict with Everton in the coming months, I have to caveat that sentiment with 'I hope that Everton does better'.

If the three teams exiting the Premier League at the end of this season don't include either Brentford or Everton, we will all be happy.

Steve Carse
38 Posted 29/11/2021 at 12:28:58
John (31) your team's tactics were evident from the first to the last minute of the game.

The reserved, pragmatic approach may have taken our manager by surprise but for him to offer nothing by the way of alteration to his own tactics and personnel during the game was a reflection of a manager who still equates football management to playing chess. Changing tactics and taking a few risks are simply not in his toolkit.

You ask what would be the point of our changing manager. I think you'd find positive answers should you pose that same question to Villa and Norwich fans.

Finn Taylor
39 Posted 29/11/2021 at 12:29:05
Kevin, thank you so much for that. The first book was fantastic, so will get that in a heartbeat.
Pete Clarke
40 Posted 29/11/2021 at 12:41:49
Billy Bullshit probably told Moshiri he only had so long left and would like to remain for life as part of the deal when he sold up. He’s fkin horrible but then again no new incoming owner who were business wise and savvy would have let a serial loser stay on.
Back on the field of play I cannot believe how gutless Iwobi was. He had that free role and saw plenty of the ball but never looked to take anyone on. He’s one of the worst players ever to don our shirt or should I say quickly growing list of worst players ever !
I thought Rondon had a good game by his own piss poor standard but it’s not really his fault that he’s on the park by the time Gray was putting beautiful crosses in. He must be paying Benitez to play him.
Anthony Gordon tried his very best but is very lightweight. He won’t get much more ball time in any other game than he did yesterday and it’s going to be brutal for that lad in the upcoming games. Ain’t gonna give him any stick.
I think Townsend is starting to show what’s wrong with the club and that’s total apathy. He’s a player who has got the ability and fight but the atmosphere at the club may be getting to him. The rest of the players were just plain average too and it’s hard to believe that your watching top level football. These players are millionaires by virtue of being pampered through football academies and looked after by football clubs awash with ridiculous amounts of money from TV rights and other endorsement coming into the sport. What a shit show we are !
Brentford we’re there for the taking and sat very deep in the second half. We needed to be brave but our lack of quality and guts came to the fore as the game ticked towards the end.
The manager we have was wrong in so many ways and I think only a good result on Wednesday can save him but I won’t hold my breath on that one given the differences between every aspect of the two clubs right now. One will be favorites for the title and the other will be one of the favorites to go down.
This scenario was always in my thoughts when Benitez was appointed.
We have to make this moment count and really get the message across to Moshiri that we won’t tolerate the way in which the club is being run.
It is definitely going to get worse before it gets better.
Danny O’Neill
41 Posted 29/11/2021 at 12:48:42
Finn, welcome to the madness that gives us sanity through our venting!

John (Brentford), genuine thanks for your post and welcome to the Evertonian fold. Having based the family in Uxbridge since 2004 and coached the youth set up at Hayes (latterly Hayes & Yeading), I watched Brentford grow from grass roots up. Genuinely pleased to see how they have progressed and made it to the top flight of English football with an impressive (albeit oddly shaped) new stadium!! On a serious note, they had a long term business plan and implemented it. Take note Everton.

@ Joe McMahon. The semi final throwing of the towel against you now who. Wigan, Tranmere & Oldham. And never forgetting the Ian Rush Goodison Derby that still gives me flashbacks.

I could say they don't deserve me. But I would never ever change it for the world.

Finn Taylor
42 Posted 29/11/2021 at 13:37:05
Thanks Danny... I guess I have a feeling of déjà vu at the moment and so had to start posting.

I started thinking back to the summer of 2001, when we then sold our key assets – Ball and Jeffers. We were pretty awful to watch, mid-table dross but I always believed we could get back up there – with the right manager.

Here we are, 20 years later -– minus the illusions that the structure of the club is sound. Because of the way the football landscape changed though in the following years, getting back up there became impossible.

I still think Moyes is the best manager we have had since Kendall (a discussion for another time perhaps). Although there are certain defeats under Moyes that baffled me, he did give the fans something we don't have in our team now: pride.

Barry Jones
43 Posted 29/11/2021 at 14:05:45
It's difficult to see how this can be turned around as the squad is totally bereft of quality, courtesy of Brands. I hope that we can spend in January, it's our only hope.

One quality player missing (and much maligned) is Andre Gomes. I would like to see Rafa use Allan and Delph holding and push Gomes (when fit) and Doucouré further forward to give us quality and energy where it is really needed. What has happened to Digne? He is dreadful at the moment.

On another point, why do we have such a crap academy? Liverpool, Chelsea and Man City are producing high quality players through their academies. In contrast, Everton's academy appears to be a feeder system for clubs like Oldham and Rochdale.

Mike Owen
44 Posted 29/11/2021 at 14:25:48
I remain a supporter of Rafa. But I do think he could do himself a favour.

I don't want a manager who makes decisions based on what he thinks will keep the crowd happy. But I do believe there are times that a manager has got to try and keep supporters "onside".

I'd have liked to have seen Simms and Dobbin come on as subs anytime between 60 and 75 minutes. Not only would they have injected some zest, pace and freshness, but they would also have got the supporters behind the team even more.

If, afterwards, it was thought this hadn't worked, then at least the manager would not be getting so much stick. And the players probably wouldn't have got so much stick at the final whistle if the fans had seen young lads giving it their best.

I can only think that Rafa thought Rondon was getting his eye in, as I thought he had more attempts at goal than in any game for us yet. I live in hope he'll hit the net on Wednesday night.

How I'd love to see an Everton goal. It's been a whole month!

Rennie Smith
45 Posted 29/11/2021 at 14:42:18
Barry@43, their academies produce more because just like the senior squads, they attract the best players, even at a young age. That's not the only reason, there is clearly a problem in the whole setup, but you can't make a simple comparison like that.

Mike@44, I'd genuinely love to know what keeps you a supporter of Benitez?

Joe McMahon
46 Posted 29/11/2021 at 14:53:13
Barry adding to Rennie's point, the clubs you mention are also well run professional achieving outfits, with clear strategies. Could you see any of them employing Unsworth season after season without any goals or outcomes to achieve?
Jay Harris
47 Posted 29/11/2021 at 14:54:57
I've said for years that our biggest weakness was that we don't have goalscorers in the team.

Never was that more evident than yesterday.

The other shower have goals thoughout the side, as do Man Utd, which is why they get results even when playing badly.

With FFP, we are basically fucked even if we bring a couple of loans in in January.

Benitez is not responsible for this dreadful recruiting and has also been hit with a high degree of bad luck with injuries, suspensions and court cases compounding a poor squad to begin with and who would have anticipated Ben Godfrey's form falling off so badly?

Having said that, good managers find ways to win and he has made some poor decisions in the constant selection and support of Rondon and Iwobi in particular.

I am dreading the derby but blind optimism prevails in that desperate times call for desperate measures and let’s hope we can get a couple of theirs sent off.

Karen Mason
48 Posted 29/11/2021 at 15:28:24
There are many clubs in the Premier League with a group of average players, no better and no worse than ours. Perhaps the fact that they have managers who are either astute tactically, or inspire or demand absolute maximum effort and high energy levels at all times, is the difference.

Let's face it, Benitez is none of the above. When Benitez was employed, it was my prediction that we would be in the relegation zone by Christmas. I am normally, what many on here would describe as one of the 'happy clappy' brigade. Alas not this time.

For the first time in my life long support of my club, I walked out before a game had finished and have absolutely no hope left. While the players are in no way blameless, when you see players deteriorating in front of your eyes, it has taken away the perpetual optimism, which has kept me sane as Blues fan.

Many comments on here are valid, but if Benitez stays, we will be a Championship club next season. He possesses none of the attributes to improve this squad.

Brian Harrison
49 Posted 29/11/2021 at 15:46:29
Well, usually when a team has just lost, the players want the next game to be as quickly as possible, but I hardly think any of them are relishing playing our neighbours on Wednesday. They play with pace and power, both of which will be very hard for our team to stem.

Digne seems to have lost a yard of pace in the last couple of seasons and I fear if ever he is left on the edge of the box in a one-on-one against Salah. Same on the other flank, Coleman against Mane; age catches up with everybody and Seamus just doesn't have the pace he once had.

They play a very narrow front 3, which allows them to give Arnold or Robertson acres of space wide to play balls into the box.

I think Benitez should have 3 midfield players in Delph with Doucouré and Allan either side of him, to compete with their 3 in midfield. This would also allow Doucouré to get forward in support of the forwards without leaving us short if the move breaks down.

Obviously we will have Richarlison back from suspension and hopefully Gray can play from the start. Whoever Benitez picks to make up the front 3 alongside Gray and Richarlison, I hope he plays a narrow 3 like Liverpool and that way we will hopefully be able to see some link up with our forwards. I am not sure if Benitez will play Richarlison up top but, if he does, he has to get players close to him to help him create something.

For us to get anything from this game, we will need every player to play at the top of their game; even if they do, that might still not be enough. But if we sit back and get beat heavily, then I wouldn't want to be in the dugout or in the Directors Box with 10 minutes to go.

Danny Broderick
50 Posted 29/11/2021 at 15:57:01
It doesn't matter who the manager is. Benitez, Ancelotti, Koeman, Silva, Martinez etc were all reasonably qualified for the role. The common factor is players who are shite and don't give a damn.

Until the club structure changes and the recruitment improves, we'll always be fighting fires. There'll always be some calling for the manager's head, Kenwright out, Brands out etc.

We need a clear out from the top down, and then we need to back a manager for at least 3 years to build a team and squad who will be proud to wear the shirt.

Paul Hewitt
51 Posted 29/11/2021 at 16:27:00
Danny @50. Back a manager. On here. Good luck with that.
Danny O’Neill
52 Posted 29/11/2021 at 16:35:25
Danny Broderick @50.

My sound bite from last year to the anti-Ancelotti gang. We need better players.

The manager is almost irrelevant. We need better players.

Len Hawkins
53 Posted 29/11/2021 at 16:42:08
Just read on MSN if Benitez loses the derby he is toast, not much pressure there then.
Dave Lynch
54 Posted 29/11/2021 at 16:42:39
You're wasting your time Danny.

I've asked the hyenas several times on other threads who would take over, no one has come up with a viable alternative... yet.

Robert Tressell
55 Posted 29/11/2021 at 16:47:16
Danny @52,

I made the point after Ancelotti left that the issue is not who manages us but how we build a better squad.

If we just want someone to manage a crap squad, then Dyche is the man. Or, let's be honest, Allardyce.

January should bring some reinforcements on the cheap.

Summer could represent an overhaul with ending contracts and likely sales – Kean, Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin and Mina.

But the next step will be Dyche or Allardyce if we get either of the next two windows wrong...

David Pearl
56 Posted 29/11/2021 at 16:54:48
Dave,

Slaven Bilic for me.

However we have to stick with it. It would cost us too much to sack him and we need that money for players. It's also simply not fair to sack him, the team has had too many injuries to key players.

The fans are out to hound him out as they have done many times before. Recruitment has to improve. Brands not done enough, or the guy before him. It all started going wrong from Koeman and Walsh but it's continued downhill since.

I never liked or wanted Benitez but here we are. We all knew it would be a tricky season.

Barry Hesketh
57 Posted 29/11/2021 at 17:00:26
I wonder how many hyenas will be in attendance on Wednesday night? Did you know that hyenas are amazing and not the dull idiotic species that they are made out to be?

1. They are remarkably long-living.
2. They have a history of conquering.
3. They're tremendously socially complex.
4. They are vocal.
5. They are amazingly intelligent.
6. They can count.

Brian Murray
58 Posted 29/11/2021 at 17:07:17
Barry. Hope it's a case of Who's Laughing Now?
Jack Convery
59 Posted 29/11/2021 at 17:07:30
"You cannot complain" says Rafa Benitez. Well, as it's panto season – "Oh Yes We Can!!"

Not for the first time in the past 20 years, I'm dreading Wednesday. The trouble is, if we somehow perform a miracle greater than the raising of Lazarus and get a result, it will act as a 'Get Out of Goal Free' card and the drift of crappiness will continue.

I can't even say I'm fed up to the back teeth of the people running our club as my back teeth are long gone...

Christine Foster
60 Posted 29/11/2021 at 17:10:15
Where to start? Well summed up, Lyndon, a truly depressing, if not accurate read.

As several posters point out, no matter who is in charge, the results are the same, but playing staff has been slashed under Benitez to cut the wage bill, leaving the club with a team of 13 or so. Lose one or two and you can plug a gap; lose 5 or 6 and you're done for.

The gamble of slashing the squad whilst having a lack of quality was an absurd one. The total and abject lack of creativity of this team is appalling – and whilst we remember the stupidity of having bought five No 10s – we now are without a single one!

Remember everyone lambasting the likes of James? Or before him, Barkley, Rooney, the unmentionable one, take your pick... Whilst they all had limitations, is anyone really trying to say that, Gordon, Townsend, Rondon, Iwobi, are better? No matter who plays up front, you need someone to control a game, to open a side up and create chances and assists.

To play on the break can be effective when you sit back but, against teams who play deep, it never works and you need that skill in midfield.

Benitez has a limited set of options but his negative playing style can only work if the defence is good enough; it never has been for a number of seasons. The playing squad is not good enough nor deep enough to play the style the manager wants. He has been buying time but has to change his ideas.

As for Wednesday night, will he set up like he did against Man City? The RS could play their academy kids again and still take us to the cleaners! The team has to press higher, in their faces and not give an inch. Otherwise...

Frank Kearns
61 Posted 29/11/2021 at 17:35:57
We have a bunch of charlatans, from the boardroom, via Finch Farm, to the players.

If we don't win, none of you get paid, and, depending on the goal difference, the bigger the fine.

I suspect we may improve dramatically. If they don't like it, sack them and play the ballboys.

Dave Lynch
62 Posted 29/11/2021 at 17:47:17
Barry @57.

You are correct in your assessment of hyenas. They are also very adept at wearing down their prey with a pack mentality and ripping it apart limb from limb whilst still alive.

Mal van Schaick
63 Posted 29/11/2021 at 18:54:36
Danny #50. Absolutely spot on.

Previous managers who have bought poor-quality players have ruined any chance of Everton rising like a phoenix from the ashes and winning trophies and challenging for Europe.

Shame on recent past managers.

Bill Gienapp
64 Posted 29/11/2021 at 18:58:50
For me, it's simple. Benitez can hardly be blamed for the rash of injuries, or the glaring lack of depth in the squad. That being said, he's offered so little in terms of innovation, motivation or tactical inspiration during this recent slide... I mean, if you're just going to leave Rondon and Iwobi on to sleepwalk through 90 minutes, what's even the point?

I think talk of sacking him is silly and premature – the number of injuries we've suffered has almost been comical, and we can't ride the managerial merry-go-round forever... but the dude needs to seriously up his game here.

Tony Abrahams
65 Posted 29/11/2021 at 19:28:38
I love watching nature programs when they follow a pack of hyenas because they really are fascinating to watch. Barry and Dave both give great descriptions, but it's different when the male lion gets angry, because this is when those clever hyenas forget to count, and looking after number one becomes their only priority!

I just wish Everton could give me the same type of aggressive entertainment, and pray that, through all our troubles, we forget about our current problems, and turn Goodison into the lions den, for those slippery bastard hyenas from across the park on Wednesday night. 🙏🤞

Joe McMahon
66 Posted 29/11/2021 at 19:52:14
Dave @62,

You've quoted the match report from most of the last 20 years of games v Liverpool.

Barry Rathbone
67 Posted 29/11/2021 at 20:20:28
In the lap of the gods now... although I suspect Mad Moshiri reads fan forums for guidance when the heat is on. A truly terrifying thought given some of the rationale.

I read one bright spark triumphantly arguing that sacking the manager was far cheaper than going down – as though that action alone guarantees survival. The words don't exist...

Christine Foster
68 Posted 29/11/2021 at 20:27:48
We are where we are, but what has to happen is critical. Being fair to Benitez, he has to deal with the here and now, the next game, the next 3 years... in short, he has to have a plan to work too.

The problem with previous managers was the absence of a plan at all. Right now we have a mix of other manager's selections. That has to be rectified. It will take all of Benitez's 3 years to get a team he builds together.

So, the way forward means there has to be stability in order for him to build a team. Right now, he has to select players in transfer windows to stop the rot, stop conceding goals. So he rebuilds the defence first and defensive midfield first. Starting immediately.

This will take the January and summer windows. In summer, he also has to find a creative midfielder. Next season, he will lose Richarlison; I doubt he will be replaced. Only then can he build on a solid defence.

The current back four goes. Richarlison monies should buy a No 10, Year 2 focus becomes attack-focused. Townsend is replaced, Gordon too. Rondon, Tosun should be gone, replaced with Simms or a quality striker, foil to Calvert-Lewin.

Benitez has to build his own team. If he goes, no matter who comes in, they have to build their own team and get rid of the multiple misfits.

Alex Winstanley
69 Posted 29/11/2021 at 21:14:33
I wonder whether this group of players actually get on. They certainly don’t seem to “look out for each other” like the 84-87 team did and the “dogs of war” team did in the mid 90s. Imagine if by some miracle Reid, Ratcliffe and Andy Gray were playing yesterday. Would they have shrugged off the penalty incident and the Digne tackle? These players don’t want to fight for anything, let alone each other..
Geoff Williams
70 Posted 29/11/2021 at 22:41:44
Since Moshiri took over, the four permanent managers have òne thing in common: they lack charisma. Surely a spark of dynamism is a prerequisite for a manager. Is the owner appointing men who are similar in nature to himself?
Andy Crooks
71 Posted 29/11/2021 at 23:08:33
Rafa is truly up against it. The pool of goodwill was shallow and is nearly empty. If we win on Wednesday, it will be full; a draw will buy him time. Look at the goodwill that the lamentable Ancelotti got from a derby win.

There is a big chance for underachieving, timid, second rate cowards to be heroes. Look for the ball, don't hide, run and run and get stuck into them.

No smiles, laughs in the tunnel, all mates. Fucking hate them, blame THEM, for the fact that you are held in contempt by Blues.

Step up, be angry, beat them whatever it takes.

James Flynn
72 Posted 29/11/2021 at 00:18:54
Just have to hang in there until we get our best 11 out on the pitch for a run of games.
Dale Self
73 Posted 30/11/2021 at 00:38:38
When I was just getting the reality of where Everton were in 1997-98, I stumbled my way to the Mad Dog in the Fog, the San Francisco English football watch bar. After the match, I went to make room for another pint when I noticed an undaunted Evertonian had scribbled the words 'Not going down' on a chalkboard above the porcelain. Then I realized what I had committed to and to this day I don't regret a fucking thing.

Kick the hell out of them, Blues. Cmon!!!

Don Alexander
74 Posted 29/11/2021 at 00:59:25
I became an Everton fan aged 8, in 1963, mainly due to my Dad's preference for Scottish footballers who played with panache, effort and togetherness.

I was too young to appreciate the immense wealth and commitment of John Moores to us, but thoroughly enjoyed the football we played in the 1960s. John Moores was our most successful owner and chairman. He was chairman for just seven years though.

Contrast him with the current incumbent, who's been in the boardroom for 31 years, at its top (but only allegedly, given his various shady – putting it mildly – financial "associates") for nearly all of them, and still "serving" as chairman, according to the Monaco Muppet in, quote, "an enhanced role!"

As we as a club sink ever lower, we can all rejoice in Kenwright personally banking £10s of millions from the MM (or whoever controls him) can't we?

Yeah right.

I think we're in real jeopardy of relegation this season. I think more than a few players at Finch Farm agree, their performances spelling it out. I think various agents will be hyperactive on behalf of their clients in seeking a fruitful future for them, and themselves.

I think no manager on the planet can turn Everton around with the current owner and boardroom, not to mention (as I will now do!) the shambolic "coaching" regime long embedded, by Kenwright, in Finch Farm.

And lastly (as a relief to some!) I think if Moshiri engages the services of such inept staff for construction of the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock as he has in his years at Goodison, we can be confident that, before 10 years have passed, we'll all be getting ferries to the ground as it floats off into the Irish Sea.

That's what happens when you pay no attention to the foundations, Moshiri!

Get real!

James Byrne
75 Posted 30/11/2021 at 06:48:17
We have a problem at this club, we all know that. The problem starts with Kenwright and the "boys club" regime he has created within the structure of management.

The one factor all of these managers have had, including Benitez, is the first-team training headed up by Duncan Ferguson and the U23s headed up by David Unsworth – it all appears to be out-of-date and stale compared to other Premier League clubs.

We can deny this all we want but this issue, together with the youth recruitment system, seems to be behind the times.

There is now talk of Benitez being sacked! It doesn't surprise any of us because we have become a joke of a club; how much have we paid out in severance packages for these managers to date!

Taking into consideration our lack of money, an average to poor training and youth development program, players who are nowhere near the Everton standard or even arsed to play – who is the next best manager option?

IMO: Wayne Rooney.

Robert Tressell
76 Posted 30/11/2021 at 07:18:58
James @75.

If Wayne manages to keep Derby up after the 21-point deduction, it will be a big achievement in such a competitive league. Probably a bigger achievement than Lampard's not getting Derby promoted with Mount, Tomori and others in the side. Possibly bigger than Gerrard's Rangers title win.

He'd have to be taken very seriously at that point.

Eddie Dunn
77 Posted 30/11/2021 at 08:45:05
Brian @49,

I think our big worry will be Jiota on Wednesday night. The lad is so clever in his timing of his runs and hard to predict. With maximun concentration and huge effort, we could stay in the game but, without any goal threat, our hopes are slender.

We simply can't buy a goal and all I can do is hope that Richarlison or Townsend can pull something out of the bag.

On Rafa's future, I know most of us think the big problem is in the boardroom, but listening to TalkSport last night, where they had lots of Evertonians ringing-up, the consensus was to sack him. And the pundits asked the question of what other club would not sack a manager after such a barren run?

Moshiri is as daft as a brush, it was always clear that Rafa was going to get stick once things went downhill. Nuno would have been cut more slack.

Brian Murray
78 Posted 30/11/2021 at 09:03:31
I'd love to know the real reasoning behind playing Rondon and Iwobi as often as possible. No-one can tell me that an experienced European manager like him can't see what's in front of him and acts like Ancelotti with his lack of subs. He likes to make a big statement about boardrooms – that's all I can think of anyway.
Tony Everan
79 Posted 30/11/2021 at 09:22:21
Also, Who knows whether some players want the manager and his staff out? He's come in and demanded 10% more out of the players in every aspect. Maybe some of them don't quite like being pushed out of their cosseted comfort zone.

Getting the manager and his staff out solves the problem of change they don't like.

Also, maybe other people of mediocrity behind the scenes would be delighted too to get shut of Benitez, before he sacks them in June.

Before we rush into sacking anybody, we should be asking the wider question: Just who at the club needs sacking?

Dave Abrahams
80 Posted 30/11/2021 at 10:06:37
Robert (76), surely James (75) was being sarcastic.
John Hodgkins
81 Posted 30/11/2021 at 14:40:54
We all know the Board need replacing but who believes it will happen? Moshiri appears to be in Kenwrights pocket and, I suspect, is only interested in the new ground development, so he can possibly claw back some of his huge investment (losses) in the club and scarper up the road.
Robert Tressell
82 Posted 30/11/2021 at 18:17:22
Dave @80, probably yes! But it's an interesting thought. If he can manage to keep Derby up then it would be logical to start taking Rooney seriously as a manager. It's way too soon for him now, but if Benitez does last till the end of his contract, then it could conceivably be Rooney next.
Barry Jones
83 Posted 30/11/2021 at 18:55:54
Rennie #45. Then why is Southampton's academy also producing many star players? Are you saying that we cannot compete with clubs like Southampton? I think the answer lies more as Joe #56 said. Its the people running it.
Don Alexander
84 Posted 30/11/2021 at 19:33:28
If we're looking for a good young British coach/manager the field's not too big given Kenwright's propensity to favour people who've been arrested whilst a player.
Philip Bunting
85 Posted 30/11/2021 at 20:57:42
Many problems and issues have been laid bare over this past week and you do wonder how we turn things around. I believe through all the anger we need to remain calm, as we are going around in circles and changing approach and managers every year. It's not going to get any better doing the same again. We need to tough this out and support through gritted teeth but also not run around like a kid in a sweet swap changing the squad. We needa calm modest sensible squad built over Time, this is how Moyes goes about his buisness, 2 to 3 players tops a year, building a squad and togetherness, it's not rocket science.
Jack Convery
86 Posted 30/11/2021 at 21:47:28
Get round Alison at corners and free kicks from deep wide areas. He doesn't like it up him. Stop being so bloody nice and get stuck in.

Plan B - if they are thrashing us end up with 6 fit players on the pitch and the game will be called off or use Citys excuse from last season - Covid outbreak discovered at last minute and not enough players fit enough to play.

If I was a betting man I'd wager a few quid on Richy to get sent off tomorrow.

Phil Wood
87 Posted 01/12/2021 at 07:52:44
Christine @68,

I totally agree with your comments.

Only difference is that I think Anthony Gordon can be a different player if he can build his confidence. Something which is very difficult in this current team.

Julian Exshaw
88 Posted 02/12/2021 at 20:31:36
The media in general are quite dismissive of the problems at Everton. I watched MotD only to see what they would say about us. Having waxed lyrical about Salah for what seemed like an hour, Lineker finally got round to asking Ashley Williams about us. Basically he said he were in trouble but implied that once DCL was back, 'they'll be fine', or words to that effect.
I watched and listened to many impassioned Evertonians last night but each one received the same wishy washy, clichéd responses.
The situation at Everton warrants serious debate, which we never receive. Why are we different to Spurs, for example? No one talks about us. We are fading into the background it seems. Sad and frustrating times for our beloved club.

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