This Must Surely Be the End

Lyndon Lloyd 15/01/2022 64comments  |  Jump to last

It would be nice to say that an Everton defeat to a Norwich City side that has comfortably been among the worst in the top flight all season, who came into this match on a six-match losing streak, and who hadn’t scored a Premier League goal for seven weeks was unthinkable but it really wasn’t.

Indeed, any Blue would have been well aware that there is no better team to face than when you’ve not won for ages and can’t score for, well, toffee than this Everton one and Rafael Benitez’s side were all too obliging, handing the Canaries their first league win since Dean Smith’s first match in charge in mid-November.

It was a result that will, if there is any sanity in the corridors — or should that read gangways? — of power at Everton result in the overdue sacking of Benitez whose hapless management of this club has put it firmly on course for a potentially disastrous battle against relegation, a fate from which it might take years to recover.

Benitez has largely proven incapable of producing results at Everton since the last time they met Norwich in September and beat them in comfortable, if rather unconvincing, fashion at Goodison Park. Since then the Spaniard has overseen just one victory in the Premier League, that essentially inspired and secured by the individual brilliance of Demarai Gray and Richarlison as they turned the match against Arsenal on its head a month ago.

Rather than a springboard, that adrenaline-fuelled, crowd-backed triumph over Mikel Arteta’s vastly-improved Gunners proved to be an aberration in what has become a miserable sequence of nine defeats in 12 games under Benitez; games blighted by mystifying team selections and formations even allowing for absences from injury and positive Covid-19 tests.

Today was no exception, although the manager did at least dispense with his bizarre five-man defence, overly staffed by full-backs, and opted for what looked, on paper, to be 4-4-2. It ended up, however, with Salomon Rondon — a player who wouldn’t be near the starting XI were it not for Benitez’s counter-productive mix of ego, stubbornness, favouritism and blind faith — operating almost as an awkward and baffling number 10 behind Calvert-Lewin.

Calvert-Lewin himself had been a welcome returnee to the team after sitting out the narrow win at Hull City in the FA Cup last weekend but there were long stretches of this contest where it was easy to forget he was playing, such was Everton’s impotence as an attacking force.

Indeed, apart from some early probing forays by Demarai Gray and the occasional threat posed by Anthony Gordon, Everton didn’t really pose much danger to Norwich’s goal until Richarlison came on as a second-half substitute to score a spectacular goal that will, sadly, be destined to be forgotten given the result.

Benitez was criticised in the aftermath of his latest damaging defeat for leaving the Brazilian and Yerry Mina on the bench until the 54th minute but given that both players had only trained this past week for the first time since recovering from their respective injuries and that the Colombian broke down the last time he was rushed back short of full fitness, it was a commendable decision.

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More worrying was how long he left it to make any kind of change to the formation or approach after Norwich went 2-0 ahead.

Allan’s absence in midfield through illness combined with that of the injured Tom Davies complicated any impulse Benitez might have had to deploy three in midfield — Jean-Philippe Gbamin was named in the squad but was an unused substitute — but the manager had enough talent at his disposal to beat a team that has been so poor to this point this season.

Credit should go to Norwich for a spirited performance where they capitalised on Everton’s mistakes and defended doggedly to prevent the Toffees from salvaging a draw in the closing stages but the story was all about Benitez and his team’s incomprehensibly bad form.

Smith had managed to gee up his struggling charges for this one and they matched Everton in the early going, Pierre Lees-Melou seeing a shot from distance saved by Jordan Pickford and Tim Krul needing to be alert to swallow a low drive from Gray that was searching out the near post.

Parity was broken in the 16th minute, though, when Josh Sargent's cross came in from the Canaries' right and Keane stuck out a leg that diverted the ball past Pickford to give the hosts the lead.

They were two goals to the good almost immediately. Everton were trying to attack at one end when Seamus Coleman sold Gordon short with an attempted pass that was intercepted by Brandon Williams who strode forward and calmly threaded the ball to Idah to fire past Pickford.

It almost got worse for Everton after Coleman was dispossessed again and Teemu Pukki was played into acres of space in the Blues' half but Pickford raced 15 yards outside his box to play “sweeper keeper” and close the Finn down.

A weak Rondon volley that was comfortably gathered and an uncertain moment when Krul blocked a low corner behind via Ben Gibson were as close as Everton came to worrying their hosts' defence in what was a desperately impotent showing.

The visitors kept the self-destruct button at hand early in the second half when Vitalii Mykolenko almost gifted Norwich their third goal with a blind back-pass straight to Idah but, again, Pickford snuffed out the danger before Benitez finally made moves to change his approach with his two substitutions.

And it took the Brazilian just six minutes to make his mark. A corner from the Blues' right was initially cleared but Everton kept the ball and when Krul failed to get proper purchase on a punch from Mykolenko's deep cross, it sat up invitingly for Richarlison to overhead-kick it cleanly into the top corner from near the penalty spot.

What should have been the catalyst for an all-out assault on the Norwich goal failed to spark much more attacking penetration from the Toffees, however, as Norwich defended in numbers and dealt with the slow-tempo play in front of them.

Mina's header off a deep free-kick bounced awkwardly off Gibson but Calvert-Lewin wasn't able to pounce on the loose ball before Krul smothered it and Ben Godfrey dug out a cross from the byline but Gordon's shot from close range was charged down by a lunging block.

Krul then saved a crisp shot from Godfrey but there was precious little from Everton in the closing stages and it was Norwich who almost completed the Merseysiders' humiliation at the end of seven minutes of stoppage time when Milo Rashica rolled a shot off the post as he had raced away with just one blue jersey in pursuit.

As ever, Benitez deflected all the criticism for this latest defeat onto the shoulders of the players, blaming them for making mistakes while commending them somewhat for a more purposeful second-half display. It’s true that he couldn’t really legislate for Keane’s clumsy own goal or the sloppy distribution that led to Norwich’s second but when you’ve lost eight of the 11 previous games, you don’t afford yourself any leeway in dropping points due to individual errors.

In any case, his players had more than enough time to claw things back and at least earn a point but they look utterly lost under a manager who seems clueless as to how to get the best out of them of set them up to win matches in the Premier League.

Benitez’s time at Everton has been up for a while now; that Farhad Moshiri has waited this long to end this farce has merely sacrificed precious points and prolonged the fans’ frustration. The former Liverpool boss surely cannot survive this – frankly, it would be a surprise if he lasted the weekend – but if he somehow does, there is a very real danger he will take this club down. It's that bad!

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Simon Harrison
1 Posted 16/01/2022 at 06:39:46
Lyndon it has been reported that Benitez will/has left the club by mutual consent, both 90 minutes, and the Sunday Express (SE) have reported this.

90 minutes have also reported that Duncan Ferguson will be the interim boss; whilst, the SE has reported that Slaven Bilic has already been approached..?

Not exactly encouraging after the excellent news that Benitez is a goner.

Benitez to leave

Good news, bad news

I despair of this club nowadays; or rather since Kenwright took over,and took the michael.

Jim Bennings
2 Posted 16/01/2022 at 06:44:43
Yep.

It must also surely be the end of many of our tool downing players also.

Michael "jelly fish spine" Keane.

Seamus "hold me hands up" Coleman.

Invisible men like Delph, Tosun, Gbamin, Iwobi must all leave this club as soon as someone waves a tenner our way.

Too many posers like Gomes who run through treacle, too many off-field antics from DCL dressing up as something out of the Rocky Horror Picture Show when the club had been sinking, imagine a player doing that in the 1990's relegation battle?

There's too much wrong with this club and it starts with the owner and Billy the Buffoon, another hanger-on at the club for a decade too long.

This club is in huge danger of finishing third from bottom.

We face a monumental match at Newcastle in early February, if we lose that then I honestly think we will be relegated.

David Woodworth
3 Posted 16/01/2022 at 06:52:26
Good read. We have an ego driven manager who has so many awful players who keep getting picked.
Watching the blues trying to defend is embarrassing.
Fed up looking at MK and his “ what have I done “ face after his usual match costing mistakes.
Poor Coleman, should be out munching and rolling in the grass.
The times they are a changing.
Simon Harrison
4 Posted 16/01/2022 at 07:04:58
You couldn't make it up; the Express on-line are saying that the four faves to replace Benitez are;

i) Frank Lampard ~ Seriously in this suituation?

ii) Graham Potter ~ Why would he leave B&HA for EFC; just why?

iii) Wayne Rooney ~ that must have been a stretch for them, and Rooney has stated categorically in December, that he won't break his contract at Derby this season!!!

iv) Paulo Fonseca ~ (According to the post) "

Another out-of-work manager like Lampard, Fonseca has also been heavily linked with the Everton job and came close to taking the Tottenham position last summer.

The 46-year-old Portuguese coach was at Roma but left in June last year despite reaching the Europa League emo-finals, having previously built up his reputation at Shakhtar Donetsk where he won three successive Ukrainian league titles.

Fonseca, who has nine trophies to his name from his time with Shakhtar, Braga and Porto, has said previously he wants to "build a team who can play attractive and offensive football and I was ready for that".

That would of course appeal to Everton and he is still young, available immediately and a manager who has previously been liked by the Toffees, which make him a strong option."

Yet, only five hours ago, the Express reported that Bilic had been appoached?

Jim Bennings
5 Posted 16/01/2022 at 07:11:04
The sacking of Benitez won't solve anything will it, really, if we are brutally honest with ourselves?

Yes he needs to go partly for his own safety and sanity and yes fans will be delighted to see him gone because that hate him so much.

But this is Everton and we all know that 12 months down the line we'll be in the same situation we are now, looking for yet another manager after yet another doomed project.

As I say, this will not change while the owner and chairman are here, the last 6 years has proved that.

Simon Harrison
6 Posted 16/01/2022 at 07:11:26
Hi Lyndon, sorry, I should have said good post to your OP.

Here it is, 'apparent' confirmation that Benitez has gone;

Benitez decides to leave EFC

Stephen Brown
7 Posted 16/01/2022 at 07:11:40
A team of Pickford, Patterson, Myolenko, Godfrey, Mina.
Gomes/Townsend, Allan, Doucoure
Gray, DCL, Richarlison
For the rest of the season with a manager who can motivate and organise should be able to salvage this season.

Am I confident this will happen? Probably not!

I’m starting to think Rooney might be the best shout with an experienced number 2. He seems to be motivating and organising Derby against all the odds plus he’s a name that will have instant respect from the players.
What a mess

Lyndon Lloyd
8 Posted 16/01/2022 at 07:23:35
Thanks, Simon. I have seen those links and if Benitez has agreed to leave by mutual consent, there's a decent chance we won't be paying out his contract in full which can only be good news.

I await confirmation from more reputable sources because that trio of The Express, 90-Mins and HITC have a chequered history for accuracy. It does seem, from what I've heard and read, that Benitez will be going though, with confirmation expected by Monday morning.

Jim (5), his sacking will solve the most urgent problem at the club – namely a manager who has shown himself almost incapable of getting a tune out of his squad since that positive start to the campaign. Even allowing for his tiny transfer budget, injuries and Covid absences, he has been awful and needs to go.

I suspect Ferguson will get the reins short-term and his "lightening in a bottle routine", as The Blue Room's Matt Jones called it on the 5LiveSport podcast yesterday, can hopefully inspire us to a win or two in the next four eminently winnable fixtures to take the immediate pressure off.

Longer-term, there are issues everywhere, not least who we appoint as manager, who makes the decision and what further changes, if any, there will be at the top of the club which has been just as dysfunctional.

But first things first...

Tony Everan
9 Posted 16/01/2022 at 07:37:20
I think it will be Ferguson, unless someone like Graham Potter actively makes it clear he wants to come and is ready for the challenge. It’s unlikely mid season, but it’s a big opportunity opening up for him, so who knows?

Whoever it is, it needs to be done quickly, essentially in the next day or two. There’s no time for the laid back approach. There is urgent work to be done signing an essential midfield enforcer , or even two, to best help us out of the increasingly perilous situation.

Simon Harrison
10 Posted 16/01/2022 at 07:37:35
Jim [5] I agree, the problem with Benitez was that he was just a symptom of the cancer riddling our club.

With Benitez gone, nothing will change on the playing side, until a genuine reform is done within the FF coaching cabal, and the backroom teams there.

I've admittedly no idea what goes on there; but, through evidence provided, I know what isn't happening there.

There is no suitable injury prevention program, there is no efficacious injury recovery team/program either.

The players haven't looked fit enough for the PL since Moyes left, they always seem to run out of steam and always slow to start. There is NO evident effective Fitness and Conditioning taking place.

The players don't technically look comfortable on the ball; I've seen the players try and perform a Rondo exercise when they just kick away the ball so as to not to lose it, and then laugh as a colleague has to go and fetch the ball back. The coaches needless to say, do nothing!?

The players don't seen confident in passing, ball retention, dribbling, crossing, set pieces in defence or attack, moving off the ball, and finally shooting. That is, other than moments of individual skill, rather than thru teamwork and craft.

Yes, I also fear twelve months down the line, it'll be Project-Reset what? (Martinez, {Unsworth/Royle}, KoemanWalsh, {Unsworth}, Allardyce, Silva-later+Brands, {Ferguson}, Ancelotti, Benitez, {?Ferguson?}, ?

So Project-Reset ver:1.7 or more; or should that be ver:2 now, as we've seemingly discounted getting into European football, for EPL survival and the completion of BMD?

I also concur that Kenwright is the cancerous blight in the club, and he and the rest of contagion should be cut out and removed from the club. Yet, the metaphorical surgeon, who injected the 'patient' with cash, has only sped up the speed and area of affect of the cancer.

Kenwright has to go, along with his nodding donkeys and 'Grima wormtongue' lackeys, and then Moshiri has to decide to stick or fold.

If he sticks at it, he needs to radically overhaul how this club is run, from the shoddy reception area and car park, to the very top of the Executive board, and all in between. Then he needs to let the professionals run the club, without interference.

But as you imply Jim, this is Everton, and there is no room for optimism currently.

Change is badly needed and quickly, and radically.

Matt Traynor
11 Posted 16/01/2022 at 07:39:08
It was never going to work and was always going to be a divisive appointment. The relatively decent start pacified some quarters but you almost felt that as soon as we hit a bad run, it would be a tsunami of discontent. Few of us thought we could actually be this bad, given some of the supposed quality in the squad, irrespective of injuries and Covid.

Of concern to me is that, not for the first time, some players seem to have effectively stopped playing. Others who watch Everton more closely than I do will know who they are. But they also cannot be part of the future going forward.

When we were this bad before - early / mid 90s - you always felt that even though the squad was poor, no-one would try to hide. This lot are more than capable of taking us down.

The problems from Boardroom to backroom have already been discussed on these pages. I have zero confidence they will be addressed.

Colin Glassar
12 Posted 16/01/2022 at 07:42:22
Great post Simon. The club is rotten from top to bottom. Radical surgery is required but who’s going to carry it out? The same fools who brought us here?
Jim Bennings
13 Posted 16/01/2022 at 07:57:20
Removing Benitez is the same as when we removed Koeman, Big Sam, Silva.

It removes a figure of hate that the fans will not tolerate a moment longer.

However the fans are never going to be patient, not anymore.

Silva probably deserved more tolerance rather than the "fuck off Silva" chants at his last home game.

Silva was unlucky losing Gana and Zouma during summer 2019, the bedrock of the team during good end to his first season.

We had a upcoming attack minded manager and we destroyed him at the first sign of a bad run.

Why will any manager survive a bad run of results no matter who he is?

A bad run is always on the horizon given the absolute dogshit players we have, who are all mentally weak as piss and you wouldn't want any of them next to you in the trenches would you.

Mal van Schaick
14 Posted 16/01/2022 at 08:10:28
A good appraisal of the match and conclusion of Benitez fate.

The owner and board made this appointment risking the wrath of the fans. I didn’t like the appointment, but thought in the circumstances the owner and board must have been swayed on previous experience and I tried to get behind and support the decision. I feel like I’ve been taken for a fool!

The owner and board are rising the demise of our great club into the nether regions of the Championship, because of their failed decisions with past manager and their transfer policies.

With regards to the match, Keane had a shocker. We gave hardly any supply to DCL, as The ball got stuck on Grays foot most of the first half. It was disjointed, huff and puff, with little to inspire the fans.

My conclusion, is that the owner and board have disrespected the fans in their selfish appointment of Benitez and it is up to them to put it right quickly, appointing a manager who will keep us in the league. As a priority.

Robert Tressell
15 Posted 16/01/2022 at 08:11:04
It was the sacking of Silva that made me start posting after many years of enjoying everyone else's comments.

One of my first posts talked about our options at the time.

- if Moshiri was going to throw loads more money at it, hire Ancelotti

- if Brands was going to oversee player recruitment and development of youth, hire Genesio (the Galtier of that moment)

- if the money had run out, hire Dyche.

I think I'm back where I started. I don't think now is the time for Fonseca, Garcia, Favre etc even if they'd be prepared to come. Lampard can motivate but his Chelsea defence was atrocious. Rooney is doing pretty well in an adverse situation but it's way too early for him.

Had we not previously hired and sacked him - the logical (albeit disgusting) choice is Allardyce.

So that leads me back to the guy that has massively outperformed his resources for about 5 years in a row in the Premier League - Dyche.

He will play a fixed formation and personnel, he will simplify the roles of players, he will demand commitment and hard work.

It won't be pretty but Ancelotti gave up with pretty so we're way beyond that.

The only other downside is a ginger goatee and silly voice - which unfortunately hurts pride and vanity. Fonseca looks much more the part, for example.

More fundamentally, like any of our recent managers, the new guy will have the disadvantage of a club that is rotten to the core with a culture and governance that utterly stinks.

Dyche is probably the right man for a really awful moment in our history.

Jerome Shields
16 Posted 16/01/2022 at 08:28:57
I know there are reports of a Emergency Board Meeting by Kenwright, Media speculation, fan protest, but Jimmy White with his yellow tie has not got a reply to his text yet, It was Moshiri and Unsmanov who appointed Benitez. The problems that existed at the time he was appointed still exist, bar where Benitez has been able to address them. Everton as a Club have massive problems throughout.

The fact is that Everton is being run by two power blocks, Kenwright &Co and Moshiri and Unsmanov. The latter appointed Benitez to take on Kenwright &Co influences. They will see a Emergency Board Meeting , Media and Fan protest as being whipped up by Kenwright &Co, whether it is or not.

The job that Benitez been was appointed to do still has to be done. If Benitez is sacked they will see it as a defeat of their plan. They have been in the same situation for numerous times at Everton. The decision to sack Benitez hasn't been decided yet. Would anyone who knows the shambles that is Everton expect anything else. No Manager will be able to turn Everton around as the situation now stands. Mid table at best.

John Keating
17 Posted 16/01/2022 at 08:31:46
Agree first thing first

The only thing we should be thinking of now is getting points on the board.
We have to get away from the bottom 3 no matter how ugly we play and how we do it

I’d forget looking at long term appointments and just get someone in until the end of the season to get us out the shit.

There is a cancer in our Club and it needs a complete clear out top to bottom but right now there are more important, short term, issues that need addressing

Ralph Basnett
18 Posted 16/01/2022 at 08:32:43
Just Everton this, we can't even sack a shit manager properly!!!!
Steve Brown
19 Posted 16/01/2022 at 08:37:54
Robert, Dyche is a terrible recommendation. Hiring him would set us back even further.

Put Ferguson in charge until the summer and focus on hiring an empowered DoF who can then lead the replacement process. We will have a better chance of hiring a better quality coach in the summer.

Mick O'Malley
20 Posted 16/01/2022 at 08:41:35
Jim@13 agree about Silva, also yesterday has to be the last time Coleman starts as first choice, he was absolutely abysmal and that pass he misplaced for their 2nd goal was woeful and then to watch him trying to chase back and rectify it was sad, he is done so why Benitez keeps shifting him around the defence to accommodate him is beyond belief. Benitez out!
Benn Chambers
21 Posted 16/01/2022 at 08:50:43
Good read Lyndon, as per.

Today may well be the day we reverse one of the most ridiculous decisions in our clubs history. Let’s not kid ourselves though, as stupid as it was hiring Benitez, our problems run much deeper and much higher up.

They pretty much started the minute that cling on kenwright, convinced Moshiri to buy us. An accountant who has more money than sense and no idea about football.

It starts with his “Hollywood” manager in Koeman and gave him an absolute fortune that he wasted. He hires Steve Walsh and similar happens. There is no shortcut to success, it’s built over time, little by little.

He proceeded to hire and fire 2 DOF’s and 6 managers. The finger now needs pointing at him before he ends up Ellis Short and we end up Sunderland.

We’re a plaything, that’s all.

He literally has one last chance to get it right or we’re going down. Fact. There is not 3 worse teams than us and the stats and table does not lie.

I just pray whoever comes in, see’s what we all see and isn’t stubborn. I hope he banishes these wage robbing shit bags that have got us in this mess. They are just as culpable. Many of them have seen off the mangers we’ve hired and fired, some have been here right through it all.

There is certain players at this club that are decent players and decent enough characters being mismanaged, there are plenty who are just utter shit and spineless slugs who aren’t good enough. We do not have a single leader at all. Coleman is no captain and he’s a farce who regurgitates the same old shite every time a new manager is sacked. He needs to look in the mirror and be honest with himself. He’s no longer a footballer and is now a liability who costs us goals regularly.

Players like Keane who is a fucking joke of a CB and I’ve said it all along and been slated for saying so. A centre back who suffers from confidence issues and anxiety, responsible for keeping clean sheets. Don’t Make me
Fucking laugh. The lad is a 6’3 pussy! From Watson and Weir to him!!!! As for Players like him and Coleman who are so far past it it’s embarrassing and cruel watching them play, especially together. Players like Holgate, Tosun, Iwobi, Delph, Gomes, all taking a handsome wage and offering fuck all.

The recruitment has been fucking scandalous but whilst moshiri has spent money, and plenty of it, I’m convinced it’s him letting parasite agents bend his ear and paying for shite like Iwobi, it’s hard to sympathise for him.

Roy Keane had it spot on yesterday, he said we have a bad weak dressing room with no characters and he’s right, but I still think it’s very simple to save us, it’s just a case of putting round pegs in round holes. There is just about enough decent players to save us should they be deployed properly and that means the end of Coleman Keane in the defence. Never ever do I wanna see them again. That’s where it starts.

Injuries permitting, the defence should be Pickford Patterson Mina Branthwaite Godfrey (till Mykolenko gets fit and up to speed)

Midfield should ALWAYS be a 3 with Doucoure being allowed to attack and Allan sitting.

DCL should always be up top and Richarlison and gray should be either side of him.

Give Rondon away. Benitez could be sacked for signing him alone. Then playing him for 90 minutes every fucking week when he’s 3 stone overweight; slow and lazy who offers fuck all.

As I say, we’ve got one last chance to save ourselves and if we don’t, I doubt we’ll be coming back coz that useless fucker will sell
Up and sell all the players to get some of his money back and not reinvest and then we’re Sunderland. The writing is on the wall.

Stay up and then Farhad a long with half the squad, can do one as well.

Rick Tarleton
22 Posted 16/01/2022 at 09:36:48
That he was ever considered the right man for our club tells you all you need to know about the Everton Board and about the posturing thespian who has been in control for this century.

I don't know if any outsider will come, but money talks in football and if the remuneration was sufficient, they will come.

Ferguson or whoever gets the interim job has a very difficult job, because so many of this squad are below par. Keane was on the fringe of the England team, now his confidence has gone – possibly permanently. Coleman has played on after a horrific injury which should have seen him retire. Gomes is another whose career threatening injury has destroyed whatever talent he had. Godfrey is no longer a prospect, nor is Davies. Mina, Gbamin and Delph are playing odd games between injuries. Iwobi and Rondon were disastrous signings, Allan is at the end of his career and Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin have missed the season.

We've signed a Rangers reserve who may be a great prospect and a Ukranian international whose first sightings have been appalling.

Yes, the pay for a new manager will have to be very attractive, because the playing scenario is frightening.

Whether the new manager is one of "ours", Rooney, Ferguson, Cahill have all been bandied about or an outsider, Potter, Lampard, Dyche etc. their work is truly cut out.

Whoever, is better than Benitez because he had lost the dressing-room months ago and his style, his history and his favoured players were all wrong for Everton.

I've followed Everon since Cliff Britton was manager and Benitez was the worst of some atrocious managers. May the next one be a Carey, a Catterick or a Kendall Mk 1.

David Bromwell
23 Posted 16/01/2022 at 09:44:31
I have been supporting Everton for over 70 years and yesterday was truly one of the darkest days in the clubs history – essentially because, in Benitez, we have a manager who has repeatedly made errors of judgement himself but, on each and every occasion, blames his players for making unforced errors.

He clearly cannot stay, it would would be ugly and dangerous and ultimately embarrassing for our once great club. Somehow for the rest of the season we need to find a way to survive. The basics of organisation and team spirit are so clearly lacking.

Benitez seemingly has chosen to be decisive, and has been a miserable failure. He was given a wonderful opportunity to end his career at our club when many said he should never have been considered, how right they were.

Kevin Prytherch
24 Posted 16/01/2022 at 09:49:35
We need to temper our expectations for the next few years and consolidate ourselves as a solid top half team before looking to Europe. It’s is highly unlikely we will break into the top 4-6 immediately, so we need to look to get back to where we were under Moyes and build from there.

For that reason, Dyche might not be a bad appointment. Someone who will drill us into being a solid, fit team that is difficult to beat and won’t take any shit from overpaid prima donnas. Once we have those foundations again, that’s when we look to see if he is the right person to take us forward or whether we change managers. Look at what happened with Martinez, he took a solid Moyes team and virtually got us into the champions league, that’s what could potentially be done with a solid Dyche team. Spend 3 years building that type of tram then look to kick on.

My first choice would be Ferguson, after that I would look to Dyche or Rooney.

John Pickles
25 Posted 16/01/2022 at 10:00:24
To misquote Groucho Marx, I wouldn't want any manager who is desperate enough to want to be manager here.
Iain Hudson
26 Posted 16/01/2022 at 10:28:05
For all those Fat Spanish Waiter fans who support him, how can you now defend the indefensible???
Henrik Lyngsie
27 Posted 16/01/2022 at 10:29:02
What a mess. Which club would sack their DoF to allow the manager to take charge of the transfer strategy. Then allow the manager to get rid of one of the top players to fund a move for two younger full backs and then sack the manager before the transfer window is even closed? It seems extraordinary shortsighted.
Obviously some of the performances are beyond embarrassing. But Benitez inherited an extremely thin squad and improved it with some smart summer signings (or two smart summer signings).
We have been extremely unlucky with long term injuries to a number of key players DCL, Richarlison, Doucoure, and Mina. So for three months now we have seen players like Rondon in the starting eleven.

Yesterday we had DCL, Richarlison and Mina back in the squad but none of them were really match fit so still a very decimated team. We might go into a phase where our starting eleven is near the strongest possible.

I am no big fan of Benitez and we should never have hired him. But should we really sack a manager the week after we allowed him making big transfer decisions and just when his team is about to be back from injuries?

I would rather have Moshiri fixing the governance structure of the club from top to bottom.

Benitez can just as well save us from relegation as can Ferguson, Rooney, Bilic and Allardyce. And to hire a project manager like Potter or Hjulmand while the club is a mess won’t make any sense.

Tony Abrahams
28 Posted 16/01/2022 at 10:45:25
You can't defend Benitez's record since his better players got injured, Ian H. But the indefensible will still be at the club next week, when his mate is introducing his fourth caretaker manager in six years, not to mention a soon to be manager number seven.
Dave Williams
29 Posted 16/01/2022 at 10:45:37
Good posts here especially Benn!

This debacle was always likely to happen as so many opposed the appointment and many more were likely to turn once we hit a poor run.

He has been very unlucky with injuries but it is his insistence on playing Rondon, Coleman, Iwobi etc that has sealed his fate rather than giving the likes of Dobbin and Kenny a try.

We have to be a bit savvy with the next appointment. As Robert says above we need a man who will get the defence solid, the team fit and united and some grafters into midfield who will stand their ground and not be overrun. The front three are fine once they get some service.

Dyche could do this. It's a big call for Rooney at such an early stage though I appreciate that the guy at Villa is not that experienced either and he is doing okay. Is it time to give Duncan a proper run at it? The problem is that we don't have room to get this wrong as our run-in is tough so we need to get some wins quickly.

We have to stop playing guys who are mentally weak or just can't be bothered. We do have a decent team if all are fit and can just about see them all trying hard if motivated but once Keane, Gomes, Rondon, Iwobi and others are included then we become very weak. We need an authoritative captain – Seamus has never been a natural captain and I can only see Ben or Andros as candidates from the current squad.

It is very sad and worrying to see the state we are in and the next appointment simply has to be the right one. We are too close to the edge now to get it wrong.


Lynn Maher
30 Posted 16/01/2022 at 10:50:00
Les Miserables is on the Liverpool Empire from 22nd January. Or alternatively it’s on at Goodison Park permanently!
James Head
31 Posted 16/01/2022 at 11:11:06
You can shove Dyche, Allardyce and Slaven fucken Bilic up Benitez's arse on his way out. I don't know who it should be but any of those 3 will see insurrection on the terraces.
Danny O’Neill
32 Posted 16/01/2022 at 11:12:24
The morning after yet another night before. I eventually got home at about 2am, feeling worse for wear. Both because of enjoying a few too many with my brother in Norwich and London and also the pain of what I had just seen before my very own eyes.

On the match, I've witnessed the ultimate highs and depressing lows Everton have served up in my lifetime. I've watched us narrowly escape relegation on the last day of the season twice. But I genuinely don't recall watching such a disjointed and inept performance as that first half yesterday.

The players were not playing for the manager or anyone it would seem. I've been called out for overly criticising Michael Keane and being told centre-back wasn't a priority. Well after yesterday, and this isn't an over-reaction, if Michael Keane never appeared in an Everton shirt again, I wouldn't be too fussed. And nothing to do with the own goal; shit happens and the cross could have been stopped.

I defended Anthony Gordon when many around me criticised him for the mistake that led to one of the goals. He was sent a hospital pass that shouldn't have been played to him by the most experienced player in our team and our captain.

I'll also, once again, defend Demarai Gray. One the very few to come out of that with any sort of credit, let down by the majority of his team mates. Godfrey looked better and more himself.

Richarlison made a difference when he came on. As did Mina, getting that defence 10 yards higher up the pitch, which in turn got the team higher. If they were fit, why not start them, get the game won then rest them rather than throw them on when chasing the game? We were playing Norwich.

Why wasn't Patterson used? Is it because he is not deemed ready or was it that he is not a Benitez signing so the manager applied his trademark stubbornness to make a point?

I've been an advocate of stopping the managerial merry-go-round that Everton has embarked on over the past several years but, after yesterday, we have stepped over the line of departure regarding Benitez. I see no coming back for him.

The Duncanites will likely get their wish, but I hope it's interim. If we haven't learned our lesson, we need to. Think very carefully about the next permanent appointment. Think to the future. But right now, Duncan or whoever, we just need to get over the line and regroup in the summer once again. That's all that matters and I don't really care who that is.

Just don't go through the motions and appoint the next fall guy to act as a buffer that serves as a protective barrier to the real problem area.

It wasn't nice seeing the two fans run on to the pitch in an attempt to get to the dugout, but totally represented the frustration in the packed away end 250 miles away from Goodison Park.

What was more notable for me was the atmosphere on the concourse at half-time. No singing and jumping around that has become customary at many Everton away games over the years. And an almost reluctance by many to return to their seats. My brother only got back to his just as Richarlison scored.

Final mention to the supporters. They supported and they justifiably vented, but in the right direction. They gave the players their medicine at the end, but mostly the anger was directed in the right direction.

Apologies for the ramble. I'm raw and can't even offer positivity right now. Give me a day or two.

Benitez and Gerrard in the dugouts at Goodison. Talk about Armageddon.

Brian Harrison
33 Posted 16/01/2022 at 11:25:41
Danny,

Just to say I don't know who the commentator was on the stream I watched, but he said you can't fault the Everton fans who have as always sold out their full allocation and, despite what they are watching, have backed their players.

He said all their frustration is clearly aimed at Benitez.

Barry Rathbone
34 Posted 16/01/2022 at 11:56:38
Another mad chapter in the book "EFC - the lingering death" seems to be closing.

To any influencer at Everton reading this let me tell you what needs doing - find the next Mourinho, Shankly, Clough, Simeone, Wenger - simple eh? Well, it's not of course
but anything less and the revolving door will be spinning 6 months down the line.

You will hear some fans say they don't mind losing as long as there's graft and a bit of nice footy but don't listen to the planks the next guy has to do a first season Martinez and better it year on year. The days of accepting mediocrity as per Moyes have long gone.

Find an unheralded coach burning with ambition confident in their own abilities but with the charisma and street smarts to make young millionaires believe in them and supporters rally ENTHUSIASTICALLY to the cause.

DO A PROPER INTERVIEW. Only by looking a man straight in the eye can you tell if his utterances come from his soul or a text book. If he insists on waffling about that odious falsehood football tactics show him the door. Above all don't listen to bandwagon names from fans on the internet. In fact lay it on the line tell fans how shite things are and if they can't support us then fuck off home.

I am happy to waive my consultancy fees as a one off but don't start pestering

Anthony Murphy
35 Posted 16/01/2022 at 11:57:33
I think the fans are the only ones who can keep us up. We haven’t got the battlers in the team who love the club, and a new manager without knowledge of the prem or club (Favre etc) right now with no time/cash is too risky. I think Dunc will take over in the interim and will at least bring some much needed unity. Just on the battlers needed, a quick look at the team v Wimbledon in 1994 shows that even with several big characters who wear their hearts on their sleeves, there are no guarantees without good management. Interesting to compare our current starting 11 to this lot:

Neville Southall
Gary Ablett
David Unsworth
Dave Watson
Ian Snodin
John Ebbrell
Barry Horne
Anders Limpar
Graham Stuart
Tony Cottee
Paul Rideout

Dave Abrahams
36 Posted 16/01/2022 at 12:11:40
Iain (26) have a read of the post underneath yours Henrik @ (27), it might make you think, maybe not.

If Rafa goes good luck to the next manager: He’s going to need it with a lot of these players.

Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
37 Posted 16/01/2022 at 12:16:23
Right or wrong there is so many who blame BK for everything.

Jerome #15 points out the two factions at GP - the FM/AU and the BK crowd. That RB was an appointment by the former. I agree with that. I do not see BK wanting him here but the owner said yes.
But people are so blinkered with their hatred of BK they will blame him for everything, even when it is clearly the fault of others.
If they were more balanced in their views, I might take them more seriously.

John Boon
38 Posted 16/01/2022 at 12:39:21
I have just read that Duncan and Leighton Baines will be in charge for at least the next few games. Based solely on being "REAL" Evertonians and hopefully enthusiasm I have to try to be cautiously optimistic. Whatever was going to happen if Benitez had not been appointed would have continued to cause chaos and dissention.

Nobody should have the nerve to be too optimistic about any of the suggested new "Managers" but Ferguson| Baines could be a good combination. We still have some good players and I am am sure that the team will at least be fitter and more competitive. At least they will not feel obligated to play anyone merely because they have signed them, EG Rondon. Each player should have a clean sheet and have to "fight" for the chance to play

I am sure that there were more players than Digne who were not satisfied with what was happening. He appears to be the only one with the "Balls" to let Benitez know. I sincerely hope that I never have to print the name "Benitez" again.

Come on you Everton players. You really do owe your long suffering, loyal supporters something special.

Mike Corcoran
39 Posted 16/01/2022 at 13:01:12
Or Digne was the only one sellable?
Robert Tressell
40 Posted 16/01/2022 at 13:29:47
Unfortunately there are no strong options for us at this stage. The fact that we got Benitez in the first place suggests we were struggling to attract a top candidate in summer. The fact that money bags Newcastle could only attract Howe suggests there's not a lot out there right now.

If you want someone to galvanise the side and avoid relegation then its Allardyce or the much less experienced Ferguson.

If you want someone who can motivate, hang around for a few seasons and get a tune out of crap players on a limited budget it's Dyche.

If you want Potter then someone else needs to do the rescue mission first and you'll need a proper DoF too.

If you want Bilic, Favre, Garcia or Fonseca then these are all guys that have been sacked for underperforming with talented sides. Be careful what you wish for. These are not rescue specialists.

The weird thing is Benitez had managed to improve the squad, get everyone working together, get a style that worked but seems to have then repeatedly shot himself in the foot with bizarre and unpredictable team selections and formations. He didn't need to over complicate it.

Howard Sykes
41 Posted 16/01/2022 at 13:37:52
I wonder if Bramley Moore Dock will ever be completed. This partially completed stadium can then stand as a monument to venality and stupidity.
Danny O’Neill
42 Posted 16/01/2022 at 13:39:20
It has to wait until the summer Robert. That's why I'll reluctantly go with the calls for the likes of Ferguson. It has to be interim if we are serious about building for the future.

Terzic from Dortmund for me with a DoF over him.

But properly implemented and empowered. The board room is changed like a Tory cabinet reshuffle and the owner stays on his yacht in Monaco just being updated and not getting involved.

Tony Hill
43 Posted 16/01/2022 at 13:57:38
Barry, nice ending @34; made me laugh. I also agree with you. Where is our Clough, Simeone? I think we've waited long enough.
Robert Tressell
44 Posted 16/01/2022 at 13:58:06
At the moment, Danny, we cannot hang on to a manager for more than 18 months.

I think we might be at least one more appointment away from being able to start building for the future and I'm doubtful about going down the (very logical) DoF model before we've sorted out the very serious governance issues at the club. There's a reason Brands didn't work out and it's not because he was garbage.

I don't actually believe Silva, Ancelotti or even Benitez is garbage – but I very firmly believe we are the worst-run club in the top flight by some distance.

Danny O’Neill
45 Posted 16/01/2022 at 14:01:31
That's been my point for a while now, Robert. I didn't want Benitez and was stood amongst the very vocal Evertonians who rightfully expressed their view yesterday.

But the problem with our club doesn't sit at the manager's door.

That many managers can't all be wrong... can they?

Jerome Shields
47 Posted 16/01/2022 at 14:02:31
Phil #37,

We have been in this same situation so many times over these past 7 years. Of course, there is media and fan uproar, maybe even fuelled, but has the job been done that Benitez was employed to do? A job that he was selected above all others to do by the so-called money men of Moshiri and Usmanov.

The Everton establishment where against Benitez from the start, because they knew he would not give a shit about them from the start. Moshiri and Usmanov backed Benitez even though their opposition was made known to them.

Defeat by Norwich was sure to bring them out of the woodwork, even a report of an Emergency Board Meeting. But whilst the defeat by Norwich could legitimately result in the calling for Benitez's head, it also highlights the problems that Benitez is trying to address and needs more time to do so. Probably already discussed with Moshiri prior to the second half of the season.

There is no viable plan in existence should Benitez be removed. The decision to employ him was Moshiri's and Usmanov's, it was not the result of a strategic plan agreed through the club structure.

All the hope and speculation of various potiential managers does not cut it in such circumstances. To change the manager now would be the equivalent of changing the manager at half-time.

Benitez will be allowed to stay to the end of the season and will be asked to change tactics to avoid relegation if that problem arises. In the meantime, he will continue with the agreed style of play and building a team to suit it.

Dale Self
48 Posted 16/01/2022 at 14:12:13
We need Roy Keane in a Roy Hodgson costume.
Clive Rogers
49 Posted 16/01/2022 at 14:27:41
Calvert-Lewin did absolutely nothing for 90 minutes. Surely he wasn’t fully fit. You could see the difference when Richie came on.
Darren Hind
50 Posted 16/01/2022 at 14:29:59
"The problems with our club doesn't sit at the managers door"

sorry Danny. Not picking on you, but you keep peddling this in one form or anther across several threads.


Moshiri has paid them and the staff they brought with them approaching 100m in wages. He has backed them to the tune of 600m for the players they wanted. Very few clubs in the history of world football have backed their managers like we have.

In return these free loading fuckers have served up the worst football imaginable and stopped us going to Europe long before the pandemic come along... Yet so many people want to exonerate them because they think we have "bogey men" under our bed.

I despair...What does everyone fan want want from his club? One which can support its managers with hundreds of millions to spend on players ? Thats exactly what you have now.

At what stage do we stop exonerating the free loader and accept x marks the spot.

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

51 Posted 16/01/2022 at 14:39:21
Jerome @ 16. This:

'The fact is that Everton is being run by two power blocks, Kenwright & Co and Moshiri and Unsmanov. The latter appointed Benitez to take on Kenwright & Co influences.'

This 'fact' - that Rafa Benitez is somehow cleaning the Aegean Stables at Everton - has for some reason gained some traction among some TW posters.

The true fact is that there is one power block, and one power block ONLY, at Everton. Moshiri owns 77% of the share holding at Everton. Kenwright a mere 5%.

What Moshiri wants, he gets. When he tells someone to jump, they reply 'How high, boss?'

The notion that Benitez's remit includes curbing BK's influence and purging the club of his acolytes is pure fantasy.

That Benitez has engineered things to ensure he is the sole voice and decision maker on football matters following Brands departure gets no argument from me.

It is not Benitez's brief to get involved in power politics with the board and owner as you and others claim. That needs to be resolved by others. Not him.

Dennis Stevens
52 Posted 16/01/2022 at 14:42:22
I'm still half expecting some kind of cock-eyed response from Moshiri, such as making Benitez the new DOF with a new 1st team coach to work under him. Still, I suppose anything that moves Benitez further away from the match day squad has to be some kind of improvement. :-(
Christopher Timmins
53 Posted 16/01/2022 at 14:47:27
We have a terrible squad, put together over 5/6 years. Full of weak players who are bullied from start to finish in games. Gomes and Keane are prime examples over the past two weeks.

When I saw the team sheet yesterday at 2.05 I could only think of Wimbledon when they were in the top flight. A long ball up to the front two and then battle for possession, we don’t possess many battlers so that was never going to work.

The new manager should go with

Pickford
The two new full backs
Mina/Branthwaite
Godfrey
Gordon
Gray
Charlie
DCL and Townsend

Move on the rest!

Danny O’Neill
54 Posted 16/01/2022 at 14:50:14
Pick on me all you like Darren. I wouldnt come here otherwise.

I just think there's a common theme and the real problem lies elsewhere. The root cause isn't manager after manager.

Let's keep changing the manager whilst in reality, nothing changes.

Darren Hind
55 Posted 16/01/2022 at 14:52:51
Haha Danny

I was going to come back. yet again, but I can see you are entrenched in your opinion.and you wont be persuaded by me.

At least you have an opinion

Fair play

Rob Halligan
56 Posted 16/01/2022 at 14:57:28
HE'S FUCKING GONE. GET IN!!
Darren Hind
57 Posted 16/01/2022 at 14:57:40
TALK SHITE JUST ANNOUNCED HE HAS BEEN SACKED
Dale Self
58 Posted 16/01/2022 at 14:59:09
Wow Darren, some full throttle Mosh worhip there but the problem is the old phrase Caveat Emptor. He bought stuff but couldnt put things together with a viable plan and now its all else’s fault for the failure

Just send his PA out to do some happy clap pressers and we will turn it around with a carousel of repeated reactions and no functional vision. Simples eh ?

Steve Brown
59 Posted 16/01/2022 at 14:59:59
Confirmed sacked
Jerome Shields
60 Posted 16/01/2022 at 15:01:58
Jay#51

That's where the contradiction is. That Moshiri permits the existence of these two power blocks, while he is essentially was the one and only power block as you say.

This is the main barrier to addressing the problems at Everton and the reason that the continuation or not of Benitez's tenure is not straight forward. Ultimately the appointment of Benitez by Moshiri and Usmanov was never a runner from the start, given the possible reasons and objective they had for his tenure.

Benitez was never going to have the remit to change all that was needed to change Everton's performance. Only Moshiri has, which he appears reluctant to do. Benitez is a pawn and as Manager is in the crossfire trying to do his job and asking for changes to do so. He is invloved in Club politics whether he likes it or not.


Basket case Everton is complex and simple solutions like sacking the Manager have not worked, 6 Managers later, and won't work now.

I wish that it was different and see no hint of addressing the reasons for the problem thatis Everton.

Robert Tressell
61 Posted 16/01/2022 at 15:20:56
Unfortunately, Moshiri has been an absolute disaster for Everton.

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

62 Posted 16/01/2022 at 15:37:17
Jerome Shields @ 14:02:31:

'Benitez will be allowed to stay to the end of the season and will be asked to change tactics to avoid relegation if that problem arises. In the meantime, he will continue with the agreed style of play and building a team to suit it.'

Official club site @ 14:55:00:

Benitez Departs Everton

That didn't age well, did it Jerome?

Jerome Shields
63 Posted 16/01/2022 at 17:40:02
Jay#62

That's that, but it doesn't sort out the problem of what to do next to sort out the Club. It is all pretty clueless.

Back on the merry go round.

Bill Fairfield
64 Posted 16/01/2022 at 18:25:53
I know there's no guarantees in football but when is this board of directors going to get some semblance of sanity at our football club?

I've been going to Goodison since February 1966 and have never known such bad decisions made as of the last 6 years. Surely Mr Moshiri this has got to be the final throw of the dice before you finally admit you haven't got a clue what you're doing, because enough's enough.

Good luck with your next appointment.

Jerome Shields
65 Posted 16/01/2022 at 19:04:09
Bill#64

No guarantee unfortunately. Just occurred to be, Why do I bother?. First time since 1968.


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