The Last Reserves of Patience

Lyndon Lloyd 20/12/2016  90 Comments  [Jump to last]
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By Christmas you usually have a pretty good indication of how the Premier League is going to shake out. The title contenders are jostling for position at the top, the candidates for the drop are already digging in for the fight and the potential European qualifiers are weighing up what reinforcements they might need in January to make that a reality.

When the turkey is being carved this year and Evertonians are drinking to forget yet another defeat in the derby, Everton will be sitting seven points adrift of sixth place, a position likely — but not guaranteed — to deliver Ronald Koeman's stated goal of European qualification.

That widening gap between the Blues and that predictable top six has been foreshadowed by three months of poor form from the Dutchman's team. Two wins in 12 league matches, six defeats and just 10 goals scored is well below what was expected when Koeman came from Southampton billed as one of most highly-regarded managers in Europe.

No one expected miracles. Everton were dreadful in the last three months of Roberto Martinez's reign and the so-called best Toffees team since the 1980s has fallen well short of those estimations, exposed for the overhaul it so badly needs if the club is to truly compete in the next couple of years.

Few could have imagined we'd be quite so bad at times though. Granted it was a meaningless end-of-season encounter played in an almost celebratory atmosphere against a relegated team but the Everton that thumped Norwich 3-0 last May played with energy, movement, tempo and attacking verve.

After a decent start that yielded four wins from first five games in charge, the Blues have regressed into an outfit devoid of any flair — a team built for power and intensity but lacking the guile and creativity that, historically, Evertonians expect from their team. Nothing exemplified that more than Monday's Merseyside derby and it's troubling to hear Koeman describe the performance as “outstanding” because it clearly wasn't.

If his assessment of the performance was a psychological tool designed to acknowledge that his players had put in the requisite graft and aggression, then that's one thing. They had, after all — Ross Barkley's horrible tackle on Jordan Henderson aside — channeled the aggression he had called for into hassling Liverpool out of their stride until they dropped so deep that Jürgen Klopp's men had the space they needed in which to eventually work a winner. But it was a worryingly inept display going forward.

Everton acquitted themselves well in the first half within the parameters of stopping Liverpool but in failing to test Simon Mignolet once before half time they didn't offer anything aimed at actually winning the game themselves. The second half, with the clear mitigating circumstance of losing James McCarthy to injury (with Maarten Stekelenburg's own enforced departure robbing the manager of a third outfield sub), was, in a word, garbage and fans have a right to be concerned when the entire game plan appears to rest on one player — a player who appeared to some to be heading out the door in January — or the general stamina of the team as a whole. While Liverpool weren't good by any stretch of the imagination, they were better and if there was to be a winner, few could begrudge the red horde being the ones to take the points after they had allowed the Blues to burn themselves out.

The manager's inference was that he would have been delighted with having ground out another ugly point which, in a local derby, is fair enough even if supporters can, with justification, say that that isn't good enough, particularly with the opposition playing without their best player and best centre half. But this wasn't an isolated case of huff and puff being preferred to actual craft. As has been mentioned on these pages before, Koeman's Everton don't actually play much football.

Life under David Moyes could be mind-numbingly dull but when he was able to blend the silk in the form of the likes of Arteta and Pienaar with steel of your Cahills, Gravesens and Carsleys, the Blues also played some lovely stuff at times. Koeman will hopefully get there — Rome wasn't built in a day and he will clearly need lots of time but there is justifiable concern that a manager of his pedigree cannot get the current lot to string more than three passes together.

This is a man after all who played for a Barcelona under Johan Cruyff, steeped in the Netherlands' “Total Football” traditions and a member of the team that won the 1988 European Championships. Yet his yardstick for an outstanding performance on Monday was how well the team defended, pressed and how much his players ran themselves into the ground again. If that's what constitutes “outstanding” in his eyes, he's less Cruyff, and more Tony Pulis with a better CV.

If that sounds harsh, it's born of a belief that the Evertonians who have packed Goodison Park to capacity almost every home game so far and routinely sold out away allocations for season after season are entitled to expect a little more than one shot on target per game. The Grand Old Lady has witnessed just eight Premier League wins in 2016 — admittedly, half have come under Koeman — and has yet to see Everton put in a complete performance under the new manager. Patience is wearing thin but it's patience in abundance that we need again as the club goes through another evolution on the pitch.

While there are those calling prematurely for Koeman's head, it makes no sense to do so at this early stage because, again, he needs time — time to impress his methods on the team, time to identify who needs to be shipped out and time to bring in the players he and Steve Walsh feel they need to get Everton playing the way he wants them to. He was able to steady the ship at Southampton after a poor run of results last season and steer them into Europe and it seemed as though the Saints played some decent enough football under his guidance. We have to see if he can repeat that feat at Goodison.

In the meantime, however, it's not unreasonable to expect a little more subtlety and imagination from the team than has been served up in recent weeks. There have to be alternative routes to victory beyond constant pressing, particularly when the two most forward players merely pay the tactic lip-service. There are clearly problems to be addressed in the squad — the “Barkley question”, the need for a second striker and more creativity in general — but they shouldn't preclude work being done on the training ground focused on ball retention and basic concepts like pass and move. After all, Eddie Howe, for one example, has been able to get Bournemouth playing attractive football with supposedly inferior players to the point where, if results go in their favour on Boxing Day, they'll go above Everton in the table. We were supposed to have consigned such ignominy to the history of last season.

If there is comfort to be taken as 2016 comes to a close and the picture off the pitch looks ever rosier it's that football can change quickly and sometimes defy predictions. If the club can succeed where many others have failed and make some genuine game-changing additions in the January transfer window, then hope of bridging that gap to the top six won't be mis-placed. It could be that three or four targeted additions will flip a switch in Koeman's team and bring about an altogether more effective way of playing with players better able to make it a reality.

That is why Blues fans need to tap into their dwindling reserves of patience to see what the remainder of this season brings before a better assessment of the Koeman regime can be made. Change is rarely achieved without a degree of turbulence and readjustment; we just have to hope that it isn't too long in bearing fruit and doesn't culminate in another dead end.

The life of a Blue, eh? Happy Christmas.

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Reader Comments (90)

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John Malone
1 Posted 20/12/2016 at 23:14:47
Lyndon, what an absolutely cracking piece and completely summed up my own sentiment's to our current situation and style of play. I'm also glad you have mentioned Eddie Howe who for me is made for us if thing's don't workout with Koeman.

Bournemouth's style and workrate is exactly what I was expecting Martinez and now Koeman to bring to our club but as you say it is early day's for Ronald and at least he has the pedigree as a player and a manager to allow him us to keep the faith for at least a little while longer even though the performances have been so poor!

David Hallwood
2 Posted 20/12/2016 at 23:29:52
Great article Lyndon; IMO Koeman wants a style of play and to state the bleedin' obvious it ain't happening (or if it is Gawd help us). But what happened to flexibility, play with the cards you've been dealt with, use the tools at your disposal or any other cliche you can come up with.

To my mind the squad he has at his disposal is tailor made for 4-4-2, in fact the only time he tried it against Man Utd in the last 20 minutes, we looked like a team and had about 5 shots on target as opposed to the regulation 1 shot on target. Also the two holders became proper CMs playing further up the field spraying passes to the flanks ...why can't he see that?

Take Lukaku; IMO he's a 21st century Bob Latchford, not a Mane or Aquero or even a Costa, but needs to be at or around the penalty box supported by a partner latching(no pun intended) onto crosses from the flanks or through ball from midfield.

Then there's the 'Barkley Question', once again IMO he's a centre mid all day long; not a No 10 or part of a mid 3. Put him alongside Gana and play Lennon (or Del) on the right, and Mirallas on the left. What is obvious and has been for the last two seasons is that the 2 holders in midfield offer nothing going forward and doesn't solidify the defence, and by the way didn't Makelele & Carsley do that job single-handed?

To attract the right type of player, we need to get higher up the league, and that means winning games, and the current setup doesn't look like producing more than a couple of shots a game.

Finish with a cliche, play to your strengths Ronnie boy.

Colin Glassar
3 Posted 20/12/2016 at 23:39:54
I wrote something similar on another thread. I don't get this anti-football Koeman is playing. This isn't the football he was weaned on and this isn't the football his previous teams played. This is simply mindless shit.

His players, apart from Gana, have been poor. Stek is a backup goalie at best. Williams is a very limited player. And Bolasie blows more cold than hot and was vastly overpriced.

We were, if true, linked to good players in the summer but they, or their clubs, turned us down so that, at least, is encouraging.

I've been in the depths of despair too many times (early 70's, early 80's, and for the last 25 years) to give up now. Last night I watched a repeat of our golden years(?) on sky with Andy Gray, Sheedy and Sharpie and they were talking about how crap they were when Gray arrived and how close Howard was to getting the sack. Well, we all know how that turned out.

So yes, I have patience because what else is there? If I didn't believe we will win silverware ever again I may as well give up all together and history has shown me that Everton always come back, sooner or later.

John Raftery
4 Posted 20/12/2016 at 23:46:40
The inability to retain possession has required the team to work even harder to chase the ball than they would otherwise need to. Unsurprisingly they tire more quickly than opponents so that despite the increased focus on fitness they look no fitter than they did last season. Never was that more obvious than last night.

We seem to have gone from one extreme under Martinez of possession for possession's sake to another under Koeman of possession being an embarrassment. There is a balance to be achieved; let's hope Koeman can find it with the help of some astute transfer dealings in January.
Mark Andersson
5 Posted 21/12/2016 at 00:57:21
Great article, Lyndon, and some great posts.

I have nothing to add but I'm slowly losing interest in Everton.

Have a great Christmas, wish I was there.

James Byrne
6 Posted 21/12/2016 at 01:56:09
Lyndon, I'm afraid this isn't a great write up regarding the current situation at Everton FC. There are too many Evertonians who are too quick and (in your words) impatient under this current manager.

I'm just as frustrated as most Evertonians to witness some of the poor games recently, but this has been a trend that has gone on for donkeys years. Collectively under Moyes and Martinez who you mention in your report. To be fair both very average to very shit managers, take your pick of the two who is what.

Ronald Koeman has come in and inherited a very crap football squad; also a very cheap squad regards to value.

We've just played Liverpool, Arsenal and Man U at home and come away with 4 points out of 9 from 3 football clubs with an average net per year value per player of nearly a £1 Billion pound between them.

Under Koeman we are "work in progress" and we need to start assessing the managers progress in about 2 to 3 years, not months.

We need to be "patient", we all need to get a grip.

Dick Fearon
7 Posted 21/12/2016 at 01:57:48
On ToffeeWeb we are fortunate to have many wonderful contributors and Lyndon must be up there with the best of em'.

It was at a moment during the second half of the derby that I broke free from over 60 fraught years on the roller coaster ride that is Everton. It came like a bolt from the Blue that what we have got is as good as it's going to get for at least the next few years. Any hopes dreams or expectations have been crushed by a squad of players and its manager that, quite frankly, are not fit for purpose.

I am sick that the club I cherish is used by managers that have half an eye on their next lucrative job. Though I was a bit miffed that, before taking up the reins, Koeman insisted on completing his holiday. Allowing that he has been on the job for only 6 months that must surely be enough time to put his stamp on basic team fitness and tactics. That clearly is not the case.

All he has produced is little more than a mishmash of kick-and-hope garbage.

Unlike Guardiola, Moureno, Klopp, and that Chelsea guy who drive their teams on from the tech area, Ronald spends most of his time quietly in the dug out.

I cannot point to a single aspect of any player that shows the smallest kind of improvement since he arrived. If anything, they have all gone backwards.

As I said earlier, my optimism has gone and, as if a load has been lifted, I shall enjoy my Blues come what may, good or bad.

James Byrne
8 Posted 21/12/2016 at 02:03:03
Dick (#7)...

Please explain how we are supposed to compete with the £££ BILLIONS that Man City, Man United, Liverpool and Chelsea have spent collectively over the years?

How do we do that, I'm keen to know!

Mick Davies
9 Posted 21/12/2016 at 02:05:00
Very good article, Lyndon.

One thing I can't understand is, if Koeman wants to play an all action pressing game, why is he playing Barkley, and not giving Niasse a try? We know he's not going to be a great goalscorer, but that can be left to Lukaku.

Niasse is a worker, and now he's had a good run in the ressies, even scoring consistently, surely he can be no worse than Barkley?

Jamie Sweet
10 Posted 21/12/2016 at 02:05:12
Another fine piece as always, Lyndon. As someone who is probably the most rational of article writers, I see comparisons to Pulis as somewhat scathing by your usual standards. It shows that even your patience is wearing thin.

But patience is indeed what is called for. Plus two outstanding transfer windows. Then we'll be able to truly judge which way the barometer is pointing on the Cruyff - Pulis scale! I'm sincerely hoping toward the former.

Lyndon Lloyd
11 Posted 21/12/2016 at 02:16:36
James (6): 'We've just played Liverpool, Arsenal and Man U at home and come away with 4 points out of 9 from 3 football clubs with an average net per year value per player of nearly a £1 Billion pound between them ... We need to be "patient", we all need to get a grip.'

I believe that last point was the same one I was making but I'm not sure what the three games against Liverpool, Arsenal and Man United have to do with one of the problems I have with Koeman and that is the abysmal football we're playing at the moment.

Because we've been terrible to watch almost all season – against everyone from Bournemouth to Burnley, Southampton to Swansea – and the criticism that we haven't actually put together two decent halves since the first match (with the Spurs game possible excepted because an unfit side ran out of steam) has been levelled at Koeman's team since August.

You could pass it off in the first couple of months while he got his feet under the table but has he effectively written off the current squad and is refusing to try to get them playing joined-up football because he wants to ship them all out? If not, I'd like someone earning £6m-plus a year to have a bit more about him than press-press-press kick-and-rush footie. Or is that asking too much while remaining patient regarding the long-term squad-building initiative?

Peter Barry
12 Posted 21/12/2016 at 03:55:56
More 'jam tomorrow' fantasy La La land dreams. I for one am sick to death of it. If a manager on £6 Million a year can't make a better job of it in six months, and in fact takes us backwards not forward, then he is not 'fit for purpose'.
Peter Gorman
13 Posted 21/12/2016 at 04:38:25
I'm not at all understanding the wisdom of if being premature to call for his head. If it starts to become clear he is taking the club in the wrong direction then surely the sooner loses are cut the better?

It is very early on in his reign but some of the possible explanations for what turgid fare we are being served are;

1) the players have no idea what is expected of them

2) the players are doing exactly what is expected of them

3) the players know what is expected of them but are ignoring it and doing their own thing

None of the scenarios cast Koeman in the light of being a particularly great manager. In time he could turn out to be a good one but highly doubtful he will be a great one.

So, for that reason, why not try and unearth a great one or do we really not have the ambition to be great? Like I would for any youth prospect with potential, I would happily give a hell of a lot of time for a young, raw manager with a vision that wasn't as bloody awful as the tiki-taka bullshit we were served last year and the hoofball we are getting this year. If those are the respective visions of the managers they can go to hell.

Nigel Gregson
14 Posted 21/12/2016 at 04:43:02
Spot on, Lyndon. That is the best piece I've read in ages. Right from the beginning Ronald has been going on about fitness, pressing, aggression, physicality. But this isn't rugby. The Martinez era showed enough glimpses of what can be achieved with this team if it gets its shit together.

The narrative last year was that this is an underachieving squad with a poor manager. That narrative has now shifted to – this is a rubbish squad with a manager who needs time and money to turn it around. I don't buy it. How did we change our collective minds so quickly?

Did he not spend £40-50 million already on goalkeeper + midfielder + defender +winger? How much more money does he need to beat Bournemouth, Burnley or Watford ?

Paul Traill
15 Posted 21/12/2016 at 05:26:42
Good article, Lyndon. I have to agree with most of it. Koeman does need time but we do have a right to expect a better style. We don't really have any identity to our play. I also question the team spirit at the moment. Moyes made a big thing of getting the players close-nit and tried to sign players with good character who fit in well. I don't think Martinez really did that and it kinda drifted a bit.

Now Ronald appears to be pretty apparent about not wanting some of these players. If many of them know they are being replaced it wouldn't be a surprise to me if morale is a bit low. This will only really improve once he has the team he wants I imagine.
Brian Porter
16 Posted 21/12/2016 at 06:29:34
I've held off from posting on any threads since Monday as I wanted to watch the game again and be calm and reasonable in whatever comments I made. So, here goes...

Romelu Lukaku is not, and likely never will be, a world class striker. His poor control/dribbling skills on Monday night were laughable at times, reminiscent of an Oumar Niasse cameo from last season. Why does the big guy go missing so often in big games?

Ronald Koeman has had sufficient time to impose himself as a manager on a team of professional footballers. Inter Milan were quick to dispose of Frank de Boer after 85 DAYS when results were unacceptable, yet we're expected to give this man 3 YEARS to get it right? Surely a manager on £6m a year should be able to organise and motivate a squad of professional footballers after spending 6 months working with them on a daily basis. Yet, Koeman appears to have little idea of how his team should play, and seems reluctant to change things around to try to improve things on the field of play.

His apparent detachment from both club and players is sapping the morale from players and fans alike and it's my gut feeling he came here for the money and has no real connection with the club and is, so far, taking us backwards from Roberto Martinez's tenure, something I thought an impossibility.

Williams and Jagielka, combined age of 66, are too old and slow for the modern premier league. Funes Mori needs an extended run in the team and needs a new similarly aged CB partner with whom to form a new defensive partnership.

Enner Valencia is better than we thought and shouldn't have been withdrawn on Monday as our last offensive capability disappeared down the tunnel with him. I don't think the derby was an ideal game in which to throw Calvert-Lewin into.

I could say more but the battery on my phone is running out so I'll leave it there, though I could say much more, sadly none of it very positive. Drastic improvement needed by next Monday.
James Watts
17 Posted 21/12/2016 at 06:49:48
We do have to be patient, I agree. Unfortunately I don't believe Koeman is the answer to what we all crave. A lot of people saying give him 2 years? Well only 18 months to go I guess.

So let's hope in that time we start playing some kind of decent football, his tactical nous improves a million percent, his substitution use improves 2 million percent, he is willing to change systems when the game demands it & he plays the kids or at least gives them some bench time to come on to inject some life when needed.

Personally I don't think we have a cat in hell's chance of any of them happening and this guy needs to be shown the door now. 2 wins in 13 and all he blags on about is time and new players. Not good enough, he should be doing more with this team than he is. Any other half-decent manager would.

Tony Hill
18 Posted 21/12/2016 at 06:59:11
As the piece says, sometimes things just click and change for the better. We do have a solid spirit now in the team as the last two games have shown. I think we're going to have a stronger second half to the season.

This view is based on instinct more than present evidence but if you have players who want to do their best for the club and manager then you are already heading significantly in the right direction in the modern game. Footballing problems can be fixed, dressing room mutinies cannot.

John Barnes
19 Posted 21/12/2016 at 07:16:34
I must admit I have mixed feelings. A lot of people reckon Koeman wants the finished product and is not prepared to try the youngsters. He tried for several players in the summer who turned him/the club down. So, if he fails again in January to bring in 'his' type of player, in sufficient numbers, and then again in the summer, where will we be?

Will he have tired of the underperformers and reluctantly look to the reserves? If so, then patience would be required and maybe given by a section of fans. But if his idea of taking the club forward is to recruit ready-mades then we might be looking at the same scenario at the end of every window. Meanwhile the underperformers get a year older, no better and we have to wait till their contracts wind down. Then what?

So far no answers, only questions hence my mixed feelings. This season is over except for a pipe-dream FA Cup win so I'd be inclined to give him the next two windows and see what the squad looks like going into next season. I think Koeman might be wise to have the young players often touted on here to have 10 - 15 games under their belt by then.

Douglas McClenaghan
20 Posted 21/12/2016 at 07:34:46
Things are looking grim for January and I am afraid of the meltdown here and on other forums if we do not substantially strengthen. When I'm a bit more optimistic I think that it's all under control with some Gana-esque under the radar brilliant signings. A poor January, on and off the field, and the knives may well be out. I was thrilled to get Koeman but my support has all but evaporated. I wasn't expecting miracles but this squad has played much, much better. Remember our European matches a few seasons ago. How did it get to this?
John Barnes
21 Posted 21/12/2016 at 07:46:07
Doug, Some of the squad are the wrong side of 30 and have apparently deteriorated over that time.
Denis Richardson
22 Posted 21/12/2016 at 08:52:05
Sorry, Lyndon, but I can't agree. Too many fans are far too quick to cast judgement on a manager who's been in charge for barely half a season and has had just one transfer window.

Fact is Koeman inherited an ageing and very average squad and that's being kind. Blue tinted specs are on when people talk about the likes of Barry (35), Jagielka (34) and Baines (32) – all 3 great servants but all have had their best days (long ago). Williams (32), whilst not being a spring chicken himself, was (I believe) brought in more for his leadership and steel, into what had been and still is a fairly weak squad from a mental perspective.

The list of players who are simply not good enough is almost endless. The ones still left from the Moyes era are mostly coming to the end of their careers and most of the ones brought in by Martinez are simply not good enough. We have a good dozen senior squad members who in reality need to be replaced – that includes numerous players who take the pitch regularly every Saturday. Let's take a quick run down of our 'best squad in 30 years';

Players needing replacing now / should not be first team regulars:

Niasse, Kone, McGeady, Gibson, Besic, Cleverley, Barry, Jagielka (8)

Players who are stop gaps / okay for squad but not regular starters:

Lennon, Deulofeu, Robles, Stekelenburg, Oviedo, Valencia (6) (If being kind you can move Jagielka and Barry down to this list)

Then we have the likes of:

Barkley – played under Moyes, Martinez, Koeman and at 23 and with 5 odd years in the Premier League under his belt, we're still wondering what his best position is and if he'll 'make it'. Head scratcher.

McCarthy – lots of industry but doesn't offer much else. Also now worryingly very injury prone

So thats about 14-16 players (ie, most of our senior squad!) who basically would not be regular starters or even at the club if we had our wish. How on earth is Koeman supposed to storm the league with that?

The most poignant phrase in your article, Lyndon, was 'Rome wasn't built in a day'. We do however have some really good players who are the right side of 30; Gana, Coleman, Lukaku (divisive I know), Mirallas (badly off form), Holgate (great prospect) and the likes of Funes Mori, Browning, Bolasie and Galloway are okay imo.

So we have 9 decent to very good players under 30 in the whole senior squad. We simply don't have enough decent players who are the right side of 30. Koeman has to be given time to get rid of the dross and bring in new players. However, this is easier said than done and will of course take time. Fingers crossed a couple more come in January and another 4-5 next summer.

This season was always likely to be a transitional one so let's try to keep calm, back the manager, and hope the new owner can sort us out a shiny new stadium.

(If the club also stopped handing out contract extensions to players like Barry and Gibson, it might make it easier for Koeman to bring in new players!)

Gerard Carey
23 Posted 21/12/2016 at 09:09:03
It's beginning to look like January will be a very important month. What are the chances we can get in two or three players that will make a difference? Only Gana, (one out of four), has improved the team since the summer.

I think six months is plenty of time to see a new manager stamp his way of playing on his team. It's one thing to play with aggression, but it must be married to skill as well.

Koeman does need time, but how long? It's not always about beating the so called sky four or five, but we should be able to take care of the weaker teams on a regular basis.

Next two games will show where we are at. Leicester and Hull should be winnable games. Over to Mr Koeman!!!!

Chris Williams
24 Posted 21/12/2016 at 09:15:28
Thanks, Lyndon, for the perspective and realism.

The football is grim alright and aimless. As bad as we've seen probably. The squad has more holes than a tramps vest and as many unwelcome passengers.

Patience is all we have since the only alternative is madness, frustrations, ulcers, alcoholism. But we need a few crumbs, some encouragement, some signs of progress to cling to, like a drowning man to a matchstick .

Maybe January transfers or news about the ground or the AGM?

Serenity now! Happy Festivus!

Tony Marsh
25 Posted 21/12/2016 at 09:16:41
We must be the only club ever to get a billionaire owner and go backwards. At times this season, we have had a starting eleven with FIVE Moyes players in it? Baines, Coleman, Barkley, Baines, Jagielka. It's a joke really. When Joe Anderson promised 6 months ago we would have a new stadium within 3 years – it all seemed too good to be true. Well, Joe, this promise has two and a half years left to be delivered.

Monday night summed up Everton and in particular the new manager Koeman. Clueless and still in denial. The tactics and the subs were bad enough but to come out with Martinez-type drivel after the game was embarrassing for every Everton fan.

Personally I don't think Koeman is good enough for this job. Southampton are minnows compared to us and the remit there is to stay up. When you come to Merseyside to manage one of the big two you must quickly realise we eat, breath and live football. It's a religion a way of life. Klopp has quickly realised this and you can see it in his team.

Moshiri has gone quiet the new stadium is not spoken of; we didn't spend any money in the summer; and the new guy in charge appears to be a clueless dud. All-in-all, the same shit we are used to. I can't see money changing the way big Ron thinks. He is a Dutch Moyes by the looks of things.

I agree Eddie Howe would be perfect for us and I believe the lad is an Evertonian. Let's go get him before Ron ruins us.

Merry Xmas to one and all and let's hope there is a huge stadium on the docks in Santa's sack when he flies over Merseyside this year... We've all been good haven't we.???

Tony Abrahams
26 Posted 21/12/2016 at 09:47:36
Very sensible article Lyndon, and post #11, absolutely sums it up for me.

Patience is the easy part, you only had to see the banner those smug bastards unfurled the other night (I hope Moshiri is taking note), but Koeman does need to hit on some kind of style soon, otherwise people are definitely going to lose faith.

Back to that banner, and the smugness of our horrible neighbours, remember the one that said, "Come back when you've won 19" to Man Utd?Let's hope Moshiri is here to help knock Liverpool off their perch!)

Tony Hill
27 Posted 21/12/2016 at 10:01:31
Yes,Tony, I sit right next to the away fans and it got unpleasant after they scored. Their fans have always been vulgar, and painful to listen to and to look at; but we must rise above it in our classy Everton way.
Barry Pearce
28 Posted 21/12/2016 at 10:11:30
Great measured article.

The question of what manager can get us playing good attractive football is impossible to predict. Koeman did this at Southampton, even after losing quite a few supposedly star players. How could we know for certain Eddie Howe would turn us into the team we want to see with this squad of players.

A few years ago people on here were posting how we should sack Moyes and get Owen Coyle a young and progressive manager doing a great job at Bolton. Just saying like.

Tony Abrahams
29 Posted 21/12/2016 at 10:19:36
Good description Tony, but I couldn't really slag them for the flares. Some people by me were fuming, but they obviously haven't travelled away with Everton, if they hold such a view.

Rise above it? I've got to agree, and always remember the Arsenal fans description on talk sport, when Rooney scored his famous first goal. We had broke their unbeaten run, but the gunners who phoned up, all commented on how The Evertonians, had celebrated for themselves, which is something that can never be argued with I suppose?

But won't it be beautiful when we get our new stadium and start winning again, if only to prove who the real bitter bastards are, in this city!!!

Joe Clitherow
30 Posted 21/12/2016 at 10:34:16
One transfer window, ONE and before he had a chance to properly get to know the players left to him. This is still, largely, Martinez' team in many respects and it is becoming more clear who Koeman trusts now and who he does not.

The Spanish John Oster in particular is one who consistently gets a free pass from the vast majority on here (whilst Ross gets crucified constantly), and for me he is a huge disappointment. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see Deulofeu shipped out in January and cue the howls of derision here if he is.

Tony Abrahams
31 Posted 21/12/2016 at 10:45:14
Derision on ToffeeWeb, maybe, Joe, but I don't think that many fans would be that disappointed if Gerry was to leave. My own view would be to try him off the striker, in Ross Barkley's current position actually, before considering getting rid, but I'm not the manager, and I think you could be right, because maybe the kid doesn't really show enough desire?
Damian Wilde
32 Posted 21/12/2016 at 10:51:26
James Byrne (6):

Two-three years...seriously??!!! The guy is stinking the joint out with zero pattern of play and basically playing hoofball.

Okay, our squad is average so we don't expect miracles. But surely he has to have us pkaying better than this? The football under Walter Smith was better. I am utterly 'bored' going to the match, the football is so so bad. It's worse than last season.

Tbh I'd be happy for him to go now. But surely he deserves a year max.

His line ups, tactics, and substitutions leave a lot to be desired.

Good article, Lyndon.

Oh and as for Barkley, I'd take £10 million. The lad's finished at Everton.

I hope this all improves as I am sick of going to the match feeling it is a chore. I wanted Moyes gone, but the majority of time I looked forward to going to the game.

Iain Johnston
33 Posted 21/12/2016 at 11:03:37
Even though Koeman wasn't my first choice (I wanted Mancini), I was willing to give him time to move on the majority of a squad filled with also-rans, journeymen and those in the twilight of their careers.

The signing of Williams and now the contract extension for Barry in particular has changed my outlook. With only a 3-year-deal, he's compounded the squad replacement issue for the next guy, has sent a message of no confidence to the U23s and has possibly dented the confidence of Galloway.

Holgate is ready and Browning is fit again... What's next – an extension for Jagielka or a bid for Fonte?

These players, together with Davies & Walsh, need to be given the opportunity to show what they have to offer, rather than be sent further down the pecking order by extending the careers of 30-something has-beens who have measured their career success mostly by wealth rather than accomplishment... or worse – just dismissed out of hand.

Again, £25m for Bolasie, if this style of player was on his agenda, why not opt for Townsend for half the price? The goal return would have been a little healthier too.

For me, Koeman is just another Martinez, a manager from a club which has no expectations, a manager who has serious judgement flaws and delusions of grandeur.

John Raftery
34 Posted 21/12/2016 at 11:19:57
Joe (30) I am another who agrees with your view of Deulofeu. He should be nowhere near the first team. At least Koeman appears to have recognised that by not even selecting him for the bench on Monday.
Drew O'Neall
35 Posted 21/12/2016 at 11:24:49
What a pathetic lack of ambition to set sights on sixth place in the league, to set up for 'own half hoofball' at home to your derby rivals and to generally denigrate Everton's chances of achieving anything of greatness.

Mr Koeman, shame on you. Perhaps you are not a leader and a winner after all but just another silver-spoon footballer who was gifted glory by being sold to the best team.

Raymond Fox
36 Posted 21/12/2016 at 11:41:03
Thanks, Lyndon, for a good article.

I don't know about you but we have been asked to be patient for far to long. The next two windows, especially in the summer, will inform us if its going to be more of the same or not. We'll find out then if Moshiri and pals are the real deal.

Somehow we need to attract players who are good enough to play for the usual top-six sides; at the moment we only have two players who would interest them and they would probably be squad players. I know, I know its dam hard to sign this quality of player, the only way I can come up with is pay them silly money, but there again is that wise?

The only alternative I can see to the above, is if we can get lucky and produce enough gems from our youth system, that's some what of a longshot though. Free transfers and bargain buys will not change anything.

Joe Clitherow
37 Posted 21/12/2016 at 11:45:35
"Gifted glory" and "silver-spoon"... Right.

So nothing at all to do with the work and application and single minded ambition necessary to become one of the best defenders of his generation in a potential pool of millions, it's just a lottery after all. Sit back and let it all be done to you, you don't need to have any drive, ambition and realism to make that happen.

Really?

I'd take a Koeman honest assessment based on what is a realistic and pragmatic view from his own personal experience rather than pie-in-the-sky sugar coated optimism any day. Some posters here find that much too unpalatable, but it doesn't change facts.

Realism and ambition are very different qualities and both are needed to realise potential (unless, er, you win the lottery, like).

Both our current and previous managers have one of those key qualities but one of them sorely lacked the other. One's a winner, one's a loser in my opinion.

Paul Conway
38 Posted 21/12/2016 at 12:10:24
Dick Fearon at (#7),

Spoken like a true long suffering blue! Ditto.

Mark Wilson
39 Posted 21/12/2016 at 12:11:12
Lyndon, waiting for a while after a pathetic miserable performance makes sense, though right now will eventually mean you never posting before Wednesday after a game!

Patience is the reasoned call but frankly it's not supported by so much as a glimmer of evidence that such pragmatism will be rewarded. Koeman has made a truly awful start. His football is a disjointed mess, neither total pressing, nor passing and the descent into long-ball approaches at times has some irony given that most of us were screaming at Martinez to allow a few long ball hoofs. But as ever balance is nowhere to be seen.

I'm genuinely dismayed that Koeman has such little regard for the tactic of deploying some young footballing talent when four months of woeful performances are surely saying "It's a risk yes, they won't be 100% ready, yes. But my belief remains that we have four players who could start next week and not be disgraced. And honestly, with no hint of OTT fickle football fan impatience... Davies, Holgate, Calvert-Lewin and Browning would surely give us some drive, utter commitment and freshness that this fast fading and aging squad lack.

I cannot understand Koeman's thinking when he takes off Valencia, puts the young lad on, then plays him as a winger. Crazy. I cannot understand the refusal to see the horribly obvious, that unless you take a breath and play to Lukaku's excellent but quite narrow list of strengths, you will see a toothless attack fail time after time. Is it just stubbornness ?

Here's the thing for me. After ballsing up the summer window so badly Koeman faces the ongoing impact of that in January. The collapse in results and quality means that in a January how hard will it be to secure genuinely quality, long term, and crucially, immediately effective signings? The pressure on Walsh is incredible now. He has to try and find some medium cost winners because I don't think I'm alone in suggesting that there's nothing like £100m net of incoming transfer money to spend. It's wheeling and dealing plus, I suspect, a £50m war chest which two years would have seemed amazing, but now just gets you a couple of hugely over-priced Bolasies.

Koeman had to do better and should have done better even with his squad of geriatrics. Sacking him and his team would cost £25m, the price of a half decent centre forward. That's daft business, isn't it? Sadly I'm actually not sure and had he been at Chelsea, Man City or guess what, the Red Shite, he'd be gone. As is said of Karen Brady, "Harsh but fair" ?

Gary Edwards
40 Posted 21/12/2016 at 12:12:35
Merry Christmas, Lyndon, great article... all the best for the New Year.

Latest thoughts (TV) breakfast news announced that Lukaku will be / has been offered a new contract that will pay him circa £100k a week. When reading this article I realised, (embarrassingly) belatedly, that Koeman is the highest paid individual directly responsible for what happens on the pitch. This led me to question whether basic human (players) psyche is a factor in the poor quality of the football this season i.e. (player mindset) you're the supposedly superstar manager, you get paid more than me, you're responsible etc.

Translate this scenario into working environments in which we're all familiar .. and how does that usually pan out? In my world ... spirits are high during honeymoon period, morale drops when manager fails to meet expectation (reasonable or otherwise) or things start going bad, manager fires a few, brings in his 'own' ... thereafter I've seen it go both ways.

At which other clubs is the manager the top earner and paid >20% more than highest paid player / considerably more than the playing staff in general?

Everton have cut some questionably bad deals in recent years, notably Martinez's contract (especially the compo due when we fired his ass)... and now Koeman's deal.

Please excuse my journey from lucidity to ramble, I get a bit emotional when it comes to Everton.

Merry Christmas all

Steve Brown
41 Posted 21/12/2016 at 12:38:55
Howard took three years to win a trophy and Fergie took four. Along the way, their teams played some truly dreadful football and both came within a whisker of being sacked. People on here want to sack Koeman after six months.
Dave Abrahams
42 Posted 21/12/2016 at 13:05:19
Good piece, Lyndon, but that is one side of the coin. The other side is very well put by Dennis Richardson (22). I also think Koeman was left a poor squad to carry on with.

The transfer dealings could have been better in the summer, I wouldn't mind betting Koeman was as disappointed as many on here, he's said he leaves the transfers to others.

Things could be a whole lot better but patience surely must last longer than five months, I'm prepared to wait and see what transpires in the second half of the season.

Craig Walker
43 Posted 21/12/2016 at 13:11:26
Great article, Lyndon, which sums up perfectly my waning patience with the Blues. I still think Koeman can be a good manager for us given the financial backing.

The "Barkley problem" can be solved by selling him to the highest bidder. If Spurs are genuinely offering £35m then I'd snatch their hands off. The lad frustrates the hell out of me.

During the Arsenal game, he does the hard part and beats the man, cuts into the box but does he square it to Mirallas with an open goal gaping to make it 3-1? No. He shoots at the near post. No brain and you can't learn that.

Deulofeu is no better than Aiden McGeady. Tricky on his day but a show pony who invariably loses the ball then throws his arms up to the referee.

The sum of our ambition is shown by offering Barry a contract extension. Man Utd have an ageing world cup winner in Schweinsteiger who is five times the player Barry is and he can't get near their squad. There's only Coleman and Gueye who can hold their heads up this season.

People tell me though that we can't get rid of players though because we're not Chelsea or Man City. Do we just accept mediocrity despite having a billionaire owner? How did Leicester do so well then? Why can the likes of Bournemouth and Burnley give the RS a game? If we are to just accept mediocrity then what is the point investing our lives in following the Blues like we do?

James Morgan
44 Posted 21/12/2016 at 13:28:59
I've practically lost patience and interest. I get that the squad needs an overhaul but they should be good enough to do better than what they have.

The most annoying thing is if we get to mid-January and we've not done most of our business. Players should have been identified and their agents approached but, as usual, it will be a last minute scramble for some overpriced bang-average player.

Mark Daley
45 Posted 21/12/2016 at 13:34:25
We're all deluded, trapped in cycles of occasional hope (e.g. 3-1 Chelsea last year, 2-1 Arsenal this) between depressing delusion (4-0 RS, 4-0 RS, 1-0 RS etc). Like dogs returning to their vomit, we fools repeat our folly.

Forget it everyone. You never really lose your religion but you can at least get it in context. There is no Father Christmas, there are no men on the moon, the world is not fair, and EFC's greatness is in the same category as Accrington Stanley's and Leed United's; the dead past.

Vince Furnier
46 Posted 21/12/2016 at 13:47:24
He (Koeman) just doesn't feel one of us. He comes across very cold and distant and rarely shows any passion.

So he had better get the results because I think that will be far quicker to turn on him than we did Martinez.

Regardless of opinion on Moyes, I always felt he hurt when we hurt and smiled when we smiled. Not so the Distant Dutchman.

Colin O'Keeffe
47 Posted 21/12/2016 at 14:08:40
I wonder, if Koeman realised the real size of the task, he was taking on he would have come to Everton at all? I wasn't in the slightest bit fooled by our goos start – all the teams we beat were poor or in hopeless form (Stoke, Sunderland, WBA, Boro, West Ham).

The fact was Martinez's Everton were a disgrace at the end of last season and Koeman inherited a total shambles of a squad. The label of most talented squad since the mid-eighties has been well and truely identified as a complete fallacy in the last 12 months.

Koeman inherited a failed project and wasn't able to get anything like the quantity or quality of players in to improve it. This outfit requires major surgery in every single department to make us competitive with the big boys. The fact that we've just played 3 successive matches versus Arsenal, Man Utd and Liverpool and lost only one makes him a miracle worker in my eyes.

Who did we have to bring on when we were desperate for a injection of quality and experience as Enner Valencia was tiring versus Liverpool? A 19-year-old fresh from a few appearances with a league one club.

We've essentially settled for mediocrity for over 20 years now. Koeman will root this out and at least put a team together which can fight with the big boys and produce the requisite quality. However, the point that has been made is, he needs time to do this. Nobody could make the shower he has inherited competitive in 3-4 months. I predict that the picture will look very different in a year's time. Merry Christmas Blues – we will get there.

Kenny Smith
48 Posted 21/12/2016 at 14:13:46
Well written, Lyndon. I have little doubt that Koeman will turn this around. Prior to him taking over, the squad was totally unbalanced, now it's just unbalanced. Come the next 2 windows, the deadwood will hopefully have been moved on and replaced with players who are up to it.

I strongly feel that it's time to part with Barkley. We've spent 4 seasons trying to shoehorn this local lad into the team, purely because he is just that – a local lad. Koeman is the first since Neil Warnock when he was on loan at Leeds to tell the truth. Ross isn't good enough.

Koeman will get this right I'm sure even if he might upset a few players and fans along the way.

Paul Tran
49 Posted 21/12/2016 at 14:20:23
The Spanish John Oster. Spot on, Joe. He'd be a great player if the opposition weren't on the pitch.
Tony Abrahams
50 Posted 21/12/2016 at 14:21:05
I love that post, Mark, full of feelings that only come out when a man is really down!

I still believe in Father Xmas, Mark, he's in all of us at some stage, and I've met a few spacemen in my time, which is possibly why I've got no real desire to go to the moon, but I can understand why you're comparing Everton to Leeds, and have to agree with you that the world just isn't fair.

Through the depths of despair, came great joy hopefully starting with an announcement on our new stadium, as The Once Mighty Everton, rise once again like a Phoenix from the flames, or much more likely is I'm just a fuckin spaceman myself!

Bobby Mallon
53 Posted 21/12/2016 at 15:06:08
I am a bit baffled by some on here who criticise us for playing the long ball game. Are we not playing the style because we can't play the passing out from the back game? As I recall when we did play like that mistakes where made goals conceded and most on here slaughtered Martinez.
Chris Williams
54 Posted 21/12/2016 at 15:23:03
We paid over the odds for Bolasie?

We surely did and so did everyone who bought someone in the last window.

The Premier League clubs all got a big increase in TV cash and other leagues knew all about it. Look at some of the fees: Sissoko £30m, Mane £34m, and so on. Look at the number of players who got a bigger contract from their existing clubs because of our interest.

Too much money chasing a limited number of players. All hyped up by Sky. Williams; £9m is suddenly £12m. Bolasie; £25m is suddenly £28m. All to inflate the obscene running total they shove down our throats in the wankfest presided over by Jim White.

Pity it's so addictive.

Rick Tarleton
55 Posted 21/12/2016 at 15:57:14
As usual a literate and cogent piece, Lyndon, that neatly sums up where Koeman's Everton are. However, I'm worried that Koeman's style is basically that of Klopp and Pochettino, his predecessor at Southampton, in what is now called the pressing game. There's nothing wrong with this style, provided it suits the players you have. It does not suit this Everton team at all and they look lost when trying to adapt to it. The pressing game suits a young, and athletic team. Everton are an ageing squad and they are not noticeably athletic.

The "Barkley Question" as you call it is a symptom of the mismatch of style and personnel. Barkley can play as he did on Monday night, running around and throwing himself recklessly into every tackle, however, he is not terribly effective when doing so. He needs to play at his pace where his skill on and with the ball is utilised effectively, he is a head-up player, not a head-down type, like Henderson for instance.

Lukaku as another contributor has said is like Latchford (or Pickering) he needs to be fed with the ball in front of him to utilise his strength and finishing prowess. Not asked to play with his back to the goal and hold play up.

If Koeman can attract half a dozen players of the kind he wants then he can play in the style he wants. However, a manager sometimes has to adapt his style to the strengths of his players. This is what so far Koeman has shown no sign of being able or willing to do.To keep repeating the error of playing in the way that does not suit your players is a sign of football insanity.

Unless Koeman can change his squad quickly, I can only see problems ahead , too many of the present team look disilusioned and plain unhappy at the way they are being asked to play.

James Byrne
56 Posted 21/12/2016 at 16:07:43
Colin (#47)

Spot on comment mentioning if Koeman actually knew what he was getting into at Everton. I think he knew he had his work cut out but I don't think he was aware of the huge expectation from the fans; the last three home games and the noise / passion he has witnessed will give him something to think about.

Going by some of his comments were he appears to have a dig at Martinez and the squad he inherited, he's probably been shocked at how poor the quality of team is, and shocked at the poor levels of fitness.

I appreciate some of the poor football we've played but I'm sticking behind Koeman to turn this around by next season.

Ray Jacques
57 Posted 21/12/2016 at 16:32:25
I don't know if Koeman is the right manager for us as it's early days and time will tell.

However, my big concern about him and the players is I cannot think of one player in our squad who has shown any improvement whatsoever from 12 months ago, and they in fact are regressing in form or slowing as age bites.

The only two who have maintained a steady level are Coleman and Lukaku (still lazy but still scoring).

Raymond Fox
58 Posted 21/12/2016 at 17:10:53
James (#56), I agree with your first paragraph but, in regards the second, could it not be said that he's making excuses.

He couldn't lose could he, do very well and he would be lauded, do badly and blame it all on Martinez.

I don't see much if any improvement myself.

Damian Wilde
59 Posted 21/12/2016 at 17:35:42
Bobby Mallon:

"I am a bit baffled by some on here who criticise for playing the long ball game. Are we not playing the style because we can't play the passing out from the back game. As I recall when we did play like that mistakes where made goals conceded and most on here slaughtered Martinez."

FFS, I despair. Listen Bobby, we're after somewhere in-between, a bit of grey (there isn't just black or white). So yes, we don't want them constantly pissing around with it at the back like Stones did, but we don't want constant hoofball, it's dreadful to watch.

The Moyes stuff was somewhere in-between, which was far better to watch.

Jamie Barlow
60 Posted 21/12/2016 at 18:23:27
More nonsense from Peter Barry.

If Koeman can't sort out a club that's been fucked for over 20 years in 6 months and one transfer window, he's not fit for purpose.

Should we sack him then? Pay him his £12 million and move on to the next? What if the new manager hasn't put it right in 6 months? Pay him off and move on again?

Fran Mitchell
61 Posted 21/12/2016 at 19:26:29
Ever since Koeman came in he has been talking about spending money, about transfer windows, about signing players.

With Moyes we built good teams on a budget, and many off us found pride in this. The Idea of building good teams on a budget, on getting the most out of what we have. Then any cash we do have can be put to great use.

Koeman however sounds like he is saying success is only possible If he spends big.

Not overly impressed, but give him till the end of the season.

Ian Brandes
62 Posted 21/12/2016 at 19:49:30
I was underwhelmed when we made a spectacle of ourselves chasing him. He is a run of the mill manager, no better than average, and we deserve more.

Dutch 'Total Football' has transformed into total crap with the majority of our performances. We should cut him adrift as soon as. We will probably finish 12th or 13th if we are very lucky! Hope we don't, but I fear we will.

As for our billionaire shareholder, that is another false dawn, I think.

Colin Metcalfe
63 Posted 21/12/2016 at 20:11:04
Jamie (#60) we deservedly lost against the RS however if we had been spanked by Arsenal last week then surely Koeman would be looking down both barrels this week! The absolute dross we have been served up this season is the worst football/hoofball I can remember.

I do feel that win against the gunners was very very important, it showed the team can press and Barkley can turn it on against the top teams (he always plays well against the Arse for some reason) but more importantly it gave Koeman a bit of breathing space ... would you not agree, Jamie ?

Darren Hind
64 Posted 21/12/2016 at 21:16:24
Dear me, the excuse factory certainly hasn't closed down early for Christmas.

The money argument has been blown to fuck by Burnley, Bournemouth, Watford, Norwich and Swansea. It's no longer a reasoned response its whiney woe-is-us bleating.

Joe Clitherow,

These realistic pragmatic points that some of us find too unpalatable? Care to give us a couple of examples ?

The Guy has come out and told you we were "outstanding" on Monday ffs. That isn't the unpalatable truth, it's utter fucking stupidity. An insult to everyone associated with this club.

I don't accept this "we need to be more patient" lark. The guy quite clearly lacks the courage for this job. How much more proof do we need? He makes Davey Moyes look like Richard the fucking Lionheart.

Bobby Thomas
65 Posted 21/12/2016 at 21:19:06
Stopping making expensive, below par, inconsistent, or bang average signings may be a good place to start.

Our recruitment has gone out of the window.

Funes Mori, Besic, Deulofeu, McCarthy, Lennon, Niasse, Bolasie... Williams, a signing I supported, is also shaping up poorly.

£85 millions worth there, give or take.

Brian Denton
66 Posted 21/12/2016 at 21:58:17
£85 millions cost there, Bobby .

Worth is a different matter!

Bobby Thomas
67 Posted 21/12/2016 at 22:20:06
Yes Brian!! You have a point there. In reality, £35 millions worth there.

A quick point on a phrase that caught my attention in Lyndon's article. When we took Koeman, did anyone actually think we had managed to snare "one of most highly-regarded managers in Europe"?

I certainly didn't. If we had, I'd have been excited. I was pleased, as I thought it was a step up from Martinez. But his record is miles away from that. I'd describe it as solid, and for what he has achieved, he's very expensive. His playing career means his managerial record/reputation gets overstated.

David Midgley
68 Posted 21/12/2016 at 22:38:21
Whoever manager's squad he inherited, he can't coach the basic football skills into them. He can't teach them to make the right footballing decisions. He can't get them passionate as he doesn't seem to have any himself.

However, I don't understand why, after six months, he doesn't seem to be able to get them properly match fit. Perhaps it's the air on Merseyside.

Colin Glassar
69 Posted 21/12/2016 at 22:48:33
Darren, I'm still trying to figure about why you mentioned Burnley, Watford, Swansea etc . What's your point?
Joe Clitherow
70 Posted 21/12/2016 at 22:56:06
Firstly, "The Martinez era showed enough glimpses of what can be achieved with this team if it gets its shit together."

Say what??

Secondly, Darren Hind

As to your request for a couple of examples I'll try and oblige.

For the first one I'll refer you to Jamie Barlow's post (#60) for a realistic assessment of where we are. The club is in a mess; although in my opinion the decline is over nearly 30 years rather than the 20 he states. The blip of a trophy and a Top 6 finish in the mid-90s overshadowing the fact that behind the scenes we were apparently hours from bankruptcy on more than one occasion in the same decade. Moyes briefly halted terminal decline and clawed us back to top half football and then Martinez put us squarely back in the shit on the playing side, even if we aren't in financial dire straits anymore.

I honestly don't know whether Ronald Koeman is a good or great manager, or possibly a bad one who got lucky a few times. I do know that his predecessor was a terrible one, and I also know that clubs that switch managers without giving enough time, like a latter day Peter Swales at Manchester City, invariably decline.

Some of the posters here seem to think there is a magic wand that can be waved to transform underperformers into world beaters. Some who want Koeman gone, I've noticed, are the same names who wanted to give Martinez "another season" when it was quite obvious relegation was the only outcome possible.

The last part is on the game on Monday. I happen to think we were not nearly as bad overall as the hyperbole on here would have you believe. The benchmark for what is largely the same group of players was what they set in April when a 4-0 hiding was a very generous result.

We lost on Monday by a single goal in extra time and even if we were second best overall we at least showed up for the game and were definitely the better side for the first 30 mins. That's not great by the way but given the situation we are currently in it is a lot better than April.

They bring on Daniel Sturridge to change the game; we have a 35-year-old Gareth Barry and Dominic Calvert-Lewin. We all want to run away and make ourselves feel better emotionally by saying we were utter shite, and make the players train in sackcloth and ashes all week as penance, but to have a realistic plan to change you need perspective, context and realism – not the ability to turn purple in the face.

Like I said, right now we are not in a great place squad-wise, let's see where we are after giving a new manager at least two transfer windows after he has actually seen his team in the real heat of battle. He hasn't had one of those yet. By the way, this IS what will happen without a doubt, whatever the opinion of internet posters about what should happen.

Is that enough pragmatism for you? It seems to be largely overlooked in my perception, only replaced by "We are Everton, one of the Merseyside big two (scroll up ffs) and we should be challenging for the league every year". We all want that, we all cling to the hope that we will but, right now, we are years from that and it will take time and money to change it consistently. Swapping out managers every few months will be an absolute disaster.

Joe Clitherow
71 Posted 21/12/2016 at 23:01:26
"He can't get them passionate as he doesn't seem to have any himself."

Did you ever see him play, David? He was pretty effective even if he didn't spend much time screaming. Cruyff didn't scream much as a player or manager either.

Neil Warnock, Alan Pardew, Phil Brown – all managers with passion... all shit.

Armando Canaj
72 Posted 21/12/2016 at 23:12:59
Simple, little investment in players over the years. The odd big signing here and there won't cut it. We need more creativity and steel in midfield, proven forwards and non aging back four.

This is more then the Koeman project. This is also down to the Director of Football, Mr Walsh, Scouts, Financiers and mostly players walking the walk at times of difficulty.

Jan 2017 will see more players coming in, hopefully some aging absent players leaving. Koeman will deliver. Give it a year at least.

PLEASE be patient or we'll be changing our manager again. No matter who we change to, that's another rebuild. Get a grip...

Mark Wilson
73 Posted 21/12/2016 at 23:16:31
How anyone can defend Koeman for his post-derby comments, well it's beyond my understanding.

I've seen some unbelievable stuff on social media these last few days, from a range of viewpoints, but the thing I can't grasp, cannot fathom, is how Koeman can get away with saying we were "outstanding". It's just an insult and only serves to undermine his own position. No wonder fans are angry.

We had new levels of post match delusion with Martinez, it was in fact one of the things that really turned patient supporters of the man into Martinez Out campaigners. Koeman needs someone on his shoulder explaining to him that we won't stomach more of that rubbish.

He's a lucky guy after such a bad start. But I think he has a tough wheeling and dealing four weeks to re establish himself, his staff and get the fans reasonably on side. By this I don't mean searching and probably failing to snare two, or three top level signings. Tho one would be nice.

No, I mean moving three or four on and bringing in six or seven. Hard in January. But not impossible. And total net spend can be held to £50m which personally I still think is all he's got.

But allied to this is a change. A big change in his staff approach and his own. He surely has to give three or four kids a chance and weave them in to what will still be a work in progress, but at least a project with some heart, passion, urgency, energy.

We cannot change. We are stuck with this club for life, enjoying the few ups and huge number of downs. It's called being an Evertonian but we know when better is possible, even within our limitations, and that's exactly where we are now.

So show us what you can do, Koeman, and let's stop all this two or three years bullshit. Not expecting a trophy but not going to accept you can't get us to sixth or seventh in this league this campaign because, with some uplift, the raw material is there.

Soren Moyer
74 Posted 21/12/2016 at 23:29:17
Lyndon (#11). You beat me to it. That's exactly what I think of our performances this season. We have been crap against everybody and it has nothing to do with how much money the other lots have in their disposal. WE ARE PATHETIC!!!
Nigel Gregson
75 Posted 21/12/2016 at 23:44:45
Darren, I'm still trying to figure out why you mentioned Burnley, Watford, Swansea etc . What's your point?

Colin I think the point that Darren (and I) make here is that we have lost or drawn (mainly lost) to these teams (add Bournemouth to this list). After spending £40m this year, we should surely expect better results against these teams?

The benchmark for what is largely the same group of players was what they set in April when a 4-0 hiding was a very generous result.

Joe, the correct benchmark was 1-1 draw at Goodison park against Liverpool. In fact, you know how many times we lost against the reds at home under the management of the so called clown? Zero. That's right – we never lost at home to Liverpool under the last guy. So how bad does that make Ron?

Rob Dolby
76 Posted 21/12/2016 at 23:49:37
The last manager who got the club and fans was Joe Royle. We have Unsworth waiting in the wings in case Koeman turns into Mike Walker.

Koeman has to be judged on results and up to now he is mediocre at best. I don't see what style he brings, the only glimmer being the last hour against Arsenal and first half against the shite.

Given our past record of patience with mediocre managers I think Koeman's patience will break before ours and that he will walk rather than hang around. He doesn't strike me as the kind who will just sit in a comfy job for years with no ambition; that's why we hired him.

Phil Walling
77 Posted 22/12/2016 at 00:24:02
Together with many other Evertonians, I begin to wonder just how much of our club's money Koeman will have to expend in the cause of 'impressing his methods on his players' and, more importantly, if the end result is ever going to be worth watching!

His asinine comments after the derby game were decidedly Robertoesque leaving us with the thought that Moshiri – like Kenwright before him – can't half pick 'em!

Joe Clitherow
78 Posted 21/12/2016 at 00:29:24
Spurious argument, Nigel, very spurious. My argument is around the general decline of the squad as the Martinez "experiment" progressed toward its omnishambles.

Three games over three seasons and you use that as a stick? He was/is a clown in football management terms. One of those home games you mention, we were dead and buried until the much maligned Lukaku dragged us back to a winning position. Two absolute hammerings away and the 100% away defeat record stopped only by an absolute worldy in stoppage time.

Let's see a decent statistical sample for direct comparison before we draw binding conclusions eh? If Koeman regularly starts shipping 3 and 4 goals, then we can start the comparison in earnest. Come to think of it, let's see how Christmas 2016 compares with our fabulous campaigns of Christmases 2014 and 2015.

I could throw back at you that that's the first game of any sort we have lost this season compared to our worst ever home record under your hero (and, genuinely, I don't for the life of me get why you still try and convince people here that he was a good manager, yet you demonstrably do and demonstrably still believe that to be true).

It's interesting that you cherry pick home games for comparison when it suits you to when Martinez constantly used to state that the away form reflected the true Everton side and was so good (when it clearly wasn't) because apparently the crowd were responsible for poor performances at Goodison. Another complete Martinez lie which some people also swallowed, hook, line and sinker.

I stick to my statement because: a) it was the most recent meeting; and b) it represented the lowest watermark on the field for Everton Football Club for more than the last 30 years for me.

Jimmy Sørheim
79 Posted 22/12/2016 at 01:09:58
Barkley has lost his mojo, his face looks bereft of joy, and I have to criticise Koeman for ripping Barkley so publicly in the media, it has crushed whatever confidence he had.

Koeman now needs to take Barkley out of the team and put him into the U-23s so that Unsworth can build his confidence up again.

The sad thing with Koeman is the ruthless treatment he has showed, Niasse could now be in the first team squad, but because of the insane pride of Koeman he is unwilling to go back on his word. It seems to me he is not in touch with the spirit of this club.

My view is that Everton must have a manager willing to use youngsters when others fail, but Koeman is stubbornly refusing to even play Holgate and Davies regularly. I am not feeling Koeman is the right fit for my Everton.

I want to see a new Vaughan, a new Rodwell, basically Unsworth & Royle would be a better fit right now until the summer instead of Koeman who refuses to try anything new.

Alan J Thompson
80 Posted 22/12/2016 at 04:21:31
Koeman may well need more time but it has to be for something more than half-a-dozen transfer windows. He's had half a season and I've not seen any improvement, nor any particular change, in playing pattern and now, in what many may see as our most important fixture, we seem to have been done by "rope-a-dope".

Several players have reached there 'best before' date and a couple may not have the required talent but I do not include Barkley, Deulofeu and others with the ability to beat players as in that number. Quite where we expect to offload these well payed players of somewhat lesser ability is a little beyond me.

It seems in vogue to mention who your preferred manager is and mine was always Simeone who it appears may be available at the end of the season. Whoever, the manager must be judged more by what is achieved on the pitch than in the two-a-season transfer windows. If you fail at the former, then the latter is no guarantee.

John G Davies
82 Posted 22/12/2016 at 07:28:33
Some interesting points above. I can see both sides if the argument but remain confident in Koeman getting it right.

At the end of the transfer window we will have a far more balanced squad. One that will let him play the formation and style of play he wants.

Football being football, the fans who are prematurely asking for him to be sacked will be singing his praises if he gets it right.

Drew O'Neall
83 Posted 22/12/2016 at 10:51:30
It's staggering how difficult a simple game like football is made by some top level managers. Either they over complicate things or they just can't see the woods for the trees.

A sports psychologist; Damian Hughes, interviewed top coaches around the world and Freddie Roach said that the best coaches were the best communicators. They can take all the messages the performers need to understand and turn it in to one simple message.

When I watched our defenders and even midfielders hoofing the ball back time and time again to Liverpool, who were parked on the halfway line on Monday, I just know that this guy isn't communicating a simple message because, if he was, it wouldn't have been to do that.. Unless of course his tactics were just wrong, which is worse.

Paul Tran
87 Posted 22/12/2016 at 13:23:13
Two simple issues here:

Do we have a manager who will be given the opportunity and backing to sort out this squad? Hope so.

Is Koeman the right man? Right now, I'm not sure. I hope he gives me more ideas in January.

Sven Pillêt
89 Posted 22/12/2016 at 14:04:26
I'm at pains to truly understand where this impatience and criticism towards Koeman stems from because, for me, that shows a pure lack of reality and over cooked expectations. You should never state the obvious but I will: One FA Cup victory aside, Everton have achieved 'Jack' since the Championship winning side of 86-87 – that is a simple fact so it begs the question what has happened and been going on since then?

Although it's quite complex I will simplify: Money. It's that simple. To regularly be rubbing shoulders with those challenging for Europe particularly the Champions League you need the resources to do so and this is my point. I am very optimistic as to what is happening at Everton right now because of three major points:

a) Moshiri's Financial clout – this is something we haven't had since the 'glorious' check book club era.

b) Koeman, his staff and Walsh – this is an aspect I was concerned about for years before Koeman came in, the lack of quality and knowledge amongst the coaching staff never mind the ambition.

c) Ambition – this is something that has become very apparent to me and with good reason. It's because the other two points are in place. We can now truly move forward albeit it will take some time but that's fine because it's not as if we've been challenging for titles.

Evertonians need to embrace and understand the fact that this will be a work in progress, a process which will take some time but once it kicks in, 2 to 3 seasons from now, on the brink of a new stadium with a high profile sponsor and people in the football world talking about us again, then those extra few years of waiting would have been worth the while.

I have no doubt we will get there and I certainly won't be allowing THIS team's performances of the moment detract me from that fact. At the moment it's all about damage limitation with this squad, that will change once Koeman with the full backing of Moshiri gets the players he wants... then and only then can we judge him.

Jon Cox
93 Posted 22/12/2016 at 19:30:49
Sven,

Great post by the way but, why do I get the feeling that you are employed by our club?

Seemingly what you fail to understand is the fact that a lot of "us" supporters have been joined at the hip to this RUBBISH that has been churned out season after season FOR FECKIN YEARS.

Do you think that the SHITE across the park would have put up with this shit for this long?

Behave.

We as supporters are now getting very angry and it's not just about the manager.

It's about the "ETHOS" of the club since...

Patrick Murphy
94 Posted 22/12/2016 at 19:53:46
Of course the financials are important in the Premier League and the monied clubs tend to finish in the top spots of the division on a regular basis which proves the point. However, to accuse fans of not being realistic or having expectations way beyond the club's resources is a tad harsh on those who pay good money and spend lots of time following the club home and away.

Most fans of most clubs expect the 14 players on duty in any given game to try and compete in a competent way and if that fails to garner maximum points the fans will generally dust themselves down and pick themselves up for the following fixture.

Evertonians though, have had to endure a terrible run of results and pretty poor performance levels for at least 80% of the last 30 months – it could be argued it has been the case for nigh on 30 years.

All I personally want to see is a team structure whereby all of the players are able to display their talents to their maximum and that every man jack of them is putting in a shift in order to try and wrest the points from their opponents in any given fixture.

The fact that I can only point to isolated instances of that happening in the last 3 years or more, and even then not for a whole game, beggars the question why? I don't know why, I'm not sure the various managers know why and I wish somebody would discover the reason pretty damn soon because it is doing more damage to morale than the actual results.

If we could see signs of improvement, a hint of joined up football or even a 'dogs of war' attitude on a regular basis, many of us would give the benefit of the doubt to the manager(s) and the players... but given our clueless performances and lack of grit and determination, not to mention the lack of basic skills over a long period of time – parts of the Arsenal and Liverpool games excepted – it is very difficult to get enthused about the team or the club or indeed the manager.

Mike Crawford
95 Posted 22/12/2016 at 21:49:02
It's the season of goodwill – no really, so please allow a little bit of reflection... nostalgia... dreaming. 49 years since I first saw Everton (on TV, 1968 FA Cup Final... Jeff Astle) it's been a long slog.

Unlike my family connections it's been a lifetime following the Blues from afar. I'd love to say I've given up but every bad result still hurts. Why? Because we're like The England team. Every year it will be our year (and in 1966 we both triumphed). With the lovely exception of 1995, it's pretty much been our own 30 years of hurt.

So why the expectation? Well, did Portsmouth really win the FA Cup in '08? Did Leicester win the Premier League... and Bournemouth come up from virtual non league to now... That's what keeps the dream alive, for a club that historically has always stated a belief in doing things the right way.

Thanks, I feel a bit better for that. Merry Christmas to every Blue. Let's take the 'nil' out of nil satis nisi optimum and here's to 2017 and beyond.

Mike Price
97 Posted 22/12/2016 at 23:09:41
Managers make more money when they get sacked. It looks like he's trying to get sacked or he's certainly not too worried if he is.

Moshiri can't compete financially. He can't sign £50 million pound players on a million a month. Our only chance is to change the model and find the man to use our decent resources and develop a longer term plan. Maybe someone like Eddie Howe.

We can't compete with the finances of the mega wealthy or the London factor. Our only way forward is to change the game plan.

Robert Keys
98 Posted 23/12/2016 at 00:18:42
Koeman is unfortunately not the right fit for Everton.

While I appreciate the arguments with regard to clubs who change their manager on a regular basis tend to slide, but do we really want to give him 3 years where at best we stand still?

In many ways he reminds me of Gordon Lee, if not in playing style then in persona. A man many of us could never warm to. Koeman doesn't seem to have any passion or understanding of what being manager of EFC entails.

I would replace him at the earliest opportunity and aim to build with a young ambitious coach, Howe or Unsworth being my favoured choices.

Armando Canaj
99 Posted 23/12/2016 at 04:54:24
Robert (#98),

So your plan is to start again with an unproven manager who will rebuild the team with unproven players.

Excellent. How long do we wait for success and what is success for this new team?

What league positions should this new team achieve from year 1 to be deemed successful?

Ed Fitzgerald
100 Posted 23/12/2016 at 08:52:09
Armando,

In what sense is Ronald Koeman any less a gamble or proven/unproven than Eddie Howe would have been?

I know he has won the Dutch League but so did Steve McClaren.

Mike McLoughlin
101 Posted 24/12/2016 at 09:42:34
Just seen a rumour swapping Ross with Sissoko. Now, while I have been a critic of Ross this season, I really do t think that is a good deal. I do believe he is any better than Ross but I do know he is 4 years older. No-brainer for me.

I can also say I am in agreement with Barry Horne that we need to be signing the up-and-coming rather than the has-beens. While Schneiderlin would be a decent player for Everton, he can't make Man Utd first team but we deem him good enough for us.

I do hope the New Year brings us the good fortune we have been waiting for all these years and we start to climb the Premier League table.

Have a fabulous Christmas and a prosperous New Year, ToffeeWebbers, and of course you staff at ToffeeWeb.

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