The Honeymoon Close to Divorce

Andrew David James 09/11/2016  39 Comments  [Jump to last]

Last season, I, like many Blues, was desperate for Roberto Martinez to be fired. He should have gone much earlier but we seemed to take an age to get rid when the first team was in complete disarray. Finally we did the deed and, going into June, I was hopeful. My first choice was Frank de Boer. I liked him as a player and felt he was young manager who wanted to prove himself.

Unfortunately this correspondent had an accident during this time and was in a coma for some of the period and then rather fuzzy due to the high amounts of morphine pumped into him but, during moments of lucidity, I would ask my brother if we’d got a new manager yet? Still plumbing for De Boer, I was a bit uninspired when the Koeman talk began and then we brought him in.

We’ve never had a manager who was a player of his status. With due respect to Joe Royle, Colin Harvey and Howard Kendall, they never reached the heights Koeman did. He exudes confidence. Yet I looked at his CV and there were still nagging doubts. Was this merely a journeyman who had excelled in an inferior Eredivisie with patchy spells at Benfica and Valencia?

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Some would say taking Southampton to a 6th-place finish was remarkable given they’d sold so many players but they manage that as they’ve never been shy in spending well to bring in the next lot to move on at a profit within a few seasons. It was also a season in which the likes of us, Chelsea and our lovable neighbours underperformed so there was an opportunity for a club like Southampton. I just wasn’t convinced.

Our early season form was promising with a good run of wins against mid-table to relegation-fodder opponents but, in late September, it all started to go wrong. In August we were mostly disappointed with the signings. They were, albeit perhaps with the influence of Steve Walsh, mixed.

Gana worked instantly; I’m not sure how much Williams has brought to the table; Bolasie can be devastating one day and a 4/10 another; and the goalkeeping situation is frankly baffling. That we were in for Sissoko who ended up at Spurs for a ridiculous fee is actually worrying.

We applauded Koeman for making early substitutions. It is refreshing but also suggests a manager has got his tactics wrong. Our lovable neighbours won a European Cup in Turkey following several changes at half-time when they were 3-0 down. On one hand, Benitez did well to react but many might argue he got them in that position in the first place.

Then came the stupid line-up against Norwich at home. Dumb exit from a competition we could win as Koeman appeared almost flippant with his team selection. This seemed to work against our self-belief because the run of form following that was pathetic. Defeat away at Bournemouth, draw at home with Palace, a plucky point at Man City when Stekelenburg was awesome, and another defeat at Burnley. This was a poor return.

A squad of our might should have been looking to take about 6 or 7 points from this sequence. We took 2 points from a possible 12. What had been worrying me was the insistence on playing Bolasie come rain or shine. Here’s a player who works hard but, when in possession, trips up over his own step-overs.

I think Deulofeu is the superior player but this smacks to me of a manager continually playing one of his own while failing to coach someone he’s inherited. Bolasie is 27. He still hasn’t learned to stop doing the silly stuff but gets played every time. Deulofeu could still be improved and, given his raw talent, might be a world beater. Koeman is taking the easy option.

Then comes the disastrous line up against Chelsea. Having a defence drilled for a back four, he decides to play a back three and then starts meddling only to compound matters. Our goalkeeper, who again strikes me as another yo-yo player, messes up and we’re in big trouble. Yet Koeman talks to the press afterwards and states he expected more from his players. Personally I think having a back four with an extra man in midfield would have allowed pacier players to double up on Hazard in wide and central positions but that’s me.

Koeman got us thrashed worse than even a barely comprehensible Martinez ever did. Moyes got worse thrashings but with a squad of paucity. There was no excuse for what happened on Saturday. However good they were, the early collapse was avoidable.

So I’m thinking on Sunday “We’ve been sold a pup” and then he comes out with this classic about Lukaku. Totally disrespectful and he might as well be Roy Keane in terms of mugging off our club, I was raging with Keane (7-0 was it?) and then our own manager comes out with that.

Reports suggest Koeman likes to leave Finch Farm promptly each day and doesn’t put in the hours of a Moyes or a Martinez. If results don’t improve quickly, I would suggest he should just be leaving Finch Farm promptly and for good.

Many might say I am being knee-jerk but I would suggest if this season doesn't end well, we should save time and go for someone else with a longer-term strategy.

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Reader Comments (39)

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Andy Meighan
1 Posted 10/11/2016 at 16:00:42
First off, Andrew, I hope you're on the way to a full recovery and wish you all the best.

No, the way I feel about Koeman at the minute, I wouldn't say you're being knee-jerk – especially coming in the wake of the Chelsea debacle and the crass Lukakugate statement. I'd say you're being honest.

The man's body language stinks and just gives me the impression he's doing us a favour. He's not... by the way.

He's getting paid ridiculous amounts of money to manage our club. It's about time he started earning some of it And showing some gratitude to us long-suffering fans. He's going to have to get his finger out in January — because this just isn't good enough. Over to you, Ronnie.

Stan Schofield
2 Posted 10/11/2016 at 16:29:00
We have had a manager who was of comparable status to Koeman as a player. Howard Kendall. He of the world's best midfield circa 1970. England failing to pick him was England's loss and reflects England's mediocrity, but that's another story.
Rick Tarleton
3 Posted 10/11/2016 at 16:39:29
What upsets me is the sheer political naivety of the statement. The remark suggests that Koeman has come here simply for the money, yes, I know that's why everyone goes to work, but it hints that he doesn't really see much future in being at Everton for himself or for Lukaku, but it's an interim, a stepping stone till someone else, whom he considers superior, comes calling.

When we 're singing "If You Know Your History" and implying that we should be treated as one of the games big guns, he's thinking "poor sentimental, deluded fools".

He obviously does not see himself building up a top team at our club. if he can nick a cup he may well get a "big" job here or on the continent, and that seems to be his idea.

Incidentally Colin Harvey is one of the three best Everton players I've ever seen and I've been watching them since we were in the Second Division, he was truly world class.

Eugene Ruane
4 Posted 10/11/2016 at 17:00:52
July: "None of that Roberto bullshit, he tells it like it is, plain speaking, refreshing honesty" etc.

November: "Fuck him off, reports suggest he goes home on time.." blah.

Sharon Osborne: "Darling you're so ToffeeWeb."

Steve Hogan
5 Posted 10/11/2016 at 17:05:56
Andrew, sorry to hear about your recent spell of bad health, but I'm not sure you have fully recovered from the 'fuzziness' in your head?

Koeman should be dismissed because 'you've heard' he leaves Finch Farm 'promptly' every day?

Jesus, you should have seen me skidaddle from my place of work every day once I'd completed my shift.

Also, Martinez never subjected us to any similar thrashings to the one we suffered at Chelsea?

Just as well you were under the influence of morphine last season when we played at Anfield, and didn't witness that debacle — you'd still be in hospital now.

Shane Corcoran
6 Posted 10/11/2016 at 17:08:21
I'm surprised an emergency press conference hasn't been called in Vienna.
Stan Schofield
7 Posted 10/11/2016 at 17:21:26
Rick @3: Totally agree about Harvey, and I have the same comments Re England as I posted for Kendall. I just mentioned Kendall because of his great success as a manager, setting a high bar for the likes of Koeman to aim at if not reach.
Paul Thompson
8 Posted 10/11/2016 at 17:30:32
'Many might say I am being knee-jerk'. Irrespective of the kind of jerk, this is a jumble of disconnected complaints that does not add up to a night of sleeping in separate beds let alone of divorce. Let's try a little perspective and patience, shall we?
Andrew James
9 Posted 10/11/2016 at 19:06:13
@Steve 5

My comments about departing Finch Farm promptly were based on an article I read in the Echo about 6 weeks ago. I found it a bit disappointing because our last two managers were known for working long hours. For Moyes it paid off. What Roberto was doing for 10 hours a day is beyond me... it clearly wasn't spent getting players fitter or defending set-pieces.

On the terrible defeat at our former home, I think Chelsea was worse. At Anfield we had an injury crisis and ended up with 10 men. Roberto did have some classics but many of them were high scoring thrashings whereby we at least scored some goals.

At Stamford Bridge, we had a few adjustments in the squad but there were 11 men and we managed one chance on goal against a defence containing Sideshow Bob.

To be fair, the morphine did make me forget the 4-0 and then my brother told me all about it and I re-lived the unpleasantness!

Chris Williams
10 Posted 10/11/2016 at 19:16:32
Dear sweet Christ!

Can anyone bring a sense of balance here??? Martinez worked 10 hours a day. That worked out well.

Emotional incontinece

Mike Gaynes
11 Posted 10/11/2016 at 22:09:25
Andrew, congrats on your recovery... I'm glad you're feeling so much better.

However, if you really believe Deulofeu is the superior player to Bolasie, I think you might need just a bit more bed rest.

Jay Harris
12 Posted 10/11/2016 at 22:56:11
Sorry, Andrew, you totally lost me when you said you preferred De Boer and then went on to criticize Koeman's CV.

100 lines of "Must do more homework".

Jack Convery
13 Posted 11/11/2016 at 12:21:38
What he said has left me and a lot of others with a very bad taste in the mouth. He's a footballer manager who believes one day he will manage Barca. I reckon he won't stay too long here as he now knows it's going be a long grind and he's not that interested in rejuvenating a fallen giant.

At Southampton, a top half finish and good cup runs would be enough but not for us Evertonians... Nil Sais Nisi Optimum remember. He came for the money, it's very obvious now..

Tony Draper
14 Posted 11/11/2016 at 19:13:22
As Everton manager, Koeman should not be touting our players to anyone else.

As (effectively) Everton owner Farhad Moshiri should not be trying to convince Me that Koeman was misquoted, he bloody well wasn't.

As encouraging as Farhad Moshiri's recent interview with his new best pal was, I seriously do not like the McCarthy transfer bullshit, nor the Koeman bullshit from him. I sincerely hope that privately Moshiri has told Koeman to cut out this shite.

Peter Murray
15 Posted 11/11/2016 at 19:23:07
Sorry, Andrew, I find your analysis simplistic. You leave out the responsibility of the players.

The humiliation at Chelsea was not about bad tactics. It was about players refusing to play, as happened at Anfield last season. Stones, in his first interview after leaving, hinted at this very strongly.

Is it just coincidence that, in the same week as that capitulation at Chelsea, our younger teams went out of their respective competitions?

Something rotten in the kingdom. of Moshiri?

David Edwards
16 Posted 11/11/2016 at 21:12:18
Andrew – I understand your concerns completely – and your frustration matches mine at present (the League Cup exit annoyed me immensely – more so that the Chelsea debacle actually). However, while Koeman is now flawed in my view – we are in this with him for the foreseeable future, even if we know he is using us as a stepping stone to 'greater things'.

My hopes for the future lie with Moshiri. A new stadium, new investment and a long-term vision, means that, if the journeyman gets us to success and silverware before Barca call – then I can live with that. I don't need to love the manager. I initially did that with Moyes and that got us nowhere – but it's a real shame that Koeman has caused many of us to at least question his appointment after only 5 months.

However, an FA Cup win and Europa League qualification will have me eating 'Humble Pie' gladly!

Peter Lee
17 Posted 12/11/2016 at 00:48:59
The only plusses up to last weekend were that Koeman was not Roberto and, like many other managers of much humbler origins, he could organise a defence.

Well, we all surely agree that we have seen some absolute dross this season, first halves against West Brom, Sunderland and Bournemouth, Norwich, Palace, Burnley and then Chelsea.

I've said before I am not convinced. Talk of transfer windows being some sort of salvation is wide of the mark. The manager is failing to select the right players and to get the best out of those he does. That is the essence of management and currently, from me, he gets 5/10 – could do much better.

Danny Broderick
18 Posted 12/11/2016 at 09:50:43
I think 3 months is no time to judge a manager. Think back to what he inherited – years of mediocrity from players who were told regularly that they were the best thing since sliced bread.

To put it bluntly, there's a lot of driftwood to be moved on. He's had to get the players fit & organised and change the mentality. There's a lot of work to be done. The likes of Gibson, Kone, Niasse, etc simply have to be moved on.

The jury is out on several others – Deulofeu, Mirallas, Barkley etc. He can't do much about these players now with the transfer window shut. He may not even be able to move them on in January. But to suggest the honeymoon period is over barely 3 months in is wide of the mark, in my opinion – we are 7th in the league!

I agree that he got the tactics completely wrong on Saturday against Chelsea. Trying to match them in formation was a recipe for disaster – they have better players than us, and it showed. But give the man some time.

David Peate
19 Posted 12/11/2016 at 11:41:56
A manager with a playing experience and success like Koeman? What about Cliff Britton?

If Everton had competed in European football in the 1930s, Britton would have won everything.

As a manager, Britton was not a great success. However, he was never given any transfer funds and the directors consistently interfered with what he did. Britton operated on a shoestring. In my view, his greatest failure was not to re-sign Tommy Lawton.

Will Koeman's biggest mistake be not to re-sign Wayne Rooney?

Alan Bodell
20 Posted 12/11/2016 at 16:22:07
Until Koeman gets a proper transfer window to get what we need, I see no need to panic. History says that clubs that chop managers regularly go only one way, so I'll stay with him for a fair while yet and this bollox talk about our Belgium lump does not bother me one bit.
Andy McNabb
21 Posted 13/11/2016 at 00:39:44
Interesting article, Andrew. I have been tempted to write something similar, ever since he was appointed and I hold similar fears regarding both his ability and loyalty. I desperately want to be proved wrong and certainly don't see him in the same category as Martinez but as someone has written above, putting our hope in what is always at best, a volatile and unpredictable January transfer window, will, I fear end in tears.

Just read an article on the difference Eddie Jones has made to England, with pretty much the same personnel. Such fairy tale outcomes are indeed rare but whatever has happened to 'the most talented squad we have seen in a generation'? Methinks the Emperor never had any clothes in the first place, or maybe Oxford is just around the corner ... again?

Kevin Tully
22 Posted 13/11/2016 at 01:04:16
Let's just have done with it and bullet the next manager after 9 games. After all, if that arrogant Dutchie hasn't delivered the success we've all enjoyed after 11 League games, when will he?

I'm done.

Steve Brown
23 Posted 13/11/2016 at 01:53:42
Agree Kevin, he should have been sacked the day after he was hired. Get the dream team of Unsy and Big Dunc to take over.
Michael Kenrick
24 Posted 13/11/2016 at 03:24:13
Yea, I think you're right, Andrew, knee-jerk... along with the other 78% who are affronted by the startling truth Koeman let slip while being pressed by some journo nark.

You think it might be better to "go for someone else with a longer-term strategy"? What, like someone who says it's a two-year project, minimum, who needs a load of transfer windows before he can make this "his team"?

Would it not therefore be a tad premature to call time on 3-year Ron after barely a dozen games?

There is cause for concern, I suspect, and that's the risk that these players who initially did their best to implement the new manager's new methods, have been torn to shreds by him and are no longer prepared to put in the effort. I'm worried that's what it looks like, but we'll see if they buckle down or go on strike.

Darryl Ritchie
25 Posted 13/11/2016 at 04:33:41
Having read a few hundred posts on the subject, I've come to a few conclusions:

Koeman should not have answered the question the way he did, but he believes what he said.

Koeman, from all I've been able to glean from TWer's responses, will not care about the fans' opinion of his statement. He is not an Evertonian, and never will be.

The only "we" in Koeman's world are the players and the coaches. It does not matter what the colour of the shirt is.

He will try to build a winning side, because he hates to lose.

Everton is his current club. It will not be his last. He will not identify with his next "projects" fans, either... unless it's Real Madrid.

Peter Gorman
27 Posted 13/11/2016 at 05:33:50
78% is a lot of jerking knees Michael, ever wondered if they might have a point? (though since I'm guessing you've based that figure on the TW poll which merely asks was it right/wrong, I'm not sure where the jerking comes into it).
Peter Barry
28 Posted 13/11/2016 at 07:00:29
There is always a tipping point when the rumble of dissatisfaction turns to outright hatred and I think that point has been reached, far earlier than I thought it would, by Koeman.

The contempt with which he has treated Evertonians first by talking of Everton in the third person and then advising Lukaku that he will only be successful elsewhere is way beyond the pale and Koeman has brought it all on himself.

Raymond Fox
29 Posted 13/11/2016 at 07:53:33
It is too premature to talk of firing the guy, but my early optimism is starting to leak away. Too many of our players are not good enough, that's our main concern... What's new!

Mr Moshiri and Ronald need to think a little bit longer before opening their mouths because at this stage they have both 'ballsed up' on the image front.

Fixture wise, Koeman, apart from a couple of obvious ones, couldn't have had an easier introduction to his new job, I doubt we will be 7th for much longer.

Six months and two transfer windows will tells us where the present incumbents are taking us, or if it's more of the last 20 years.

Paul Burns
30 Posted 13/11/2016 at 12:28:02
I disagree with a lot said on here. I think he should be fired. When you become Everton manager, you should become an Evertonian. If you don't, then you shouldn't be the Everton manager for long, simple as that.

Howard Kendall and Colin Harvey were far better players than Koeman, a decent galoot of a centre half who played in teams with great players but he wasn't one.

Personally, I think he should be shown the door immediately, his body language, miserable demeanour and "everything's too much trouble" attitude are hanging around like a bad smell.

Oh, and his recent record is appalling. He's making Martinez's last few months seem like the good old days.

Paul Burns
31 Posted 13/11/2016 at 12:40:47
Here are some clubs that have chopped and changed managers in the last 20 years: Real Madrid, Barcelona, AC Milan, Inter Milan, Chelsea. Not all great at the minute but check out the trophies they have won in the last 2 decades.

I used to hate sacking managers unless absolutely necessary but times have changed and it's now more dangerous to persevere with a bad appointment, a lesson we already knew from Mike Walker.

David Hallwood
32 Posted 13/11/2016 at 13:42:29
The problem with your list, Paul (#31) is that they are the Creme de la Creme of football and they can attract the best, whereas we are seen by managers, especially foreign ones, as an ordinary Premier League team.

In addition, apart from Chelsea, they have been big clubs for many years, decades even, thereby making it easier to attract top players. So the change-the-manager-as-often-as-me-boxies approach is more Sunderland than Barca.

Finally, we're joint 6th in the table with a 5-3-3 record, not struggling in the bottom 3, so get a grip. Koeman, or any other manager needs at least 18 months to put his/their philosophy into effect. Yes, the Chelsea performance was appalling and we're all still shell shocked by it, but as the old cliche goes, what doesn't kill you etc etc.

Mike Gaynes
33 Posted 13/11/2016 at 16:54:37
"When you become Everton manager, you should become an Evertonian."

Really, Paul? Do you marry every girl you wake up with?

How does one instantly "become" Evertonian? Is there a pill you can take, or a switch you can flip? Maybe implant a tiny gland, just under the thyroid?

Darryl (#25) is spot-on. Being a football manager is a job. Period. He is hired to win games, not to fall in love with the club. Koeman's tenure at Everton will end, probably within three years, in one of two ways – he'll be lured away, or he'll be sacked. He will not be here for decades, he will not bleed blue, and he will not have the club crest tattooed on his chest.

Fire him after 11 games? Ridiculous. He's had one partial summer transfer period, and he brought in three new starters. Give him a January and a full summer to get in all the players he wants, and another 50 games to stamp the side with his philosophy, and let's see where we are then. My guess is we'll all be a lot happier.

Colin Glassar
34 Posted 13/11/2016 at 17:30:46
In the future, let's just give our managers a three-game contract. He's not my cup of tea, he wasn't my first choice but, give the man a chance ffs.

Andrew, find a hobby while you convalesce. You need to let the swelling go down.

James Marshall
35 Posted 13/11/2016 at 22:39:44
He's not a bloody miracle worker – he inherited a team of shite from last season, and you expect things to be rosy simply because Koeman did well at Southampton and used to be really good at football?

Come off it – it's going to take at least a full year before you see things get better post-Martinez.

We have a team/squad of nearly-men, lazy players, half-arsed footballers who have bits of talent but a shitty attitude, and overall a squad of players coached by a bloke who doesn't know his footballing arse from his elbow – you can't expect things to get better overnight, which in relative terms, is all you've given him.

I couldn't care less if Chelsea stuffed us 5-0, so what? Give it time, give him time to sign a few more players, and get them playing the way he wants them to – then judge him. While he's rebuilding he needs our support, not our criticism.

Paul Johnson
36 Posted 14/11/2016 at 10:03:52
During his whole tenure, David Moyes referred to Everton in the 3rd person. Never 'we' or 'us'.
Craig Walker
37 Posted 15/11/2016 at 09:32:39
Just remind me again what happened to Frank de Boer.
Brian Furey
38 Posted 16/11/2016 at 11:36:42
I totally agree with you, James (#35), and I wonder what some fans on here expect from him at this stage. If you look at the table the top 4 teams have all scored 24+ goals with each of them having their goals spread quite well around their team. Barkley has 3 and Barry is next on 2 so, whilst we've been defensively doing quite well (before Chelsea), it's been the lack of goals from our attacking midfielders where we have been falling down.

I think at the start of the year if you had been told Everton would be competing with Man Utd and Spurs for 5th place after 12 games you would (should) have been quite content.

I think the new signings that have come in have done quite well including the keeper but it's been the others like Mirallas, Deulofeu, Cleverley, Barkley who have been the most disappointing.

Yes, Koeman has put himself under pressure now with the fans with the recent things he has said, but we are just making it harder for him coming in to a very challenging December.

Brian Furey
39 Posted 16/11/2016 at 11:42:31
I also thought this was an interesting read:

BBC: who's top manager after 10 games

Paul Kossoff
40 Posted 16/11/2016 at 16:56:32
Well said Andrew, I'm not convinced with Koeman as yet, but he can have a season from me before I start panicking.
I hope your recovered now and good health to you.

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