What’s changed for Ginger Ron?

by   |   20/09/2017  11 Comments  [Jump to last]

I am happy to admit that when we appointed Ronald Koeman, a man linked with ‘bigger things’ as far as the media were concerned, I felt we’d done well and got a decent manager. I say 'decent' because I thought he would take us forward for two main reasons. Firstly, he was a renowned world class player and you don’t achieve that status without a winning mentality, something I feel we greatly miss throughout our first-team squad. Secondly, I felt he’d done well at Southampton having been forced to sell some very good players, he had in my mind recruited superbly to replace them at a club where you could argue it’s not easy to attract major talent.

My confidence in Koeman was increased more so when in one of his first games away at West Brom and 1-0 down he acted quickly and decisively in the first half by dragging James McCarthy off and replacing him with Lukaku who had been on the bench due to a heel problem. Koeman appeared to be a man that could recognise a system not working, a man capable of swallowing his pride and making a change without the need to wait for half-time. Finally, I thought, someone that looks at the bigger picture.

So what happened to that man? He appears to have been replaced by a man so stubborn in the system that he wants to play and the players he wants to select that he is blind to the obvious flaws in his approach. And they are obvious, aren’t they? Nobody can fail to understand that if you line up with 5 defenders and 2 holding midfielders, that leaves you with just 3 players to create and take chances, to apply pressure to the opposition and to generate periods of relief for the defence. Simple maths tells you this won’t work and that’s before you throw into the mix that those 3 players are not varied in their positional play, passing and shooting ability, strength, or speed.

If this system was an attempt to park the bus then, whilst I hate to see Everton playing that way, I could understand the logic but again, the flaws are clear. In order to successfully park the bus don’t you need either a big target man that can hold the ball up, or a super-fast runner that can chase down the hoofs? It’s not parking the bus if you leave 3 men up none of whom can run, harass or hold the ball up. That’s like parking the bus and being down to 8-men. Like I said, it all seems a little bit obvious.

The other major issue with this system is that it leaves giant holes in key areas of the pitch. Firstly, the centre of the park where quality midfielders have the time and space to spray inch-perfect passes in front of our back 7, and behind our front 3. Where do those passes go? Out wide of course because we’re playing with no wingers. Again, seems obvious.

This week, I read with interest another post on ToffeeWeb about Koeman’s days at Valencia. I have to admit that this was news to me and scary news at that. I sincerely hope this isn’t where we are headed.

So where do we go from here? Unless Mr Moshiri can completely change the ethos and culture that defines how Everton has been run for the last 20-years then we are going to be sticking with Ginger Ron until the rot is deep. Quick-thinking decisiveness has never been an attribute of our board.

So the question is, can Koeman wipe his white board clean and go back to his approach in the very early days where we appeared to have balance and definition to our starting 11 as well as the mindset to change things if it’s not working? For what it’s worth, my current starting team would look like this:

4-4-2 (imagine that!)

Pickford
Kenny, Keane, Jagielka, Baines
Mirallas, Sigurdsson, Davies, Lookman
Sandro, Rooney

Subs: Calvert-Lewin, Gueye, Schneiderlin, Niasse, Klaassen, Holgate, Williams.

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Reader Comments (11)

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Stan Schofield
1 Posted 20/09/2017 at 15:23:23
Scott, I'm similarly puzzled by the difference between the initial hope and expectation, plus those first games, and what's happened since.

My only 'reasonable explanation' is that he's not skilled enough in tactics and man-management, despite what he did at Southampton.

My other, some might say 'ridiculous', explanation is that he decided he didn't actually want to stay at Everton (for whatever reason), and has been trying to get sacked. After all, getting sacked and then getting another job can be quite lucrative for football managers.

It might be that neither explanation is right, and that he'll soon reveal masterful skill in tactics and motivation, turning things around, getting great results, and getting us to play fluid attacking football with crisp passing movements. But I wouldn't bet money on it.

Eddie Dunn
2 Posted 20/09/2017 at 15:36:53
Another way of looking at what he managed at Southampton was how he rebuilt a team bringing in lots of players after their best lads had been sold.
Now we see him moving out many of our players and bringing in his choices.
I remember us going to Southampton early in the season under Martinez and winning 3-0. Saints went on a poor run, but Koeman did turn them round and I think they finished 6th or 7th.
We at Everton may be forced to sell one or two of our best players, but rarely have we ever experienced the sort of wholescale clearouts that Southampton had.
It is hardly rocket science that the new boys have not really found their feet.
We have had a lot of deadwood at our club for many years. We certainly needed to get the likes of Gibson and Cleverly off the books.
Time will tell, but Koeman should have the chance to bed in his players and instill his systems before we consign him to a footnote in Everton's history.
Stan Schofield
3 Posted 20/09/2017 at 15:57:01
Eddie, fair comment, but the only trouble with regard to giving him the chance to instill his systems is, there doesn't seem to be much if any sign of what those systems are.
Andy Crooks
4 Posted 20/09/2017 at 19:30:32
What is the relevance of the colour of Koeman's hair?
Scott Hall
5 Posted 20/09/2017 at 20:06:50
Hi Andy, absolutely none. No relevance whatsoever. Simply an observation that he is in fact ginger and named Ron (short for Ronald).
Danny Broderick
6 Posted 20/09/2017 at 20:21:01
I agree with most of this article. This is quite a well balanced critique of Koeman. He does have to warn his money and find a way of playing that suits our current squad, because there are too many square pegs in round holes at the minute.
Andy Crooks
7 Posted 20/09/2017 at 20:44:25
Fair enough, Scott. I used to know a guy called, unkindly, Dougie no-thumbs.
Don Alexander
9 Posted 20/09/2017 at 22:13:54
Andy, wasn't he a miner from Northumbria?
Martin Nicholls
10 Posted 21/09/2017 at 19:17:04
Andy – how did he text?!
Brent Stephens
11 Posted 21/09/2017 at 19:21:11
Martin –a word-perfect texter – all fingers...
Martin Clark
12 Posted 03/10/2017 at 14:27:42
I agree and don't believe you turn from a decent to pathetic manager over night but Big Ron is struggling to give us any hope.

Our team sheet often looks unbalanced and, although he attempted a different system, he still had Sigurdsson playing on the left. He appears to feel the need to keep faith with his signings even if it means them being played out of position. I'm not sure why Kenny was dropped as by most opinions he was doing well and considering we're struggling to keep clean sheets why replace him with Martina who has been struggling defensively.

I really hope he stops looking for excuses and works hard over this break to ensure the squad know what their roles are and hopefully gets a good run going.

Maybe we need to revert to a 4-4-1-1 considering we lack a potent striker and then at least one of the group of No 10s we have will be played in position. For what it's worth, I'd go:

Pickford
Kenny, Jagielka, Keane, Baines
Vlasic, Davies, Gueye, Lookman
Sigurdsson
Calvert-Lewin

It's a system that at least is familiar to the players, has obvious interchangeable players and should provide more of an outlet as lacking (mentioned by Scott).

I think Davies in the middle is a must as he is able to pull his weight defensively and get about the pitch with the ability to play a key pass.

Players should then be competing for a place in the team knowing they need to perform or they'll be replaced by with the obvious being:

Gueye / Schneiderlin
Sigurdsson / Rooney
Davies / Klaassen / McCarthy / Besic
Jagielka / Williams / Holgate
Kenny / Martina
Calvert-Lewin / Sandro / Niasse
Vlasic / Lennon
Lookman / Mirallas

This shows that we do in fact have some depth to our squad (except left back) and I'm trying to remain positive despite our toothless performances so far. I hope we can start playing like a team rather that bit part individuals with little cohesion and then have something to build on when some key players return.

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