Roberto – Swansong Or the Start of a Beautiful Relationship?

Some of the natives are getting restless about the direction of Roberto's Revolution.

Patrick Murphy 24/02/2014 70comments  |  Jump to last
Now I don’t want people to choke on their cornflakes or cause themselves an injury whilst reading this piece, but my gut feeling is that something is afoot at the Grand Old Lady — all conjecture on my part and please bear with me and my foolhardy machinations.

The beginning of 2014 is almost identical to the start of 2013: uncertainty about the manager, lack of money invested in new players, struggle through to the last 8 of the FA Cup, in and around the top 6 but the supporters remain dogged by the feeling that something is missing.

Early Bird season-ticket scenario produces the usual back-stories of investors on the horizon or the possibility of a new site being found to house our beloved club.

I have always believed that the manager of Everton FC should get the full support of myself and fellow Evertonians until they have proved that they are either unsuitable or incapable of getting the best results from the players that they have available to them. I’m not altogether fussed on how we achieve those results but obviously it would be a bonus if we could get them with a style and panache that the senior Evertonians have been raised on.

I have read and listened to many Evertonians in the past six-months and I believe that most of them like Martinez’s vision for Everton, but equally many of them are wary of too much style and too little substance. English Football has changed with the attitudes of its followers and, whilst older fans yearn after a bygone age where a group of players could play in the correct manner and win with style, the younger generation, understandably in my view, want to see their team win football matches and ultimately trophies and they are really only interested in the scoreline and the methodology to them is secondary.

That may seem a bit harsh on the younger generation but, when I was under 25 years of age, that was the only thing that I was interested in as well... Yet my elders kept saying that there was a right way to win and a right way to play. But Everton remained stubbornly away from trophies until I was just over 25 and I was so pleased and excited by it that I never really noticed the style of play until much later.

If there is one annoyance for Evertonians of any age, it is the inability of their team to score goals; patience wears very thin very quickly if the team fail to produce goals on a regular basis. It happened to Kendall’s team, Royle’s team and Moyes’s team so it is nothing new but, having endured for the most part 20 years of not much to shout about and having seen the neighbours scoring for fun in recent months, Everton’s shortcomings in front of goal have been cruelly exposed.

Roberto for the first three months seemed to have found the answer, as goals against Liverpool, Stoke City and Fulham showed... but, following two good results at Old Trafford and The Emirates, the wheels appeared to come off, mostly due to injuries and suspensions. Since Boxing Day, we have failed to find a rhythm and seem to be caught between cautiousness and adventure. Undoubtedly the events of the 28 January have been a reality check for all Evertonians and that evening's events certainly reined in any dreams of Champions League football and had us all soul-searching for answers... but there came none.

Howard Kendall said last week that appointing Duncan Ferguson as a first team coach was a brave and selfless act by Roberto: brave in the sense that Duncan could represent a threat to his job if the natives got restless... and selfless because Roberto had acted in the best interests of Everton FC.

But what happens if the natives do get restless and decide that Roberto is going in the wrong direction? Will Bill Kenwright remain as loyal to his new manager as he was to David Moyes, or will Bill think, once bitten – twice shy, and appoint a man that would pacify the majority of Evertonians?

Another area of speculation surrounds the failure to back the new manager with the finances to boost his chances of success. Not backing David Moyes in last January’s transfer window had seemed a wise move by the board seeing as the Scotsman had failed to sign an extension to his contract. It would have been folly to have lost David Moyes and then tell the new appointee that all the money had been spent.

Roberto has bought players: Kone, Alcaraz, McCarthy and Robles — all from his former employers. Unfortunately for Mr Martinez, three of those players have hardly figured in the first team, two because of injury and one because he is the back-up keeper. The other additions did arrive in January but Traore has figured for about an hour and McGready is still getting up to speed following a long period out of first team action. The loan signings have been a mixed bag, as Lukaku seemed like the real deal at the start of the season and faded well before his fellow loanee Barry put him out of action with a challenge that Carragher would have been proud of.

Barry has performed well for most of the season but Deulofeu doesn’t to my mind suit the hurly-burly of the Premier League but he is young and he still might adapt. Martinez has also had to lose last season’s top goalscorer, Marouanne Fellaini, the previous seasons hot-shot Nikita Jelavic and the useful but not prolific Victor Anichebe, thereby making a tidy profit on transfers.

It seems a little odd that a manager who prefers to retain possession should allow himself to be so short in such a vital area of the pitch, because an experienced target-man it would seem to me, to be key to the way the manager wants his team to play. Lukaku is experienced in the Premier League but not as a lone striker, if anything it could be argued that of all the strikers at the club Anichebe although not prolific would have been a better fit as back-up to the injured Kone than Jelavic.

So who is responsible for the situation we now find the club in? The Manager, for failing to identify the correct players? The Board, for persuading the manager to take the cheapest option available? Or a combination of both? Now there could very well be good reasons for the events of the last 9 months: the Board may have decided to bite the bullet and have made a decision to leave Goodison Park for pastures new and the money to back the manager to the hilt hasn’t been made available due to the prioritising of a new stadium — obviously that will require funding of some sort by the current owners of the club. A new stadium in the pipeline may well act as a catalyst to attract new investment into the club and therefore give the manager more long-term finance to fund his ambitions.

[I can hear the cynics out there laughing already, but at some point in time something has got to change and why shouldn’t that change happen this year? ]

If the ideas relating to a new ground are unfounded, then why hasn’t Roberto been given the necessary funds? Could it be that Bill Kenwright has had second-thoughts? Or perhaps not every person associated with the Board have been enamoured with Roberto’s style, or could player power have raised its head in recent months and the Roberto Revolution has hit the buffers?

I don’t know the answers to any of these questions but I do know that a significant number of Evertonians are unusually unsettled and not behind the manager as much as they should be; the reasons may become clearer by the end of the season or then again we could all be here this time next year having the same discussion — but not necessarily about the same manager.

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Lyndon Lloyd
1 Posted 24/02/2014 at 16:17:07
I have to say I'm mystified by much of this, Patrick, because it's simply too early to make any sort of judgement on Martinez. He is just 8 months into his tenure and has, I believe, much more to do before he will feel that he has most of what he would want in place.

Let's face it, until Christmas there were many people convinced we had what it takes to comfortably finish in the top four and some even talking (tongue in cheek, perhaps) about the Title. Indeed, we were playing for 2nd place on Boxing Day before disaster struck against Sunderland.

The ensuing injury crisis forced us to battle through with depleted attacking options and though Barkley and Deulofeu have returned, the interruption has clearly disrupted their season in a big way. Had we kept those two plus Lukaku fit and in the form they were in prior to their injuries, I'm convinced we'd be in a much better position. With all due respect to Steven Naismith's application and finishing, he is just not a top-class striker on who you can rely on for goals.

I've said before that the failure to bring in another striker after Lukaku got injured was probably the moment where, consciously or not, Martinez gave up the top four this season but we don't know the reasons why. If it's part of a longer-term strategy that bears fruit next season than I'm prepared to accept it, even if I feel we missed a trick this time around given United's struggles and Tottenham's instability.

I suppose I just don't share the doubts over Martinez at this point. We've won at Old Trafford (admittedly not as great a feat as it would have been in seasons gone by) and also gone to Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham and played those teams off the park for most of or at least half of the game. Everything was there except the cutting edge up front which we can still find.

I'd rather be in the situation of having to find that missing piece – and I believe Martinez will — than constantly doubting the manager's ability to build a side that is psychologically able to live with the big boys as I was under Moyes.

Andrew Ellams
3 Posted 24/02/2014 at 16:45:36
Bit of a strange article. Martinez's Everton is clearly a work in progress but without the financial backing of Chelsea or Man City to do it all in a season. If we haven't progressed after 3 years, maybe you could resubmit this one.
Brian Waring
4 Posted 24/02/2014 at 16:51:39
I've said it before, but I've got a funny feeling we're going places with Martinez.

Peter Laing
5 Posted 24/02/2014 at 17:09:27
Give Martinez the funds to go out and buy a couple of strikers and the team really has the potential to go places. Without Suarez and Sturridge Liverpool would be mid-table at best, their defence is shocking but their goalscoring ability unquestionable. Kenwright needs to loosen the purse strings although the challenge for Martinez is to find the necessary strikers on a shoe-string budget.
Linda Morrison
6 Posted 24/02/2014 at 17:07:51
I agree with most of Lyndon's comments. I doubt many teams in the EPL would have coped with most of their first team squad missing for various amounts of time though injury. We do not have 2 good teams which is what is required to have a good run in the EPL. Of the loan signings only Barry has really delivered so maybe some thinking on them again is needed. The problem is not just about the money to buy players and pay their agents, it is now also about the wages they expect.

I struggle to understand how long the board think we can go on at Goodison as at some stage it will require serious expensive refurbishment. To charge the prices it does for such poor facilities is not on!

The saga of finding a site for a new ground has been going on since Adam was a lad and there is no end in sight. A lot of clubs in the lower divisions have better facilities.

I think the situation has been made worse by the performance of the team over the park, plus the great start we had.
We have to give the manager time he hasn't even had 1 season yet.

Shane Corcoran
7 Posted 24/02/2014 at 17:09:37
This is a strange one. I mean you could be 100% correct but I'm just wondering where you pulled it all from.
Wayne Smyth
8 Posted 24/02/2014 at 17:14:32
Patrick, there is only 1 person responsible, and that is Martinez.

Managers are paid to make decisions and every decision is a calculated risk. For Martinez in terms of his transfers, many have not paid off, so far.

Many of the new players are injured, or have been injured/unfit for long periods and this has affected our performances and the results.

However, its clear that many of the injuries are just fate, players like Gibson, Barkley, Baines, Oviedo, Jags, Distin, Pienaar, Coleman all been out injured and are all existing players.

So, had we kept Jelavic/Anichebe would we have got anything away at the RS with half a squad out injured? Would we have got anything from a Chelsea game where they're unbeaten in 70+ games and spent a shit load of money? Probably not.

What we can see is that the side are trying to play the right way. The fear and inferiority complex is mostly gone. The football is not great or incisive, but with all the injuries, players playing without full sharpness and so many in's and out's this season, the fact we're able to compete with teams who spend close to our annual wage budget on 1 player for 1 month, is actually quite remarkable.

The RS away aside, none of our results have been that bad. Martinez is building for the future and needs time. The one big advantage we have over the rich teams is that we can offer the manager control and stability. The day we take that stability away is the day we become Fulham, fighting at the wrong end of the table.

Dennis Stevens
9 Posted 24/02/2014 at 17:30:30
Have you just returned from some parallel universe, Patrick? There's more than a few flights of fancy & imaginative meanderings in that piece!

New stadium?!
Restless natives?!
Kenwright disloyal?!
Player power?!
Transfer funds?!

Wayne Smyth
10 Posted 24/02/2014 at 17:39:17
Just realised that its a quarter of our annual budget, not as I stated the full budget. Point still remains, the teams we compete against shell out vast sums to attract world-class players in significant numbers.
Ajay Gopal
11 Posted 24/02/2014 at 17:20:25
Patrick, I think you are chasing conspiracy stories when none exist. I think LL sums it up succinctly - Martinez needs time to establish his system. This season, he has consolidated the defence and has us playing possession football. Next year will be next stage in the transition when we start finding more and more ways to unlock defences. Finding a good striker is only the final piece of the jigsaw, and we may find the final piece in the most unlikely of places - it may not be an expensive foreign buy, it could very well be a couple of hungry, home grown players or it could be some gems unearthed on the cheap!
Michael Penley
12 Posted 24/02/2014 at 17:47:22
I don't think lack of spending is the one and only issue or even the main one. Let's say Martinez was given a blank cheque by Kenwright and we still finished 7th, what then? Rodgers did no better last season despite spending big, same with Spurs this season. We'd just be complaining about some other aspect of his management. There's a complex list of factors leading to where we are now and I still find it remarkable that we are successful as we are, when you look at how different we are playing compared with the end of last season. Some of us laughed last year when kopites said they were in a transition season, but they ended up being right. Well if this is our transition season we haven't done badly.
James Martin
13 Posted 24/02/2014 at 17:47:30
I don't think its as simple as buying a good striker. A football system needs all 11 players playing a certain way. We could put Suarez and Sturridge up front but then we wouldn't be able to dominate the ball as much, or if we did the service to them wouldn't be as quick. Brendan has made a conscious decision to alter Liverpool's approach to suit Gerrard and his strikers. Just shoehorning Sturridge in place of Naismuth wouldn't lead to a massively increased output. After all, Lukaku had dried up as well.

In my mind Martinez cant be questioned yet. I think he's trying to build a system to play anyone anywhere. The problem with Liverpool's is that it relies on the opposition making a mistake. When they don't (Arsenal at The Emirates twice, Chelsea, City) you can't affect the game. Our results largely depend on us: when the system is working, we can better Arsenal on their own patch; when it doesn't, we get done by Liverpool.

My one reservation is that, for the system to work, you need fit inventive midfielders who move the ball so quickly that chances get created. At the beginning of this season it worked. Now Barry and McCarthy along with Pienaar look physically and mentally drained. The carousel has ground to a halt. I think Gibson and Kone were his variety in the squad. Without those players its been plan A or nothing. Had Gibson been fit, I think we could be at least 4 points better off.

Ian Glassey
14 Posted 24/02/2014 at 18:30:45
My god, he has only been here 8 months — give the man a chance, judge him at the end of next season.

I am the first to admit that the wheels have fallen off since the New Year, but that is down to injuries and the lack of a squad. My only gripe is I would like them to move the ball faster in the final third.
We need a quality striker that's for sure, didn't the Belgian lad's parents say he was signing for us. Maybe a bid was made only for Bill to say no as there is no money..

Anthony Tully
15 Posted 24/02/2014 at 19:22:31
I do not understand the reasons for this article. Ok we have not been at our best since Christmas. I wonder what you will write if we win the cup.
Eugene Ruane
16 Posted 24/02/2014 at 19:14:08
Patrick - "But what happens if the natives do get restless and decide that Roberto is going in the wrong direction?"

What happens?

Well..if any natives believe after 3 months, RM's had his 'swansong' and as a result they become 'restless' and decide he's going in 'the wrong direction', they will be behaving like ludicrously impatient petulant toddlers who know fuck-all about fuck-all and people like me will let them know it.

Ray McBurney
17 Posted 24/02/2014 at 19:26:41
Asset stripping! 3 players we don't own. A training ground that is leased. The final piece of the jigsaw selling our last asset. Maximise profits for the board. After all when we are profitable aren't their dividends, etc.?? So when they have finished with the asset stripping. Then we will be sold...

One problem who is going to buy it as a business? As a hobby, yes. But, not too many of those type of investors out there.

I am recently back from a 2 week trip of Thailand. I did quite a bit of travelling. I was expecting to see all kinds of people walking around with Everton shirts. Didn't see one! As a matter of fact I did see 1 Everton shirt for sale. Well actually I didn't see it, I had to ask him for it. Pulled it out of the back. Thought I might buy one cheap. Of course a Thai adult is the size of a 12 year old. No XL's to be seen.

As a matter of fact I made it my personal mission to find a jersey. Search as I did...nothing. I asked them why as they had plenty of Barcelona, etc. even the shite! He said maybe next year. WTF!

Back to the stadium.....turn it around. Keep the mainstand and the Park end. Knock down the school and a few houses that we probably own. That would leave a new Bullens Road stand. And a future new Gwladys Street.

Raymond Fox
18 Posted 24/02/2014 at 19:23:14
Our most recent finishes in the PL have been 6th, 7th, 7th, 8th since City came into the equation at the top.

OFM manger was revered by the media and those inside the game as some sort of genius for gaining the finishing positions above on a small budget.
Hence the Utd job.

Martinez looks like attaining a similar position but appears to be coming under fire because he's failed to improve our position or so it seems!

Hands up who thought he would struggle to maintain our position in the league when he took over, most of us I would say.

Hope springs eternal I suppose, but as a squad we just do not have enough quality for a top 4 finish.
How many of our 1st choice players would get a start regularly in a top 4 side, 4 or 5 and that's being generous!

I think we have to be realistic and show some patience for a year or two, its hardly been a poor season so far has it.

James Hughes
19 Posted 24/02/2014 at 20:55:20
My main concern over the Chelsea result was Roberto's response – they used every trick in the book? Quelle Suprise.

They and every other top team have been doing it for years and getting results from it. To me, it seemed like an excuse, not a reason for defeat. Oh, we only got beat cos they conned the ref, not really.

The lack of strikers doesn't help; signing too many crocks really doesn't help; then insisting on patient build-up – when we have players of real speed who could out pace defences is ignored – really, really doesn't help.

So, Roberto, stop making excuses and find answers to the real reasons why we aren't scoring.

Plus, I very much want you to succeed... YOU – not the next man.

Paul Mackie
20 Posted 24/02/2014 at 21:39:30
It's a bit soon for an article like this in my opinion. No, we didn't buy anyone in January to sort out our goal problem. That's probably because the right players aren't available in the January window.

Having said that, Martinez's transfer dealings so far have been average. 2 permacrocks from wigan and a backup keeper who doesn't inspire confidence. Selling our only half decent backup striker and then getting in an injured loan striker who we'll be lucky to see play again before April. McCarthy was a good signing and McGeady was obviously bought with an eye on next season. The loan players have all turned out pretty well but based on the above I'm a little concerned about whether he can bring in adequate permanent replacements.

I'm sure on Sep 1st we'll have a much clearer picture of whether Martinez has the answers.

Peter Laing
21 Posted 24/02/2014 at 21:47:17
Paul, regarding the January transfer window and the availability of players – the Shite signed both Sewer rat and Sturridge in January. It's more to do in my opinion with the continuing boardroom policy of frugality and selling Jelavic to balance the books.
Ross Kerry
22 Posted 24/02/2014 at 21:58:05
Peter, absolutely correct.

We sold a player that, whilst no in favour, was an established Premier League striker when we had no back up.

Given the safety of our league position this probably does make economic sense, I don't believe Jelavic would have greatly changed the course of our season.

Where did the money go from the handsome profit made in August?

Peter Fearon
23 Posted 25/02/2014 at 01:16:19
To be caught without a playable striker at this stage of the season is a significant error on the part of the manager. He gambled by letting Jelavic go and that gamble has not paid off. Traore has a china leg, Kone is a has-been... if he ever was a 'was'!

Vellios has become one the Disappeared Ones. Whatever the question was, Anichebe was not the answer. Hopefully Lukaku will come back stronger than ever – but when?

Can you imagine hitting the last three months of the season and finding you don't have a goalkeeper? No. But we don't have a striker, which is worse. Fortunately this is one of his few, very few mis-steps this season and, while I fear the competitive part of the season may be just about over bar a miracle at The Emirates, I'm hopeful for next season.

Harold Matthews
24 Posted 25/02/2014 at 03:29:26
Get off his back. He has a long-term plan and he's doing fine.
Spragg Johnson
25 Posted 25/02/2014 at 04:17:16
Totally agree Peter (271) ... Not having a decent (or even a fit) striker at a critical time (January/February) has killed our chances of Champions League football ... But is it Roberto or the Board at fault? I believe Martinez to be an astute, stylish manager with bright ideas ... But he needs funds. Lukaku is only here for a few months, Traore seems a crock and Kone and Vellios are hardly 20+ goals a season men.
Matt Traynor
26 Posted 25/02/2014 at 04:32:58
You make the classic mistake of assuming that what you read on ToffeeWeb somehow reflects the views of Evertonians as a whole. It doesn't.

We're told by plenty that Moyes had unswerving support (see the farewell he got at the West Ham match at the end of last season) and BK still gets clapped whenever his mug appears on the screens at Goodison.

This is so off base I'll leave it to others to respond. I'm still gawping.

Stick to the Memory Lane articles – they're brilliant (apart from reminding me how old I'm getting).

Darren Hind
27 Posted 25/02/2014 at 05:52:20
To be honest Patrick, I think you have a far better understanding of the general mood of Evertonia than Matt does.

Matt's right in one sense, the views of some on here doesnt always reflect the views of Evertonians as a whole, but of the two of you, I don't think you are the one guilty of believing all they read on TW. Goodison hasnt suddenly been filled with shiney happy people, The five thousand returning fans havent materialised ( GP couldnt house them if they did ). We are not creating more chances and we havent ( as somebody claimed in an article before Chrimbo ) taken sixteen points from teams in the top eight.

To me Evertonians are a little happier, but they havent suddenly become complete mugs, If the team performs badly they will make their feelings Known to the manager, the boos around GP when the HT whistle went against Villa were not the first heard this season.

Evertonians have shuffled out of places like Cardiff, The Brittania, The Hawthorns and Selhurst in miserable, dissapointed silence ( don't ask me ask Ken Buckley ) and but for late free kick at The Liberty and The Boleyn we'd have been doing so at those places too.
So are we all Moyes worshippers for being critical of Robbie ? No, of course not, thats just another TW myth Matt has bought into. We are Evertonins who care only about our team.

Unless he screws up big time, Roberto Martinez will be here as long as he wants, premiership respectability and loyalty go hand in hand as far as Kenwright is concerned, the last manager latched on to his very quickly and my main concern is the current one MAY do the same .. . .but heres the thing.

Martinez is capable, We have seen his Wigan sides get remarkable results at the home of the top Boys down the years and he has done it by going straight for the jugular, he does have it in his locker. He did'nt leave Goodison shell shocked last season by fucking about with it in their own half, they tore into us from the off.

I have not heard one person call for Martinez's head, but that doesnt mean he is above criticism. If he wants to get the best out of his side he needs to bring his own A game. . .and not just when his back is to the wall. Evertonians have a duty to challenge the manager

Darren Hind
28 Posted 25/02/2014 at 07:13:05
sorry I didnt mean the Stoke Match, I meant the other Christmas holiday game at home to Sunderland, as we know, a late equaliser at Stoke saved us the miserable journey home
David Ellis
29 Posted 25/02/2014 at 08:43:24
Duncan Ferguson a threat to Roberto Martinez??? I don't think so. I don't see Martinez being under any kind of pressure for at least 3 years unless we get into a series of relegation dogfights. I think he would be forgiven at least one of those should it ever happen.

I am disappointed by the last 3 defeats - who isn't? But its been a solid start to the new regime and the fact that we have continued to outperform is remarkable in a transition year. Fingers crossed for the cup (but the odds are definitely against us).

George McKane
31 Posted 25/02/2014 at 08:55:28
Some of the comments are interesting, of course. This is a debating Forum. A Manager who has been caught out with no striker in January. I guess you are all talking about Mourinho.And he's got no money has he.

Ah well.

I am as always quite clear in my mind. I am with Martinez all the way.

Cosmic grooves Blues.

Peter Mills
32 Posted 25/02/2014 at 09:22:27
There's plenty of football still to be played this season. We've had a difficult spell recently with injuries and tough away games, but a good centre forward is coming back as are two potential game-changers in Barkley and Deulofeu. We have a tough cup match, but so do Arsenal. Keep cool, and review the season when it's over.
Iain Johnston
33 Posted 25/02/2014 at 09:43:57
The postponement of the Palace game makes our league position look worse than it is. A fixture we arguably would have won. We would all be reflecting on being 3 points ahead of Man Utd, applauding Norwich's victory and confident of being comfortable in 5th come April due to Spurs up and coming fixtures and a realistic opportunity for us to gain maximum points in March. I think that, considering the injuries, to still be in this position should be seen as a positive...

Let's look at the league leaders...How many goals have the Chelsea strikers scored this season, I wonder?... Torres, Eto'o and Ba...? 19 in total, this includes European games.

Naismith, Lukaku and Mirallas...? 20... The lack of goals from midfielders is our problem..

So, we probably wont finish 4th... This is a failure, why? Is it something the club achieves regularly so not to is to take a step backward? No.

Finishing 5th is realistically achievable and the Europa League – and before I get the usual "It's a waste of time", next year the competition is worth nearly three times as much to the participating clubs and it attracts a higher calibre of player.

There will always be those who aren't satisfied. Finish 4th? They'd moan we're not second and be ready with all the "if my aunty had balls she'd be my uncle" scenarios. The football has improved, their attitude has also, maintaining an attacking approach when we've had most of the first team out at some point. I'm confident that we've weathered the storm and we'll kick on now.

Brent Stephens
34 Posted 25/02/2014 at 11:27:20
Mine isn't a post about the OP specifically but what has become clear to me over various threads and over the last week or so. And that is that there is an increasing amount of "noise" on TW about perceived current errors on the part of Roberto.

These relate, variously, to team picks, tactics, substitutions (who and when), transfer window deals, statements to the media, etc. There have been posts on all these areas before now but it really strikes me how the mood-music is changing. I don't mean that all or even most TWebbers buy into any or all of the criticisms. But they are significant.

My own hunch is that there are very few of these posters who genuinely wanted Roberto to fail and are now crowing. Most seem to have been "behind" Roberto and are just pointing out one or more issues currently as they see them. And in doing so, they are not denying his current good calls nor passing overall judgement on whether he will "do it" for us. Always legit to identify the cons as well as the pros.

I don't know how far TW is representative of the GP crowd generally but if this is the mood music generally then I do wonder how much patience there will be in the GP crowd, for how long, as things progress and depending how they progress.

As for me, as I've said before, I'm behind Roberto. The good stuff excites. But / and he is and will be limited by resources; he can still and does make mistakes as anybody can. And I'll reserve judgement for now on whether he's going to do great things for us.

Jimmy Kelly
35 Posted 25/02/2014 at 12:24:30
Brent, I could not agree more.

I've said the same myself a couple of times recently. There is no conspiracy, nobody wants the manager sacked or is saying he'll never ever get it right, and every single fan I know will back Roberto to the hilt for the foreseeable future. However, anyone who thought Everton fans would just sit back and watch us disappear out of contention for the top 4 with a gallic shrug and put it down to 'transition' obviously hasn't spent much time at Goodison.

Eric Myles
36 Posted 25/02/2014 at 12:45:37
"If the ideas relating to a new ground are unfounded, then why hasn't Roberto been given the necessary funds?"

No need for conspiracy theories, Patrick, the answer's simple: we don't have the money.

Al Reddish
37 Posted 25/02/2014 at 12:21:40
Maybe there IS a feeling of uncertainty with RM, possibly down to Wigan's relegation, his mixed transfer successes, or maybe because we knew we were always going to finish in the top 8 (but not top 4) with Moyes.

I believe a lot of fans have or will have to change their mindset. It's difficult after 11 years of workmanlike football with no risks of failure, but this also brought 11 years of no success. We have a manager now that dares to be different.

With 10 minutes left at the top 4 grounds, if we are drawing he will make changes to win the game, not keep the point. He will give youngsters a chance and allow them to make mistakes. He trusts all his players in the match day squad. We have seen the benefits with Oviedo, Barkley (early season), Coleman and even Naismith to a degree. The only thing missing is a goalscorer.

Selling Jelavic WAS a mistake but who could have known Kone would be injured so early on and Lukaku would be taken out by his own team mate? Traore was a risk that seems not to be paying off, but this is my point: Martinez is prepared to take risks. We have tried the safe way and it only got us so far... To move forward, we have to do something different, and we have a manager that will do just that.

I don't believe for a second his job is under threat as the OP has suggested but I do agree there is still not 100% support for him. I say give him a summer transfer window with a bit of money and let's see what he can do with a team of HIS players, aided by the presence of Big Dunc, and then we can make our judgement.

Tony J Williams
38 Posted 25/02/2014 at 12:18:49
"My own hunch is that there are very few of these posters who genuinely wanted Roberto to fail and are now crowing."

Bullshit Brent, no Evertonian wants us to fail, it's just the inbuilt "I told you so" reflex that all people with opinions have.

Martinez is doing fine but, like most managers, he could do better. If his Plan A doesn't work... he forces the issue with... ermm... Plan A. If he was a magical manager, he wouldn't be employed by Everton, he would be managing a Champions League side. He is learning, but I wish he would learn quicker and for feck's sake, tell his players to have a shot once in awhile.

Like Moyes, he has constraints because Kenwright doesn't have any money to give him unless he sells. Which has been the process for about 6 seasons now.

No-one is calling for his head but, unlike with all the happy clappers at the start of the season, all is not well either.

Jelavic was useless for a season and a half but to sell him and bring in a crock, well that is just bad management, unless Bill forced the sale?

Next season will be the big test, to see if we can keep our better players and see what the squad looks like when the loanees go back.

Ben Jones
39 Posted 25/02/2014 at 12:42:58
The only major mistake Martinez has done is how he set up against Liverpool, and playing unfit players. A bad mistake but he's had a good start to the season, and his managerial position should not be questioned yet, after less than a full season.

But I think injuries have been the major concern, and surely one should look at West Ham. Look how well they're playing now when they get their players back. Having Lukaku injured at a viral part of the season has hindered us, same with Coleman, same with Gibson and Kone, same with Traore now.

People has questioned his signings, but they've either been good (Barry and McCarthy), brought in as back up (Robles and Alcaraz, maybe McGeady), or has been injured! So I just don't understand the criticism, Roberto doesn't get them injured, it's just bad luck.

The summer's a big one for me, and the major question is we need 2 strikers, one of them has to be a big signing, who is that going to be?

David Nicholls
40 Posted 25/02/2014 at 12:47:14
Start of a beautiful relationship, definitely! I for one am loving Roberto's revolution. I'm genuinely excited by what he is putting in place and I get the impression he is building for the long term.

I have the greatest respect for what Moyes achieved during his reign. We came a long way after that cup humiliation against Boro with an ageing squad and hardly any funds to turn it around. With discipline, organisation, a great team spirit and some canny moves in the transfer market we managed to regularly punch above our financial weight.

Without vast sums of money I'm struggling to see how Moyes could have really improved on what he had already achieved but under Roberto I have started to believe in miracles again.

I think he can build on the solid foundations put in place with an emphasis on technique and possession football. It has been often stated on this site that to play like Barcelona you need Barcelona players. I expect there will be some dark days along the way, we have already had one of them at Anfield but I can cope with the belief that there will be something special at the end of the road. We took some right spankings off Arsenal under Moyes and most of us stuck with him, surely Roberto deserves the same courtesy.

I'm sure I read somewhere that Roberto buys into the idea that the youth teams are set up to play in the same way as the first team so when a young player comes in he immediately knows his role. Cruyff built a similar philosophy at Barcelona that is still adhered to and benefitted from today. Hopefully Roberto can do the something similar.

If he won the FA Cup with Wigan, completely out-playing mega rich Man City in the process, having sold their best players for each of the previous two seasons, then I have faith he can achieve something quite special with us.

Brent Stephens
41 Posted 25/02/2014 at 13:08:31
Tony #331 "Bullshit Brent"

Oh, sorry, Tony! Bullshit it was then, if you want! It wasn't in any way the main point of my post.

Bill Gall
42 Posted 25/02/2014 at 13:04:31
We are not a top 4 club and people should recognize this. This season we had the chance with both Tottenham and Man Utd struggling but are now starting to pick up points by being backed by their boards.

We can not buy top class strikers or midfielders even if we have the transfer money as the club can not afford to alter their wage structure that has at the moment their top earner getting less than 1/3rd of Rooney's wage and less than 1/4er of most of the top 4 teams top players.

I am not an accountant so I do not now why the chairman and the board are (a) not willing or (b) not able to come up with funds to improve the team at critical times. My feelings are over the years they have got the club in a position that any transfer money coming in 25-30% of it can go to the manager and 70% goes to the banks or down what a number of people call the Black Hole.

I believe that come next year the manager is going to rely more on youth at the club with a mixture of some experienced players and build up at team in a similar way that Aston Villa are doing but with a better youth squad. With still a way to go in this season I think more of the youth players must be given a chance because if you are good enough you are old enough and next year back the manager to see if this system works.

We have to realise that money talks in this league and without a dramatic turnaround in our finances we have to find an alternative route to achieve success instead of just being content with a 6-10th position in the league and a good cup run. Everton supporters deserve better.

Jim Harrison
43 Posted 25/02/2014 at 14:52:49
Kind of agree with Bill. The problem seems that even in a short period of time Bobby has raised expectations. There is no doubting the overall quality of the teams play has improved, even if the end result isn't much different than before, but now he has cocked it all up.

If I am not mistaken Didnt we go to Chelsea, the league leaders, multi million pound assembled squad and lest we forget, one of the most talented coaches around at present, and give them a right fright. A scrambled last minute goal ended up being the difference. Eto, who not 3 years ago was valued in the 30 million bracket, Torres 50 million had less impact than Nais, who whilst never threatening himself worked hard and created chances. Earlier this season the same team schooled Arsenal away, defeated Utd away and have played several teams off the park on the way.

If this season ends in 7th, which it could, it could be considered an unsurprising return. New boss, top player leaving. But instead we could still be hanging on the coat tails of the wealthy in the later stages of the season. either way, its been a lot better to watch than most of what the last guy served up

Jimmy Kelly
44 Posted 25/02/2014 at 16:44:45
Jim, giving a team 'a right fright' doesn't get you very far unfortunately. Just ask Steve Clarke, who was sacked just a couple of weeks after giving Chelsea a hell of a lot more of a fright than we did.

I don't think most people would be too concerned about the Chelsea result in isolation, but as the most recent game in a run of 5 away games yielding 2 points and 2 goals (one from open play) it's hardly surprising that people are raising concerns.

Peter Warren
46 Posted 25/02/2014 at 19:14:54
Made up with Bobby. Refreshing attitude and tactics and long term plan. He's only about 49 I think so would imagine he still has loads to learn and will improve.

Don't like his tactics at corners at both ends of the pitch and can't stand McCarthy playing sideway and backward balls constantly which appears to be a direct instruction. I suspect instruction to McCarthy will change next season and eventually true ball playing centre halves.

I am excited by the future and can see us being a contender for the title in years to come.

I think we have a fair chance of a trophy this season and even greater chance of 5th place

Mark Taylor
47 Posted 25/02/2014 at 19:41:14
To answer the question posed at the end, Roberto hasn't been given the necessary funds because we don't have them. It really is time we used the evidence of our eyes on this and stopped the wishful thinking.

I feel there is a tendency for some to go from one extreme to another and perhaps this is another example. Martinez is not the Messiah. Fact is, he is highly unlikely to get us into CL without a commensurate budget, except maybe one year as a fluke.

He's actually quite unlikely to even beat Moyes' record over a sustained period, which is far better than his detractors would have you believe. In my view, if he matches it, that will be very decent.

I never started from a position of homage with Martinez- he was after all, manager of a relegated club- so perhaps the positives I do see have more resonance. I like the empathy he has with the club. That might seem insubstantial, just nice PR, but I don't think it is. I like the style of play he is moving us towards. I know we lost against Chelsea but for once, we did not look like the inferior team. I like the fact that we can get our hands on exciting talent like Delboy and that Martinez may have had a hand in getting much more out of current players, like Coleman, Oviedo and Barkley.

I don't like the fact he brought so many from relegated Wigan- two too many in my view. I cannot understand why you would sell a fit striker and bring in as loan cover, someone who is unfit. That is frankly inexplicable, when your main striker is himself injured. I think he needs to ensure that while playing out from the back is the ideal, sometimes it needs to be more direct.

So in a nutshell, although there are areas to grumble about, I think he is still very much in credit. And even more so if the alternative is Big Dunc!

Andy Crooks
48 Posted 25/02/2014 at 19:46:32
Tony, #331, that just about sums it up. I think Roberto is taking us forward superbly. I expected setbacks along the way but they have been pleasingly few. However, I have looked at the sale of Jelavic and the signing of Traore and, unless Kenwright was involved, I can only see it as utterly inept.
Bill Gall
49 Posted 25/02/2014 at 20:04:08
I'm afraid we will never be a title contender while we have a Chairman who will continue to finance the debt by selling our better players and that brings the club back to square one.
Michael Kenrick
51 Posted 25/02/2014 at 20:28:56
Perhaps I'm misreading this, but it does sound funny, Andy (#424),: "...unless Kenwright was involved, I can only see it as utterly inept."

So... if Kenwright was involved... then it wasn't utterly inept? !?

Are you developing a fresh image of our great leader?

Brent Stephens
52 Posted 25/02/2014 at 20:39:08
If Kenwright was involved it was unspeakably inept!
Andy Crooks
53 Posted 25/02/2014 at 21:06:03
Michael, what was, in my mind. an incisive and unambiguous post actually appeared as, well, whatever the opposite of such a post is, What I really meant to say was more or less, Kenwright out!!!
Andy Crooks
54 Posted 25/02/2014 at 21:06:03
Michael, what was, in my mind. an incisive and unambiguous post actually appeared as, well, whatever the opposite of such a post is, What I really meant to say was more or less, Kenwright out!!!
Si Cooper
55 Posted 25/02/2014 at 21:02:32
I am no longer bemused by a lot of the stuff that appears on ToffeeWeb.

Having watched the Horizon programme on how we make decisions (I recommend it to all) I can now spot 'confirmation bias' and 'loss aversion' a mile off.

Brent Stephens
56 Posted 25/02/2014 at 21:25:48
Si - one's hated player and confirmation bias. One slip confirms it all.
Dan Brierley
57 Posted 25/02/2014 at 21:13:40
I have been a sceptic since the beginning, and in all honesty I am still yet to be fully convinced that this manager has what it takes to move us beyond 'best of the rest'. He has certainly changed the style and approach, but is it actually better? Is playing two defensive Centre Mids truly more positive than our previous percentage football? Is Martinez' strength of staying true to his values actually a weakness? Is he any good in the transfer market? Now that the honeymoon period is over, I look forward to seeing Martinez ending this season and starting to build his own legacy. I am sincerely hoping that there is a lot more to come, and this season's perceived weaknesses will be unfounded.

I think most of my scepticism comes from the fact that I think he is an actor more than anything, who puts on a great show. His PR skills are excellent, he is one of these guys who has been educated to know exactly what to say, and when to say it. I still judge him on what happens on the pitch, and this season has had some wonderful performances, but equally some shite also.

Ciaran Duff
58 Posted 25/02/2014 at 21:42:27
I was 50-50 when RM was announced as our manager. I was a bit worried about his defensive record etc but I am happy to admit I was wrong. I am 100% behind the guy.

In terms of transfer budgets etc one factor you have to consider is long term v short term. My gut feeling (no evidence to back it up, mind) is that BK has told RM that funds are available for the right player(s) and he will leave it up to him how he spends. However, RM is trying to use those funds wisely. So, while lots of people are complaining about lack of signings (especially a striker and a defensive midfielder) in the January window, I'm guessing that there was nobody of quality available so RM didn't want to throw money away. He was prepared to wait it out until the summer and get the best value for money etc. In the meantime he is trying to fill the gaps with loanees etc. Given our bad luck with injuries, I think we have coped pretty well and I am prepared to suffer some short term pain for long term gain.

Dave Williams
59 Posted 25/02/2014 at 22:22:29
If you switched jobs and had to organise a team of workers would you be firing on all cylinders after 8 months or would you want time to get the team you wanted and then mould them into high performers?

Give the guy a chance everyone- 7 th and quarter final of the cup is a decent start - to even consider an article like this at this stage is bizarre!

Dan Brierley
60 Posted 25/02/2014 at 22:59:38
Dave, your argument is difficult to accept, because clubs who operate without sugar daddies pumping in millions do not get 'teams they want'. By the time you have identified the players that can get you there, some of your key players are already leaving to go to 'bigger' clubs elsewhere.

What I would expect after 8 months, is some signs that we are going to improve at some point in the future. My main hope of future improvement, Ross Barkley, has not improved this season as I hope he would. In all honesty, I don't see a better player than the one who came on in fits and starts for Moyes. Still potential instead of effective player. Equally, I have not seen improvement from our 2nd highest signing in history, he still only seems to be able to pass sideways as he has done for the last 4 years of his career. Jags and Distin are certainly not getting better, also Baines has gone backwards compared to previous seasons. Coleman has improved though however. Robles is not an improvement on Howard, nor is Alcaraz an improvement on Distin or Jags. Kone we don't know, but at 30 years old is not even a mid term strategy.

I am not someone who rates managers on the 'oh, isn't this attitude and mindset refreshing' criteria unfortunately, hence the reason I need a lot more before I am convinced.

Patrick Murphy
61 Posted 25/02/2014 at 23:10:42
Some have mentioned that this article was premature and I'd probably agree with them - but didn't we as a fan-base give our last manager a little too much grace and realised that he hadn't actually pushed the club any further forward in the last few years.

I read this pre-match [Chelsea] piece from the Daily Mirror after the result at Stamford Bridge and thought hang on a minute Roberto, just because we don't have cash doesn't mean that we as supporters only want to win in a certain way, we want to win by whatever way we can, we understand the restrictions and will tolerate a few set-backs if we can see progress even if that progress comes in small steps rather than giant leaps.

While Mourinho has to be pragmatic, Martinez is glad he can be romantic at Everton and play his brand of passing football.
"When you have clubs with bigger budgets, the only things that matters is winning, isn't it?" he said.
"You have to win. Your role is judged on winning. I'm a bit more of a romantic. The way we win dictates how far we can go - that's our position.


Don't get me wrong I fully understand what Roberto means but he also has to understand that Everton is a far different beast to Swansea or Wigan and we don't have the luxury as Evertonians to be the only club in the city and therefore the pressures and demands are automatically different regardless of our financial position.

I suppose I worry that Roberto may fall into the trap of putting results second to the quality of performances and while Swansea may have been in the situation that their fans could be patient and wait to see progress; the foundations at Everton have already been laid and the fans at least still have a big club mentality even if we understand that money dominates the modern game.

I hope that Roberto does achieve great things at Everton as he seems a charismatic person and has been good for the Club in most aspects during his brief time with Everton, but if he continues to write off points as part of the learning curve or fails to address our chronic shortage of goals or even chances created since Christmas then he will be making a rod for his own back.

But he is still working with players that are largely the choice of our former manager so he still has time to create his own dream team, but he won't get nearly as long as David Moyes and hopefully by this time next year he will have made his mark on the squad and they will have started to deliver what we all want a team to be proud of that can truly challenge for a whole campaign and not just for half a season.

Dan Brierley
62 Posted 25/02/2014 at 23:33:55
And I forgot to add, somebody should go and tell Pellegrini and Mourinho that this is their first seasons in charge and it needs time to deliver results.
Si Cooper
63 Posted 25/02/2014 at 23:43:42
Dan (#455) - the only thing I would really question is whether you KNOW RM's dealings with the press are simply down to being media trained and that it is not a real representation of the man's persona? Are you presenting an untrustworthy stereotype to put your own prejudices in a more favourable light?

Patrick, I would agree that style cannot be allowed to totally displace substance but I think it is far too early to debate whether we are being propelled inexorably towards that eventuality. I would take the manager's 'righteous indignation' over the result at the weekend to be indicative of the fact that he would never be happy for us just to be undeserving losers.

It seems he has great faith that we can gain palpable success by playing the right type of football; let's wait until there is decent evidence one way or the other before we judge him for that.

Kevin Tully
64 Posted 26/02/2014 at 00:26:04
Hopefully, it's positive thinking such as this which may enable us to win a trophy in the near future, instead of thinking about stopping the opposition. From Sky Sports ;

After witnessing Manchester United's woeful display in Athens on Tuesday night, curiously, it was the recent comments of former player Tim Howard in praising Everton manager Roberto Martinez that sprang to mind. Evidently, the experienced goalkeeper has been inspired by the positive attitude of David Moyes' successor at Goodison Park.

"No matter what game we go into," said Howard, "the focus has not at any point this season been on the other team - it has always been about us. You have to do this 40 weeks of the year, it is nice not to come into work every day thinking 'Oh, that's looming ahead'. The manager keeps us bright and bubbly and focused on ourselves. Not always having to look over your shoulder at who is coming next is good. We work on ourselves and it's a difference."

Robert Jones
65 Posted 26/02/2014 at 00:54:15
Dan, shut up. Using Mourinho and Pellegrini, who both have billion-pound squads, is facetious at best.
Eric Myles
66 Posted 26/02/2014 at 00:53:59
Kevin #481, maybe that's part of the problem we're having with our players not being aware of the dangers the opposition present, say at set pieces.
Brian Waring
67 Posted 26/02/2014 at 14:39:17
"I don't see a better player than the one who came on in fits and starts for Moyes."

Dan, under Moyes you hardly heard anything about Barkley, under Martinez he has been raved about by the media, pundits and ex players.
He made his England debut under Martinez and has a great chance of going to the World Cup.

Jim Knightley
68 Posted 26/02/2014 at 15:22:42
I honestly think that if Martinez sustained us at the level Moyes achieved, he would have done a brilliant job. The reason why Moyes got the United job, aside from a personal relationship with Sir Alex, was arguably the best relative success in the Premier League. I quantify that by looking at massive improvement in league positioning (bottom 6-ish to top 6-ish side) with consistently the lowest transfer budget in the position.

Martinez suffers from the same problem. How can we compete with the top 4/5 who massively outspend us every season, or even those looking upon us with envious eyes from below, who routinely spend Ł10-15mil more a season on their squad? However, having witnessed Martinez's manner, his application, and ambition, I think he will do a great job. I don't think he will improve on league positioning, but I think he will bring a trophy, because he plays in the kind of manner which brings trophies.

I also think he will better introduce young players, and generally give us a better watching experience because of an attack-orientated possession football approach. I think he needs a top striker and more creativity (imo, Barkley is over-rated, and although I like Pienaar and especially Mirallas, they are too inconsistent), and then I think we will have a squad which can at least challenge for top four over a season.

My one concern is his ability to replace an ageing defence. For all Moyes's critics, he knew how to set up our team defensively, and I feel that our defensive stability this season is the product of Moyes's tenure. I hope we don't lose that under Martinez, and the loss of Heitinga, the failure to bring in another centre-bck, and my experiences of Alcaraz, do not inspire hope.

Dan Brierley
69 Posted 26/02/2014 at 19:57:23
Brian, he certainly has more exposure than under David Moyes, on that I fully agree. But I am questioning is he a better player for all this game time that he has been given by Martinez? Which parts of his game have improved in your eyes?
Darren Hind
70 Posted 26/02/2014 at 20:14:40

Barkley called up after shining for the Under-21s against Scotland on August 13th, he didn't play his first competitive game for Martinez until August 17th. Martinez did not make an international, he inherited one.

It will be interesting to see what happens this weekend, Martinez spoke very publically about allowing the youngster to learn from his mistakes in the first team, it was roundly applauded at the time, but like most youngsters, Ross's form has plateaued and he IS making mistakes, lots of them.

Think he'll start at the weekend?

Raymond Fox
71 Posted 26/02/2014 at 20:37:06
Dan, I don't think you'll ever admit to be convinced by Martinez, you made your mind up before he took charge!

He's come in with all the potential upset that a new manager and coaching staff can bring and the team has performed at least as well as when OFM was in charge.

So what's he doing wrong, where is he failing?

Colin Glassar
72 Posted 26/02/2014 at 21:06:10
A lot of the comments on these threads, concerning Martinez, are almost a mirror image of what the rs have been saying about Brenda up until this season. A few said give him time, we are going through a transition period etc... While a very vocal minority were calling for his head. Well they stuck by him and are starting to enjoy the results. We have to be exactly the same with Roberto. He now knows who's who and what he will need for next season. Just try and enjoy our last dozen or so games and look forward to a Martinez team next season.
Aman Kanji
73 Posted 01/03/2014 at 07:56:47
Patrick M, Do you write for a tabloid? Are you one of those people who chases celebrities all day and night until you get a scoop, any scope will do as long you get your name in the trash red top press; (mind you Mail & Telegraph are catching up)

What a trashy article... What a waste of time. I only read the first few lines after reading Terry Smiths tweet. You start of stating that everything you write us conjecture, as in 'a collection of thoughts loosely joined together' to make a nonsensical rambling.

Why am I even wasting my time on this... Because negativity spreads negativity and slowly builds momentum in the darker corners of pubs. We need white light (blue is also good) around the club to help play / performance progress.

Have a great day. Enjoy the match, deafen the hammers with your support for the blues, that's where your voice is needed. 3:0 EFC :-) Keep Smiling

Patrick Murphy
74 Posted 01/03/2014 at 08:32:53
Aman - Thanks for the critique - No I'm not a journalist; I am just a poster like anybody else on this site. I'm glad you realised that I clearly sign-posted that the article was conjecture on my part. Trashy? I'm not sure I agree with you but you have your viewpoint and I respect that,

Historians constantly review situations and second-guess what may have happened if a different path had been taken it helps to understand the reasons and whether certain decisions were correct or not. So from that perspective, conjecture is not always a negative.

However, I agree with you that the only thing that matters is that the Blues get the 3 points from any given game.

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