Have we progressed this season? I really dont know if we have, but it feels slightly more positive. Or am I just falling succumbing to Martinezs "glass half-full" philosophy?

We have at times played some wonderful football, dominating possession and teams, scoring some magnificent goals, but also showed disturbing weaknesses, particularly against fast counter attacking teams, and lately against the Top teams. I put that down to Martinezs open style, take risks make mistakes encourage full backs to push right up field.

At the end of it all, I suspect we will finish 6 or 7th, get about the same number of points, score roughly the same number of goals as last season, concede about the same number of goals as last season, so therefore we havent progressed results wise.

Have we progressed in developing our youngsters? Will the likes of Barkley, Stones, McCarthy and Oviedo blossom next year and future years and drive us to success, an area where Moyes wouldnt be so adventurous?

Do you, like me, feel that we have gained substantial respect from the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, Man Utd, and Man City that we are capable of taking them on face to face, whereas in the past it was a case of them knowing they faced a tough game but ultimately they would win?

Or do you have concerns that its all some sort of dream, and that Martinez has got us where we are on artificial means, where would we be without Barry, Lukaku, and to a lesser extent Deulofeu, where will be next year if we dont keep them?

And does it feel that no matter whoever is manager, whatever tactics, whatever policies they choose to follow, that we have reached our pinnacle and the lack of 2-3 real quality expensive players (particularly midfield creators, forwards) will mean that we will forever meddle on the edge of greatness, wealth?

It seems to me that this year has, like most in recent years, been one where we at some time during the season have flattered to deceive, have overachieved, have sent us on our endless journeys of football fantasies where we are about to join the elite, mix with Europes cream, but it looks in reality that we will require City or Arsenal to win the cups allowing us the luxury of playing in the Europa "2nd Division" next year.

Yet, as I said in my first paragraph, I do feel as though Im prouder to be an Evertonian, I do feel that we somehow have improved, but I do fear that the Martinez target to take the club into the Champions League without significant monies could be just another fantasy. I hope Im wrong!

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Jim Harrison
1 Posted 09/03/2014 at 02:39:28
I think looking at the situation objectively you have to say you are right. At the end of the season the points total is the only really valid statistic, and odds are the total this season will be similar to last seasons.

That's not a surprise really. The squad's spine is similar and the players added generally are not prolific goal scorers.

The football has improved in some ways, but the real difference between the top clubs and everyone else is goals scored. Everton don't score enough to really threaten the top of the table. That said, it's been generally more entertaining to watch this year. I also think that the current style has the potential to yield better results. The possession stats really have been quite stunning at times, and the league game a The Emirates was one of the best performances I have seen for a while.

If Bobby can get a couple of real quality players, then we could reasonably expect actual improvements in terms of results. If the status quo continues, we can probably only expect improvements in entertainment value.

Si Cooper
2 Posted 09/03/2014 at 02:51:58
Thanks, Mike, for an oasis of rationality in the current maelstrom of discontent that is afflicting TW at this moment in time.

Still too early to judge; if the team continues to fail on the pitch once all this season's 'bright-lights' are restored to full match fitness, then there will be some evidence that Martinez's stewardship is fundamentally flawed. Until then it is just a case of good start and a poor middle (with some bad luck with injuries to take into consideration).

Derek Thomas
3 Posted 09/03/2014 at 06:06:41
No, not yet, we've just changed one inflexible boss for another, albeit inflexible in a different style.

Just as Arsenal were better at all the things We do; Bayern were better at all the things Arsenal do.

So, Short version:

Arsenal 4 - Arsenal Lite 1

and thus... Arsenal 0 - Bayern 2

So unless, I have my doubts, but time will tell and we have to give him 3 or 4 more windows, Roberto can add a little pragmatism to his pass it all about style...unearth or buy ( yeah right eh Bill ) the Messi's and Xavi's etc to make good his dream...The 7th place trophy is yet again nailed on, unless United by default leave us 6th.

John Keating
4 Posted 09/03/2014 at 06:28:52
very good article and I have to agree with you.
Obviously Martinez will have to be given a couple more seasons to get in a few more of his own players and then we can judge.
However, somewhere nagging at the back of my mind is past history.
In that I mean the "Wigan syndrome".
Not bad footy, good going forward, shite defensively and never changing style regardless !
At present our defence is far superior to Wigans, last season, if we were to weaken or change the unit to suite an even more adventurous style of play I think wed get f...ed far more often.
Difficult to get the right balance I know but we must get a plan B
Darryl Ritchie
5 Posted 09/03/2014 at 06:50:32
Why aren't we scoring? Is it lack of imagination? Is it lack of quality crosses? Are some players too selfish? Is it that by keeping the ball on ground, and completely ignoring the long pass, opposing clubs can pressure the ball and not be concerned about one over the top? Is it just plain old lack of talent, or money, or both?

All have been put forth as areas of concern on TW, all are probably right.

You can teach defence. That's true for just about any sport I can think of. You need a system that everybody's familiar with, and if the players have even just average athletic ability, you can hold your own. A good defence doesn't have to break the bank to assemble. We have a good defence. Our back four, or five, if you include Barry, all are, or have been internationals. Howard is a steadying figure in the net.

Offence is another animal entirely. This season we own 2/3's of the pitch. Our possession stats are outstanding. What we are lacking, in varying degrees, is everything that's listed above.

Plus one more thing. Belief!

The league knows how good Everton can be. Sometimes I don't think Everton does. Ever since the Derby, we have been very tentative going forward. The flowing offence that, was such a joy to watch before Christmas, is for the most part missing lately. It is like they're so intent on not making that one bad pass that is springs the counterattack, they forget to attack themselves.

Is Roberto and his staff good enough to fix it? I don't know. I hope so

Dick Brady
7 Posted 09/03/2014 at 08:33:14
We weren’t scoring last season either and everyone blamed David Moyes.

But this season its a difference manager and we have the same problem so that makes the problem obvious, the players themselves are just not goalscorers.

Steven Pienaar is the biggest culprit, he has always lacked goals but as he’s gotten older he got worse in the goal scoring department. Leon Osman isn’t much better with an average of 5 goals a season.

McGeady & McCarthy are yet to score debut goals for Everton, in his long career Garth Barry has never been a big goalscorer.

Annoyingly even the younger players Gerard Deulofeu and Ross Barkley seem to struggle to score goals. You could excuse Deulofeu as he’s hardly started many games but Barkley has close to 50 appearances now for Everton, the majority of the starts in advanced postions, and he’s only scored 4 goals total.

Outside of Lukaku Everton’s best chance of a goal comes from Mirallas or Naismith. But even they only score in purple patches with only a dozen goals between them.

Baines has always helped with goals but when was the last time he scored from free play?

If Roberto wants more goals he has to change personnel because most of them have never been, and will never be big goal scorers. You might be able to teach Barkley and McCarthy to get more goals but the likes of Pienaar, Osman and Barry are too old to learn that skill now.

Darryl Ritchie
8 Posted 09/03/2014 at 09:00:04

When it comes to scoring goals, either you can or you can't. It's not really a teachable skill. Those that can are usually identified fairly quickly and snapped up by the richer clubs. There some that fall through the cracks, or develop later, but, eventually they are able to demand a top salary and go to the clubs that can afford their wages.

We have players that can put the ball in the net. We just can't seem to do it consistently enough.

If the only way we can be successful is to bring in world class offensive talent; were screwed. There's no way we can afford the millions needed, as things stand.

Goals cost money and we haven't got enough.

Dick Brady
9 Posted 09/03/2014 at 09:26:56
Tim Cahill scored goals and he cost 1.5 million.

Jay Rodriguez cost Southampton 6 million.

You could even argue the 12 million Liverpool paid for Daniel Sturridge was within our price range.

I don’t buy the theory that we have to spend a fortune to get players who can score goals. If Roberto is any good he will find players within our price range who can score goals.

Kone for example may have been the goal scorer we are lacking but injuries have made that transfer a waste of money.

John Keating
10 Posted 09/03/2014 at 09:27:37
you're right. If you look at goal scorers present and past it seems to be a "natural gift"
Obviously we can't compete at the top level at this time but look what we have missed this season 1. A forward who can regularly find the net 2. A good attacking midfielder who has a great eye for goal.
So next season, without spending the earth who can we get ?
My top 2 would be Hernandez from Utd who Moyes obviously doesn't rate and Remy from QPR.
Chris Matheson
11 Posted 09/03/2014 at 09:42:42
We have changed the manager but the rest of the club has not changed, so the same constraints remain, be they constraints of finance, of ambition, or of imagination. I reckon that Bobby has given some belief that we can play better football, but until the problems in the Boardroom are addressed and we gett a new owner, the underlying culture of the club will not change. 7th willl still be seen as success. Real change can only come from changes at the top.
Liam Reilly
12 Posted 09/03/2014 at 09:50:30
4-1 was harsh yesterday, Everton went toe to toe with Arsenal unto the last 10 minutes and then had to chase the game.

The manager will learn from this. Have we progressed? Yes, finishing in a similar place to last year, with the same players playing better football is progression.

It won't happen overnight, let's give the guy a chance but I for one am delighted to see the football that we play and this with players that we were recently led to believe, couldn't pass the ball.

Mark Pierpoint
13 Posted 09/03/2014 at 09:59:41
I think we are making progress of sorts. if you look at us during the first third of the season we played with attacking verve, took the game to Arsenal and United away from home, and went into games at home with a swagger that converted into results. This hasn't happened before this season, particularly at the sky 4.

Secondly it is clear that several of our fringe and younger players have progressed. Barkley, Stones, Oviedo. Clearly players like Naismith seem happier too.

Thirdly there have been some improvments to the team. McCarthy seems a good figurehead to base the team around. The back 4 has more depth, and we have a bit more competition for places.

On the other hand we have shown yesterday how far we are from competing on a regular basis. When it comes to it we are still the bridesmaid when it comes down to the business end of the season.

Depends if you are half full or half empty...

Eric Myles
14 Posted 09/03/2014 at 09:10:10
Up until the derby game the play and results we were a relative joy to behold after previous seasons (bar a couple of dire performances like Spurs home) and the atmosphere was positive, but as Daryl said we seem to have gone off the boil since then.

We just seem to have replaced the frustrating defensive syndrome, where we sit back and defend for the last 20 minutes and have no attacking threat, with the frustrating possession syndrome, where from a good attacking position we pass the ball all over the field back to our 18 yards and have no attacking threat.

The proponents of both systems have no game changing Plan B when the system is failing or we concede an unexpected goal, e.g. Spurs away, and stubborn persistence with the system is the order of the day.

In my opinion Mike has hit the nail on the head in his 7th paragraph, RM will soon find that he is hampered in his desire for improvement by lack of funds for the 2 or 3 game changing players that he needs unless he unearths some hidden gems from lower leagues at home or abroad.

So in that respect, yes, still no progression from the last 11 years, and none expected.

Jim Bennings
15 Posted 09/03/2014 at 10:03:52
To be honest its too early to say whether we have progressed yet.

Martinez still has too many of Moyes players, he made his signings late last summer and they hit the ground running but have seized up now after the long hard season.

I don't really think Everton are all that much different to the Everton of this time last season.
With exception of the win at Old Trafford most of the results have been similar, inability to score enough goals, take enough chances, slow build up and so on, all the same things in many ways to what we were moaning about this time last year.

I probably admit that when Martinez took over I though we have have been a bit more gung-ho and we may have seen an Everton team looking a little more like scoring goals but in many ways he has stepped right into Moyes shoes with the same formation, with only one or two different personell and the new idea of the possession football rather than the more tradition direct way we have been used to at Everton.

I am not sure if that has disappointed me slightly really.
Yes we have for the majority looked a safe stable team but perhaps I was just looking forward to seeing a team commit a few more men in attack and now and again try a different formation against lesser lights at home..I don't know if in time when Martinez gets more of 'his' players that may change..

I also don't like the idea that we seem to have neglected nay kind of goal threat coming from corners, high crosses from the byline, call me old fashioned but I kind of liked seeing classic headers scored by Everton centre forwards but this season, I am struggling to remember a header other than Lukaku against Liverpool.

Because of that we don't seem to score enough variety of goals.

I know Martinez is in many ways a perfectionist and he has been on record stating he wants us to score the 'perfect goal' but sometimes Roberto you need the perfect players to score those kind of goals and we do not have them nor the money to go out and sign them.

In all fairness lets wait until the middle to the end of next season before making anymore judgements.

At the moment it just looks like the same old Everton to me, reliable but not likely to do much that is unexpected.

Perhaps the remainder of the season with little else to really play for except Europa League football will see Martinez try a few different things.

Eric Myles
16 Posted 09/03/2014 at 10:18:06
Dick #723, although Pienaar has never been a goalscorer for us it was his link up play with Baines on the left that has always created chances and goals for us, especially prior to his transfer to Spurs.

Admittedly since his return that partnership has suffered, and maybe more so this season with Baines not getting forward as much but I think Pienaar's strengths have always brought something to the team other than as prolific goalscorer.

Lately though it's sad to see his contribution waning and his own frustration at that situation is obvious.

Jim Bennings
17 Posted 09/03/2014 at 10:34:20
The Pienaar and Baines combo has not worked since the start of last season.

Baines's form dipped when Pienaar left for Spurs; they re-discovered that partnership when Pienaar first came back on loan but both players' form has died badly over the last year in my opinion.

Pienaar has lost it now, I loved him as a player in his first spell here from 2007 to 2010 and maybe in his first few months back in early 2012 but he has rapidly declined as a productive player now sadly, and it does make me sad because it's another of my favourite players on his way out.

Baines also has me worried. It was only when Oviedo came in before Christmas that I thought "Hang on, he's doing things here what Baines could be doing more of'".

The national media has him down as this dead cert for England left back but is it just me or am I seeing a different Leighton Baines than the rest of the country at this present moment?

Kunal Desai
18 Posted 09/03/2014 at 10:45:59
Aside from the obvious, next season at home, we need to start looking to play two out-and-out strikers, preferably one of which being a permanent signing.

Now to the midfield, do we really need two holding midfielders? I'm not convinced McCarthy and Barry can play in the same side, this severely limits the attacking and creativity options. We need a new creative midfielder alongside McCarthy and if that means Barry doesn't sign then so be it.

What's patently obvious is either Pienaar or Osman or both cannot play in the side next season. I feel both have been passengers for long enough now. At least one of the two will need phasing out next season or reduced as a squad player.

If this clubs has any remote ambitions of moving forward, then these areas in particular have to come under real scrutiny.

Matt Traynor
19 Posted 09/03/2014 at 11:03:10
Given the massive investment in the squad this season, I think it's obvious that we haven't hit the standards we'd have expected.

What's that? Net negative spend for two transfer windows? Oh, okay... In that case, I'm pleasantly surprised we haven't regressed as much as we might have.

Brian Harrison
20 Posted 09/03/2014 at 11:07:14
I think everyone at the start of the season said this is a transition season with a new manager and 6th or 7th would be very acceptable. Well that pretty much looks like where we may finish unless we go on an amazing run till the end of the season. The question is: Have we progressed? Well, it all depends on how you clarify progression is it style of play or final position in the league or has the manager strengthened the team?

Overall, the style of play is very easy on the eye but, against the better teams, we lack penetration especially away from home as our recent away results will testify: no goals at Liverpool, Spurs or Chelsea.

Has the manager strengthened the squad? Well, this is a bit more difficult to answer as the loan players have definitely strengthened the squad but I don't think we can say the same over the permanent signings. Alcaraz and Kon have been injured for most of the season, although Alcaraz seemed injury prone at Wigan and RM must have been aware of that. I think McCarthy has been a plus not sure about McGeady but will probably learn more about him next season.

My take is it is too early to say whether we have progressed or not. I think what is quite evident is RM faces the same challenge as Moyes had: the lack of finance is always going to be the biggest obstacle to real progression.

Steavey Buckley
21 Posted 09/03/2014 at 11:38:20
In order to progress further the passing game that Martinez has instilled, Everton will need at least two genuine ball-playing centre-halves to play and pass the ball out of defense with the expertise required. I do believe that Jagielka and Distin are uncomfortable with the ball when pressed by the opposition.
John Otway
22 Posted 09/03/2014 at 11:41:41
I truly do not believe our Club will make any progress while Kenwright is in charge.

Like it or not, as Alan Myers said in one of his parting tweets "investment = trophies"... and it is truer today than it has ever been.

To those who say "be careful what you wish for"... do you know what, I've supported this Club for over 50 years and I'm prepared to take the risk. To the risk averse, I would say that for every Tan there's a Mansour, Abramovich and Henry and for every Leeds United there's a Manchester City and Chelsea. To those who want to do it without the tainted Murdoch, Arab, or Oligarch cash, I say, sadly it cannot be done.

Kenwright needs to put his equity stake up for sale and accept what he paid for the shares plus an acceptable level of compensation to cover the period of the holding. Terry Leahy should be tasked with undertaking the role that Martin Broughton successfully fulfilled in the Liverpool takeover; finding a fit and proper individual or entity to move the Club forward. As long as Kenwright & Co are sitting in the Directors Box, our Club will not progress.

Eric Myles
23 Posted 09/03/2014 at 11:51:42
John, Kenwright only owns about 27% of the shares so getting rid of him will not change anything, we need to get rid of Phil Green's other cronies at the same time.
Ron Sear
24 Posted 09/03/2014 at 11:47:35
The "slightly more progressive" nails it on the head really.

I must admit that when I go to stadiums like the Etihad and the Emirates, I wonder how the hell we are on the same football field as some teams who are awash with cash and talent. It amazes me that we compete so well with the resource base derived from sheer enthusiasm. It's no good blaming our manager and owners, we are firmly anchored in a place that will be hard to get out of without hard cash.

Given the consequences of some meglomaniac fat cat coming along renaming the team, changing the shirt colour to purple and replacing the Dixie Dean statute with one of Justin Bieber, I would rather take the occasional heartbreak and the sheer glee of disrupting big clubs. Given that, an injection of ruthlessness into the team and a right bastard picked as captain might not go amiss. Baines and Jags are just too nice for the job.

Wayne Smyth
25 Posted 09/03/2014 at 12:15:50
I think it's clear we are progressing.

We've had a change of mindset and method, even though the results are currently no better or worse than they have been previously.

What I think most will agree with was that under Moyes we'd hit a ceiling. It needed a change of philosophy to bridge the next gap. Moyes was always after more cash, trying to spend more in a bid to get closer to the top 4. Without rich backers that was never going to happen.

Under Martinez, we've seen no complaints about resources. The manager is attempting to get us playing the kind of football that will win us games and trophies. In the past, we'd go to the rich teams and circle the wagons and our negative attitude would often end with a defeat without us really having given it a good go. Perhaps we'd lose narrowly, but we'd still lose. Even when we hung on to a draw, it often felt like we'd got lucky and just about "got out of there alive".

Now, we go to those teams and try to beat them, not just aim to avoid defeat. I'll say now that I prefer that attitude any day than the one negative one we'd gotten used to. Lose 1-0 with no ambition, or have a go and risk losing by a bigger margin? No question for me.

If you look at our results, first 3 games aside, which teams have beaten us who you'd have expected us to beat quite easily? Sunderland at home... but, other than that, we've lost to teams who we've not got a good record against.

The games against Chelsea (Howard og), Spurs (individuals switching off from a set piece) and this weekend's FA Cup game, were all very close affairs against vastly richer teams with vastly better players. Had Barkley's effort gone in, we'd probably have won. Had Barry not stuck out his leg or McCarthy slipped in a bad position, you couldn't really see them scoring.

Only in the game against the RS did we get mullered and deserve to lose, and with half a team out injured and half a team playing on their return from injury, I think there are mitigating factors there too.

I've heard people say we miss Fellaini or we should "mix it up". I don't agree. We miss Fellaini if we wanted to play like Sam Allardyce likes to. To play proper football and impose ourselves on teams and learn how to win games regularly in a controlled fashion, we need a different style, and Roberto is trying to get us there.

It's certainly a work in progress and it will take time to get there, but we need to give the manager at least 3-4 seasons to see if we can start to see the benefits of his methods. In terms of the man's principles and what he's trying to achieve, I couldn't be happier. We just need a bit of luck and confidence and we'll be sorted.

Graham Mockford
26 Posted 09/03/2014 at 13:04:50

It is actually a very good question. Now any judgement of the success of Roberto needs a least three years before you could realistically have expected him to achieve the vision he will have set out when he joined and he himself stated CL football.

But along the way you would expect to see some progress to that vision. What short term objectives would you have expected him to have set in his first year.

I would suggest four things:

1) No significant deterioration in results and league position. He's certainly okay here as our results are more or less identical to previous years HIT.

2) A change in our playing style. Well it's changed, we have more possession of the ball and play from the back and I guess this divides opinion. For me I don't think it is necessarily improved things, were actually scoring less goals JURY OUT.

3) Better performances against the bigger sides. United aside (and it's not that bigger deal this season as everyone has been doing it) and probably our best performance away earlier against Arsenal, it's been depressingly familiar MISS.

4) Improving the first team squad. I would say this is the most worrying aspect as most of our acquisitions have not had any real effect, McCarthy excepted. We also may have to replace Barry and Lukaku at the end of the season who have been key team members MISS.

I think another key aspect would be development of young players. It's too early to judge but on a positive note both Barkley and Stones are now established first-team players.

All-in-all, no need to panic... but I think the last 10 weeks have been a bit of a reality check given the unbridled optimism we were starting to feel.

Peter Askins
27 Posted 09/03/2014 at 13:30:16

Maybe I'm more of an optimist than yourself, and the afternoon after the afternoon before has tempered my disappointment, but I think Martinez has ticked all four boxes of your "progress" criteria.

1. Agreed. No slide down the table, unless our form falls off a cliff in the last eleven league games. I expect us to finish anywhere from 4th (as I say, I'm the eternal optimist), or 7th, as would most fans, I suspect.

2. Disagree. The change in style is clear, and is much easier on the eye. How often do we mention "hoofball" this season? Our average, home attendance is up by a thousand this season, with big games (and full houses) to come against Man United, Arsenal and Man City. I agree with the sentiment that our "new" possession football isn't leading to more goals, but this is the hardest part of the game, and will hopefully improve next term.

3. Disagree. Our performances HAVE been better against the big sides. It's a bit mean to write off our performance at Old Trafford as "no big deal". The point is the venue, and the mindset we've had approaching these games in the past, not necessarily the ability of the opposition. We also went toe-to-toe at Stamford Bridge, The Emirates, and White Hart Lane, rather than the "backs-to-the-wall", and hold out for a gritty 0-0. The results overall haven't been much better, but the performances certainly have.

4. Improving the first team squad. Again, a bit mean of you to not include loan signings. They are part of the squad, surely? So what if Lukaku and Barry have been two of our best players this season? If they don't stay, I've no doubt that Martinez can get like-for-like replacements in the loan market.

Your last point relates to this squad issue, and on this we agree, in that Barkley and Stones are now established and trusted, as is Coleman. Again, I have no doubt that Martinez will phase in more youngsters, at the expense of "old favourites" such as Osman and Pienaar. We have many young players out on loan at the moment, and sometimes there's no logic to which ones burst through over the summer, and which ones fade away.

Jimmy Kelly
28 Posted 09/03/2014 at 14:06:35
Peter, I don't think it's 'mean' to say our performances at those grounds haven't improved. It is obviously extremely relevant how good the opposition are, and there is a big difference between beating the Champions and beating a team in 7th.

The debacle at Anfield was a disgrace and we were beaten soundly at City and yesterday. The Emirates in December was an excellent performance but White Hart Lane? Come off it, we played better there less than 12 months ago.

The Chelsea game is a difficult one, we certainly deserved a draw and played well but lost in the end. Very similar to how it's gone over recent years then.

Personally I expected Martinez to change the style of play and to keep us in a relatively similar position. He's done that so as far as I'm concerned he's doing fine, but I'm not convinced that we have actually improved as such, more that we've just changed.

Mark Frere
29 Posted 09/03/2014 at 15:13:44
Regarding results, position in the table and points tally it doesn't look like we've progressed much this season. But I think Martinez has laid the foundations of a better mentality many of us were so fed up (myself included) of Moyes and Neville bullshit of 'Everton are lucky to be in top 8' mentality. Martinez always strives to be the best and doesn't let money be an excuse for not achieving his goals.

This season has been a bit of a mixed bag: we started off dreadful with three uninspiring draws but gradually, we got better. Our best spell, playing some really impressive was the Goodison Merseyside Derby right up until the Sunderland home defeat. In that period, we went to The Emirates and Old Trafford and showed how good we can be playing to our full potential. I think the combination of bad luck with injuries, a heavy fixture list at the end of last year, lack of transfer activity in January, and a small squad has derailed our early season promise.

Martinez should have a bit of money to spend this summer if we take into account the money made on Fellaini, Anichebe, Jelavic and the extra 20 million a year TV revenue. We've got to remember, Martinez has achieved what he's achieved this season with a negative net spend.

One thing's for sure, he needs some backing from the board if we are ever going to challenge for top 4 or trophies. We are all well aware that we can't spend the vast amounts our top 6 rivals can, but RM just needs a little support by the board to at least give us a chance of progressing... I won't hold my breath though!

Harold Matthews
30 Posted 09/03/2014 at 12:53:45
I hope we're progressing. Yesterday we were in it ror 83 minutes till Rosicky and Sagna baffled Baines and Osman down their right wing and Giroud tapped in when Stones went walkabout. A few moments later, Delboy lost possession, they broke clear and young Stones had no chance against two Gooners.

There lay the difference. They didn't have an apprentice centre back and we didn't have their expertise in the final third. Apart from Naismith, no-one makes unexpected runs and no-one is looking for a defence-splitting pass, either on the ground or a clever chip. They all stand like statues, bogged down by a long list of complicated instructions. Even late-sub McGeady faced a ten-minute briefing before he entered the fray. God knows what he was expected to do. He covered lots of ground and tried to link things up, but by this time our lads were running on empty.

Progression would seem to lie in the future. I like McCarthy and McGeady, also Kone when fit, but the whole squad needs a shake-up and it won't be easy.

Chris Butler
31 Posted 09/03/2014 at 17:44:21
I really don't know why people are bringing up money it has nothing to do with our defeats against Spurs, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool. We always play awful against Liverpool even when they have 10 men or players injured, plus we don't get any luck against them. We would have won at Anfield last season had it not been for the ridiculous decision to disallow Distin's goal.

We were never going to get anything at Anfield playing the way we did this season. We lost to Spur's because of dosey defending, we lost to Chelsea because Jagielka conceded a stupid free kick. We lost yesterday because Barkley missing a sitter and Barry giving away a needless penalty.

Heitenga was never the best defender in the world but at least he had experience. Jelavic was never the best striker in the world but at least he put in 100% every game.

If you look at the game against Cardiff this season, we played well, controlled the game, yet created very little in terms of goalscoring opportunities. If you were at Palace away, where he had 80% of the possession, they still had the best opportunities. The problem is that we too often keep the ball, then just waste it when we get near to the opposition's penalty area. We've gone backwards we're playing the same as we were at the start of the season.

Daniel Lawrence
32 Posted 09/03/2014 at 18:07:42
For those stating Kenwright only owns a quarter of the club's shares; bar Woods, the remainder of this board is involved to prop him up. Until his ego trip comes to an end, we are going nowhere past upper mid table.

Keep on clapping his grid every time it pops up on screen and think on... Twenty years and counting. Tick, Tock, Kenwright.

Ray Roche
33 Posted 09/03/2014 at 18:08:17

"Heitinga was never the best defender in the world"..... but if you had the money, he wouldn't be playing. THE best defender in the world would be.

Liverpool's strikers cost , what, 35m-40m ? Ours, well, he isn't even ours.....of course money makes a difference.
(yes, I know City just got burgled by Wigan, but City would win 9 times out of 10, that was the tenth today)

Brent Stephens
34 Posted 09/03/2014 at 18:11:28
Require the lads to retain possession up to the final third - but then give them their heads and allow them do what comes naturally, spontaneously. Instead, Roberto actually says he doesn't want to lose possession - if that's not keeping it tight and hoping to pinch one, I don't know what is.
Brian Denton
35 Posted 09/03/2014 at 18:15:09
Ray, well 8 out of 10 maybe - remember Wigan beat them in the Cup Final last year!
Wayne Smyth
36 Posted 09/03/2014 at 18:16:13
Brent, I think you're reading what you want into his comments and coming to a conclusion that is not really valid.

Having a philosophy which requires the team to retain possession doesn't mean take no risks. My understanding, backed up by what I see on the pitch, is that we're trying to avoid giving away possession easily, such as with hopeful long balls.

Ray Roche
37 Posted 09/03/2014 at 18:26:23
OK, Brian, I stand corrected......
Brent Stephens
38 Posted 09/03/2014 at 19:00:02
Wayne, he is actually quoted as saying "I'll NEVER [my emphasis] give you the ball, I want to have most of the possession". I'm not sure how I'm reading too much into that.

I'm not talking about long balls, Wayne. I think I actually see us trying to retain possession in the final third, which probably explains why we have so few shots these days.

Wayne Smyth
39 Posted 09/03/2014 at 19:29:49
What I don't understand is how you can take his quote and contrive that he wants to keep it tight and pinch one, or make the players less able to have a shot or whatever.

Clearly our build up at times has been more measured, but we also break and break with numbers, as per Lukaku's goal after Barkley had broke from our own half.

When we go ahead, we don't shut up shop like we used to. We push for a second and a third.

What disappoints me quite a lot is the fact we've lost games against 4 teams that:

a) We often lose against and,
b) Have spent vast fortunes every season for many years and people are using it to beat Martinez with, as if somehow we'd gone into these games as favourites and Martinez somehow fucked it up. I've been reading how these teams have sussed out Martinez, when in fact they've won primarily because they've spent a few hundred million more on players and have bigger better squads. The fact we've been unlucky to lose any of those games is testament to what a good job he's doing.

The only truly bad performance we've had was the RS game and even that was largely down to individual error from injury ravaged players. The rest of the games, including the recent losses away to rich teams, and the loss at home to Sunderland playing with 10 men we've actually played well.

Tahir Abdullah
40 Posted 09/03/2014 at 19:49:48
This Guardian piece captures the Martinez way quite nicely http://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2014/mar/08/jose-mourinho-Roberto-Martinez-chelsea-everton. Two interesting quotes from RM: 1) "Martinez curates teams that are often a pleasure to watch. "I've got a way of playing," he accepts. "I'll never give you the ball, I want to have most of the possession."
2) "The sign of a good team is when everyone knows what you are doing but they can't stop you."
Modern football, love it or loathe it...
Sean Patton
41 Posted 09/03/2014 at 20:01:13
We are currently on track to win more points and win more games than last season; that sounds like progress to me.
Brent Stephens
42 Posted 09/03/2014 at 19:59:31
Wayne #953 "What I don't understand is how you can take his quote and contrive that he wants to keep it tight and pinch one, or make the players less able to have a shot or whatever."

Wayne, I'm not just taking his quote but linking that with what I see in our games.

Saying he never wants to give the ball away is what he says - that's the "keep it tight" bit.

"Pinching one" is based both on what he's saying there about not giving it away and what I see in our games - i.e. very few shots (presumably because he doesn't want to give it away unless there's a high chance of a goal - I'm guessing about his thinking here). And that to me sounds like hoping to pinch one on the basis that there will be few shots. If he's not telling them to take a shot only if there's a high chance of a goal, then I'm really worried because that tells me the current players just aint got it in them. I'd love to know the stats in terms of shots per game this season compared to previously.

But I'm not beating Roberto, just suggesting maybe a limitation currently. And I always saw us as going into the Arsenal game as outsiders.

I've been a Roberto man from the day he joined us. And I'm always saying we need to give him a year or two before we can judge his effectiveness (I believe that especially because I think his strategy is largely to bring the young lads though, which will take time).

Guy Hastings
43 Posted 09/03/2014 at 20:40:27
Forget RM hoping for the perfect goal, he must be working on the perfect throw-in too. Time and time again Baines, or whoever, is waiting for someone to move to get the ball. If the TV guys want to make a few more quid, stick an ad on while we''re fannying about; by the time it's finished we still wouldn't have taken the fucking thing.
Phil Sammon
44 Posted 09/03/2014 at 21:11:26
With regards to a lack of shots, I think this is a long-standing problem that pre-dates Martinez. Of our current attacking crop, who do we have that you would fancy from over 18 yards? Pienaar, Osman, Deulofeu, Mirallas? Nobody can threaten from open play when it comes to shooting from distance. Barkley certainly has a shot on him but by the time he gets it off he has already been crowded out. I would just love us to test the keeper more.
James Stewart
45 Posted 09/03/2014 at 22:18:11
The style of football has progressed somewhat. The results haven't very much a work in progress
Eric Myles
46 Posted 10/03/2014 at 00:45:39
Mark #829, each season we lose around 20 million excluding player sales so I expect that this season the extra TV money will cover that and so not increase our ability to fund new players in the summer.

Regarding the player sales, there's a note in the accounts that says our net spend as a result of last summer's transfer activity is 4.3 million positive. So that, added to anything that remains of the Jelavic money from the winter window, plus our increased attendances and income from commercial activities, should be our 'war chest' for this summer. Plus some of the money from player sales this summer. Unless the board do something they have never done before.

Daniel #900, as you correctly say, the board, including Kenwright, are cronies of Phil Green who are there to prop up Kenwright with their proxy votes.

I also think Kenwright is unable to sell his shares at market value because he owes the person who gave him the money for them more than he would receive and so has a vested interest in any significantly increased value.

John Owens
47 Posted 10/03/2014 at 11:28:38
I think we are simply because we're on course to finish with 68 points. Last season we finished with 63 so 5 points extra over the course of a season is a very good return. If we also get Europa League then I'll be satisfied.

We've sold 4 quality experienced (25-30 year old) players at their peak and haven't brought in anyone permanent of a similar quality to replace them (McGeady still has a lot to prove but so far he doesn't look a top 10 player).

So you have to say our squad is MUCH weaker especially when you consider Distin, Jags, Baines, Pienaar and Osman will all be a year older.

However we haven't paid anything in transfer fees to replace them and there's more TV money next season so there should be between around 20m - 30m to rebuild the squad.

I guess we'll know the answer to if we've progressed after the January transfer window. If Bobby doesn't spend at least a net of 20m then a) we'll struggle next season and b) the only solution is Kenwright out.

If we do get the money then in my opinion we need to replace our wingers with two players over 10m. All our current ones are simply not good enough and the main reason we lost to Arsenal. There's no point in having a striker if we can't create any chances for him.

Gareth Fieldstead
48 Posted 10/03/2014 at 18:20:51
I hate to say it but Liverpool have shown the way this season with 2 strikers and both were within our price bracket considering Martinez has raised 40 million from the sales of Fellaini, Anichebe and Jelavic. Unfortunately he will be lucky to see half that in the summer. The formation needs changing. The amount of times that Lukaku has been getting the ball out wide particularly on Saturday just annoys me. If Martinez insists on playing 4 5 1 he needs a midfield that guarantees him at least 30 goals. Our midfield is simply not capable of that. Interesting to see what he does in the summer and if he has to sell Barkley or Baines to try and fund any sales.
Patrick Murphy
49 Posted 10/03/2014 at 18:33:31
Gareth are you sure they were both within our price range? Assuming you are only talking about the fees paid and not the wages which in no way could we match.

Patrick Murphy
50 Posted 10/03/2014 at 18:35:01
John 20m will buy us 3 or 4 players but not at the level required to achieve CL. In fact having re-read some old posts from previous years why the heck we are even asking our manager and team to achieve CL qualification is daft when you consider how much less than our competitors we invest in the squad. This hasn't been a brief period of austerity it has been a 15 year program give or take the odd season and yet we still expect to pay the cheapest prices to watch the team but expect the highest achievements from them.

I got really annoyed on Saturday because it was a one-off cup-tie and we could and should have done better, but CL is out of the question unless we see another freak season such as 2004-05.

Wayne Smyth
51 Posted 10/03/2014 at 18:43:09
Brent, I think we have different definitions of KITAP1.

Keep it tight to me basically says don't concede. Don't take risks. Always everyone back for corners, bring on an extra defender if you've managed to get a goal and not look to get a 2nd or 3rd.

The nick one is the hope that having defended well, you'll get a chance to score and hopefully take it.

I don't associate any of those traits with Martinez.

Patrick, people always forget the "other" costs. Ratboy is earning 13M / season in wages I think, which is basically the salary for 5 of our players. Not that spending 20M+ and a fortune in wages on 1 player is a guarantee of goals. Soldado 6 goals for 26M. One shit signing like that and we'll be the next Leeds.

The truth hurts, but we simply don't have the money to compete for the best players. even Lukaku, who has potential, but has not exactly been tearing the place up, doesn't want to be here next season unless we can guarantee CL football.

Until we get an Abramovich I'm afraid we'll generally be picking up players on a free or for small fee's and hoping we get a few bargains.

Brent Stephens
52 Posted 10/03/2014 at 19:30:36
Wayne, I agree KITAP1 under the Scottish Manager is not what Roberto is playing. I think I'm just saying the effect is the same.

Having said that... "don't concede. Don't take risks. Always everyone back for corners". That's what I see currently. The way we make sure we don't concede or take risks is by playing the possession / passing game (Roberto effectively says that, I think). And we're still 11 in the box for corners.

Then having done that well, we hope we get one. I do think we're less defensive, more inclined to go forward. But it's so slow and the balls into the box so poor, and so few shots, that to me it just seems the same hope that we nick one. We're not actually scoring many. But agree, that part of it looks different (just the same outcome at the moment). And I'm sure Roberto is looking to try to get one (or more). So a difference between Roberto's philosophy and outcome?

Let's get our young lads coming through and we'll crack this!

Dan Brierley
53 Posted 10/03/2014 at 19:35:28
I have said on another thread Wayne, that if we don't have the money to compete why are we throwing money away?

13 million on McCarthy who is still not ready and apparently needs a few more years before he can do more than 'cover a lot of ground'. He is 23, not 18. Leroy Fer who is the same age, was a third of the price. Is McCarthy 3 times better? No chance. 6 million on a striker who is 31 this year, and has only had one good season in the PL. Any amount of money on a keeper that cannot catch. Likewise with a centre half who managed a similar poor amount of games for the last three years. Anywhere between 3 and 10 million for loan signings that have not improved us beyond last season. We will never compete if we waste money, we need to find the next Coleman not spunk double figures on a player whos only plaudit is 'a good engine'.

If you honestly believe the only players on the market in the entire world that could improve us were all from Wigan Athletic, then I have to give Martinez more credit for his ability to convince people how good everything he does is. Martinez has clearly not scouted a single soul, and gambled on his previous players improving us. Whilst they might have been good enough at Wigan, they clearly do not match up to our standards.

Jimmy Kelly
54 Posted 10/03/2014 at 19:24:07
Wayne, we still bring everyone back for corners, i'd say at least 90% of the time. Martinez always did it at Wigan too, and I can sort of see the merit in it.

With regards to 'looking for' the second/third goal, I know what you mean but how often how do we actually get it? Or even come away scratching our heads at not having got it? We don't retreat into our shell like we did under Moyes at times but I struggle to recall too many times when we've really cut loose and seen wave upon wave of attacks. The one that sticks in my mind would be the home derby where I was thrilled at the way we went at them, but that was a bit of an anomaly and we were trying to come from behind rather than adding to a lead.

Also worth remembering that in that game we did bring on another defender for an attacking player when we went 3-2 up, as we did while leading Newcastle by the same scoreline.

While there has certainly been a change in style and philosophy, not everything has changed quite as much as some people suggest.

Gareth Fieldstead
55 Posted 10/03/2014 at 19:54:07
Were they on that much when they first signed for liverpool Patrick? I agree Dan several of his signings have been a waste of money including those in January he appears to only want to sign strikers as long as they are injury prone.
Dennis Stevens
56 Posted 10/03/2014 at 19:50:51
I'm quite pleased that we are in much the same position as in recent seasons under Moyes. I really thought we would slip back into mid-table as Martinez made the changes he deems necessary. To maintain our position in the top 7 is excellent work. The big question is can Martinez take us beyond the regular 'best of the rest' position Moyes had us in & only time will tell. It's far too premature to judge Martinez - he's barely started in the job, but at least the first impression is quite a good one.
Patrick Murphy
57 Posted 10/03/2014 at 20:10:45
Probably not Gareth, but I bet they were on more than our highest earner when they signed for them. We can't compete with our neighbours yet everyone keeps saying how we should copy them and buy this and that player - but we can't afford to. Why did we lose Areta, Lescott, Rodwell et al why is it likely that Barkley won't be here next season? Could we still lose Baines and possibly Jags ,because we don't have a pot to piss in. Football management is an easy job if you have oodles of cash - but even then there are difficult hurdles to overcome.

We have to be realistic about who we can expect to buy. The lads from Wigan if they had been able to contribute more could have made a real difference then again Lukaku and Del Boy would probably have not arrived on loan to fill the gaps. Cash is king and we don't have any....so let's get real shall we.

Pat Waine
58 Posted 11/03/2014 at 16:23:19
I do feel that we have improved under Martinez. I hated the idea that if the game was going against us Moyes didn’t know what to do. I think it will take time though we have 2 def/mids that are just that and nothing else. I feel that we need someone beside McCarthy that is young enough to do a bit of both jobs . Defend and give a bit going forward.

We need goals from middle of park and Osman and peanuts will not provide it. Everton have been very unlucky this year with injuries and hopefully we can avoid the amount of injuries in future seasons. a couple of new additions and we could be very dangerous side indeed.
John Owens
59 Posted 11/03/2014 at 23:17:31

"John 20M will buy us 3 or 4 players but not at the level required to achieve CL."

I would also sell Mirallas if we can get 12M for him which was what was in the paper so that's should give us 30-35M.

He's a decent player that can stretch teams with his pace but useless whenever we're faced with having to break someone down.

However, I don't think we have a chance of getting into the CL by finishing 4th next season. This season was a once off due to Man Utd being in transition. I think we've more chance of getting in by winning the Europa League.

In my opinion, we need to build a young squad that can develop together so that in a couple of years can make a push for CL. By then FFP will also have kicked in and that may make things slightly easier.

Al Reddish
60 Posted 13/03/2014 at 12:58:20
We haven't got any worse and in a transitional season, that is exceptional.

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