Roberto Martinez and his team must give the Everton crowd something worth shouting about

Ultimately, the type of football on show will be mirrored in the fanbase and at the moment the fans have a right to be unhappy as the Toffees are languishing in 12th position in the Premier League.

Matt Jones 25/01/2016 21comments  |  Jump to last

The portrait of a Premier League football supporter has changed a lot in recent years. Fans, in the the main, arent the trigger when it comes to conjuring an atmosphere. The match-day demographic has altered and the backdrop to a game is typically formulated by whats on display on the field.

Of course, sides like Crystal Palace, and their ultra culture, are an exception. But over the past 15 years, Goodison Park has always struck me as a venue which needs kickstarting into life by a flashpoint.

Unless its a mammoth occasion, its tough to recall Everton supporters stirring without a prompt. Thats no criticism, as each team has its own culture, different traditions and various quirks; its what makes the English game refreshingly unique. But for Goodison to shake and intimidate, there have to be certain stimuli and thats why the managers veiled criticism of supporters in the wake of a 2-1 loss to Swansea riles.

As the Everton boss of almost three years, Roberto Martinez should be acutely aware of what brings the best from these supporters. We were all bewitched by the brilliant football he brought to the club in his maiden term in charge, but Goodison Park needs something a little more full-blooded to bristle.

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Weve seen as much this campaign. Two of the highlights of this dreary season have been the home win against Chelsea in the league and a victory over Manchester City in the first-leg of the League Cup. Theyre matches in which the team started the game with a vivid intensity and feistiness, traits which have been so scarce as of late.

So is it any great surprise to hear groans when Swansea keep the ball for two minutes from the kick-off in a key home game? When an out-of-form defender and past-it goalkeeper conspire to cause another calamitous moment? When the team plays without structure, sense or any kind of killer instinct?

Reading between the lines, there seems to be a feeling prevalent amongst the players and manager the Goodison Park support has contributed a lot to this moribund run on home soil.

We haven't found the right way of playing at home. That is the truth, said Martinez after the Swansea loss. We want to impress our fans, play attacking football and become a winning team, but we are finding it tough to free ourselves.

Already this season, there have been other glimpses into some division. In his programme notes ahead of the City game, captain Phil Jagielka wrote hed noticed there was anxiety amongst our supporters. Gareth Barry said after the Swans defeat slowly, teams are picking up on that [anxiety] and coming here and realising that Everton can be got at in front of their own fans.

There have also been visible signs from the players, with Tim Howard and John Stones both gesturing at fans to calm it; the former has sarcastically clapped the Gwladys Street too.

In an ideal world, the supporters would be right behind their players every week from the off, regardless of the result or style of football. But the bald reality is that at Goodison, and a lot of stadiums around the country, this simply not the case anymore.

Anyway, in this instance the fans have a right to be unhappy. After all, as weve heard so often recently from the manager, this is a squad consisting of some of the best young players in European football, yet the Toffees are languishing in 12th position in the Premier League.

At home especially, the performances have been shocking. Just three wins all season in L4, five defeats and a whopping 22 goals conceded in 12 games; thats three more than any other team in the division. Its a trend which has carried on from last term, in which Everton suffered a disappointing five defeats at formerly fortress Goodison.

These remarks from the manager will do little to help the situation. Over the festive period and into January theres been a swell of supporters beginning to doubt Martinez and taking a swipe at those who flock to Goodison week in, week out wont curry favour with those on the fence. Theyre comments which will add to the angst, not lift it.

What will aid the healing process is supporters seeing a side which plays which endeavour on home soil. A team which begins games with intent, puffs its chest out and defends with aggression. As aforementioned, undertake these rudimentary duties and this crowd will be right behind the team, regardless of the results which follow.

Ultimately, the type of football on show will be mirrored in the fanbase. If Everton play in a high-octane, intense and daring fashion, those in the stands will be swept up by a similar bullishness. But act lackadaisical, make silly errors and allow opposition sides an easy ride, the reactive modern-day supporter will follow suit.

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Reader Comments (21)

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Stewart Lowe
1 Posted 25/01/2016 at 18:09:31
How can Everton give the fans something worth shouting about when we will play exactly the same way we have done since Martinez took charge? He has had 2½ years to change how we play so what makes us think that he is going to change that much since Sunday? I sense a big loss here now that Man City are at home and have seen another display of our defensive frailties.

I fear that same as last season where we just couldn't buy a win. We have won 1 league game from the last 10 and that was the same as last season, so what's changed? Martinez has learned nothing.

Our worst period last season was winning 1 game in 13. We are now 3 games away from equalling that record. Where is the progress?

Last season the excuse was we underestimated how Europe would effect us and we used players being tired from a world cup as excuses too. Well we don't have those issues this season, so now Martinez thinks the fault now lies with the fans getting on our backs and making it difficult to play at home. An absolute disgrace Martinez.

The only reason Martinez had a great first season is because he didn't take over a club that had just fired the previous boss as a result of poor results. He inherited an Everton that had a solid defence and one of the meanest defences. Everton were made hard to beat. Once Distin had gone, Martinez wanted players to make pointless and countless passes at the back before it got to our midfield appeared utterly wasteful.
Steve Carse
6 Posted 25/01/2016 at 18:37:52
When only the bottom three teams in the league have fewer victories you know things have gone wrong. There have been signs this season of what might be achievable. But the last couple of months have confirmed that this is a manager who cannot, even with the current potential and ability in the squad, prepare his teams right organisationally or tactically.

The supporters at GP are no worse than most others -- listen for example to games at WHL and the groans of despair when passes go astray or Spurs are showing no signs of turning a match round. If the criticism at Goodison is a bit more accentuated then it is a consequence of the gap between what we can all see is needed and what we are actually seeing out on the pitch. It's a consequence for instance of the gap between what we have witnessed as the main facets of a good Everton performance (not least a game played at pace) and what we all too regularly have to witness -- featuring pedestrian football without a cutting edge, football which allows the opposition all the time in the world to feel their way into a game, to regroup at their own pace whenever we do manage to impose any pressure, and generally to play the way their own management would have instructed them to having sussed us out tactically beforehand.

Of course Martinez has to go. And of course he won't.

Ken Buckley
9 Posted 25/01/2016 at 18:58:14
ToffeeWeb is big on stats. At the moment those stats are damning and loudly proclaim that our progress is crab like and visual progress on the park has just not happened. Strangely everyone seems to know and understand this and can pinpoint the problems and that includes manager players and fans. The manager and players promise to learn and eradicate these failures and the fans loudly give there opinions on the results shown on the pitch. The fact that no improvement is shown surely brings the fans to let them know in no uncertain terms and so we have the present position. The position looks straight forward to solve. Manager and players show they have learned, get some results and fans back on side.

Sadly all the promises made have not been kept and no change in play has been seen. Paying customers are getting more incensed by the game so surely the time has come for the people who hired our manager to have a tête-à-tête.

I am not one for knee-jerk reactions but surely over the length of time nothing has changed, then the manager should be given at least a verbal warning that he and his backroom team must sort this out or a change of manager will be required.

I have seen Everton crowds turn in the past and these guys have seen nothing yet. I hope something is sorted and we don't have to come to the nasty bits.

Stewart Lowe
10 Posted 25/01/2016 at 19:10:54
The only way we will know that Martinez has been given an ultimatum by the board is when he starts telling us in interviews that the board are phenomenal people and have always backed him. Isn't that how it normally goes?
Stewart Lowe
11 Posted 25/01/2016 at 19:18:26
One thing is for sure, if we go out of the League Cup on Wednesday which I have no doubt will happen, performances will get even worse towards the end of the season as the players and fans will feel there is little to play for.

Our so-called big players will be contacting their agents who will ask bigger clubs if they are still interested because Everton have had clauses put in to their contracts.

James Newcombe
12 Posted 25/01/2016 at 19:40:44
Nice try at deflecting the blame onto the fans, Roberto. Shame we are pissing away points away from Goodison too! The games at Bournemouth, Chelsea and Norwich spring to mind (i'm sure there are more!). What's his excuse for those?
Ray Robinson
13 Posted 25/01/2016 at 20:08:02
I want to see Martinez go ballistic occasionally instead of sugar coating all the mistakes. He lost me last season when he tried to excuse Mirallas hijacking the penalty which he missed against WBA. It seems that he’s afraid to tell the players any home truths – Distin apart mysteriously.
Peter Mills
14 Posted 25/01/2016 at 20:55:43
Ken (#9), as almost ever, I agree with you, well said. Furthermore, I have just read an article by Stan Collymore with which I agree totally, on how 2 young, differing talents, Stones and Barkley, are being poorly managed by Roberto Martinez.

I sat through the match on Sunday thinking "how can this be happening?". Where is the leadership? If we can all see through the managerial failings, so must the players.

We have some wonderful talent in our team. I am a huge admirer of John Stones, but his performances recently have been poor. Where is the Dave Watson alongside him, bollocking him, teaching him the rudiments of the game? Allowing him to make too many mistakes does him no favours whatsoever. All he is doing now is trying to show a false arrogance, which I don’t think is true in a lad who seems to be level-headed.

Barkley has me baffled. He is skillful, but desperately needs a top class player alongside him to educate him when to pass. But no, our manager just tells us he is a special talent, as if that’s all you need.

I made up my mind about Martinez some time ago. I think he’s a phoney. As I said to a pal today, it’s a poor state of affairs when I am going to Manchester on Wednesday desperate for a result which will help us win a trophy, whilst dreading a loss in the final, or fearing a Wembley win which could keep this guy in charge until he takes us down.

I don’t think I speak alone. No wonder the Goodison crowd is edgy, and shame on those who seek to use that tension as an excuse for the performance of the players and the management.

John Newland
15 Posted 25/01/2016 at 21:36:00

Rather than picking a fight with Everton fans, surely Martinez should be looking to take responsibility for his own shortcomings. I have detailed below a selection of quotes from his post-match interviews over the past 12 months and it is clear to me that he, as manager, needs to take a long hard look at himself.

Why, are we "slow" to get started in matches? Why are we "giving the ball away too much"? Why are we "frustrated" simply because a team is time wasting against us? Why would the team performance give the manager a bigger satisfaction than the disappointment of not getting three points? Why do we "lack the instinct to put the game to bed"? Why did we have to "regain our focus" after an international break?

Why were we not "aggressive" going forward against Swansea of all teams? Why were we in "pre-season mode" against Watford? Why were we "second best" in the first half in so many matches? Why did we not have "that intent, that threat" against Arsenal.

All of these quotes were made by Martinez himself and all of the above are the responsibility of the manager not the fans. So, when is Martinez going to accept responsibility for the shortcomings of a squad of players that most managers would give their right arm to have.

My message to Roberto is stop blaming bad luck, stop blaming poor refereeing decisions and, above all, stop blaming the fans who have supported Everton through thick and thin and will continue to do so long after he has left. Read your own post-match interviews and you will realise that you have already identified the problem because the problem is YOU!! All you have to do now is accept responsibility and either put it right or get out.

The following quotes are courtesy of the BBC website:-

  1. "We were very slow in our performance – pedestrian. The first and second half performance were very contrasting" – Loss 0-1 v Swansea – January 2016
  2. "Once we got a two-goal lead, it became a little bit too open." – Chelsea 3-3 – January 2016
  3. "The first half, we gave the ball away too much." – Draw 1-1 v Spurs – January 2016
  4. "We started really slowly. First half performance was poor. We were not wise enough to manage the game." – Loss 3-4 v Stoke – December 2015
  5. "They tried to take as long as they can with every restart and it seems that frustrated our play a little bit." – Loss 2-3 v Leicester – December 2015
  6. "Overall, the performance gives me a bigger feeling of satisfaction rather than the huge disappointment of not getting the three points." – Draw 1-1 v Palace – December 2015
  7. "We lacked the instinct to put the game to bed" – Draw 3-3 v Bournemouth – November 2015
  8. "Once we got to grips with the intensity West Ham play with, I thought we were very strong, especially in the second half." – Draw 1-1 v West Ham – December 2015
  9. "We had to come back and regain our focus after the international break." Loss 0-3 v United – October 2015
  10. "We needed to be more aggressive going forward and that's why I'm pleased with the second half." – Draw 0-0 v Swansea – September 2015
  11. "The first half was not good enough. We were in pre-season mode, while Watford were ready from the first whistle." – Draw 2-2 v Watford – August 2015
  12. "In the first half, we were second best." – Loss 3-2 v Aston Villa – May 2015
  13. "In the first half, we probably did not have that intent, that threat. The second half was terrific." – Loss 2-0 v Arsenal – March 2015
Peter Askins
16 Posted 25/01/2016 at 21:45:33
I don't know if anybody else has drawn a parallel to the West Ham team of the early 2000's, which got relegated in 2003. For our Stones, Barkley, Deulofeu, and Lukaku, read Glenn Johnson, Michael Carrick, Joe Cole, and Jermaine Defoe.

Like us, West Ham had a core of great young players, who arguably did all realise their potential, so maybe it's just the inconsistencies of youth that we all find so frustrating. It's our team, and we all demand success, and can't tolerate these potentially great players making mistakes now.

These are all Martinez issues, as he is seemingly standing by each and every one of these youngsters, and allowing them to make their mistakes, week in, week out.

As fans, we are finding this hard to stomach, and many (especially on TW !) have criticised each and every one of these players regularly, even booing them during a match.

Would Moyes have tolerated such errors by theses youngsters ? It's an emphatic "no". Witness how Moyes set back Barkley's early career by "hooking" him after one early season mistake (QPR ?), and sending him into the wilderness for 2 seasons.

Although it's not simply a choice of the Moyes model or the Martinez model, am I alone in seeing the long-term benefits of investing so heavily in youth, given our inability to compete in the transfer market with the majority of the Premier League ?

Yes, we are going to lose these youngsters to the big spenders in the summer, no doubt, but it's credit to Martinez that these players are now worth 30,40, 50 million. Although Moyes is credited with buying Stones, does anybody seriously think that Stones would have been a first team regular for the last 2 seasons, and England international ?

Has Martinez been lucky with this "golden generation" ? Yes, but can he repeat this trick, with even younger players coming through the Academy or via the transfer market, and integrating them into the first team ? Of course he can.

Moyes steadied the ship, and kept us afloat, but Martinez has a much clearer long-term vision. Whether he will still be here to reap the rewards in a few more years is anybody's guess, but the future is much brighter than most on here seem to think.

Some on here are now hankering for a Moyes return. Really ?

Some hope that Everton get beaten by City on Wednesday. Really ?

Some are saying that they will never watch Everton again under Martinez, as we're the worst we've been for 40 years.


Patrick Murphy
17 Posted 25/01/2016 at 22:02:30
Peter (16) The comparison between West Ham of old and modern Everton is a good one and it is hard to believe that our transition into a full blown version of the Hammers as a club and as a team has happened so quickly. Most people's second team, good at bringing the youngsters through and then cashing in on that talent as quickly as possible. That is not the Everton club that I was brought up following and it's not one I want to see for any length of time, but I fear that is our fate.

A fat lot of good it did West Ham that model and for Everton it will do even more damage over time as fans on Merseyside want more than fancy-dan football and being a feeder club on a industrial scale. The fans will abandon the club in droves if they are left without any hope of success and particularly if we sell off the best players as a matter of course rather than necessity.

We can lose one perhaps two of the better players a year but only if they are replaced with good solid players and not journeymen such as Lennon or Kone. I want Everton to win every game they play, even the Junior teams no matter who they play no matter what my personal views on the incumbent manager is on that we agree.

Peter Askins
18 Posted 25/01/2016 at 22:22:13
Until we get Bill Gates in, I’m afraid a feeder club is our fate, Patrick. Hang on a minute, who was that nerdy looking fella strolling around Finch Farm earlier today?

Ironically, West Ham now seem in a much stronger position then us, with super-rich owners, and a fantastic new stadium. Throw in the London factor that seems appealing even to the likes of Sam Byram, let alone the foreign imports, and we are struggling like mad to attract any top class talent.

Hence, our only way forward is the youth policy that Martinez has adopted, which should realise a much heftier transfer budget than most Premier League teams. Wisely invested, and further nurturing of young players, should see us climbing back up the table, I’ve no doubt.

Will there be pain in the meantime? Of course, that’s what happens with the inconsistencies of young players, but a sprinkling of old older heads around will help. Gareth Barry for player of the season, anybody, when many on here were also writing him off last season?

The loss of Baines and Jagielka for large chunks of this season certainly hasn’t helped Stones in particular at the back, and is the only reason I can think of as to why Roberto stubbornly sticks by Tim Howard.

We are not likely to win league titles with this model (you never win anything with kids, remember !!!), but a cup success is very possible, and I for one will be shouting us on this Wednesday.

Oh, and as for the crowds deserting, I’m sure I read that Goodison attendances have steadily risen each season under Martinez.

Colin Metcalfe
19 Posted 25/01/2016 at 22:39:22
We are not a feeder club anymore! With Sky money coming in, there is simply no need to sell our best players! We can pay them a decent wage now, we had offers for Stones and we for once we did not take the cash!

The landscape has changed and the smaller are going to keep their assets; believe me, Leicester will keep Vardy and Mahrez.

The Premier League is going to revamp its image soon to satisfy its growing worldwide appeal, especially The States, and that’s were we are heading with Premier League soccer's version of the NFL which is very even playing field and most of them are super rich!

Dick Fearon
20 Posted 25/01/2016 at 22:50:55
Stones, Barkley and co are a very long way from reaching the same level of skill, commitment and consistency than that of Tim Cahill and other Everton legends.

Despite all their faults if this manager continues to stroke their egos I doubt they will ever achieve that standard. His gobbledegook has been well and truly exposed for being just that and we have had it up to our necks.

Colin Glassar
21 Posted 25/01/2016 at 22:51:27
I love your optimism guys. I want to believe!!
Peter Askins
22 Posted 25/01/2016 at 22:54:31
Sorry Colin, but the Premier League will never be like the NFL. The richest clubs will simply not tolerate a draft system, equality, and a merry-go-round of different champions.

Even our hike in Sky money will not keep Stones at Everton, when he apparently now has the pick of Europe's biggest teams, who coincidentally offer the biggest wages. The trick is to nurture another Stones, and the next Lukaku, to gel faster than this current crop are doing, and crack the big time ourselves.

Leicester are the beneficiaries of the strangest Premier League season ever, and will probably keep hold of Vardy and Mahrez if they reach the promised land of the Champions League. If they finish 5th or 6th though, as we often did under Moyes, then the top players leave, for the bigger glory (and bigger pay packets) that the Champions League teams can offer.

Joe Foster
23 Posted 25/01/2016 at 22:59:26
Jeezus Peter are you for real? You make it sound like RM has found a pot of gold. A lot of clubs in the Premier League and below work on bringing youngsters through. It’s only the very top teams here that don’t need to do this. Come back to me when we start this miraculous climbing of the table. In fact come back to me when you have some solid facts to back any of what you say "may happen"


Brent Stephens
24 Posted 25/01/2016 at 23:04:39
Roberto can bring in and bring through all the talent he wants but it counts for sod all if he can't bring the best out of them. We a have a very decent group of players yet he can't get them playing well as a team. He's the problem.
Tony Hill
25 Posted 25/01/2016 at 23:05:07
There is nothing optimistic or loyal in sticking with a manager who is a proven failure. Rather, it is pessimism to believe that we have to make do with "visions" for the future and that we cannot hope to compete with what we've got.

We can compete and should be competing, top 4 should have been readily within our grasp. We don't have the luxury of years to develop, that isn't how it works now (if it ever did).

He's slowly strangling us, Martinez, and we're letting it happen.

Peter Askins
26 Posted 25/01/2016 at 23:06:33
Agreed Dick, Stones, Barkley etc still have a long way to go, but they are still kids, with less than a hundred league games each. Maybe we were spoiled with Rooney, but he was the exception, not the rule.

These 4 are potentially world class, but will only get there by playing, and growing up in front of our eyes, in a football sense, but also an emotional one too. This means they will make mistakes, score breath-taking goals, infuriate, exhilarate, and bore us, all within the space of a season. Will they all be consistently great, for prolonged spells? No, but should we expect this of 21- and 22-year-olds?

Martinez does seem to stroke their egos, agreed, but it’s undeniable that within a short space of time, these Everton lads are now four of the best ten youngsters playing in England. That’s some achievement, and a quantum leap from where we were under Moyes.

Joe Foster
27 Posted 25/01/2016 at 23:22:16
Again, are you for real, Peter. Have you seen what the youngest squad in league (Spurs) is doing under a decent manager?

You may be try to blow smoke up people's behinds but it's just all excuse after excuse. Next you will be blaming the fans... oh sorry, some blurt has already done that.

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