I'm sorry, Roberto, but this team IS under-achieving... massively

It's galling to hear Martinez flatly deny that Everton are under-achieving this season and to insist that it's impossible to expect them to achieve at all given how "new" the team is. Because, by almost all measurement, they are under-achieving and have been for the last 18 months.

Lyndon Lloyd 31/01/2016 61comments  |  Jump to last

A lot has been said and written about Roberto Martinez and his Everton side over the past few days, ever since Wednesday's crushing defeat at the Etihad Stadium that saw the Blues falter just one step from Wembley. Amid the growing clamour in social media's echo chambers and a slew of articles, from concerned Evertonians and a befuddled media at large alike, a metaphorical levee of opinion has been breached with the latest in a series of damaging results.

Everton fans are, in the main, a patient and forgiving lot who agonised their way through 15 years of decline following the club's last League championship including in that time two brushes with relegation and Peter Johnson's false dawn after the 1995 FA Cup triumph and then afforded David Moyes, and the Bill Kenwright regime behind him, 11 years of slow but measurable progress towards reestablishing the club as a force among the English game's elite.

Far from the sound of knees jerking on the Blue half of Merseyside, the outpouring of frustration this week represents months of pent-up frustration from supporters who saw the bright promise of the Martinez era two seasons ago but have since witnessed an alarming decline in results and Everton's league position at a time when the top half of the Premier League is being disrupted in historic fashion by clubs who have not had the benefit of an uninterrupted runway in the top flight since Sky invented football in 1992. This should have been Everton's year to shatter the glass ceiling; instead that demolition job is being carried out improbably but magnificently by Leicester City, a team that was, at this stage of the season a year ago, rock bottom of the pile and three points from safety.

So, while it's obvious that he would plead for patience from long-suffering and dismayed Toffees, it's galling to hear Martinez flatly deny that Everton are under-achieving this season and to insist that it's impossible to expect them to achieve at all given how "new" the team is. Because, by almost all measurement, they are under-achieving and have been for the last 18 months.

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They're under-achieving the benchmark of consistent top-seven finishes set by Martinez's predecessor who did so with a far less talented squad and, it shouldn't be forgotten, guided the Blues to a top-four finish in his third full season.

Just like last season's alarming mid-season collapse that led to an 11th-place finish, theyre under-achieving Martinez's own first term in charge by a considerable margin, a season when claims of a new team were far more valid than they are now given that four of the current team were just bedding in then.

Theyre under-achieving Watford, a club that has actually gone out and bought almost an entirely new team and, of course Leicester who are only halfway through their manager's first season at the helm (although, everyone is effectively under-achieving compared to the Foxes as things currently stand!). Indeed, allow yourself this uncomfortable "shower thought" based on what we've witnessed over the last season and a half: where would Leicester be in the table this season if Roberto Martinez was their manager?

Furthermore, they are under-achieving not only Martinez's own relentless "bigging up" of his own players but also their reputations outside of Goodison Park: in John Stones, Ross Barkley, Romelu Lukaku and Gerard Deulofeu, the Blues have, by Martinez's somewhat hyperbolic estimate, 250m of talent on their books. Combine them with two of the Premier League's most effective and coveted fullbacks in Leighton Baines and (until last season, at least) Seamus Coleman; one of England's first-choice starters at centre half in the World Cup in Phil Jagielka; an Argentine international in Ramiro Funes Mori; "one of the best players England has ever seen" in Gareth Barry and his industriously effective defensive-midfield partner James McCarthy and you have the bedrock of a side that almost every commentator around believes should be comfortably top six. (That's not even to mention the mercurial talents of Kevin Mirallas, the exciting blend of steel and finesse boasted by Muhamed Besic and the potential stars of the future like Brendan Galloway and Mason Holgate waiting in the wings.)

Much of the credit for assembling such a mixture of ability, experience and promise goes to Martinez, of course, and his trusted coach Kevin Reeves but his increasingly apparent inability to organise the team into an outfit capable of both attacking and defending effectively smacks of someone who would make a stellar director of football but is less cut out to be a hands-on manager.

It's wonderful seeing the displays of individual prowess that we have witnessed under Martinez: the sight of Gerard Deulofeu flying forward and terrorising defences can be tantalising; watching Barkley flick, shimmy and bamboozle his way past defenders is vintage School of Science; seeing Stones glide his way out of defence in his almost regal manner is another joy; and there have some genuinely exhilirating moments in the Europa League last season and very late in games this term. It's all tempered to a heart-breaking degree by the fact that, far from resulting in the progress we all believed was possible with this team, we're actually regressing. Because, at the end of the day, it's all about results watching replays of the scenes at Bournemouth and Chelsea or goals like Barkley's at Manchester City should be moments for Blues to savour for years to come; instead they gnaw at your insides with the agony of what should have been.

On paper, it's a team that can beat anyone but, contrary to the manager's insistence that Everton are "very close" to "becoming a winning team", results stubbornly dictate that we're nowhere close. Martinez spoke last Wednesday of his team having "swagger" at the Etihad. The only evidence of swagger that evening was Barkleys wonderful opening goal.Everton managed two shots on target in the entire 90 minutes and when they just needed a single goal to put them back ahead in the tie on away goals against 10 men, they couldnt muster a chance worthy of the name in 7 minutes of added time. Swagger is what and it pains me to highlight it, but its true Liverpool, an inferior side on paper to this Everton team, demonstrated on the same ground in November when they went in there and stunned City by taking a 3-0 lead. They added a fourth goal for good measure (from Martin bloody Skrtel, for heavens sake).

Martinez's Everton have shown swagger in the past – his first season was full of it – but, psychologically, they are fragile. Right now it's an exciting collection of individuals that doesn't function as a team. They don't press as a team, they defend less and less as a team and with too many players given license not to track back or harry the man in possession, opposition sides are all too often just ushered into our own half putting immediate pressure on the defensive six.

In that sense, Martinez is doing his bright young stars a grave disservice. Talk of Barkley being "the complete midfielder" will never ring true until he is instructed to do his part in stopping the opposition by closing down and tackling opponents more. Stones's form has been on a downward trajectory for weeks now and his manager has been culpable by allowing him free rein to court trouble at the back, neglecting, it would appear, to teach him the fundamentals of marking, and then failing to pull him out of the side to allow him to refind himself when the going got tough recently.

The almost wholesale reliability on Romelu Lukaku to play every single fixture and score the team's goals week in, week out has now affected his performances, too. The Belgian has looked jaded and almost disinterested over the last few matches, and the fact that Martinez has left Arouna Kone a player who has scored a grand total of 7 goals in 48 appearances as the only back-up striker makes a mockery of Everton's top-four ambitions and, should it continue much longer, would represent an unforgivable dereliction of duty on the manager's part. Reports this weekend of Lokomotiv Moscow accepting an 13.5m offer for Oumar Baye Niasse will come as music to Evertonian ears, especially those who felt that an injury to Lukaku and any further deterioration of morale at Goodison would put the club at serious risk of being sucked into a relegation scrap.

If it feels like there's an edge to these words its because, like many Evertonians, Im angry not so much at the results because Im back to becoming numb to the weekly let-downs, but because it feels like someone is pissing on my leg and telling me its raining. There is absolutely no acknowledgement of any failure here; no real accountability. Saying you accept the criticism being directed at you from outside" is more an acceptance that scrutiny of your job comes with the territory than it is actually fronting up to the fact that this team has a systemic inability to win enough football matches.

Pleas for patience were understandable and correct a year ago when, even if you bought into the notion that the Europa League was the cause of our ills I didn't), it was only right and proper to allow the manager to work through his second-season syndrome and continue his rebuilding efforts over the summer. 12 months later, weve only beaten one of the teams above us in the table, have managed a paltry 18 wins from the last 61 league games and won just three at home all season. It's just not good enough.

Given that unless there was a revolt by supporters in response to a cup exit at Carlisle this weekend, it's almost certain that Roberto Martinez will remain at his post for the remainder of the season, there is a number of steps he surely must take in order to get things back on track and starting winning games over the remainder of the season in preparation for the next.

Starting by acknowledging reality: We are under-achieving. With the odd exception, performances have not been good enough. We concede far too many goals and, despite our much-vaunted attack, there are increasingly long spells now where we don't really threaten opposition goals as much as we shoould either.

Get back to basics at the back. No more messing around in dangerous areas and putting pressure either on the goalkeeper or the midfield with panicked passes. Hit row Z if necessary but find a way of shoring up a back line that is disconcertingly porous and getting worse.

End the farce with Tim Howard. He is 36 and demonstrably getting worse than he was 18 months ago. It's clear that he shouldn't be our first-choice goalkeeper beyond this season so take him of the side and allow Joel Robles an extended run to prove whether or not he is capable of fulfulling the role long-term.

Clear out the dead and ageing wood and blood some young players. Barring a miracle upturn in form, we're not qualifying for Europe via the Premier League this season so it's time to plan for the future. Beyond a swansong at the end of the season to acknowledge their tremendous service to the club, there is no reason for the Leon Osmans of the world to still be in the first-team squad. Not when there are players like Ryan Ledson, Jonjoe Kenny, Kieran Dowell and Joe Williams on the verge of graduating from the Academy and who could use some cameo appearances to begin their education at senior level.

Pay off the remainder of Darron Gibson's contract if you're not going to play him. Move Aiden McGeady out on loan with a view to a permanent deal in the summer. Use Steven Pienaar where needed to help get some results on the board over the next few weeks but ensure that you have already scouted his replacement. Sign a quicker, more agile, reliable and potent alternative to Kone.

Start making your own luck. Assigning the blame for recent failings against Stoke, Chelsea and City to poor officiating and bad luck, however important those factors have been, also ignores the fact that Everton did not do enough to win in their own right. Two shots on target to Manchester City's 19 and anoher blow two-goal advantage in the League Cup semi-final in midweek do not paint a picture of the losing team being "close" to matching the level of the top four.

And encourage the players to take more shots. Lord knows we've been the victims of enough deflections in recent games and it shows that if you don't shoot, you can't score. Make use of Barkley's explosive shooting boots, put your forwards in a position to profit from rebounds and deflections.

Instill a nasty streak in the team. Everton at the moment are a walk-over, a soft touch, for opposition teams and match officials alike. Start complaining en masse at obviously poor decisions and display some passion when it's clear you're being wronged. Players and managers that get into officials' ears eventually start to benefit from a subconscious shift in opinion about a team.

Some visible application of a few of these things would at least signal to the fanbase that there is some awareness of the shortcomings at Goodison at the moment, rather than this apparent pig-headed unwillingess to look facts in the face. Because, again, the situation that Everton are currently in with the talent at Martinez's disposal is simoply not good enough, not least because of the millions lost in Premier League merit money by finishing in the bottom half of the table.

Clubs that we really realistically should be regarding as our peers have clearly demonstrated that they wouldn't put up with such stark under-achievement Tottenham fired Andre Villas-Boas when they were in a far better position in the League; Liverpool turfed Brendan Rodgers out on his ear once it had become abundantly clear that he couldn't organise a defence either and there was a top-class replacement boss available; and Manchester United haven't been shy about not putting up with mediocrity at Old Trafford.

Martinez is clearly being afforded more slack so he will, in all likelihood, get a chance over the remainder of the campaign to convince the growing number of doubters that he is the man to take Everton forward. He himself said that Everton had to achieve success this season with the players in the squad so he has effectively left himself just the FA Cup as his road to proper redemption. If he can pull it off and oversee the kind of unmistakeable turnaround in our league fortunes that would point to the Blues punching at their proper weight next season then it will prompt some reassessment over the summer. In the meantime, a little honesty and frank talk wouldn't go amiss. It's the least we deserve.

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Reader Comments (61)

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John Keating
1 Posted 31/01/2016 at 08:26:05

I cannot argue with any of that and as you know so many of us have been saying the same thing now for the past 18 months. It has taken you quite a while but it seems the penny has finally dropped.

From warning us not to send negative posts and sending some of us to the naughty chair, it seems you have now joined the great unwashed

Steve Hogan
2 Posted 31/01/2016 at 08:28:45
All of the above points are sadly true, Lyndon, but this man is not ’for turning’ I feel. Whilst we lack clear direction from this spineless board, we are at the mercy of him until the end of the season at least.

Watch the exodus of our better players between May and August turn into a steady flow, they ain’t mugs, and can spot a loser a mile off.

It’s criminal that we have between 8-9 very very good players, but we will never see them mature in a blue shirt.

Christopher Timmins
3 Posted 31/01/2016 at 08:34:29
Lyndon, your only saying what everyone is thinking. It's never too late for a manager to change. Hopefully, Roberto will when his back is up against the wall.

Hoping for a win today but also hope its a great day out for all the supporters of the home team. They have suffered over the past couple of months and their woes put our problems in perspective.

Paul Hughes
4 Posted 31/01/2016 at 08:36:48
Great read as always, Lyndon. I agree with every word you say. We should win easily today – it's Newcastle on Wednesday I am worried about!
Darryl Ritchie
5 Posted 31/01/2016 at 08:39:54
Nice summation of the views of the majority of very pissed off Evertonians. Well done, Lyndon.

It's not going to do any good though, because no one at the club is listening; and even if they were, they're not going to change anything. Martinez believes that his "philosophy" is THE way. He either won't, or probably more accurately can't, alter the way he manages. Dead slow going forward and wide open at the back. Disastrous!!

As you've pointed out, we have some truly talented players, but were stretched extremely thinly at every position excepting midfield. We're spineless also. There are only two players who play with anything other than total respect for the opposition; Barry and Besic. Naismith would get in someone's face, but he's gone.

As has been pointed out endlessly, we're not balanced. It used be Baines and Pienaar up the right, exclusively. Now it's Deulofeu (when he's not pooped) and whoever happens to be fit, up the left. The goalkeeping situation is a farce.

Once again, well said, Lyndon. Hopefully the next manager will take heed, because I'm pretty sure this one won't.

Darryl Ritchie
6 Posted 31/01/2016 at 08:45:02
Whoops, I obviously don't know my left from my right.
David Greenwood
7 Posted 31/01/2016 at 08:47:15
Very well put, Lyndon.

Couldn’t agree more.

Russell Smith
8 Posted 31/01/2016 at 08:56:42
A post that reflects what 99% of supporters are feeling. This manager I fear will never change just like Van Gael at United and previously Brenda at our neighbours.

All three of these managers play similar systems, playing tippy-tappy, playing sideways from the back, the centre halves splitting to the full back positions, a midfielder dropping into the gap, the full backs advancing to the halfway line, everyone out of their natural positions then the ball is lost and immediately the teams are under pressure.

This relentless belief in retaining the ball no matter how many passes go backwards or sideways bores us, it bores Man Utd, and it bored Liverpool. This system does not work and it turns supporters of whatever colour against the team. Liverpool have already addressed their problem; Man Utd will address theirs in the next few weeks; we need to address ours.

Martinez must go and allow another manager the remainder of the season to galvanise the current players, get them winning games, and then he might have a chance of convincing them to stay in the summer.

Brian Sephton
10 Posted 31/01/2016 at 09:03:28
It is so sad that we are in this position with these players. After watching Everton since 1950, I have learned to watch all kinds of failings but this is really a promising side and, given that if they don't win anything or at least finish well up the league, it really does seem that we will lose a few.

My take on the problem is a little different. I see a manager who has too much time for impact players. We have Mirallas, on his day a very good player; Deulofeu, the same: Kone, plays one in three; Barkley, great when it works but often it doesn't; Osman, way past his best, Oviedo, not fit when he plays and Pienaar (who I love) nowhere near ready.

All these we can use but not lots at the same time. We need Besic types that will give it all, all day long – not fly-by-night players who blast it over given a chance.

My only hope is that this another 1983-84 season and it will come good in the FA Cup.

Patrick Murphy
11 Posted 31/01/2016 at 09:05:08
I happen to believe that Roberto chooses his clubs very carefully. He is a very intelligent man and, given he chose Swansea, Wigan and Everton, having rebuffed offers from we are led to believe the likes of Liverpool and Aston Villa, shows me that the man won’t go to a club that would put him under pressure to immediately get results and keep on getting results.

Much better for him to be at a club that is ’happy’ to allow him to dictate the style of play and ’teach’ the fans and players how to play the game, irrespective of results.

Roberto’s teams play like he speaks, eloquent but lacking in substance, flowery but without grit, easy on the ear and eyes, but out of synch with reality. In other words, it looks and sounds good, until you realise that most of it is impractical and unfathomable rather than plain, simple and understandable.

The manager is very unlikely to change, therefore we are better off changing the manager. Who replaces him is immaterial, because if Roberto Martinez’s CV can get him the Goodison gig in the first place, then the list of possible replacements must run into the millions.

Ben Mackenzie
12 Posted 31/01/2016 at 09:07:19
Found myself nodding in agreement with that Lyndon. Well penned. I'm an optimist and an RM supporter and unless he turns it around sharpish, like he did this time last season, then even I can't keep the faith much longer. I do hope he gets it together, I do like the bloke.
Ian Riley
13 Posted 31/01/2016 at 09:08:52
Lyndon, you make great points about changing our play. However we have the wrong manager to do it. All your points go against everything he believes in. I wish he wouldn’t do interviews, we are becoming a laughing stock. Excuses can only be used for so long, bad decisions against us, well all fans have that one.

The fans are fed with Martinez and so are the press. Everyone is to blame but him. A new manager is required and quickly. The players have had three years of Roberto’s methods! It will take a new manager three to six months to implement his style. We are in a mess! Martinez said Champions League for Everton got the champ right. He meant the Championship.

On a business level season ticket renewal forms will be with us soon! Take some magical advertising to sell that...

Rob Hignett
15 Posted 31/01/2016 at 09:25:07

Great article, very reasoned and balanced. I dislike football supporters who call for a managers head a the hint of a few poor performances. But Martinez has tried my patience well beyond its limit; I have kept on hoping things will change but they won’t.

Everton are such a soft touch at the moment. We will have to score at least 5 goals to win a game. It’s time for a change in manager, the board should see that it is not going to work under Martinez, we as fans should DEMAND a change in manager.

Keith Harrison
16 Posted 31/01/2016 at 09:28:22
I said a couple of weeks ago that Roberto should be made director of football, and a Peter Reid type ’coach’ be brought in, to motivate and organise the team. Big Dunc isn’t the man, as he is on the bench already, and should already have been telling Roberto to curb the invective and do his talking on the pitch.

Alternately, if we have this world class team, why don’t we go shit or bust for a world class coach like Simeone, Bielsa or similar, and really see where we can go.

Excellent article, Lyndon.

Keith Harrison
17 Posted 31/01/2016 at 09:32:27
And with the sad passing of Sir Terry Wogan, Roberto now officially becomes the Worlds Greatest Flowery Bollocks Utterer.

RIP, Sir Terry. Enlivened many a Eurovision bore whilst pissed!

Paul Andrews
18 Posted 31/01/2016 at 09:34:18
Good points well made Lyndon.

Of course we are under-achieving. This side should be challenging for a top 4 position. The glaringly obvious lack of defensive organisation is the reason.

My solution will not be popular with the majority.I would leave John Stones out of the starting 11. In today’s age it is simple to look back on video at the goals we have conceded this season.In my opinion Stones is the problem. The lad may well develop into a top class centre half at the moment he is miles away from that.

I have said it for most of the season,his lack of awareness of space,players running off him and his inability to sense danger is obvious.

His undoubted ability and calmness on the ball is masking his defensive frailty for some.

Ray Robinson
19 Posted 31/01/2016 at 09:46:11
Well done, Lyndon! I agree with every word – an admirable summation of what I feel. It’s never nice wanting someone to lose their job and I certainly have never chanted at a match for a manager to be sacked... but maybe that’s the only way the Board will take any notice.

Underachievement apart, the thing that makes my blood boil is the constant refusal to face reality, the incessant positivity where it’s not justified, the constant bigging up of players, the failure to address issues (even acknowledge them!), the lack of organisation, the relentless drivel that he spouts. I’m afraid that he’s been very much hoist by his own petard.

Clive Mitchell
20 Posted 31/01/2016 at 10:03:13
Great article. Roberto’s is a failure of leadership. He’s built a potentially magnificent side but instilled in them a sense of entitlement to success they’ve done nothing to deserve. That’s why they’ve no passion and no fight.

The sad aspect is that when he goes it will be the end of this team. But we’d be fools to reflect on the last two years and think that somehow it’s going to change when the causes are unaltered.

Ian Hollingworth
21 Posted 31/01/2016 at 10:11:15
Great post and if only he would listen.

The sad thing is these things are what the club should be pointing out to him.

Joe Clitherow
22 Posted 31/01/2016 at 10:44:13
I also think this article is pretty much spot on although there are a couple of things I would disagree with.

Firstly, I don’t agree with the assertion that he should have been given this season after his "wobble" second season. For me, I never wanted him, although once he was here I got behind him as the manager and I started to think I was wrong in the first season.

However, his second season syndrome did not start second season for me; it started around March of the first season when we got walloped by the RS. 4-0 and lucky to get away with that and mostly because he failed to either see or address simple issues that absolutely should have been addressed in game. The turning point for his dismissal for me was the 3-0 defeat by Swansea in the LC the following season when he was not at all bothered clearly. It has been obvious he is not the right manager long before this season started in my opinion.

Beyond that, I don’t agree that "Get tight at the back" can ever work with him. Why? Well, in the 1980s, the ’Dark’ Lord Alan Sugar realised that computers were put together from expensive individual parts so he hit on the great idea of building the electronics from a single component which drastically reduced costs and therefore price to the consumer, making himself a huge fortune (from knocking out ’tut’ to use his own expression).

When his devices failed though, which was often, you couldn't replace it. You couldn't fix or upgrade it even if the cheapest component failed, it was all or nothing, and you had to get a brand new one. It’s the same with RM’s Amstrad football philosophy. You can’t just tighten up at the back, it’s all or nothing. A fullback can’t be in two places at once and ours are usually around the opposition 18 yard line.

Tighter at the back in this philosophy means we don’t attack the same way. We have no defensive cover for centre halves and no recognisable shape – the Martinez way cannot be tweaked. What he has done in the past at Wigan is play three centre halves and that’s as far as he goes. It didn’t work then either. Balance can’t exist in his teams in my opinion.

Secondly, and as pointed out in the article, we do not test opposing keepers. I don’t see the great attacking football that I am constantly being told we are playing. It’s a myth. We scored at will against Villa and Sunderland and it seems to be built on that. We are ponderous and hesitant, and, in games when we are on top, don’t convert enough. More than half of the goals we score are from Lukaku (the majority) and Barkley.

So when the inevitable form dip occurs (and I am convinced Lukaku is carrying an injury from the first leg of the SF), suddenly we are not scoring. Besides which, goals don’t mean that much anymore because we always concede. We have, I think, probably the lowest points to goals ratio of any team in the top division. When the goals dry up we are in serious, serious trouble because we will always continue to let them in at the other end.

If there was one thing I would change which is simple it would be to tell Barkley to shoot on sight. The only thing is, people would get on the kid’s back for missing but, as you state Lyndon, if you don’t shoot you don’t score. We only have one player who shoots on sight currently and that is Lukaku and he doesn’t really get any stick for missing. That’s because the law of averages means that a good proportion of those go in. Playing the ball out wide yet again and again just does not test opposing keepers.

Bobby Thomas
23 Posted 31/01/2016 at 10:52:51
The decline in the effectiveness of our fullbacks is symbolic of the way this manager continues on a path of diminishing returns. Two of the best full backs in the league have regressed, at both ends of the pitch.

Both are now pretty poor defensively on a regular basis and are inconsistent. As a unit we are shambolic.

Xmas last season put major doubts in my mind as it was the worst I'd seen since Walker. Nothing ive seen this season has eased my concerns.

Paul Tran
26 Posted 31/01/2016 at 11:00:03
Completely agree with you, Lyndon. I'll also defend you against this nonsense of 'banning negative comments'. For me, there's a big difference between calling him on team selection, fitness management and tactics and using every thread to call him a fraud, charlatan, he'll take us down, etc.

He isn't, he isn't, he won't. He's just an underachieving football manager lucky to keep his job. And I didn't like the barrage of personal bile against his predecessor neither.

Patrick Murphy
27 Posted 31/01/2016 at 11:06:11
Joe (#22),

Sorry to be a pedant, but that game against the not so loveable neighbours came at the end of January 2014. Fair enough, it started a mini run of away defeats including to Spurs and Chelsea but the team did get back on track before it floundered once again in early April against Palace.

But the rest of your post is accurate and fair by the way.

Paul Mackie
28 Posted 31/01/2016 at 11:09:34
Hard to disagree with any of that.
John Malone
29 Posted 31/01/2016 at 11:22:38
Great piece, Lyndon! It’s like you read my mind and echoed my thoughts exactly I couldn’t agree more with everything you said and the most important bit for me is the lack if accountability at the club for under achieving. It’s as if we’re a gang of soft arse pushover’s from the top to the bottom, when really we all know it comes from the fraudster of a manager we have!
Gary Edwards
30 Posted 31/01/2016 at 11:22:44
Great article, Lyndon, you’ve certainly captured my thoughts and feelings ... and more.

"Director of Football" ... interesting, so long as it’s not at Everton.

I’m interested to know who you’d hire as manager. I can’t help but think Benitez would do a good job. Like’s the area, generally does a good job wherever he goes and odd exception apart he’s been quite thrifty in the transfer market.

Cameron Farr
31 Posted 31/01/2016 at 11:28:12
Martinez is failing the fans. Simple as. The point is we can never ever be confident these days that we are going to thrash anyone because there is no consistency. It's all guesswork. It's all 'let's just hope for the best but we will probably get battered'. Dead disappointing.
Steve Harris
32 Posted 31/01/2016 at 11:28:30
Thought it was interesting to hear Slaven Bilic saying after the game last night that even though he didn't think West Ham had played very well, he was still really pleased that his team had kept a clean sheet, something you'd never hear our great philosopher saying!!
Brian Harrison
33 Posted 31/01/2016 at 11:34:20
Despite the number of fans wanting RM removed, I think we all know that, unless relegation becomes a strong possibility he will remain in his post. The due diligence that is ongoing is also another reason which makes sacking RM something the board don't want to do.

I think they are hoping we stay clear of relegation and leave it to the new owners to decide the fate of RM. Failure to beat Newcastle on Wednesday could see us overtaken by Chelsea and WBA, and then slide down the league even further.

Sean Kelly
34 Posted 31/01/2016 at 11:44:40
Lyndon, that sums up my feeling and those of many many Evertonians. Well done.

Unfortunately Martinez knows only one way. He showed it at Wigan and is now doing it again at Everton. I suggest that the players are not going to go against him as the will be dropped to the bench or worse not be part of the squad. Also if they did rebel against him then surely that would be time for the hierarchy to get rid of him.

It pisses me off when I hear him bigging up these players only to witness them failing again at the earliest opportunity.

James Hughes
35 Posted 31/01/2016 at 12:04:40
Excellent article and sums up many fans felling particularly my own. I love the pissing/raining analogy as Roberto is basically lying to us all.

No, no everything is fine, the players are world class, we are nearly there etc.

Roberto, we are neither blind nor stupid, mate!

Dick Fearon
36 Posted 31/01/2016 at 12:08:03
Joe (#22),

Last season, I posted exact same as yourself that our downfall started with the 4-0 hammering from the RS. Brenda sussed Martinez's tactics by packing his defence and hitting us on the break. Other managers quickly picked up on that and Roberto was exposed with no Plan B.

He still finds it difficult to accept that the beautiful game cares not for joined-up stuff if that does not result in goals. He even complained that opponents had not tried to make a ’proper’ game of it.

Barry Pearce
37 Posted 31/01/2016 at 12:11:23
Great article, 100% agree with your thoughts, Lyndon.
Mike Hughes
38 Posted 31/01/2016 at 12:14:29
I don’t disagree with the article. I’ve stated for some time that RM is out of his depth.

However, the article could (largely) have been written at any point in the past year with minor changes.

Combined with that, the current TW poll shows about 25% still want to retain RM for the time-being. 25%???

There is our problem as a football club.

It takes us too long to suss out when change needs to be made. We need higher standards from the board down and the fans up.

RM should not have started this season as our manager. It was patently obvious after LAST Christmas (2014-15) despite some on this very website even cheering/celebrating our concession of 6 goals at home to Chelsea because of the ’brand’ of football apparently on display.

We still have 25%-ish who see last season and this as acceptable.

Are those 25% new fans with no skin in the game (cash-investing, time-served Evertonians) who drone on about ’the beautiful game’ and ... (sorry I’ve just thrown up coming out with that term).

Are they new fans who have only seen a mid-table team and therefore this current situation isn’t too bad?

Are they genuinely ’old school’ who want to be decent about it and give RM time on the basis that he’s apparently a nice bloke?

Surely they can’t have gone the RM way and lost their marbles believing in this dross as well?

No other ambitious club in the modern era would stand for such a poor performance and such a waste of talent.

We need to learn to fail quicker as a club so that we can start again.

Currently this is a slow, painful death.

Joe Clitherow
39 Posted 31/01/2016 at 12:16:44
Patrick 27

Yes you are correct, my post was from memory. January is even worse.

Dick 36 yes I recall. Martinez was rumbled then and has never really countered the big picture in my opinion.

Colin Glassar
40 Posted 31/01/2016 at 12:28:55
Poor old Roberto got another battering today on Sunday Supplement. Stones came out of it okay, though; they all blamed the manager for his poor form.
Rob Hooton
41 Posted 31/01/2016 at 13:05:25
Perfect article Lyndon summarising the angst many of us feel.

I wish the lightbulb would light up in Roberto’s head and he would realise the art of defending is, to many, as beautiful as some of the best joined up stuff you see (I used to play centre half as my coach realised it was the best place for me and I grew to love it). Roberto bangs on about lessons learned but fails to realise that HE also needs to learn too. Every day is a school day, as long as you’re prepared to listen to what life teaches you.

2 ears and 1 mouth Bobby, shut up and listen!
Kevin Tully
42 Posted 31/01/2016 at 13:29:33
Whilst the points Lyndon makes are spot on, I think the "we are not underachieving" quote Martinez made has been taken a little out of context. I think he mentioned that we haven't been winning titles or trophies in the past, so no, this squad aren't underachieving taking their past trophy haul into consideration.

Obviously this was just smoke & mirrors on his behalf to deflect criticism from his & the squad's performances, but we should be used to him spouting a load of bolloocks by now. That will never change.

Darren Hind
43 Posted 31/01/2016 at 14:07:35
I think Roberto's biggest problem has been his supporters. From Day one they have showered him with OTT praise, credited him with stuff he didn't do, exaggerated the performances in his first season with what was generally Moyes's team... Bobby Dazzler could do no wrong.

The club were no better, I cringed when I first saw those huge images of him draped down the walls of Goodison, he was being lauded as if he was an all time great. I hated it. How on earth could he not believe he was wonderful when so many people were lining up to insist that he was?

How times have changed. The people who couldn't wait to elevate him to such an exulted status, now seem to be more anxious to get rid of him than those they had labled "haters" for not subscribing to their beliefs... Poor old Roberto appears friendless.

Everton's results will improve and because they have been so bad recently, the margin for improvement is greater. I believe they will improve dramatically... but I have never subscribed to Lyndon's belief that you can "make your own luck". Sure, you can influence the shape of games, but luck/fate/fortune is out of the hands of us mere mortals, if we could make our own luck, you lot would be in the bookies instead of reading this shit. Our luck will turn.

I do agree that we offer a very easy option to referees, unseemly as it is, we have got to make them feel as much heat as the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool.

The question is; Have things gone too far for Roberto to regain the faith of his supporters? ... I don't think so. Some people are just to desperate to believe in him – I blame Moyes for that.

Senior players have been increasingly vocal of late. They are embarrassed, their pride is hurting. They will do everything they can to salvage it... Then I fully expect the people who have turned on Martinez and are calling for his head, to turn right back again and give all the credit.

Paul Andrews
44 Posted 31/01/2016 at 15:34:28
Correct. You take your stance and you stick by it. While he is the Everton manager,back him.

I continue to back him.

Andy Crooks
45 Posted 31/01/2016 at 15:39:04
Darren, I have a good deal of respect for your comments but I disagree with your last post. Why should our luck change? Like the toss of a coin, we are as likely to get bad decisions or unlucky deflections against Newcastle as we were against Chelsea.

I agree with Lyndon about making your own luck. If a team is set up correctly and giving 100%, then I believe things even out. Defending as we do invites bad luck.

Also, I will give Martinez absolutely no credit for turning round a situation created entirely by his ineptitude. It would take an unprecedented run of victories and a jaw-dropping change in his approach for me to change my view that he should be sacked.

Paul Tran, I do not think it is personal bile to voice the concern that Martinez will relegate us. I think he is a probably a lovely man and would never criticise him personally. However, professionally he is paid a fortune and I believe him to be a fraud and a charlatan. He, in my view, arrogantly adheres to a dead philosophy of football that has us underachieving.. I have no respect for him as football manager and maybe that is too negative to you, but it is never personal.

Jay Harris
46 Posted 31/01/2016 at 16:00:54

Excellent riposte to the claims that we are not underachieving although it will fall on deaf ears because the man doesn't listen and, even if he did, I believe confidence in him by most supporters – and I would think quite a few of the players – has been shot beyond redemption.

We need a new man asap to rekindle enthusiasm and expectation.

Darren Hind
47 Posted 31/01/2016 at 16:26:33
Fair enough Andy, I respect your views too, but I maintain the bookies, the arcades, the bingo halls and the Casinos are full of people who all believe you can make your own luck. If you make something happen, it has nothing to do with luck.

We don't need to get lucky, we only need to stop being so depressingly unlucky.

Nicholas Ryan
48 Posted 31/01/2016 at 16:27:35
Lyndon, the Western powers have been criticised over the last few years, for bringing down dictators, without planning for what comes afterwards: with that in mind, two urgent questions need answering:

1. Who is there, available, who is better?

2. Would that person come?

Christopher Dover
49 Posted 31/01/2016 at 17:05:59
The part I do not understand is RM has been good at getting some very talented players to sign up for him, yet talk is with our league position they may well leave.

If they do this would surely be another another blow to his ability to bring in quality players, unless he goes then we will start again with more new players who will need to bed in then we will be phenomenal.

Still unfortunately believe if he is here next year then the championship becons, hope I am wrong but have no confidence in the result v Newcastle.

Amit Vithlani
50 Posted 31/01/2016 at 17:28:16
Lyndon, good piece. What we are seeing from this team is unsustainable. Those who believe a flash of luck will change our fortunes, must equally be aware of the dangers of Russian roulette. If your luck does not turn, you are that bit nearer to the abyss. Someone made an analogy using the ending in the Italian Job, where the bus teeters on the edge and Michael Caine has one last flash before the credits roll.

I think Martinez sees himself as a part of the school of coaches that places huge importance in entertainment. The school includes Keegan, Santana, Bielsa, purists who saw attack as the best form of defence.

110 goals in 61 games suggests that Martinez will need to swallow hard, accept his philosophy needs to be modified and start working on the basics you outline. Relying on sheer luck to propel us from this dire defensive rut is a gamble I would not be willing to take.

Dennis Ng
51 Posted 31/01/2016 at 17:44:53
Christopher 49, I don’t believe we’ll have a mass exodus just yet even with a manager change, nor that it will happen if RM is still with us next season should we rank lower. I don’t see them playing for him, rather, they have a chance at first team football and playing well compared to other teams.

However, despite that, it doesn’t change the fact our league position is bad, and will eventually not meet their expectations barring a turnaround in our defensive record.

That is what I don’t believe RM will change. He has voiced rigidness many times on how he doesn’t care about conceding goals, as if he doesn’t care about the score and league position. We may have a lot of deflections and calls against us, but its our horrible defensive shape that is causing our players to make last-ditch tackles leading to the deflections. With RM still here, I see no chance in us improving defensively barring a defensive coach hire which, given his abstinence of defensive work, will not happen.

As much as I agree fully with Lyndon on his article, it will be another piece that falls to the deaf ears of our Everton regime.

Jay Harris
52 Posted 31/01/2016 at 17:49:15
Nicholas #48

I refer you to The King is Dead post.

There are thousands of good managers a number of whom I am sure could be attracted to Everton.

John Raftery
53 Posted 31/01/2016 at 17:50:50
A very accurate summary of the current malaise, Lyndon. Your six point plan does not require a managerial genius but it does require someone with humility and a willingness to acknowledge that he has got some things wrong. That 4-0 defeat at Anfield raised serious questions about his tactical inflexibility which remain unresolved two years later.

Regrettably Roberto has shown no inclination to change his approach and appears totally resistant to change. Some of us, albeit a rapidly dwindling number of us, would like to see him succeed but increasingly his ’my way or no way’ methods look doomed to put us into a downward spiral.

His apparent indulgence of the flaws evident in the performances of the young players has done them no favours. The club and the players in his charge need more pragmatism and less hyperbole in his management of all football related matters.

James Stewart
56 Posted 31/01/2016 at 18:41:12
Great piece and I don't know a blue, who could argue with any conviction, any of the points you end with.
Patrick Murphy
57 Posted 31/01/2016 at 18:51:28
Darren (#43),

It wasn’t on the Main Forum that the term ’Haters’ was espoused – it was on the Offside Forum where it was first coined by somebody other than me, by the way.

I’ve changed my mind about Roberto because I have witnessed the way we have played for nearly 18 months and I don’t hear or see anything from him that will change our results dramatically. I have also done a great deal of reading and research of the man and his tactics whilst he was at Wigan.

The season prior to relegation they were in the mire, and he switched to three at the back which garnered a winning streak and enough points to ensure safety, the following season he reverted to type and they paid the price. Roberto has got much better players at his disposal but the systems in place are essentially the same; however, the competition has gone up a notch in the top-flight in the last couple of years and for me he’ll never finish higher than mid-way, no matter how many goals Everton score in a season.

Peter Mills
58 Posted 31/01/2016 at 19:20:47
I don't hate Roberto Martinez, although I am against anyone who is not good for Everton FC. And I can't stand listening to him. I do think he is a charlatan, in that he professes to have some special knowledge that others don't. He doesn't.

He has talked his way through a number of seasons of being in charge of Premier League teams which, generally, have performed badly. At Wigan, he got away with it for some time, then presided over their relegation. Now, he is overseeing the decline of Everton. He must not be allowed to do so.

David Chait
59 Posted 31/01/2016 at 20:51:01
Lyndon is one of the most measured Evertonians I've read... So his loss of patience shouldn’t be underestimated.

I might sound crazy but I would let Martinez go and let Unsworth take it home. Give him a few months to see what he is made of.

Kase Chow
60 Posted 31/01/2016 at 22:48:43
Superb article.

Excellent opinion and based on reason and fact.

Martinez will NOT get sacked unless we’re relegation threatened. Get used to him. :-(

Joseph Terrence
61 Posted 01/02/2016 at 02:30:18
I hate to admit it, but Phil Walling was right. It is clear that Bobby is not the right man to lead this team forward, but the question becomes: Who is? I cannot see a big manager relishing the Everton job which leaves the team with a big, big risk to undertake.
Jim Hardin
62 Posted 01/02/2016 at 04:12:40
Not to put too fine a point on it but Kase #60, the article is not entirely based upon fact, but rather, assumptions, errors, guesses, and then conclusions drawn on those.. For example, Howard's stats this season are much better than last season and pretty much up with where he was historically. I referred to three sites for this, including Squawka.com and WhoScored and the Barclay's stats. I wonder which ones the author referred to, or shall we use the "eye test" as I have been reprimanded with before?

Fact is, until the horrible defensive problems are sorted out, and Stones is taught how to freaking play center back, the farce that is the defense will continue. If it was all mostly down to Howard, then why didn't Robles keep clean sheets versus Man City (actual EPL competition) in either game? Sure he got one versus a league 2 team halfway out of that league and into the ranks of semi-professional football, but is that the level we use as a benchmark? Alarming that we only scored three isn't it when Chelsea scored 5 versus MK Dons?

Oh well, keep the blinders on and blame the keeper, but don't be surprised when, with a new manager and defensive organization, the numbers of goals against decreases back to acceptable levels no matter who the keeper is since that was never the real major problem to begin with.

Darren Hind
64 Posted 01/02/2016 at 06:09:20

"Assumptions, errors, Guesses" ? ... what?

The world does not revolve around Tim Howard you know.

Lyndon has put together a well researched, comprehensive article which echoes the views of Evertonians everywhere. Sure, a lot of it is opinion, that's kinda the point... but he has backed up his opinion with evidence and facts.

It's okay to disagree with some of the points, but in this superb article, Lyndon articulates the pain and frustration he is feeling; it will resonate and be discussed by Evertonians everywhere.

Paul Kelly
65 Posted 01/02/2016 at 10:51:54
Well put, Lyndon, glad you wrote this article, put it better than most would (especially me), but it is what the majority think.

On the subject of the majority, I still see over 27% (I think it was TW poll) don’t think Bob should be sacked! Jesus, how bad has it got to get?

I've wanted him gone for a long time but, after blaming the fans for the team's performances and "we’re not underachieving" nonsense, I thought more would be swayed (or just damn-right outraged) at the charlatan.

Danny Tetley
68 Posted 02/02/2016 at 22:06:19
Give him until the end of the season. If there is no improvement then he has to go.

And by far this is the best starting 11 we will ever see at Everton. If we can’t do anything with these players then it’s back to the old days of Steve Watson up front.
Paul Goodchild
69 Posted 02/02/2016 at 23:33:48
I can not disagree with anything Lyndon has said. A great article that echoes everything most Evertonians are feeling at present. I am born and bred in Leicester but I have been an Everton fan for 45 years. This city is in dreamland at the moment but all I feel is why can’t this have been our season.

How many Leicester players would you pick for a joint Everton Leicester team? Maybe 4. Schmeichel, Kante, mahrez and vardy. A Liverpool Everton team would probably contain 7 Everton players also. Look how Leicester put Liverpool away tonight. We haven’t done that since Cahill and arteta were here.

It is just so depressing and this has been a season of constant disappointment and let downs. 6 wins out of 23 with this squad says it all to me. When will it change? We deserve so much better.
David Chait
70 Posted 03/02/2016 at 09:04:18
Just watched the short U21 highlights v Man Utd... And again Unsworth was excellent post match, twice emphasising how good it was to get a clean sheet.

Basing purely on his interviews I would give him a bash to end of season... Would love to see what he would do.

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