The Appeal to Coincidence

Roberto Martinez has been relying increasingly on bad luck as the explanation for a season of stark under-achievement build but there is only so far that that crutch will take him as the inquests into his team's failings build.

Lyndon Lloyd 18/02/2016 132comments  |  Jump to last
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As the Roman philosopher Seneca is reputed to have opined, luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.

When you’ve exhausted all other explanations — or, perhaps more accurately, are unwilling to publicly acknowledge them — blaming bad luck is also the easiest way out and it’s a crutch that Roberto Martinez is relying on to an increasing degree these days as the inquests into a season of stark under-achievement build.

It was a recurring theme of his press conference this morning, ahead of this weekend’s FA Cup Fifth Round tie at Bournemouth, where he reiterated his belief that his team is “very close” to achieving its aim, one that has up to now been as nebulous as it has become hollow. Martinez has deftly avoided setting targets this season — or, at least, voicing them to the media — but with just 12 Premier League games left, the goals are now easy to define: finish in the top six and go as far as possible in the FA Cup, preferably all the way to two trips to Wembley.

To do either or both, his Everton team is going to have to start winning matches consistently against top-flight opposition, something they have categorically failed to do so far. The Toffees have won back-to-back Premier League games just once all season, that despite looking the "real deal" on occasions during the campaign.

That they haven’t got the results they have often deserved and that they won’t be travelling down to the Capital for an all-Merseyside Capital One Cup final next weekend is partly down to mis-fortune, partly down to rank officiating and, to a measure that Martinez would find it difficult to admit, partly down to Everton themselves — players and manager alike.

To these eyes, gaining consistently good results in football and to mitigate the fickle hand of Lady Luck has always been about making your own fortune; putting enough preparation in place beforehand, bringing as much effort to bear on the pitch on the day, and making the right in-game choices to influence the outcome. If Martinez and Everton are doing this, it’s not being reflected where it matters — on the field and in results.

Luck will inevitably play a role in isolated incidents, as will refereeing incompetence, but over the course of a 38-game season, a good team with the right approach will be able to ride out those bumps in the road. Everton are, quite obviously, not that kind of outfit at the moment and appear to be reliant on slender margins to carry them through.

Martinez pointed to those small margins again in his “presser” this morning, saying that he “wouldn’t be able to explain three out of six” of his side’s home defeats this season — you would wager that many supporters could explain them! — and describing last Saturday’s defeat to West Bromwich Albion as, “a freak result that didn’t reflect what happened on the pitch.” In many respects he is right about that particular game — Everton had 76% of the possession and recorded a season-high 34 shots at goal — but the statistics that the manager used in his post-match interview to back up his contention that there was no explanation for how the Blues didn’t win are misleading.

As Evertonians have discovered to a mind-numbing extent at times over Martinez’s 32-month tenure, dominating possession is meaningless if you can’t do anything meaningful with it; if you can’t find the tempo in your game or the guile in your approach play to break an opposition defence down.

And of those myriad attempts towards goal against the Baggies, only six were on target, only one of them really tested goalkeeper Ben Foster — namely, Aaron Lennon’s deflected volley that had to be tipped over the bar — and, crucially, only two of them came from the team’s leading goalscorer, Romelu Lukaku, neither one of which made it to goal.

Against Manchester City in the League Cup semi-final second leg, a match in which they were handed a two-goal advantage courtesy of a wonderful solo effort from Ross Barkley, Everton managed just four shots in the entire match, only two on target and none from Lukaku.

Martinez’s solution in both instances was to introduce the shot-shy and goal-shy Arouna Kone from the bench, a player who has occasionally provided a decent foil for Lukaku but who has — a couple of FA Cup goals aside — looked woefully inadequate as a striking solution for a squad that many believe is otherwise top-five standard.

The Ivorian’s tally of just six League goals in his Everton career pales in comparison to that of Kevin Mirallas, who has a demonstrated ability to score late goals, and to date he has half as many assists as Gerard Deulofeu. And yet the Belgian watched on from the sidelines against West Brom as the Blues continued to bang their collective heads against the wall using the same unchanged formula of one winger and two defensive midfielders against a team that had left almost all of their attacking intent back in the Midlands for the day. And the Spaniard was the one withdrawn at the Etihad Stadium last month despite it being painfully obvious that he was the only one offering an outlet for a team under the cosh defensively.

Those are just two examples of frustrating matches that have gone against Everton this season. In others, their failure to either press home their superiority or see a game out from a winning position has cost them dearly and ensures that 2015-16 will remembered as another season of unfulfilled promise. By relying on or requiring small margins, Martinez and his men have exposed themselves to the cruel hand of fate and the discriminant tendencies of match referees. Put simply, if you leave things to chance, you can’t moan when luck deserts you.

In that sense, Seneca’s observation is painfully apt to Everton at the moment. It’s probably a little more so than another spin you could put on it — namely, the notion that fortune favours the brave. There has been plenty of buccaneering spirit and adventure about the Toffees this season, both in attack and in defence, but where a lack of preparation has been exposed at the back in terms of organisation and repelling set-pieces, there has also been a rigid team formation.

That has left the team fighting with one metaphorical arm tied behind its back for much of the season — the resistance to deploying two wingers in certain situations and the preference instead to play players out of position as wide men has restricted Everton to doing most of their attacking down the right flank — and made them painfully predictable at times, something that played right into Tony Pulis’s miserly hands last weekend.

Ultimately, if luck is deemed to be against you, you need to change your luck and, in football terms, that means changing up your methods, your approach and, during matches, your strategy. It also means taking a consistently holistic approach to the entire team from front to back. Martinez has slowly shown an acknowledgement of his side’s defensive frailties this season — albeit only after it became so marked that it was impossible to ignore as the 800-lb gorilla in the room; now he needs to exhibit the same kind of awareness to his players’ collective mentality and the different tactics that it takes to beat the Premier League’s varying opposition.

Thus far, the changes have been glacial and, after last season’s train-wreck of a campaign, a gilt-edged opportunity to follow the likes of Leicester and Tottenham into the top four has been spurned. It’s not too late to put a belated run of results together to finish in the top six or to land a trophy, but the nagging feeling will remain that it might not be evidence enough to show that Everton have the right managerial team in place to achieve the consistency to mount a top-four challenge in 2016-17.

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Reader Comments (132)

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John Francis
1 Posted 18/02/2016 at 20:07:33
Spot on analysis once again Lyndon. Great pity this piece is not being carried as hard copy in our local rag.
Nick Entwistle
2 Posted 18/02/2016 at 20:14:24
And there was me quoting that on TW last season attributing it to Emperor Cicero...

Thing about consistency, is that it is not something that belongs to mid table teams. It is not something you teach on the training ground. It is a reflection, not the cause of a team's ability. If Roberto is talking about consistency in winning, it isn't an abstract philosophical state of being. Its three points at 90 minutes.

And if you want to know how consistent teams are, there's this thing called the league table. But we he to swap the word consistency for potential, then it would make life very difficult for himself.

Take Burnley last season, played brilliantly, maxing out their potential, and it wasn't enough. If Roberto wants this team to be good enough to reach its potential, its down to him. And that is something you teach on the training ground.

We would also do ourselves a great service to not believe in the quality of this team being better on paper that teams above. Stoke have more CL winners than the Big 4 combined! We have quality, but so do many other teams.

Martin Mason
3 Posted 18/02/2016 at 20:30:18
I don't believe that there can be a thing called luck only perhaps what happens when the outcome of an event occurs at a different frequency than expected or calculated. That there is an external force that can influence outcomes is surely only superstition
Peter Laing
4 Posted 18/02/2016 at 20:35:41
Lose to Bournemouth on Saturday and our season prematurely comes to an end. Enough points already on the board to probably stay up and another disappointing mid table season of mediocrity beckons. Martinez has now had 3 seasons, we are no further forward than when he took over and the boredom has seriously set in amongst the fan base.

The proposed talk of a takeover continues unabated and the Club is quite clearly at a crossroads going into the 2016/17 season.

Michael Polley
5 Posted 18/02/2016 at 20:52:13
I see dark clouds looming over the Summer !!!
Nicholas Ryan
6 Posted 18/02/2016 at 21:03:31
On the subject of Luck ... there is a book, called, strangely enough: ’Luck’ by former England and Middlesex cricketer, Ed Smith, who is now a respected, writer, philosopher and possessor of a Double ’First’ from Cambridge.

He starts by assuming there is no such thing as Luck, particularly, bad luck; but, by analysing both his own, and other sportsmen/women’s careers, he reluctantly comes to the conclusion that there is!

Whether he’s right or wrong, the book is a decent read!

Jack Mason
7 Posted 18/02/2016 at 21:36:20
Eloquent piece Lyndon and shatters the myth that Everton's season can be attributed to merely bad luck and poor officiating.
Guy Hastings
8 Posted 18/02/2016 at 21:49:24
Great stuff again, Lyndon. Puts the likes of Henry Winter to shame, a man so far up his own arse I'm amazed he retains the use of his thumbs. I'd be interested to read your opinions on other teams/clubs.
Brian Harrison
9 Posted 18/02/2016 at 21:54:34
Another day and another excuse from RM, but he always promises that things will get better next week next month or next season. We are told that this player or that player is in a good moment, and we are again on the brink of a break through.

I really cant believe that our fans are still tolerant of RM – no demonstrations or out chants just a few boos at the end of another lost home game.
Nick Entwistle
10 Posted 18/02/2016 at 21:56:27
Nicholas, wouldn't 'luck' even itself out?

And by luck I mean the erm... chaos theory of a leather ball being pinged about by 22 men. Not incompetence, which would be supply the opportunity which is jumped upon by those prepared to do so.

Dick Fearon
11 Posted 18/02/2016 at 21:59:13
I have been a consistent critic of the Martinez slow build up play. Even in his supposedly good season I was scratching my head at the sheer number of passes needed just to approach the half way line.

Last year the hiding we suffered at Mordor came about because Brendan Rodgers packed his defence and relied on quick counter attacks.

Other managers quickly picked up on what has become the classic anti Everton gambit. Martinez has found no answer to this simple tactic or chooses to recognise it. I worry it could be our downfall at Bournemouth.

As a footnote, Kone nor Osman should not be on the team list.

Frank Wade
12 Posted 18/02/2016 at 22:29:21
Unfortunately, talk of Romans in the Everton context these days is more likely to recall the accusation that ’Nero fiddled while Rome burned’. Who is Nero, RM or BK ? There is also a famous quote attributed to Gary Player ’The more I practice the luckier I get’. Both very relevant in our current dilemma. I think we could learn a lot from watching the likes of Leicester and how hard they work from 1 to 11, for 90 minutes, sorry 98 minutes, with and without the ball.

Bad luck and refereeing decisions have been trotted out in the media by managers for years now. Rather than accept that they must try something different and work harder, some will try to gloss over their own inadequacies by pointing out some hard luck story in media interviews. Dave O’Leary would often point to the concession of a silly or stupid goal. Joe Max Moore scored a fantastic goal at Leeds on the half volley from about 15 yards that no keeper could save. ’A stupid goal’ according to Dave.

Like most, I have long given up expectation of clarity in RM’s media exploits, though I still listen and feel his obfuscation shows a lack of respect for Evertonians and media alike. Lest I be accused of obfuscation, it means ’making the message confusing, willfully ambiguous, or harder to understand’ – I had to look it up to be sure. For example, telling us that John Stones needs to play 100 games to be properly evaluated and telling Aiden McGeady that he is out of the squad permanently after his first half v Barnsley (yeah, I know he had previous but not 100 games).

Brent Stephens
13 Posted 18/02/2016 at 22:45:25
Nick #10 "by luck I mean the erm... chaos theory of a leather ball".

Chaos indeed - the ball strangely attracted to our goal at home but the opposition's goal away from home.

Sid Logan
14 Posted 18/02/2016 at 23:29:22
Lyndon, another excellent piece and as usual an enjoyable read.

Suppporters probably now fall in to two camps. Those who have seen glimpses of great football and believe Martinez can extend his positive influence to include team's defensive capabilities, the development of a winning mentality and a consistency from game to game.

The other camp (which includes me and I suspect the majority of Evertonians) believe Martinez is pretty much a one-trick pony and this is as good as it gets.

Consequently this latter group expect Martinez to tell us that we will remain on the verge of some sort of breakthrough in to greatness and will continue the just-bear-with-me a bit longer excuses until such time as he is sacked.

We can only hope that if we do get new owners they will be astute enough to look at his record and not listen to his persuasive bullshit. They will also need to act before our better players become as disillusioned as most supporters.

Phil Williams
15 Posted 18/02/2016 at 23:36:30
As always when I tend to post, it is because I feel the need to defend Martinez. Or should that be that Martinez needs to defend his posts?

I do agree that as of today the table shows us in a position that is below my expectations, and as such we are under-performing in my eyes. But then I look at the goals-scored column and see only three teams have scored more than us. Predictable, boring, tippy-tippy, possession-focused are not what springs to mind.

Week-in and week-out, I watch a team that excites me and frustrates me in equal measures. If, as Lyndon muses, we we finish top 6 and visit Wembley twice then I will not be such an isolated voice in saying "he will get it right and we WILL finish top 4 next year."
Lyndon Lloyd
16 Posted 19/02/2016 at 00:36:02
Well, Phil (15), I'm glad you posted because we need all viewpoints.

There is no question that this team can excite and entertain but it has also ruined more of my weekends this season than I care to tally. Because, as great as it is to witness a free-flowing team that scores goals, it matters not a jot if that team can't keep goals out at the other end.

People are going to tire very quickly of comparisons with Tottenham and Leicester but their work-rate, starting with the strikers and going all the way back, sets their teams' tone from a defensive point of view. It's something we just don't do enough – we usher players through the middle third of the field with Lukaku and Barkley watching on and then wonder why we're at the mercy of Lady Luck as the opposition puts pressure on our back line.

It's been said thousands of times in recent weeks but football is a results-based business and a cruel mistress. She doesn't care about how many times your players pass the ball, how many tricks Ross Barkley does, or how many men Geri beats – she just rewards victories with two more points than a draw and three more than a loss in the case of the Premier League, or progress to the next phase of the cup.

I am trying very hard to enjoy Barkley's wonderful evolution, revel in Deulofeu's mercurial ability to change a game (even if he now resorts to trying to cross first time from anywhere rather than beat a man), and burst with pride at Romelu Lukaku's magnificent haul of goals.

It's all heavily tainted, however, by the gnawing in my stomach that it's just not going to amount to much if we don't show signs of real progress. It will all just be pleasant memories spiked with bitter regret like Andrei Kanchelskis's brief explosion onto our scene because there is no earthly reason why we should expect them to stick around if we're going to finish 11th every year.

And that is where my problem with the status quo lies and why, a year or so after Roberto first severely knocked my faith in him with the debacles at Southampton, Hull and Stoke in 2014-15, I've reluctantly come to believe that he isn't learning, that we aren't progressing.

If he proves me wrong, I'll be the first to hold up my hand and admit it. Finishing in the top 6 and making the FA Cup Final would be a start and would be the first evidence of tangible progress since his first season in charge. But, yes, it will take a consistent upward curve beyond that into next season to convince me that he is evolving and growing as a manager. I suspect he will get the chance, but we'll see.

Chris Jones [Burton]
17 Posted 19/02/2016 at 01:12:11
Well, when an officer was recommended to Napoleon for promotion to the rank of General it was allegedly his habit to ask "Is he lucky?" It should never be used as a blanket excuse, but 'luck' can play a part in life.

The goal Citeh scored from a cross after the ball had gone out of play was not bad luck, it was an injustice.

The goal WBA got was bad luck, in that it was a bit fluky, like others we've conceded this season. Had we fluked a goal against WBA early on, likely we'd have torn them apart as they chased the game, rather than parked the bus.

That's how it goes sometimes.

I do think we've deserved more luck this season (or less bad luck) but it's also fair to say it's compounded the problems we have, rather than created them. Likely had we had more good luck we'd still be doing less well than we ought to with more application and better preparation.

We need to start getting it right, and keep getting it right consistently. Otherwise we're wasting the opportunity offered us by a good squad of players. The way things are going Martinez will have to carry through his career the regret of what he ought to have achieved with the players he has now, many of whom are here because of his own efforts/selection. How sad that would prove to be, and how bloody frustrating to boot!

Jamie Crowley
18 Posted 19/02/2016 at 01:36:43
Anyone who dogmatically professes "bad" luck has no part in life?

They’ve not been paying attention or are incredibly blessed.

Everton have had undeniable, quantifiable, shit luck this season. Absolute, I’m hungover and ate 4 burritos at 2 a.m. last night shit the next morning... shit luck.

I’m with Phil at 15. If the table were based upon goal differential we’d be 5th. If there was reviewable replay we’d be 5th.

Roberto isn’t Jesus (I know, shocker...). The man still needs to make adjustments. Anyone arguing that also isn’t paying attention on the same level as the feller who says "there’s no such thing as luck."

But the recent baying for Roberto’s head smacks more to me of fans who are just royally pissed off we’re not where we belong in the table, and they want someone to blame.

I’m sorry, but someone’s kicked the dog, walked under a ladder, screwed a friend’s wife, broke a mirror, and took the Lord’s name in vain – simultaneously.

We have played better football than just about any side in the league. We’ve looked mercurial. I’m not willing to give up on that just yet.

So keep posting Phil Williams. You’re the diamond I look for to hold on to hope while I sift through the the masses of submissions baying for blood.

And I sift happily. Because I know even the blood-bayers only want what’s best.

Darren Hind
19 Posted 19/02/2016 at 01:51:41
To say luck/fortune/chance is merely superstition makes absolutely no sense to me. How else do we explain lottery wins? skill? preparation?

Two guys in a casino. they decide to have a last bash on the wheel before they go home. The first fella sticks his last fifty on "lucky seven". The next guy stick his on 14 . . The ball lands on 14. One guy goes home a taxi with a bulging wallet, the other walks home... Yet the both did EXACTLY the same daft twat bet.

Of course luck exists, there is overwhelming evidence of it staring us in the face every day. You can't define an entire season as unlucky, yes we have had some desperate luck and although her ladyship has sometimes smiled upon us, there's absolutely no fucking way it has evened itself out.

The players have to take their share of the blame for this season, but could it be that they are "unlucky" to have Martinez as a boss. They didn't choose him. He has undoubted qualities, but could he be a complete Hillman Minx? Who the fuck wins the cup then gets relegated before the bubbly has gone flat?

Throughout history, sport has been littered with people having glory snatched from them through fucking bad luck. I still do a double take, ever time I see Devon Lock inexplicably sprawl just yards from the line... was that "superstition"?

As ever we have exaggerated the amount of good performances from the team, we have not been "fantastic" as often as claimed. Most of the time we simply haven't done enough to win games, but please, please don't tell me we haven't been unlucky too.

Maybe our luck would change if we changed the manager. Napoleon wasn't interested in Generals who bemoaned their misfortune. He wanted the jammy fuckers.

Mo Barkoli
20 Posted 19/02/2016 at 02:05:14
Now we are blaming luck...
Gary Russell
21 Posted 19/02/2016 at 02:54:21
Jamie (#18), "We have played better football than just about any side in the league".

I find the above comment hard to swallow. Football is not just about attacking and scoring goals. They are so many aspects to the game of football, many where we have been laughable.

As has already been said on here, look at the how many times this season we have been good. It amounts to a few hours. We don't get the basics right... I could go on but like many, I am a broken record.
David Johnson
22 Posted 19/02/2016 at 03:06:29
When Roberto first walked through the door, we were all taken aback by his (or was it Bill's?) claim that he would take us to the Champions League.

I think that he has actually managed to raise expectations to the point where we now actually think that this is our right and could be achievable, If it wasn't, ironically, for him and his stubbornness and kamikaze defending. We are all as frustrated as fuck amidst flashes of brilliance combined with committing hari kari in front of our own goal, but he has brought back hope. Hope that there is more to life than Phil Neville and Hibbo grinding out results amidst failed ground moves and having to put up with the tightest board in the Premier League.

I'm all for giving him a while longer so I can carry on with my dream of a real School of Science who play with a swagger from the academy to the first team. All we need is a spark. The signing of two or maybe three players who could be the catalyst to something special.

Derek Thomas
23 Posted 19/02/2016 at 03:17:08
Larry Niven proposed in ’Luck and Teela Brown’, that just as you can breed for almost any physical characteristic you should be able to get all those lucky fuckers and breed for luck....and we all know them, those jammy buggers with their one off bets, raffle wins, picking the winner of the National with a pin...all that sort of stuff.

The gist of the story is that a large number (50,000) are given 2 vague choices, which gives you 25,000 winners and so on down the scale half, half, half, etc. as the numbers dwindle the choices come with bigger rewards and, as it has to be, bigger forfeits... up to the ultimate forfeit.

When it gets down to 16, 8, 4, our hero realises that this Teela girl, while nice, is so lucky, she is seriously dangerous to be near as a result...I forget how he gets round it, but it’s worth a read.

Now who do we know very close to us that is beyond the realms statistical chance, seriously lucky???

Is it any wonder then we have the luck we do...or should that be don’t?

If it wasn’t for bad luck... aka, no wonder we’re bitter?

Peter Barry
24 Posted 19/02/2016 at 03:51:23
The harder you work, the ’luckier’ you get ... and there is one thing you can’t accuse Martinez’s teams of – that is HARD WORK.
John Keating
25 Posted 19/02/2016 at 05:44:44
Phil (#15),

Goals scored is meaningless if those goals don’t contribute to wins. Possession based, statistical games, which our manager is obsessed with, do not necessarily, and in our case, most definitely prove a win is guaranteed. You, for some reason, do not see the team playing predictable, boring, tippy-tappy football..... did you not see the West Brom game last week?

Apart from Chelsea at home when they were on their appalling run, off-hand I cannot remember another game we have totally dominated for 90 minutes. Yes, we play well, in some parts or even halves of games but never over the full course.

The signs of Martinez’s intransigence were there at the end of his first season; this season, like last, has been shite. How much time are you prepared to give Martinez "to get it right" and for us to become top 4?

I look at Spurs getting stronger as the season goes on. I see them playing high tempo football for 90 plus minutes and then I look at us. Sorry Phil, in my opinion, this guy is a fraudster that is blaming everything and everyone for his own incompetence.

Bill should just accept he made a genuine mistake appointing him and show him the door. He has to go before he puts us in a position Aston Villa now find themselves in.

Jason Pullen
26 Posted 19/02/2016 at 06:42:06
Chris 17, how was WBA’s goal bad luck? We chose not to have someone on the back post. A pretty basic defensive rule at corners that has actually cost us before.

That’s not bad luck. That’s poor defensive organisation and a failure to learn from the other occasions it has happened. So not fluky at all. Just plain poor defending.
Rahul Sreekumar
27 Posted 19/02/2016 at 07:06:28
Excellent write up Lyndon! Thanks for it!

How many times do we have have the déjà vu of "Win, followed by massive optimism/hope build-up, then defeat (or a run of poor games) followed by cries to sack RM, then another victory – so on and so forth". The fact that this cycle has been on constant loop all season should, as you point out, raise questions of it being because of other factors other than just luck.

How many times have we heard RM say "9 out of 10 times it’s a goal (or not if he is talking about the opposition goal"? At some point we have to realize that, that’s not how statistics work. If something should happen only 1 out of 10 times then maybe you shouldn’t say it after it happens 8 out 10 times.

I do not offer a solution here. I am not qualified/knowledgeable enough to do so.

For me the saddest part is that I feel so silly, because I really thought RM was an intelligent person and a good speaker, whose "pressers" I used to wait for in his first season. Now I just don’t care what he has to say.

Ciaran Duff
28 Posted 19/02/2016 at 07:07:59
I love TW – where else would you get a discussion involving Seneca and Tony Pulis? Wonder what old Seneca would make of Tony!

I agree with Lyndon that it is not a good sign when the manager is blaming bad luck. Of course luck plays a role in life, nobody can control the world, but we can control our own minds. As you mention in your article, preparation and effort are necessary to make your own luck but I think that a major overlooked and under appreciated factor is mentality. Both from an individual and team perspective we do not seem to have a "winning mentality".

If you look back on the great Everton and non-Everton teams of the past, it was not just the quality of the players that won cups and leagues. It was the individual and collective belief and will to win. I guess that the most glaring recent example would be Manure pre and post Fergie (I know that there were other factors) and to a lesser extent Mourinho's pre and post "losing the dressing room" Chelsea.

RM to me seems like a nice guy and he has some great qualities – promoting and encouraging younger players in particular – but he also has some fatal flaws. He seems to be too much of an idealist and lacks that pragmatic side to instill the self belief in the side to close out games and overcome obstacles (including bad luck).
Zahir Jaffer
30 Posted 19/02/2016 at 07:49:38
We have a stronger squad compared to what he started with 3 years ago. How the hell does he manage to make us do worse with each passing season. I noticed the players don't really have each other's back. That's key in building an unstoppable force; unity.
Sandra Bowen
31 Posted 19/02/2016 at 07:52:05
Excellent piece as usual, Lyndon. Always enjoy reading what you've got to say and I'm pretty much always on the same page.

It's a real funny situation with Martinez. I really did want to him to succeed and wanted to believe in him as I like to look for all the good that he's brought to our club. There are plenty of things to admire(and cringe at in equal measure) in his character and self belief, qualities that you need to be a manager. There is no doubt in my mind that he can spot a good player and convince them to play for him. He has proved this to me many times over with some excellent purchases and even with the development of certain players, not all I hasten to add. I certainly don't believe he's anywhere near as bad as some on here make out but he is also, nowhere near as amazing as he is on his own head.

He has however, become extremely difficult to support and to believe in. I think my biggest issue is the constant contradiction in his own beliefs. He keeps banging on in pretty much every presser, especially leading up to a home game about how he knows exactly what to expect from the opposition and then pretty much every time, plays completely into their hands. It's been said a thousand times on this site already that we're probably the easiest team to play against on our own turf. It really is so simple for teams to set up against us. The next massive contradiction with himself is that he wants us to control the game yet we, along with many other sides are a lot more dangerous with less possession and playing on the counter. He needs to acknowledge this and change accordingly, especially at home.

I am loving what Leicester and spurs are achieving this season as it completely dispels this current theme that football has changed so much that it requires a new style of management philosophy, a term I absolutely hate by the way. Surely every football managers philosophy should be exactly the same. We've got our own guy, there's AVB, Rodgers and many others that really do believe that they're re-inventing the wheel with their styles. It's still the same game, you need a good goalkeeper, defenders who enjoy defending, a balanced hard-working midfield and strikers who can score.

It's obviously not quite as simple as that and tactics do play a large part but both Spurs and Leicester have got the perfect balance. Spurs are built on an extremely solid back 5 and hard work. The confidence that the rest of the team have from that enables them to never be out of a game and their superior fitness is allowing them to turn their draws into wins. Leicester again are built on huge energy and perfect tactics to suit their players. Soak up the pressure by being as solid as possible and look to get the ball to their two best players whenever and as quick as possible.

I think that barring the amazing Barca and a couple of Real Madrid teams that we've seen over the last decade or so, all the other successful managers and teams have been pragmatic and demanding, certainly not revolutionaries who thought that needed to somehow believe that they were changing the game. I point to Mourinho, Simeone, Benitez, Fergie. All guys who quite simply knew then and know now that along with good players you need sheer determination and effort at all times to be successful. None of this wishy-washy footballing arrogance that Martinez keeps harping on about. He simply has to recognise, along with his players that you've got to first earn that right to play with this arrogance.

Can he do it? Nah, I don't think so, it's his own arrogance that is blinkering himself and completely getting in the way.

Phil Walling
32 Posted 19/02/2016 at 08:00:24
Phil @15, you should know by now that it’s in which games you score all those goals not simply that they were scored.

Our record is skewed by the fact that no less than 11 were against just two poor teams rather than spread over all those games that ended in draws.

Until football league tables are determined by goal difference rather than points for wins and draws, it’s a bit like saying knock-outs in boxing should count for nothing!

Phil Williams
33 Posted 19/02/2016 at 08:04:18
Hi, John (#25),

Yes, I do go to every game at home and most away, so I do see how we approach each game. I fail to see how scoring 46 goals in the league at this stage of the season can possibly be boring. Far from it.

Our problem lies in naive defending and more importantly naive game management. When was the last time you saw us wasting time like West Brom, or feigning injury like Costa? Why didn’t Deulofeu take the ball into the corner at Chelsea and why did we switch off at Bournemouth? Because we are naive and not used to it. Not used to it partly down to inexperience and age and partly down to the direction from the manager.

I am not so blinkered that I do not see Martinez's failings. Some of his substitutions frustrate me, but when I am watching Deulofeu acting like a spoiled child (off camera) at Man City and Lennon fade out of the game in the second half last week, I too was screaming for them to be replaced before they were. To bring on Kone last week is a completely different matter!

My optimism is based on recent improvements to our Achilles heel, namely defending. Get that right and we will fly. Yes, it starts up front and the front two could do a bit more but like most things in sport it also comes with confidence. Here’s hoping that the goalkeeper and centre back axis continues to do well and creates confidence in others around them. I know I will get pelters about Martinez's teams never defending well, but 5 clean sheets out of the last 11, and only 1 goal conceded in 3 of the others is improvement. Glass half-full for me.

Phil Sammon
34 Posted 19/02/2016 at 08:12:25
BATTLESHIPS – now there’s a game of luck!

You do, however, upset your own odds when you set up your fleet in the exact same formation every time you play.

Colin Glassar
35 Posted 19/02/2016 at 08:21:51
Phil, nice to get an alternative viewpoint from someone who actually goes to most games and sees the lads play in the flesh (I can’t due to distance and expense) rather than the keyboard cowboys who watch some dodgy online feed from the middle east and then invade the TW live forum with their nuggets of wisdom e.g. Sack the fucking Spanish fraud now, or, bring back Moyes!

Those who say we play "tippy-tappy" football either A) Don’t watch a lot of football because almost everyone plays possession football these days; or B) Don’t bother to acknowledge the amount of goals we have scored.

Our problem is defending. We play some of the best attacking football in the country, and only some rabid Martinez hater would deny that, but our defending is shite and for that I will blame Martinez and his backroom staff. Sort that out Roberto or get lost. You can’t have it both ways

Mark Daley
36 Posted 19/02/2016 at 08:32:19
"Men at some time are masters of their fates:
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings".
Thomas Lennon
37 Posted 19/02/2016 at 08:43:12
In sport, margins are tiny. When your timing is fractionally off, you are more likely to suffer from ’bad luck’ because you are slightly hesitant. Preparation is vital but there is also a tiny element of chance that can expand or contract once a player is worrying about ’luck’.
Ray Smith
38 Posted 19/02/2016 at 09:09:36
Napoleon (#17) also said that if his lowest corporal could understand his battle plan, he would win the battle.

Trouble is, we haven’t got a battle plan. RM is one-dimensional, no Plan B. You may win the odd battle, but never the war! All Premier League managers have worked us out.

Napoleon met his Waterloo and was exiled; when will RM meet his? Not while BK has a say in it.

John Keating
40 Posted 19/02/2016 at 09:34:48
Colin, before you slag off the keyboard cowboys from the Middle East and their nuggets of wisdom... I take it you’re a keyboard cowboy from somewhere else?

And before you imply that the keyboard cowboys know fuck all about what they witness every week, I suggest you read the latest from the know-nothing ex-Captain of ours, a certain Mr Ratcliffe.

Seems his latest article somehow supports almost verbatim what the keyboard cowboys are saying... But eh! What does Ratcliffe know?

Brian Porter
41 Posted 19/02/2016 at 09:51:57
On the subject of luck, my late father served in the Army for 22 years and during the Second World War he served in the Long Range Desert Group and fought under Montgomery against Rommel’s Afrika Corps. Once, when I was on leave from the RAF he talked of his time in the North African campaign.

When I made the comment that Rommel, who had previously seemed invincible and blessed with ’good luck’ in everything he did, my Dad replied,

"There’s no such thing as luck, except as an abstract concept. Rommel wasn’t beaten at El Alamein by bad luck but by a general (Montgomery) who made his own ’luck’ by out-thinking and out-manoeuvring his opponent, and by adapting and changing his own tactics to counter his opponent’s every move. He anticipated Rommel’s next ploy and had a plan in place to frustrate and defeat his opponent in advance. The rest was history."

My Dad was ’lucky’ to only be wounded once during the war, but he refused to put the loss of his thumbnail down to ’bad luck’. Instead he said he was a fool to expose himself to enemy fire at that moment when he should have stayed behind the rocks they were using as cover until the firing stopped.

In short, he always believed that in war, sport, whatever, a good leader or tactician makes his own ’luck’ good or bad and though the unexpected might sometimes upset the apple cart, careful planning and attention to correcting previous mistakes and planning effective counter measures will seriously offset the chances of being taken totally by surprise by the intervention of that rare chance when things might not go according to plan, but then, a good planner would have a Plan B ready to fight back from such a setback.

His words have always lived with me and Martinez and his constant moaning about ’bad luck’ poor refereeing decisions and every excuse other than blaming his own failure to adequately prepare his ’troops’ and having no Plan B when his opponent appears to have the beating of his team is making me angrier by the week with his weak leadership and failure to address the real problem affecting our team, HIMSELF.

Rommel flattered to deceive but was eventually ’found out’ and defeated by a better tactician, a leader who planned for every eventuality and set up his men to inflict a decisive defeat on the Desert Fox. Our problem I that Martinez is currently making every other Premier League manager look like Montgomery to his Rommel, convinced of his own superiority and refusing to believe his strategy could be wrong until it’s too late.

Rommel of course was eventually recalled to Germany by Hitler and ended up being hung as a traitor. Roberto, beware.

Rob Hooton
42 Posted 19/02/2016 at 10:17:55
Chris (#26) – I also find it frustratingly amusing that 90% of our corners fail to beat the first man yet we failed to spot that the opposition may also do the same, but what do I know!

I want to believe that RM will learn and we will get it right but the hope this would happen has all but evaporated.

Don Alexander
43 Posted 19/02/2016 at 10:19:03
I am agog that fans still have time for Martinez. We are in the bottom half of the table in a season where clubs like Watford, Southampton and Leicester have generally always been above us having spent way less on players. What they have in common are managers with genuine, consistent "game management" know-how. "Game management" is psycho-speak for merely doing what the opponent least wants you to do as often as possible. It ain't rocket science. It's what good managers do, period, and the fact that throughout his time here and at Wigan the Incredible One has consistently taken "his" team only one way, downwards, says it all.

PS; And yes, I too really like to see us score lots of goals, but there's a bit more to it than that in the real world.

James Marshall
44 Posted 19/02/2016 at 10:36:31
Anyone get the feeling that when RM speaks directly to players, and I mean individually as well as collectively during games, that all he says is stuff like, "move the ball quicker lads" or "lets get forward" etc?

They always look as though they're kinda wingin' it a bit, y'know?

Is there ever really a plan other than attack and see what happens?

Basically relying on luck and a bit of ability to get you through. We play a pretty fluid game, which results in a distinct lack of shape at times, which is all well & good if you're Barcelona, or Hungary circa '54 but we're neither of those things.

Does anyone have any idea what the gameplan is from week to week? Answers on a postcard.

Ged Simpson
45 Posted 19/02/2016 at 10:42:32
Jaysus this is philosophical in places.

So to add to it:

"Any fool can have bad luck; the art consists in knowing how to exploit it."

Frank Wedekind

Ray Robinson
46 Posted 19/02/2016 at 10:43:08
Colin, a lot of the "keyboard warriors" do go to the match and you apparently do not - which makes you a "keyboard warrior" does it not? An irony worthy of Martinez himself.
James Marshall
47 Posted 19/02/2016 at 10:48:53

Your post sort of inadvertently backs RM’s mantra of small margins and the need to learn.

If Deulofeu had gone into the corner at Chelsea we would have won the game. If we’d concentrated at Bournemouth, we’d have won that game as well – this would mean an extra 4 points and put us 8th only 2 points off Man Utd in 5th.

Small margins. Naivety.

RM does have a point in some respects, and do feel as though a lot of us have lost sight of that because we keep hearing it. The issue for me is the lack of shape, organisation and defensive nouse which is costing us. He attacks without a thought for his back 2 (let’s face it, we basically play with 2 centre halves and that’s about it) being left utterly exposed all the time – nevermind the poor bloody goalkeeper.

There have been issues to be rightly blamed on bad luck, but that happens to teams from the top to the bottom of the league - just ask Leicester at Arsenal last week – a dodgy foul, then a free kick goes in off Welbeck's hair in the last minute – bad game management and bad luck all rolled into one. The point is that those things happen to every team – it’s how you set your team up that decides how often.

This is the difference between RM, and in this example, Claudio Ranieri.

Ged Simpson
48 Posted 19/02/2016 at 10:53:38
Keyboard warriors?

It could be argued that you get a much better view of a game on the TV...

And paying to watch games home and away sadly does not necessarily give you any greater insight – just a greater flow from your bank account to some very rich young men!

Phil Walling
49 Posted 19/02/2016 at 10:55:27
Colin, I think all of us who for any reason do not go to matches but are reduced to the Live Forum can certainly be described as keyboard warriors!

Until I moved to Cyprus, I was a season ticket holder for many years and rarely missed a game. Even then – and since the Blackberry was introduced – I tried to convey the mood of Goodison as I watched the game unfold.

I don't think I'd like to go to war – other than via the keyboard – with some who inhabit that site!

Jim Lloyd
50 Posted 19/02/2016 at 11:03:48
Six of us, all season ticket holders, all been going to the match for years (in my case, from around 1959-60 and one of my mates has been going since the early '50s) all gave up going to the match in the last year or two Moyes managership. Chief reason was that we were fed up with Moyes.

I got my season ticket again when Martinez came and was generally surprised and delighted with our play in the first season.

The second season, in my view, was disrupted for long periods, especially in the first half, by long term injuries to a number of our and we only began to play anything like we did in the first season during the latter stages of the season.

This season has been a mixture of excitement and hope, then frustration just when I think we’re on our way. And at home, I think the players are suffering a crisis of confidence, as they’re expecting us to give them a hard time for any mistake made.

Professionals they may but, in my view, we are contributing to the hesitancy that seems to be affecting our team. Confidence is easily shattered.

There’s a feller behind me who I’ve never heard cheer a goal, never heard him get behind the team but is always there to criticise in his bloody whingeing voice, Why he comes I don’t know but he pays his money and has a right to do what he does.

Whether that is what a supporter does, is open to debate but I can only think it does the team no good whatsoever.

So there is an element in the mix of contributers to our team’s performances at home, which is how we react to them.

I also don’t see how we are perceived as a team that should be challenging for a top four spot, as I think we would be doing well to get sixth place.

I thought this at the beginning of the season and I think we have shot ourselves in the foot a number of times, in an almost inexplicable way that’s lost us points. Jagielka getting tackled by Tim Howard at Chelsea, Stonesy pissing about with the ball in our penalty area, a Liverpool player who’s about 5ft 8" heading a goal from the edge of the 6 yard box when Tim could have walked out and grabbed the ball. There’s more examples and these have all contributed to us losing games or losing points.

We’ve got an Irish international full back, two English international centre halves, an English International left full back and an Argentinian international centre half and two international midfielders defensive midfielders. Three (four counting Stones) have all been coached by Moyes in how we should defend. So we should have players with a reasonable idea of how to defend, yet we make silly mistakes. Whether that is the Manager’s responsibility or not is a debatable point

As for the Manager himself and his press statements, I have mixed views.

First and foremost, I would say that he’s a bit of mixed bag. He has some really good qualities and some, in my opinion that he has to improve on. I’d say this though, those calling for him to go, have not yet said who they see could replace him as, until and if the takeover happens, we are still one of the least investing clubs in players in the Premier League.

I think he does himself, or us, no favours to complain publicly about bad luck or poor refereeing decisions, as they sound like excuses. Perhaps he comes out with these comments through frustration but I think they are better left unsaid and he should knock it off. I would rather he looked at the goal that West Brom scored (in my view a right porky one) and give an analysis of it and how perhaps it could have been prevented.

So I think he should learn to keep his own council until he’s calmed down and thought about how that makes Everton Football Club look to the media and to the other clubs in the Premier League.

I think he also has to look at some of his decisions and see if he can learn from them, rather than persist with a player or a substitution decision which leaves a lot of us rather bewildered.

It seemed to me that against West Brom, yes you could say that they had some luck with the goal but you could also point out why wasn’t there a player on the far post. That was the element of luck perhaps.

I think though, that as the game wore on, it looked increasingly likely that they’d come away with a 1-0 win, unless we radically altered our approach.

My own view, was that we were getting very little change with Ross and Rom up front. We weren’t supplying Rom with the service he needs and Ross was not running at them enough. He was laying off the ball either backwards or across the front line.

The only time I can remember him running effectively at them was when he played a 1-2 with Rom and should have scored.

I know we will all have made choices of who to bring on, who to take off and my sixpenny worth would have been to leave Aaron Lennon and Tom Cleverley on. Take off Rom and one or the other of James McCarthy or Gareth Barry and drop Ross further back. I’d Have done this about ten minutes after the start of the second half. I’d have put on Kevin Mirallas and Gerard Deulofeu on and told them to keep playing one twos and run at their defence. I perhaps would have also taken off Ross later and tried Pienaar on the left and told him to do the same. That was my way of changing the game and we all do it.

I think once Kone came on, a lot of us thought "no, not this time, try something else" So there is to me, some validity that his substitutions need to be thought out more on occasions.

Yes, we do seem to have some mixture of bad luck and crappy ref decisions go against us. "Handson" League Cup final, Clive bloody Thomas, Clattenberg decisions against the Reds, The "goal" against the reds off (can’t think of his name now) our players arse, ruled out by the ref who changed his story why about 3 times, the goal Chelsea scored that was off side, Man City’s goal from a pass that was over the goalline and there’s loads more. Asdtle’s goal at Wembley in 68 fell perfect for his left foot.

But there is another element as well. We can’t do much about luck but what we can do, is cut out the self induced giveaways that we have too often been culpable of.

I like Martinez and I think he has got us some smashing players and until I see an obviously better manager put forward that our club has a realistic chance of getting in, I’m in favour of him carrying on building up our team and our squad.

I think though, that he does have things to learn and the one I’d most like to see is him keep his Council regarding Lady Luck and bad refs, the other is that he uses his subs a bit more adventurously.

Jim Lloyd
51 Posted 19/02/2016 at 11:09:45
Hutchinson!!! it just came to me now! Dozy ould git
James Marshall
52 Posted 19/02/2016 at 11:10:01

Great post mate. I was cut to pieces on another thread for daring to suggest the crowd at Goodison has anything to do with our shoddy home performances, so it's heartening to read your post from an older blue (with respect!) who backs up my theory.

Chris Gould
53 Posted 19/02/2016 at 11:16:33
Jim Lloyd #50, brilliant post.
Completely in agreement with you. Your opening paragraph pulled me in immediately. 56 years and counting of watching us live. Respect.
Tony Hill
54 Posted 19/02/2016 at 11:23:50
There is now an atmosphere of tension and anxiety at Goodison, and considerable impatience, but all that has been created by our style and performances over a long period, not the other way round.

The atmosphere against WBA was actually much better but it died in the second half as, once again, we wilted.

Ray Robinson
55 Posted 19/02/2016 at 11:24:03
Jim and James, I agree that the tension in the crowd does get through to the players and dog’s abuse certainly never improves any player’s confidence BUT it’s a two-way street.

Players cannot reasonably expect to get away with a volley of criticism if they start dribbling around with the ball in their own penalty area or escape censure when (by way of example) they fail to shoot when in with a great scoring opportunity.

Most of the crowd, believe it or not, are not like the pillock behind me who moans and abuses from the kick off. They want to support the team but the players have to take responsibility.

Phil Walling
56 Posted 19/02/2016 at 11:26:13
Jim, as ever you make some good points but I would take issue with you on your assertion that we have no right to criticise Roberto without naming an alternative manager who could do better.

How can we – or anybody else for that matter – ever know for certain who is available, affordable, interested, capable etc.etc. etc. at any given time? But that does that mean we should be deprived of the view I have that Martinez should not have been appointed in the first place and has made a pig's ear of the job as predicted.

As so often is repeated, 'football is a game of opinions' – please don't deprive me of the right to mine without me having to name a successor. Who, in god's name would ever have come up with Ranieri?

Anthony Flack
57 Posted 19/02/2016 at 11:27:46
Luck, we have had a lack of.

Preparation, who knows? I think Martinez has a reputation for his detail and thoroughness.

However great leaders, react to what they observe as it is happening, they anticipate change will happen, embrace the fact and think on their toes.

Martinez in my view has little imagination.

On Saturday, against Pulis's Iron Curtain, imagine if at half time, he had brought of McCarthy and stuck on Del Boy - two wingers running at the giants in defence. Then imagine, that is this did not work - even Bringing on Super Kev........

Instead he brought on Kone - I have not got a lot against this chap, but why, to what end?

Then he brought on Del Boy, but took Lennon off - why?

Then along came Osman, who I admire and like, but at that stage I am near certain it did not result in WBA shitting themselves, for the onslaught that was about to ensure.....

Most of strategy and tactics is military in its origin, Mr Martinez is a bit like the much maligned General Haig......

Brian Harrison
58 Posted 19/02/2016 at 11:51:17
Jim Lloyd

Like you I have been going to Goodison since 1956, what I cant understand is you giving up your season ticket because you were fed up with Moyes. Well why didn't you give up under Bingham, Lee, Walker or Smith all much worse than the football Moyes played.

Yet you go on to defend RM who in case you hadn't noticed from top 6 to bottom half of the league. Then you go on to say that our defenders were all coached by Moyes so should know how to defend. So you are saying that at least Moyes taught defenders how to defend, now wasn't that revolutionary teaching defenders to defend.

I have never been so bored of watching an Everton team as much as watching this team. Yes you can have periods of bad luck but so does every team, I bet if you spoke to supporters of any club they will all tell you there bad luck stories. So lets stop using that as an excuse. This man is and never was the man to be manager of Everton.

Jim Lloyd
59 Posted 19/02/2016 at 11:54:21
Phil, that’s a fair point. However, I think you ought to know me by now that there was no intention to deprive you, or anyone else of a point of view. Be it critical of Martinez or not.

I put that in as a thought from a previous post that someone put in about getting rid of Martinez and replacing him with one of 200 coaches who are unemployed.

You're right, and I’d have been quite happy with Ranieri by the way, if he’d been available. Though the was good at Chelsea... but I think we had Moyes at the time.

Matt Henderson
60 Posted 19/02/2016 at 11:57:12
All teams have bad luck etc. it is just that an teams supporters are more focussed on their own teams luck then others. If we asked every other teams fans regarding luck this season they too would raise occasions when they have felt hard done by etc.

As others have said, luck can be blamed on the odd occasion but we have had similar issues with this team from the start of last season onward.

Silly goals being given away from defensive mistakes (we were leading the league on this for most of last year), daft substitutions or lack of (Southampton away last year) and a cavalier approach leading to huge amounts of goals conceded (were letting them in from everywhere at times last season are issues with this team and have been going on for 2 seasons now.

In my view Roberto has improved our attack this year which for a lot of last year was slow/turgid.

The issue is, he has not shown any long term inclination or ability to improve the defence at all. I believe he has made inroads in this area of late but I think it is only because he is facing so much criticism and the weaknesses are so obvious. He made the changes last year when he came under the same pressure following a long run of winless matches and when the crowd/players got on his back a little making noises for the need to change. But this season he just reverted to the same cavalier approach again and with the same results until he has changed this again recently.

I am tipping we will show improved form until the end of season and pick up more points than we have been but next season, assuming he is still here, he will come out with the same approach again and we will concede loads of goals and it will be déjà vu for the 3rd season running. He will play the exact same formation, week after week, and the defence will be vulnerable as it has always been. He just seems either unwilling or incapable of sorting a defence long term and this is evidenced by multiple seasons, with the exception of 1, in the Premier League.

I think it is absolutely ridiculous to even consider the fans part of the above problems. Does anyone think there is a professional team in any sport in the world that does not have the pressure to perform from the fans/public. To blame the fans in any way is the type of soft approach that allows the players and manager to make excuses for performances like luck etc. I am sick of his talk, I am sick of his excuses and I just want him and the team to start doing things and stop talking about things.

I want this team to be under pressure to perform, I want the fans to be demanding and most of all I WANT THE MANAGER TO BE DEMANDING instead of making rubbish excuses. Pressure to perform, and how you deal with it, is what separates the supremely talented player in the park who didn’t quite make it from the less talented player who did. And if a player or manager cannot deal with that pressure then they are never going anywhere in professional sport.

Winston Williamson
61 Posted 19/02/2016 at 11:58:21
Preparation and percentages.

By this, I don't mean the percentage football Moyes liked to exhibit, but looking at certain situations and playing the percentages. e.g. you have a lower % chance of conceding on a corner if the two posts are covered.

Percentages can equate to small margins.

You do not have to focus your entire game plan on percentages, but you can put preparation into certain percentages to stack the small margins in your favour.

A certain amount of preparation raises your 'standard' level of playing, then you can add the extra dimension of our super attacking intent.

No preparation and no focus on certain persentages leaves a lot to chance (luck) and when things don't go the way we want we bemoan our 'bad luck'...

James Marshall
62 Posted 19/02/2016 at 12:26:51
This from a piece I just read on the Independent website about Martinez:

To the question of whether a little more rigour is the important missing component, he (Martinez) shakes his head? "No, it's not that," he says. "That's an easy [characterisation.] When you look at my teams, straight away the easy way to assess it is: 'You need to defend better.' Well, my teams are never built to keep a clean sheet and then hope to win the game. Never. I say that openly. I work my teams to be teams which want to be dominant in games but they want to break teams down.

"They know how to score goals, which is the hardest thing in football. But that doesn't mean that you shouldn't be organised and well-structured and that you shouldn't defend. The last four games we kept three clean sheets and conceded one goal."

It seemed impolite to say that only three teams outside of the current bottom four have conceded more than his own, this season. He'll do things his own way, popular or not.

That about sums it all up for me.

Joe Clitherow
63 Posted 19/02/2016 at 12:27:50
Ironically the only reason he is our manager is down to luck in an FA Cup win in drawing lower league teams (including Bournemouth) and catching two superior teams (including us) on an off day.

Had Bill actually looked at the consistently abject failure of his career, including relegation in the same year, with a more critical eye instead of being starry eyed about the magic of the Cup, I doubt he'd have got anywhere near the gaff. He has not changed a jot in the years of his management.

Joe Clitherow
64 Posted 19/02/2016 at 12:42:41
Ged 48

The reason your argument that you get a better view on TV is wrong - and it is wrong - is very simple.

The TV camera provides quite a narrow field of view and you cannot always see what is going on off the ball. It is a very simple fact but one Roberto does not seem to get that most of the time players do not have the ball.

Obviously the skill in affecting the game comes when you do have it, but a large part of good play is off the ball work, dragging markers out of position, creating space etc etc. The movement off the ball is generally piss poor under Martinez. I've seen more basic ball watching errors committed by players in Martinez' than I have ever seen under any other manager. The lack of movement is not a new thing by the way, it was often poor under Moyes. The difference though is that Moyes emphasised rigidity of shape, often far too much for many people. Lack of movement, plus lack of designated responsibility, a mindset focussed only on attacking and general ill discipline - all off the ball work which is not hard to correct - is a hallmark of Martinez and explains a great deal why we are often cut to pieces by the opposition.

I'll state though that whilst you get the benefit of replays and can see details that people in the ground don't get, this is entirely irrelevant because the referee does not get to see replays in real time either. But I will come home and see the TV stream just the same as live TV watchers, while they cannot get the benefit of having seen the other stuff that has happened at the game.

Chris Leyland
65 Posted 19/02/2016 at 13:09:31
Colin Glasser - I have to take issue with your statement: those who say we play "tippy tappy football" ... Don't watch a lot of football because almost everyone plays possession football these days.

Here are what I consider out best 3 wins of the season:
Southampton away 3-0 with 35% possession
Chelsea home - 3-1 with 45% possession
Stoke away 3-0 with 41% possession
Average possession over the 3 games = 40.33%. 9 goals scored and 1 conceded. 3 wins and 9 points.
Now some of our more disappointing home performances:
WBA 0-1 with 76% possession
Swansea 1-2 with 55% possession
Leicester 2-3 with 65% possession
Average possession over 3 games 65.33% = 3 goals scored and 6 conceded, 3 losses and zero points.

And the most telling stat of the year... Leicester top of the league having lost 3 times all year with 41.5% possession.

So, who actually cares how much possession we have had all year because, clearly it isn't how often you have the ball but what you do with it when you do have it that counts.

Craig Walker
66 Posted 19/02/2016 at 13:36:23
I’ve been putting our misfortune down to luck for a very long time but it’s an easy way out. Arnold Palmer once said "the more I practice, the luckier I get".

Sometimes you have to make your own luck in football. We are woeful at penalty shoot-outs for example, whilst them lot across the park have won 11 out of 13 penalty shoot-outs.

The issue is that there is an air of inferiority running through the whole club which passes through generations. A great manager would make his team believe that they are winners and that they are never beaten.

I wonder how much gets done with sports psychologists etc. at Everton. Most of it is in the head. If the players cross the white line intimidated and fearing the opposition then they’ve already lost. You can see it at almost every home game. A player has a bad few touches. The crowd becomes anxious and the anxiety spreads to each player one-by-one.

The best players don’t go missing though and show for the ball all of the time. Whenever we get a 2 goal lead, you just know that if the opposition gets one back then we’ll concede a second. Why is this? We are still leading at 2-1.

Raymond Fox
68 Posted 19/02/2016 at 13:37:30
James, you fail to mention that only three teams in the League have scored more goals. It stands to reason that, if the emphasis wasn’t on attacking, and we kept more players back in defence, we would concede less goals.

Joe, it's an easy excuse to say both us and Man City underperformed in the Cup games. We were well beaten on the day and I have seldom seen our team so perplexed. Wigan deservedly won the final and were the best team because they kept Man City to very few chances.

As for Martinez getting Wigan relegated, it's hardly a surprise in view of their lack of quality in the team over the course of full seasons games. Also it could be argued that the distraction of the Cup run and the extra games contributed to the relegation.

In my opinion the criticism of Martinez is over played, his first season in charge we were 5th with a record number of points. The second season we finished 11th, disappointing yes, but I believe playing in the Europa League affected our results in the Premier League.

This season has still ⅓ of the games to be played, and I think its fair to say that we have not had the rub of the green in many games.

If at the end of this season we are still in a middle table position, maybe then a change of manager would be warranted to make a fresh start for the club.

Rick Tarleton
69 Posted 19/02/2016 at 13:44:45
Ian Herbert too has an excellent insight into Martinez and his style in today’s "Independent" with an article entitled, "The Martinez Conundrum". In his interview he quotes Martinez: "Well my teams are never built to keep a clean sheet and then hope to win the game. never. I say that openly."

When the manager has that attitude do you really need to talk about luck? it’s not luck that we give so many goals away, it’s actually part of the strategy!

Eddie Dunn
70 Posted 19/02/2016 at 13:47:57
Jamie Crowley 18, The so called blood bayers are like me, people who have wanted Roberto to succeed and have been patient but having seen the same poor selections and substitutions for 2½ years now. Our inability to defend crosses, his insistence on two holding mids. He is the boss, so he pays the price.

Last season he used the Europa excuse for our poor form, this season it is down to refs or luck. Spurs and Leicester are very fit, and all work their socks off. Spurs are still in the Europa League.

He won’t turn it round, and we won’t win the Cup or get top 6. He is always saying that the next group of matches is going to be so important and there are lots of points out there. He is in denial.

Last year his hopes were pinned on winning the Europa League as a way of gaining entry to the Champions League. This yea,r our desperation is down to winning the Cup to get into the Europa League. It will not happen, we will continue to flatter to deceive, only this time we will end the season and face the prospect of starting the next without a couple of our best players due to this clown’s mismanagement.

Ray Robinson
71 Posted 19/02/2016 at 13:53:06
Craig #66 "A great manager would make his team believe that they are winners and that they are never beaten". I agree that collectively Martinez has failed to do this. However, on an individual basis, he would have us all believe that every single player is "incredible", "phenomenal", "best of his generation" (hyperbole generator goes into overdrive).

So how come, collectively, we don’t have that elusive winning mentality when clearly Martinez goes all out to boost individual players’ confidence / egos? I don’t have an answer by the way. Maybe a psychoanalyst could explain.

Phil Walling
72 Posted 19/02/2016 at 14:10:25
Raymond, you seem in awe of the number of goals we have scored but fail to mention that the team has managed to outscore the opposition in only 8 games out of 26.

Why do you, like others, laud Roberto's attacking success without mentioning that no less than 11 of those goals were scored against the 'no hopers' of Villa and Sunderland?

Bill Gall
73 Posted 19/02/2016 at 14:14:13
Joe #68 Agree with your statement on the difference between watching a game live compared to watching it on TV. The advantage that both views have is better than the view the manager has on the touchline, and I always wonder why they do not have someone in the stand keeping in contact with the manager.

Is this not about the same time as last season that the constant criticism of the manager was happening, when we suddenly started to put together a run of good results with a more direct style of play that was attributed to a meeting that the players had with the manager.

We are now going through the same scenario as last season were the manager gives practically the same comments as last season of when the players will be fully fit and how we will do till the end of season,after struggling after the January fixtures. Yet a lot of the supporters can only see the good plays and live in hope that he can change the bad plays to give him another chance.

Today’s games are result orientated with the winning teams receiving the most exposure that increases their revenues both by direct support and commercial deals. Teams like Everton will struggle unless they can finish in the top 6 and play in European competitions regularly and we can no longer afford to wait for a manager to possibly come good and learn by his mistakes for this to happen.

Charles Barrow
74 Posted 19/02/2016 at 14:38:03
At the end of the day all sport is about one thing – winning! That is the bottom line. I couldn’t give a monkeys about ’luck’ or ’we did well considering ..’ or ’we were on top and should have won’ or ’they scored a goal off one attack and we hit the post 10 times’ etc etc.

It is all about... winning!! We aren’t winning and it is getting very very annoying. Martinez should stop feeling sorry for himself and analyse why this ’bad luck etc’ is the constant theme this season and do something about it. If he can’t solve the problem someone else should be hired pronto!

Jamie Crowley
75 Posted 19/02/2016 at 14:47:59
Eddie at 70 -

I take your point. At present there’s absolutely no question you’ve got some ammunition. James’ post at 50 I think provides an extremely balanced and reasoned argument concerning all things Bobby. I’m willing to give the man more time for a myriad of what I’d argue as intelligent reasons that have been done to death.

Regarding the viewing of the game on TV vs live, I’ve a strong opinion. The best viewing of the game is done in America, from a barstool.

After 6-7 beers at 10 am, you see things so incredibly clearly. It’s like you’re using God’s eyes to watch footy. I can honestly say that every shred of opinion and analysis I’ve spouted out of my loud-mouthed gob has never, ever been anything less than 100% spot on.

Joe Clitherow
78 Posted 19/02/2016 at 15:13:41
Raymond 68

I don’t do excuses, that’s the domain of your hero. I do admire your steadfast defence of Martinez whilst being simultaneously perplexed by it, however. I know we were well beaten in that Cup run, I was there. We were undone in about 3½ minutes I recall and never recovered, and subsequently imploded. I think that was the one Fellaini had to be calmed down when he got into a spat with the crowd, right in front of me.

Moyes was never very good when he was the favourite rather than the underdog. None of which alters my point that Martinez got very lucky, and even a stopped clock is right twice. Your argument over the quality of Wigan’s players doesn’t really hold true on two points either, namely, both of his predecessors had Wigan relatively comfortable in the league for quite a while, but most of all, if they were so crap, why has Martinez brought so many of them in to play for us ,older and slower?

You could argue too as you do, that Cup runs distracted Wigan, and Everton in the Europa. You could, but it doesn’t seem to have affected Spurs sitting second in the table at the moment.

Genuine winners don’t jump on excuses the way Martinez seizes every chance to. Genuine winners look at what’s got wrong, analyse it and address problems. Do you really think Sr Martinez has addressed any of the hugely obvious, glaring problems in almost three seasons? Because I don’t. I think he appears increasingly desperate and it wearing very thin. Even Tony Pulis is accusing him of sour grapes in today’s papers.

Desperate, like I said.

Peter Mills
79 Posted 19/02/2016 at 15:13:57
Our manager's record with our club, and with Wigan Athletic, points to him being a pretty poor manager.

I strongly suspect that two very experienced players, Distin and Eto'o, saw right through him and told him so.

Chris Gould
81 Posted 19/02/2016 at 15:17:07
Jamie #75,
Apart from your last paragraph, I actually think you make a fair amount of sense. I would rather watch Everton next to you on a bar stool than with some of the doom merchants.

I should add that I am not referring to everyone who has had enough of Martinez as a ’doom merchant’. Only those that bang on about it every day, on every thread, whether we win, lose or draw.

’Martinez praises Barkley on winning the Young Player of the Year award.’

Jonny Blah 25 - Martinez is a clown.

Everyone is aware of Martinez’s frailties. They are there for all to see, and they don’t need to be raised on every thread. In spite of those frailties, some of us choose to continue to support him for all of the itelligent reasons that Jamie has previously alluded to.

Joe Clitherow
83 Posted 19/02/2016 at 15:27:09
Ah the last refuge of the scoundrel in debate when "intelligent reasons" are itemised, compared against the counter arguments and found severely wanting....

Ad Hominem attacks.

Obfuscation worthy of Roberto.

Eddie Dunn
84 Posted 19/02/2016 at 15:27:25
Regarding which is better, the live stream versus the seat at the game. Surely it is better to be at the match, but of course this is only if you have a good seat with excellent views to both ends of the ground.

I have been to many games when I haven’t got the foggiest idea of how the goal was scored or who was involved in the action because it was up the other end!

Raymond Fox
85 Posted 19/02/2016 at 15:29:15
Fair point Phil, as far as goals scored is concerned, but they still need scoring and the other teams get to play against Villa and Sunderland also.

I think the top and tail of it as far as Martinez goes, there are many, many reasons why results turn out the way they do over relatively short time frames, officials decisions, injuries, individual mistakes, oppositions form on the day, etc.

At the end of the day winning results are what supporters want and we are not quite getting them, close but failing many times.

The manager ultimately pays the price, but I would argue that its very difficult and unfair to pin all the blame on him.

Lets say he is dismissed after this season, I very much doubt that under a different manager our fortunes will significantly increase, it will be same as the last 20 years have been, good but not good enough.

Chris Gould
86 Posted 19/02/2016 at 15:37:11
Joe, pretty ironic (and embarrassing) to spell intelligent incorrectly...fat fingers.

I agree that you have a bountiful of counter arguments. The point is, those that support him are very aware of his negatives. Regardless of this, they/we continue to support him because of the hope/belief that one day (as unlikely as it may seem) the positives could outweigh the negatives. With a little tweak here and there.
Joe Clitherow
87 Posted 19/02/2016 at 16:11:08
Fair enough, Chris. I don’t personally necessarily agree that RM supporters are necessarily aware of his negatives; I think they tend to overlook/discount them in view of the alternative, which is – exactly as you describe – primarily hope and belief. It is a fairly well understood human trait to want to believe. Far more attractive than the pitiful reality of 8 wins in 26 attempts and a similar win percentage last season.

Nor do I think a little tweak will fix things, I think the failings are completely endemic to how he wants to play and far more fundamentally flawed than the thing often quoted by RM’s supporters as a "fix", ie, "just sort out the defence, Roberto". I don’t think such a thing is possible for him.

Furthermore, he has shown no evidence that he will "tweak" anything in more than 2½ seasons. Why do you believe it will suddenly happen now? Or maybe not now? Maybe next season? Or the season after that?

Personally I don’t think hope or belief has any place in business decisions, it is down to evidence. And "keeping faith" with Roberto is absolutely a business decision.

So there is one general question I would ask of all supporters of RM:

When is it enough? When do you call time on this poor manager? Do you actually have a timescale? Surely hope/belief is not indefinite?

I am genuinely curious when you think enough is enough?

Martin Mason
88 Posted 19/02/2016 at 16:11:53
I think that watching from a non-impaired seat around the half way line at a reasonable elevation is possibly marginally better than watching it on TV – but only marginally as, like the camera, the supporter watches the ball action most of the time and not the big picture.

TV probably has the same tunnel of vision that a typical fan has. Behind the goal or down the sides at low level gives a false picture because of the lack of depth. The streams are generally poor quality but sometimes as good as TV because they are the same as the TV coverage.

I’d say that after the game the watcher on TV is far more aware of what happened in the game than the average fan at the ground because of the replays and discussions and the absence of biased fans around him. What the fan at the ground gets is atmosphere though and that can’t be replicated.

Some argue that bike racing at the circuit is better than watching it on TV.

Chris Gould
89 Posted 19/02/2016 at 16:32:44
Joe, good question. I’m hoping enough will be enough when he’s given us seasons of success and leaves, without animosity, for his dream job at Barce.

I was a fierce critic when he first arrived. At Christmas 2014, I would have swapped him for almost anyone. He won me over in the Summer. I thought we would cave to Chelsea, the whole world thought we would, but he didn’t budge. He had a steely determination about Stones and his vision, and I decided to buy into it 100% for this season in its entirety. I will reassess when the season finishes. It’s like I tell my Missus about my parents.

There are positives there, they’re just more subtle than the negatives which are always her sole focus.

John Brennan
90 Posted 19/02/2016 at 16:43:47
Must add my bit about luck to this excellent thread.

"I was lucky. When God rained manna from heaven; I had a spoon" Peter Drucker.

Adios Roberto, see if that spoon is lying around somewhere.

Joe Clitherow
91 Posted 19/02/2016 at 16:53:44
So just so I am clear then Chris:

You give him as long as it takes for him to be successful, i.e. forever (and there's that little "H" word again) and it is based pretty much entirely on Roberto - entirely on his own, mind, or at least very publicly taking great pains to take all the credit for - not selling John Stones to Chelsea for a supposed, alleged, King's Ransom in the Summer? Seems like more obfuscation and not answering the question to me.

But OK.

I guess it makes sense to you.

Jim Lloyd
92 Posted 19/02/2016 at 17:06:42
I think that Martinez does need to learn and I think there comes a point when the club decides he isn’t up to the job. My view is that the club are backing him and he’s building up a decent side and that 3 maybe 4 seasons is a reasonable time to allow him to develop the team.

If he has just spent £12-13 million on a player, it seems to me the club trust his judgement or else they wouldn’t have sanctioned the deal. If there is a takeover in the offing, then it would seem to me that views would have been sought from the prospective buyers, or their advisers.

I’m not so sure that I don’t recognise his weaknesses but I also think he has strengths as well. The requirement for him will be to be successful if a takeover does happen. If it doesn’t then we’re stuck with the same low level of ambition from the bunch in charge of us that we get now.

No top class manager is going to come here, in my view, while this bunch are in charge.

So a lot depends on the Takeover. I think that Martinez is a decent Manager and is working towards getting us into the European places. I think the new owners (if they arrive) will soon dispose of him if they are not satisfied.

Until then, would I see Martinez gone? No, I wouldn’t until it’s blatantly obvious that he can’t achieve what he is aiming for.

He is now quoted as saying that he he doesn’t want his team to be one that "keeps a clean sheet then hopes to win the game" but he goes on to say more. That he wants his team to dominate and to score goals and that it doesn’t mean that the defence should not be well organised." Paraphrased a bit but near enough I think.

Well, he’s got some parts right and some parts not right. A question of balance, as the Moody Blues would say. The defensive side shows signs of tightening up but that has to be consistent, not just for a few games and then we lose concentration, or gift the opposition a lifeline.

I also pointed out that in my view, he doesn’t make best use of substitutions but that was a criticism often levelled at Moyes. But I’m concerned about our current manager and his choice of substitutions on Saturday were poor, as viewed by a supporter.

Let me just say, in case anyone misunderstood me, I do think we have a history of bad luck, particularly against Liverpool. BUT, I also believe that you can’t do much about bad luck.

You can, however, cut out the silly mistakes and lack of concentration that have given opposing teams the advantage, time after time. So, unless it was dire straits that we were in, I would like to see Martinez have another season as our manager.

Brian Harrison (58) Moyes had 11 years as Manager, just about the same as all four of the Managers you mentioned. I thought Billy Bingham had us playing some good football, though I think we all had higher expectations in the early Seventies. Even Gordon Lee brought in some good players, though he did get rid of Duncan MacKenzie, so I nearly boycotted the ground because of that! The other two, well one lasted less than a year and the other got in some good players until he had to sell them again.

The point I made about the four defenders plus the goalkeeper being coached by Moyes is that we ought to have a good defence in spite of what Roberto, in your eyes has done. So why are they keeping on making boobs?

As for getting fed up with Moyes. I was. Lots of reasons, but knife to a gunfight philosophy was the main one.

Chris Gould
93 Posted 19/02/2016 at 17:10:23
Now, Joe, I think I clearly said that I would reassess at the end of the season. In the meantime it makes absolutely no difference what you or I would like to see happen. There isn't much point in arguing against such volume of evidence. I find the guy frustrating, irritating...sometimes embarrassing, but I still want to give him more time. I'm a patient man and I see little things that give me encouragement for the future. If we have an appalling end to the season then my mind may change. I can't see the point in making a change now, so he gets my full support for the remainder of the season.
Joe Clitherow
94 Posted 19/02/2016 at 17:25:12
You did say that Chris, I missed it initially. You did say the other stuff though.

I disagree though (surprise!) that it makes no difference what people want to happen. I think Martinez is maybe one or two West Brom or Swansea games from Goodison turning on him. I've seen that happen before and it isn't nice. I don't think there would be any way back for him after that and action would be taken.

Steve Pugh
95 Posted 19/02/2016 at 17:36:28
Picking up something that has been alluded to by other posters on this thread. I believe that RM knows how to be a good manager but he chooses not to.

If you look at his past record, when he needs to put a run of results together at the end of the season to avoid relegation/ save his job he does. He did it last season and I remember people commenting when he was at Wigan how he always got them winning just enough at the end of the season to stay up. Of course at the start of the next season he didn't stick with the formula that had saved them, he returned to his philosophy and tried to make it work once again.

Because of this evidence I believe that he will never change and will never reach the top 4 with our club.

Chris Gould
96 Posted 19/02/2016 at 18:11:55
Joe, I'm not sure why you found my answer at all confusing. There was no intended obfustication.

I have noticed that many fans who want rid of Martinez excuse away anything positive that he has done.
Holding onto Stones sent out a strong message that we were no longer a selling club and would not be bullied. Martinez deserves credit for don't agree?
Someone posted recently that our decent attacking displays had nothing to do with Martinez, and that they were down to the players.
Yet all of our defensive frailties were entirely his fault?
3rd highest scorers in the league....yeah but a lot of those goals came against poor teams.
He brought in some very good players that many accept came to us to play for they didn't, they came because we're a great club.
He's bought some great young talent that have come to us because they believe they will be given a chance.....yeah but he'll make them rubbish. Look what he's done to Stones.

Only very occasionally do we get reasonable and balanced arguments from those that feel Martinez should be moved on. It's fair enough highlighting the negatives, but if you can't see or accept the positives (even begrudgingly) then it's hard to take your opinion seriously. Even if many others agree with you completely.

And one other thing, every time someone calls him a clown they have quite literally lowered the level of the discussion.

Chris Gould
97 Posted 19/02/2016 at 18:15:26
Joe, although the last post was addressed to you, I'm not interested in an argument. I really don't see the point in trying to explain why one feels/thinks the way they do. Life would be boring if we all had the same views. There isn't a right or wrong here. Just opinions.
Joe Clitherow
98 Posted 19/02/2016 at 19:09:34

Fair enough too about the argument but since you asked me a question directly then I will answer.

My answer would be that I don’t necessarily see the positives in the same way as you might, i.e. directly attributable to Martinez.

By explanation, I think my opinion of RM, having met and heard him talk directly at AGMs etc, was that he was a thoroughly nice chap but a poor manager. I’ve changed that opinion really. I find him to be quite creepily egotistical and displaying superficial charm.

It’s fairly easy to buy in to the "all down to Martinez" positives you lay out but I’m not so sure. Plenty of times you hear on here that such and such a player only came to us because of Martinez, when he goes they’ll go etc etc. What a low sense of Everton esteem some people must have. Forgive me for thinking players come to play for Everton because of the untold riches promised by the PL, for the attraction of playing for one of the most established clubs in the English league, and – until recently – pretty much nailed on European competition by qualifying in and around the Top 6. I’ve no doubt RM gave his upbeat spiel also but I’d say wages and top of the league performance is a much bigger draw.

So on to Stones. Yes RM very publicly stated Stones wasn’t for sale. Do you think he had the final say? Do you think he had not had clearance to say that beforehand following a discussion around finance? Do you think that discussion would have taken into account that a future sale of a more mature Stones who could have commanded an even bigger fee wasn’t a factor? Do we even know with absolute certainty that there was a bid that met the club’s valuation? This club is not strapped for cash anymore, that’s old news. No Premier League club is, they’ve all won the lottery.

It’s easy to believe what you want, I just don’t think the positives you highlight are solely down to Sr Martinez, though I think he is very keen to let people think that.

For what it’s worth I think Martinez has brought in decent players but it isn’t that hard these days. Every club pretty much knows every player. I don’t necessarily think the players are as great as we think they are though. For instance the jury is out for me on Deulofeu, maybe less so on Funes Mori. It will remain out for me on Deulofeu until he consistently performs over a few games. Jesus, I wouldn’t mind him doing it for a full 90 mins instead of blowing for tugs and signalling that he doesn’t want the ball passed to him on the half way line. There’s something you don’t see on the TV but trust me, he does that every single game. I don’t think I ever seen a player his age do that with such regularity. These guys look really good on their day but mercurial is the adjective to describe them. Maybe that just goes with Martinez though. Consistency is what wins things and that just doesn't come with Martinez.

Ian Brandes
99 Posted 19/02/2016 at 19:22:14
Perhaps we should appoint a club astrologer, who could tell us on which particular day our luck will be in.

Or perhaps we should just sack bullshitting Goberto!

Please let us win tomorrow or our season will be flushed down the pan.

Sid Logan
100 Posted 19/02/2016 at 19:32:42
As usual this thread kicked off with an excellent piece by Lyndon.

We post on here because, to a greater or lesser degree, it makes us as Evertonians feel better. At the root of most supporters' concerns right now is the manager.

The debates on his worth will continue until the end of the season (at least) unless we get to the FA Cup Final and hardly lose any of our remaining games.

I hope... but I don’t believe. Why? Because of all the excellent and amusing posts on this thread; nothing is more telling than James Marshall’s post (#62) which includes the Daily Telegraph’s interview with Martinez. It’s unclear to me how anyone reading that interview can continue to believe that the man is capable of becoming the manager we need.

His philosophy and his naivety is laid bare for all to see and demonstrates, better than anything else could, that he is not and could never become the manager that this club’s supporters deserve.

He belongs in some sort of fantasy football world where results are incidental and an essential purity of purpose is more important than the practical and somewhat base requirement of ordinary supporters to see the team play exciting football and WIN GAMES is almost beneath contempt.

Ged Simpson
102 Posted 19/02/2016 at 19:37:43
He may just have a naïve way of talking to press. If I was talking to press, just as my company was due to be bought, I suspect my employers may want me to talk it up. To ask for honesty between Premier League and media is more naïve than anything... whatever the club.
Sid Logan
103 Posted 19/02/2016 at 19:50:53

You would have a point if his interview wasn’t compatible with everything else he’s said about his footballing philosophy since he’s been here.

If anyone believes he has the grit needed to take us to where we want to be, all I can say is good luck to them. The fact of the matter is he hasn’t – but only time will prove it to those who choose to believe.

Martin Mason
104 Posted 19/02/2016 at 20:07:13
Martinez neither buys the players nor decide whether they come or go, he is a coach that's all. The decision making power at Everton is way above him.
Brian Denton
105 Posted 19/02/2016 at 20:19:46
Nick #2, if Cicero were alive today, he would be turning in his grave....

I doubt he'd be very flattered to be remembered as an Emperor, since he was an ardent republican!

Ian Burns
106 Posted 19/02/2016 at 20:25:15
Please God, make me a journalist for a day. I want to ask RM about all of the issues raised on this thread but each time he gave me a bullshit answer on the phenomenal moment we are in; bad luck; the next 12 games etc., I would nail him to the wall and force him to read this article and every comment on this thread – then I would ask him to re-think his responses and confirm his leaving date.
Chris Gould
107 Posted 19/02/2016 at 20:37:06
Interestingly, Joe, not believing/accepting that those positive examples were down to Martinez, proves the point I was trying to make.

Due to the negative way in which you feel about him, no positives will be attributed to him. It’s your right to feel that way, of course.

What’s more interesting is that my post has now been deleted. Not sure who it could have offended. Are we not allowed to show any support for Martinez here?

Sid Logan
108 Posted 19/02/2016 at 20:49:51

It’s sorry, Chris, but Martinez’s firm stance on the sale of Stones, whilst commendable, is a minor plus against a whole range of footballing negatives!

Joe Clitherow
109 Posted 19/02/2016 at 20:54:33
Nah Chris that's just the conclusion you've drawn to fit your pattern.

I don't ascribe those positives to the reason you describe, i.e. that there are no positives to be drawn from him. I draw those conclusions because, surprisingly, I think the explanations I've set out are far more likely.

I happen to think that Everton Football Club is far more of a draw than a manager with a relegation on his record, and that the manager has far less say in transfer dealings than you seem to think, as Martin Mason states very succinctly above.

Tony Abrahams
110 Posted 19/02/2016 at 20:57:52
Really good thread, Lyndon, with a lot of sensed talked in many of the posts. Think Rick’s last paragraph @69, says it best for me.

Just been listening to Dylan, before, and his track called Idiot Wind, with lyrics saying "I can’t help it if I’m lucky"!

They always say you need luck to win the FA Cup, so I hope our luck does change soon. But I actually think you need a lot of belief, if you are ever going to succeed, and I just don’t see enough of that in this present Everton team.

Jamie Crowley
111 Posted 19/02/2016 at 20:59:34
I actually find Roberto’s (suicidal) honesty refreshing.

Bear with me, please put the knives down for a nano-second...

When he says he doesn’t set his teams up to keep clean sheets but rather he sets his teams up to win, I actually have no problem with that whatsoever.

Yes, you can superficially rip that comment to ribbons. But... it’s really the crux of the whole debate. Does that comment make you fume, screaming to the heavens, "You miserable fool – there’s two hemispheres that make a globe!"? Or, does it make you think, "Good on you, Roberto! Get me out of my seat and I’ll enjoy the ride – all my best, good luck!"?

Problem is, luck’s been a bit of the fly in the ointment with the latter...

The actual point of a football game is to score more goals than the opposition. [Yes... the actual goal of a football game is winning... ] If you go about that endeavor by attempting to play open football and "outscoring" the opposition, you’re not necessarily negating defensive duties – you’re viewing defensive duties secondary to scoring more than the other team. Ergo, winning.

Does it matter if you win 5-4 or 1-0? Which game would you prefer to watch?

At a bare minimum, Roberto has me eager to watch which can’t be said of games played under his predecessor in the main.

But the anti-Roberto faction I’d argue has the high ground in the argument at present. We simply must, luck be damned because everyone has their limits in a league where relegation looms over us like death personified, start winning football games.


I for one truly hope – there’s that word Joe Clitherow – Roberto gets these kids playing together, learns his craft more, has us bombing forward filling the net, and develops a youth system that continually spills talent.

I, and a small-ish minority, am willing to give this man a hell of a lot of rope with which to hang himself.

The question arises often, how long?

Until death (read 'relegation') stares us straight in the face and we are fixed in his crosshairs.

And no, that does NOT equate to me underselling Everton Football Club or not expecting enough out of this great Club. The bar is not too low.

The bar, by the very fact I’ll let this man fail some because I think we’ll be stronger for it in the end, is in fact very, very high.

I believe this is a path we must travel to reap the benefits for a Club of our stature and size in modern day football. And yes, it hurts sometimes. Recently quite often.

Steve Davies
112 Posted 19/02/2016 at 21:08:14
When you are putting everything down to bad luck, then you have seriously not accepted the situation you are in. Picking the wrong goalie for half the season, not putting defenders on the posts at corners, etc.... Maybe in my profession I should depend on luck and not experience and managerial decision-making, etc...

I have to say, towards the end when Davie decided he was going to Man Utd, I wanted him to clear his desk at Finch Farm and just go. I also was disgusted that he never signed a contract. However, his post-match interviews were an honest sincere reflection of the game. I would love to go back to those days. He used to do my head in when he brought every player back to defend at corners and not leave a player up front, BUT I respected him.

I do not respect Martinez in the slightest. We will sack him eventually.

By the way, I do not want Moyes back. He shot his bolt as far as I was concerned... BUT I do want a credible manager back at EFC.

I have to say, you have to look at RM’s backroom team. If we can see the problems, surely they can.

Have a word with yourselves, lads........

Tony Hill
113 Posted 19/02/2016 at 21:09:21
Jamie, that's the best, most unflinching, case I've read here for keeping him and being patient. I disagree with it absolutely and I think you've just charted a road to our continuing demise but I salute your clarity.
Steve Davies
116 Posted 19/02/2016 at 21:25:05
The old adage used to be "Taxi for Mr Xxxxx." That was when we had standards. I would love us to be that ruthless again......

Nil Satis Nisi Optimum.

Peter Fearon
117 Posted 19/02/2016 at 21:30:08
It's not Seneca we have to be concerned about. It's his Greek counterpart Mediocrates.
Joe Clitherow
118 Posted 19/02/2016 at 21:32:30
Good post, Jamie (#111),

Someday maybe you will appreciate the high drama of the 1-0 win when it is a titanic struggle.

For me, one jumps out at me which is etched in my memory from nearly 30 years ago.

The so called unimportant League Cup 1987 when I was not much more than a kid, at Mordor, in a small pocket of Evertonians in the Kop.

Gary Stevens drifted in and scuffed a left footer past Grobbelaar and I watched it dribble into the net in, I think, the 83rd minute and then chaos. All I remember is a bloke next to me grabbing my jacket and repeatedly screaming "We’ve done ’em!!! We’ve fucking done ’em!!!" before calming down and biting his nails when he realised we had 7 minutes plus stoppage left to play.

Sometimes quality is far more important than quantity.

Don Alexander
119 Posted 19/02/2016 at 21:42:25
Quality Peter Fearon, quality!
William Twigg
120 Posted 19/02/2016 at 21:43:27
"If you always do what you do, you get what you get" is a quote that always sticks in my mind, and in lots of ways it is for me indicative of of the situation that Roberto has created at Everton for the past couple or so seasons.

What we do on many occasions has been pleasing to the eye, but because we do the same thing all the time, it makes us vulnerable to the more astute, and – as the records show – "what we always do" gets us found out too many times for my liking.

Now I cannot help thinking that if I was at work, with a team of professional experts working on a project that kept going wrong, I would be thinking "Something is not right, why? And we as a team would, I hope find a solution or at least explain the reasons why.

Which brings me to my less than subtle point: What kind of team does Martinez have around him that continually stands by and accepts that this blind alley we all seem to be walking down is the way forward?

Surely someone inside the club knows we are just a competent Manager away from being a very good side. I find it incredible that the ranks have not been broken and someone with some proverbial from within has not stated what is obvious. But what do I know? I just work in a team trying to achieve an objective!!!!!!

Don Alexander
121 Posted 19/02/2016 at 21:54:51
To Jamie Crowley and others who revel in the "just-outscore-the-opposition-and-everything’ll-be-alright" camp, I’ve only ever seen one side achieve success by that method; Brazil in 1970.

Their forward line was Jairzinho, Gerson, Tostao, Pele and Rivelino.

As yet, the similarities in Finch Farm have evaded me.

Chris Gould
124 Posted 19/02/2016 at 22:24:51
Jamie Crowley, I’ve been having a bit of a pointless discussion with Joe. Not because I don’t agree with much of what he says, but because I am prepared to hang on and wait a bit longer. Pretty much for the reasons you have succinctly given.

It’s hard to stay positive. Roberto is frustrating, but I believe he can and may get it right. So, like you, I will allow him as much time as it takes... within reason.

Steve Guy
126 Posted 19/02/2016 at 22:29:06
An accurate but ultimately depressing summary. I just want him gone
Ray Said
129 Posted 19/02/2016 at 22:46:49
"The more I practice, the luckier I get." – Gary Player.

If RM would just get them practicing how to defend, what set plays (corners etc) are for, and get them doing more running, then things will improve.

Tom Bowers
131 Posted 19/02/2016 at 22:48:30
All we long-suffering fans can do is wait and hope that just one day in the foreseeable future they have a team that can compete and get results at the same time.

In RM’s first season, we thought the tide was finally turning but now in his third season there seems no light at the end of the tunnel, despite having some very talented players.

Why he cannot get this team to play as a tight unit is frustrating, especially on their own patch. I can take a home loss now and again to the likes of City or Manure but against some of the crap that has come here, no way.

Even if we win at Bournemouth, it won’t change anything as it will take a run of games to establish credibility of sorts.

If things carry on the way they are, then I see some of this talent moving on at the end of the season as they will rightly seek a club that has better prospects of Champions League etc.

Gerard Carey
135 Posted 19/02/2016 at 23:46:42
Maybe Roberto is just an unlucky manager!!!!

I had a mate once, who was just the most unluckiest guy I ever met. Someone said about him that if it was raining soup he would be the one with a fork!!!!

Over 38 games, it evens itself out; only clutching at straws blaming bad luck. What the manager and players should be doing is going out with the right attitude, not playing for 45 minutes per game but for 90 minutes.

When RM picks players not up to the standard required and leaves better on the bench, that's not bad luck – it's bad management.

Don Alexander
137 Posted 20/02/2016 at 00:25:18
But the fact remains that, whilst even the Incredible One’s detractors, even me, will largely recognise he’s signed a number of good players (and every manager is allowed a mistake or two re transfers in), he’s repeatedly shown his inability to transform that talent to anything like a winning team.

That’s not a whinge about WBA or anything recent – it’s the story of the past two seasons. Add that to his pre-Everton performance and a very clear pattern emerges: he takes teams downwards. The Wigan team he inherited were where we currently are when he took them over. That’s why most of us are like we are in wanting rid of the muppet.

Ian Riley
138 Posted 19/02/2016 at 00:39:24
To blame bad luck is a sign of desperation. It’s like a gambler blaming loosing on a bad run/luck. Roberto knows there is no-one to blame but him. Four wins at home all season. One or two goal leads squandered on a regular basis. Players having too many off days. Even fans have questioned the fitness of players.

I actually believe Roberto has been very lucky:

1) Given more financial backing than the previous manager.
2) Overall, better quality in depth than the previous four managers.
3) A chairman who believes in giving managers 5-year contracts.
4) No Europa League football.

After last season I put our mid-table demise down to the Europa League. The extra travelling and games. No more excuses – we are going backwards. He turned Wigan into a favourite to be relegated every season in charge. His style of football could not save them from a double relegation.

Players buy into a style of football. Everton needed a little quality adding to it. The work rate and defensive mindset was there. Three seasons is coming to an end and mid-table is expected. I don’t know what the outcome will be. Roberto will probably still be in charge next season.

I am bored with the excuses and losing games. Perhaps I am old-fashioned, a clean sheet and one goal makes me happy. Even with the squad we have, we are not entertaining. It’s a lottery watching us play now!!

John Keating
139 Posted 20/02/2016 at 03:15:41
Jamie 111, technically you are correct. The whole purpose of the game is to outscore your opposition. But practically how many times have we done that in the last two seasons? Technically we don't get into Europe or win Cups... practically we do.

Would I rather watch a 5-4 or a 1-0 win? Well over the years I've seen some great 1-0 wins so I really couldn't say. However I would rather us we a shitty 1-0 than throw away a lead to lose or draw.

Your premise that we must outscore the opposition is great if we are. The problem is we are not. And an even bigger issue is that, when we are not outscoring the opposition, this manager appears totally incapable of implementing any sort of plan to rectify it.

Unfortunately he is a stubborn, not-to-be-deflected, one-trick pony that is embarrassing OUR Club.
Nigel Gregson
140 Posted 20/02/2016 at 03:50:49
Jim Lloyd (#50). Best post I’ve read this month. Everton have the fourth-best defensive record this season. Dont laugh – check it out for yourself here :

The only catch is that this is away only games.

Why are we sitting 20th at home defensively? Same manager? Same (shitty?) tactics? Could there be another factor then the collective wisdom suggests?

Lyndon Lloyd
Editorial Team
141 Posted 20/02/2016 at 08:16:20
Chris (107): "What’s more interesting is that my post has now been deleted. Not sure who it could have offended. Are we not allowed to show any support for Martinez here?"

Chris, just as a point of order, I had removed a number of posts in your back-and-forth with Joe because it had come to dominate the discussion and was becoming tiresome. I've put the earlier ones back after other posters became involved in the discussion but suppressed some of the later ones to end the argument.

It had nothing to do with anyone's viewpoints on Martinez, etc - it was purely done to prevent two individuals clogging up the thread with their verbal jousting.

Mike Price
142 Posted 20/02/2016 at 08:27:35
We have always been an unlucky team but this season has been a bit worse than most I can remember.

Martinez has been negligent this season, but the fact that he has finally, FINALLY, admitted his gross error over the goalkeeping situation, is both a good thing for now but also an absolute disgrace. He has thrown away our season by his stubborn refusal to see what everyone else could see staring them in the face.

His stubbornness and lack of football understanding is a bad mix. The goalkeeper situation has been our undoing this season and there's no saying that Robles is even close to the answer. Everyone knew that Howard was going to cost us before the season even started. If Jim Hardin is reading this, it isn't personal , he's just shite and has destroyed our season, and you see things through a filter that 99% of us don't.

Laurie Hartley
143 Posted 20/02/2016 at 09:48:09
Nigel (#140). That is a very good question. I can only think of two possible explanations:

When we play at Goodison Park, EVERYONE – players, management, and fans – are anxious and this affects the performance.


When we play away, teams come at us more and this suits our best style of play – quick counter-attacks.

In answer to the question: What does our manager bring to the table?, there seems to be two schools of thought:

Good young exciting players;


Attacking football that at times is a joy to watch.

At the risk of leading with my chin, I reckon if I had Ross Barkley and John Stones to dangle as bait, I could have persuaded Romelu Lukaku and Gerard Deulofeu to come and play in the same team as them. (Remember the days of the old school yard?)

But that poses yet another question: Has the attacking football been coached into them or is it the inevitable outcome when you let loose such a talented group of young attack minded footballers on a football pitch???

Going by Nigel’s stats, it seems we DO know how to defend sometimes (the Premier League game at Man City comes to mind) but we have no consistency. Why?

The manager has to take the responsibility for that. You have to have a definite defensive plan. By way of example, watch what happens when Leicester defend a corner and, in particular, Drinkwater’s role. When the ball comes in as soon as the ball is struck he peels off and heads for the back post. Old-fashioned but effective.

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a link to a YouTube clip of Jack Charlton. The gist of it was Charlton didn’t agree with Don Revie’s man-marking system and told him that he should let him organise the defence on the field and Revie could manage the midfield and attack. Revie agreed... and Leeds became Football League Champions.

I think our manager should leave the organisation of the defence (Coleman, Funes Mori, Baines, or Oviedo) up to Phil Jagielka with Barry as his second in command.

Actually the ability to know how, when, and to whom to delegate authority is one of the marks of a top manager in any field of endeavour. And while I am at it, I believe that in John Stones and Mo Besic we have two ready made replacements for Jagielka and Barry. John Stones does know how to defend – remember how we used to rave about his sliding tackles. He has just lost his way and needs to be told, and given a chance, to get back to basics.

Our manager has a dilemma now that John Stones is fit. He cannot drop Phil Jagielka or Funes Mori. The only solution I can see is to rest Gareth Barry and give the young man a run out in that position. I would do that when we get to 40 points.

One last question to answer while I am sorting all things Everton out on ToffeeWeb. It’s Ciaran’s question (#28) – "Wonder what old Seneca would make of Tony!" Erm – he might give him an opportunity.

Brian Denton
144 Posted 20/02/2016 at 12:28:01
Gerard Carey (#135), in my scouse upbringing, the illustration of unlucky was: "If I fell in a barrel of tits, I’d come up sucking my thumb!"

Anyone else recall this one?

Jamie Barlow
145 Posted 20/02/2016 at 13:16:15
Great post Chris@96.
Nick Entwistle
146 Posted 20/02/2016 at 13:37:31
Chris@96, if the club no longer has a 'selling' tag, why would you be attributing this to Martinez and not the massive increase in overseas contracts?
Nigel Gregson
147 Posted 20/02/2016 at 13:57:39
Chris Gould (#96) – hear, hear!
James Hughes
148 Posted 20/02/2016 at 14:47:27
Jamie Crowley,

I think it is hard to have a balanced argument when the manager is clearly unbalanced.

The philosophy of trying to outscore your opponent to win games clearly didn’t pay off last week and only pays off in a small percentage of games he has managed. It’s been mentioned on here I believe his win % is 33%

I am not of the opinion that he is building something special here as I don’t believe he has the managerial skills or ability to read a game and change when things are going wrong.

He undeniably has the team playing some of the best football I have seen for many a year and also some of the worst, sometimes in the same game. You say only when relegation has us firmly in it’s scaly grasp would you get rid of him. God forbid that happens as all of us who remember that final day against Wimbledon don’t ever want to get close to that situation again, EVER.

I would like to ask you: Do you believe the team has the character or will to pull us away from the trap-door??

Tony Onslow
149 Posted 20/02/2016 at 21:48:06
Lady Luck will only smile on you when she is happy...
Grant Rorrison
150 Posted 20/02/2016 at 21:57:29
Maybe we've been inconsistent this year because we have so many young and/or inexperienced players and that's exactly what you'd expect from them if you hadn't already decided that we should be winning the league (And both cups) because Leicester might?

Perhaps being young they are more easily affected by the home crowd than older players like Barry are? Hence, why we seem to be doing alright away from home.

Maybe our defence is inconsistent because the personnel are not always the same. Some are possibly past it or feeling their way back in after injuries, and others are very young and/or inexperienced at premier league level?

It seems strange that we defended well enough in his first season at the club and actually improved from 40 goals conceded to 39. And from the fourth best defence to the third best defence in the country. Maybe all that's happened since then is a change in personnel with players declining or being injured and others yet to reach their full potential?

Easier just to blame Martinez though.

Mike Iddon
151 Posted 20/02/2016 at 00:10:04
Grant (#150), stop putting a rational view forward with a pithy conclusion. Having waded through 150 comments with the usual mainly anti-RM views I think yours was the first to mention RM's first season in charge? I could be wrong though...

I can see where both sides are coming from but reality is usually somewhere in the middle of extreme views. Tonight, we are in the quarter final of the cup having scored 11 and conceded 1 in the last 5 games, 11th in the Premier League but 6 points off 5th having lost in the semi-final of the League Cup.

Is that good or bad? Beats me in this weird season but I'd put money on RM going nowhere at the moment, "clown" or otherwise.
Grant Rorrison
152 Posted 21/02/2016 at 19:45:58
Mike (#151). I doubt any of the Martinez Out crew are going to mention 39 goals conceded in 38 games and 15 clean sheets. Just doesn’t suit the narrative.

Makes much more sense to claim he ’doesn’t care about defending’; thinks we can score 10 if we concede 9, etc. Or point to his Wigan records.

Can anyone name me his regular back 4 at Wigan, just out of interest?

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