The End of the Road, in More Ways than One

Everton's hopes of ending a 21-year trophy drought were extinguished by Manchester City in controversial and yet predictable fashion at the Etihad Stadium leaving Roberto Martinez's hopes for redemption resting on the FA Cup.

Lyndon Lloyd 28/01/2016 106comments  |  Jump to last
Manchester City 3 - 1 Everton (4-3 agg)

If hope and passion alone were enough to win silverware, Evertonians wouldn't find themselves drowning their sorrows tonight contemplating the very real possibility that their club's trophy drought will extend to a 22nd year after this season, with little hope on the horizon that it will end any time soon.

A painful exit from the Capital One Cup has left the FA Cup as the sole avenue by which Roberto Martinez can salvage another train-wreck of a season and realise the 'special achievement to which he unconvincingly clung in his post-match interview. –

By the official count, 7,300 Blues travelled to Eastlands this evening in the vain belief that Everton's 2-1 lead from the first leg of this semi-final might be enough to carry them through to Wembley next month. In reality, while the hosts struggled to persuade enough of their own supporters to attend, many more Evertonians made the trek, to populate supposedly neutral zones – by some accounts, a few were turfed out during that match – and even brave the home sections at the Etihad Stadium and hopefully witness a performance worthy of shutting down Manuel Pellegrini's attacking machine for the second time this month.

For much of the first half of what was an absorbing match for those neutrals for whom Roberto Martinez's side have been doing so much to entertain this season, it looked as though the travelling fans might get it. Ross Barkley's wonderful solo effort after 17 minutes had extended Everton's aggregate lead to two goals and cancelled out Jesus Navas's away goal from the first leg. And even though City would benefit from a huge slice of fortune six minutes later when Fernandinho's shot deflected off Leighton Baines and flew past the stranded Joel Robles, the Blues were still in the driving seat at 1-1 on the night.

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Unfortunately, amid controversy, questionable management and a strengthening tide of Manchester City's offence, Everton buckled in the second half and were meekly despatched into the night having seen that 3-1 aggregate lead transformed into a 4-3 defeat. Three more goals conceded in a season drowning in them, a consequence of the Blues simply being far too open and too easy to play through. Martinez made the "heartbreak" over the scandalous oversight of an obvious goal kick that led to the Citizen's second goal the central theme of his comments after the game but two incidents involving Gerard Deulofeu could equally be cited as turning points in the tie.

One-on-one with Willy Caballero five minutes into the second half, the Spaniard had a gilt-edged chance to hand the Blues a potentially decisive second away goal but he shot too close to the goalkeeper and his effort was beaten away. A few minutes later, his manager made the fatal decision to remove him and throw Arouna Kone on in a double substitution that saw the capable but tiring Leon Osman come off in favour of James McCarthy.

In the absence of any real threat from a still-below-par Romelu Lukaku, Deulofeu was the only player causing City any real concern by that point and the winger's departure from the match appeared to kill any attacking momentum that the visitors had left.

The controversy over the second goal, where the fact that Raheem Sterling had carried the ball over the byline was blatantly obvious in real time let alone with the benefit of television replays, is, sadly, a distraction from the larger issue. Not least because none of the six Blue shirts in the middle of the box were anywhere near the goalscorer, Kevin De Bruyne. Far from going "eye to eye" with one of the best teams in the country as Roberto Martinez claimed after the game, Everton were clearly second best for the majority of this contest – they managed just two shots on goal in 90 minutes and the defence was hanging on for dear life at times either side of the City substitute's strike that made it 2-1 on the night with 20 minutes to go.

Sergio Aguero had hammered an impressive shot off Joel Robles's post, the Spanish 'keeper had somehow got in the way of a shot from the rebound by David Silva in the first half with the score at 1-1 and Silva planted a header off the base of the upright 10 minutes into the second period. That not long after Aguero had uncharacteristically mis-kicked wide another golden chance in front of goal.

So, it was almost inevitable that, with Everton penned back and struggling for an out-ball without Deulofeu's pace in attack, the home side should score twice in six minutes to turn the tie on its head. Sterling's cut-back from behind the byline picked out De Bruyne who swept home from a central position and when no one adequately closed the same player down following a clearance from a corner, the Belgian international curled in a pin-point cross for Aguero, in oceans of space behind in front of John Stones, had time to steer a firm header past Robles and into the far corner.

That, despite another 14 minutes on the clock and what should have been eight more minutes of stoppage time, was that. There would be no cavalry charge from a blunt Everton attack that made a mockery of its reputation this season as a fearsome weapon and save for a couple of late set pieces, they offered little resistance to the seeming inevitability of their defeat of their Wembley dream.

(If there is a silver lining, of course, it's that the inevitable psychological collapse against Liverpool at Wembley next month has been averted, but with it goes the opportunity to finally address a mentality of inferiority and a lack of fortitude that appears to pervade the club nowadays.)

Given the massive sums of money spent on their side – they were, after all, able to bring a world-class talent like De Bruyne off the bench – you would expect Manchester City to be as superior as they were overall, particularly in the second half. Still, the contention from Martinez and some of this players that this Everton side can beat anyone on their day rings hollow now, though, despite their efforts in the first leg.

Equally, the manager's lament at misfortune and poor officiating – however valid on yet another occasion – would wash if they weren't a mere part of an established trend of poor results, mistakes and blown leads that stretches back a full 18 months under Martinez. The statistics of just 18 wins from 61 matches over the past two seasons, 110 goals conceded in the same period, under-achievement from a talented and much-lauded squad, and a now obvious regression in Premier League performance tell their own story.

Put bluntly, Everton under Martinez are simply not as good as either he or they think they are and the gathering signs are that they never will be under his stewardship. The potential is there but the same refrain from the manager regarding a young side that is "getting close to being a winning team" is getting old. He has had ample time to demonstrate that he has the answers to a worsening defensive record and a succession of unacceptable results but the grim realisation now is that he has taken our club as far as he can. Whether there is any appetite – or capacity, for that matter – at boardroom level to make the decision to replace him in the face of that deteriorating record, however, remains to be seen.

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Reader Comments (106)

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Garry Corgan
1 Posted 28/01/2016 at 01:30:20
A very direct and scathing last paragraph by your standards, Lyndon.

I note now that Martinez odds as the next Premier League Manager to be sacked have dropped from 50/1 a few weeks ago, to 16/1 after the Swansea game, to 12/1 tonight. That makes him joint third favourite for the boot, behind (obviously) Van Gaal and Remi Garde, and level with Alex Neil and Steve McClaren.

As fans we have, at times, lamented our board’s perceived reticence to dispense with managers’ services, but the tides they are a-turnin’ and I believed sustained pressure from the fans, directed at Martinez on websites such as these, radio phone-ins, at at the ground will see the board forced to make the inevitable and, albeit regrettable, correct decision.

Ste Traverse
2 Posted 28/01/2016 at 01:43:36
He should be sacked for saying pre-game he wasn't interested in a 'clean sheet', when a clean sheet would have took us to the final.

The man is a king-sized bullshitter. But I doubt Kenwright has the balls to do the right thing.

Scott Dixon
3 Posted 28/01/2016 at 01:51:37
Martinez on Sky Sports ’Don’t be down, we are getting in the right way to challenge.. We need to continue to get stronger, there’s something special at the end of this.’

Win% - 55%
Points per Game - 1.89
Goals Conceded per Game - 1.02

Win% - 31%
Points per Game - 1.23
Goals Conceded per Game - 1.31

Win% - 26%
Points per Game - 1.26
Goals Conceded per Game - 1.47

The only something special at the end of this is Parachute Payments if the Board doesn’t act this season or next. It’s already too late to save the core of Stones and Lukaku, but I’ll despair if he’s still around to spend the £80M we receive.

Every season these days seems to bring with it a game that is too much of a disappointment, even for the most hardened of Evertonians. Tonight was mine – whether it’s the consistent bad luck of a deflection, ALWAYS seeming to be on the wrong end of an outrageous ref decision and the fact that these days even with a two goal lead you just KNOW that we will conspire to give it all back through circus defending.

Time’s up Roberto. Could do worse than Eddie Howe once he’s kept Bournemouth up. He grew up an Evertonian, gotta feel like he’d be tempted, as much as he loves Bournemouth. They play good football, he seems a diligent, well rounded coach and with better individuals to work with, you wonder if he could go to the next level.

Jamie Sweet
4 Posted 28/01/2016 at 01:59:11
You are, of course, right, Lyndon, that our problems lie deeper than the odd bit of bad luck, but my word we could be having a much better looking season if the officials did their jobs properly.

How would everyone be feeling if we were sitting here having recently won at Stamford Bridge for the first time in 20 years, and having just booked our place at Wembley for a shot at our first trophy in 20 years? Both very possible outcomes if officials had not missed a blatant offside, and a blatant ball out of play.

Whether positive results in those two fixtures would have simply papered over cracks created by an ultimately fatally flawed manager is open for debate.

I think we probably do need a new face in charge. But for love of God, please could we choose someone with a bit of luck on his side because without bad luck, Bobby would have virtually no luck at all!

Michael Penley
5 Posted 28/01/2016 at 02:02:23
Once again we let a team come back from behind. When you are up by 2 goals there is no excuse for not winning. Even if you account for the ref's decision, there are 2 goals to explain. Martinez can't keep blaming it on bad luck or the ref.
Jack Mason
6 Posted 28/01/2016 at 02:12:27
Sounds to me, Lyndon, you’ve crossed the Rubicon... but, as you correctly point out, much depends on whether we have leadership at the boardroom level to affect change.
Dennis Ng
7 Posted 28/01/2016 at 02:18:27
I think a manager change is inevitable, whether BK or new owners have the guts or not. The club's value will spiral downward as we sink towards the dreaded red zone and that's not good for anyone, fan or owner. Added to the fact that the only items of value we have are the potential of the players we have, I can't see how any potential takeover will remain deadlocked...Unless...

Hey Jamie, let's pick Di Matteo. He won UCL despite being caretaker. Gotta have luck to do that!

Mark Andersson
8 Posted 28/01/2016 at 02:31:07
The best article I’ve read, thanks, Lyndon. Nothing for me to add.
Bill Gall
9 Posted 28/01/2016 at 02:31:18
I think in assessing Martinez’s performances people should read the article in the Echo when BK stated that he hired Martinez after he demonstrated on a board with markers his tactics on how he beat Man City in the FA Cup Final.

As I stated on another thread, did he not bother to ask him to explain what were his tactics to stop them getting relegated, and what tactics did he use to improve their steady increase in goals on the defensive side of the game.

As other people have said, he was hired after a result in one game, there appears to be no due diligence done when hiring a manager after David Moyes left.

Jamie Crowley
10 Posted 28/01/2016 at 02:35:43
Something I just thought of, and I’m not trying to be contrarian.

If Roberto goes, would we lose...


All in one summer?

There goes our youth. Watch it as it goes. There goes our youth. We’re ordinary.

With apologies to Foo Fighters and David Groehl for embellishing lyrics.

I think that’s a legitimate concern moving forward. If Roberto were to go, we’d need someone who would keep the focus on the young player, and make sure the ones we have don’t exit stage left. Or at least a majority stay...

Davie Turner
11 Posted 28/01/2016 at 02:36:14
Please someone show Martinez the way out of Goodison
Jack Mason
12 Posted 28/01/2016 at 02:41:33
@ 10 Jamie. I would suggest to you whether Martinez stays or goes, neither Lukaku or John Stones will be with us for next season.
Gavin Johnson
13 Posted 28/01/2016 at 02:43:20
We’ve had the goalkeepers poll. I’d be interested to see a Martinez stay-or-go poll over the next few days.

I stepped over the Rubicon on Sunday. I should imagine there’s quite a few other posters who’ve finally had enough after last night.

Jamie Crowley
14 Posted 28/01/2016 at 02:46:41
Stones off for sure. Not so sure about Rom. But Deulofeu and Barkley might dash – could see that happening.

That’d not be a good thing, Jack...

Dennis Ng
15 Posted 28/01/2016 at 02:51:04
I don’t see Deuloleu and Barkley leaving just yet. Rom maybe. Stones less likely unless he puts up stellar performances from now on. At their age, sitting on the bench is not a good option unless they are paid silly money (which they will not likely get with our current form).

As long as we sell them for good money, I don’t worry as much, but we do need the right man steering the ship.

Jack Mason
16 Posted 28/01/2016 at 02:58:44
I’d give the Captains armband to Barkley, as for Deulofeu, I think besides Barcelona, he has a definite love for the club and the fans. I’d be surprised if he left during the summer.

With the money generated from the sale of Stones and Lukaku, there should be more than enough for a capable manager to work with. Adding the influx of TV money, I think considering the squad we have, the Everton managers job would be tempting proposition for many managers.

Nigel Gregson
17 Posted 28/01/2016 at 03:03:05
I see mass exodus if Martinez goes. Lukaku and Stones for sure. Deulofeu and Barkley... maybe. But most importantly what happens to this next generation of youngsters, who’ll then be sidelined under this new ’unicorn’ manager? I’m talking about kids like Galloway, Holgate, Browning, Garbutt.

It's clear that we’re missing McCarthy badly (and Besic also). Without those two providing cover, the defence is really creaky.

Anto Byrne
19 Posted 28/01/2016 at 04:03:55
The mass exodus depends upon who they bring in to manage this club.

Clearly Martinez has a way of playing but it does not win games. The trend of conceding goals be it penalties, deflections, poor refereeing decisions (that we have also benefited from) is not the only factor in the string of poor results at this club.

Look at the manager and his insistence to play Kone ahead of Mirallas or Naismith. We have a goalkeeping crisis where the crowd have turned on Howard (Yes he has had his day and should move on). A defensive midfield of Barry and McCarthy that offer very little in creativity.

Barkley is a prodigious talent but defending is not in his locker. Lukaku is world class as is Deulofeu one player it seems only has 60 minutes in his tank so what’s the story with that?

Last night, we had a fullback on the bench that would have contained their winger Sterling, he was too quick for Stones and even though the ball went out of play very few would have seen it in real time; we have all done it and got away with it.

Just how was the eventual goalscorer allowed so much time and space and what about the free header for another goal. They hit the post twice and miscued an open goal. On paper its 4-3 it could have easily been 6 or 7.

We did have a glorious chance of a second; however, their second-choice keeper made a stop without too much bother as the shot was piss poor.

I can't blame individual errors but something is seriously wrong when we get punished every time. Just how stupid is Baines making a half-hearted attempt to clear the ball with his heel when he should have been reading the play and intercepted the pass.

Unlucky deflection is more poor defending. Get in a manager to teach them the fundamentals of defending in numbers and then we can fanny around in the middle. STOP CONCEDING GOALS...

Amit Vithlani
20 Posted 28/01/2016 at 04:15:38
One of McCarthy and Besic have played for the bulk of the 61 games where 110 goals have been conceded.

110 goals! Frankly, with an appalling win ratio and such a dreadful defensive record, whether we retain Stones et al is irrelevant. This is simply an unacceptable record.

Martinez out please, BK.

Will Firstbrook
21 Posted 28/01/2016 at 04:21:44
Now that there really isn’t anything meaningful left to play for this season (a deep FA Cup seems highly unlikely) you just know this group of chokers are likely to go on a run. Just enough to fan the embers of hope for next season.

Truth is once it’s officially confirmed we will once again miss European ball next season, Lukaku and Stones will be gone and possibly one or two more along with them. Who could really blame them really? The organization is completely void of any ambition.

There is something terribly wrong with the mental makeup of this squad and I don’t consider our current version of Stuart Smalley being up to the task of sorting that out.

William Cartwright
22 Posted 28/01/2016 at 04:29:15
So very, very sad. The Premier League team without a penalty award all season, one of the smallest of budgets yet with the potential of upsetting the establishment, are drummed out of the semi-final by essentially bad luck or poor refereeing...


Useless twit of a manager cant organize a defensive approach to a game or see out a 2 goal lead in the last quarter or a 2 legged contest....

I give up!

Anto Byrne
23 Posted 28/01/2016 at 04:42:03
It's a team game and we can replace Lukaku, Stones and Barkley. Coleman is wanted by all accounts. Cash in rebuild if that what it takes to stop being an also ran.

The spawny redshite will end up winning the cup simply because they believe they have a divine right.
David Chait
24 Posted 28/01/2016 at 05:01:45
Two reasons that reoccur causing the last two goals: Stones giving acres of room for Sterling to run and allowing the cross to come in.. And McCarthy doing what he does too often for me to be a fan, jumping out the way of the cross from De Bruyne and turning his back.. So two crosses allowed with no real effort to prevent them to come in.

This is why Stones is not a right back and why I haven’t been a fan of McCarthy since he did the same when up against Arsenal last season.

Many of our players deserve better than they are being given right now. I’m holding thumbs that IF we get new owners they will come with the financial muscle to keep Barkley and Rom for a little longer by investing in the team and a new world class manager...

Neil Peters
25 Posted 28/01/2016 at 05:30:17
Guys, I took the day off work today to watch the game. I am here in Las Vegas gutted. The team is strong although in my opinion we should sell Stones, he is a liability.

I feel sorry for all you Evertonians going to work to tomorrow and having to put up with the slagging from the Red Shite. I do not have that, I am really upset. I have supported Everton since August 1966 when Alan Ball made his debut at Fulham.
I thought it was year.

Martinez Out!

John Keating
26 Posted 28/01/2016 at 06:01:09
Can’t argue with any of that Lyndon.

This man should have gone last season.

Our one any only priority now should be to grind out another 10 points – if it is at all possible, and stay up.

3-1 up and so open it’s just suicide

Harold Matthews
27 Posted 28/01/2016 at 06:51:54
Goodness Lyndon, put the kettle on and relax mate. Did you have a big bet on us getting to Wembley?.....incidentally, and don't change anything, Aguero was not in "oceans of space behind Stones". He was in front of him. I guess you closed your eyes when De Bruyne crossed the ball.

Stones was an absolute sitting duck at rightback. He just doesn't have the necessary pace. With Coleman on the bench, we should have given the role to Lennon.

Not sure Ossie was the right choice either, despite a decent performance in the first leg. Better he had played against Swansea with Pienaar kept for this one. A much tougher lad altogether. A sad case of misplaced loyalty.

A couple of very fortunate goals but, all in all, City looked like a team. We look like a bunch of hard working, talented individuals all doing their own thing with no idea of how to create chances, especially for the isolated Lukaku who had the beating of their centrebacks. That said, he needs to learn to get in front of his marker instead of continually waiting for something on the plate.

Wouldn't be surprised if someone snapped up our top goalscorer in the summer but Stones will have to redeem his glowing reputation before going anywhere. People will not want a slow moving defender who loses concentration at vital moments.

Where we go from here is anyone's guess but, even if we lose one or two, I can see the overall squad becoming stronger. Martinez definitely has a long term plan but will he still be here to see it through? Time will tell.

Craig Mills
28 Posted 28/01/2016 at 07:11:27
Apparently he is now 3/1 to get the sack (according to the Echo).

The storm clouds are certainly gathering over Goodison...

Christopher Timmins
29 Posted 28/01/2016 at 07:20:52
Lyndon, not much really needs to be added to your article. Let's hope that we have a smooth managerial change in the summer and that the right man is identified by the new owners (Kenwright & Co should have departed by then).

Twenty two years is a long time for such a great club to go without winning a trophy. Somebody needs to answer for such a scenario.

On the semi final as a whole, while over the two games we got as many calls as the winners, they are simply better than us; with the level of their investment, they should be.

Lyndon Lloyd
30 Posted 28/01/2016 at 07:33:22
Jamie (4): You are of course right Lyndon that our problems lie deeper than the odd bit of bad luck, but my word we could be having a much better looking season if the officials did their jobs properly.

I think we'd be having a slightly better season if the officials didn't keep screwing us over but, as others have mentioned elsewhere, you make your own luck to an extent and if Stones hadn't given Sterling such a loose leash in that instance, he probably wouldn't have got to the byline in the first place.

Speaking of Stones – and ignoring Harold's (27) slightly acerbic remarks about me mis-remembering Aguero's positioning (sheesh, you make one error and that's all people focus on! The point is that Stones had completely lost him) – I agree that he was a sitting duck at right back because he was playing out of position. One can only assume it was because Coleman wasn't fit enough and I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking that better have been the reason.

Finally, regarding talk of an exodus were Martinez to get the old "Spanish archer", I think it would depend on whom was appointed as his successor. Get a big enough (unlikely, he'd be too expensive) or sufficiently forward-thinking man in and the likes of Lukaku might feel moved to give it one more go because they must surely be as disenchanted with Roberto as the growing number of supporters.

Kase Chow
31 Posted 28/01/2016 at 07:36:27
Great article, Lyndon, and sadly it’s the truth.
Rick Tarleton
32 Posted 28/01/2016 at 07:36:52
A superb article, balanced reasoned and honest. Your assessment of the situation on and off the pitch is spot-on. I fear that Kenwright will dither, but I fear the real problem of which Martinez is the sympyom, not the cause, lies with Kenwright and his board.
Phil Walling
33 Posted 28/01/2016 at 07:43:08
Only a drubbing at Carlisle will see an early end to Roberto’s tenure. Given that only a mere 10 points from the remaining 15 games will see Premier League status retained, there is every reason to expect the Board – old or new – will wait to see how the season pans out.

And unless an outstanding candidate is available and affordable, that’s how it should be. In the meantime, BK will have to live with the folly of the Catalan’s appointment.

Peter Mills
34 Posted 28/01/2016 at 08:29:34
Lyndon, the one point where I disagree is when you say Martinez has taken us as far as he can. I fear he can take us much further yet.

Trevor Peers
36 Posted 28/01/2016 at 08:46:21
Phil I think the results will just keep getting worse under Roberto's stewardship, he looked a broken man after that defeat, and the signs are he would welcome the sack.

If he's allowed to carry on it could be disastrous, time will tell, BK seems incapable of making a decision, but it might be forced on him before too long.

Colin Glassar
37 Posted 28/01/2016 at 08:49:16
Trevor, the problem seems to be there is no one in charge at the club, no one to make decisions. This is even scarier than if he stays or if he goes.
John Keating
38 Posted 28/01/2016 at 08:55:38

Normally I would agree with you that 10 points from 15 games is achievable. However, just look at us. The football we are playing is not getting results. Nothing is changing and Martinez is adamant that it won’t.

The more we keep throwing games away, well, confidence of the players must be bloody low and getting worse. As these results and performances continue the crowd will get more vocal against the team Sunday quite rightly.

Over the years we have seen many teams go into freefall, some really good teams. 10 points doesn’t sound a lot but, with this lot, it could well be...

Trevor Peers
39 Posted 28/01/2016 at 08:57:43
You're right, Colin, it’s a ghost club at boardroom level.
Martin Mason
40 Posted 28/01/2016 at 09:05:26
To be fair, we were very good for long periods and lost to a wicked deflection and a ball that should have been called out. For half-an-hour though we were overwhelmed by a very strong team that cost multiples of the cost to assemble Everton.

On any other day there’d be some honour in last night's performance but it still was stained with RM’s incompetence.

Brian Hennessy
41 Posted 28/01/2016 at 09:09:58
I don’t agree with this idea that if RM goes it will create a mass exodus. The only player will leave for certain is Howard and that would be a good thing.

Frankly I see the opposite, if he stays we are going nowhere and our best players will see that.

Presuming Coleman returns to the team at the weekend, if he decides to pick Stones over Funes Mori that will be the final straw for me. Stones needs a spell on the bench and a kick up the arse.

George McKane
42 Posted 28/01/2016 at 09:22:27
I arrived home from the game late last night and decided to not post anything on TW.

This morning I am feeling incredibly frustrated with the inevitability of it all.

What saddens me right now is how our wonderful fans, and that includes me, are treated. In my opinion like sheep, cattle, stock, we are told nothing, informed of little, spoken to, encouraged, engaged with. No none of these.

If only someone would talk (not to) but with us. Give us some encouragement. No pay your money, sit and watch and just accept whatever we throw at you.

We know little beyond rumours of Kenwright’s illness, sympathy for him but it does affect OUR Club. We know nothing beyond hearsay of the proposed takeover, of our Stadium situation.

Is it beyond Martinez and the players to tell us how they feel and to give US the paying fans some words of sympathy for our state as at this morning, to even speak to us, to tell the truth. I don’t want public slagging but I am fed up generally with mis-information and non-communication.

Finally, a little poem from Yevgeny Yevtushenko:

Telling Lies to the young is wrong.
Proving to them that lies are true is wrong.
Telling them
that God's in his heaven
and all's well with the world
is wrong.
They know what you mean.
They are people too.
Tell them the difficulties
can't be counted,
and let them see
not only
what will be
but see
with clarity
these present times.
Say obstacles exist they must encounter,
sorrow comes,
hardship happens.
The hell with it.
Who never knew
the price of happiness
will not be happy.
Forgive no error
you recognize,
it will repeat itself,
a hundredfold
and afterward
our pupils
will not forgive in us
what we forgave.

Ray Robinson
43 Posted 28/01/2016 at 09:23:23
Great article Lyndon. If someone as well-balanced as you can see the need for a managerial change, then I don’t feel as bad for wanting the great Spanish philosopher gone – it’s never nice wanting somebody to get sacked. Much like his team, he has no defence.

However, going along with this positivity at all costs lark, I do believe, in this moment, that his tenure will have been an incredible experience and a represents a phenomenal learning opportunity for me.

Dave Abrahams
44 Posted 28/01/2016 at 09:27:04
Trevor (#39) yes it is a ghost town at the top level of the club, and although I still expect some move in the transfer market, which is very seriously needed, who is there to make these decisions?

We, the club, are in a very dangerous position regarding staying in the Premier League, very dangerous indeed.

Dan McKie
45 Posted 28/01/2016 at 09:29:44
A few people saying that if Martinez goes then so do Barkley, Stones, Lukaku and Deulofeu, but so what? What good is having these players under Martinez?

He can’t get anywhere near the best out of the 11 players that he fields each week. There are one or two stand out individual performances every now and again, but as a team we are shocking.

Right now, who would be better placed to convince any of our young players to give Everton another season? A new man with new ideas and proper tactics, or Martinez, where we are already seeing an alarming decline? I’d say the former.

Martinez Out!

Ray Roche
46 Posted 28/01/2016 at 09:38:19
Dan, good point regarding getting the best out of players.

Leicester have, on paper, a far inferior squad to Everton but they all give their best and their manager CAN get the best out of them. Martinez could have Messi, Pele, Ronaldo etc. in his team and they’d look crap.

Martinez (and his coaching baboons) out.

John Crawley
47 Posted 28/01/2016 at 09:43:39
Good article, Lyndon. I thought he should have been sacked last season but we definitely need to do it as soon as this season finishes.

In the meantime we should be determine the qualities that we want in a new manager. The Premier League is going to be awash with money and we should be able to attract a good coach.

Some of my wants in a new coach would be: track record of developing and improving youngsters, tactically aware, can organise his teams to attack and defend, record of winning trophies or significantly over achieving, five years experience managing in a top league, good record in the transfer market.

Once we’ve identified what we want in a manager then we should go looking for them, not the other way round.

Brian Mahoney
48 Posted 28/01/2016 at 09:51:06
Well, in all my time following Everton, I have witnessed some awful refereeing decisions in big games: Hansen's handball, Hamilton's disallowed goal etc.

This season, I can honestly say is the worst I've ever seen from from officials involving Everton games. We must have upset somebody because, apart from the Stones penalty that wasn't against Man City, everything has gone against us.

But, referees aside, we are our own worst enemies and Martinez must take the bulk of the blame: Why play out-of-form Stones at right back when Coleman was available? Stones needs to be dropped now – hes already thinking hes too big for our team.

Coming out of the ground last night, there was a lot of angry fans calling for Martinez to go, and I can only agree with them, but who is out there to take over? I certainly don't want Moyes back! Ahh well... onto Carlisle where we'll probably scrape through – then get drawn away against City!!!

Sid Logan
49 Posted 28/01/2016 at 09:51:29

A very perceptive and accurate piece.

It actually lifted my spirits after a last night’s depressive result.

None of us know whether anyone at the club ever reads ToffeeWeb – they should of course because it as good as any focus group many a big business would love to have.

My guess is that the people who can make decisions at the club prefer to live life in their own little bubble. Let’s hope if any of them do stray out of it they read your Thai article which perfectly describes where we’re collectively at as a club and as supporter.

Joe Royle and David Unsworth would do me as a temporary solution while we search for a real manager.

Brent Stephens
50 Posted 28/01/2016 at 09:52:07
Lyndon, your articles are always well-balanced, and that one is probably the best article I’ve seen from you – rationality driving the emotion rather than vice versa. After an evening and night of stewing, I’m as resolved as I’ve been for a year or so that Roberto should go.

My great fear is that I don’t know how the board (Bill or no Bill) has the knowledge to judge who is and isn’t a good manager for us.

Jay Woods
51 Posted 28/01/2016 at 09:56:38
I woke up this morning enlivened by a spark of hope... That I would be visiting ToffeeWeb to read news of Martinez's sacking. But even that nugget of comfort is to be denied me as a longsuffering Evertonian.

Dare I invest any further hope in the prospect of the takeover rumours being true, with Martinez's "Spanish Archer" treatment merely deferred?

Laurie Hartley
52 Posted 28/01/2016 at 09:57:51
Ray (#43) – "it’s never nice wanting somebody to get sacked".

I think that echoes the feeling of many of us - however:-

John (#47) – he who hesitates is lost.

Lyndon (#30) – Fabio Capello.

John Keating
53 Posted 28/01/2016 at 09:59:19
Just once, just this next interview and never again, I would love those who have access to Martinez to ask all those questions we want answers too.

Prentice, O’Keefe, Kirkbride tell us they are supporters but they do not come over as one.

Every day these Gin and Tonic merchants have access to Finch Farm and Martinez and his coaches – what do they do exactly ? All we seem to get from them are injury updates, how Hibbos dog is getting on at the vet, and the usual Martinez bullshit about almost having the perfect team.

These so called journalists, never seem to ask anything relevant, never ask the real questions. far too interested in getting their bevvy and scran on match days.

If only they knew how lucky they were having the chance to put this clown on the spot

Peter Carpenter
54 Posted 28/01/2016 at 10:02:15
Jamie (10), why would we necessarily lose those players? We might, for the obvious reason that they want to play for successful teams and there are plenty out there who would want them. But I think the players also want a manager who gives them direction, who makes them better players and who they think they can achieve their goals with.

A new manager coming, in who has their respect, has achieved success before and who gives then direction, would soon have them forgetting what went before. Their loyalty transfers very quickly to the person who gives them the best opportunity.

Sid Logan
55 Posted 28/01/2016 at 10:05:14
Problem with local journalists is that they're always walking a fine line between telling the truth and maintaining access to people at the club.
Harold Matthews
56 Posted 28/01/2016 at 10:05:51
Lyndon, you still haven't put the kettle on. Why use an adjective like acerbic when you could just as easily used harsh or bitter, words more familiar to the average football fan? Hmm, interesting. It wouldn't go down well in the Lower Gwladys Street.
Jay Woods
57 Posted 28/01/2016 at 10:14:02
Harold, I think most of TW's readership is educated, at least compared to the old Bluekipper mob, so I see nothing wrong with the occasional dollop of erudition in posts.
Craig Walker
58 Posted 28/01/2016 at 10:15:44
We specialise in the glorious defeat at Everton.

Barkley scored a great goal but time and time again he showed too much of the ball to a City player and got dispossessed. I desperately want him to do it for Everton but I don’t think he has the footballing brain. He’s too greedy at times and doesn’t get his head up. He’s not aggressive enough. I would cash in on him.

I thought Baines was awful last night.

Deulofeu is a wonderful talent but he’s shattered after 60 minutes. He also doesn’t do well in one-on-ones. Remember the Goodison derby when he hit it at Mignolet? Players like Henry and Suarez finish those off every time.

I don’t see what Cleverley adds. We desperately missed Besic last night. He’s the only one who seems to want to win.

I knew this would happen with Stones. He would make mistakes and get crucified. He’s got too big for his boots and he needs dropping. I’m afraid to say that with hindsight, we should have cashed in over summer.

There's been some great memories and games under Roberto: winning at Old Trafford, drawing at the Emirates and outplaying them, the first derby at Goodison, some great UEFA performances, beating Man Utd at Goodison twice, outplaying Arsenal at Goodison with Coleman's showboating keepy-uppies, the Barnsley come back etc. etc. He brought in some excellent players, particularly in his first season.

I’ve been his biggest fan but I think it’s time for him to go now. I’m not sure who we’d get. I think Mark Hughes would be a good fit.

Peter Carpenter
59 Posted 28/01/2016 at 10:21:09
Harold, I’ve often heard the word in the Lower Gwladys.

’I say Rafe, the tea tastes rather acerbic today, what do you say?’

’Oh yaah, Toby, things have gone rapidly downhill since they stopped serving Darjeeling Fine Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe.’

’Oh absolutely, Rafe.’

Paul Andrews
60 Posted 28/01/2016 at 10:28:16

With the greatest of respect to Harold, our elder statesman whose posts I enjoy, you stand your ground. Aguero starts drifting in behind Stones then makes the run across him to score the header. Neither movement was picked up by Stones.

Can we please put a stop to the "it was because Stones was hung out to dry at right back" stance? He was undone by the lack of basic defending. And it’s not the first time.

Laurie Hartley
61 Posted 28/01/2016 at 10:29:46
Good to see we haven’t completely lost our sense of humour:

PG Tips Commercial (c 1971)

Patrick Murphy
62 Posted 28/01/2016 at 10:32:28
Craig (58) Last night was far from a glorious defeat, it was an inevitable outcome of the players poor fitness levels, lack of belief and the managers strange team selections and changes.

Losing at Old Trafford in 1983 was a glorious defeat, losing to our neighbours in 1984 was a glorious defeat and a few other occasions have deserved that label, last night certainly wasn’t one deserving of that title.

I’m not saying the team didn’t try its hardest or that they lacked desire but the bottom line is they are a dis-organised collection of individuals without any team pattern or proper shape.

Only a couple of players are doing a good job for the team as a whole and often we look like a poorly drilled team who are lacking the psychology to cope with the pressure of the job in hand, which is perhaps, a reflection of the man in the hot-seat?

Phil Walling
63 Posted 28/01/2016 at 10:38:20
John Keating @38: I based my assertion that 10 points from the remaining 15 games should be a doddle on some research I did when we were in a similar situation a year ago.

NEVER since the formation of the Football League in 1888 has Everton not managed to chalk up at least NINE wins in a season – and that includes the very rare occasions they have suffered relegation.

So, unless this turns out to be the club's worst-ever season, we are nailed on for 38 points. Surely even the most negative among us believe we can scrape at least one more point from somewhere!

David Midgley
64 Posted 28/01/2016 at 10:47:00
Just like every other Evertonian I am annoyed and upset by the result and the situation we’re in. My comments will be disjointed because I’m frustrated.

Mr Martinez said earlier on in the season that he had identified his players and would act. At the end of this transfer window we would be stronger than the start of it. Up to now we have signed two players, one a youth prospect and the other is doing his national service. They wont be helping in this campaign. Probably we’ll get someone in the next day or so,but they should have been here the first week in January...

They don’t have to be world beaters, they just have to be good, professional competent footballers who know how to play. Leicester City, West Ham Utd and Stoke City seem to be able to identify them and sign them – why can’t we? Had we bought a couple of players, forwards and a right back, would we be in the situation we are now?

It’s been obvious for some time now that we need a RB. We lost out on Sam Byram who seemed to be the type of player we want ,however, he was at a ’Nearly ’ club so why would he come to another? There are other players out there.

Other posters pointed to the RB at Partizani Tirane in Albania. He’s a far better player and more skilful than the ex Leeds lad and younger. He would also probably be a great deal cheaper. How has Roberto never seen him on one of his many football TVs but ToffeeWebbers have?

Why this obsession with Yarmelenko? I know it’s reported on the web but they’re saying a deal has been done with Arsenal. Why is all our transfer business and our alleged targets discussed so openly? Catterick would turn in his grave.

Lukaku needed help with him last night, he can’t do it all on his own, he should have had support. Deulofeu was supplying crosses but seemed frustrated and unfit, then he was taken off. End of service.

When we attacked there was only Rom. in the box,when City attacked they had three or four.

Everton could attract a decent, competent manager who knows how to set a team up,to defend and play attacking forward moving football. The Watford manager has somehow done it with fifteen or so strangers!!! I don’t see paying his wages would be a problem, we managed to pay Mr Moyes. Managerially we are a very attractive club.

We could well be sold in the next moth or so. If that happens I hope due diligence is spent on sourcing a new manager and support team for him. It doesn’t matter to me that they "don’t get Everton", what is more important is that they do their job properly. We have players that aren’t in Roberto’s plans, Gibson and McGeady. He wants to send them out on loan but not sell them Tony Hibbert is a RB but can’t get into the squad. Steven Pienaar... They are yesterday’s men so what’s the point?

What next ????

Craig Walker
65 Posted 28/01/2016 at 12:00:50
Patrick (62) I agree with all you say but if Deulofeu puts that in the back of the net then we’re looking forward to a final against the RS now. It’s always small margins and we fuck it up. Even the great Kendall teams in the 80s could have won more. We lost to 10 men in a Cup Final after being knackered due to the ECWC win.

The 86 team lost away at Oxford United to gift them lot the league. We pulverised them in the cup final until Gary Stevens messed up. The bad luck is untrue. 1-0 up in the semi-final against the RS and Distin messes up. Saha puts us 1-0 up in the first minute of our last cup final and we lose our bottle. The Villarreal debacle. Lost to penalties to Fiorentina etc. etc. Martinez ruined our last big chance which was the home tie against Wigan.

I love this club but I don’t know why we put ourselves through it. My 5 year old lad is an Evertonian but I don’t know when he’ll experience any glory.

Ian Hollingworth
66 Posted 28/01/2016 at 12:06:25
Great article, well put.

I can only muster SACK HIM NOW but I think thats roughly the same as this article.

I am intrigues why some people think that players will leave if Martinez is not the manager.

Players join clubs for Money and some times because they think they might win something.

Players usually leave clubs because they are not getting a game or they have an opportunity with another club to earn more money or better chance of winning something.

When players leave our club, as they will and always have done it will be because of the above and not because Martinez is no longer the manager.

It is a job to them and even if they like Martinez it will not detract from the above reasons, ie, Money and silverware opportunities.

Another way of looking at it would be how many of them would want to stay for a relegation battle under Martinez?

Fran Mitchell
68 Posted 28/01/2016 at 12:23:36
For those worried that our best players will go if Martinez leaves (flawed logic btw). But even if it was true, there are 11 teams in the Premier League doing a much better job than us, and they don’t have Lukaku, Stones et al.

It is interesting, recently there has been discussion about ’does a manager really matter?’ It’s an interesting question, at the end of the day the team with the best players win more often than not. But Martinez really is showing that the manager does indeed matter.

But our next one needs to be carefully picked. Many on here say ’Eddie Howe’. Personally, I don’t think another, young and upcoming manager is what we need. Eddie Howe could be the next Garry Monk for all we know. Let him stay at Bournemouth for another few years.

We need an experienced manager (At least 5 seasons in top-flight football, European experience etc), well-respected and with a certain degree of pedigree. If we must break our wage structure then so be it.

Peter Carpenter
69 Posted 28/01/2016 at 12:35:47
Why do people like Besic? He hasn't been with us long and he hasn't yet done much. But he is clearly committed, a bit nasty, determined to get what he wants and would tackle his granny if she dwelt on the ball a fraction too long. We need the same qualities in a manager.
Jim Hourigan
70 Posted 28/01/2016 at 12:52:09
An excellent if somewhat depressing but accurate article Lyndon. Does the ship have a captain who can make a decision? BK's current health situation suggests not, so what on earth are we going to do?
Derek Thomas
71 Posted 28/01/2016 at 12:57:18
Deadman walkin', we gotta deadman walkin' here, walkin' The Blue Mile.
Geoff Evans
72 Posted 28/01/2016 at 13:11:47
Besic is the one man you could build a team around.
Don Alexander
73 Posted 28/01/2016 at 13:58:53
I'd like Lyndon to be the fans' representative in the boardroom. They need him if they want to get real.
Michael Polley
74 Posted 28/01/2016 at 14:16:37
That’s 3 games in a row that we’ve been screwed over by incompetent officials, but Martinez will only use that as an excuse to keep his job.

On the night, his game plan and substitutions were criminal. This club is at a crossroads now, and what happens in the next few weeks will determine whether this club can even survive the Premier League.

The only light I can see is a possible takeover then we can get rid of that twat of a manager, and with some fresh investment we may be able to persuade Rom etc to stay for at least one more season, and with some decent acquisitions over the summer we could move forward. Easier said than done of course, but I can’t and don’t want to contemplate the alternative.

Robin Cannon
75 Posted 28/01/2016 at 14:42:31
Like others, I’m really staggered that people think players would leave if we sacked Martinez.

Far more likely; our best players are going to leave because of Martinez. Because under his management we’ve slipped so far down the league, and he’s demonstrated that there’s little chance of those players being able to achieve their ambitions at Everton while he’s in control.

Given the various suggestions of BK’s health and lack of recent involvement, we also seem to be facing a situation where there’s nobody really taking the kind of decisions necessary to sack him anyway.

Dan Parker
76 Posted 28/01/2016 at 14:47:41
It sits too closely to our Europa League exit last year. Firmly in the driving seat but a lack of tactical nous and game management send us packing. The excuses Martinez spouts after each game has transferred to the players also, it’s easy to blame others rather than fix your own issues.

We wouldn’t be talking about Chelsea and Bournemouth getting an extra minute or so of time if we’d just hoofed the ball to the other end of the pitch and kept it in their corner, managing the game down to get 3 points. Instead, poor subs and kamikaze all-out attack at any cost.

Jamie Crowley
77 Posted 28/01/2016 at 14:51:41
Peter @54-

I’ve a feeling that Rom and Delo play more for Roberto than for Everton at their core. They were brought in by him, he wanted them badly, and he’s given them both a chance to prove their worth and he believes in their ability.

If he leaves, I could see them leaving for greener pastures. I think every footballer at that level realizes they simply have to play for a gaffer that believes in them – or they don’t play and their value drops / they simply don’t make as much.

Stones is gone. Of this I’m convinced. I said at the outset we signed Funes Mori as replacement for Stones and Roberto convinced / told Stones he’ll get his move but he had to give Everton another year. Hunch admittedly.

Barkley, with upheaval, could easily leave for the money.

Now someone above made a few very salient points. If they leave we will indeed have an ass-ton of money (actual quantitative measurement) to reinvest and rebuild.

Part of me says that’s good because as again someone said above, can Martinez get the best out of these players? If not, then "move on" is sound thinking.

Part of me says why in the hell would we rebuild when we’re clearly in the midst of doing so currently! We’re smack dab in the process of putting on a new face of youth and development at Everton – no one would deny that.

The question is, do we stay the course or do we start afresh?

Honestly after sleeping on it... I have no clue what the answer actually is.

I think Lyndon is as talented a writer as anyone. I think the guy could, if he were so inclined, write for Time magazine FFS. And frankly he’s always been exceedingly level-headed and not reactionary to "trends".

His article speaks a lot of truth and it has me thinking – that much I’ll say.

The bottom line is do you see the "vision" Roberto has and do you [still] want to follow the path.

I do. I think the concept is spot on for Everton.

But... for how much longer I honestly can not say. As I’ve mentioned before there are things that simply must change.

Those of us who still, to some unbelievably, back Roberto and his project want the same thing the "dissenters" do – what’s best for Everton. And despite the last few weeks, I’m holding on to the notion that the best thing is for Roberto to continue on and build this club from the ground up – with his approach and focus on talented young players.

That doesn’t make me stubborn. That doesn’t mean I can’t see the shortcomings – you’d be absolutely blind not to.

It means I realize we are going through an insanely horrific time but want to give Roberto every single shred of rope he has before he hangs himself. Why? Because if his project actually pans out we will be so incredibly happy we stuck with it.

If not... we’ll hire some middling dude, our younger players will most likely realize they’re not playing for a club that will give them a fair chance, we won’t be sitting on a business plan that is literally capable of making millions by buying kids at disgustingly low prices and selling them on for a king’s ransom, and we’ll finish 7th to 8th – all the while concentrating on both ends of the pitch.

But it’s getting to the point where I can’t back "the plan" much longer.

Jamie Crowley
78 Posted 28/01/2016 at 14:59:26
And... as I’m clearly full of hot fucking air this morning...

I tell you what else I’ve been thinking.

I’m fed up – FED UP – with our attitude. I’ve said forever Jags is WAY to nice a guy. Baines as well. Barry has been excellent but again... when have you ever, ever seen any of our veterans and "leaders" contest a decision??

If you want a clear-out, then ditch the lap-dog passiv-ist "leaders" we have and bring in a few players that would rather eat their own liver than lose.

The older players on the squad seemingly have accepted that losing is acceptable by their demeanor on the pitch.

For once, just once, when we are fucked by the ref somebody get up in his face and tear the guy a new one! Act like you want to win for the love of God.

Our problem, in no small part, begins with some players that have been at this club a long time...

Kevin Tully
79 Posted 28/01/2016 at 15:14:03
We all like to visit this site to vent our feelings, and there can be no argument Martinez deserves to be sacked looking at his performance over the past 18 months. His win rate is absolutely shocking.

Sadly, the reality is somewhat different. There are many factors to take into consideration regarding the removal of any manager, but here are a few you may want to consider.

I don’t think the Board, the people who make the decision, will be as concerned as us if we finish mid-table. I believe our wage bill is around 9th/10th in the League, so even if we finish 12th, are they really that upset?

For the first time in Bill’s chairmanship, we are led to believe the club is actually up for sale. We are no longer ’looking for investment,’ the current majority shareholders want to dispose of their asset to a willing buyer. For them to realise maximum returns, we only have to stay in the League.

There is still a distinct possibility we will finish around 8th place. Mr Moyes’s last four finishing league positions were 8th, 7th, 7th, and 6th in his final season. Screams from the fanbase to sack a manager finishing 9th or 10th probably won’t register at all. After all, what are the targets set for Martinez? Does anyone actually know?

All this talk of us having our most talented squad in years may well be true, but the same applies to every other team having a decent season.

Finally, and I believe this to be the most important factor, Martinez’s transfer policy will ensure the current/new board don’t have to dip into their own pockets. Lukaku will go for a minimum of £50m, Stones (a Moyes buy) possibly £40m. The sell to buy policy that has funded our transfers for the last 16 years is well and truly flourishing.

The question we need to ask is, would a club with no ambition sack a manager who can keep our head above water?

Brian Harrison
80 Posted 28/01/2016 at 15:25:54
I don't buy this nonsense about the players leaving if Martinez leaves, So the logic then is if he stays they stay utter bollocks. Lukaku's agent has already said that if he had been his agent then he would never have signed for us, do you really think that his agent isn't already talking to interested parties.

Same goes for Stones with all the media clamour about his move, his agent will also be talking to other clubs. Anybody who doesn't think this is going on must live in the same cuckoo world as our manager.

The only way these players would have been persuaded to stay was a Champions league place and a massive increase in salary, neither will happen so they will be off.

As I have said before Deulofeu is here on a loan agreement, were Barca already have agreed a timescale and fee for there buyback clause. Even RM has said he has no say in what happens with Deulofeu, so why was this deal made out to be a something it wasn't.

Will Firstbrook
81 Posted 28/01/2016 at 15:35:32
Spot on, Kevin. I made a similar post earlier concerning the mindset of the current owner and Board against the back drop of a potential sale of the club. Nobody will be looking to upset the apple cart at this point in time.

The potential (likely) sell-on value of our more coveted player assets serves as ample insurance against lost revenue of dropping places in the table or drop in gate revenue. As long as we stay up this season (highly likely at this point) then there really is very little threat to the current board/investor’s financial stake. That is the only thing that will trigger action in absence of any ambition.

I fear we are stuck with this clown until the end of the season and if the club is not sold, likely longer unless something drastic changes with the club’s finances adversely threatening investment value.

Oliver Molloy
82 Posted 28/01/2016 at 15:35:45

"(If there is a silver lining, of course, it's that the inevitable psychological collapse against Liverpool at Wembley next month has been averted, but with it goes the opportunity to finally address a mentality of inferiority and a lack of fortitude that appears to pervade the club nowadays.)"

When you say something like that, I presume you are including yourself.

NEVER will that shower EVER be superior to us in my eyes. I would take every chance we get to play them.

Paul Kossoff
83 Posted 28/01/2016 at 16:20:52
Jay, You, still haven’t put the kettle on. Why use a word like erudition when you could just as easily used 'learned' or 'study', words more familiar to the average football fan? Hmm, interesting. It wouldn’t go down well in the Lower Gwladys Street.
Joe Clitherow
84 Posted 28/01/2016 at 16:30:04
Brian (#80),

You keep posting that Deulofeu is on a loan agreement – he isn’t. He is on a buyback agreement. I know also that you’ve said that is the same thing – it isn’t either.

The reason is that a loan agreement guarantees that he goes back at the end of the season which I think is when the option is for from what has been reported. I don’t think they will come calling on Gerry for the very same reasons they sold him to us; namely that he is not consistently good enough to get in their team.

The buyback is a clause in the contract as insurance if he turned out to be the next Ronaldo which he clearly hasn’t done to date. Also, a loan means they recall their asset with no fees paid, they just reassume paying wages.

The supposed terms of buyback are, from memory, we paid £4M ish, they have to pay £12M ish, so again very very different paying back the £4M you have banked and stumping up a further £8M to a zero capital cost loan recall.

He has made no noises about wanting away and I don’t think Barca will pick up buyback on the basis of performance this season so it would be a surprise if he was not here next season. Unless he really is in love with Martinez as some hypothesise. But then he went to Sevilla, which again was Barca wanting to have a look at him in La Lisa rather than the EPL. After they had a look they sold him to us cut price, but inserted a buyback clause (with a decent profit for us I’d add) just in case.

I don’t think they are fussed about him.

John Raftery
85 Posted 28/01/2016 at 16:51:53
Despite the best efforts of most of them last night, our players remain a bunch of losers. The squad has proved nowhere near as strong as it has been portrayed and were well outclassed by City. The players are far too nice on the field both to the opposition and the officials.

I exempt Funes Mori who appears happy to get stuck into people as De Bruyne will no doubt confirm. We need more players with a nasty streak whoever manages us in the future. Unless results collapse completely there is no point in sacking Martinez before the end of the season.

We are not currently in danger of relegation, we have lost only four games since October and will surely get enough draws to stay away from trouble. The manager should however be given notice that his position is under review and be actively challenged on his performance and strategies.

Our problem, as Colin has said, is that there is leadership vacuum with nobody at Board level apparently carrying the authority or energy to do that.

Jay Harris
86 Posted 28/01/2016 at 16:53:04
as always a very eloquent and succinct post that finally agrees with what quite a few of us have felt since his appointment.

When has a top six club ever appointed a manager who has just got his team relegated???

I would also like to use this opportunity to ask our fans to lay off John Stones and Tim Howard.

Yes, Howard has long since had his best days but it is not his fault if the manager keeps picking him and it’s not that long ago we were all relishing the two fingers up to Mourhino and singing "Money cant buy you Stones".

Since the lad got injured the other week he has made a few mistakes and got pilloried by supporters obviously affecting his confidence despite claims that he is too arrogant. Martinez should have protected him by taking him out of the firing line but instead exposed him at RB.

Unlike the manager the kid is top class and capable of being a great CH for years to come so please guys aim your venom where it is deserved at the incompetent manager we have.

One other point it was unclear who was supposed to be marking Aguero. It started off with Baines, then Funes Mori and the guy just ran the legs off all of our back 4. There was obviously no plan to deal with him or Silva.

Paul Andrews
87 Posted 28/01/2016 at 17:04:48

Surely it depends what part of the pitch Aguero is attacking as to who picks him up?

Unless you are advocating we should have man-marked him. Something I would not agree with.

James Marshall
88 Posted 28/01/2016 at 17:29:59
Can't defend, won't defend. The Martinez mantra.
Paul Tran
89 Posted 28/01/2016 at 17:35:04
Some things were made chillingly clear last night.

First is that our experienced stars, the ones Martinez inherited, are not going to help us win anything. That's two managers under which they have choked when it mattered. Who ever is manager is going to need to replaced them.

Second is that are young players need to learn, whether that requires time or another manager is up for debate.

Third is that Martinez clearly isn't good enough to match his own ambitions. A potentially good manager with consistently poor decision making, poor fitness management and more tellingly for me, an inability to get his instructions to his players in a clear manager. The players look so confused and incoherent.

I'm proud of the fact that were not a sack-happy club. I would have replaced him with Bilic last summer. The most important decision right now is finding the kind of manager we need to help us succeed, not one who can take us back to the mediocrity of the last manager. If the takeover is going ahead, nothing will need to happen till then; they'll already have an idea who they want to bring in. If it isn't, the first job of the 'directors' will be to make a considered decision about who's coming in next. Take your time, get it right.

Mike Oates
90 Posted 28/01/2016 at 17:53:52
Our defensive weakness lies in three areas, at the moment young Stones is a disaster waiting to happen, on top of that our full backs no matter who they are Baines, Coleman, Oviedo, Stones, Galloway let far too many crosses into the box, where a startled Howard is having kittens.

A top performing Barry, McCarthy, Besic can’t help, they stop the moves through the middle and do it well, it’s when the opposition work it wide and cross the ball when total panic sets in. Look at last night, Pellegrini’s move in the 2nd half to 2 wide men with Navas coming on completely changed the game. Baines was then preoccupied and failed on numerous occasions to stop crosses.

With a pacy Sterling on the other side Stones had no chance at all. I said before the game on the Live Forum that Stones at right back would be our problem and he was for two of their goals.

Martinez has got himself into a real hole now, his best defender by a country mile is Funes Mori, yet to fit him in means either his Captain, Jagielka or Stones being dropped , and he has built both up to be world beaters – his chicken way out last night was to drop the best attacking full back in the league and to replace him with a slower, less defensive nous full back in the shape of Stones.

Martinez has to go now, a new manger needs to given 15 games to demonstrate to our younger lads that we can become a good team in both attack and defence and challenge next year for a top 6 place.

Will it happen – NO, not because the board can’t see it needs changing , but the board is Kenwright and for reasons we all know he is facing a far bigger challenge with his health and ensuring a takeover, which is right for Everton’s future. I suspect he’s hoping that Martinez can at least keep us in the Premier League and significant plans are in place to take this great club forward and our young lads see that and are willing to give another year of the career to Everton

James Marshall
91 Posted 28/01/2016 at 18:33:00
I don’t agree that the players look unfit, or confused – in fact I think they look very fit and perfectly aware of their instructions. The problem is, well, the instructions.

We’re simply too open and don’t defend high enough up the pitch, as a unit. It ain’t rocket science, and people are overcomplicating our problems massively.

Dennis Ng
92 Posted 28/01/2016 at 18:36:22
Paul, I agree with you that we’re not a sack-happy club and other failings that we need to correct.

I hope we do serious due diligence on the next manager, hopefully one who can help us succeed in the long term, show progress year on year, and one who can stay with us for a long time.

Keith Harrison
93 Posted 28/01/2016 at 18:36:26
Will you keep the posts shorter please? I keep needing to leave half-way through reading them to go for a piss!

How about we keep Roberto as Director of Football, and get Reidy or similar in to run the team! Just a thought...

Dennis Ng
94 Posted 28/01/2016 at 18:42:04
Keith, it wouldn’t be a bad idea if he can get his ego go and not confuse the playing side of the club. I can’t see it happening though.

Also, many of us would have been advised by now to consolidate as many posts as possible into one so as to not overwhelm the forum. That means few longer posts, fewer shorter posts.

Keith Harrison
95 Posted 28/01/2016 at 18:44:11
Overwhelm the Forum, Dennis? It's in feckin meltdown!!!
Martin Mason
96 Posted 28/01/2016 at 18:45:40
When we just defended last night we did it well but as City have showed in a few games now is that if later in the game they play with wide men on both sides they create wide open spaces around both full backs. Is it fitness, perhaps wingmen not covering back well enough or is it RM’s tactics to narrow the defence?

Baines was by his own standards awful last night. Jags is brilliant but Funes More is very much a £10M player when what we need now are minimum £20M standard players in every position. If we want to progress, whoever the manager is, then we need to play proven good players in the first team and not bargains and potential. We must not be Wigan 2 and believe that, with Wigan standard players and Barcelona tactics, we can be Barcelona.

We’re being left in the EPL by teams who we’d never once have recognised as our peers and that is bad. I live in hope though that Martinez will come good and get this fairly good squad to realise its potential. At the moment he is taking the Micky out of the fans with his idiotic rhetoric at interviews and the embarrassing way that he’s allowing this team of ours to play.

What about Pearson, the ex-Leicester Manager? He is really responsible for Ranieri’s success especially given his proven incompetence.

Brian Harrison
97 Posted 28/01/2016 at 19:03:18
Joe (#84),

Just to clarify for you the buyback this summer would cost Barca £6.4 million and we paid £4.25 million. So add on the wages he earned this season and that's why I said it was more like a loan deal.

The following summer, the cost goes up to £12 million. So tell me another deal that you have ever heard were the selling club has already agreed the price they will buy him back at?

Yes, there have been loads of deals were a club gets first option to buy a player back, but never at an agreed price over not one but two seasons. Now you can believe that this is a normal transfer; I don't.

Darren Hind
98 Posted 28/01/2016 at 20:04:56
I'm struggling with what I'm reading here. We have just been robbed fucking blind. I cant believe that officials could not see that ball over the line, The linesman doesn't have to be that side. the ball was 4-5 inches out of play, how could he miss it? Even if he was the other side... that's why the pitch and the lines are two different fucking colours. Man City had given it their best shot, but they were out of ideas. Ossie and Deulofeu (who had been on their last legs) were off and fresh legs where on. What happened next defied belief.

You expect the odd decision to go against you but this is getting fucking ridiculous. We were proper robbed at Chelsea too and let's not forget Ashley Williams's knock-on. If the officials did their job we'd have won at Chelsea and probably be in a cup final.

I'm not talking about minor errors here we are talking about game changing, monumental blunders.

If even one of these decisions went against any of the other clubs the forums and phone-ins would be on fire, next time that referee is appointed in one of their games, he would be shitting himself.

We on the other hand make it easy for undecided referees, we accept it and instead of howling our derision... we call for our manager to be sacked.

Jay Harris
99 Posted 28/01/2016 at 20:13:33

We are not talking about the last couple of games and bad decisions going against us.

We are talking about a man whose flawed football philosophy has cost his sides to leak goals at an alarming rate with one of the lowest win percentages of managers who haven't been sacked.

Refereeing decisions cannot be blamed for his horrendous record in football management.

Darren Hind
100 Posted 28/01/2016 at 20:23:55

I've banged on about on about this guy's flaws since he got here, but to hold him accountable for the last three results is just plain stupid. If these staggeringly poor calls from the officials aren't made, we're several points better off and in a cup final.

We've put up two good performances against the last two Champions. They both needed really shocking decisions to get them out of jail.

Sack him? No fucking chance. Not now.

William Cartwright
101 Posted 28/01/2016 at 21:07:30
Darren (#98). Yes, I see your point and agree entirely. Also add the point that Jags raised regarding Atkinson’s switching the throw in before Stones had even thrown the ball and his sarcastic response then you have another anti-Everton refereeing performance.

The current situation is a coming together of many events all with their own grey areas and frustrations and we are not only suffering as a club professionally, we are losing sight of what makes the game so great as a spectator sport, such as skill, teamwork, chance, luck, moments of individual or collective skills and so on. Also at the same time we are or attempting to draw conclusions from a series of sometimes unrelated chaotic events.

One thing that is absolutely clear is if you take the critical timing of key events that’s when it gets interesting.

Referees can only go so far without being seen as biased, but often they influence the game good or bad, intentionally or unintentionally, throughout the game, and the sport lives with this reality. What fascinates me is the patterns of repetitive bias that emerge over time and the social responses to it.

In the case of Everton, I am biased. However, even giving due allowance for that I am of the opinion Everton are treated more unfairly by the footballing controllers and marketing institutions (such as the BBC) than any other club. I am also of the opinion that the Redshites are treated "more fairly" than any other club. Suppose this viewpoint is correct, it is interesting that the two extreme examples come from the same City. Now that is a statistic that I find scary...

We jump all over Roberto and rightly so, because his team selection and management of substitutions is extremely poor. Some may even say biased, and his cavalier approach at the expense of game management is unprofessional and obvious to all. However we probably don’t keep a balanced view in the heat of the debate. When things have calmed down, and we look back on a season where we may have been so close to, or may have won a trophy, them is the time to judge. To replace Roberto now would be a very high risk strategy, but I'm sure behind the scenes that a good bollicking is overdue and may have happened already!

I have issued posts recently questioning why Everton don’t get penalties as other teams do (especially the Redshites... ) but for now, especially against Man City, the focus is on Roberto’s failings to date, which far outweigh his good points. People will only focus on the conspiracy theories when the level of behavior / mistakes of referees goes too far. Atkinson crossed the line last night but not quite as far as the ball that Sterling crossed for the goal. Everyone knew it and felt something was wrong and that is why Roberto is right to highlight the unfairness of Atkinson’s performance, and why ToffeeWebbers generally are not interested to listen at this time.

Laurie Hartley
102 Posted 28/01/2016 at 21:28:53
Darren, Jay, and William, the crux of what you are all saying seem to be – if the recent decisions hadn’t gone against us would we all be viewing the managers performance differently? I don’t know.

Putting that aside – what I do know is that the footballing public and journos should be asking the following 3 questions:

In the Chelsea (Terry offside) – why didn’t the linesman do his job?

In the Swansea game at the start of the passage of play that led to their second goal (Williams handball) – why didn’t the linesman do his job?

In the City game (Sterling out of play) – why didn’t the linesman do his job?

I don’t buy the proposition that they are incompetent. They were all easy calls – they had a clear line of sight to the ball in all instances. There is something not right here.

Jamie Crowley
103 Posted 28/01/2016 at 21:46:40
Keith @93 -

Point taken. Brevity. And apologies to your bladder.

David Hallwood
104 Posted 28/01/2016 at 22:36:01
Great piece, Lyndon, so good that nothing can be really added. However, your stat of 110 conceded should be set in context with his Premier League history.

From 2009-10 to now, his teams have conceded 396 league goals, factor in cups and its well in excess of 430 – that's in 6½ seasons. As the man says, he don't do clean sheets.

Ian Smitham
105 Posted 28/01/2016 at 23:13:19
Lyndon, your usual balanced and well thought out observations, but I do detect a hardening of your views, and also an interesting and increasing alignment of the ToffeWebbers views regards the "present manager" (sorry Ken).
Alison Stokes
106 Posted 28/01/2016 at 23:35:28
Must concur that this is an excellent article but must say I am fed up and bored now with this whole situation at Everton. We are a walking disaster zone and have been for years. Various owners, numerous managers and shed loads of players have failed to deliver any success either on or off the field. Lack of winning attitude permeates whole club and with an odd season excepted it always has done.

One more final comment from me re the previous comments; STOP blaming the officials for our results and lack of ability to hold onto a lead. Had we not celebrated for 81 seconds at The Bridge the whistle would have gone before Terry scored. City had stonewall pens not given in the semi-final at Goodison and EPL match at the Etihad.

Chris Butler
107 Posted 28/01/2016 at 23:46:36
We can talk about bad decisions all we want, however that’s not why we are in this position. We are in this position because of Martinez. Look at West Ham v City on Saturday Bilic put lot’s of pressure on the ref and the 4th official, and showed more passion in that one game than Roberto has shown during his whole tenure. We are sleepwalking into disaster no other big club would accept the nonsense we do.

From 2007 to 2013 we regularly challenged for either the Europa League or the top 4. He has taken us from that settling for mid table mediocrity. We have the best squad since the 80s, we have a better squad than clubs like Leicester, West Ham and Stoke, yet we are lagging behind them.

Our squad is just as good as Spurs and the RS yet we are miles away from them. We have 3 England internationals at the back, yet can’t keep a clean sheet to save our life. The only person who is to blame for our position is Martinez.

Paul Andrews
108 Posted 29/01/2016 at 11:15:01
Regularly challenged for the top 4?

I must have missed that, Chris...

David Johnson
109 Posted 30/01/2016 at 04:24:33
Learning to play from the back is taking longer than expected and can be a bit frustrating to say the least. Having said that, I think it’s a noble aspiration befitting of the School of Science so I’d give him another season.

He mostly buys well and we could be fantastic if it all suddenly clicks into place – maybe with the purchase of a special midfielder who could prove to be the catalyst.

Like I’ve said, I’d like to give him another season and the chance to bring in a couple more of his own type of player. I would like to see us closing down space a bit more though, because at times we give quite ordinary teams the time and space to make them look like Barcelona.

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