Giving up at Anfield would be managerial suicide

, 31 March, 39comments  |  Jump to most recent
In the latest View from the Gwladys column, local radio producer and former Blue Room podcast regular Dave Downie gives a frank assessment of where Everton stand at this point in the season and insists that Roberto Martinez can't afford to play a weakened team in the Merseyside derby.

» Read the full article at Liverpool Echo

Reader Comments (39)

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Jim Bennings
1 Posted 31/03/2016 at 09:41:38
Given our absolutely atrocious record at Anfield and in Merseyside derbies in general, yes it would be managerial suicide if we throw that game as we did in 2012.

We can't guarantee we will win that Semi Final either so we should take each game as it comes.

What if we get beaten at Anfield and then it sets the team in a bad mindset and low confidence for the Wembley occasion?

I want to play as hard as we can at Anfield and try to end our dreadful record there, it's embarrassing the amount of years we have seen pass since we last truly celebrated there and it's nearly six years since we last beat them in any derby.

The team has to show up over the next few weeks, it's make or break for Martinez and for many of these players to win the fans affection.

Patrick Murphy
2 Posted 31/03/2016 at 09:58:50
The only real problem with playing a full strength side at the other place, is if we do happen to get a positive result and performance there, the odds of this particular Everton side flopping at Wembley will increase.

This team don't seem able to put two good back to back performances against any teams, Perhaps if Roberto threatens the players with missing Wembley, they can do more than make up the numbers at the other place.

Whether we start with our best eleven available at the other place isn't that important to me, because the Semi-Final is far more vital for the club, of course the perfect scenario is that we win both games but experience tells us that is highly unlikely, but as ever we live in hope.

Gerard McGregor
3 Posted 31/03/2016 at 10:11:02
".. would be managerial suicide" – so, why not?
Laurie Hartley
4 Posted 31/03/2016 at 10:15:57
Personally, because I have had to get used to it over the years, I could live with us being beaten at Anfield – but not because we surrendered before the game starts. This games always has and always will be about "us" and "them".

No free derby win for their manager – I agree with Jim – we have to go hard for the win.

Ged Simpson
5 Posted 31/03/2016 at 10:22:58
It's weird this time. For all my life, I have dreaded the derby games and am really fed up when we lose. This time, it doesn't seem as important for some reason. I think it may be that, with the new owner and a likely change of manager, beating Liverpool won't be the big moment of our season in years to come.
Jim Bennings
6 Posted 31/03/2016 at 10:36:38
In typical Everton fashion we just know what will end up happening.

We'll surrender meekly at Anfield with the usual limited amount of surges across the halfway line and then, come the Saturday teatime at Wembley, we will probably perform better and take an early lead only for our trademark hard-luck story to unfold with either a self-destruct job from one of our defenders or a crazy decision from the match officials.

I am trying to get myself out of negative mindset but, supporting Everton, really all you need is to find out what the Latin is for glorious failure..

Jim Bennings
7 Posted 31/03/2016 at 10:47:08
Don't hold your breath, Ged, on the new owner having the immediate massive impact that some suggest.

I've heard from sources Martinez will be given at least the first few months of next season so I'm assuming what money is available is going to Martinez.

Ste Traverse
8 Posted 31/03/2016 at 12:27:49
I know some of our LFC-obsessed fans will see the derby as every bit as important as the Semi-Final, but it simply isn't.

Our Premier League campaign is a total write-off. It's the FA Cup or bust for us.

I'm not saying play a team of kids over at Anfield either. We have a reasonably deep squad. Utilise it.

Gordon Crawford
9 Posted 31/03/2016 at 12:56:53
Yes, the semi-final is important. But this is another match against the enemy. One game at a time. So let's get our best team out on the pitch and get tore into them.
Franny Porter
10 Posted 31/03/2016 at 13:33:45
For me, this team, the players should not be tired, they haven't turned up nearly enough this season and haven't broken a sweat since beating a broken Chelsea side.

The only way Martinez can redeem himself is to treat every game between now and then like a final and try to win every one. Strongest team every game from now on in.

In my eyes, that team is, Robles, Coleman, Baines, Stones, Jagielka, Barry, Besic, Barkley, Mirallas, Lennon, Lukaku. Play that team every game (barring injuries or suspensions) and try and build some confidence in both the team and us mugs who go and watch them every bastard week.

Gordon Crawford
11 Posted 31/03/2016 at 13:55:36
I agree, Franny. Enough of this weekend team crap. Let's just play our best team until they collapse with exhaustion.
Phil Walling
12 Posted 31/03/2016 at 14:35:12
Were Roberto to conjure up a really good win at Anfield, he would be nailed on to be with us ad nauseam regardless of the FA Cup.

Kenwright would probably order a Kitbag full of t-shirts with 'What a Manager' emblazoned on them!

Ged Simpson
13 Posted 31/03/2016 at 14:41:45
Jim..."sources". Umm. They could be anyone so unable to decide if they should be believed.
Andrew Ellams
14 Posted 31/03/2016 at 15:12:13
Ged, I'm convinced Martinez will still be around at Christmas.
Jim Bennings
15 Posted 31/03/2016 at 15:19:25

While Kenwright is here, there will be no sacking of Roberto Martinez.

I vouch that Martinez will be managing Everton until at least October. I think if things go really bad again by autumn, the board may be forced into action but, for now and the summer, I'd forget it.

Niall McIlhone
16 Posted 31/03/2016 at 15:39:15
I doubt this showpiece Sky match will offer much in the way of quality; derby games are always too frantic, but I would like to see Niasse (if fit) given an hour on the pitch, as he is rapidly running out of time to make an impression this debut season.

I'd also like to see Brendan Galloway figure. As others have said, not much riding on this one other than local pride; both clubs have massively under-achieved.

Ged Simpson
17 Posted 31/03/2016 at 18:21:41
None of us know if Martinez will go I guess. Personally I think he will be gone over the summer.
Ray Said
24 Posted 31/03/2016 at 22:26:16
I have always thought that the board's first objective should be to be the top club in the city. That should always be the first step on the road to success.

The aim should be 'We are bigger than the other mob over the park, have a bigger stadium, draw more fans, make more noise and win more trophies'.

That all starts by beating them in the derbies on a regular basis.

Jay Harris
25 Posted 31/03/2016 at 22:34:11
There is a few problems with that Ray.

Our supporters don't have the arrogance of kopites.

Our players don't have that superior outlook that their players have.

And last but not least we have Bill and Roberto which puts us at a distinct disadvantage to start with.

Kevin Fitzsimons
26 Posted 31/03/2016 at 22:46:47
I find it hard to believe that the multi-nationals that play for and manage clubs these days truly understand what a 'derby' is. Especially a derby between two teams that have hardly set the world on fire in recent years...

Success means trophies and / or qualification for Europe. Will 3 points against them get us any closer to either? .... NO! The semi-final and then the final are this season's only hope and should be the only focus.

The Premier League match should be about trying a few new routines, giving some players some match time to assess injury etc.... a high-tempo training game getting us in top shape for the biggest game of the season at Wembley.

Once we have won a few things, and stamped our brand across Europe, we can fondly remember the passion of derby matches of days gone by. Would a Man City fan swap a title for a win against Man Utd? ... I don't think so.

Colin Glassar
27 Posted 31/03/2016 at 23:36:21
Take each game as it comes is my motto. I hate losing and I especially hate losing to THEM!! If Roberto picks a weakened team, and loses, then he deserves to get the boot after that game. I don't care if there's a semi final coming up, you never throw a game against that lot like OFM did in the Gerrard derby.

As for everyone saying Martinez is nailed on for next season, well I've been led to believe that apart from an initial 10 minute meeting with Mr Moshiri a few weeks ago (before the sale) they haven't spoken since. Not very promising is it.

Laurie Hartley
28 Posted 31/03/2016 at 23:50:52
Ste (#8) – I have never thought of myself as an "LFC obsessed fan" but perhaps I am because there is something inside me that wants "us" to beat "them" any time we meet them.

Actually I do remember getting clobbered on this site some seasons ago about my views on an upcoming derby. It was a "Derby v Cup Run" discussion.

I understand the logic about the semi being more important than a league game that "on paper" for us only has 3 relatively unimportant points at stake.

Despite that, I can't get rid of the belief that somehow any Merseyside derby has more at stake for the club and its supporters than league position. This has been going on in my head for the last 55 years. Perhaps it will go away one day. :)

Patrick Murphy
29 Posted 31/03/2016 at 23:56:20
Laurie (#28), not the best 55 years to be an Evertonian in the derby encounters – our record is abysmal against them, particularly over the park.

It would, however, be fantastic if we could beat them and earn a cup final place in the space of four days. That would live long in the memory, but if we could only choose one, it would have to be a Cup final place for me.

Michael Williams
30 Posted 01/04/2016 at 00:21:47
Set up for the cup final. Of course I'm in the USA so easy for me to say.
John Raftery
31 Posted 01/04/2016 at 03:48:54
If this really is the best squad we have had in 30 years, one would have thought we should be able to field a slightly weakened team and beat them. The truth is we are heavily dependent on a few key players and if anything happened to them in the derby game, our chances of winning the semi-final would be severely weakened.

Having seen us lose countless derbies with a full-strength side, I cannot see the point of jeopardising our semi-final chances in the hope of gaining an unlikely win at Anfield.

Darren Hind
32 Posted 01/04/2016 at 08:36:03
Jim Bennings,

You would put a dampener on a free bar stag do... Is there ever a time when you are not absolutely certain we will get mullered?

So we just "know" that we will surrender meekly at Anfield and unluckily lose at Wembley, do we? ... perhaps Martinez should get you in the dressing room before the games to lighten the mood.

Like many on here, I'm a big critic of Martinez, but I'd like to think he will be going into these games with the certain knowledge that he has the the full support of every right-thinking Evertonian.

Let's be clear here; it's a pretty tall order to win both of these games (you'd get about 12/...ish with your local bookie) we CAN can do it... but if we rely on the quitters, the white flag wavers, and people with "sources", we may as well forget it.

Back to the thread. I don't even understand the question.

How can playing Baines one game, Oviedo the other, or Deulofeu and Lennon both getting a game each constitute "throwing the game"? Who's to say whether Besic or Cleverley should play? In both or either?

This is not the sixties, we don't have a first eleven, we have a first twenty-two... Two players for every position, in most of our positions, you can't get a cigarette paper between the two players vying for it. The eleven selected at Anfield will certainly not be "throwing it".

The odds on us winning both of these games would be a pretty true reflection of our chances. To overcome odds of over 10/1, you sometimes have to try the unexpected. Instead of latching on to the likely outcome in an attempt to prepare the "I-told-you-so's", why not recognise the difficulty of the task and support the manager. There is a time and a place to criticise/pressurise your manager . THIS is not it

Offer me a place in the final right now and I'd snatch your hand off. Victory at Anfield would be sooo sweet too... but, on this occasion, I will not be criticising the manager's selection... whatever it is.

Jim Bennings
33 Posted 01/04/2016 at 09:06:36

When you keep witnessing the same botch up job on a regular basis that it becomes habit, and habit is hard to break.

If we somehow conjured up a massive April then maybe my negativity would become positivity.

When you watch Everton repeat the same things, it's hard to imagine us breaking the habit.

Jim Bennings
34 Posted 01/04/2016 at 09:09:37
John Raftery,

You are correct!

Best squad in 30 years... yet, if Lukaku is missing, then our goalscoring exploits are incredibly reduced.

Phil Walling
35 Posted 01/04/2016 at 09:17:35
I can't help asking why, if this is the best squad in 12 years, why are we stuck in 12th position?

I know it is convenient for us to blame Martinez (nobody more than me!) but I have also come to believe we have a weak spine that is prone to 'bottleisazion'!

Jim Bennings
36 Posted 01/04/2016 at 09:54:38
A good point, Phil.

Maybe many of the players are using the abuse and criticism of Martinez as a shield and a safety cover.

Let's not forget that quite a few of these players have a powerful recent history going back to the David Moyes era of being big game bottlers. Or, if that is too harsh, let's say a consistent failure to do it when it matters most.

Patrick Murphy
37 Posted 01/04/2016 at 10:14:22
Phil (35),

Individually, the squad is arguably the best we have had in the Premier League era. There aren't too many players that you would say don't deserve to be playing at Goodison; however, collectively, as a team, they don't show their individual talents as often as we'd like, the reason for that lays at the feet of the manager and coaching staff.

Too much emphasis on improving the skill set of the individual players and not enough focus on the need to work hard for each other as a team. As Jim also says, we don't have that many 'winners' among the group and they have often let the fans down at crucial moments in the last decade or so, with or without Martinez at the helm.

If Evertonians are to witness this team or indeed any other group of Everton players truly challenge for major honours, the club itself has to alter its outlook – but I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for that to happen whilst this bunch of back-slappers are in charge.

Anthony Dwyer
38 Posted 01/04/2016 at 11:34:30
I've read through comments, with people sitting on both sides of the fence.

My view is that we never seem to beat them anyway, it's a game were only pride will make us want to win as the points are pretty much useless. So I'd rest Rom, Ross and Barry (seems our manager thinks we can't play without him!), plus I'd consider resting Baines and everyone else is fair game.

Rom out, Niasse (£13m striker with something to prove) in; Ross out, Mirallas (or even Deuofeu) in; and Galloway (or Oviedo, fitness pending) in for Baines.

Let's face it, all three replacements will want to force there way into the manager's thoughts so why not give them a chance? Plus all three are very good players. Galloway could be considered the weakest player, but he's young and hungry, he won't want to give an inch in the derby.

Last but not least, please take into consideration that our strongest team loses all the time!

Dave Richman
39 Posted 01/04/2016 at 11:43:27
I've been struggling with the 'best squad in 30 years' statement for a while now. It's as if a statement is made by someone and it immediately becomes gospel.

In my opinion, we're light at goalkeeper, right back, left midfield, the fabled 'playmaker' position, and striking options.

The squad may well look great on paper, but we can't rely on the likes of Pienaar, Gibson, Oviedo as they're usually injured or unfit... or we have the soon-to-be-retired players – Osman, Hibbert... the dross – McGeady, Kone... the nutcase that is Kevin Mirallas – I've given up on him as he can't be relied upon... and then there's Niasse, the unknown.

Lots of players to be shipped out, and plenty to be brought in.

Darren Hind
40 Posted 01/04/2016 at 12:56:37

Guess what? We're all Evertonians on here; you are not the only one who has known disappointment.

See anybody else waving a white flag for BOTH games before a ball is even kicked?

The thread is about whether you think the manager should make changes for Anfield, not an opportunity to put a dampener on it for everyone.

These are the sort of games we want Everton to be involved in. If you can't see any possibility of victory, why bother?

That's a serious question, by the way.

Martin Nicholls
41 Posted 01/04/2016 at 13:39:50
Darren – I'm nailing my flag to your mast and, for the record, it's blue – not white, like those of Jim and Phil!
Phil Walling
42 Posted 01/04/2016 at 14:59:50
I don't think I have ever said we shall lose both games. But faced with having to make a forecast here and now, I suspect we shall do better in the derby.

We've lost but one game away from home and playing only for the honour of finishing half-way when the 'importance' of the game means nothing to the mercenaries of both teams, I'll be backing us to get a win.

No doubt the' bottleization' I referred to early will be saved for the bigger event... as usual!

Jim Hardin
43 Posted 01/04/2016 at 19:29:50

So which game is Tim in-between the sticks for then given the starting 22 squad?

Phillip Warrington
44 Posted 02/04/2016 at 00:33:01
Everton are never going to get into Europe through their league position so why not field a second team and really keep a fresh and totally focused team for the semis.

I know they're the arch enemy but surely it would be more important to make the FA Cup final, then to win a league game that will not get us into the top 6 or get us relegated. After all, if we want any chance of keeping our top players and attracting players, we need to be playing in Europe.

Darren Hind
46 Posted 02/04/2016 at 07:33:10

I wouldn't be too concerned. The FA Cup is all about stories and if fate decrees that Howard is to be this year's story, that would be wonderful. He is still more than capable of putting in a top-drawer performance. He proved that a short while ago against Man City.

The fact that he lost any semblance of consistency quite a while back means he has to quit, or play at a lower level. It happens to them all.

He pissed many off (including me) with his arrogance earlier in the season, but stories of him being a great influence in the dressing room have gone a long way towards a reconciliation. If, for some reason, he was to play and then went on to produce the sort of fist-shaking defiance he showed against Man City, I would be the first one on here congratulating him.

That, my friend, is a promise.

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