Happy Talk

As we stand on the edge of the next take on the Moshiri Brand New Dawn, there is a renewed groundswell of optimism from the glass-half-fullers but there is much to be done to convince those who remain skeptical

“You’ve got to have a dream.
If you don’t have a dream,
How you gonna have a dream come true?”

When, in 1982, Captain Sensible, guitarist from Punk Rock band, The Damned, chose to cover “Happy Talk”, first heard in 1949 in the musical South Pacific, most thought he had lost his marbles. However, his dream came true and the single reached Number 1 for two whole weeks (when the Charts were actually meaningful).

Judge for yourselves here but, without getting too arty farty, most of the song’s appeal is its simplicity and feel-good factor. Let’s be honest we all prefer feeling happy to sad; given a choice even I would prefer half full to half empty, but it may just come down to DNA, the way we are wired.

Now that I’ve taken down the Real Madrid bunting, finished the last of the chorizo and the San Miguel, thoughts return to EFC. We Evertonians are an eclectic mix, for sure (Ed: Captain Sensible’s backing singers were the Dolly Mixtures, of course ;-)). Whatever our age, background, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation we have our own opinions, a wide range of them, and (most of us) aren’t afraid to express them loud and clear.

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Broadly speaking, though, we do fall into two camps; half full and half empty. I had to smile when I saw that Half Full was in the devil’s colour, and Half Empty in Blue.

As we stand on the edge of the Moshiri Brand New Dawn (Take 2, or is it 3?) there is a renewed groundswell of optimism from the half-fullers.

  • Allardyce is gone 🙂
  • We have a “proper” DoF 🙂
  • We are about to appoint a young, exciting coach 🙂
  • Elstone is gone 🙂
  • Board responsibilities have been “clarified” 🙂
  • Bramley Moore Dock is getting closer 🙂
  • We’ve still got a few quid to spend 🙂

Football is all about dreams, that’s what keeps us going as fans. Why else did 40,000 Coventry fans turn up at Wembley on Monday to see them beat “mighty” Exeter in the League 2 Play Off Final? Former stalwarts of English top flight, the Sky Blues have fallen far, but may be on the way back. You can’t say the same of Sunderland or Portsmouth.

Let’s remember that it was only 1999 when reigning Premier League champions Man City beat Gillingham on penalties in the Play Off Final to gain promotion from English football’s third tier.

Fortunes in football can change so quickly, but these days it’s less about a Kevin Brock back pass, (excepting of course the odd goalkeeping howler in the Champions League Final), it’s more about decisions made off the pitch, as we bang on about on EBM.

Whoever we appoint as Coach he deserves the full support of all Blues, and he’ll surely get it. Nevertheless, those of us in the Half Empty lounge, especially those longer in the tooth, like me, will at least retain a degree of scepticism and even cynicism.

We want our beloved Club to be successful, we have dreams too, but we know there are no short cuts, and, in fact, we recognise that the Club may have actually gone backwards in the last two years, certainly the last 12 months.

  • Squad is imbalanced and ageing
  • Supermarket sweep recruitment has made us ill
  • Club’s identity was seriously compromised with appointment of Allardyce
  • Commercial activity continues to disappoint as we fall further behind Top 6
  • Communications and Media Relations are worse than ever
  • Still no Chief Engagement Officer

Most worrying of all it has all gone very, very quiet on the new stadium. We dream of an iconic new home on the Banks of the Royal Blue Mersey with a 61,878 capacity; but, since the St Luke’s workshops, the silence has been deafening.

More than anything I worry that Farhad Moshiri is not fully engaged with Everton. He has other concerns for sure, particularly with some of his Russian interests in the current politico-economic climate. That would be less of a concern if he had appointed a team laden with experience and skills to deliver his vision; yet the Board has just been reduced in number by one (Elstone), and only two members are full-time. Most worrying is that the man charged with leading the stadium is only engaged part-time.

What is Moshiri’s vision for Everton, what is his dream? Does it even exist beyond a new stadium?

Who knows? I don’t for sure, I’m guessing and, of course, viewing through my half empty lens.

No doubt we have a massively important summer and then a vital season ahead where we really must see progress on and off the pitch. Just a few requests, we can all agree on:

  • Entertaining football with pace, flair and steel
  • Competitive in games vs Top 6
  • A cup run
  • Planning Permission granted for Bramley Moore
  • Funding secured for BM
  • Appointment of a Chief Engagement Officer

This time next year we’ll know more clearly how bright the future is, and I very much hope that cynicism and scepticism will have evaporated in the Royal Blue pyrotechnics because after all:

“You’ve got to have a dream.
If you don’t have a dream,
How you gonna have a dream come true?”

You can read more from at his blog, rodgerarmstrong.com and hear him host the Everton Business Matters podcast.

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Reader Comments (20)

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Brian Williams
1 Posted 30/05/2018 at 15:57:41
One thing: we already have Scott McLeod. He's head of engagement!
Duncan McDine
2 Posted 30/05/2018 at 16:37:19
I'm generally a "glass half-full" type, but rarely does that apply to the Everton part of my life! I honestly feel less and less interested, especially so since Moshiri arrived.

At least we used to be a half-arsed team with a big heart. Since he came, we're just half-arsed. Really hope I'm proved wrong, but I just don't feel like we'll be worrying the big 6 any time soon.

Dermot Byrne
3 Posted 30/05/2018 at 16:57:48
A boss of mine once said to me "the cynical are the biggest dreamers" and I think he was right.

Having said that I think there is a danger that is just becomes a bad habit for some and they are imprisoned in their darkness, too scared to leave.

But for most of us, it does not take that many signs of improvement or vision to get us excited. But what we get excited about is much wider that when I was a kid in the 1960s.

It is a sign of the times that many of the half-full and empty points in this article are essentially business performance analysis. I cannot remember my grandfather talking about that. I suspect soon the Street End will end up singing "And if... ya know... yer Balance Sheet"!

Whilst of course this is important, football debates can sometimes end up like a meeting of a group of accountants. Yet this can be where the biggest guessing and speculation goes on due to the lack of real information any of us have or can access. The audited annual accounts that you would hope helped give foundation for informed debate, are... well, ask Carillion and their "independent" auditors.

But on the field they can't hide (pause for Schneiderlin gags). As we stand at 17:00 on Wednesday, there seems little reason for optimism. The team is all over the place. There are very few, if any, players who really excite most of us. And not that many coming through who we can pin our hopes on.

But, if, just if, the new DoF and manager have a structure, style and game plans that players fit into, maybe my analysis of the talent we have is wrong. And, if they have been promised funds to spend to secure players who also are bought to fit their plan, maybe we can be hopeful.

The thing that makes me optimistic is there are changes happening throughout the club and I find it hard to believe that these are not part of a business and playing strategy.

I believe Moshiri has seen enough over last 2 years and is now sweeping away the ruins of the cozy and backward-looking Kenwright and Elstone era. Ironically, it will probably be the sacking or gentle nudging out of people who kiss the badge (from Board to coaches) that will enable the club to rise again.

I think this will take time, and enough time for the glasses of some to drain further, but the alternative is that the new people are all idiots who wish to lose money and their reputations.

I don't think they are.

Darryl Ritchie
4 Posted 30/05/2018 at 18:08:06
I'm not jumping up and down with eager anticipation. I'm not losing sleep with worry, either. After two or three false starts in the Moshiri era, I'm adopting "a wait and see" attitude.

It's a crap shoot.

Jerome Shields
5 Posted 30/05/2018 at 18:47:24
I think all long-suffering Everton fans have to be optimistic or they would never stay the course.

Brands is a good Director of Football and he must have seen something in the Everton challenge – a challenge so great, he has not been able to attract more suitable candidates for the manager's job.

Silva is a good coach, but has not been working since January and is glad of the Everton Manager's job. Moshiri business-wise has invested in what he has seen as a potiential opportunity for a foothold in the Premier League with a big name club (with the glaring need of a new stadium) as a development opportunity. He hasn't a clue about football and had the sense finally to step back and let Brands take over.

It was never going to be perfect. There has been money wasted and players bought in who are not suitable. We have been subjected to some of the worse football in living memory. Until the foundations are laid and building starts, we won't believe the promise of a new stadium.

But, at long last, we have a plan. The first three years are crucial. The Manager appointment is for three years. This first year will be about a sorting out the squad and fringe players. As Brands said, the short-term plan is to get the team ready for the start of next season. The initial assessment by Brands and Silva will be important. Will Brands and Silva be able work together to identify the weaknesses and address them? Will they be able bring the level of the first team up to the necessary Premier League competitive standard level in their play and organisation?

I am more confident they will, than our previous appointments. It's going to take time. . . but I am a long suffering Everton supporter and I am optimistic.

Mark Wild
7 Posted 30/05/2018 at 21:42:19
Hi Rodger. Great article. Great to hear someone else in the realistic to positive part of the spectrum. I think we share a lot of the same points in my article ‘A Case for the Defence' where l've tried to capture those points in a ‘We are Everton' slide.

There is some much to be positive about. Whilst many mistakes have been made, I feel so much more comfortable that for once we have people in the club who will learn and address their failings.

A very balanced piece. Keep up the positive news and let's be getting the world talking about what a great club we are.

Peter Anthony
8 Posted 30/05/2018 at 21:54:38
The red colour in the title is offensive to my eyes. It looks so wrong. Surely it is not just me. Great article though.
Jack Convery
9 Posted 30/05/2018 at 23:59:41
I'm hoping in future years that the goings on in Kiev, when LFC put on their own version of that Shakespearean classic, A Comedy of Errors, and EFCs recruitment of Brands will be seen to be the moment when the wheel of fortune finally turned on Merseyside. I can but dream!!!!!!!

Good article!

Derek Thomas
10 Posted 31/05/2018 at 01:31:31
I'm basically a half-empty but do some flip-flopping to half-full 10% of the time. But, half-full or half-empty, it still mostly tastes like cat's piss or, as its' called in retail, Midori.

Reasons to be cheerfull – Part 3.


Rodger Armstrong
12 Posted 31/05/2018 at 08:38:05
Thanks for all the comments. Re #1, that may be Scott's title but it's definitely not his role; otherwise, he'd be well known by all fans & stakeholders & would be a media regular banging the Royal Blue drum. 👍
Dave Ganley
13 Posted 31/05/2018 at 10:23:16
The great thing about football is that there is always next season, and the one after that etc. If Allardyce had stayed then my cup would definitely be half-empty. As it is, it's now half-full. I think Moshiri has had his patience tested and now he's acted. The clear out at the top has started and also at management level also.

I have no doubt that the playing staff will be trimmed too. Brands seems to be very professional and is coming across as he can't wait to get started as opposed to Koeman sunning himself first and Allardyce swanning in like he's the great saviour and Martinez doing his TV work first.

This will definitely be a season of transition but I am optimistic by nature, as most blues are; I expect to see progress on the field by attitude if nothing else. We have the bones of a half decent team and the fact that we finished 8th last season given how awful we were should be grounds for optimism that we can improve next season with people who hopefully know what they're doing.

We definitely need some surgery in the centre-half department, striker and midfield but with Pickford, Coleman, Robinson at left back I'd like to see, Gana Sigurdsson, Walcott and Lookman, there's a decent starting point.

After last season's farce I'm a bit cautious but it all just feels a bit different now so bring on the new season. Last season is history now so clean the slate and let's start again. I'm quite looking forward to seeing how the Brands - Silva axis does.

Tony Everan
14 Posted 31/05/2018 at 10:50:02
My glass was 99% empty apart from a dribble of beer, a strand of saliva and an unfortunate shithouse fly.

Thank god Moshiri has been round, collected the glasses and brought new ice-cold fresh pints out on a tray.


Don't worry, be happy!

Don Alexander
15 Posted 31/05/2018 at 11:07:41
If, as rumoured, Kenwright is history when next season kicks off, my glass is deffo half-full but, given the state of the squad, it'll take way more than a season to get the sort of visible improvement we crave.
Niall McIlhone
16 Posted 31/05/2018 at 14:17:16

This is one of several threads which clearly arise out of the hiatus following the Sam sacking, and prior to tomorrow's managerial appointment: I ponder, have we Evertonians all gone off looking for metaphors to describe the feeling of emptiness of our punishing mediocrity, whilst awaiting actual news from the club? Enjoyed the article, as regards the CEO, is that not Chief Executive Officer?

Returning to matters in the thread, yes, this change had to happen, I just hope that we don't have another "false dawn" and if we are to have Marco Silva as manager, he needs to be given the time and resources to create a team in his own way, and to develop a style which befits Everton FC.

My "glass half-full" view is that he might just have what it takes to make us admired and feared again.

Stewart Oakes
17 Posted 31/05/2018 at 16:17:29
It's weird but I've never fully understood this "glass half-full/half-empty" analogy.

If I have a glass that's half-full, I've been short measured and therefore unhappy, whereas if it's half-empty, well I've had a full glass, drunk half of it and on my way to happiness.

Gerry Quinn
18 Posted 02/06/2018 at 16:46:29
Couldn't find an actual topic for Seamus on this website, so have jumped in here (sorry, Rodger, but Happy Talk sounded very apt) - yet another touching story about our Gentle Giant Seamus and his natural ability to be so human...


Steve Ferns
19 Posted 02/06/2018 at 16:59:51

Just finished listening to the latest Everton Business Matters podcast . There's a lot of positives on there, despite a lot of sobering news. I'd be happy with the rights issue and Moshiri increasing his holding.

We need to get that wage bill right down. We need to minimize player transfers, but move out expensive players who don't play. That includes Rooney.

I'm glad we've got a proper coach in and I hope that he can knock this squad into shape and find a decent first XI from them. I'm confident he can and he will.

Ron Marr
20 Posted 02/06/2018 at 17:20:56
Real Madrid bunting. Ha ha ha. Didn't soft lad Carragher say none of Everton's signings last summer would make the RS team? How about Pickford?
Tony Abrahams
21 Posted 02/06/2018 at 18:06:16
Forget about transition, let's just balance out the squad, get off to a good start, and go for it.

Klopp has got the Liverpool crowd going again, and this in turn has obviously given his players a lot more energy.

The more energy you generate, the more the crowd will get behind you, and real belief should then follow. If this happens, then the only fella with his glass half-empty will have spilt some whilst jumping around for joy, which is my biggest wish for every Evertonian next season!

Bob Parrington
22 Posted 03/06/2018 at 10:27:17
Tony (#14), Might wanna sing that note for note! My 70th in 2 weeks. 65 as an Evertonian ------- surprisingly, I don't look a day over 90! :) :)

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