Less than eighteen months into what was widely regarded as being a three-year ‘project’, the man responsible for Everton’s ‘bright new dawn’ on the field has departed, much to the relief of the clear majority of Evertonians.
I for one was never totally convinced by Ronald Koeman, partly due to the fact that I have several mates who are Southampton fans, (who incidentally, were more irked by the manner of his departure than by his departure per se), and partly because I disliked his arrogance and couldn’t fathom where his inflated self-confidence came from.
An average managerial career has seen him lift just the Copa Del Rey and the Portuguese Charity Shield for teams outside of the Netherlands and on that basis, expecting him to be the catalyst for the anticipated improvements was perhaps a touch romantic. Undoubtedly one of the best defenders of his generation, Koeman serves as walking proof that on-field footballing ability doesn’t necessarily cross the whitewash into the dugout.
His infuriating insistence on referring to the Blues as ‘Everton’ and not ‘we’ served as ongoing confirmation that his tenure was only temporary and did little to endear him to our fanbase, but his increasing tetchiness in his final interviews gave an insight into the pressure starting to tell.
The appointment of David Unsworth in his second stint in the caretaker role was met with the general approval of our fans, but just two games into Unsworth’s stewardship and the enormity of the challenge facing the club is becoming ever-clearer. The new-manager impetus that many hoped for and some expected, has thus far failed to materialise and the alarming sparsity of our squad has become even more apparent, with prospects and kids being expected to perform the roles of the seasoned pro’s who have collectively failed to perform and Unsworth’s own managerial naivety has served to exacerbate an increasingly desperate situation.
Unsworth's decision to go away to Leicester and go toe-to-toe, against a team that recently won the Premier League by executing the counter-attack game to perfection, was a poor one, as he recognised himself by withdrawing two wide players when 0-2 down half time, in an evident attempt to make the team more compact.
Unsworth’s teams have, to me, smacked more of a manager wishing to make a statement on the status quo as opposed to changing it for the better. The inclusion of the younger and home-grown members of the squad at the expense of their more experienced teammates is more than a hint of pandering and a is big, metaphorical two fingers at the previous regime and the omission of Nicola Vlasic from the Leicester squad has got the conspiracy theorists on overtime.
Jonjoe Kenny has seemingly snatched the right back berth from the much-maligned Cuco Martina, yet Koeman’s early preference to playing the Curacao international seems to me to becoming increasingly justified with Kenny looking like a great prospect but some way from being the finished article.
What then of Tom Davies, the blue-eyed boy that can seemingly do no wrong in the eyes of our fans? Here to me, is a player that is cut an amount of slack that Ross Barkley can only dream about. A young man with a fantastic, if not particularly quick engine, but with a lightweight frame, positional ill-discipline and bang average distribution that do not suggest he is anything like the long-term solution to our current midfield woes. Call that a lack of form, or call it something deeper – either way he is not currently the answer and based on what I’ve seen for the past 12 months or so, will likely never be.
Dominic Calvert Lewin and Beni Baningime are also good prospects, but they should be honing their games in the relatively meaningless world of the Premier League 2 and shouldn’t be exposed to the cut and thrust of a Premier League relegation battle.
We’ve also been hugely let down by some of the more experienced players; Gylfi Sigurdsson has been anonymous and the biggest single disappointment for me, and Morgan Schneiderlin is a shadow of the player he was last season. Ashley Williams has been, well, Ashley Williams, and old Father Time is sitting heavy on the shoulders of Leighton Baines and Phil Jagielka. Wayne Rooney drags us out of shape with his constant dropping deep for the ball and his frequent misplaced passes are hugely frustrating.
Responsibility for the club’s current plight should be shared. Koeman’s failings are well documented and our Director of Football, Steve Walsh, who seems to operate with the luxury of an undefined role, doesn’t emerge with any credit. Collectively though, it is the Board who must take responsibility. It is they who make managerial appointments. It is they who sanction the incoming and outgoing transfer dealings. It is they who gave the thumbs up to the sale of Lukaku and the release of Kone and Valencia (neither of whom are ‘the answer’, but both are experienced forwards), it is the Board that failed to secure the services of anything resembling a replacement and it is the Board who are duty-bound to see that the club’s best interests are being served at all times.
The darkest winter months could well define the club’s future, and the unthinkable, but now distinctly possible threat of relegation, would surely scupper the dream that we have all been sold over the past eighteen months or so, and for this reason a level of leadership previously unseen at the club is now an absolute necessity.
The appointment of our next Manager will not only define the immediate future, but will also map our direction over the next few seasons and herein lies a problem.
Names such as Thomas Tuchel and Carlo Ancelotti have been thrown into the hat, but both of those have a very high stock and there remains the distinct possibility that neither would feel the need to join a club sliding towards a relegation trap door, choosing instead to bide their time and take a job with a club that is challenging for honours. Whether we can attract a higher-profile Manager will perhaps depend on the selling abilities of Messrs Moshiri and Kenwright and will give the latter the opportunity to prove his notion that ‘No one can sell the club better than me’.
The more likely appointment for me, is one of either Sean Dyche or Sam Allardyce, both of whom are known for their sound organisational capabilities, but neither for playing the expansive attacking game so yearned for by the Goodison faithful. The sad reality is that consideration of playing style is not currently an option and the poor management of transfer policy over the past twelve months or so has forced us into a position where that forty-point target must be the sole short-term aim and the decision as to which new Manager is most likely to achieve this, has become the panacea of our short-term future.
It is often said that our off-field leadership leaves a lot to be desired, but now, more than ever, that leadership needs to show a level of decisiveness that has previously been conspicuous in its absence. This one’s yours, Farhad. Our future depends on it.
Reader Comments (45)
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1 Posted 31/10/2017 at 19:14:51
There is no easy answer to this. One of the biggest problems left in Koeman's wake is the total deflation of team spirit and belief. This is one of the most vital elements to repair, I believe. Without it, all else fails.
A month under Unsworth could go a long way to repairing this. Simple, positive coaching of the basics, without bad feeling and a grumpy bastard around. I tend to think the upheaval of a new manager right now gives no advantage over what Unsworth can achieve in the coming weeks.
We don't need to panic yet, and make a wrong or compromised choice. Anyone but Bungy would be on a contract of some duration, and that would need to be the most suitable candidate possible. Otherwise, we perhaps constrict ourselves further.
We can turn to Fireman Sam only if we absolutely have to. Maybe they could meet him in a pub and slip the dosh under the table, for that authentic "Feel".
2 Posted 31/10/2017 at 19:14:57
I can see Cleverley even now scoring at the Gwladys St End. We have to start getting clean sheets and given our current crop of defenders that's going to be difficult, We need to play 2 banks of four, with two quickies up top out of Lookman, Vlasic, Niasse, and Calvert-Lewin. The players have got to show the stomach for a fight.
Given the experiences at Anfield and the Emirates over the past few seasons do they have fight in them? There has certainly been a lack of fight and pride over the past 2/3 seasons, so it is a real concern for me.
I very much doubt we will get a name manager but that it will likely be Dyche or god forbid Allardyce. If Kenwright goes for Moyes I will be finished with EFC until Kenwright leaves.
Get an experienced guy in soonest and given the options and rumours it looks like Dyche - so do it before Watford - PLEASE.
3 Posted 31/10/2017 at 19:51:03
Kenwright prides himself on spotting talent in the lower echelons so will, no doubt, go for Dyche. Last month it would have been Howe but his stock has suffered as this year's Bournemouth are so bad they even lost to Everton !
This is bad news for true blue Unsie who had only to challk up a couple of wins to get the gig but, sadly, has failed to inspire.
The truth, of course, is that far too many of the players available are either past their best or were never much good when they were at that best. Only a masochist would want to know !
5 Posted 31/10/2017 at 20:06:24
I feel at the moment someone like Dyche or possibly Wagner is what we need. A pragmatic type who can fashion a team to make the most of limited resources. There's a chance Dyche (or Wagner) could do that job in the short term, but develop into a more expansive style when they had got the team organised and safe. I'd prefer the two I've mentioned to Pulis or Allardyce who have no chance of developing to be anything more than what they have been for twenty years.
I'm no expert, but the calls for Ancelotti and Tuchel seem romantic in the extreme, these are not managers used to fighting relegation battles. They are managers of top teams who are used to buying the players they need and I'm not sure how viable that approach is now, after Koeman spent £100 million on three number 10s.
As I say I'm no expert, last time round I wanted Jaap Stam and we can all see what a success he's made at Reading. But I do believe that Dyche has the experience to get Everton organised, perhaps get the best out of Keane whose confidence looks shattered by having had to play in a back three with two old men and inadequate wing-backs and persuade Mee to come here and renew his partnership with Keane.
David Unsworth is an excellent bringer-on of young talent, I'm not sure he's equipped to get Sigurdsson motivated or to drop Rooney permanently to the bench. Klaassen looks a lost cause to me and Schneiderlin is a shadow of a once good player and it'll be a test of whoever's made manager to get these players motivated enough to perform adequately for the rest of this season.
The other task of whoever is our manager is to make sure Ross Barkley gets integrated back into the team. he remains our most talented and could play ahuge part in our survival battle.
6 Posted 31/10/2017 at 20:31:53
Although I wanted Emry not Koeman I was happy enough to see Koeman get appointed but once he turned the sourface on just like Moyes in his last couple of season he needed gone asap.
I get the feeling there is a bit of a power struggle going on between Moshiri and Kenwright who did not sit by each other at Leicester similat to Paul Gregg when he found out what a clown Kenwright was in running the club.
The club will always be mediocre while Kenwright has any influence.
The players certainly look affected by something this season as things were tightened up considerably last season and the loss of Lukaku is not the only reason we are struggling.
I personally do not think Unsy is "big" enough to handle the personalities in the club and I think Moshiri is right to think of a nut and bolts rebuilding of the club.
I would hope that Unsy is capable of getting us to safety this season while we take a long hard look at who can lead us to the promised land.
I don't really want Dyche who has had 5 years at Burnley managing average players and only recently getting respectable if unspectacular results.
We need an instant magician from the top table so over to you Farhad to get that mojo working.
7 Posted 31/10/2017 at 21:47:59
Dyche had Michael Keane.
He managed to sort out messes at 3 prem clubs full of overpaid, overrated players heading towards the drop-zone - sound familiar ?
If the question is simply who can we get to keep us up and then competitive then Allardyce is a reasonable choice.
He was daft not to try Leicester really, they have a better squad.
8 Posted 31/10/2017 at 22:00:24
At present are PL record is P10 (H5 A5) Pts 8
By 31/12/2017 P21 (H10 A11) Pts 8+?
We need around 30 pts from our remaining 28 games - our record suggests that'll be difficult to achieve, with our current squad.
I don't know how many pts we'll have.
We're in deep mire!
They'll be no significant returns from injury by 31/12.
If we're lucky, we'll have 20 pts by 31/12, meaning we need another
18 or so from 17 games - I doubt if we'll we able to attract the right calibre (ability & character) of player to give us the boost we'll need.
We need to prepare ourselves for the worst - rebuilding in the Ch'ship may not be as disastrous as some of us imagine - look at Newcastle.
We need KENWRIGHT & his baggage (e.g. Ferguson, Jeffers, Ebbrell, Baxter & Rooney OUT) so we can build a decent future, not cling to the past.
I'd rather stick with Unsworth than throw a load of money on a short-term fix - if he shows he's not up to it by the end of the season, get a new one in then for next season.
9 Posted 31/10/2017 at 22:19:42
10 Posted 31/10/2017 at 23:51:23
11 Posted 01/11/2017 at 07:14:03
12 Posted 01/11/2017 at 07:19:50
13 Posted 01/11/2017 at 07:31:55
Simply we have better players than at least 8 of the other teams in the league despite the unbalanced look!
Englands best young keeper, current England Centre half, Wales and Irelands captains , Man Utd and Englands highest ever scorer, Icelands euro hero, 5 of Englands u20 squad, Ajaxs captain from last years Europa run!! Whoever is the manager ,the players need to have a good look at themselves! They are playing for their reputations and their futures!
Senior players should call a behind closed doors, warts and all meeting and get it organised themselves!!
14 Posted 01/11/2017 at 07:52:24
15 Posted 01/11/2017 at 08:00:30
Poor McKenzie was reduced to throwing golf balls down the pitch... remember that?
16 Posted 01/11/2017 at 08:44:18
It's a little like the Tory's: they promise you the earth and end up selling you water. Everton promise you champions league and end up chasing after Allardice.
Silver lining could be that he has a good record against the shite and they loathe him.
17 Posted 01/11/2017 at 08:45:37
What Unsworth and the players need right now is stability and confidence and we, the fans, have a responsibility to get behind them and be a part of that rebuilding process.
The negative strides they all took as individuals under Koeman were stark and shocking, but the vast majority are good players and coveted by top clubs.
We have a plethora of very talented youngsters, England's record goalscorer as our top scorer in the league and the future England goalkeeper between the sticks.
There IS an alarming lack of balance to the squad, but the cancer has been cut out and we are on the long road to recovery. Let's celebrate that and give those with our destiny in their hands feel the confidence they need to propel us upwards!
18 Posted 01/11/2017 at 10:05:45
"rebuilding in the Ch'ship may not be as disastrous as some of us imagine "
I know you are probably being pragmatic but this would for me be a new depth and also assumes we will bounce back ,,this is a great club with great history and has one of the proudest claims in world football of performing in the top flight.
We need to do whatever it takes to avoid the drop at ALL costs, Should it happen we may find it very hard to come back from the abyss , This would be blot on this great clubs history
19 Posted 01/11/2017 at 10:45:00
The first priority is to make us hard to beat a lesson that Unsworth should have learnt at Leicester. Fill the team with players who will graft and have a max of 2 players who can create or score with pace.
Rooney has to play along with either Calvert-Lewin, Niasse, Mirallas. The rest of the team have to work their socks off.
The game tomorrow night should be where he tries to get this system to work, anything other than that and we may as well bring in Big Sam after the international break.
20 Posted 01/11/2017 at 11:56:21
21 Posted 01/11/2017 at 13:41:07
Joking aside, we do have a decent squad, obviously missing a decent striker and a LB. However, these two holes alone are no excuse for where we are now. Something has felt off since the start of this season and I'm sure the lack of a striker, left sided defender and signing Rooney all played a part. Something's gone on behind closed doors in the summer which has meant this season was a write off before a ball was even kicked. The decent results against crap teams at the start was a false dawn. Things just got worse over the last few weeks leading to the inevitable.
However, we are where we are now and have to move on. The many senior players in the squad need to take a long hard look in the mirror as they are as culpable as RK and the board. Many of them have international caps and are playing without any aggression or passion. On paper have a decent first team, even with the injuries. You could also play Mirallas as a striker, which is where he played in Greece (and was top scorer) before coming to us. Baton down the hatches in the league with a 532 or 352 and play Lookman so we have some pace. Get Sigurdsson in the middle and give him the ball with runners to pass to. Rooney is not the answer. Drops too deep, slows things down and misplaces passes. With the current fit players I'd try this against Watford
Holgate Jagielka Williams
Martina Geuye Sigurdsson, Scheiderlin, Lookman
Martina crosses well and Lookman and Mirallas would give us pace and width. Just go back to basics. Chase down the ball, stay tight, keep shape and give the guy on the ball something to pass to. Crowd out the midfield, stifle the opposition and squeeze out some points.
We need more aggression and players willing to bust a gut to get a result. They all need a massive size 10 up the back side.
We'll lose against Lyon, then we can focus on Watford.
22 Posted 01/11/2017 at 18:37:34
23 Posted 01/11/2017 at 18:45:42
If we want to play a modern back three, then we should try to utilise Schneiderlin as a central defender. His job would be to sweep up in behind and really limit his defensive duties to those we would expect from playing in front of the defence. His real job would be to bring the ball out of defence. He would be getting the ball facing forwards for the most part and so can either stride forward to find the pass or hit it long quickly to launch an attack.
Without this player, the modern back three simply does not work. See Luiz for Chelsea or Toby Alderwield for Spurs.
24 Posted 01/11/2017 at 19:38:31
GK: Pickford - only automatic choice at the moment
Back 4: Kenny/Martina, Jagielka, Williams, Baines. Not great, but it's what we got, maybe Holgate in for Williams.
Mid: Lookman/Lennon, Beni, Sigurdsson, Gana, Vlasic. Maybe Schneiderlin for Beni if Lookman is used.
Up front: Mirallas
I think it's time to try Kev up front. He's played there for Olympiakos, he has speed and is a decent finisher, more likely to score than most of our players.
Room for Rooney, Klaassen and Calvert-Lewin on the bench.
25 Posted 01/11/2017 at 20:22:31
26 Posted 01/11/2017 at 21:13:16
How often do we see one of our defenders under no pressure and with 9 teammates in advanced positions pass back to our keeper.
27 Posted 01/11/2017 at 21:18:43
Just look at the stick Barkley used to get for trying to make things happen. They feel it's safer to just tap is sideways or backwards and let someone else take responsibility. That's the players hiding on the pitch. All the manager can do is try to give them confidence and pick players who are confident and will not hide.
28 Posted 01/11/2017 at 21:44:48
29 Posted 01/11/2017 at 21:47:13
and put on the filmed Everton games from 1970 &
1984 to show them how it is done, for that matter put the manager and board in there as well. When they come out I would expect to see them hanging there heads in shame.
Football is a simple game, unfortunately we seem to have players and staff who simply do not have a clue.
30 Posted 01/11/2017 at 22:12:06
So much of the entertainment aspect of the game went out the window years ago with the 4-5-1 and 5-4-1 formations. Now the ''centre forward'' has to run like a dog all game long and if he doesn't score then he gets lambasted. The wing-backs now have to be extra full-backs. Very few teams have the skill levels to be able to create more offensive menace. The present day paying customers have been brought up on it and may not be as critical.
Too much sideways and backwards passing is infuriating and Everton are worse than most at it, very slow and rarely breaking into the opponents third where it really matters.
It's likely Jags will be out tomorrow along with Rooney and Baines so what kind of defense will they put up ?
31 Posted 01/11/2017 at 22:18:57
32 Posted 01/11/2017 at 23:09:37
DCL is a perfect example of Tom's forward @30, who runs like a dog for the entire game but for zero end result.
Is there no one on the coaching panel that can take that lad in hand and teach him some genuine predatory skill.
34 Posted 02/11/2017 at 00:10:40
35 Posted 02/11/2017 at 00:15:27
What shit journalism!!! 99% of us know Koeman left him out of the euro squad.
36 Posted 02/11/2017 at 00:47:51
A couple of years back one of Unsy's players was interviewed after a good run of games (can't remember his name but he was a full back I think). I remember me and a few others stating our concern when the lad only revelled about how pleased Unsy was about the high percentage he'd achieved in ball retention. He said bugger all about anything else, just his high percentage of ball retention.
37 Posted 02/11/2017 at 00:56:46
Leicester basically defend about 20 yards out and are happy for the opposition to have the ball for long periods , you can't send over crosses because they have good centerbacks so you have to get behind them with wingers , for me he got right however the team couldn't quite execute the game plan and so at 2-0 it was a case of plan B which saw us have much more control in the middle of the park but unfortunately we were completely ineffective.
38 Posted 02/11/2017 at 05:26:55
WE NEED TO BRING MOYES BACK TO REBUILD OUR DEFENSIVE PLAY.
AND MOYES DID SO BY UTILIZING ONLY ONE RECOGNIZED DEFENSIVE MIDFIELD (LIKE LEE CARSLEY)
WITH A LEAKY DEFENSE WE WILL NEVER MOVE FORWARD.
WE NEED MOYES BACK MORE THAN WANTING HIM BACK.
Everton is a rigid and tight team at the back and whenever we have people like Walker and Smith tried to meddle with it we falter.
BRING MOYES BACK AND RESTORE OUR DEFENSE.
Plus Moyes lacked only a high quality STRIKER
39 Posted 02/11/2017 at 06:13:32
MOYES SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED ANYWHERE NEAR THE EVERTON JOB.
He did a decent job in the time he was here previously but his time has been and gone. So no matter how much you shout it's not going to happen. And if it did, you'd probably shouting inside Goodison with about 20 other people.
40 Posted 02/11/2017 at 07:02:49
41 Posted 02/11/2017 at 18:19:02
The focus now surely has to be getting out of the current shambolic position and ensuring Premiership survival. Moshiri cannot be relied upon to stay if the worst happens and we are relegated this season. The prospect of Championship football, without the largest individual shareholder's financial resources to bounce straight back, could become reality.
When Moyes was first appointed we were in a similarly precarious
position and yet with very little financial muscle he was able to create a reasonably successful team.
Given the opportunity again I feel Moyes would almost certainly ensure our survival and put in place the building blocks to create a top four team.
42 Posted 02/11/2017 at 18:52:43
Would you be so kind as to email me your Uefa coaching badges (A, B and pro license if you don't mind) so I can pin them to my ceiling and stare at them wistfully when I go to bed?
Whilst being a mere footy mortal next to your godlike tactical nous, I would point out that the 3 CBs I chose were chosen because they are erm, the only ones we actually have fit. (Martina is already a RWB in my line up). Additionally I wanted a line up that didn't include a certain L.Baines given I felt his 3ft 4inch stature might find it a struggle in a back 3 (although I'm sure this would be a ridiculously minor matter for your footballing prowess to overcome).
If memory serves me well, I believe we played a back 3 on a number of occasions last season which included some/all the above named defenders. We also happened to finish 7th so presume (I may of course be wrong) that it didn't back fire too badly.
Again, I can only offer my deepest and most profound appreciativeness for your time and trouble in casting some rays of wisdom to us mere plebs on TW.
(Please do get back to me on those coaching badges.)
43 Posted 03/11/2017 at 07:12:39
This is a man management issue. Moshiri has to find and appoint the right man manager for the battle we are facing.
44 Posted 03/11/2017 at 11:56:55
Steve's suggestion may well be unworkable but it is no better or worse than what has been aready tried.
45 Posted 05/11/2017 at 11:14:41
All over this forum people were calling for his head. Apparently it was only Moyes, under whom we finished 'best of the rest' for about 6 years on the bounce, that was stopping us from breaking through the glass ceiling. People wanted a more fashionable manager . like a Martinez, a Koeman or a Bilic to take us to the next level. Well, what top managers they've all turned out to be, hey? Reminds me of Newcastle and West Ham fans, wanting rid of managers who produce good results relative to their financial situation because they want someone more fashionable, despite the fact they end up just slipping down the league table because what really gets results in the PL, outside the big money six, is building from a solid defence and doing the basics well.
Right now I'd take a Moyes or a Big Sam in a heartbeat. Before you go shouting down about who should or shouldn't be coming in to take over, ask yourself who you were asking for in 2013 and 2016. You might realise, you haven't got a clue.
46 Posted 09/11/2017 at 10:03:18
Or am I clutching at straws?
47 Posted 09/11/2017 at 10:15:07
As for Coleman, he's a huge miss and it's no coincidence that we've been shite without him. Not just his footballing contribution but his leadership on the pitch. He's one of the few players out there at the moment who genuinely seem to give a shit about the club.
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