Everton: Rebooting the Project with a new manager

Steve Ferns 25/04/2018 78comments  |  Jump to last

I think we all need to steel ourselves for austerity at Goodison. Farhad Moshiri is not a jolly benefactor. He is here to make money. I don’t believe this is by syphoning off the TV money like some other unscrupulous owners, I think he is to do it by taking the club into the top 4 or the top 6, moving us to a new stadium and then selling for a big profit. In other words, buy cheap, invest some, sell high.

Therefore, I cannot foresee that he will want to spend another £250m as this will go against trying to make a profit. Nor do I think he will sanction the sale of expensively purchased players for knock-down prices. In other words, he won’t let the much-maligned Morgan Schneiderlin leave for less than £10m.

I think the next manager is not going to be a big name like Simeone, I think it will be Marco Silva, and that he will have got the job by telling Moshiri that he can coach the players we have and get them back into 7th, and try to close the gap on 6th, ie, exactly where Koeman had us this time last year.


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So assuming I’m the new manager, I have convinced Moshiri to give me the job, and in doing so I promised I did not need more than £50m transfer kitty, which I know will need to pay for the hidden costs such as agent fees and signing bonuses and loyalty payments and so on.

Goalkeeper – Jordan Pickford. In line with the above, he cant be traded, we’re stuck with him. We do need reinforcements though as Stekelenburg has been absent / injured ever since Koeman left and Robles is reported to be joining Getafe on a free transfer. Pepe Reina is on a free, but I doubt he’d come for several reasons, including he’s meant to be joining AC Milan and their talented young keeper is meant to be getting sold to Real Madrid or PSG for a fortune. Vicente Guaita is on a free from Getafe and would do for our bench.

Right-back – We’re well stacked with Coleman, Kenny and Martina. It would be nice to loan Kenny out, so he could get a full season playing under his belt, but can we really be sure that Seamus is going to get a full season without injuries? Can we get rid of Martina and make a few quid?

Left-back – Baines showed against Newcastle that he is still good enough for us. Sure, the top class left back he was 5 years ago is no more, he lacks the speed and stamina, but he’s good enough for where we are and where we want to be. We need to use that to carefully identify his long-term replacement. I like Luke Shaw, but I’m not convinced he is definitely as good as we all first thought (when he joined Man Utd). If someone like Luke Shaw cannot be purchased, or Kwawdo Asamoah of Juventus is available, wanting to leave after not getting enough games. Antonee Robinson is someone who can sit on the bench if necessary, as we need to not rush this signing.

Centre-half: I would sign Jonny Evans first and foremost. He’s right-footed but comfortable with his left and able to play on the left side of the defence. This means you can comfortably rotate between Michael Keane and Mason Holgate for his partner. If Jonny needs a rest then Phil Jagielka is still good for 15 games a season. I’d dispose of Ashley Williams. If Jonny Evans is chased by bigger clubs, as suggested a little while back, then perhaps we can find someone else of that mould. He needs to be a leader, an organiser and everything Ashley Williams was meant to be when we first signed him. I’d sell Ramiro Funes Mori to finance the signing.

Central midfield: I favour a 4-3-3 with our current players. So I want to consider in this bracket for two players, first one to retain being Idrissa Gueye and I think we all know what position he excels in, that is a seek and destroy role, breaking up play, intercepting the ball and tackling, which means he needs someone else alongside him to either do the same thing, Tom Davies, or for the really tough games, someone to sit in and hold position (Morgan Schneiderlin). Gueye and Davies would be my preferred two, Schniederlin on the bench, and James McCarthy to spend another 6 months recovering and hopefully to come back to add more competition to these places. Meantime, Beni Baningime would also add cover. Mo Besic would be sold. No signings here.

Creative midfielder: I’m going to call it this, rather than the Number 10, as the position I want the guy in is more of a Number 8 than a Number 10, quite a bit deeper. His brief is to get on the ball early and get the ball forwards quickly and then support the attack. Of course, our record signing Gylfi Sigurdsson is the man. With Rooney to back him up. Sorry folks, like it or not, we can’t offload Rooney as no one is going to take him. Sure, if China came knocking, I’d take the money and run, and if so, let’s see if Keiran Dowell can fill his boots. I would also consider Vlasic for this position. And my wild card would be Anthony Gordon, I really rate this kid, and I would look for the right time to get him in, ie, easier game and him bang on form. Therefore, no signings here.

Right forward – So in my side this is a perfect position for Theo Walcott. More advanced than a winger in a 4-4-2. He plays to the right of a striker in the way that Mo Salah has done so brilliantly. Backing him up on the right can be Vlasic and Lookman. No signings here.

Left forward – As with the right, this is a player pushed right up with the striker, which is why the 3 central midfielders are so deep. Here, I would look to use Ademola Lookman as my main man. I love the lad’s trickery and think he can be a top player if given time to develop and games to do so. Backing him up would be Bolasie and of course, our new Nigerian flyer, Henry Onyekuru. Sure, I would sell Bolasie, but sadly, there’s no chance of us getting our money back so instead I would keep him and use him, rotating him in when Lookman looks tired or needs a game or two out of the firing line. Also, he’s got good experience from the bench.

Centre-forward – Cenk Tosun has shown signs that he can score goals. I also like his link-up play, and he can drop deeper to collect the ball, before looking to the flanks to get it wide and then get forwards to get on the end of it. Dominic Calvert-Lewin is a good alternative because despite what some think of him, he is one of the best in the Premier League in the air, his aerial duel stats are fantastic. Also, he links up well, his short passing is good, his vision is good, and he has some neat skills. He can also play on the flank for when you play a team where you are defending for most of the game and you need an outball on the flank, in the air, where you know Calvert-Lewin can beat a smaller fullback.

Niasse also offers something different, someone to bring on to get after the back 4 when chasing the game. I would bring in another striker though, someone who is everything that I think Calvert-Lewin can be, but sadly also doesn’t score enough goals, and that’s Rondon of West Brom. I think he’s a great target man one of the very best in the League and he can be the old-fashioned number 9 when we need it and if we push the two wide forwards more narrow, then Walcott, in particular, can get goals from the knock-downs of Rondon. He gives us an alternative way of playing, ie more technical into the feet of Tosun, over the top to DCL, long balls to Niasse, and to the head of Rondon.

Coleman Keane Evans Shaw
Gueye Sigurdsson Davies
Walcott Tosun Lookman

Of course, compare that squad to the top six, and no one is getting in their sides. It’s not a side to conquer the top 6. It’s about reclaiming 7th and consolidating it. It’s about developing players we have: Pickford, Holgate, Keane, Davies, Lookman, Vlasic, Calvert-Lewin, and even Dowell and Gordon. It’s recognising where we are financially and that is we don’t have another £150m to spend. Whatever we spend on Moshiri’s watch, we pay for, one way or another – he’s not Father Christmas.

Formation wise, well we saw Liverpool play 4-3-3 last night, and we saw how effective it can be. I like a very slightly different 4-3-3, in that instead of Henderson slightly deeper than Milner and Oxlade-Chamberlain, we have Gueye and Davies slightly deeper than Sigurdsson. Meaning they both cover backwards and to the side, but can both get forwards as opportunities arise, but it is Sigurdsson who is to dominate the ball, move it about, and get things happening. He is to look to launch the ball to Lookman on one flank or Walcott on the other. Both are rapid and can get wide, taking the fullback with them. Both can beat a man, and then look to find Tosun or shoot themselves. Tosun can also drop like Firmino does to come for the ball and then look to link up with the wider forwards, and Walcott, in particular, is a good foil for using this to get past Tosun and into the centre-forward position.

From this 4-3-3 formation, we can modify it slightly for an alternative, that is we drop Gueye and Davies to defensive midfield (instead of central midfield) and push Sigurdsson into a Number 10 position. We would then push Walcott right out onto the right, and perhaps play Bolasie or even Onyekuru wide on the left touchline, sure Lookman can play these still, but we want that extra width and so we’re moving these wide forwards out of the channels and onto the flanks. The channel is the space between a fullback and a centre back in a standard back four. Wide forwards play here and cause difficulty as the centre-backs both want to go for the striker and the wide forward comes into their zone and the fullback wants to pass him on, there’s then confusion. We can capitalise on this with a Coleman on the top of his game as he can go wider than this channel position on the touchline and create an overload on the fullback meaning he can either take the fullback away from Walcott or be unmarked himself.

So there’s not a great difference from the 4-3-3 to the 4-2-3-1, except it’s a major change in transition. This means that instead of winning the ball and Sigurdsson looking to get on it immediately, we’re reliant on the ball winner getting a forward pass into Sigurdsson who is now in a much more advanced position. If this comes off, then it can be devastating, because Sigurdsson can be getting the ball on the break and looking immediately to put someone through on goal, instead of playing deeper and looking to find a winger or a striker who then has to try to make the killer pass, or beat his man. Our ability to play a 4-2-3-1 with current personnel relies on Davies improving his passing or Schneiderlin rediscovering his form consistently. Meanwhile, Jack Wilshere on a free is an option. I’ve overlooked this on the basis of his big wages, his injury record, and his inconsistency for a number of years.

If we need to go all out defence, we can keep our shape, but play Coleman right wing, with Kenny at right back, and Baines at left back Sigurdsson defending ahead of him. And Davies the furthest forward in a midfield trio, and Calvert-Lewin or Rondon (if we did sign him) up top looking for aerial balls from Sigurdsson.

There’s a team there. They just need to know their roles, and the roles of the people around them. They need to know where they will run, and where others will run around them.

The defence needs to be drilled to defend as a unit. We need to learn to know when the fullbacks will attack. If it’s Coleman and Baines at fullback, then it’s mainly Coleman who will go. So Walcott tucks inside, Coleman runs past him on the touchline, Gueye drops in to cover and Davies pushes on inside Lookman. This is to be rehearsed. We work out how we go forwards, where we will be if it breaks down and how we recover shape quickly in that event.

We need to work on pressing. We are terrible at it. Tosun, Calvert-Lewin and Naisse all press from the front. Walcott can press. Lookman can learn to. The midfield trio I am going with are all very mobile, they can all press well, as can the full-backs. Centre-halves don’t press. There’s no reason why even with the current personnel we cannot develop a good pressing system. We just need to develop a style. Do we press men, do we press the ball, or do we cut off passing lanes? This is something we would need to work on hard over a pre-season.

We also need to concentrate on transitions. Watch how Liverpool made sure that when they recover the ball they are always close together. There’s no one in that Liverpool side who is a great passer of the ball, yet they constantly found Salah. If we press well, and keep Gueye, Davies and Sigurdsson tight together, Sigurdsson can quickly get on the ball and hit quick passes to Walcott or Lookman. By the nature of transitions, turning the ball over, we have caught the opposition out of shape and we can exploit that, be it an easy diagonal ball to the flank or a ball forwards to Tosun’s feet, or over the top.

Train the players, get them to know what they are doing, what others are doing, where to run, when to hold, when to knock it forwards, square, short, or long and suddenly these players will be transformed. They will not look confused.

How many times is a pass straight out of play because a player goes to hit a certain pass, then looks up and then sees Joe Bloggs is not where he is meant to be and when he cycles round for targets the passer can find no-one and gets caught in two minds what to do. If Joe Bloggs is in position, then he hits the pass he has trained to do and everything moves a lot more quickly, confidence flows and the players play the way we know they can. They commanded big price tags for a reason.

This team has the players, it doesn’t have the coaching and it doesn’t have the ideas. We need that top coach, and I firmly believe that Moshiri can keep his chequebook in his pocket and we can make a couple of signings to fill that troublesome left-back slot and get the left-sided centre-half we need.

If the opportunity presents itself to sign a world-class player, and one that fits into the 4-3-3, without displacing Sigurdsson, then we are in position to take advantage.

Bottom line is it’s austerity time, boys, we need that stadium, and Moshiri isn’t paying for it out of his own money. Arsenal have been tight when paying for theirs, Spurs haven’t paid big for a while, and wont doe for a while yet. Even Chelsea have reined it in as they prepare to pay for their new stadium. We have to look at the bigger picture. Spurs cocked up after selling Bale, then in came Pochettino and reorganised what they had and added a couple on the cheap. We can do the same.

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Reader Comments (78)

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Mike Allison
1 Posted 25/04/2018 at 17:54:40
I'm surprised to see someone else advocating so few signings. It's something I wholeheartedly agree with – you don't solve problems caused by instability by making radical changes. I've also posted elsewhere about how our players are good enough, they just need proper coaching and management.

We're still seventh. Burnley have been well managed and had a great season, we've been abysmally managed and had a terrible season, and we're still only just below them. With a good manager, we'd be comfortably better than the bottom 13 but still not as good as the top 6.

The new manager's job is to get the players playing as more than the sum of their parts and take advantage of any weaknesses shown by the top 6. That togetherness, sense of who we are and a clear plan is what is needed, not a bunch of new players.

With just these absolute basics Everton will be back to being at least seventh, and looking up the table to exploit any difficulties or weaknesses the top 6 are experiencing.

Lawrence Green
2 Posted 25/04/2018 at 18:28:42
Few signings would be the main reason that Sam will retain his position at the club as he oversees a trimming of the bloated squad. Mosh the Dosh is about money not glory and the team's performances or lack thereof are of little concern to him. I may have egg on my face this time tomorrow but I doubt it.
Ian Burns
3 Posted 25/04/2018 at 18:32:57
Steve, an excellent article and a pleasant, realistic change/alternative for those calling for more expensive signings. Extremely knowledgeable from a football standpoint, really enjoyed reading your views.

To make this work, what this club needs is a change from the very top down and by the top I mean at boardroom level. We need a forward looking CEO who can put the right off field team together, including the right manager because the present incumbent simply doesn't cut the mustard.

If we could make these changes from the very top, bring in the right manager, your article makes perfect sense Steve. Well done.

Barry Metcalfe
4 Posted 25/04/2018 at 18:43:47
I enjoyed your article and it may work. However, in my humble view, the centre-back situation needs more surgery. Jags is still our best centre-back.

Keane is a liability, probably the weakest player in the team. No powers of recovery, worst centre-back in the league and one-on-one, an attacker's delight. No agility, poor balance, no standing jump to speak of and reading of the game average. Sell him fast.

Jay Harris
5 Posted 25/04/2018 at 18:45:25
I rate your knowledge and insight of the game but I have to disagree with some of your opinions.

Luke Shaw has been poor since he left Southampton with some people suggesting he has lifestyle Issues since joining Man U. Anyway my preference there would be to go balls out for Danny Rose, who is not happy at Spurs and on form is as good as or better than Bainsey at his best.

This for me is the one where we are weakest. Gueye, Scneiderlin and Davies have all looked poor this season and for me we really need a strong MF enforcer who can close, tackle, pass short or long and can score occasionally. I would be tempted to try and get Fellaini for this role who is also useful in both boxes. Other choices Doucoure and Nzonzi.

As for the rest of MF I would put Rooney on grazing leave and have Sigurdson as a regular starter.

Up front I believe DCL will start to mature and become a great front player and I really rate Walcott but Tosun just doesnt do it for me and I would prefer to go for Jamie Vardy and/ or Willlian who does not seem happy at Chelsea.

Rest of the team doesnt look too bad if we get a decent coach in.

Steve Barr
6 Posted 25/04/2018 at 18:48:55

I agree with what you are bracing us for. The manager/coach you anticipate we will end up with next is what I'd call a great coach/manager, if he did what you expect in your article with the current resources at Everton.

Someone who can come in and work with an existing group of players (with some wriggle room to buy) set a style of play (hopefully attacking, exciting and with creativity, but not at the expense of defending) motivate, remind them how to do the basics, set the bar high regarding discipline and professionalism and hopefully maximizing the resources at hand that should give us a decent top 6 team.

Not Champion material at the moment, but if we get the right coach who can set us on a sustained, upward spiral then the rest should follow.

The first thing he'll need to do is find a leader on the pitch. The players themselves must also take personal responsibility. They have downed tools on far too many occasions recently. Every professional should be able to at least motivate themselves and give 100% in each game.

Bobby Thomas
7 Posted 25/04/2018 at 18:58:20
Disagree on the striker shout.

We have 2 target men types in Tosun and Calvert-Lewin already. We don't need a third. Niasse needs binning if possible whilst there's long enough on this contract to get maybe half or more of his fee back. He is sub-standard and nuisance value at best.

The variation we badly need up top is is someone with quality movement, pace, and goals.

Yes, I know, they tend to cost. Generally a lot.

Colin Glassar
8 Posted 25/04/2018 at 19:02:50
Steve, are you Moshiri in disguise? I agree to a degree with you. We do have the players, currently, to see us sitting comfortably in 7th place and with good manager we could challenge for 6th place once again.

Sad but true.

Steve Ferns
9 Posted 25/04/2018 at 19:06:10
Cheers guys.

Jay I do have reservations about Shaw. I would love Danny Rose, but the lad has an ego, he thinks he should play for man city or someone of that stature. I expect him to end up at United so we won't have a sniff.

Shaw is more realistic as is the lad from Juventus. Maybe Brands will deliver a left back that Walsh couldn't.

Fellaini can't play defensive mid. We tried him there when he was younger and fitter and it didn't work. He lacks the discipline.

I expect Davies will kick on next season and be better. If so that answers a lot of problems. If he's going to stall then you're right and we do have an issue. The thing is the guy we really want is a fit and on form James McCarthy paired with a young Gareth Barry. I think Davies can be better than McCarthy. Finding the new Barry is the problem. How about we keep an eye on that young lad at Bristol called Liam Walsh!

I'd also relegate Rooney to Sigurdsson understudy next season, which is more or less what he is now anyway.

Vardy would be great if we had him, but I couldn't justify spending £60m + on a 31-year-old who would want a five year deal and could be losing that electric pace any season now.

William is a winger, not a striker. He also plays enough and so if he leaves it's for a top Champions League side.

Steve Ferns
10 Posted 25/04/2018 at 19:10:53
Bobby, I understand what you're saying but Tosun is a bit too small to be a target man, he also likes to drop off and plays good short passes. He also has scored a fair amount for us and did so for Bestikas.

Calvert-Lewin might be a target man, but he offers pace, he's faster than Lukaku. He lacks Lukaku's movement, but he makes good runs. Sadly, the goals he scored at youth level have not flowed yet. I hold out a lot of hope for him. I really see a player there and so did the previous managers.

Bill Watson
11 Posted 25/04/2018 at 19:27:37
I'm a Blue since 1958 and have said many times this is the worst team I've seen in that time; not the worst players but a group of individuals who just don't gel and managers who persist in playing men out of position. Totally unbalanced.

We've conceded so many goals not because the defenders are bad but because managers have chopped and changed so much and because we have a midfield incapable of holding the ball and then finding a blue shirt.

The midfield issues date back a few years; we lack a creative midfielder in the Arteta mould and also a workhorse Bracewell type who can win the ball and then find a pass. Possibly, a fit McCarthy could do this.

Even Allardyce recognises our biggest weakness is constantly giving the ball away. Having said the defence isn't too bad, Williams and Keane don't cut the mustard and Baines and Jagielka have a short shelf life.

Upfront, we don't really know if Tosun will be the answer because the service to him has been abysmal. Walcott is a proven Premier League player but Bolasie is a passenger and was before he was injured. Calvert-Lewin will never be a goalscorer at this level but will probably have a good career in the Championship. Niasse is Niasse; totally unpredictable! I'd keep him as an impact sub

So, we have some deadwood but also some very good players. A good manager/coach should be capable, with the addition of 2 or 3 signings, of getting more from them than we've seen, so far. It needn't cost a fortune as the sale of the deadwood will bring funds in and lighten the wage bill.

Darren Hind
12 Posted 25/04/2018 at 19:34:12
You are not putting enough emphasis on scoring goals. Getting forward is one thing, but you need men with drive and ambition to get into the box, somebody who knows how to arrive late.

West Brom have a natural, despite playing for a side almost totally bereft of talent: Rodrigues will finish with his goals tally comfortably into double figures.

I was shouted down for saying he would score more than any of our expensive signings this season... would anybody bet against that now? A clever little footballer who isn't daunted by playing the big boys.

Let's try a novel approach, let's sign somebody who plays off a striker, but who is more concerned with getting into the opposition box than pretending to be yet another lightweight Number 10.

I know this will be dismissed again by those who preferred Rooney, Klaassen, Sandro... but this guy will be going for a song and he will score more than any of our current players next season too.

Bobby Mallon
13 Posted 25/04/2018 at 19:35:47
Hi Steve,

I liked your article but there are two players we should buy and they are, Ryan Bertrand and Tadic from Southampton. They should be affordable to us. I also agree we should trim our squad and, with that in mind, Niasse, Williams, Garbutt, Bolasie, Funes Mori and Klaassen should be sold (I only put Klaassen in there as I cant see him flourishing in the Premier League).

Then the likes of Henen etc should be let go. I also think a bid for Fellaini to help Tosun.

Paul Tran
15 Posted 25/04/2018 at 19:44:33
Lot to like there, Steve. This squad would finish higher with a decent coach. I'd kill for a strong, mobile passer for centre midfield. That's what we desperately need on the pitch.

Like you say, I'm expecting us to use next season to consolidate, sort out an attacking pattern of play, focus on our strengths rather than our opponents'. Can't see Allardyce being that man. Hope Moshiri agrees.

Bobby Thomas
16 Posted 25/04/2018 at 20:06:11
I get your drift about Tosun, Steve, and it's true that he isn't an out an out target man. He has more about him than that, he does like to drop off and join up.

But he can act as a target man in the sense that he can play up top on his own and he does, or can, play the role of someone to hit, link, and we play from there. He is also a threat from crosses, as well as his ability to drop off and join up. But he is a reasonably static, play the width of the box player that's never going to offer anything in behind. And if I was a centre-half I'd be reasonably content playing against Tosun, from what I've seen.

I know Calvert-Lewin is meant to be rapid, and maybe its the runs he makes or the movement, but we very rarely see it. It could have been the way Koeman was asking him to play. But for a lad so quick you hardly see him troubling defenders in behind that much, or providing an outlet.

Ultimately, Calvert-Lewin is a target man first and foremost. And if we have one we then don't need another. For me, we badly need the variation of some quality movement and pace up top. Its one of the main problems along with the lack of pace/organiser/nark at the back. It's killing the away form. We cant get up the pitch, nor can we break. We are extremely pedestrian and adding another target man into the mix would only exacerbate the problem. Our midfielders must be dying for someone to make some runs and stretch teams.

Totally agree with the Jonny Evans shout. Posted very much the same a few months back. He's gettable, not pricey, he's a good age for a centre-back, at his peak, and he knows the drill. The next centre-back signing is crucial. If we keep signing duds we are going to end up in the shit as teams with sub-standard center backs don't do much. Ashley Williams needs to drop a division. He's done as a top flight player.

We need a left back. Baines needs less football, not more. No more than 20 - 25 starts so he can keep his level when he plays. Its no coincidence Bainesy looks a lot better coming back off injury, he's fresh. Rooney looked very good at the start of the season. But its a long season and there is no way Baines can sustain first choice every week at his age, just as I knew Rooney wouldn't. Ideally the new left back would split the job with Baines and then claim the shirt the following season.

Going forward I would love to see Lookman and Vlasic given prominent roles in a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1. These lads represent the future. They are young, dynamic, creative, on the up and will be better players than a self-indulgent waste of money like Bolasie will ever be. I will be very disappointed if either of them leaves.

Andy Crooks
17 Posted 25/04/2018 at 20:07:45
A superb realistic article, Steve. I think everything you argue hinges on one very important thing.I believe that Moshiri has come to the end of his spending. I believe he will not pay off Allardyce. I believe that he will back Allardyce to keep us in the Premier League while the new stadium moves forward.

He has not got enough money to drive us to the top four so I think he will take 8th, 9th, 10th or even 14th. He will hope on a cup run to keep the supporters interested but Allardyce will not be paid off. I hope I am wrong but I almost certain that we will have Allardyce will be here next season. Moshiri bet his money, rolled the dice and lost he will absutely not roll it again.

I write this post in the honest hope that it will be cast back to me ovrr the summer. It won't.

Steve Ferns
18 Posted 25/04/2018 at 20:25:54
I agree with your assessment of Dominic Calvert-Lewis, Bobby. But as you acknowledge, he's got all of the physicals. He's stronger than he looks and he's fast. That said he lacks a little technically, his finishing isn't ask good as it was in youth levels. The lack of time on the ball at the highest level has been a problem for him. His first touch is not bad, but it's not great.

But watch a young Harry Kane. Could we not say the same about the early version of him, only he lacked the speed and he's never had Dom's frame where I expect him to fill out a bit.

It's a big season coming up from Dom. He's broken through now. He's had a run. He's scored a few. Now it's time to claim a starting place and to score regularly.

Most of his flaws can be rectified with either confidence (from scoring) or coaching. I think he lad has a lot of heart, determination and I can see a winning mentality in him.

Mike Doyle
19 Posted 25/04/2018 at 21:01:09
Great article – and plenty to agree with. Agree with those highlighting the need for a commanding centre-half.

Another round of wholesale changes will create yet another season of instability.

Let's get behind the young lads too. With better coaching & encouragement there is a better team within that squad than we have seen thus far.

Hope I'm wrong, but I have feeling we'll be starting the season with Sam still in charge.

Brian Harrison
20 Posted 25/04/2018 at 21:38:33
I posted on here a few days ago that I believed Moshiri was here to try and get Everton competing amongst the top 4/6. To get a new stadium built and if he can get the council to fund all of the new stadium so much the better, then sell the club on for a hefty profit.

I can understand Steve suggesting that minor changes might be the way forward, and making the use of our already large squad.

The problem being with that philosophy you have to have at least a basic 6 or 7 players who give you a 7/8 out of 10 each week. Sadly we don't have more than 2 or 3 that give you that. I profoundly disagree with Steve about both Tosun and Calvert-Lewin, I don't think either would get into any top 8 in the Premier League, and if our intention is to challenge for a top 6 spot, that is the first position that needs strengthening. Tosun is slow and not very good in the air, and in nearly all his games so far is not physically strong enough to lead the line. Calvert-Lewin a willing runner and because of his height he is useful in the air, but I have seen absolutely no improvement in his game despite getting so many first-team starts. Niasse another willing runner and like Tosun has scored goals but all 3 lack the quality to be effective up front.

How Allardyce could think that playing a half-fit Bolasie and sending Lookman on loan just sums up poor management. Even when fit Bolasie is certainly not the answer either on the right or the left.

But the biggest problem is the manager, he has made a living for himself by making his teams hard to beat. And none of the clubs he has managed have played any other way, and to expect a 63-year-old to change his ways was pure fantasy. So the next managerial appointment is critical, get this wrong and I think it might destroy Moshiris plan of a new ground and sell for a big profit.

We need a manager who will play the modern game which is pace and power, and moving the ball at pace around the pitch. Conte did this at Chelsea, Guardiola at City and Klopp at Liverpool. Also, Mourhino is adding pace to his team although he does play a lot more cautiously than the other 3 but he has been so successful then you just can't knock him. Pochettino has again improved Spurs playing an attractive game with again using pace and power, and on spending a lot less than his rivals for a Champions League spot.

I would not be averse to either Fonseca or Silva, the worst case scenario is we stick with Allardyce till next Nov/Dec. Then if that fails as I am sure it will then we will end up making another panic appointment. So for both his plans and our sanity lets hope we move quickly and decisively in the coming weeks.

Bill Watson
21 Posted 25/04/2018 at 22:10:42
Brian (#20),

I agree with your assessment of the forward players but would like to see how Tosan performs with better service.

Because we lack dominating midfield players we're not capable of putting teams under sustained pressure, home or away. We lack pace, determination and players who can pass a ball and must be very easy to play against.

We also lack character and leadership – hence the debacles, home and away, against the North London clubs, Southampton, Atalanta, Lyon and many, many more. Somehow, we escaped with a draw at Anfield but it could have been a lot worse.

Dave Abrahams
22 Posted 25/04/2018 at 22:20:32
Steve, if we don't get one or two much better than average centre midfield players in before next season, then we will suffer another very soul-destroying season. It doesn't bear thinking about if Allardyce is still here.
Andy Williams
23 Posted 25/04/2018 at 22:40:16
I know many will disagree but I would like to see Mo given another chance.

Boro fans are saying that he is a class above. He was only 22 when he played most of his games for us and it was at the same time there was unrest with his dad. He seems to have reined in his more reckless side and Whoscored are listing his strengths as:

Dribbling Strong
Key passes Strong
Tackling Strong
Concentration Strong
Blocking the ball Strong

Aerial Duels Weak

Tony Everan
24 Posted 25/04/2018 at 22:50:46
A quality left back is essential, and Jonny Evans would be a solid signing at a bargain price £4m?

For me it is too early to make a call on Tosun, there are some signs he could make a mark as a top prem striker but also signs to the contrary.

Are we happy that Lukaku is being replaced with Tosun?

Dave Lynch
25 Posted 25/04/2018 at 23:02:51
I wouldn't judge any of our players due to the shite management we've had over the past 12 months.

Koeman and Allardyce where/are not attack minded managers, they are defence minded managers who sacrifice flair and attacking philosophy for... Boring shite.

ps: I left Unsy out on purpose as he was only caretaker.

John Raftery
26 Posted 25/04/2018 at 23:11:31
I agree with the main thrust of the article. There will not be another mad splurge in the transfer market this summer. Based on results achieved since Sam joined us, we would be 7th in the table. So why change the manager to finish 7th?
Jamie Crowley
27 Posted 25/04/2018 at 23:24:03
Mike Gaynes has said May 14th is the day we hit the Sam Ejector button and I agree.

I like a lot of your ideas Steve. I'd make a few changes.

First, I'd play Tom Davies as a backup to Gylfi in that deeper lying 10 spot.

Second, I'd use Rooney as a striker off the bench for Tosun. I actually like Rooney in a holding role, but there's so many dead set against that, and they surely know more about this sort of thing than I, so I'm bowing to popular opinion. Rooney won't be sold, and I think he could, in substitute spurts, provide a goal-scoring threat.

Third, and most importantly, if you move Davies up to sub / share time with Gylfi, we need another midfielder. And this is where I'd spend the money. We absolutely need a creative, passing midfielder. An Arteta in his day, a poor-man's David Silva, something in that mould. I have absolutely no idea whom that player is, but I know that's what we need.

And the team needs to be DRILLED to counter attack with pace and fury. Sick to the teeth of watching shit football. Try to appease fans and get their asses out of the seats. Or in my case off the barstool in America.

Ernie Baywood
28 Posted 25/04/2018 at 23:33:34
Interesting piece. Similar to some others, the only bits I disagree with are the left back and striker positions. One needs a transition from an aging Baines, the other just doesn't have the right type of player.

The thing is, this is all predicated on us playing an attacking, quick style of football. Is that even the case at Everton? The current manager isn't going to play that way - and if he goes, well the last time the current decision makers had to make a choice they didn't go for that type of manager!

It just highlights the strange decision to bring in Sam. We never had the team to support Sam's methods. We would have been far better off playing our way out of trouble. We really could have been going into this summer with optimism.

Andy Crooks
29 Posted 25/04/2018 at 23:40:26
Jamie, the Sam ejector button will not he hit. He and his crew of second raters, and I include Duncan "the legend" Ferguson, will steal a living off our club for a while longer. "Big Dunc" should actually advise Allardyce how it's done because, by fuck, he has bled us dry.
Tom Dodds
30 Posted 25/04/2018 at 23:55:27
Amdy (#29

I Think your posts could prove to be ominously true.

'Year zero' days straight ahead...

James Stewart
31 Posted 26/04/2018 at 00:28:29
Interesting point of view. I just can't see it though. I think the whole side will be ripped up with a lot of outgoings.

I would also be very surprised to see Silva come in. Fonseca is the man Moshiri wants and unless a bigger fish comes along I would expect Moshiri to land him along with Brands.

They will have their own ideas and players in mind so I highly doubt we will see anything like the same side as this season.

James Stewart
32 Posted 26/04/2018 at 00:33:12
Comparing any tactical setup to the RS is also quite dangerous as they are being carried along by a very unique front 3 that every defence is terrified of. The saddest part of that is that our front 3/4 actually cost more!
Bill Watson
33 Posted 26/04/2018 at 00:46:16
Andy (#29),
Duncan may well have bled us dry but, there again, he may be a brilliant coach and worth every penny.

The point is that, unless we're inside Finch Farm, we cannot possibly know.

Derek Thomas
34 Posted 26/04/2018 at 01:08:07
If Silva or whoever can coach them to play better... if not, it's a bleak season to come.
Don Alexander
35 Posted 26/04/2018 at 02:32:08
Bill (#33), your point would be eminently credible if our squad had arrived from another planet but any player with the slightest appreciation of what it takes to be a professional footballer must be stunned by the presence in the core of our coaching team of a total piss-taker such as Ferguson. By that I mean taking the piss out of his clubs, his profession, and especially the fans. Add in the other no-mark former-player Kenwright appointees and some, like me, see a pattern that long since emerged, namely that Finch Farm's greatest success is the quality of its fry-up breakfasts, as reported by Mr Vlasic, before the "hard work" on the training pitch even begins.

Core fitness in the squad wasn't unduly conspicuous when Moyes was in charge but ever since he left, leaving us with our old-boys who Kenwright thinks "get" Everton (and that's all that matters isn't it) our core fitness has nose-dived. The evidence is painfully visible as we so often see our team simply unable to get anywhere near opponents as they wreak havoc at our expense.

If any of our coaching team had a hint of probity or belief that they're worthy of employment at another club they'd surely have pointed out the conspicuous inadequacy of what's been peddled at Finch Farm for years now, but they haven't. They just go on and on as Kenwright's coterie of arse-kissing sycophants who've never won anything and don't give a shit either, and I believe that very many of those in the football world see that to a one.

Matt Woods
36 Posted 26/04/2018 at 03:14:32
In terms of depth, thought and intelligence I find that an exceptional piece. I can't disagree with any of it. Well considered and to my thinking would be the way forward.

The bigger picture is playing much better football and consolidating while developing our young players. League position my not improve much but we need to play with more verve and style.

Great post, Steve!

Ed Prytherch
37 Posted 26/04/2018 at 03:23:49
Bertrand should be available as the Saints are likely to go down and he is my choice for lef-back. If we ship out Williams and Funes Mori then I would go for Hegazi who won't fancy playing in the Championship. In midfield Wilshire would be a massive improvement on Davies if he could stay fit.

Which of our young players out on loan should be brought home? Browning was a regular for Sunderland before he was crocked. Is he ready for the big time? Galloway seems to have Garbutt disease and may have a problem finding another club to take him. Leeds want to sign Pennington. Dowell has fallen from Grace at Forest but that seems to be related to their change of manager. He probably needs another loan.

So three incoming players or four if we need a goalie.

Derek Thomas
38 Posted 26/04/2018 at 03:53:14
News Flash; We're settling in for a good run at the 7th-ish Cup next season.

And the good news? Yeah 2 lots really

1) We might, just might, be a bit better to watch.

2) We're only 3 players away from turning that 7th-ish milestone into a tilt at whoever of the big boys is having a poor by their standards, season, for the 6th-ish cup.

Heady times and no mistake down in L4 for the Walton Wanderers

NSNO my arse.

William Cartwright
40 Posted 26/04/2018 at 04:02:00
Excellent observations Steve. The overview scenario, commercial reality, importance of the stadium and the growth factor is just how I and many other see it as judging from the responses. I emphasises the importance of the MANAGER, and in so doing it highlights ust how poorly we have done, and (god forbid) would probably do next year should he remain, which I doubt.

To drop the discussion to the level of this player is better than that one seems churlish, but there are a couple of notable questionable player observations in your summary. I don't trust Allardyce or Lee when it comes to including players to realize their potential; there is something fundamentally flawed in the management exclusions of Sandro, Klassen and Lookman and the simultaneous inclusion of Rooney, Keane (sorry I really do not rate him) and Schneiderlin for example.

If a new manager and overall new approach could motivate players to perform, this combined with a well structured and balanced team sheet could be all we need to consolidate 7th to 6th. Your exclusion of Funes Mori, an excellent left footed defender would not be my choice (although West Brom's Evans and Rondon are good calls).

Walcott's direct pace is a big plus for us only he seems almost too fast for his team mates as well as the opposition! I am hoping Oneyekuru and Lookman would be complementary if a little lightweight?

A young manager, a youngish and hungrier squad, a forward thinking strategy and some patience and we could be a team which our long suffering supporters and deserve and the new stadium merits.

The really big fly in the ointment is alas Allardyce as we all know.

James Cadwaladr
42 Posted 26/04/2018 at 07:15:44
I like the consideration put into this post.

But the idea that selling Williams, Besic and Schneiderlin and replacing with Johnny Evans and Rondon to allow us to challenge with the rest and to generate profit for Moshiri is daft.

This seems like a post from the Moyes era discussing whether to sell Simon Davies and Marcus Bent to fund Sean Davis and James Beattie.

Jerome Shields
43 Posted 26/04/2018 at 08:53:25
I think you should be Manager of Everton.

Allardyce in his buying and selling policy is reflecting what he promised Moshiri to get the job reluctantly. That he could work with Koemans signings and offload a bloated squad (Most sales where Martinez's buy-ins ) and loaning out of younger players. Hence Allardyce's open contempt for Unsworth and youth development. The reluctant part comes regarding his coaching and tactical ability, which is now very evident.

I have my doubts about Silva's ability, but we will get him or someone similar. The problem is that a top-flight Manager wouldn't want the job. It also depends on how Moshiri got on with Wenger in his Arsenal days.

I think you are bang on regarding signings and offloading, particularly the need for a centre-half. Another forward that can score in the mould you describe is needed.

It's your tactical and formation awareness makes you a shoo-in for the Managers job, Big Sam should be worried and not know the reason why.

This style of team is the Everton way of the traditional English footballing Club. Good defensively, offensively flexible, with attacking options and absolutely relentless. A team well coached and everyone knowing what they are doing. Oh, what a breath of fresh air.

Regarding Rooney, any USA or China money – bite their hand off! He may be reluctant to go. . . . he gets knackered in either place while on holiday, never mind playing football. My hope he becomes a Sky pundit and retires, fearing a personal training regime from a new Manager. If Big Sam stays, he will stay, like-for-like buddies.

Andy Crooks
45 Posted 26/04/2018 at 09:27:04
Bill@ 33, have you seen one shred of evidence of the brilliant coaching of Duncan " the legend" Ferguson? What goes on at Finch Farm is seen on the pitch and it is utterly shite.
Sam Hoare
46 Posted 26/04/2018 at 09:30:36
But it isn't just about finishing 6-7th. It's about starting a new project. A new era.

I agree with your philosophy Steve of not making radical changes. Total overhaul is both unrealistic and unhelpful. But I think you are being a bit generous on some of the current playing staff.

Michael Keane concerns me greatly. He's been a bit better of late but I see some fundamental flaws in terms of awareness and positioning. He's also very immobile and although I rate Evans highly (and he would be a bargain with his relegation release clause) him and Keane would make for a worryingly slow CB pairing.

Baines definitely needs replacing. I love him and he's still a great backup but he'll be 34 for the majority of next season and the modern-day full-back requires energy and pace in abundance at the highest levels.

The kids (Calvert-Lewin, Davies, Lookman etc). I always want to see the youth given a chance and I was excited to see where they might develop this season. But it's not happened. And sadly there is no guarantee that it will. I absolutely want to give them more opportunity but it has to be said that there's been little or no sign of improvement and I think it would be a huge risk to rely on them too heavily next season.

I think we need to make 3 or 4 great signings this Summer who can go straight into the first team. Preferably aged between 22-27. I'd say those positions are:

1. Left-back – fast and fit. Able to defend and attack.

2. Centre-back – strong and mobile. Ball-playing would help but not essential.

3. Box to box midfielder- hopefully Davies may become this but at the moment we lack a midfielder who can do it all. Pass and tackle and get around. A Dembele type.

4. Playmaker or a striker. We certainly do not score enough goals. Whether that's because we don't create enough or aren't clinical enough is debateable but I'd probably go for the former. I'm not convinced that Sigurdsson, Lookman, Tosun/ or Walcott quite cut the mustard for a team with top 6 aspirations. We need something else. I'm not entirely sure what.

Mark Andrews
47 Posted 26/04/2018 at 09:31:05
I got as far as, "Jordan Pickford. In line with the above, JP cant be traded, we’re stuck with him. "
Sam Hoare
48 Posted 26/04/2018 at 09:47:56
Also to those advocating taking another look at Besic, I concur. I had a running argument with Mike Gaynes who disagreed strongly but with a solid run of games for the first time in a long time Besic has been very impressive at Boro, more so really than any other of our loaned out players (even Dowell who is struggling to get a game now).

I'm not suggesting Besic is the superstar to turn us around but I really don't think he's any worse than what we have. He's faster and more competitive than Schneiderlin and interestingly he creates more chances per match for Boro than any player does for Everton bar Sigurdsson. Of course it's an easier league but still...

Besic has looked poor when given chances with us but so have most players recently. Amazing what someone can do when given a run in a side that has some confidence.

Kevin Prytherch
50 Posted 26/04/2018 at 10:01:39
I agree wholeheartedly with this article.

We don't need an overhaul, we need to get rid of the deadwood.

Chelsea won the league last season with a settled squad, Leicester did with a settled squad... Too many changes, especially when we're not in Europe, will not help us.

Decide on our best team and get rid of most of the rest of the senior pro's.

For example, if we decided that our best XI for next season would be:
(Same formation as Steve's)

Coleman, Keane, Funes Mori, Baines
Gueye, Schneiderlin, Sigurdsson
Walcott, Tosun, Bolasie

Then we buy to improve. If we bought Evans for example, he would replace Funes Mori or Keane and we would get rid. If we signed Wilshere to replace Schneiderlin, we would get rid of Schneiderlin. We don't need experienced players clogging up the squad that will only prevent any young players getting a chance.

We might as well keep Jags (good back up as we don't have 2x good young centre-backs) and Rooney will stay (see Steve's post), otherwise get rid of the rest.
Williams, Martina, Klaassen, Niasse, Besic... this will save us around £15million in wages alone.

Then we have a situation where we have a small squad, all playing consistently and getting to know each other's game. The key to this is to trust the youngsters we have in reserve...

If Baines is out (fatigue, suspension, injured) then we trust Robinson to step in and take his place for a couple of games. If Coleman is out, we trust Kenny, Holgate at centre back, Beni to replace Gueye, Davies for Schneiderlin, Dowell for Sigurdsson, Lookman for Bolasie, Vlasic for Walcott and Onyekuru or Calvert-Lewin for Tosun.

Not only will we save money, but any youngsters playing will come into a settled side so will have less pressure on them to perform, allowing them to play their natural game. We've all seen Davies this year trying to force his game compared to last year where he played naturally.

Due to the lack of Europe this could work. Most of the youngsters will probably play at least 5/10 games throughout the season, getting experience and coming into a settled side. This will only improve them and, assuming we can sneak into Europe, will put us in a better position the season after next.

Paul Welsby
51 Posted 26/04/2018 at 11:11:38
Typical! Buy bottom-rung players to challenge for 6th-7th? This hasn't worked so why continue with it? Sigurdsson, Williams, Pickford, Keane etc...

Fuck me, no wonder we will never get anywhere with fans who continually want players who are fighting relegation or who are playing for bottom-half teams. The circus goes on and on and on. Isn't anyone bored of all this shit yet?

You get what you pay for? So keep harping on about average-at-best players and little old Everton will carry on being bang average at best for 30 more fucking years. Fucking brilliant!

Michael Lynch
52 Posted 26/04/2018 at 11:22:39
I dunno, maybe I've been watching a different group of players this season. I'm struggling with the idea that a fourth manager can succeed where three have already failed with this bunch. Root and branch overhaul of the squad, get shut of the past-its like Williams and Rooney, get shut of the mistakes like Klaasen and Bolasie, recoup as much as we can from our disastrous transfer dealings under Walsh and start re-building.

Let our new manager decide what he needs to suit his own particular vision, and provide him with the funds to do it over the next 18 months. I don't need another season of Keane to realise we bought the wrong player, or another season of Davies and Calvert-Lewin struggling when they need to be either loaned out or used sparingly until they're ready for the Premier League. Keep Pickford, Coleman, Walcott, Siggurdson as first picks, everyone else is either out or benched.

Sandra Bowen
53 Posted 26/04/2018 at 11:33:22
I do like these kind of discussions as we all like to play football manager. I tend to disagree that the solutions are already in our squad and to me, we need massive improvements in 5 positions. These positions are the ones highlighted by many. Left back, centre back, centre mid, wide forward and centre forward. I can't pretend to know much about too many players these day as having two toddlers only enables me to watch Everton and match of the day highlights of all the other teams. I catch the champions league games but don't have a large knowledge of other leagues like I used to.

I really hope Moshiri is willing to speculate to accumulate and throw some big money at these positions mentioned. We don't need to consolidate, we've finished 7th and now 8th. That's pretty comfortable as far as I'm concerned, not forgetting what a dismal season we've had, we are still 8th. That's a foundation to progress from and if he's really still got hs ambition to make us viable contenders, why wait another season? Go for it now. I obviously want the new stadium ASAP and I've no problem with him wanting to profit from his ownership but the product on the pitch will always be the most important.

There are many players to move on. They still have value due to the current mad world of football and whilst it will probably an unpopular opinion, there is plenty of money to made from the youngsters. I think they will all have decent careers but let's face it, none are going to turn into elite players. I hope I'm wrong by the way. I'd certainly keep them on for another year, maybe Davies and Kenny out on loan for a season for development but as for the others, I wouldn't be surprised if they were moved on in the not too distant future.

In terms of other sales, Mirallas, Funes Mori, Besic, Williams, Klaassen, Niasse, Sandro, Bolasie. I'd listen to offers for all these and use the money to invest in quality.

As for incomings, wouldn't be disappointed with Evans or Shaw. Would Stones back in a heartbeat.

The dream for the midfield spot would be Fred to come if we end up with Fonseca as manager. Might be a small chance, unlikely I know but we really need to land a couple of big players.

Up front, definitely Vardy - pace, workaholic, finisher and a bit of devil in him.

As for the wide forward, Willian, Martial, Shaqiri, Zaha.

There are loads others out there that I obviously don't know about but let's go for it. Sod this mid-table mentality, it's been too long.

My semi-realistic dream team


Pace, power, goals and a bit of guile.

Bill Watson
54 Posted 26/04/2018 at 11:36:31
Andy #45

No I haven't but that still doesn't mean Ferguson is a shite coach. He could be getting the absolute maximum out of the bunch of under achievers we see out on the pitch or he could be shite, as you say.

We just don't know.

Paul Ward
55 Posted 26/04/2018 at 11:38:15
Kevin @50. With respect to you and Steve, it would not matter who managed that group of players they are basically a mid-table team at best.

The problem with us Evertonians is for decades we have been naive enough to trust the club to improve our standing. The board, players and managers have all let us down badly.

Although it is unlikely, there is only one way this club will ever recover, and that is by wiping every trace of Bill Kenwright from this club as Don Alexander (#35) suggests.

Tony Everan
56 Posted 26/04/2018 at 11:39:17
Don 35

The point about ‘core fitness’ is a massive one.

It is an area that can be improved on no end and be one of the crucial ingredients to take us forward.

There is no excuse for our players to be 10% less fit than any team above us. If that is ever the case heads should roll .

Mike Rothwell
57 Posted 26/04/2018 at 11:58:55
I lost interest at the point "Project" was used in the title.

It's a football club, not a project. "Project" would infer that a plan exists, a route had been plotted, a course of action devised.

On the evidence of this season, it's a reasonable assumption to say we are not a project.

Ray Jacques
58 Posted 26/04/2018 at 12:10:47
Great article and an interesting read. I believe a new coach could find a way to improve us as a team by establishing a system that the players can play to. However, our current crop are substandard to the requirement level of a top Premier League footballer, and 7th is the best we could hope for.

Nevertheless, if we could achieve this by playing decent football and get a few wins over the big boys along the way and even perhaps a cup win then the fan base will generally be happy.

There will still be those fans who believe in NSNO and School of Science but, at 54 years old and a long-suffering fan, I believe that ship sailed 25 years ago

Paul Birmingham
59 Posted 26/04/2018 at 13:26:38
The game has changed in terms of profile and sponsorship, tactics, fitness and advocacy.

I don't see this board forking out on new players without shipping the so-called deadwood out, and arguably at less than break even.

The Bramley-Moore Dock saga has gone very quiet and my gut instinct, without knowing the status is possible due to no backers.

I'd like a new coaching regime with the focus on fitness and mental health and approach to playing for Everton. The games were we back pass, side pass and, from 10 yards, do the wrong pass, makes you wonder what goes on at Finch Farm.

How can we play a direct striker with sea service in most games... It would be interesting to compare stat ratios For shots on target outside the box and converted headers from left or right wing cross's, back four and midfield goal scorers.

It's become so mundane now that do any of us genuinely believe we will see an awe-inspiring performance again and the sanctity of winning now has become a rare event..

If FM moves the board and admin to The Liver Building 8th floor as suggested this summer, then surely he will have an overriding plan for the club's future?

Fate conspiring and dodgy refs and pens next week and next month, it well could be time again to do a Reggie Perrin, but most RS now don't even take us that seriously anymore as we have been rank for so long.

The media and especially the radio, have this week gone back to 40 years ago... They are getting all the air time and plaudits. It hurts and does make these hard times at Goodison Park even worse.

Kevin Prytherch
60 Posted 26/04/2018 at 13:40:10
Paul 50 - I don’t disagree. I reckon the group of players would probably finish 7th if played regularly together.

What I don’t want to see though, is 3 x senior number 10’s, or 4 x senior defensive midfielders, just to bulk the squad up.

If we buy, we buy to improve and ditch the player who has been replaced. Bolasie is not the answer at left wing, so when we do buy a better one, we sell Bolasie.

Keane and Funes Mori are probably not the answer at centre back, so when we buy a better centre back, we sell one of them.

We messed up this season changing 4 or 5 players every game because of Europe and it’s no coincidence that we are picking up points now that we’re out of everything else and are pretty much keeping a settled side.

Mike Corcoran
61 Posted 26/04/2018 at 13:54:10
It’s all about the piss poor coaching, teach them to play with each other simple as that.
Edmund Burrows
62 Posted 26/04/2018 at 14:16:41
There's some speculation in the media that Louis Van Gaal may be joining Marcel Brands at Everton.
William Gall
65 Posted 26/04/2018 at 14:36:40
Getting tired of all the speculation of who are next manager will be and the constant reports of how many new players we should, or are signing in the summer.

We spent a period before the start of last season with a sense of excitement that we may have started a turnaround in our expectations for an improvement from previous seasons with a new manager and some financial backing. End of season instead of improvements we went in the opposite direction ending up with a manager that the majority of supporters have no respect for and a team playing some of the poorest displays not seen at Goodison for a long time.

We are back to square 1 that needs to be stabilized and it needs action from the upper management and owner immediately . With the World Cup coming in the off season, that will limit a new managers, (if that is what they decide) chances to evaluate the players who are presently at the club, who he will decide to keep, and who to let go. If they decide to keep the present manager (without using foul language not my choice ) he has to be told by a statement from the club that he is staying, and stop all the rumors and speculations

This club will get nowhere being the mister nice guy, and the supporters deserve better from the individuals that have the power to change it, even if they have to make ruthless decisions.

Stop the rot before the fans decide that they have had enough and stop going. Both the Owner and Chairman should be fully aware of how lucky they are to have such a loyal fan base and should repay them fully by becoming contenders and not pretenders.

Paul Tran
67 Posted 26/04/2018 at 15:03:41
William, I don't think there'll be a statement regarding Allardyce until Moshiri has either sorted out a deal with his preferred next manager, or he feels he's run out of better options and decides to stick with Sam.

In the meantime, I will take all the speculation about players, coaches and directors of football with a large pinch of salt and a smile.

Gerard McKean
68 Posted 26/04/2018 at 17:39:36
Thanks, Steve, for a well-argued, logical and realistic article. I think that more often than not you can judge a good piece on ToffeeWeb by the posts it then provokes; and yours has produced one of the best threads I've read.

What you are saying basically is that, while you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear you could get a decent team out of this squad, perhaps with some reinforcements, if you had some decent coaching. I am in violent agreement!

I am not on the same high level as you in terms of tactics and formations but I do know something about leadership, and that's what is lacking at our club; on the pitch, at Finch Farm, and, most of all, in the higher echelons of the those charged with running the business.

As Don and others allude, appointing ex-players who “get” Everton may appease many fans but unless those players are serial winners and know as much as you clearly do about conditioning players to go out and compete, then it continues to be a gravy train for friends of Kenwight (Fokkers).

There is zero hope of changing the culture of complacency until somehow the Fokkers at Board level are ousted. There are people there who owe their position and wealth to what they consider to be a higher loyalty than to Everton Football Club.

Frank Wade
69 Posted 26/04/2018 at 18:03:53
Always interesting to read your views, Steve. Excellent article and intelligent football tactics man's appraisal of our options going forward. I hope Mr Moshiri has a few more quid to spend but you may well be correct and we have to tighten our belts.

As proven by the great Walsh/Koeman splurge approach last Summer and Spurs previously with the Bale money; just throwing money at the problem is not the answer. As Bill Watson in #11 says, the absence of gel or the chemistry that Baines referred to is key.

For Centre Half, I would like a dominant strong in the air no-nonsense type, who could compete in a heading duel with a Van Dijk at a Kop end corner. He would also have to be fast on the turn, good when facing a Salah etc etc. Lascelles and Mawson are other possibles apart from those mentioned.

Not sure about Shaw but he is likely to be available and Bertrand, if Saints go down, is another possibility but is 28 now. Strange how times and views change but a short time back, I thought we were well positioned to replace Baines from Galloway, Garbutt, Connolly or Robinson.

I don't think the Gana, Davies axis works in centre mid and feel we need another Gareth Barry type. Gana seems to be a free spirit chasing interceptions, tackles and blocks to win the ball back for others to use. A vital component who is badly missed when absent, but I don't think he or Davies have the discipline to anchor the midfield.

"Get the middle occupied" an old manager of mine used shout from the touchline and there is a lot to be said for always having someone available for a pass or defensively block the opposition path, preventing breakaways.

I hope Tosun and Dominic can step up but not convinced so far. Unfortunately, Bolasie has seriously regressed since his injury or maybe since playing for Palace against Everton. Did he play like that against other teams? His performance on Monday was one of the worst I've seen. Looking forward to Lookman, Vlasic, Henry Onyekuru and Walcott providing a bit of zip next season.

Andy #17, I hope along with almost everyone else that you are wrong about Allardyce staying. As for Duncan Ferguson bleeding us dry. I don't go to Finch Farm and see what he does to earn his £2/3k a week, but it's plain to see from his touchline demeanour that he cares. He is subservient to whatever tactical genius is in situ, taking his orders, so I think your criticism is totally unfair. He clearly loves the club. I accept his character didn't always come up smelling of roses when he was playing for us. If a new manager brings in a new improved attacking coach, then fine.

As for Bill Kenwright, a strong Evertonian of many years, who gets pilloried on here for being just that. Does anyone honestly feel that Kenwright was in favour of appointing Allardyce or that he isn't hurting far more than all of us at the moment?

He hasn't had executive powers since Moshiri came in, for either managerial appointment. Look at his body language when next to Allardyce. Look at Allardyce's body language in the press conference when he said that Kenwright had apologised to him over the survey, head bowed, turned away, classic lying pose.

So what, if there are some ex Evertonians on the coaching staff and in ambassadorial roles. The fans appreciate what the Unsworth, Sharp, Snodin, Stuart, Royles etc have brought to the club. In the future it may be the Coleman, Jagielka, Baines in those roles, helping the club that gave them so much, trying to instil a club spirit that is so important.

So Steve, as well as making astute buys and tweaking the squad, the key is appointing someone who can gel a team together and realistically position us at the sub's bench at the rich man's table, in 7th, waiting for one of the monied clubs to have an off-season. The key to Ranieri's season was that strength of character, chemistry and team spirit. I would say the same of the first Martinez season, when the team still had some defensive nous. Much as it pains us all, it's plain that Klopp has generated this at Liverpool.

It's going to be an interesting time for us all. As for now "Is he sacked yet??" ... "Is he sacked yet??"

Ian Hollingworth
70 Posted 26/04/2018 at 21:58:39
I understand your practical thinking but that article has depressed me no end. Looks like not much improvement for the foreseeable future with that squad of players regardless of the manager.

Frightening that 7th will be our target. What happened to ambition?

Drew O'Neall
71 Posted 26/04/2018 at 22:05:06
I tuned out at ‘Pickford...we’re stuck with him’

You’ve lost it mate.

Bobby Thomas
72 Posted 26/04/2018 at 22:05:54
Just realised that we've been linked with Wilshere and the Swansea midfielder, both on free transfers. Wonder if that is a taste of what is to come this summer?

Tony Abrahams
73 Posted 26/04/2018 at 22:05:58
What happened to ambition, indeed, Ian. We became a train set for the greatest Evertonian in the world!

Remember his Wembley shout, just after uttering What a Manager Martinez was? We have become Elton John's Watford...

Ian Hollingworth
74 Posted 26/04/2018 at 22:09:05
As for Kenwright not having any influence, it was David Unsworth who stated that the chairman rang him several times a day during his caretaker reign and almost every signing last summer made a point of mentioning the Chairman's influence.

We get what we deserve whilst we tolerate his reign during our worst period ever.

23 years and counting, guys...

Frank Wade
75 Posted 26/04/2018 at 22:31:33
Ian, with regard to Kenwright's influence, I am talking about making the crucial managerial appointments Koeman and Allardyce, granted Unsworth was his influence. I would expect him to be encouraging Unsworth hoping that he was going to make a success of the job. I can't see him having any time for Allardyce.

Agree Tony, re the train set, but we could have let it all slide away to a greater extent with the wrong investor coming on board with less than 100% commitment as per Leeds, Villa, Portsmouth, Sunderland, Newcastle perhaps. We will soon see if it was worth the wait.

Don Alexander
77 Posted 26/04/2018 at 23:30:30
Who'd have thought a genuine Toffee writes for the Mail, Brian!! Thanks for the link. Walsh accompanying Allardyce encourages me to think there were two P45s on Moshiri's desk. Here's hoping.
Don Alexander
78 Posted 26/04/2018 at 00:06:29
Frank (#69), due respect but Kenwright has spent nigh on 20 years "striving", in his words, to find someone he could rely on "to benefit Everton", and, hey presto, by complete coincidence when he found such a person it just happened to deliver £10's of millions to him. Well, I never!

For years before that Kenwright announced various persons had been invited in to do the "due diligence" thing in anticipation of a buy-out. I believe the scorch marks of their tyres as they left Goodison almost as soon as they arrived are still visible, no sale unfolding.

That was after whatever arrangement had been made between Kenwright and the bloke he alone described as "the Mozart of Money", Sir Philip Green, the guy who subsequently left thousands of BHS employees skint whilst he still luxuriates in their penury on his mega-yacht. I believe Kenwright alluded in AGM's to the cost of lawn-mowers being the prime cause of £tens of millions per season in unspecified expenditure, no mention of Green or the British Virgin Islands of course, and why should there be to mere supporters?

Supporters "get" Everton after all, and that's what Kenwright has always relied on. He's a proper gander who's goosed this club something rotten as we have sunk lower and lower in performance and stadium. His demise cannot come quickly enough, along with the ass-kissers he employs.

Paul Kelly
79 Posted 26/04/2018 at 00:16:25
Cheers Brian, for the first time in a while I have a bit of optimism, even if it could be pure conjecture.
Frank Wade
80 Posted 27/04/2018 at 01:13:45
Don, I totally accept most of what you say is absolutely valid, but I still maintain, whilst we could have been better off, we most certainly could have been much worse off under his tenure. If you or I were to take control of the club, I am quite sure the people we would bring in would be people we knew, who had possibly worked with before and we trusted. It happens everywhere in all facets of business.

I'd get Steve Ferns in as a consultant for starters, Rob Halligan as fans coordinator, Lyndon Lloyd as PRO, Mike Gaynes as US Markets Manager etc etc. I am not saying he is perfect, absolutely not, but not the devil incarnate either. I am well aware that I am very much in the minority on this topic.

Unfortunately, there are many Sir Philip Greens on their yachts around the world, plenty of whom were approached for investment in football clubs. Plenty with shady business dealings, the previous owner of Man City for example. In fairness, the comment about lawn mowers was an example of the operating expenses that contribute to high overheads in running a football club and not alone in costing millions.

I don't blame Kenwright for the mess we are in at the moment. Maybe not you, Don, but a lot of fans were lauding Kenwright for finally getting his money man in to invest and were happy when the signings were raining in last Summer. I certainly was but, like most of us, I had no idea of the complete lack of competence shown by Koeman and his total inability to gel these signings into a cohesive unit. Our problem now, as Steve in the OP fears, our chance may never come again.

I would also add that a lot of the culture that has been engendered off the pitch and what is done at Everton with EitC work and several initiatives showing a charitable soul is praiseworthy and we can be proud of that. We would also like to be proud of our manager and the team, but hopefully that will come again in the near future.

As far as I am aware, he remains as Chairman only but not with Executive powers and certainly would not have endorsed Allardyce. It goes against all his principles – stop laughing down the back!

Ed Prytherch
81 Posted 27/04/2018 at 01:53:02
I hope that all of you who don't want Jack Wilshere watched the Arsenal - Atletico game. Jack was outstanding and he set up their goal. I cannot remember any Everton midfielder playing that well this season. I would love to see him wearing an Everton shirt.
Jim Harrison
82 Posted 27/04/2018 at 05:33:27
I tell thee what, if we could sign all the players Spurs are apparently looking to sell in today's BBC Gossip section, we would be a lot better off!


Ian Hollingworth
83 Posted 27/04/2018 at 06:53:47
Jim, I totally agree – those players are all much better than the ones in our squad. Sadly, they won't be looking at Everton though.
William Cartwright
84 Posted 27/04/2018 at 07:18:07
Ian; I agree with the comments regarding Spurs off-loading some 'quality'; I was asking myself the question why and then it dawned on me... Again, a top-six side, superbly managed but not quite as fast and loose with the money as the Mancs, are looking to improve yet further.

Obviously, for them, only the best (or striving for it) is good enough!

Gareth Clark
85 Posted 27/04/2018 at 08:01:56
One thing I do agree with in this post - is that we do not need that many new players. We need someone to get the best out of them. Having another overhaul, will have the same disruptive affect. Give everyone one last season to prove themselves.

We have Stekelenburg & Hewelt as back up - I'm fine with that, unless one goes out.

Jonny Evans is a definite NO from me, he is alright, but he's getting on & he lacks pace & passion.

We definitely do not need a new striker. Our depth and range of skills in our current three is perfect, we just need to get the most out of them. Rondon is a joke of a potential signing... He has scored 7 goals in 33 appearances of 90 minutes in the Premier League... Niasse has scored 7 goals in 19 appearances, mainly off the bench. Rondon averages a goal every 360 minutes... Niasse averages a goal every 120 minutes.

Our strikers are a good team and compliment each other.

The signings we need:

CB: Lascelles &/or Mawson
LB: Bertrand/Chilwell or let Robinson have a go.
CM: If anyone leaves – Dendonker would offer us a Dier similar player, who can slot in at CB too.

My starting team next season? Honestly, I think Klaassen would thrive in a midfield three:

Coleman Keane Lascelles Baines
Klaassen Gueye Sigurdsson
Onyekuru Tosun Walcott

Subs: Stekelenburg, Mawson, Kenny, Davies, Rooney, Lookman, Calvert-Lewin.

And then if we want to play a different formation:

Coleman Keane Lascelles Baines
Gueye Davies
Calvert-Lewin Niasse

Subs: Stekelenburg, Mawson, Kenny, Schneiderlin, Rooney, Lookman, Tosun

GK: Pickford / Stekelenburg
RB: Coleman / Kenny
RCB: Keane / Holgate
LCB: Lascelles / Mawson
LB: Baines / Robinson
CDM: Gueye / Schneiderlin
RCM: Klaassen / Davies
LCM: Sigurdsson / Rooney
RW: Walcott / Bolasie
LW: Onyekuru / Lookman
ST: Tosun / Calvert-Lewin / Niasse

The rest can leave on loan or permanently, or fill a squad role. Jagielka will be great in the squad – I hope he doesn't leave.

Ajay Gopal
86 Posted 27/04/2018 at 12:52:02
Great article, Steve. I agree with the gist of it, although I suspect that Moshiri will be a bit more aggressive than you. It all depends on who he appoints as the next Everton Manager – he appoints an ‘ambitious' manager like Fonseca, then he will need to back that up with funding. If he goes more ‘conservative’ – Dyche, Howe, Silva or a newbie like Arteta, he may get away with lesser outgo from his pocket.

I would drool over Sandra's (#53) more ambitious, optimistic, team, but I don't see that happening. In reality, somewhere between Steve's and Sandra's visions.

Realistically about 4-5 in and about 9-10 out:

GK (on loan?)
LB (Shaw/Clyne)
CB (Mawson/Evans)
Midfield (Wilshere/?)
Forward (Zaha/Martial/Williams)

Robles (his choice)
Sandro (better to move on)
Schneiderlin OR Besic
Niasse (with respect and gratitude)
Bolasie (cut your losses and run)
Klaassen (see Bolasie)

I would love to see Eddie Howe come in to manage Everton. To many this may seem like an unambitious appointment, but I see an excellent coach, who has achieved wonders with tiny resources (19th in player purchases, 19th in wage bill, etc) in a tiny club (with all due respect), is meticulous in his approach, young, ambitious, has stood toe-to-toe with the big boys for 3 seasons now, achieved with a core group of players that continues from League Two days (truly remarkable), achieves his results with a tightly knit group of players and is humble and loyal to his employers and fans. What is not to like in this Manager? I think it would be a perfect fit. (With Steve as his assistant ;-) he... he..)

Christopher Timmins
87 Posted 29/04/2018 at 12:26:03
Steve, a really interesting article. Any new manager should be able to improve the situation with the talent current on hand. What is also very obvious from reading your article is that the squad is to big for a club that will not be in Europe next year. I expect more departures than arrivals.

Of the arrivals, a starting centre half, cover at left back and a creative midfielder would improve the situation.

Given where we are likely to finish this season anything less than 7th accumulating more than 62 points is a must for next season!

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