Richard Jolly compares and contrasts the seasons so far for the combatants in this weekend's 231st Merseyside derby.
Everton's last year has revealed ambition without strategy, money without philosophy. In as much as there has been one, Everton's identity is unwanted. It could be described as failed pragmatism or rubbish pragmatism, with underachievement and underwhelming football.
Summoning a 63-year-old survival specialist to extricate themselves from a relegation struggle they were not really in was indicative of a pervasive, at times self-sabotaging short-termism.
So has been much of the unsuccessful recruitment. Everton's focus on the immediate, inverting the usual trade-off, seems to have brought short-term pain with no long-term gain. Take the case of Eliaquim Mangala: borrowed in January when Everton were not going down and when the younger Mason Holgate was displaying potential in the side. The Englishman has not started since. The Frenchman played just two games, with Everton conceding five goals on his debut, before being injured in his second appearance.
Ashley Williams has been doubly emblematic, his dreadful season mirroring Everton's and his mishaps a common denominator in many of their most wretched displays. He also symbolises the willingness to ignore the future: he joined for £12 million at 32 years old and has swiftly become a liability. Yet the supposedly pragmatic thinking was that Everton were buying a player near his peak, ignoring the realities that decline would set in and his value would depreciate rapidly.
Factor in attempts at more futuristic planning and Everton have a mish-mash of a squad with too many past their best, a handful in the formative stages of their careers and too few in their primes. It has been assembled by different managers and powerbrokers, with different objectives: consistent thought has been conspicuous by its absence. It is an indictment of the theory that spending leads to success, a denunciation of the case for competing voices at a club. The supposedly pragmatic comprises produced a strange situation where everyone got their own No. 10 in the summer, with the end result that Wayne Rooney, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Davy Klaassen all arrived, complicating selection, depriving the team of balance and wasting money.
So if an identity is Everton's prime summer need, their problem is that it cannot be purchased. Everton need personnel, but they need purpose. They must unearth a blueprint that goes beyond buying and short-termism. They need direction, not just direct football. They could do with the feelgood factor Klopp has engineered and something of the excitement that surrounds Anfield and which provides a contrast to the gloom at Goodison Park. Rivals may be role models if Everton have the self-awareness to realise where they have been going wrong and the strategic sense to construct a team with the right sort of identity.
» Read the full article at ESPN
Reader Comments (50)
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1 Posted 05/04/2018 at 10:51:57
2 Posted 05/04/2018 at 11:01:19
This line summarises exactly how I felt about Allardyce at the time of hiring and even more so now:
"Summoning a 63-year-old survival specialist to extricate themselves from a relegation struggle they were not really in was indicative of a pervasive, at times self-sabotaging short-termism."
There was panic, both on this website and, more regrettably, in the board room.
3 Posted 05/04/2018 at 16:40:27
Sam, I don't think there was much panic on this site about relegation – more like a genuine fear of it.
4 Posted 05/04/2018 at 16:59:05
That's all very well and good but we have only had real investment for a couple of years and it could be argued that we lost as many stars in that period as in the cash-strapped years.
Everton have not built a team since 1985 as those responsible for the finances have been ultra lazy and haven't moved the club on in over two decades. Things may change in the coming years but I won't hold my breath.
I still can't believe that the RS are treated like a salt-of-the-earth British club when they have been right up there with Chelsea, Man Utd et al when it comes to paying huge transfers and wages; Everton FC may have increased its wage bill in the last few years but we are a long way off the spending capability of our nearest and dearest.
Until those at the top of the organisation show the same ambition as the fans, we are doomed to continue our mediocre existence and comparisons with any top club are pointless.
Perhaps, Everton will never get it right, but we'll follow our own path, thanks very much.... and if it leads to glory at some point, then all the better. Bitter me? You bet your life I am!
5 Posted 05/04/2018 at 17:00:04
Clear direction and a publicly stated goal is incredibly important. Allardyce should have never been brought in. It has done nothing but put us another year behind. And signing players in their 30s needs to be stopped once and for all. I hope this new technical director finally takes those much needed steps once he is officially confirmed.
6 Posted 05/04/2018 at 17:17:04
A mere billionaire owner, rather than the various multi-billionaire owners of other clubs, cannot afford to take any risk with his investment and personally I think he sent out a major message to future managers that bottom three half way through any season will result in the boot, and rightly so.
Hopefully whoever at Everton draws up the next manager's contract remembers to include some element of accountability by results to temper the obscene pay-offs afforded Koeman and Martinez.
7 Posted 05/04/2018 at 17:33:45
When Ron was sacked we were in deep trouble and many if not most ToffeeWebbers were predicting relegation. It is all very fine saying that we were never going to go down when we now have the supposedly magical 40 points but at the time we were playing poorly and not picking up any points in addition to being embarrassed in the Europa League.
Allardyce was engaged to keep us up and buy some time to have another shot at getting the structure right at the club. Walsh has been a failure and will be replaced- his position is surely untenable. If that is coupled with bringing in a much more forceful and dynamic CEO and a young and ambitious manager then we will start again in the summer.
Allardyce has done what he was brought in to do. It's not been pretty but he has done it. The comparison to the RS is a valid one. They have a vibrant attacking side which apart from VVD has not cost the earth Sigurdsson cost more than any other outfield player of theirs and looking at their buying in recent years we have to overhaul our scouting network. Whilst Suarez, Torres and likely a few others were out of our reach back then they were identified at relatively modest fees. Coutinho at £8m was within reach as was Salah so why can't we find these players? I realise that they can offer Champions League football but there is potential out there and we don't seem to find it.
We need a manager who will inspire players and ourselves. At the moment life is depressing and it is impossible to relish the thought of a Saturday because of the likelihood of defeat if away and total humiliation in games like last week and this. I really can't see us getting a point on Saturday even if they play a reserve side unless we start with the youngsters who will give their all.
The next manager simply has to be the right man otherwise the support will start to drop off in sheer apathy. Foreigner who doesn't know us or the premier league or a young guy with ambition, fresh ideas and a will to win?
I feel an article coming on!!
8 Posted 05/04/2018 at 17:33:55
Yawn...we all know this.
Tomorrow intend to post a piece on some other media site about Chang beer just so ya fucking listen!
9 Posted 05/04/2018 at 17:57:00
10 Posted 05/04/2018 at 18:14:15
If we were flying high in the League, the main protagonists would never be out of the press. They are embarrassingly transparent in every move they make.
I would urge every Blue to leave the ground at the final whistle at our last home game this season. That would send a message to everyone without disrupting the club. Lap of honour? You have got to be kidding me.
11 Posted 05/04/2018 at 18:18:51
But, but, but, we need to remember that they've gone through a few managers to get here and that Klopp hasn't won anything yet.
Still, right now I'd settle for what I watched last night. Yeah, a manager who wins in the Champions League. Do we want one of those or one that's 'done a good job on a small budget'?
This is as more about the club we want to be than anything else. Across the park, they've made it clear. They're a lot closer than we are. And a lot more fun to watch.
Right now there's a fork in the road. We can take one of them now and see where we drive ourselves. We've taken the other fork by appointing Allardyce. I know which one I'd take.
12 Posted 05/04/2018 at 18:22:18
13 Posted 05/04/2018 at 18:37:13
14 Posted 05/04/2018 at 18:47:12
Then they would know but probably fuck-up what may be a longer term strategy Moshiri has. But hey, we are footy kids in the end.
15 Posted 05/04/2018 at 19:25:21
Hopefully the end of this season will see the beginning of the end of the worst period in the clubs history.
Time will prove.. back to the game on Saturday based on current match focus and effort applied, the RS reserves would beat us, last Saturday a decent 6 aside team would have beaten us.
Surely the worst lack of effort by an EFC team in recent times v City, wont be eclipsed against the RS.
We live in hope.
16 Posted 05/04/2018 at 20:01:57
17 Posted 05/04/2018 at 20:16:28
We need and deserve something to shout about. 23 years is too long to wait.
18 Posted 05/04/2018 at 20:54:49
I hate to say it but wish we had him (minus the dramatics) or something similar. I want a winner in charge with a history of winning trophies. I get we won't attract a top drawer coach, but surely we can attract a top ‘second tier' coach with the wages we offer.
We need someone who absolutely expects to win and will expect nothing less from fans and boardroom alike. Moshiri should sit big Sam down and make him watch the RS last night. Err, Sam, didn't you say these were unstoppable 48 hours ago?
I want a ruthless bastard who will send us into a derby breathing fire, eyes popping and veins bursting. I want the RS to have to fight tooth and nail to even scrape a draw at Goodison. Until a manager comes along that matches those horrible pricks for commitment, energy and will to win then I'm not interested in them - it's the minimum requirement surely
19 Posted 05/04/2018 at 20:56:37
We don't bombard opposing buses or look like this: http://www.espn.com/soccer/uefa-champions-league/story/3443851/manchester-city-manel-estiarte-posts-footage-of-unacceptable-team-bus-attack
They may have it all going for them footy-wise at the moment, but Everton is still Everton and... they... are still them.
20 Posted 05/04/2018 at 21:21:25
21 Posted 05/04/2018 at 21:48:17
22 Posted 05/04/2018 at 21:51:41
Its shameful what some of the reds did, but we should not mount our high horse.
23 Posted 05/04/2018 at 21:57:31
24 Posted 05/04/2018 at 22:16:17
Of course we have our own element of bad apples but as Evertonians we tend to take the blame and accept the punishments when it's our fans who have mis-behaved. No high horses in sight as far as I can see, we even defend our enemies when they are at fault we are indeed a strange breed.
25 Posted 05/04/2018 at 23:21:48
And it was a quarter of a century ago. Things have changed, but not across the Park, seemingly.
26 Posted 06/04/2018 at 08:45:15
27 Posted 06/04/2018 at 09:23:03
Tell us something we don't know Mr Top Journo.
Dave @ 3, anyone on this site who had a genuine fear of relegation was way off the mark.
Even for as poor as we were, it was simply never going to happen in our league this season mate.
28 Posted 06/04/2018 at 09:36:18
Harvey, was more of a coach than a manager, but that was the last time we have had a proper top level football minded man in charge for me?
I though Martinez, could be that man, his ideas were good, but it was just an ideology in the end, because football is about both ends of the pitch.
Liverpools midfield isnt great, but neither were “the Everton dogs of war”. The thing both have in common is discipline, energy, nothing fancy, and as Joe Royle once famously said, they wont even let an empty crisp packet, get between them. (Ours didnt anyway!)
I want an Everton manager, who above all preaches intelligence, because I havent seen many clever Everton teams during my lifetime. Even The people who are a lot older than me should agree, that when you get a clever manager, you get a clever team, and we have got a lot of clever young players at Everton right now, who just need to be integrated with some top class experience, by a clever manager, whoever that may be?
29 Posted 06/04/2018 at 10:43:57
It's unusual to see players like Tom Davies, Mason Holgate and Dominic Calvert-Lewin who have talent, potential, confidence, football intelligence, and academic intelligence. I feel we could have the start of something special here. But, I believe this less than I did 10 months ago.
It's a big summer for me, even if there's little in the way of transfers. We need a clever young manager who can be here for the long term (even if long term is just five years now) and fashion a side from the kids, the wannabes, and the not-as-good-as-they-think-they-are players that we have right now.
It's clear to me that the main skill this manager needs to bring is charisma, that ability to make everyone fall in love with him, the staff, the players, and us the fans.
30 Posted 06/04/2018 at 10:55:57
It's as short sighted as the nonsense about us getting relegated that the likes of Dave Abrahams #3 and Dave Williams #7 regurgitate (sorry not to have read further - but arrrrrgh!).
Christ, if people can't see that our first few fixtures were going to be tough, then they have litrerally no football knowledge. We were also in the Europa League! Look at teams who have struggled in the Europa League after relatively good league performances. If they do not have a large enough squad then they suffer both in the league and European competitions. So we needed to develop a squad... and THAT is why we needed a mixture of experience. The short term view would have been to not expand the squad, and probably end up with a similar outcome.
Of course the inexplicable lack of LB cover and Lukaku replacement was telling... but it's simplistic to dismiss the need to buy in as we did.
Koeman was not sacked on the back of those initial results. He was not the right man and kept being "surprised", the treatment if Unsworth was appalling and Moshiri made himself look like a buffoon talking through Jim White in the manner that he did. Hopefully he will learn from this and arguably he has as there haven't been any "wait and see" type announcements.
Of course our biggest mistake was to take the ultimate short-term appointment of Sam Alladyce. I agree with the article there completely. I got berated for airing concern when we signed the French international defender from city... on the face of it, sounds great, but if he's completely slated by their fans - maybe he's a dud. But Christ Sam Alladyce... what we're we thinking?! If ever you want to scrumple-up any hope on progress you appoint someone of the ilk of this man.
With Bournemouth and Watford playing at home this weekend we could easily slide into the bottom half of the table. Of course again whatever scoreline is against Liverpool (unless it's a huge upset), a sacking will then look reactionary. But keep Sam and it might all be rosy because there's points to be had in the four games after?!
Any new manager is going to have FOUR games to assess our squad before the window opens during a World Cup year - the final is 15th July... a whole month before the EPL kicks off. Of course we could just stick Unsworth in there and let him swim in circles while the press predict our next appointment and call him a PE teacher. Just how attractive a prospect are we going to be with A) an interim manager B) an unproven manager or C) a has been, turgid, keep it tight escape artist?! Look at how we'vetreated our players across the board... would you sign for our club if you had no affiliation to it?
I despair at the thought of another manager arriving and being sent packing after a handful of games. The inconsistency could actually make us relegation fodder Villa-style. But Sam is not the man to revolutionise us and I desperately hope he has left GP by Monday.
All that written, and although the article has many home truths... had Liverpool been picked apart by Citeh, I don't think Klopp would have been hailed in quite the same light. If you want to see fickle, look across Stanley Park.
31 Posted 06/04/2018 at 11:27:08
32 Posted 06/04/2018 at 11:53:25
We need one very simple but difficult to identify change this summer and it must be made as early as possible and that change is the right manager.
Once he is in place, everything else will fall into place and if he can bring the feel good factor back to EFC it will ipso de facto point the club in the right direction.
33 Posted 06/04/2018 at 12:19:47
It seems there's people out there trying to ridicule us all for some reason and I am glad it's not us wrecking buses right now,
On the subject of Klopp. Although he has won nothing yet, he has them playing some top football that entertains and will possibly win something soon. What is even more amazing is that a lot of the other crowd were wanting him gone earlier in the season!!
34 Posted 06/04/2018 at 12:27:19
35 Posted 06/04/2018 at 13:10:36
In general terms its been a long time since all 11 players have played to the same strategy, with energy, verve and excitement
Watching Everton these days is tedious
Really really hope we get the next managerial appt right
36 Posted 06/04/2018 at 13:19:38
37 Posted 06/04/2018 at 14:49:19
Well, it turns out I was wrong about us being serious candidates for relegation but I could do nothing about that fear. We looked woeful, still do in most games but those home wins and the Stoke game have seen us safe and I'm very glad we are.
I wish I could have had your confidence in the team, it would have saved me a lot of worry.
38 Posted 06/04/2018 at 15:48:43
Just read your interesting piece on transitions mate, and after what you wrote about Zorro, the other week, then you was just confirming what I want to see in a manager and his tactics?
Intelligent football, we saw it during the first year of Martinez, but it was a little bit boring at times if Im being honest. Koeman, never, Moyes teams had heart, but were never that tactically astute. Walter Smith, awful, Walker, a joke, as was Kendall mk3.
Its a long time since I saw intelligence, and it will always be one of the most main ingredients of football, so lets hope Moshiri, is third time lucky Please!
39 Posted 06/04/2018 at 16:20:07
40 Posted 06/04/2018 at 18:43:20
We just need ONE good chance tomorrow...please God,it's our time.
41 Posted 06/04/2018 at 20:51:24
Others have pointed out how fortunate we have been with a number of our victories, being the worse of the two teams, getting a few fortunate penalties and I would love to know how well Ron might have recovered from the situation he was in. I never will of course but will admit to being somewhat panicked by the close shaves in 1994 and 1998- I actually shed a few tears in the main stand before the Coventry game such was my emotional state at the thought we could go down- and given a choice of risking Ronald continuing or going for someone else I would change him every day of the week.
He was never going to stick with us anyway and Allardyce has us safe now so time to look forward and get it right this time.
42 Posted 06/04/2018 at 21:20:15
Dave, I remember the dark days in the 90s. However, you have to put things into context. If we go around getting Big Sam, Big Ron, Pardew, Rednapp etc in because we've lost a few games against top sides we'll only head one way - into the Championship. Koeman needed to go more because of his attitude. He had constantly said he needed a LB and a striker... we sold Lukaku. It was a terrible start but it was also a terrible fixture list.
43 Posted 07/04/2018 at 06:23:26
Agree that Benni, should have played more since Unsworth promoted him, but Garbutt has failed to make the grade because he cant, or doesnt really want to defend?
Dont know why Vlassic, has been frozen out, which again was started by Unsy, but because I always like to give people a chance, I only decided Allardyce was not the man for us after we lost to Liverpool in the Cup.
I thought that was one of our better performances, especially once Lookman replaced Rooney, and we got Sigurdson playing in his best position, and could even see some green shoots which is very rare after losing to the enemy.
The next week Siggy is back on the wing, and Lookman, is not even on the bench, and the team was an absolute disgrace, in every department. Maybe they realised then that Sam, isnt a good enough or progressive enough manager, but to fail to give 100% for the fans or the shirt, was, is, and always will, be the biggest disgrace of all?
44 Posted 07/04/2018 at 07:25:05
My main concern has Moshiri and his momey got the vision to develop the correct blueprint.Given that the decisions of the two seasons :
Appointment of Walsh
Appointment of Koeman
The signing of Williams
The depacing lobsided midfield recruitment drive
The signing of Rooney
The early write off of Unsworth
Appointment of Big Sam
The dismantling of the youth system
were part of his tenure and obviously resulting in money badly spent, even wasted, with furture inevitable looses.
Can Everton be turned around and Moshiri stand the money its going to cost, given the results of his previous expenditure. Is it time to stop digging the hole.
Dixie Dean once described Liverpool as a gang of butchers and Everton as the school of science (Source:Irish Toffees),What would he say now?
45 Posted 07/04/2018 at 08:53:25
Us fans have played a major part in this, but its now time for us also to play a major part in helping us get back to where we belong.
We need intelligence, and we need pride. We need to stop accepting being also-rans, and demand more effort from the players. Its the only way we will ever return to the top table, because lets have it right, the greatest Evertonian in the world, was the one who destroyed “our famous Latin motto”.
Close your eyes, remember what Everton used to mean, and what Evertonians used to demand, and you will realise that we all have to regain “our fight”. I could say there is no better time than on the day of a merseyside Derby, but I think the blood has been sucked out of us this season, and people just want the season to end, and the manager gone out of the door pronto.
Lets make some noise today, win the fucking game by being “the butchers-for once” and make Aaaaaaallarghdyce realise that Everton football club, and its supporters, will always be too good for his style?
46 Posted 07/04/2018 at 09:09:08
It's not just been blood that has been sucked out of us this season but more important oxygen has been as well leaving us all flat, fatigued and finally fucked, give us a game to remember today, it's your last chance this season.
47 Posted 07/04/2018 at 09:28:28
Appointment of Walsh -
Most were all for it? I certainly was. His reputation was sky high after the Leicester success and the actual difference between DoF and Chief scout were only to emerge in practice over time.
Appointment of Koeman -
Again, most were all for it - I certainly was. Hie ego and arrogance were again only to emerge over time. Courageous decision of Moshiri to take the step of getting rid, and not a moment too soon. We were in deep shit.
Signing of Williams -
Never seen as a long term acquisition. He has run his course, on balance he was not as disasterous as made out, just that his expiry date come around very quickly. time t move on as we all know.
Lopsided midfield recruitment drive -
Revealed the flaws of the backroom thinking. I feel anyone with a voice to be heard was listened to, and their opinion tolerated with the resulting debacle; one of the most crazy spending sprees reminiscent of Spurs and Viv Nicholso'sn pools win. Ironically we were all waiting with high expectations for who would emerge as the 'star' of the team. . . . .
The signing of Rooney -
Well he looked good in the Africa tour and against West Ham; could have been very different if he had been managed differently and positively.
The early write off of Unsworth -
He cooked his own goose by proudly announcing to the world he was in daily contact with Bill twice a day; not words of comfort to Moshiri
The appointment of Allardyce -
The appointment was logical and probably critical in view of where we were with the legacy of Roberto, Ronald and Unsy. He stabilized the ship. We have 40 points. ob done. Replacing him with the minimum of public fuss and drama is on the cards, especially in the appointment of Mr. Brands is anything to go by.
The dismantling of the youth system -
Not sure if it has been dismantled. Onuekuru, Holgate, Calvert-Lewin, Kenny, Baningime, Vlasic?,Lookman?, Davis, are still in the picture with Evans and Robertson looking promising.
My concern is that Moshiri needs nerves of steel, skin of a elephant, extremely large cajones, and the patience of a saint to put up with all the barracking he gets.
If he keeps the faith in his own endeavors, we will succeed and reap the benefit for the future.
48 Posted 08/04/2018 at 02:20:06
Others have mentioned the luck we've had, along the way, in picking up points unexpectedly and I'd add the Anfield Derby to that. They should have been out of sight but we, somehow, came away with a draw.
I've been to 11 away games this season and only seen us win one. Some of the performances: Arsenal, 'Spurs, Chelsea, Leicester, Watford and Lyon were, quite frankly, embarrassing to watch. We were flattered by the 5-1 Arsenal and the 4-0 'Spurs scores and fortunate to get away from Man City, Brighton and West Brom with a point. Fortunately, I couldn't make Bournemouth!!
I hope Moshiri is asking the same questions as we are about the disjointed summer spending spree which saw us ending up with three Number 10s but no centre-forward or left-back cover. It's crucial he gets the next managerial appointment right because we cannot afford another season of chaos like this one. We may not be so lucky next time!
49 Posted 08/04/2018 at 02:45:26
We didn't need to play shit football to survive. We just needed to survive. I still maintain, as I stated many times on here at the time, that we had a far better chance of moving up the table by playing football. Our squad just isn't set up for this kind of stuff.
I desperately hope Moshiri isn't looking for a new manager. I've no faith any manager will fix the problem. The first thing Moshiri needs to do, as stated in the article, it's figure out what this club is going to be about.
He needs some advisors to guide him through this. That's one of the things a DoF can do, and is why I was so disappointed when we passed up that opportunity by giving the title to a scout.
50 Posted 10/04/2018 at 04:44:53
I for one am completely fed up and disillusioned reading the same old (correct) stuff which is being spouted by so many experts (including ToffeeWebbers), and yet... nobody within the club seems to have a bloody clue how to be open and honest and seemingly capable to address what everyone else can see! On top of that, they are being paid astronomical salaries for continuing to spout the same old crap. (Perhaps there's a link there!)
We were in a risk of relegation if Koeman had remained, no doubt. He had lost all credibility within the Club. It is easy to forget just how bad we were. Where would we have been in our 'period of recovery' without Niasse's goals? Koeman simply had to go and for me it was with good riddance!
The follow-on fiasco of Unsy, Silva, and then crawling back to Allardyce, must count as the most cringe-worthy managerial appointment exercise in the history of the Premier League. Yet here we are, dithering again with Allardyce still not knowing which end is up. Holgate's promising season curtailed by Managla? I ask you; what bloody future has the Club got with the managerial tit-for-tat merry-go-round load of bollocks that we have been subjected to this season?
How can we fail to compete in the derby, against an under-strength Liverpool, sandwiched between their Champions League Quarterfinals, and throw away the opportunity to regain some pride of place in the City? Perhaps the players' lack of passion, motivation or whatever, distilled from them by the cretinous self-serving manager, might have had an effect?
Only the root-and-branch cull that Moshiri is supposed to be considering can rescue us now. That cull must include the entire existing management structure, without exception, from Kenwright through the ranks to Ferguson, and I would include Unsy in that for his "I talk to Kenwright every day" nonsense.
Rant over. COYB.
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