What’s a good result? Take 2

Mike Allison 21/08/2018 60comments  |  Jump to last

What I’m really aiming for in this article is a framework for discussion about our results. This is a way that we can step back from the emotions that follow a football match and give ourselves some perspective on what just happened. For example, so far this season, we’ve drawn away at Wolves and beaten Southampton at home. It’s felt pretty good, the team seems to be playing with purpose, and our big new signing has found himself joint top of the goal-scoring charts. However, looked at objectively, all we’ve really done is met the minimum expectations for those games and, depending on where we rank Wolves, we might actually be two points down on where we should be.

I first wrote an article along these lines in 2015, Roberto Martinez was preparing Everton for a third season having led us to our record Premier League points haul then followed it up with a deeply disappointing 11th place finish. Martinez’s position was on the line, and there were those ready to criticise and those ready to defend. I felt some perspective was needed, and put forward a framework for looking at our results a bit more objectively. Unfortunately, despite having been positively received, the article became irrelevant that season as Everton fell well, well short of anything that we were aiming for.

I then prepared it for the beginning of last season, updated for the somewhat similar situation Koeman was in, with some ToffeeWebbers seemingly prepared to put a negative spin on any result, and others prepared to argue that things were going in the right direction. I never got round to submitting it, and anyway, the season as a whole went so badly that it wouldn’t have been particularly useful.


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As it turned out, however, last season was all about mood and performances. In the end, we finished nearly where we should have finished, we mostly won the games we should have won, drew the games we should have drawn and lost the games we were expected to lose. The biggest problem as a fan was that we scraped the wins and got absolutely hammered in the defeats, looking abject and pathetic at times as we did so.

The way I look at it takes a little explaining, but I think it will provide some valuable context to the post-match venting that occurs any time an Everton side have the temerity to lose a football match. It may also help prevent us from getting carried away if we string a few home wins together against bottom-half teams. In fact, it goes nicely with one of my favourite football sayings, which I’ve often quoted on ToffeeWeb when calling for a little rational perspective: “Things are never as good as they seem when you’re winning and never as bad as they seem when you’re losing.” Terry Venables, that one.

It goes a little something like this: first we set ourselves a target, and then we work out where we expect the points to come from to reach that target. I’m setting the target of finishing in 6th place in the Premier League. This theory can be adjusted up and down according to whatever target you want to set, but I think that combines reasonable pragmatism with ambition in a way that makes sense for now. Looking at the league tables for the last decade of Premier League seasons, 65 points is usually enough, and 70 points is always enough, and could even get you into 4th and the Champions’ League. This bit is difficult to judge, but I’m going to set a target of 70 points. This could well get us into 4th place, and is highly likely to get us at least 5th. If we got to 70 points and didn’t make 6th place, I think we should consider ourselves unfortunate rather than inadequate.

It isn’t achieved by picking up a point at the Champions, that’s nowhere near enough, it is achieved by relentlessly winning against the lower teams, no matter what. There are various permutations, but one that gets us there is 20 wins, 10 draws and 8 defeats. This means winning home games consistently. It also means that we can afford to lose 8 league games throughout the season, that’s one every five or six games.

We need to work out which teams are going to be the dangerous ones. One simple way is to use last season’s table, but I’m going to be a little more subjective than that and use my own judgement. Placing Everton in 7th place, I’m going to rank the other 19 Premier League teams and use that as the basis for judging what sort of result we should expect against them. Again, being slightly subjective, I’ll want a home record of W14 D3 L2, which means we need an away record of W6, D7, L6. This adds up to my 20-10-8 which gets me 70 points and near certain European football, possibly even Champions League.

This means I need to beat the worst fourteen teams in the league at home, I can afford to lose to the best two, and I need to draw the other three. Away from home, I need to beat the six worst teams, I can afford to lose to the best six, and I need to draw at the seven in between. Obviously, results are never this neat, and it’s a big ask to be that consistent against the weaker teams.

Therefore, whenever we fail to beat one of the weaker teams, we need to make up those points against the stronger ones. This makes a defeat at the likes of Chelsea nothing more than a missed opportunity to gain points on the system, whereas actually all along we knew it was a game that we could afford to lose.

However, it is vital to understand that this can’t be seen as accepting defeats in games like this, as to do so means we have no margin of error in those home games against weaker sides. Sam Allardyce seemed to do exactly this, and the players completely lacked motivation in what should have felt like big games. In fact, this system should be used to inspire the side.

If you tell them that this game is one we’re not under pressure to win, then they should play with more freedom and be able to attack the opposition without feeling restricted. With some of the attacking players in our side now, that lack of restriction could make them extremely dangerous. This is why we need to make sure we don’t get carried away by a win at home to Southampton, and a draw away at Wolves may even leave us needing to win a game we otherwise could have drawn. The difficult bit of this is working out who are the six teams that we feel we can go to their ground and come away with three points. Our next opponent, Bournemouth, may well be one of them.

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Reader Comments (60)

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Derek Thomas
1 Posted 22/08/2018 at 01:26:25
Mike, I grasp the concept but it all sounds a bit kopite to me.

They have a similar thing on RAWK – the alternate league table, where, following a Stanley Unwin-esque arcane and runic formula of 'underpar', 'par' and 'over par' they always seem to be higher than they are and – it will come as no surprise, we, more often than not, are ranked lower.

There's also the study (by rs 'academics'...a contradiction in terms if ever there was) that 'proves' that they are the unluckiest team in the league... no doubt that gets factored in too.

Stephen Bird
2 Posted 22/08/2018 at 01:40:51

I get this, and completely see the mathematical sense.

But, for me, until we start improving against the "big six" and start regularly beating them, we can never aspire to compete at that level.

Michael Kenrick
3 Posted 22/08/2018 at 03:55:13
Sorry, Mike, but I just have no comprehension for this type of forward planning. To me, it is quite ridiculous that you could plan out which games or how many you were going to win, lose, or draw as some part of a great prediction. The football that I watch, the Premier League, simply does not work like that.

Now, I admit I have no idea what Silva does to inspire the team, what he works on during the week, how he talks to the players to get them set up to play the next match — we'd need to ask Jerome Sheilds as he seems to be right here inside everybody's mind... but there's the clue — the next match.

I strongly believe no-one in football looks any further than the next match. What's important is winning... or at least getting a result. And that's all about Silva coaching the players, getting the players to understand and implement what he wants, assuming it has a positive effect.

So, no. I call bullshit on the whole notion, I'm afraid. Sorry but it's one game at a time. Win that game, then plan for the next.

Marcus Choo
4 Posted 22/08/2018 at 04:08:10
I can't decide if this is meant to be some kind of mathematical forecast to determine where we'll end up in the table, or a kind of statistical means of motivating the team for games...

How do you account for red cards and injuries etc? Would we have won with Jags staying on? Lots of ifs and buts to account for I feel.

David Ellis
5 Posted 22/08/2018 at 05:26:31
Mike – don't listen to the doubters (and who cares what RAWK does). This is excellent work. I think along the same lines as you do. Your system gives perspective to every result. It's not supposed to be a prediction – it gives a sensible framework for how a good season would look and how each individual result is above or below par against that benchmark.

On that basis, we are on par – beating Southampton at home (a likely bottom 14 side) and a draw away at Wolves who I expect to be at least 7 places above the bottom. I would be interested to see your list of teams in order of expected finishing place.

For 70 points, we would need to beat Bournemouth away and the way we are playing I think we have a more than even chance of doing so – although with the 6 points they have they are probably above "par" themselves at this point.

Mike Allison
6 Posted 22/08/2018 at 08:57:36
It’s absolutely not a prediction, it’s a way to bring some objectivity to thinking about something where emotions can often rule, and not always for the best.

For example, if we lose away at Chelsea, ToffeeWeb will have many comments lamenting our many woes, whilst when we beat Southampton at home, people might start unreasonably raising their expectations, only to be frustrated and angry when they are dashed. Looking at the results in this way shows that, when we step back from the emotions a couple of days after the game, we’ll see a truer meaning of an individual result within the context of a season.

I’m pretty sure Mourinho used to do something similar. My original article mentions how his idea was basically to beat the bottom half home and away, thus taking the pressure off the ‘big’ games, knowing he only needed a draw and didn’t have to risk much.

The original article can be found here: https://ToffeeWeb.com/season/15-16/comment/fan/30885.html

It might be better written than this one.

David, I did have a go on the BBC predictor, but beyond about the top 8 and bottom 2 I found it very difficult to predict who would finish where.

Jay Harris
7 Posted 22/08/2018 at 09:20:35

I agree planning and targetting is good but I don't think we should plan to lose any game.

How good would it feel to go through the season unbeaten even if we only draw a lot of those games?

I also hate to go all Sam on us but I think clean sheets are important to any team with ambition and that's something that needs a lot of work at Finch Farm.

Joe McMahon
8 Posted 22/08/2018 at 09:42:08
Just a win at Anfield would be nice, if we don't win this season it will 20 years.
Mike Allison
9 Posted 22/08/2018 at 09:48:28
Jay, I’d love to win every game obviously, but there are eight matches this season where if we did lose, we’re still on track. This means that as a team we can play without fear and restriction and as fans, once we’ve got over the pain that comes with any defeat, we can move swiftly on without dwelling too hard on ‘what went wrong’. This also means we can think more rationally about whether we need to change things that were otherwise working.

Joe, of course, but that’s entirely the emotional side of things. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s not what this article is about.

Rob B Williams
10 Posted 22/08/2018 at 09:55:47
I used to play a bit of golf – in bed!

Funnily enough, my scores were always better than on the course and altho' my club selection was nearly always the same, the results were far better. I wonder why?

Stan Schofield
11 Posted 22/08/2018 at 10:11:04
You can do all kinds of analysis like this, but at the end of the day we should aim to win each game, to have a 'winning mentality' so to speak. When we have this mentality, we can see it, it's obvious, and it's equally obvious when we don't have it.

It's obvious that we have acquired better quality players, and that the existing ones are performing better under the new regime. We appear to have more of a winning mentality, judging by the attacking intent so far. So there's every reason to anticipate a good, and entertaining season. If we finish around our usual 8th, that could be considered progress provided the entertainment is much better than last season. If we finish higher, then that is surely additional progress over and above that.

Often you don't need analysis when there's a palpable change in performance, spirit, team work and mentality. When there isn't, analysis can help discern progress or lack of it. It seems that in our case, there is a palpable change, so I'm not sure that analysis adds much.

Aidan Wade
12 Posted 22/08/2018 at 11:11:36
It's interesting and should definitely be a reference point for us fans before we all lose the plot at the next "bad" result but I hope Silva is telling them to forget the league tables and last week. Develop a plan to beat the team in front of you today.

"Go out and enjoy yourselves" will only work for the mighty ducks.

It reminds me of the theory that pro golfers expect to hit a few bad shots in a round and deal with it whereas amateurs go out for the perfect round and get frustrated.

Lawrence Green
13 Posted 22/08/2018 at 11:53:36
I am somewhere between MK's 'take each game as it comes' and the management speak which wants fans to react in an objective manner when Everton drop points.

As fans, we want the team to win every single game it plays, even when the odds may be against that happening. It matters not if we lose at a super club or a newly promoted one, the feeling is the same, the points gained or lost is the same.

The important element for me is how the team play the game no matter how star-studded the opponents may be; if Everton play well enough, often enough, they will win enough times to keep us all relatively happy. If Everton play badly on too many occasions, the results will suffer making many of us unhappy.

There should be no restrictions set on who Everton can beat in any given game, or indeed lose to in any match, it all depends on how the team performs and whether they are consistent enough to gather enough points to make inroads into the top six or above.

Due mostly to the financial clout of the top clubs in the Premier League, there is a case that 12 points gained from the fixtures against the top six home and away would be as good as any team outside of those top six could reasonably expect.

The remaining 26 matches versus the none top six sides, where a win at home and a draw away would seem a decent return for most of those teams outside of the elite. Sixty-four points would be the return for a side who matched that theoretical objective, not enough for Champions League probably but likely to obtain Europa League qualification.

Everton currently have four points from two games, but is that tally good enough? We could and perhaps should have won at Wolves, but given the circumstances, playing away at a newly promoted club, down to ten men for much of the game, most fans would accept it was a point gained, but would the 'scientific' approach be able to factor in those many variables that occur in every game that is played?

In short, Everton can win at any venue against any team if they produce better football and score more times than their opponents of the day, only when all the points are added up at the end of the season can we look at the Premier League table and categorically decide whether it was a good season or not. On a match-by-match basis, we can shriek with delight or horror, depending on the result — it's what fans do, it's part of the game, it's what keeps everybody interested.

John Williams
14 Posted 22/08/2018 at 13:28:44
There's no doubt that teams aspiring to the top 6 will normally need to win at least half their matches, and inevitably the majority of wins will come from matches against the "bottom 14". Arsenal, until recently, always made the top 4 but they came to rely more and more on consistently beating the poorer teams in Wenger's later years as their results against the top teams deteriorated (not just losses, they've had some hammerings against the likes of Chelsea, Man Utd and the RS as bad or even worse than we've suffered).

Also there's plenty of evidence that some managers, usually at clubs at the wrong end of the table, have targeted some matches as being "winnable" even to the extent of fielding weaker teams in some matches to rest players for the "winnable" ones.

However, I can't see this as an acceptable approach for Silva to adopt or that it would motivate or inspire the players. Surely its more likely to have the opposite effect for the big matches. The negativity of Koeman and Allardyce, the "knife to a gunfight" mentality of Moyes must have been factors in the "no shows" and shameful performances we've had to put up with against the top teams.

I want us to go out to try to win every game and I'm confident that will be Silva's approach. I think we are well capable of winning 13 or 14 of our home matches, we'll have to wait and see whether Silva can improve the away form to get enough points for the top six and also give us the results against the big six we all crave.

Jay Wood

15 Posted 22/08/2018 at 14:14:41
I have to admit, Mike, that I'm left a bit bemused as to who the article is aimed at and what specifically you are proposing.

The theory of 'knowing your strengths' (your place, even...) and categorising your league opponents into groups of should win, might win, could win, won't win, is as old as the hills.

My confusion is, does your piece aim to diffuse the (unrealistic..?) expectancy levels of the support, or are you proposing it as a model to follow for the management and the team?

Either way, I can't agree with your reasoning.

Supporting a sports team is primarily about emotion. Yes, people are capable of sound rational in their every day lives, even when discussing the topic of their favourite sports team. But cometh the hour, in the white heat of battle, emotions take over and rational takes a back seat.

So what that Man City have spent billions in recruiting some of the best players on the planet, play football from another planet, under possibly the game's finest ever coach? Come match day it's 'We can do this lot! They're there for the taking!'

And football being football, time after time teams do 'do' their overwhelmingly superior opponents.

So if that was the primary aim of your piece – to dampen down the expectations of supporters – I rather think you are whistling in the wind.

If, on the other hand, you are proposing the theory as one for the management to apply and follow, again, I can't agree with you.

You say: "this system should be used to inspire the side. If you tell them that this game is one we're not under pressure to win, then they should play with more freedom and be able to attack the opposition without feeling restricted."

I say 'bollocks to that!' Being under pressure to win comes as a given as a professional sportsman. Psychologically, you cannot switch that button on and off every week depending on the opposition. The singular focus and belief – of management and players alike – should be one thing and one thing only: WINNING.

You undermine and dilute that mindset by applying the 'logic' you propose. Effectively, you are proposing stagnation – regression, possibly – rather than progress.

Mike Allison
16 Posted 22/08/2018 at 16:25:39
No Jay, it’s neither. Your last paragraph represents a complete misunderstanding of what I’m saying. I suppose the main aim is that if we do go to Man City, Chelsea or Tottenham and lose, the emotion that says ‘we must change everything to compete’ and slags off Schneiderlin or a Hibbert or whoever it is that month and wants him out of the club can be overridden.

Most of what you say in your post I agree with, the emotion is the most important thing, but emotion can also lead to anger, frustration and impatience with things that are, actually, overall working.

Looking at things in this way can prevent us from throwing the baby out with the bath water when results aren’t so great, and it should prevent us from being too complacent when things go well. It is clearly stated in the OP, using the Allardyce example, that it is absolutely not about the players and manager accepting defeat. It gives us a sense of perspective about what an individual result, or run of results can mean within the context of an entire season. In essence, as per the Terry Venables quotation, it is intended to bring us back to the middle when emotion can carry us off in unhelpful directions.

Perhaps it makes more sense in the original that I’ve linked to in one of my replies, as I was unsure about how much to repeat and restate this time round.

Nothing in what I’m saying in any way says we shouldn’t try to win every game. If that’s what anyone thinks I’m saying then they’ve misunderstood. Actually, it’s a good general rule in life that if you think someone is saying something stupid, then it’s probably worth trying to have another go at interpreting what they’re saying.

No, this is about what our mindset should be in retrospect when analysing what a result really means.

Jay Wood

17 Posted 22/08/2018 at 17:33:34
Mike, I read your opening post carefully, 2-3 times, and select passages even more as I responded to those specific points.

So I really don't understand you stating: "Actually, it's a good general rule in life that if you think someone is saying something stupid, then it's probably worth trying to have another go at interpreting what they're saying."

Two things here:

1) Nowhere have I claimed your opening post is 'stupid' other than saying 'bollocks to that!', to your idea of telling the team that "this game is one we're not under pressure to win, [because] then they should play with more freedom and be able to attack the opposition without feeling restricted." Like it or not, this is a defeatist attitude which will not instil a desired-for winning mentality.

2) I rather think it is more incumbent on the author of an opinion to explain themselves better rather than make it the responsibility of the reader to 'have another go at interpreting what the author is trying to say'; all the more so if the reader declares right off the bat at being bemused and unclear about the piece, as I did.

Your reply does not help clarify your original post. On the one hand, you say you agree with most of what I posted, but then (to me) you continue to contest the points you say you agree on.

Put aside completely the in-match and post-match fan reaction. It's just people venting. What we say and do as supporters (for the most part) doesn't change anything about how the club is run, team selection or strategy.

Since Moshiri came on board less than 3 years ago, we are now on to our 5th manager (including Unsworth). The debacle of last season in particular very much necessitated not just 'throwing the baby out with the bathwater when results aren't so great' as you state, but required a complete re-plumbing of the whole edifice.

On the question of team management and players' attitudes, you go to great lengths in both your posts I reference to 'target' and 'grade' different fixtures as ones where we can expect lesser or greater returns. You even go so far as to suggest the manager should instruct the team "This game is one we're not under pressure to win" as a means to 'inspire them' (your words again) to play a more relaxed and attacking football.

Now you somehow justify yourself by throwing in Allardyce as an example of someone who applied the very theory you are arguing for... but in the same breath you claim you are 'absolutely not' proposing the players and manager accept defeat in any game.

For me, reading your words, it's a contradiction.

With respect, Mike, I rather think you've meshed together two different lines of thought into one. You speak of targets and a strategy the team and management should apply to achieve said targets. You have tied that into a notion that supporters suppress their in-the-moment emotions and take a more philosophical 'sense of perspective' about results.

I stand by my original comment. The first potentially undermines the singular focus and belief the management and players alike should strive for: WINNING. To apply the 'logic' you propose you effectively are proposing stagnation – regression, possibly – rather than progress.

On the second point of greater fans' perspective, an ability to separate the emotional from the rational, some can. Some can't. That's the beauty and diversity of human nature.

You are never going to get a universal consensus on such an appeal as you wish to promote.

Amit Vithlani
18 Posted 22/08/2018 at 18:00:36
Brave article and nice perspective.

I do agree with those who feel we should never go out with a scientific approach of which games are a "bonus" and which ones are must wins.

Top level sport is all about mental fortitude and backing yourself to win. It is not a switch that can, in my view, be turned from "go out and win" to "don't worry if you don't". I think the more players are trained to think they can win even the most difficult of games, the better they, and we supporters, will be served.

Peter Gorman
19 Posted 22/08/2018 at 18:47:55
The Premier League is one of the most brutally competitive in the world. We've just seen Brighton beat Man Utd. We were held to a draw against newly promoted Wolves who include Moutinho and Neves in their side for God's sake.

I think the general rule is – put in the graft and play to win and then your skill should see you through, if your luck holds. Don't put in the effort and expect to suffer.

As an emotional fan, I expect to see the players going for the win each time as a minimum. Otherwise, I'll go and watch paint dry.

Tony Abrahams
20 Posted 22/08/2018 at 19:05:07
I think it's really hard to put into words what you are trying to say sometimes, and especially because if you don't get your point across the way you mean to, then people will always be able to pick holes out of things you have tried to explain.

I think there is a certain logic to what you are trying to say, Mike, and there is no doubt in my mind that some managers are definitely targeting certain games.

The top six never had it so easy last season, and I'm not sure the team that came 8th won any game against the teams that finished above them...

I think it happens more with the teams nearer the bottom of the league though, because any team trying to qualify for the Champions League have got to be trying to win every game, or at least getting a draw against the teams around them.

Mike Allison
21 Posted 22/08/2018 at 21:35:57
Okay Jay, how about:

“Don’t lose your shit if we lose away at Chelsea” and “don’t think we’ve got everything sorted if we stick 3 past Huddersfield.”

Clear enough?

If you think Allardyce did what I’m saying then you haven’t understood it.

You seem to be doing that thing where you want someone to have said something stupid so that you can feel clever.

We WILL lose games this season. Definitely. Applying some ‘stepped back’, rational perspective to those defeats will help us deal with them.

Mike Allison
22 Posted 22/08/2018 at 21:57:59
I am not saying don’t try to win games.
I am not saying don’t try to win games.
I am not saying don’t try to win games.
I am not saying don’t try to win games.
I am not saying don’t try to win games.
I am not saying don’t try to win games.
I am not saying don’t try to win games.
I am not saying don’t try to win games.

I hope that’s clear enough. That is what Allardyce did, he’s a shite manager. Of course we should try to win every individual game. I’m talking about how we should react if we do happen to lose a game we tried to win. I’m furthermore saying that those individual games fit into the wider context of an overall season where we will not win every game. The way we react to both victory and defeat can be important and is better served by applying the kind of perspective I’m talking about.

Peter Gorman
23 Posted 22/08/2018 at 23:05:35
Mike, be fair to Jay - he specifically addressed your sentence; "If you tell them that this game is one we’re not under pressure to win, then they should play with more freedom and be able to attack the opposition without feeling restricted."

I agree with him that that is no approach to a game for a player or a fan (as we ought to believe on our day we can beat anyone). I I just don't believe this 'freedom' will be created, just the opposite. Though in your defence we often see relegated teams plays blinders the very fixture after the drop is confirmed, it is nothing I'd advocate over the course of a season.

Frank Wade
24 Posted 22/08/2018 at 23:15:31
Good article Mike, enjoyed it. There is a high correlation between money spent on wages and points gained in the top leagues over time = 10 year as explored in a book by Stefan Szymanski 'Money and Football' A Soccernomics Guide. See brief summation here Link

Maybe the Kipling quote about the treatment of 'triumph and disaster' would have helped. Actually, maybe that Kipling quote should be in the Live Forum heading for each game.

I'm quite certain from what I've seen and read of his methods, that a Marco Silva team is going to try to win every match and to maximise the return from the resources available. Supporters are also hoping to win every match. Looking at the season as a whole, we know that we are not going to win every match. If we are 7th highest spenders on wages in the Premier League, the research shows that we are likely to average 7th in the table over a 10 year period. There will of course be slight variations each year where higher spending teams have drop in form as per Man U and Chelsea or upsurge in form like Leicester in recent seasons.

Now, off to check where Bournemouth are expected to finish, so I can adopt the proper reaction to Saturday's result ! If we lose, we can adjust our mindsets by winning at a mid-table outfit like Burnley, but if we lose at Burnley as well, it's Kenwright's fault.

Jay Wood

25 Posted 22/08/2018 at 23:18:00
Mike @ 21 and 22.

I really don't understand your reaction.

I've engaged with your original and subsequent posts respectfully, courteously, thoughtfully, constructively, eloquently and with a rationale and intelligence you seemingly demand of fellow supporters, without resorting to any sly, snide or insulting remarks.

The same most certainly cannot be said of the last two posts you address to me.

I cannot be clearer in why I consider the two points you appear to be making are flawed. Or do you wish to deny any counter opinions to your own worldview?

If you consider I have done so merely to make you look stupid and to big up myself, then that really is an issue for you to resolve, because that is not and was not my intention at all.

Mike Allison
27 Posted 23/08/2018 at 03:26:37
“you effectively are proposing stagnation - regression, possibly - rather than progress.“

You said this twice, despite the fact that I’m saying we should target 70 points, should be relentless in targeting wins home and away against lesser teams and should play with freedom against the bigger teams rather than try to ‘keep it tight’.

I’m frustrated that you seem to be reading things into what I’m saying that aren’t there. How is targeting our best season ever in the Premier League (bar one) proposing ‘stagnation’ or ‘regression’?

I’m not trying to deny any opinions, in fact I’m not entirely sure what yours is. It seems to be that I’m wrong to say something that I’m not saying.

Mike Allison
28 Posted 23/08/2018 at 04:27:41
What I’m proposing here is just a way of thinking about results over the course of a season. I’m not trying to write Marco Silva’s team talk for an away game against the top six. I could have a go at that but I don’t see the point. It certainly wouldn’t be “this is a ‘lose’ game lads, so don’t worry about it.” The preparation for every game should be individual, in depth and at some point involve a realistic assessment of whether or not we’re expected to win and whether or not the opposition will expect to beat us. That will affect their mentality and style of play and will therefore be something we need to adapt to.

Although every individual game is winnable, and we should attempt to win them all one at a time, over the course of the season we will win some, draw some and lose some. Knowing which ones are likely to be which will give you a more rational sense of perspective from which to view those results, rather than simply going with your initial, raw emotional reaction.

So don’t lose your shit if we lose away at Chelsea, or get carried away if we stick three past Huddersfield. The same players, putting in the same effort, can get both of those results. The defeat away to Chelsea doesn’t mean they’re lazy or useless and we need to change things, and the home victory over Huddersfield doesn’t mean we’ve cracked a permanent winning formula that can’t be tinkered with.

The key distinction where some people seem to object to what I’m saying is that where I ask fans for a sense of perspective about what a result really means, the objectors are reading that I propose the team doesn’t approach the game to win it. This is because of something I wrote in the OP that was intended to show how this may be used as motivation. I wish I hadn’t bothered. It’s been picked up on and given undue prominence when it was never the main point of the article at all.

Jamie Crowley
29 Posted 23/08/2018 at 04:39:53
Mike -

Beat the teams below us. If we don't beat them, make up the points by getting results against the teams above us.

I think that's it in a nutshell?

I agree. First thing's first - we need to beat the teams (home and away) below us. I've always thought this was logical.

If you're tipped for 7th, you have 13 teams below you. Grab 6 points home and away against those teams and?

Wave a magic wand admittedly -

You have 78 points in the bag if my math(s) is (are) correct.

How is that a bad goal or game plan for the season?

I agree with that premise.

And Bournemouth will be one HELL of a litmus test to see if we can actually do that.

And - we need at least 2 draws from teams above us as we've "dropped" 2 points with the draw at Wolves.

I've always said the key to success is beating the teams you should. How is this controversial or some type or witch's brew?

A bit of fantasy sure. But not a bad theory at all, and one if executed gets you Champions League Football.

I'm in!

Jamie Crowley
30 Posted 23/08/2018 at 04:44:17
Just because you forward this way of looking at the fixtures does not mean, in any way, shape, or form, you excuse losses.

Mike has made that clear. That argument is disingenuous and not the point.

We don't set out to lose a game. And no one is happy when we lose.

Win the ones you should and success is the outcome.

Simple. Thank you Mike!

Jim Harrison
31 Posted 23/08/2018 at 04:51:51
Micheal K 3

I maybe wrong, but I thought it was fairly common for management to set out expected results against fixture list each season? Maybe not whole season at first, but at various stages. Last season Moshiri said as much in defence of Koeman that

I wouldn't say that means not going out trying to get a result in every game, more just pragmatic. Home against Watford we should expect to be a banker. Away to ManCity a draw would be a good result, but a defeat would not set alarm bells ringing.

I suppose it's really not to dissimilar to bookies setting odds.

Michael Kenrick
32 Posted 23/08/2018 at 05:08:05
The point for me is that it opens up a dangerous mindset, a belief that you can realistically 'manage' the season in terms of which games or how many you are going to win, draw or lose.

Sorry but I'm with those who at least want to believe that you prepare to play the next team with the prime objective of playing well, implementing the manager's plans specifically to defeat perceived threats, with the ultimate primary goal of putting 3 points on the board.

The numbers may work out in some ways like Mike says at the end of the season. But that's not a result of planning or managing the games in the way he says. It's a result of playing all 38 games and totting up the points.

What people want is certainty about the future — look how many folks wanna know where we're going to finish next season. Sorry but, to me, it comes right down to the very essence of why we play the game. It cannot be managed. You cannot predict the results. It's a game of fine margins, changed in an instant by close, arbitrary or erroneous decisions that decide games for you, completely out of your control.

Some people clearly need to have control of the uncontrollable. It's an illusion.

Christine Foster
33 Posted 23/08/2018 at 05:32:33
Sure this can be seen as an aspirational game plan for the manager, not the team. MK is right in that respect, it's the next game that counts, but the manager has to have a measure of what his / her success is, and ultimately it's winning, in a style and manner that brings the financial and kudos of the footballing world.

A target objective he or she has to have is an ongoing measure of their performance and not just the league table. I urge that you read the article in the context of the excellent article elsewhere on this site by Gerald McKellen, "The lads in the Royal Blue Jersey" — success is not only measured by points but also by the manner in which we play, measured by points and satisfaction.

Michael Kenrick
35 Posted 23/08/2018 at 05:57:16
Hi Steve (#35),

I saw it more as a comparison table rather than a prediction, if that's the one you mean. It was a real pain to work up, as I recall. Perhaps doing the attendances was a step too far.

It looks like the original request came to Steve Flanagan back in 2002-03! We seem to have mislaid a number of ones since.

I think I gave it a miss in the end because there's really only one table that matters... The only table that provides any 'perspective' in the milieu of this strange thread!

[ps: I moved your post onto this thread rather than the Loan Watch thread.]

Jim Harrison
36 Posted 23/08/2018 at 06:15:21
Micheal, not controlling, but estimating based on realistic expectations.

I personally work on the basis of overall home and away points goals as a minimum target. Beat the teams below us at home, aim for minimum draw against those above. That would give 43 points based on on 8th place last season

Expect that we will lose against at least the top 4 from last season away, aim for minimum draw at all other teams. That's going to get 15 points. So 58 points minimum target. That would be a significant improvement on last year, in my mind realistic.

Of course there will be results that go against this. Lose some games you don't expect to, and win some too.

In the end it's all conjecture. But that's how I think about it

Jim Harrison
37 Posted 23/08/2018 at 06:52:16
Just in case 58 points as a minimum is seen as being negative, since the PL began, we have only bettered that 9 times. We have only had in excess of 70 points once.

I would hope for more, but expect 58 as a minimum target that would hopefully put us in at least 7th in contention for 6th this season. Of course, I would like to be more ambitious, but given that we are currently playing with effectively the same first team as last season a points increase of 9 would be a good start!

Mike Allison
38 Posted 23/08/2018 at 08:00:34
Michael, 32 “you prepare to play the next team with the prime objective of playing well, implementing the manager's plans specifically to defeat perceived threats, with the ultimate primary goal of putting 3 points on the board.”

What I’m saying is not intended as an alternative to that. I think everyone on this thread would agree with what you say there. The point is, what happens if it doesn’t work? Do we assume the managers plans were bad ones and he should spend time and energy coming up with new ones? What if he doesn’t? Do we start to grumble and question his position? Or do we keep the faith because in the end, winning at Stamford Bridge was always going to be difficult and we did give it the best shot possible.

A second, different point is that the ‘manager’s plans’ should be different away at Chelsea to what they should be at home to Huddersfield.

Our point of disagreement is that you think this mindset can be dangerous because we may accept defeat in certain games, even if only subconsciously. I disagree because I believe a good manager can use it to aim for different types of victories in different games.

Peter Gorman
39 Posted 23/08/2018 at 13:49:01
Mike, your subsequent explanations are far clearer than the OP but please don't get defensive about your piece when others disagree, it is just that we don't see it your way.

I think Jay highlighted two main issues with your article which I happen to agree with although I accept that you are not advocating a safety first approach to big games or whatever else you think you've been accused of.

Firstly, your call for perspective after certain wins and defeats sounds entirely logical but I think is unrealistic. We are emotional fans and as Jay said, it doesn't matter to the club whether or not we rant or wax lyrical, we mostly are just looking to vent.

Secondly, I just don't think there are any 'bankers' in this league. It is more ruthless than ever. Luck aside, Everton and most sides have to be at their best to be confident of getting points, as Wolves demonstrated and the other example I gave of Brighton beating Man Utd. Expecting to beat sides 'below' us is only going to set the fans up for disappointment. I'm taking nothing for granted and just want to be entertained for a change.

Lastly, the point about having the 'freedom' from pressure of winning certain games; I don't think that is productive in the long term. That might see us peak to the level of the Moyes era. If we ever want to win silverware again we need players with a winning mentality. Richarlison has only just spoken of his goals to win the golden boot and earn a call-up to Brazil – that is what I want to hear from the players, whether or not he ultimately achieves it.

Jay Wood

40 Posted 23/08/2018 at 14:29:58
Peter @ 39. Thank you for a very succinct appraisal of my contribution to this thread and Mike's reaction to my comments.

Mike, I'm sorry, but as Peter mentions, you did get defensive – petulant even – just because I openly admitted I didn't entirely follow or agree with the 'rationale' of your opening post.

As you yourself acknowledge, I specifically addressed the two issues your opening post attempts to address:

1) The 'irrational' emotions of the supporters, joyous in victory, doom-filled in defeat. You seem to call for a more dispassionate reaction from The Faithful. I consider that a forlorn hope, given the huge diversity of the demographic. I also consider it too prescriptive and an ultimately futile hope; so, in appealing for it, you are setting yourself up for continued disappointment.

As Peter picked up on from my posts, how supporters vent – on fans forums, in the pub, with family and friends – has little or no bearing on our week to week performances or results.

2) Your goal setting, in particular, your notion that the manager instructs the team: "If you tell them that this game is one we're not under pressure to win, then they should play with more freedom and be able to attack the opposition without feeling restricted." I am not alone in this thread in considering this defeatist and counter-productive.

Nothing wrong with goal setting. As someone self-employed who works from home, I set daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals for myself constantly to keep myself focused.

The formula you offer is, as I said in my first post, nothing new or innovative. I am quite sure every manager at every Premer League club sets goals and objectives at the start of every season and adjusts those goals as the season progresses and the changing situation dictates.

I imagine for many – and in particular for club owners – it follows along broader, rather than game-by-game, goals such as:

1) Keep the club in the Premier League;
2) Have a good run in the cups;
3) Qualify for Europe, if possible;
4) Get a trophy, if possible.

Finally, I am happy with my contribution to this thread and the manner in which I addressed you on the issues you raised, in the words you used. Your subsequent posts have done nothing to persuade me to shift from my original observations that you seemingly so resent.

Mike Allison
41 Posted 23/08/2018 at 14:55:46
Fair enough Jay, but I don't think it's unreasonable to be defensive when reactions to the article included: “kopite”, “bullshit”, “bollocks to that!”, an accusation that I'm proposing “stagnation” and “regression” and posters ‘disagreeing' with me by saying we should “try to win every game.” I consider myself to have had every right to be defensive.

As for our discussions, I don't consider myself to have debated with you at any point, my aim in responding to you (and others) was to try to clarify what I actually meant. I don't think we ever got to the starting blocks of an actual debate.

In fact, I'm now even more confused by you, as my idea is now both “nothing new or innovative... every manager at every Premier Leaague club sets goals and objectives... etc.” as well as being “defeatist and counter-productive.”

Alan J Thompson
42 Posted 23/08/2018 at 15:15:31
As Mr Kendall said to Mrs French: "Anyone for more red?"
Pete Clarke
43 Posted 23/08/2018 at 15:19:47
It seems inconceivable to me that this club of ours which only a few months ago was in a right muddle should now, with almost the same players be planning which games to take points from. I am not having a go here but we need to get back on our feet first.

The kind of management we need is one that thinks on the go and can change a game with a call to his players or subs during a game which actually happened in our first game when Jagielka was sent off.

However, a manager can do all of the meticulous planning he wants but it's the players have to carry this out against sometimes unknown opposition tactics or simply superior opposition so there are lots of variables.

Based on the last two games I can hopefully say that we are all a little bit heartened by the better football from the players and the effort Moshiri, Brands and Silva have put into their roles to get us moving forward.
It's very early days so nobody should be getting carried away especially so soon after having one of the worst managers ever casting a very big shadow over the dugout.

Jay Wood

44 Posted 23/08/2018 at 15:42:11
Mike @ 41.

Some of the comments you list were not made by me. They were certainly far more abusive and dismissive than anything I wrote, and yet, you singled me out for attack. Only you know why.

As for my comments you apparently believe merit you being 'defensive' about - “bollocks to that!”, and use of the words “stagnation” and “regression”, look back at my original post @ 15. You isolate the words from the context of the FOUR paragraphs in which they were written.

Again, I am happy with the balance, clarity and manner I have contributed to this thread. If you claim to be confused by the phrases I used you (again) take out of context in your final paragraph, then I really can't help you further.

Dermot Byrne
45 Posted 23/08/2018 at 16:29:09
Here on TW the reaction to results, tactics, spending etc is an individual and mostly emotional thing and expressed alone with the freedom of the keyboard.

We make the full range of reactions from the considered to the baby in the pram. We can also have reactions coloured by an earlier reaction by someone we think is a knob for whatever reason. (Surely not!).

I think in a world when most of us have to manage our emotions all day under the demand for being "professional", it is hardly surprising how folk react differently and intensely.

To some the Blues are a very big part of life, for others they are not as much. So again you will get different reaction and more or less considered. Then build in humour and the perspective that gives.

The silly argument with the missus? Yeah that too was the fault of the manager.

So I think the suggestion of how to keep perspective is a nice idea on paper but, in the end, we all invest in the Blues for many reasons and react for an even greater number.

I think here on TW there are some who really know the game technically and do a lot of research. We all know and respect them.

For the rest, I think we just swing back and forth from occasionally talking bollocks to sometimes making a wise comment. But mostly we use football and the Blues to play out emotions and find the dream of that move, game, season enough to remain addicted.

Then, back in the real world, we are mostly considered, with perspective, looking beyond this week and not calling the person you work with a knob!

Works for me as it is!

Mike Allison
46 Posted 23/08/2018 at 16:30:31
Jay, I can accept that I addressed you specifically whilst actually responding to several others’ comments as well. I didn’t mean it as an ‘attack’ on you, but a defence of myself.

In essence, this has become a conversation about the conversation and isn’t really going anywhere. There have been too many misunderstandings both ways to mop everything up. I think somewhere in both our posts are some reasonable points of view. I think it’s best if we ‘shake hands’ and let what we’ve said so far speak for itself.

I’ll still be calling for people to calm down a couple of days after our next defeat at Chelsea.


Dickie Langley
47 Posted 23/08/2018 at 16:44:54
As a player there are some games where you know it will be a good result if you get a draw (do I need to say it's always good to win, and always bad to lose?).

We are all unhappy when Everton lose, and happy when Everton win - and feeling that emotion is what being a fan is about.

I think Mike's approach to taking a step back, and having a realistic/pragmatic reaction after a match is something we all do anyway (perhaps without the structured system). However, in the immediate few minutes/hours after a match our reactions are more emotional. For me, the emotion is for matchday, and the calm analysis for the days after.

The benchmarks in my head for this season are that 7th place is fine, 4th place is excellent. Working on the basis that you get 4 points from each team below, and 2 points from each team above, this means that a total of 64 ((13x4)+(6x2)) is fine, and 70 ((16x4)+(3x2)) is excellent. But you can't tell which teams are going to do well/badly, so it's all a bit academic. That system/approach also means that 76 points is enough to win the league and the bottom club should get 38 - neither of these is accurate.

What I am confident of, is that the apathy that was sinking in on matchdays under Allardyce has gone, and people are actually looking forward to the football.

Steve Hewitt
48 Posted 23/08/2018 at 17:47:11
Love it when an article gets a bit of controversial discussion.

Jay and Mike, you should meet on Skype and have a beer together and post the transcript on here.

I love number games and can see where you are coming from Mike. I think you are saying set a goal – in this case 70 points and then try to work out how to hit it based on the teams we are going to play.

Trouble is, I was useless at the pools and struggle on Sky's super six. It's hard trying to forecast anything in this league.

We may possibly in this scenario have Cardiff down as a banker home win – but there are no guarantees – and if we lose – not only does ToffeeWeb go into meltdown – it means we have to beat the Kloppites on our old ground to make up for it - once this happens, order will then be restored on the points objective and on ToffeeWeb.

I tend to agree with Jay though that we can't consider any game as a free hit – we must approach every game as a must win. We won't win them all be we should leave nothing on the pitch. I don't think Mike is advocating anything less based on his follow up post, but was suggesting a possibly different way of trying to motivate the team – though I don't think it would work.

I'll bet Marco, Farhad and Marcel have already done something similar to this when they were watching the England Columbia game (and wouldn't we love to know what their target is) – what they cannot and must not do is expect to win any game – that can create complacency and this league will hurt you for it.

I rather think Jose and his crew was expecting to beat Brighton and look where got them. Jose is quickly changing his forecast and now has to beat Everton away and draw with Citeh away.

The principle is fine but we can't expect to beat any team – we must go out to win every game.

Wasn't it Dilly Dong Ranieri who just focussed on the next game and targeted 40 points as quickly as possible – then set a new target once he got to 40.

David Ellis
49 Posted 24/08/2018 at 03:00:11
Mike, I can't understand the almost willful misunderstanding of your OP on here. It's bizarre. Even posters I normally respect have gone off in a tailspin on this one!

So, for what its worth, your thinking is spot on, not negative in the slightest. I'll be referring back to your thoughtful yardstick as the results come in.

David Ellis
50 Posted 24/08/2018 at 03:10:30
Also, see that Lawro on the BBC site has us to lose against Bournemouth – but then he's frequently wrong (but called our first two results correctly).

Bournemouth have a new signing from Sheff Utd called Brooks who looks about 12 years old but is a bit of a player. However, I hope we will have far too much for them. We have better players all over the pitch and these players are now playing as a team.

Phil Sammon
51 Posted 24/08/2018 at 03:13:28
This is all very long-winded.

If the team fights to a valiant loss away at City then I’m sure we can draw on the positives.

If they get twatted 6-0 by West Ham then the odd negative comment could be forgiven.

I dearly hope Marco Silva doesn’t waste a single second attempting to go through this type of thing with his players.

Mike Allison
52 Posted 24/08/2018 at 11:58:19
David I'd love to see a full Premier League table of Lawrenson's predictions. I swear we'd be relegated by ten points and Liverpool would win the league by twenty.

"Wasn't it Dilly Dong Ranieri who just focussed on the next game and targeted 40 points as quickly as possible – then set a new target once he got to 40."

Steve I think that was overtly Moyes's policy, at least in the first five or so years, and he was slated for it on ToffeeWeb as I recall.

Mike Allison
53 Posted 24/08/2018 at 12:05:13
Getting caught up in responding to Jay, I've not really responded to several other posters who've made good points.

Dermot (45) says: "We make the full range of reactions from the considered to the baby in the pram."

I guess all I'm asking for is a bit more of a lean to the considered and a bit less of the baby in the pram.

Dickie (47) says: "I think Mike's approach to taking a step back, and having a realistic/pragmatic reaction after a match is something we all do anyway (perhaps without the structured system). However, in the immediate few minutes/hours after a match our reactions are more emotional. For me, the emotion is for matchday, and the calm analysis for the days after."

This kind of sums it up for me, but I don't think we 'all' do it, or not enough anyway. I also think my proposal is a way of helping people to do that in a more informed and rational way. Be as emotional as you want in response to a result (although why that means going on the internet to vent is something I don't really understand, that's what mates are for surely?) but two days later, when that immediate raw emotion has subsided, don't try to go back for it, stoke it, and treat it as the greater truth; take a calmer look at what it meant from a rational perspective.

Charles Barrow
54 Posted 24/08/2018 at 12:19:20
Surely the issue is how we lose or win. I've seen too many 5-0's or their equivalent over the past few years at Chelsea, Arsenal, Spurs etc. And this happened because we were trying only to defend and got ripped apart. There was no attempt by us to score a goal at all.

I only hope Silva changes the mentality of the players and the tactics and we go toe to toe with those teams. Yes, we might lose but it may be 4-3, rather than 5-0... and we might win!

Jay Wood

55 Posted 24/08/2018 at 12:54:52
Ahem... Mike @ 53:

"Getting caught up in responding to Jay, I've not really responded to several other posters who've made good points."

As you posted @ 46 [this has] "become a conversation about the conversation and isn’t really going anywhere". YOU made it about ME. I kept my eye on the ball and offered my opinion on your opening and subsequent posts. You got personal and petulant.

Now you are holding me responsible for distracting you from responding to "other posters who've made good points..?" When the two people you answer posted waaayyyy after I last commented?

Get the feck wid ya! And take David Ellis with you; "wilful bizarre misunderstanding", for merely offering a well-structured counter opinion?

[Note to the sensitive: 'Get the feck wid ya!' is spoken in a light jesting tone, substituting the more gentile 'Yer kiddin' me, right?].

Tony J Williams
56 Posted 24/08/2018 at 13:17:20
Sounds a little bit Moyes, knife to a gun fight, just getting out alive spin to me.

Expectation are there, but instead of saying play with freedom and getting twatted 6-0 at the Ethiad, suggest the Moyes KITANO and who knows, we might get some points like he did several times against Man City.

City must have hated playing against Moyes and Cahill.

In regards to this season, par or under. We have actually bettered our result against Southampton so what — do we just do it against?

Ultimately, you are the most laid back poster or the rapid keyboarding-bashing red-faced type, it makes not on iota of difference to our results. And I certainly don't want a manager saying that we are not expected to win this so the shackles are off — he should be planning an exact strategy for beating the team in front of him, with a pinch of doing our own thing too!

Mike Allison
57 Posted 24/08/2018 at 13:42:59
Sorry Jay, I intended to acknowledge my own culpability. I wasn’t trying to blame you.
Stan Schofield
58 Posted 24/08/2018 at 13:53:14
Mike, what you are proposing is a step-back from emotions and giving ourselves more perspective on results as they happen. Not a bad idea if it reduces the disappointment that stems from a 'bad' result or performance.

Disappointment can happen when our expectations are not met by the reality. If we adjust our expectations sufficiently, in theory we might make them better meet the reality.

The problem I have with this is the 'in theory'. In practice, I don't think it's possible to reduce our disappointment, simply because we always want Everton to win, or certainly not to lose. In this sense, I don't think we can 'manage our expectations', because the attachment to Everton is not a rational one, it's purely emotional.

All we can do is swallow our disappointment, and hope that the next game is better. There's nothing we can do about the emotional response. So I can't see how an approach like you're suggesting could ever be useful in practice, although it seems plausible in theory.

Mike Allison
59 Posted 24/08/2018 at 14:12:05
Hi Stan. I think we can have both (rational and emotional) and that we’re better off doing both. If you take what Dickie says in #47, which I quote in #53, then I hope you get my point.

Therefore ultimately I don’t agree with you when you say “There’s nothing you can do about the emotional response.” Although that is true at first; you can’t choose, create or prevent an immediate emotional response, you can reflect on that response later on and decide on it’s merit and meaning in a more rational manner. A sense of what type of match, and therefore result, a given example was is a tool for doing that more effectively.

Stan Schofield
60 Posted 24/08/2018 at 14:35:40
Mike, OK I see what you mean and agree with you that we can manage our response after the initial reaction. As Dickie says, we sort of do this anyway. As an Evertonian, I'm 'hardened' to it.

But I guess I'm saying that the emotions include other factors that we can't quantify. We can quantify the results, and use them to tell ourselves to get a grip or whatever, but overall we can't quantify other things.

For example, it's not only the results and league position, but also how we play. I'll give you a particular case which means most to me personally. We won the league in 69-70, with a great points total. The previous season, we didn't win the league (Leeds did), but for many, including me, it was more exciting, gave a different kind of pleasure. This was because our football was incredibly entertaining, you could say the Man City of its day.

The football was also great in 69-70, but it was really something else in 68-69. I recall the last match at Goodison and, after the game, Goodison Road being jammed with supporters who wouldn't go home, chanting "we want our team", a measure of how great we'd been consistently entertained.

All I'm saying is that it can be the things we're unable to quantify, like sheer quality of football, that can influence our responses (both immediate and delayed) and that determine how 'good' we see the results. I'm not saying that an approach like yours is not worth doing, only that it's results can be outweighed by these other factors.

Lawrence Green
61 Posted 24/08/2018 at 14:55:31
The past five to eight seasons have seen Evertonians' emotions toyed with on an almost unprecedented level: lack of spending; selling our better players; disconnected managers splurging money on below-average players; new ground promised but yet to be delivered; a fan-base not knowing who to trust, whether it be the owner(s), manager(s) or player(s); and trophyless in almost a quarter of a century.

It's okay for some to call for a realistic reaction to any given result, good or bad, but when you factor in the above list of issues, it's no surprise that, whilst a result may not mean a great deal in isolation, it may ring alarm bells for some or signify a positve turning point for others.

Evertonians are not to blame for any of the stuff that may go wrong with the club on or off the pitch. Highly paid staff at the club steer the club in the direction they best see fit; sometimes that flies in the face of the fans' views... sometimes it is in total agreement.

I bet even a few Manchester City fans are constantly carping about poor results – winning 5-1 when it should have been 7-0 or their inability to win the Champions League.

As for the "get to the forty point mark and take it from there", I believe that the Great Howard Kendall always aimed first for top-flight safety. That does two things: it keeps everybody's feet on the ground when the team is flying; and it is an achievable base camp for a half-decent team with ambitions to do much more as the season progresses. One game at a time, sweet Jesus.

Steve Hewitt
62 Posted 25/08/2018 at 08:51:38
Mike @52 - Fair point mate, best keep my head down - Like your process though - today I'm down as a 2-1 win for us.

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