Blue or red put to the test

by   |   06/01/2022  20 Comments  [Jump to last]

Well, it has been an unpleasant first half of the season – what with Rafa Benitez being put in charge and the fan base split on his appointment: some are prepared to give him a chance while others from Day One will never accept the guy.

So, for a different perspective, it takes me to the question Blue or Red.

I will start with the Blue: shouts for Ferguson or Rooney, both Blues, to be given the job. So let us assume either or both had come in at the start of the season, started off well, but only had £2 Million spent in the Transfer window, then lost their main striker Calvert-Lewin, along with Doucouré, Richarlison, Godfrey, Pickford, Coleman, Digne, Mina, Gomes, Davies, Townsend and other squad members, all missing games at some point through injury.

How many would say they have both been unlucky on the injury front and should be given more time to be judged when they have close to their strongest 11 available, along with a few additions in the January transfer window. Then they sign a much-needed right-back, along with possibly our player of the season so far in Demarai Gray, and give an extended run to the youngster, Anthony Gordon.

I would expect a lot to be sympathetic towards our two Blues in charge and would want to give them more time to get it right.

Now comes the Red and all the above goes out of the window: no patience – he had connections across the park… some will never accept him as manager, results are poor, he does not change formations, etc, etc.

So now, back to Blue: in his third season in charge during the 1983-84 season, Howard Kendall had the same record going into January as our current manager now has: 5 wins and a dreadful 3-0 defeat to bottom club Wolves away, who had not won a home game for 6 Months.

Whereas our manager now has been called out for not rotating or changing the system, Kendall chopped and changed, week-in & week-out.

Dreadful football and poor attendances had leaflets circulating for "Kendall Out" – and that after being given 3 years beforehand to build his own team; luckily, we stuck with him and the rest is history.

Rafa Benitez has had just 5 months in charge, battling against injuries, lack of funds at the start of the season… only now are we starting to see players back from injury, and a transfer window where new players have been brought in.

So take the Blue or Red away: would you be happy to have given either Ferguson or Rooney more leeway, had they been in charge at the start of the season, and had the same players from past managers – plus shocking bad luck on the injury front?

If the answer is Yes, then why not the same for our current manager???

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Derek Moore
1 Posted 06/01/2022 at 10:50:57
My answer is no Brian.

Starting a struggling one footed right back on the left hand side in a flat back five is stupidity in action. Whether it was Benitez, Rooney or the ghost of Dixie Dean himself making that decision it needs to be called out, because it's just tactical suicide.

Not making second half changes when they were clearly warranted. Starting two men in the middle in a derby game against the Klopp gegenpress. The seemingly endless faith in a far past his best Rondon. The asinine freezing out of Digne.

The list could go on. I cannot.

Rob Halligan
2 Posted 06/01/2022 at 11:04:50
Shocking bad luck with injuries is obviously a major factor in favour of Benitez, Brian, but when you look at the substitutions he’s made, particularly the game at Brentford and last Sunday against Brighton, then there is no excuse for him. At Brentford Rondon stunk, we had three forwards on the bench yet he declined to throw any of them on to try and salvage a point. Against Brighton, again there were three forwards on the bench, yet he decides to throw Rondon out of the three, on. At Chelsea neither Simms or Dobbin done anything wrong, so against a much lesser team like Brighton, why not give either of them another chance? Had that been Ferguson or Rooney in charge, and they had taken the same (non) action, then I guess they would have received the same amount of stick, but would we have put that down to in-experience? Who knows!
Brent Stephens
3 Posted 06/01/2022 at 11:13:45
Brian "So take the Blue or Red away: would you be happy to have given either Ferguson or Rooney more leeway, had they been in charge at the start of the season, and had the same players from past managers – plus shocking bad luck on the injury front?"

Yes but No but. Yes, more leeway for the reasons you rightly give. No, for the reasons both Derek and Rob give.

I think complex issues too often end up with apparent binary choices (yes or no; true or false). And debates often get tetchy, with the resulting polarisation of views, opposing camps.

This one isn't binary for me.

Ajay Gopal
4 Posted 06/01/2022 at 11:32:48
For starters, I don't think Ferguson or Rooney would have hired Rondon and played him so long with such poor returns. I honestly think Simms or Dobbin or some other would have been given more time. But, would the outcome have been any different? Probably, the Goodison crowd would have been more patient with the Blues for giving the youngsters more opportunities. To the Red's credit, he has brought on Antony Gordon massively this season - yes, his is mostly due to the injuries to his 1st choice players, and lack of other options available. So, if the manager is willing to change things that are not working (zonal defence), give youngsters a chance, not be pig-headed about freezing out players (Digne), be adaptable, and show consistent progress on the pitch - then I would hazard that most fans would not care about whether the manager was Blue or Red.
Dennis Stevens
5 Posted 06/01/2022 at 11:37:25
Surely, the difference here is twofold: the incumbent has a lot more experience, so maybe better is expected from him ; the incumbent has "an unfortunate history", so perhaps less goodwill is on offer. No surprises there.
Tony Abrahams
6 Posted 06/01/2022 at 11:48:11
Yes, I’d have wanted them to be given more time under those circumstances Brian, but not much longer obviously, which is probably where it’s at with regards to Rafa Benitez’s tenure, right now
Danny O’Neill
7 Posted 06/01/2022 at 11:55:22
In short Brian, yes, I do feel that Ferguson and / or Rooney would have been given more leeway.

I'll split that into 2 itself though. Ferguson more so than Rooney, because a few have wanted that for a while. He'd be a populist choice whereas although healed, there will always be underlying bad blood for many over Rooney I think.

I personally don't think either would have made a difference to the current situation as I don't believe the manager is the problem point at Everton.

Regardless of affinity, place of birth or nationality, how can 6 managers in almost as many years be wrong? Let's go further back; why did Moyes not break the glass ceiling (different contentious debate). Why did Joe Royle not get the backing he wanted? How did we stagnate after Kendall left, when others actually progressed? In 1987, Manchester United hadn't won the league since the late 60s and only had 7 titles to our 9. They stuck by Ferguson despite pressure and the rest was history. Clearly work was going on behind the scenes.

We need to look beyond the manager, whatever flavour. That isn't and has not been our problem.

The injuries and luck are genuine cases for the defence of any manager, which I get.

That said, Benitez deserves the stick he and his team are getting from the loyal fans. Strange tactics, Coleman, persistence with Rondon; it's all been said above.

So it's an indecisive yes and a no from me in answer to your question.

I like your reference to Kendall 83/84. I use that myself in a lot of discussion.

Barry Rathbone
8 Posted 06/01/2022 at 12:02:00
Look at Ancelotti his pre appointment fanfare was unrivalled he lived off it when results went down the toilet other managers would have been binned resultant of fan pressure. The other side of the coin was Martinez ridiculed by many because he was ex Wigan and even through his excellent first season the vultures waited.

I've always thought scousers far too sentimental with feelings ruling the head so Rooney and Ferguson MIGHT get a bit more leeway but as neither are universally backed so maybe not. One thing is certain unless Benitez wins something and keeps winning he has no chance here.

Brent Stephens
9 Posted 06/01/2022 at 12:08:00
And as Danny says, to be more specific, how much leeway would be given would depend on whether we're talking about Ferguson or Rooney.

I think first a lot would depend on what Rooney had achieved with Derby by then. Keep them up and he's got a lot in his favour.

And second it was noticeable the strength of reception Rooney got at GP when he came back. So general GP sentiment might well be in his favour?

Tony Abrahams
10 Posted 06/01/2022 at 12:08:40
Work looks like it’s going on behind the scenes at Everton to be fair Danny, although it’s got the same feeling to me, with how it’s felt for a very long time, with “selfpreserfuckingvation” looking to rear it’s very unambitious head, once more.
Dave Lynch
11 Posted 06/01/2022 at 12:10:53
What makes me laugh is how some will forgive/conveniently forget how Rooney celebrated at Goodison when he scored for Utd.
The same people berate Benitez for an off the cuff comment when Moyes bored the arse out of everyone with his tactics in the derby.
I know things are bad at present but personally I think a change of manager this season will be suicidal.
Danny Broderick
12 Posted 06/01/2022 at 12:25:14
I think some people’s patience (mine included) snapped with Benitez against Brighton. I want him to succeed. But he’s done what he normally does in falling out with players, physios, the Director of Football etc. In doing so, he’s gained all the power at Everton. And then he picks the team he did against Brighton!

The starting line up, and the refusal to change at half time, were a disgrace. As was the decision to bring on Rondon. What must the young lads who earnt a point at Stamford Bridge be thinking?

I don’t mind a conservative manager who makes us organised and tough to beat. But I hate 5 at the back. It’s never worked at Everton. And unless I’m mistaken, I can’t remember us ever picking a team that negative! 5-4-1?? Against Brighton?

Benitez will not be here long if he carries on picking teams like that. He is already up against it having been at Liverpool. He needs to get the fans onside. He won’t get that selecting 5-4-1 at home, and bringing on Rondon.

Will he learn from it? Or is he so stubborn he will do it time and time again? I fear it will be the latter.

Dave Abrahams
13 Posted 06/01/2022 at 12:32:09
I think if Mr. Benitez gets through this very poor spell and improves Everton’s situation some fans will ease off on him, if the results continue to improve and we win something, big ‘if’ I know, more fans will support him but there are plenty of fans who will never support him no matter how good he does.

Ferguson would get a lot of support and backing and plenty of leeway even in a poor spell, Wayne less so, as we stand now I would prefer Benitez over the other two.

Dave Lynch
14 Posted 06/01/2022 at 12:47:17
There are numerous individuals I would prefer over all 3.
Someone for 1... but its all pie in the sky, we are where we are.
People need to remember this, we are not Everton of the past, in this new era past achievement counts for nothing, some will have you believe or foolishly believe themselves that weare a big fish, well we are not.
Big managers (winners) come for 2 things, big wages and a big cheque book, we may pay big wages but the funds have been spunked by inept managers employed by an inept board, run by fools who have no clue about the modern day to day running of a club.
Dave Lynch
15 Posted 06/01/2022 at 12:48:32
Sorry, should of read Simeone
John Keating
16 Posted 06/01/2022 at 13:08:23
Blue or Red?
Well just going on the mentioned 3 of Ferguson, Rooney and Benitez - none of them, at this time.

Benitez has shown, so far, abysmal tactics and team selection.
Give him his due in that he is trying to rectify the positions we were crying out to change, it's taken long enough under previous regimes.

With regards Ferguson and Rooney. Well I'm a bit reluctant to giving more "jobs for the boys" to the World's Greatest Evertonians boys.
Fair play to Rooney though. At least he's got off his arse and attempting to make it in management. More than our resident seat warmer.

Whoever we employ as Manager needs lots of luck, a few bob to spend and the hope that Moshiri finally bins the self interest Board we have at present.

Brian Wilkinson
17 Posted 06/01/2022 at 14:20:54
Some great responses, I agree with a lot, the cup game and Leicester are two very big games, not just for the club, the supporters, but for the Manager as well.

Feelings will be swayed one way or the other after those two games, for now I am giving Raffa the chance to get it right, that might all change after the next couple of games for me.

The only reason I came up with the post is to see if we were being swayed with the Managers past connections and had we had a Blue in charge, would that swayed some to give them more time.

Make no mistake he cannot make the same mistake as the Brighton game, for me that game, our midfield was ripped to shreds, putting more pressure on the defence, we were attacking fine, I would have took a defender off and added an extra body in midfield much earlier.

All being well Saturday, we will go just 4 at the back and add an extra body to midfield and pretty sure Branthwaite and either Simms or Dobbin will get some game time.

We will know Saturday if the Manager addresses his mistakes and puts them right or not, for now we need this cup win on Saturday.

Simon Harrison
18 Posted 06/01/2022 at 22:08:40
Thanks for the post Brian.

In its own right, it does help put the cult of personality to one side, and to actually look at the situation regards transfers and injuries. (Without the usual addition of the hierarchy and FF issues.)

However, as Brent @3 says, the situation is not a binary one, whereby you can judge the situation by measuring it in a hypothetical way. Especially when Rooney has stated he won't renege on his contract with Derby; and, if Ferguson wanted the job, surely it would have been his by now?

The issue with Benitez I feel, is that he has taken his eye of the 'footballing' ball, and is too engrossed in the Machiavellian politics of the club, and the Byzantine workings of the FF cabal.

The result has been a dramatic fall away in the performance of the team, and the lack of tactical and strategic awareness of team selection, game tactics, substitutions, man-management, and he seems he has lost the ability to change the game tactics on the hoof, either by the use of subs, or change of formation.

To me, his self-assurance, and huge amounts of self-ego indicates a form of megalomania, especially since the assurances and backing of Mr. Moshiri. Or in other words, it's his way or the highway! QED see Luca Digne and Brands.

Throughout Benitez's managerial career, he has always picked fights with the clubs that employ him; because to him, he obviously knows best.
Plus for him it is a win-win situation, as he either gets what he wants, or he gets a pay-out. As Paul the Esk has repeatedly said, Benitez does not have any skin in EFC's current situation.

Now to try and weigh all that, with the hypothetical Blue option, is nigh on impossible. Well, in my humble opinion anyway.

Moving on, I think the situation is becoming fairly untenable for him (Benitez), increasingly so, as he appears to be standing up to Moshiri, by not wanting to sign Moshiri's next pet player project in Coutinho (a'la Tosun and Iwobi)

Will this hasten the end of Benitez's tenure here or not, will probably depend on beating Hull, getting at least a point at home to Leicester, and getting all three points away to Norwich.

The other tactical and game management reasons have been done to death above. I.e. the Derby, Watford, Brentford and Brighton games.

My thoughts would be, if he doesn't get us thru to the FA Cup 4th round, and get a minimum of four points, then he'll be gone. Leaving 15-16 days for a new manager to use the January window. (If allowed.)

So in answer to your question Brian, I can't answer Blue or Red, all I know is that Moshiri has gone all in with Benitez, but probably didn't realise how weak is hand was before the last deal, and hoped he'd get three more aces, or at least three hearts, and he's got neither...

We've got what we've got for now; but, if you look on the internet, Benitez is now odds-on to be the next EPL managerial casualty, with Sean Dyche and Paulo Fonseca being touted as the next manager, as Ferguson doesn't want the full-time gig, and Rooney has distanced himself from the role too.

Dave Williams
19 Posted 07/01/2022 at 10:52:05
The injury situation really has clouded the issue with Rafa. With a full squad he started very well. The loss of Calvert-Lewin was a killer and it will be interesting to see if we can start to pull clear of the relegation pack assuming he is actually fit to play.

We all know how weak the fringe players are. Brands was unable to clear them all out and Rafa has been left with a group of slow players who don't seem terribly bothered about the club.

Why anyone ever thought that buying slow, unathletic players like Schneiderlin, Klaassen, Delph, Sigurdsson, Allan, Keane, Gomes etc was a good way of spending money is baffling. Add in the likes of Bolasie and Iwobi with their ridiculously high fees and it is clear that Rafa is merely the latest in a long line of managers who is tasked with clearing up the mess left by his predecessors.

Thank goodness Coutinho has gone to Aston Villa as he could be another James Rodrigeuz, draining the club of wages for little return.

The league we play in requires high levels of physicality and only now is this being addressed by acquiring two full-backs who are tall, strong and fast. Rafa has indeed made a number of bad errors with his substitutions (or lack of them) and he needs to embrace youth a bit more. The new full-backs appear to be Brands players and it will be interesting to see if Rafa actually plays them at such young ages – surely he must.

I have mixed views on him but feel he needs to be given a chance with his January window business complete and with fewer injuries. Ultimately I can't readily see who would take over from him and be equipped to cope in our poor situation so I would stick with him for now at least.

Mick O'Malley
20 Posted 07/01/2022 at 18:13:29
I’d take Rooney or Ferguson every day of the week ahead of Benitez, I just can’t take to the man, that press conference he has just given was absolutely embarrassing, it’s a blue for me every time,

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