Overreacting, underperforming

by   |   21/03/2022  26 Comments  [Jump to last]

We have a lot of good actors in our squad. They know what a proper, committed footballer looks like, they know what supporters want to see, and they have a stab at it.

A Palace player at right-back is running the ball out of play when Gomes shoves him into touch and gets a yellow card. He believes he is demonstrating commitment, balls, and a willingness to take one for the team. It is bad acting; he is committing a pointless foul and demonstrating only his inability to run and tackle.

All of our corner takers raise their arms as though signalling some well thought-out plan. It means nothing. The corner will not clear the first man.

Richardson runs from the full-back to the goalkeeper to the other full-back, chasing the ball like a child being mocked by his older brothers. It is meant to show effort, endeavour, pressing and commitment. It doesn't, it is pointless gesturing.

Holgate points, it is an act to try and convince that he is aware of danger, that he is in control of what is happening. In fact, he is just pointing.

Gray tries a trick or two to demonstrate that he is at least trying to be creative. They never work these days.

Pickford, well, his act is that of the goalkeeper sweeper; however, he can urge his team forward all day long in a display of intensity, but booting the ball out of play rarely starts a counter-attack.

They know, like kids in the park, how good players do it. They have it all bar authenticity. Deep down, they don't believe and it has run through this team like a disease.

They are collectively going through the motions, thankful for the final whistle to get them off the stage and out of the spotlight.

Against Newcastle Utd, the supporters drove them to be proper players late in the game. I thought that would be the turning point. It seems, though, that defeatism is too deeply ingrained for belief to survive away from home.

This team reeks of resignation and acceptance. They do not even have desperation. They have accepted the relegation script and looking average is collectively acceptable.

Frank Lampard sounds angry and desperate and unaccepting. Time for him to find every ounce of his winning mentality and find eleven angry men who will take no more and really mean it.

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Barry Hesketh
1 Posted 22/03/2022 at 11:03:37

The club is full of bad actors, including the Chairman.

I'll never understand how any professional player can go through the motions during any competitive football match. Have the players been paid recently, because for the last 12 months in most games, they are acting as if they are working to rule.

I know many believe that the players don't have the quality to play in the Premier League, but that doesn't make sense, when most of the better results this season have come against many of the better teams in the division.

The clip that was shown on Social Media from Sunday's match, showed that the team is full of 'rotten' characters, they kept the ball for about a minute, switching it back and forth between defence and midfield, but not going anywhere – this when the team was two goals in arrears.

It wouldn't surprise me if there was something darker within the squad, match-fixing or something similar, because it's so obvious that something is shockingly wrong, and nobody seems to be able to address the issue and rid the players of their bad attitudes. Even the game against non-league Boreham Wood showed this terrible attitude, even though the team managed to win that tie.

Peter Carpenter
2 Posted 22/03/2022 at 11:05:59
Scarily true and probably accounts for the fact that the same players have been the same way for every different manager we get.
Dave Abrahams
3 Posted 22/03/2022 at 12:33:13
Andy, players like Richarlison and Iwobi with that relentless running are bluff merchants, see how hard they fight to keep hold of the ball when they eventually get the ball. Worst of all is that many in the crowd are impressed with the show these players put on and clap and applaud them.

This squad knows the score, they have been told in various ways by different managers that they are not pulling their weight. They have been booed off the field at Goodison Park and most of the away grounds this season by some of the best supporters this club have got.

Now Lampard is telling them they haven't got the bottle to fight for the club's existence in the Premier League. They haven't listened previously to anyone: Will they listen now? Who knows?

Shane Corcoran
4 Posted 22/03/2022 at 13:03:21
While the running after three players is misplaced, I think it’s unfair to call it gesturing in Richarlison’s case at least.

He’s driven me mad with his seemingly low pain threshold until Gordon overtook him in those stakes, but he’s always worked extremely hard well before any gesturing is required.

Gomes has also always tried to trample over players from behind rather than get around them and win the ball.

Not sure on some of these. I think there are more obvious issues.

Pete Clarke
5 Posted 22/03/2022 at 14:10:44
Great article that goes deeper than the piss poor recruiting of the squad we currently have.

Seamus Coleman may be past his best but he would be one of the few players I would like to have with me on a night out in town when the going gets tough.

Young Anthony Gordon is showing some great qualities but is also showing a trait in cheating which I think he is picking up from Richarlison. Hopefully Frank Lampard is talking to him about this because otherwise he's been excellent.

Pickford has never left me feeling easy and is a scatterbrain most of the time. Shot-stopper is his big strength but never dominated his 6-yard box and this shows he is weak. Holgate epitomizes this article because he is a fraud of a footballer. He showed early promise but that has long gone and now he struts around like he's walking his dog in Wally Hall Park. Certainly not a centre-half.

Keane I actually like if only for the fact that he is always available for the team. Unfortunately he has too many obvious weaknesses and should be replaced ASAP.

Godfrey still has time on his side, just like Gordon, so hopefully Lampard can work on them for the future. The rest of them are lacking basic football ability, intelligence, courage or simply all of them rolled into one.

They are massively overpaid prima donnas who could not give a shit about the club or its supporters. I exclude Allan and Kenny from that group because they both try hard for the club.

Beating Watford and Burnley plus a couple of draws may be enough to keep us up this year but it is going to be a long hard road ahead before we get some stability back in this club of ours.

If your girlfriend, wife, mate, family member or whoever did to us what Everton are doing to us, we would have long broken the ties with them. Very few of our players would understand those feelings.

Jerome Shields
6 Posted 22/03/2022 at 14:55:18
Unfortunately Andy you are right. A game away from a FA Cup semi final at Wembley. It might as well have been in Timbuktu as far as the motivation of most of these player 's are concerned. They are certainly not intent on getting the basics right or put the effort into teamwork that does. Lampard without instructions and right tactics suits them.
Jay Harris
7 Posted 22/03/2022 at 15:42:07
Andy, thoughtful post which deserves debate.

I have always said players don't play badly deliberately but we have seen over these past few years a total armageddon of players performance.

I get the feeling that something is not right back at the ranch and it will require the whole club to be redefined. There is an article today that suggests that Moshiri hasnt got a clue about football but wants to interefere with all the decisions made which if true makes him even more dangerous than the "train set" owner.

I also think that having Kenwright and his acolytes sprinkled throughout the club undermines any manager added to the unwelcome interference by Kia Joorabchian.

I think you are wrong about Richy in particular who does run round like a headless chicken but IMO he is wasted as a lone striker and should be played on the left flank where is work rate and fight for the ball are more productive.

Still on the subject of the players I think the players who have raised their game in the past are getting so fed up with consistently poor performances by the mistakes made by other players it has created a less than harmonious dressing room and a lot of finger pointing.

The recruitment has been haphazard too with Chairmans favourites, owners choices and a disenchanted DOF and manager selections with no thought as to synergy and coordination.

Lampard too needs to very quickly get inside players heads and be mentally strong himself as he is showing signs of the pressure now.

All in all a total shitshow which is evident by the performances on the pitch.

Tony Abrahams
8 Posted 22/03/2022 at 16:53:26
Some good points Jay, but I think what Andy has written is being felt by thousands of Evertonians, right now. The current players might be wearing the Everton shirt, but they haven’t got a clue what it means to represent the great fans of Everton football club, fans who have actually been called toxic, by a lot of the modern day sycophantic media, simply because they won’t accept players, who accept defeat, the minute they are losing.
Jim Lloyd
9 Posted 22/03/2022 at 16:54:25
I've just been up to the ground with a mate, and both of us have just renewed our season tickets. I must admt, I was humming and ahhing about it, but me mate said, Jimmy, we're Evertonians!. Too bloody right we are and I got it.

Both been going since the late fifties and...that's it. It's our club. What was that book "Faith of our Families." Me dad used to bike it down from Haydock, then get back from the match to work a nightshift in the pit. And there's me thinking about whether to go or not!!
It brings tears to my eyes when I think of the lads from Everton starting off our club. A hard working class area, and they gave the birth to a great club.

So, anyway, back to these players. Funnily enough, me and Colin discussed them (AND Kenwright) there and back. Apart for some small differences, with the the smashing article and the intelligent posts, I agree fully!

The players first. Well, were in dire straits. Apart from a few, they are not fit to wear the Royal Blue Jersey. I'd start with Pickford. Great shot stopper, but erratic, doesn't come out for the ball and you don't know which Pickford is coming out to play. Englands number one but I'd like to see us sell him and stick with Begovic. He's a big lad, can come out for the ball and is a decent shot stopper. Use the money to fund replacements.
Seamus, by rights, shouldn't be in the team. That fact that he is the one with most zest for the game, says a bloody massive amount for the rest of the defence, apart from Jonjo, who also will not give up. I think there's better, but there's also worse.
Pinky and bloody Perky are a nightmare. Keane as to many weaknesses for a first team player. How come that Crystal Palace player had a free header. and how many teams have scored with free headers from corners and free kicks around the box or even from almost to the half way lane. A big proportion of the opposition goals come from free kicks/corners. Hope we could sell him and get more money for a much needed transfer fund.
Holgate walks around, tell players where they should be, while a gleeful opponent just takes the ball off him (and often this leads to a goal). If you can get any money for him, then sell and bung the money in our transfer fund.
Godfrey, well I think he can become a better player when he is settled in one role and has a better defence with him
Mina..effin hell! donate his body to medical science.
Gomes, I agree with the poster who said he pretends he's taking one for the team, when he's just not able to catch the man. Nowhere near good enough, although in that first season, I thought we'd got a football genius. Doucouré is another one who flattered to deceive. He cant trap a ball, tries to get it under control and it's like it was a rugby ball!
Allan, if we had one or two more with his aggression and skill, we'd be a lot better off. He's getting on a bit bit even if he was 10 years younger, he can't do it on his own, I hope we keep him.
Gray and Townsend were two good buys from Benitez and I think (Gray especially they are both worth keeping (are they our leading goalscorers?) I think teams have well worked Everton out. Crowd out Gray and Richarlison and they've basically stopped our attack.
My thoughts on Calvery Lewin is that he isn't a natural goalscorer. He can score with headers when set up right; but we need someone like a young Vardy (or even an old one) who can see a chance and be on it, have it in the net before a defence (specially with Keane and Holgate in it) realise whats happened.
Richarlison. Well, I think he needs to go as well and get money for the transfer fund. I like him for his efforts but his constand dramatics as though he's been shot, has probably ensured the referrees give him less fouls than he should have. Lots of effort but not in concert with our other attackers. We've got Gray who can cut in from the wing and score or set up a chance. Finally, Gordon. It's been said already and I agree. He's diving when it is blatantly over reacting. He's giving niggling fouls away, which I think is to try and show how hard he is. He also thinks he can walk it in the net after waltzing round ten players. Hopefully he'll mature and become a much better player for us.

If I've left anyone out it probably measns I don't rate them.
PS< I heard a story that Benitez did not buy those young full backs, and me mate told me that Duncan doesn't think the Scots lad will make a permiership player. I'm not sure about Mykolenko eith but give him time.

Now for Kenwright. I wish he leave our club alone and stop filling the board with his acolytes and yesmen, and take miss thunderthighs with him.
Maybe there will be a post about our Board and him in particular. Because isn't the Chairman supposed to be responsible for all the aspects tyhat the directors of the club have responsibility for.

I wish he'd eff off!

Denis Richardson
10 Posted 22/03/2022 at 16:56:44
A fish rots from the head down. Until Kenwright and most of the board are replaced with progressive, professional people, this club will never go forward. We've been treading water for the last 25 years. The only meaningful achievement is starting work on the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock, albeit completion is still a couple of years off.

The team itself is apathetic and, just like those in charge, is happy with simple survival, hopefully nearer mid-table mediocrity than scrapping near the bottom. There is no winning mentality in the club, there is little fight in most of the players and, even when we bring new players in with a positive attitude, they quickly get suffocated by the overpowering stench of averageness.

In an ideal scenario, we survive this season and the club is sold in the summer to a new owner who clears the decks. Entire management out, including Lampard – I don't really know what people see in him as a manager.

In addition, at least half the current first-team squad can go, replaced with hungry players looking to make a difference and, above all, looking to give it 150% every game and able to do the basics.

My summer wish list would be sell:

- Calvert-Lewin (whilst some clubs still think he's a decent striker, cash in to the max)
- Mina (the guy is barely fit for 5 mins)
- Keane (has the pace and turning circle of an oil tanker)
- Holgate (pretends to be a defender, if anyone wants, get rid)
- Pickford (bring in any half-decent 'keeper, even stick in Begovic as No 1)
- Gomes (no explanation needed)
- Rondon (no explanation needed)
- Alli (What the fuck was the point in his signing??)

Along with the above, Delph, Sigurdsson, Tosun, Kenny, Ghazi all leave as is as contracts will be up.

So, people, the above makes shifting out no less than 13 first-team players. I'd hope we could get around £125M in transfer fees and would free up a massive gap in the wage bill. That should allow a new manager (if spending wisely!) to sign 7-8 decent players.

Of the 13 to go, about 5-6 hardly play as it is, so it's not like we need to sign another 13 players to replace those gone.

Wishful thinking but, fuck me, do we need a massive squad overhaul in the summer!

Jay Harris
11 Posted 22/03/2022 at 18:05:20
Thanks Tony.

One other point I would like to make is, if we keep recruiting relegation players or rejects from clubs that want to win things, how we can expect them to have a winning mentality?

When was the last time we recruited a top player that other clubs were after? Lukaku is the only one I guess and he just wanted us as a stepping stone.

Tony Abrahams
12 Posted 22/03/2022 at 18:51:35
I know Darren Hind always stated that Everton only win things with ex-Evertonians, Jay, so maybe, if we are going to carry on using a DoF, then appointing an ex-Everton player into this role might actually make loads of sense?
Mike Doyle
13 Posted 22/03/2022 at 19:03:49
Denis # 10,

I don't disagree with your list, I'm surprised that at least one of our two new full-backs is not on it. Do you see potential there?

Robert Tressell
14 Posted 22/03/2022 at 20:24:21
Denis #10, I think there will be a decent turnover of players but not an overhaul.

A few will go at the end of their contracts (Sigurdsson, Tosun, Kenny and Delph) for free. It will be a relief to get them off our books – although we really have missed Sigurdsson's usual circa 15 or so goal contributions this season.

Mina will probably go for about £10M since he only has another year on his contract and his injury record is now awful. He is a good player though.

Allan, Doucouré, Coleman, Townsend, Rondon and Davies will all probably see out the final year of their contracts. Hard to see anyone actually buying them unless they are released or sold for a nominal fee.

Gomes, Holgate, Keane and Iwobi all have more than 2 years left on their contracts and will probably stay – or go out on loan or leave for modest fees. Again, hard to see what club in their right mind would buy them.

Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin may go. For a club that persistently struggles to score goals, that should be a worry.

We should however get the payment for Kean from Juve. Along with the Mina money that probably could add up to about £120M if Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison are sold too.

So the wage bill will go down a bit but our already difficult financial position means we'd be unlikely to have more than £120M to spend (and it could be less) on some quality to add to the not hugely inspiring future core of:


So how do you turn that into a top 6 (or 10?) squad for £120M?!

Denis Richardson
15 Posted 22/03/2022 at 21:49:34
Mike 13 - thought it was a bit unfair to include either FB as I don't think they've been given a fair crack. Patterson has played about 5 seconds and Miko's got to deal with his country being bombed.

Robert 14 - I'd hope we can sell some of the ones with more than 1 year left. I don't think the likes of Holgate, Keane and Gomes are on massive contracts (not all anyway) so hopefully not unsellable. Won't shed a tear if any/all leave.

Either way, whether its Lampard or a new manager, I think there will be a clear out in the summer - there has to be. Lampard obviously doesn't fancy quite a lot of the squad and a new manager will want to bring in 'their own' FFP allowing, which means selling first. I'd definitely sell DCL but keep Richy as he's our best player imo.

First priority is obviously staying up and I'm still hopeful we can. Norwich are gone imo and we've got games in hand. We only need a couple of wins and going to the end of the season we'll be playing some teams who are already at the beach. Under normal circumstances (!) that should be fine.

Watford, Brentford and Burnley should lose their next games (as likely will we) so that'll be one game less for all with the same games in hand.

The bottom few clubs also play each other so that's good and bad for us but we just need to focus on our own games for now, starting with Weds 6th April, that will be massive - simply cannot lose this game. (Have written off the West Ham game - which is ridiculous given its West Ham!)

A lot to play for - we still have 11 games left!

Robert Tressell
16 Posted 22/03/2022 at 22:15:11
Denis they're not completely unsellable but Gomes for example is unlikely to generate much interest at all. Maybe from Portugal, in which case the fee will be very low and we will subsidise his wages.

But Keane? Who would buy him?

Iwobi, maybe a loan to a London club like Fulham. Holgate?

And if we sell, we need to replace and that costs money. It's much more economic to keep them at the club unfortunately, otherwise a relatively modest kitty will need to be stretched very thin indeed.

I want these players gone as much as you do - Lampard probably does too. But it would be very surprising indeed if we don't start next season with a squad including much of the same rubbish that's now seen off Silva, Ancelotti and Benitez. It's going to take about 2 or 3 years to sort it out and unfortunately Lampard may be the next victim.

This is why we need a better recruitment strategy designed to help us (a) build a stable, improving squad (b) generate funds for reinvestment when we sell and (c) get rid of players without too much trouble / loss if it's not working out.

Denis Richardson
17 Posted 23/03/2022 at 10:36:47
Robert 16 - agree with most of that but I think we can overhaul the squad for relatively little money.

People say a lot of negative things about Benitez but he brought in Gray, Townsend and Begovic for total transfer fees of £1.7M. There would have been sign-on fees and of course the wages but, if we get rid of a few (about 5 are leaving anyway as they get to the end of their contracts) there'll be quite a gap in the wage bill to play with. They just need to be clever and sign some decent 'frees'. If you Google 'prem players out of contract end of the season', there are quite a few – obviously we need to stay up to be attractive.

If we can get Arsenal to buy Calvert-Lewin for £60M-odd, that would be a great deal. Sell Keane (back to Burnley?), Holgate, Gomes for anything just to clear them off the books. The likes of Delph and Tosun combined cost us c £150k/week and they don't even play.

Lot of room to reshape the team – just need to allow whoever the manager is the time to do so, ie, the whole summer.

Danny O’Neill
18 Posted 23/03/2022 at 11:22:30
I think the reality is we are stuck with some of these players for longer than some would want.

I agree with and have felt most of the sentiment you bring up this season Andy.

I'll go against the grain of you and Dave Abrahams on Richarlison. I think that's harsh. I sometimes think he feels as frustrated as we do and he shouldn't be playing as the main striker. Needs must I understand, but he's way better coming in from the flanks.

In the spirit of fairness, I'll give Michael Keane a mention as I have often criticised. He scares the shit out of me (not alone there with our defence), he has a number of flaws that prevented him being a top defender and he's just too nice for a big centre-back.

But, he doesn't hide. I just wish he'd concentrate and anticipate more, but at 28 going on 29, you're not coaching that out or into him now in my opinion.

More important, Andy, when are you next over?

Robert Tressell
19 Posted 23/03/2022 at 12:12:11
We can in theory, Denis, but in practice it's very unlikely.

Sad as I am, I maintain spreadsheets of players – so I'm familiar with the contract situations.

Up for grabs for free this summer are Larin, Brereton, Pukki, Nketiah and Belotti. These are the sorts of strikers we might target.

There'll be plenty of competition for each player though. And I'm not sure any are as good as Calvert-Lewin.

It's the same story for the other positions too. Effectively, the Premier League players for sale at low cost are other clubs' versions of Keane, Holgate and Iwobi.

So we could do a low-cost overhaul but the reality is that we'd just be replacing today's disappointments with tomorrow's disappointments – and possibly even deteriorating rather than getting better.

It would be a bit different if we had a decent side now. We could strategically focus on very talented low-cost young players who might be first team ready in a couple of years.

Unfortunately we're in such a state we need players who are ready for the First XI now. And since we can't compete financially, we will not be able to attract high quality First XI ready players.

Christopher Timmins
20 Posted 23/03/2022 at 12:50:11
There is simply not a market for many of our players, it will be a case of running down the contracts and then it's bye bye.

Unless my memory is failing me I think we had a number of players in the final year of their contracts during the season we qualified for the Champions League. Back then, players put in an extra effort to earn a contract extension.

Paul Tran
21 Posted 23/03/2022 at 13:29:38
Lots of talk about 'strategy' on this and many other topics.

Our recruitment must improve. That means buying players who are physically & mentally up to playing in this league. Forget about 'numbers' xG, and all that nonsense. Can they cope with the pace and pressure, while still being able to perform consistently? I've never seen an Everton squad with so many ineffective players who would be great without any opposition on the pitch.

Ancellotti sussed this and I expect Lampard has as well.

I think we'll stay up, and on that basis, I'd wager that between them, Lampard & Thelwell will buy better, younger, cheaper, hungrier players.

I'm sick and tired of being told these players are talented and 'just need good coaching'. Everyone at this level is talented - it's about their effectiveness and mental strength. We need to start looking at that when we recruit, rather than measuring what's easy to measure.

Jay Harris
22 Posted 23/03/2022 at 14:14:45
I'm not one for throwing the baby out with the bathwater but I'm also not one for building on sand.

I believe that, with the addition of a couple of real quality additions in key positions, we can live with some of the lesser players for now, unless we get relegated, in which case, a revolution is needed.

I would sell Pickford while he is in his prime and get a really good young keeper in.

I would sell Keane and possibly Holgate and get a top-class centre-back in.

Delph and Tosun are out of contract this summer so I would use whatever is available to get a top-class defensive mid in.

I would plan to start integrating Dobbin and Simms into the first team but would not let Calvert-Lewin or Richarlison go unless we have at least equivalent quality replacements.

Danny O’Neill
23 Posted 23/03/2022 at 15:58:17
Jay, did you have to say that? Aren't we literally building our new stadium on sand?!!!

The centre-back problem has been a problem for as long as anyone cared to listen to me, so with you on that.

And I agree on Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison, if we can keep them. I suspect the latter could end up being more of a club decision. Newcastle? It feels like the type of signing they would go for as to where they are right now with the manager they have. And they would probably pay a premium.

Andy Crooks
24 Posted 23/03/2022 at 21:04:10
Danny, I would love to get over before end of season. My record at Goodison Park is 100% over four years!! (I don't know what that might mean.) I was talking to Derek about that recently.

I don't know how my nerves could stand it right now. I was a nervous wreck even at 3-0 at the Easter Sunday thumping of Man Utd! I suspect the Newcastle game might have done for me!

Niall McIlhone
25 Posted 24/03/2022 at 20:27:45
In an ideal world, Juventus sell on Moise Kean to PSG, we get the fee, and persuade Idrissa Gana Gueye to rejoin us for his last couple of seasons. Quite simply, this team has collapsed since we sold Gana, who was absolutely pivotal to our defensive set-up.

I agree with the thrust of your article, Andy, but with regard to Richarlison, I think that's a tad harsh; we know he has quality, okay, he's been poor this season, but the fans do see in him a player who wears the shirt.

I just think his effectiveness has been compromised by playing in a truly terrible team and under several different managers in one season.

Ben King
26 Posted 25/03/2022 at 07:59:24
Really like (and agree with) the sentiment of the article.

Spot on!

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