Where to start? Where to end?

We have let Frank Lampard go. He was widely popular with the Everton supporters, though due to results I don't think many would put up too strong a defence to keep the poor guy. Despite this, again, it is sad to see the end of another managerial career at Goodison that we willed to work.

However, that is where we are, once again. Groundhog Day at Goodison Park.

What irks me more this time is that we were in exactly the same position last season. A manager not getting results, nosediving into the Championship, and being released during the tail-end of the transfer window, when things could have been made better earlier, with more support.

I am not advocating for Rafa Benetiz to have been given more time, as clearly he had lost what little support he started with, which was scant. Though this season, if we had bought a striker on 1 January (like our neighbours had the foresight to do, despite already holding five better strikers than we already had), then maybe Lampard may have been able to get some points from the games we have since lost by small margins. Things may have been different.

Each day, since mid-December, I have been uttering the words in my head: "Buy a striker… buy a fucking striker!" It is clear where our problems lie – putting the ball in the opposition's net. Our defense, in various combinations, are not the reason for potential relegation.

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Last season, our midfield was an epic problem. However, that has been reinforced last summer. Gana is not at his imperious best but is still efficient enough to do a job. Onana is very raw but there is potential in him and he's worth sticking with to see how he develops (do we have a choice?).

As an aside, I have a friend who used to write a Nottingham Forest fanzine, in fact he has also written a published book about following Forest. He said last season the driving force of Forest's promotion and FA Cup run was James Garner. He would run the game for them and could also be a driving force for us too, in the right conditions.

I watched a lot of Forest games too last season and can't disagree with his assessment. He was the one player my friend was disappointed didn't sign up full-time at Forest. Hopefully, he can get himself fit and make an impact in the run-in this season for us.

Okay back to our attack. We sold our most influential attacking player in Richarlison. He may not have had the best goals-per-game ratio, but he gave everything when he was on the pitch. He bled for the team. I can't see any of our attacking players left doing that.

We replaced him with a guy with zero goals and assists in 38 games last season (What the fuck?) and a Brighton reserve striker with a record that is mediocre at best. I was willing to give him a chance until he was released on a one-on-one at home with the ball sprayed over the halfway line. His first touch was shocking, then he was beaten for pace and bundled off the ball. We can't give away these gilt-edged chances in our position.

So now, we have Sean Dyche; personally I like the guy. He may not be what we need, or what some fans want, but I think the majority of fans will give him a chance. I certainly will. At this moment in time, I am sure some supporters will be thinking we have tried literally every type of manager in the last few years and nothing has worked. Nothing. Why bother?

Well, it is the club we love, we have no option, we have to clutch those rosary beads and hope (again!) that this time it will be different. Invoking the ghosts of Harry Catterick and Howard Kendall hasn't worked before. I am sure there are some disused pentagrams scraped into the living room floor laminates, covered by guilty carpets, silently praying for the best.

Appointing a new manager a full day before the transfer window closes to assess the squad, identify new players, negotiate their release and sign these players is frankly a ridiculous situation. This should not have happened and was entirely avoidable.

After watching Farhad Moshiri's interview with Jazz Bal, the Fans 'appointed' representative last week, he seemed calm, devoid of any panic and, gave full support to the board. I am not sure the way things have panned out inspires any sort of confidence in the board at all. We are now skulking around Tesco at 10 pm waiting for the soon-to-be out-of-date stock to be let out at bargain prices.

I admit I liked Lampard, and feel he was hampered by recruitment. A shocking lack of foresight into what we needed up top. I also agree that he didn't make the best of what we have. So here we are, another roll of the dice on a manager with a different plan. Nil Satis Nisi Optimum are just some random Latin words these days…


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Reader Comments (15)

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Mal van Schaick
1 Posted 31/01/2023 at 08:05:36
Not only is this Groundhog Day, but the last day of the transfer window will define our season and possibly our history of being a top flight club.

Relegation, may mean turmoil for the club and its fans particularly on a financial basis. The embarrassment factor of having built a new stadium, and plunging into the championship would be hard to take. It is imperative that we remain in the Premier League.

The current squad couldn’t fight themselves out of a paper bag, never mind a tough Championship league.

Mike Price
2 Posted 31/01/2023 at 08:08:49
Lampard wasn’t popular with me, he was completely clueless.

He came across well but was not a manager. He wasted 70 million pounds in the summer as well as bringing in Dele and the useless Van de Beek, he couldn’t set up a team, couldn’t man manage, had terrible in game management, kept picking useless players like Mykolenko no matter what and then gave up months ago and hung around for his payoff.

I don’t get this love in at all. Teflon Frank was one of the very worst manager’s in our history; shouldn’t have got the job and should have been sacked months ago.

Danny O’Neill
3 Posted 31/01/2023 at 08:22:19
I liked that read Ian. It sums up what a lot of us think.

Slight nitpicking, you mentioned the word plan in your last sentence.

This Everton board and a plan? They don't have one, which goes back to the sentiment of your title.

They sit in the Main Stand (when they can be bothered to turn up) looking down at what they think are adoring masses like some type of North Korean regime and congratulate themselves.

I think I need medication. Is it too early to reach for the bottle yet? I'll leave it until tonight to watch the transfer window.

I woke up at 4am this morning and instantly reached for my phone to check on any Everton news. I then couldn't get back to any kind of real sleep.

I'm at an actual real meeting today. I'll be nodding and agreeing but my mind will be over 200 miles away and looking at my phone.

Tony Abrahams
4 Posted 31/01/2023 at 08:28:56
I got up for a hour at 2 O’CLOCK, this morning Danny, even though I was wasting my time at that hour. Don’t mention the board, I keep changing the last word, to War, just so Basil Fawlty, can take my mind off Deceitful Bill. Is Saturday’s fixture, still high risk🤮
Stu Darlington
5 Posted 31/01/2023 at 09:01:43
Mal@ 1
Imperative we remain in the Premier League? Couldn’t agree more,but how are we going to do that?Our squad is smaller and weaker than when Lampard was sacked.
Don’t care if Dyche is the best manager in the world,he can’t work miracles.
It’s pretty obvious to everybody where the weaknesses are in the squad, so shouldn’t we have had a plan,a strategy,a short list of possible players with the right skills set,statistics and availability at the right price?Shouldn’t the ground work with agents,clubs etc. have been done months ago?
Of course it should. The fact that it obviously hasn’t been done is further evidence of the gross incompetence which seems to be endemic throughout this club.
I may be being a little unfair however and our wily set of negotiators are simply waiting until 10 o’clock tonight to unveil 2 or 3 game changing players to prevent them being hijacked by West Ham,Bournemouth,Southampton,Notts Forest etc.!
I’m not holding my breathe however!
James Hughes
6 Posted 31/01/2023 at 09:06:45
The only plan the board have successfully fulfilled in the past years is to blame the fans.
A masterstroke by Poison BPB and the media took it hook, line and sinker. All that tosh about real and credible threats and beinh manhandled in the carpark. those Everton fans are a nasty toxic bunch, all of taken at face value. Poisin Bill played the media like a fiddle.

Thankfully a few of the journos have now smelt the coffee and realise who is reallly to blame

Mal van Schaick
7 Posted 31/01/2023 at 10:43:03
Stu @5.

I agree that we are certainly not in a position of strength and to make matter worse we have offloaded some younger players like Joe Anderson, who have not been given the opportunity to prove themselves at a higher level, but we are in a “Dogs of War” position fighting for every point.

The Arsenal game will indicate if we are up for the fight or not but, given their quality and our lack of quality, I will be surprised to get anything from the game.

Rob Dolby
8 Posted 31/01/2023 at 12:34:48
The board have already hung Dyche out to dry. 1 day to buy a couple of goal threats with no money!

He will no doubt take his pay off in 12 months time as we are either fighting relegation again or more likely mid table in the championship.

In any other walk of like the people running the club would have been sacked or company go bankrupt.

Football is a funny old game.

Barry Rathbone
9 Posted 31/01/2023 at 14:40:17
The main thrust of being in an ever worsening downward spiral is sound enough but the simplicity of "buy a striker/defender/midfield player" is naive in the extreme.

We've bought plenty but they've mostly been shite. Satisfying simplistic fan solutions with numbers isn't the issue it's buying unremitting garbage.

Compare and contrast Newcastle casually gambling 40million plus on a player likely to be a bench warmer whilst we dick about trying to buy cut price monkeys.

In the Moyes era we bemoaned a lack of ambition (none louder than me) but he was right. Given the finances he was right.

Martinez miraculously reawakened ambition but without REAL money he had simply written his own suicide note. Moshiri and Usmanov subsequently bungled their way through manager after manager dabbling in transfers and now Usmanov is being held by cannibals in an African jungle we are absolutely done.

No matter who is Everton manager the combination of no money plus fan entitlement based on history makes a tenure over 12 months impossible.

Finn Taylor
10 Posted 31/01/2023 at 17:35:37
Well said, Mr Rathbone. Spot on.

It beggars belief we haven't signed anyone but, if there is no money, there is no money.

I am expecting riots from here on in.

Ian Black
11 Posted 31/01/2023 at 18:58:55
Thanks for your comments. I appreciate that this comes across as a meandering late night rant, which is what it is. I tried to cover too many bases at once.

My main concern though is how can the board do this after last season?

Last season, we stayed up by the skin of our teeth following exactly the same strategy of firing an underperforming manager in January and bringing a new one in close to the transfer deadline. So close, that we were scrabbling about looking at cast-offs in a state of sheer panic to try and help the new manager out to avoid the drop.

As I write this, we still haven't signed any players in January when we clearly have a woeful attacking line-up, there are no goals anywhere. With four hours to go until the deadline, this is highly unprofessional.

The board have to take full responsibility for this. They seen what happened last season. They have heard the disgruntled fans ratcheting up the noise for a long time now. For me, this is starting to turn from incompetence to contempt.

Anyway, good luck to Sean Dyche in what is going to be a turbulent few months ahead!

Tony Abrahams
12 Posted 31/01/2023 at 19:16:38
Martinez, signed Niasse and Lukaku. Silva signed Richarlison. Allardyce signed Tosun and Walcott. Koeman sold Lukaku, after buying Sandro. Ancelotti never signed a striker. Benitez signed Rondon. Lampard signed Maupay and sold Richarlison.

In nine years Everton have signed eight forwards, plus Moise Kean = nine. These players have cost around £170 million. They sold Lukaku for £75 million, Richarlison for £55 million, and are going to get £25 million for Kean, having already received £5 million in a loan fee.

This is all off the top of my head and I'm sure there's a few more, but these players have cost us around £10 million. Nine years worth of strikers for £10 million minus their wages.

Simon Harrison
13 Posted 31/01/2023 at 20:49:05
Mike [2] I actually think Lampard IS our worst ever manager, as Mike Walker didn't splash nigh on £75m plus loans on players. I was never sure of him (FL), due to his previous record either. Then the Burnley 3-2 surrender made my mind up he wasn't the right man.

Danny O [3] I feel for you, I've been in a car accident last week (no fault; whiplash, cracked lumbar disc and issues around my LHS shoulder) and I'm trying to look after my U10 daughter, but EFC is all consuming tonight...

Stu [5] Without being an echo chamber, I fully, fully agree! One thing though, I'm sick of posters saying, "If we go down, we could do an x, y, z."
If we go down best option we barely survive next season with ZERO available money and a very probable EFL points deduction. Next, administration, then worst case, dissolution, and wound up... If we don't stay up, we're well and truly fooked!

James [6] W/o being rude, regards the media, Kenwright is still holding the better hand than Moshiri or the fans. Unfortunately. I wish it wasn't so...

Rob [8] Take a bow, applauded by me.

Barry [9] Nothing to add really, nearly all points valid and well made. I say nearly, as you have to add Kenwright to FM & AU for the blame for the ludicrous amount of manager churn.

Tony [12] Those figures are mind bending, and yet we still can't seem to balance the books? My only take out though; is because the fan-base disliked Big SA so much, they tend to lend belief to Sam buying Walcott and Tosun. Kia got us Walcott, whilst he was advising at the Gunnars; and FM wanted Tosun, after he helped Besiktas beat FM's home-town team of Monaco in the ECL. Sam would have preferred other players 'allegedly', BUT you have to take what the Boss says I guess?

Ian, sorry to leave you till last, but thanks for the thread, and it comes from the heart; yes it is emotional and multi-pointed but it is ACCURATE, and makes many good points. Your follow up post at [11] just clarifies your thoughts and concerns (as well as many, many other fans)
What did the Echo post after the Palace game last season?

"Never again!"

Yet, it seems to be a perennial, or even every six months when this situation comes around (and prior).

I've started to write a Thread myself, but I'm just waiting for the end of the transfer window, before submitting it tomorrow or Thursday.

Good wishes to all, and thanks again for the thread Ian.

Peter Jansson
14 Posted 01/02/2023 at 02:22:49
Hallo, our problem is not having a striker. We do not get the ball to the striker. That is the problem. The engine does not work. The midfield is too slow. That is the problem. Sideway- and backward passes, no combination play and pretty useless contra-attack play. That is the problem.

Lewandowski would not have made much of the difference at Everton because he simply would never have received the ball.

Jim Bennings
15 Posted 02/02/2023 at 06:43:30
Don't commit enough men in the box then you don't score goals.

Yes we need a better, fitter striker than DCL, yes we need an Arteta instead of a Gana, we need a Pienaar instead of a McNeil, no dispute over that.

But quite simply we need to commit more men to attack.

You ain't scoring goals when you have two central midfielders that won't get near the box.

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