Is our club top-heavy?

by   |   20/10/2022  24 Comments  [Jump to last]

I was taken by one of my new Scouse workmates to see my very first professional football match at Goodison Park with 44,000 people there... that was in 1971 – just after Everton had won the Football League First Division Trophy.

I was mesmerised: Harvey, Ball and Kendall, Joe Royle, Kenyon, Hurst, Whittle, Morrissey, the flying full back Tommy Wright – and they were playing Manchester United. I don't remember the score but, at the end of the game, that was it – I was hooked and have been hooked ever since.

I watched last night's game. It was hard... then I started to think about how it has come to this?

Someone is to blame. I don't think we can blame Farhad Moshiri because he's sunk half a billion pounds into the club. He's not a football guru and he has made mistakes but he loves his football and now he loves Everton.

Article continues below video content

So who is to blame? The manager, the coaches, the Director of Football, the CEO or some other person involved in the decision-making at our club?

When I first came to Liverpool and became an Evertonian, the players and the way they played was down to the manager, Harry Catterick at that time. Also with other clubs, dare I say it, Bill Shankly at Liverpool, Matt Busby and Alex Fergerson at Manchester United, and quite a few more who I just can't remember. They were all their clubs, but now there seems to be so many who have irons in the fire.

Remember the old saying, Too many cooks spoil the broth. To me, that's what seems to be the problem with our team and our club at the moment.

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Michael Kenrick
1 Posted 20/10/2022 at 20:58:03
Who's to blame? That's a great question, Peter.

Lucky for you, we do have a couple of posters who can answer this.

Well... one in particular has some very strong feelings about this.

Danny O’Neill
2 Posted 20/10/2022 at 23:01:51
Okay, I'll have a go and only from my lifetime.

In my opinion, the reality is that we have continuously failed to capitalise on opportunity. We can point the finger at the current and recent obvious, but the malaise started decades ago.

In the early 70s, we broke up a Championship team and drifted into mediocrity in relevant terms when only the Champions qualified for the European Cup. Then we had the Gordon Lee years only illuminated by Duncan McKenzie, the Andy King goal, and a near miss with the League Cup (that competition!!!).

Howard Kendall got off to an indifferent start and was on the brink in December 1983. He turned it around and became our most successful manager. The years of my life that I was fortunate to witness.

But short-lived… only to go back to the proverbial sleeping giant and on the brink of collapse and relegation at times.

We've dined off our history for way too long and rested on our laurels. Take your heritage with you, but reinvent yourselves and move with the times.

I think we'll do that with the new Everton Stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock, but it's 3 decades later than we should have one.

They're still my Everton though. Always will be. Unconditional.

Christine Foster
3 Posted 20/10/2022 at 23:27:51
They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions, if that's true we must have some of the best pavers in the UK.

Missed opportunities, self interest, greed, getting into bed with the wrong people, failing to realize that just because you love a club, doesn't make you the perfect owner.

Poor recruitment..

Ok...the list is a very long and painful one spreading back certainly prior to the Premier League, but failure, and certainly in our case, is always the responsibility of those in charge of the club.

For many years I used to try to separate the team from the management of the club, but the last 10 years for me have been shameful. Failure of leadership, poor recruitment, and blame.

The club failed to strategically take advantage of the Premier League. Failed to build or find investment for the club. Lied to its fans, blamed players, managers for their mistakes.

Even now the business that is Everton is run by two men, one of whom must be as sick to death as we are of the other.

The business of running the club has finally been impacted by the meddling and what appears to be, personal involvement of owners in the recruitment of playing staff.

Sorting it out will take time and money and the commitment of a good management team. We have made progress in part but the elephant in the room is still being ignored.

Ian Pilkington
4 Posted 21/10/2022 at 00:23:03
You haven't named the elephant, Christine, and I don't have to name him either...

But why is the owner still supporting a Chairman who is surely the longest-running failure in any position in any club in the history of English football?

Christine Foster
5 Posted 21/10/2022 at 00:37:50
Ian, I doubt he is. I think he is in too deep now and has already decided to sell or get short-term investment.

Other than the stadium, I think Moshiri has ceased involvement on a day-to-day basis. Once the stadium is up, I think it will be a formal parting of the ways if a sale hasn't been already done... just an opinion.

Derek Thomas
6 Posted 21/10/2022 at 02:41:17
Danny @ 2;

There's a good argument to be made that the 1970 team wasn't broken up — it fell apart!

A whole new thread... one day I'll sit down and write my version — it will be a tin-hat job, I think.

Dave Cashen
7 Posted 21/10/2022 at 19:26:25
Wow, Peter. That's some question, mate. Who is to blame?

You came in about 2 years after the perfect time, mate. We were the club. Best ground, richest chairman who took no shit, and a team who looked as if they trained all week in Heaven.

Kenwright has been a blight on this club. He has to be held largely responsible for decades of stagnation, but those who claim he is the only reason for our demise remind me of people who see the end of a movie and think they are experts on the whole film.

A steady stream of chinless wonders sat on the throne after Sir John Moores. Most or all of them would have been more at home running a village cricket team. They seemed to think they didn't have to do anything. Talk about sitting on your laurels.

Sir John's ruthlessness had been replaced by lazy complacency. While other clubs searched for and found investment, improved their grounds, strengthened their infrastructure, we sat around preening ourselves. One of the Big 5.

Howard Kendal inherited a shambles. He achieved incredible success with a team largely made up of rejects, crocks, bargains and homegrowns. His and Colin's success was all the more remarkable when you think how badly run the boardroom was.

I will be eternally grateful for the eighties team; without it, the only history we could have boasted about would have been ancient.

Howard Kendall moved on and the greatest Evertonian (Colin Harvey) couldn't bring his remarkable coaching skills to the manager's office. Gravity could no longer be defied. The cracks which had been papered over were now bare and as wide as ever.

The superstars departed. Bankruptcy was soon being whispered about. Howard was called back, but the magic had all been used. We learned that the Park End was to be done on the cheap. Relegation battles were looming.

The Hamper Man (Peter Johnson) came, delivered a trophy and went. Such was the club's financial state, nobody was interested in buying it. Archie Knox was soon using a baseball bat to coach his players. Things could only get better… or so we thought.

We'd already fallen behind the more forward-thinking clubs when Boys Pen Bill rode in on his charger. He was getting control of the club for an absolute song and he had a ready-made boatload of excuses.

The fact of the matter is he was replacing the Kopite and many saw him as the Messiah. How could we be so wrong? His idea of continuity was to allow the decline to continue. Even accelerate it.

Who's to blame? There are so many. Maybe we are all to blame.

We, the fans, have possibly accepted this shit for far too long.

Rip it up and start again

Barry Rathbone
8 Posted 21/10/2022 at 20:03:30
The answer is a few hundred yards across Stanley Park.

A club in the second division doldrums in the 50s overshadowed by a more glamorous successful neighbour who were UTTERLY abysmal and without a pot to piss in.

So what did they do?

They brought in a revolutionary who disinfected the club from top to toe booting out almost an entire squad in one go whilst laying it on the about what a professional club should look like. Before Shankly they were still running a hose pipe from a house across the road to water the pitch!!

He didn't buy stars he molded limited players into champions not on the back of artistic football but hard running, street fighting football that limited players could cope with. In other words he got real.

But in these parts we sniffily said, "yard dogs", the school of science was not going to sink to such unseemly depths. But Shanklys blueprint transformed modern togger as they won or come close to winning everything from that moment on.

It is a lesson we have never learned and carried on paying top dollar for utter dross because that's what big time charlies do and ever since we have huffed and puffed like a grand old dame bar a fleeting few year.

It isn't the fault of one individual or even a selection of individuals it is the LACK of a special individual brave enough to say - "IT'S ABOUT TIME THE LOT OF YOU - FANS INCLUDED - GOT REAL".

Ted Donnelly
9 Posted 21/10/2022 at 20:07:23
The five year ban, Peter Johnson and the fat Spanish waiter all ruined us on the pitch...but behind the scenes there is definitely shenanigans and plots that have also played their part. Just my opinion.
Tony Hill
10 Posted 21/10/2022 at 20:39:27
Excellent, Barry, @8.

Flabby sentimentality, and snobbery about how we will not tolerate certain approaches to the game have brought us very low.

"Fans included" - yes indeed.

Danny O’Neill
11 Posted 21/10/2022 at 20:55:09
Slightly different wording but similar sentiment Dave only you bring out a few additional points.

I don't know how many times I've said it's not the manager. Well apart from one or two!

Michael Kenrick
12 Posted 21/10/2022 at 22:35:14
Dave @7,

Brilliant synopsis. I think you hit all the high low points.

I expected this would be the perfect platform for a mega-rant from Don but he seems to be studiously ignoring this thread.

Probably because his relentless analysis appears already on every other thread!

Don Alexander
13 Posted 21/10/2022 at 22:57:18
Michael, thanks for your indulgence but, to me, pondering who's to blame regarding Everton is like wondering who to blame for the multi-faceted, going-to-get-worse disaster that is Brexit, presented as it was by a self-serving, criminally inclined, self-adulating, amoral, lying bull-shitter without a clue how to run a message, never mind a country or a football club.

Still, some morons still see such atrocious personalities as their saviour.


Sean Kelly
14 Posted 21/10/2022 at 23:24:42
Who is to blame?

All of us. We accept failing as if it's our fate. We don't demand success. We can all name names who in the past have lowered our expectations. We also have accepted the standard of maintaining survival in this league as a winning goal.

Nearly 40 thousand arrive for home games and are sucked in and fooled at every home game in the pretence of achieving glory. A glory that doesn't come but yet the hierarchy at this club are satisfied to be in this league without winning trophies.

Success to us fans is winning matches and trophies and playing decent football while the muggers are happy with Premier League tv monies. We are not on the same page at all.

When we came together as supporters last season, we dragged the team back into the Premier League. We showed the players and board we can do it together.

But under the pretence of filling out our squad and ridding ourselves of dross, we, the supporters, didn't keep the pressure on the board to rid ourselves of the dross in the boardroom. Nothing's going to change unless forced by relegation.

As to The Greatest Evertonian ever? Don't get me started.

Don Alexander
15 Posted 22/10/2022 at 00:13:03
Well said, Sean.
Chris Williams
16 Posted 22/10/2022 at 05:17:02
Kenwright's continued involvement in the club mystifies many people, but it can only be down to a couple of reasons that I can think of:

1) Moshiri wants him there for whatever reason;

2) Moshiri can't get rid of him for whatever reason.

Those ‘whatever reasons' are probably down to the decisions or (mis)judgements of only one person, but none of us can know what lies behind them.

That person is Moshiri.

As regards his seeming disengagement from the club, has anybody else picked up on the fact that the Liver Building has been up for sale since about April this year, albeit at a much higher price than it was purchased for?

It may not be relevant, or connected to EFC ownership, of course.

John Raftery
17 Posted 24/10/2022 at 11:15:06
Complacency has been the order of the day since the early seventies. Moores, Carter and others were culpable as we failed to keep pace with our competitors on and off the pitch.

Moores settled for second- or third-choice managerial candidates in the seventies. The Board got lucky with Howard Kendall in the eighties but then failed to keep hold of him.

Opportunities to develop Goodison into a modern stadium were ignored until it was too late. The failure to foresee the impact Premier League TV rights would have on the game's finances was arguably the biggest error 30 years ago.

The fact Carter was partly instrumental in negotiating increased TV rights makes the subsequent deterioration in our competitive position all the more galling.

Howard Sykes
18 Posted 24/10/2022 at 11:41:38
The big one for me was 1985.

We had just won the First Division title and were European Cup-Winners-Cup winners. So we were into the European Cup for the first time since 1970.

Then the RS went to Heysel and killed 39 people on the terraces before the match was played.

Everton were banned from the European Cup, then two years later we were banned again. Howard Kendall left because he could see that Everton would not be allowed to enter the European Cup in the foreseeable future. 35 years on and we still haven't.

What a difference two European Cup wins might have made.

Funny that Liverpool never mention this football terrace tragedy.

Joe McMahon
19 Posted 24/10/2022 at 11:51:06
Howard @18, although all correct, is 37 years not long enough to have tried to have been a force again? The ban (we all know should have been for one club only), but for some reason Everton never moved on and Howard never recaptured the glories elsewhere.

But as already stated, it was 37 years ago, we cannot keep using the same excuses.

Jerome Shields
20 Posted 24/10/2022 at 11:57:49
Dave #7,

That's basically it in a nutshell, but they all got paid and lined their pockets. I remember Geoffrey Robinson, ex British Leyland and provider of Madelson's house, being described as someone who enriched himself, and his aides, at the cost of the companies he ran, as many rich men do. That is possibly, simply what happened to Everton and to some extent Moshiri as well.

But as Fans we watch and hope our team win. Under Frank, things look better and hopefully we get respite from having to listen to or look at these leeches.

Danny O’Neill
21 Posted 24/10/2022 at 12:12:27
The European ban undoubtedly impacted us more than any other club as that was our time and stage. But it impacted all top English clubs. Wrongly. One club should have been punished, not all.

But the others reinvented themselves and embraced the Premier League as it gathered momentum. We stood still, which is equivalent to walking backwards. Goodison is still pretty much the same Goodison of the 80s.

As John Raftery and Dave says, complacency and resting on laurels. For decades. Missed opportunities. Hopefully at an end as we now prepare to symbolically take over our proud waterfront with a symbolic stadium and new start.

Sean Kelly – greatest Evertonian. No contest for me. Colin Harvey. Boyhood supporter like us. Teenage debutant. Title winner as player and coach. Manager and then youth coach / director. And part of that great statue outside the Goodison Supper Bar and St Luke's. Surely we take that to Bramley-Moore Dock?

He's done it all with Everton and is one of us.

That scene in Howard's Way still gets me every time. Ultimate Evertonian and great player by all accounts.

Dupont Koo
22 Posted 25/10/2022 at 02:49:48
The moment a lot of Evertonians chose the comfort of being hypnotised by Kenwright's & Moyes's "bringing a knife to a gunfight" mediocrity mentality, the club was doomed. NSNO should be our Modus Operandi and it was truly compromised by that mentality.

The quicker Kenwright and his entourage are to be weeded out of the club (there is still more to be done after this past summer), the closer we shall be to being one of the world's top football clubs.

Brian Murray
23 Posted 25/10/2022 at 19:48:18

Until that happens, we forever will be treading water, no matter who the manager is. He won't go unless kicking and screaming and needs to be forced out by the fans that are unwilling to accept any more of his amateur shite.

Alan McMillan
24 Posted 26/10/2022 at 08:34:51
The managers, the playing staff, the attitude of heroic failure, all come from the top.

Not just bad ownership, but bad stewardship. A wasteful, perhaps entitled mindset has been allowed to develop over the years, and the eye was taken off the ball. Cutting corners. Failing to adapt to the changing variables and footballing environment. A culture of coziness and complacency at board level

Taking success for granted has been the downfall of many a great company (recent years Nokia, Motorola, Sega, the list goes on). This is no different for a football club. Failure to adapt means you will eventually succumb to competitors, who will learn from your success, improve on it, and leave you behind.

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