The date was 20 May 1995. I had been working but managed to get off early. My dad picked me up and we made a stop-off to buy my first car (still my favourite, a gold Triumph Toledo – something special about that car).

We get home without a moment to spare, my beloved team were competing in the FA Cup Final for the first time in 6 years against the mighty Manchester United. We were big underdogs – Dogs of War ,to be precise – and it wasn't pretty but we won that final and it heralded a new era of success! Later that year, we would win the Charity Shield which was the last senior trophy this great club has won.

That was 28 years ago. And it's thinking about those 28 years that has got me in a twist recently to the point where I write my first ever article – something of a cathartic exercise for me and I do apologise if it is fairly useless or pointless.

The truth of all those fruitless years is that the rot had started much earlier; 1995 was a blip rather than expected. We won the First Division in 1987 but a couple of years later had become barely competitive and starting to flirt with relegation. If we exclude the Charity Shield, it is 1 major trophy in 36 years. That compares with 7 major trophies in the previous 36 and countless more as runners-up than the solitary FA Cup Final defeat under David Moyes.

We can argue that the ban of English clubs from European competitions had affected Everton more than any other club — and I used to think that was true, but why? Why would such a thing impact the most successful English club at the time more than any other? How have other clubs recycled and pushed on from hardships way more consistently?

I started to paint a mental picture in my head – a sales pitch if you like:

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  • Founding member of the Football League
  • Unbroken stint in the top flight for 69 years
  • More seasons in the top flight than any other club
  • 9 times Football League title winners
  • Founding member of the Premier League
  • One of only 6 clubs to have played every season in the Premier League…

Now if you said all that to someone looking to buy a club and you didn't mention the name of the club, it's surely got to make their ears prick up.

So why are we talked about in the same breath as Southampton, Bournemouth, West Brom, etc? No offence to those teams but no other constant member of the Premier League would even have their names spoken in the same breath. So why us? My head starts hurting every time I think about it. Why us?

Let's look at the other 5 Premier League constants: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Man Utd and Tottenham. The first 4 have obviously had far more success – so Tottenham becomes our closest comparator (but they are historically a far less successful club than us, so they should be looking up at us rather than the other way around).

  • Tottenham's average league position in the Premier League is 7th; since 2000 it is 6th
  • Everton's is 11th, since 2000 it is 10th
  • Tottenham's highest finish is 2nd, lowest is 15th (but not since the 1993-94 season)
  • Everton's highest is 4th, lowest 17th (now when was that?)
  • Tottenham have finished bottom half 9 times (but not since 2007-08)
  • Everton have finished in the bottom half 17 times

So arguably, of the unsuccessfuls, Tottenham are way more successful – particularly when you put European competition participation on the table.

So that question haunts me: "Why?". No other team has the same sales pitch as us. Not Man Utd, Liverpool, Arsenal – none of them can make these claims. I battled with it until it hit me, or at least my opinion as to why hit me.

As a club, we are "happy" surviving. Being in the Premier League is success, we are told. Well, why doesn't it feel like success? Sunderland, Newcastle, Wolves, Bournemouth, Norwich, Leeds, QPR, West Brom, Reading, Cardiff, Portsmouth, Fulham – the list goes on… they have all won the Championship trophy in that time, and I bet they have had happy days doing it.

Because that's what I was raised believing the point was – winning things. Not simply existing.

But I still haven't totally answered the question. Yes, we exist, but how can a team which has been in the richest league in the world forever, with a rich history, with plenty of investment, still be struggling so much? Why aren't we even as good as Tottenham?

I make no apologies about saying I don't like Sean Dyche as a manager. He's negative and not up to the job in my opinion, but he highlights the problem – that's who we are.

Dogs of War, remember? When did the School of Science become Dogs of War and why did we accept it? Dogs of War, from Shakespeare. Theatre – meaning "unleashed chaos and devastation of war, like a pack of wild dogs", the literal opposite of Science.

David Moyes became manager in 2002 to stabilise the club, he did a great job too. But we accepted negativity for far too long, never ever going to win anything — not even the odd derby. Why was that okay?

When he came in, he called us "The People's Club", another beautiful piece of Theatre. Sleight of hand that made us feel that we were better than our neighbours: "Haha, look at us now – not winning a thing, but we are the club of The People. How does that make you feel in the Kop?"

Liverpool don't care; they are happy winning.

Our fortunes changed in 1989. You can see this based on statistics alone. In 1989, Bill Kenwright became a member of the Board. I think we all know that he has damaged our club, but my realisation is that far more damaging is the physiological changes he has made to every fan, and it is so deeply rooted in the club's psyche that I fear only super drastic change will ever mend it.

We have been, almost literally, turned into a Shakespeare Tragedy. Bill has used all his theatrical knowledge to slowly change our expectations to the point where we don't even know what success looks like.

Roberto Martinez came in with a positivity we weren't used to. Knives to a gunfight? Nah, mate, we're going to win in places we've not won for ages. Now maybe Roberto wasn't good enough, or maybe he didn't fit with the narrative – the control – that we have all been under: "How dare you come in here with talk of winning things?" I don't know, but something made even Carlo Ancelotti seem negative.

I want total change. At the moment, we have an attitude of "We must not lose" – which worked in bringing stability under David Moyes, but that's not Everton. I'm fed up with being patronised by the likes of Jamie Carragher that "Everton fans want to see fight, win ugly with commitment". No, that's what we have been told for the last 34 years, the water torture that has changed our DNA.

I want someone to come in and say "I want to win, and we might get relegated trying, but the end result will be success." We need to change, we need to accept that survival is not success. Staying up on the last day of the season and celebrating like we've won the league? It's what Southampton do; for me, it's just embarrassing.

But money talks and no owner is going to risk adventure, jeopardise the riches of the Premier League. I fear, therefore, that we will die but we will die without trying because the final act has already been written.

Reader Comments (59)

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Barry Hesketh
1 Posted 04/10/2023 at 16:57:01
The reason is pretty clear, we didn't get away from the 20th Century model of how a club should be run. We were in decline when the Premier League started and the sad demise of Sir John Moores meant we didn't have the banks onside either.

Some less than competent people were on the board, and none of them had a clue as to how to commercialise the club like all of the other peers did in those early years of the Premier League.

It's slightly mystifying because most clubs have a glitch of form, following a period of success, but when you think that the Premier League began only six years following our last title triumph, it's a bit weird how we fell so far behind so quickly and apart from a few European sojourns, that's where we have remained for most of the time since 1993.

The decline in the past seven years is also as incredible as it is alarming, seeing as we've had so much money to spend, but wasted 95% of it.

The only constant in the last couple of decades has been the supporters willingness, to take up the seats, at Goodison, how long that will last, if we continue to decline, is open to debate.

Only a major overhaul of how the club operates will help the club to climb back into a position of relative safety. It might take another five years to do that, it might already be too late to be able to show any real progress in the future.

Everton the club who got stuck in the past, and mortgaged it's future to stay there.

Brian Williams
2 Posted 04/10/2023 at 17:13:51
Bit of a coincidence this story appearing today. I bumped into and spoke at some length to an ex employee of the club today.
This person was involved on the finance side and was quite highly placed.
He basically confirmed what most of us know and that's that we're in the state we're in because of one man.
I can't say too much but he DID say we're in a far worse state then many are aware.
I'm sorry I saw him to be honest.
John Pickles
3 Posted 04/10/2023 at 18:09:26
We can be a much better club, Brighton have shown that a smaller club than us can achieve a competitive team, but you are talking about competing at the very top. That is not going to happen I'm afraid, so you better accept it or get another club, one with a multi-billion pound war chest.

Evertonians live in the past, because the present and future is so unpalatable.

Kieran Kinsella
4 Posted 04/10/2023 at 18:37:29
Everton is located in one of Britain's most deprived areas but Tottenham is also a deprived area, Man City is in even more deprived than Everton. But, Levy has never had an issue with squeezing every penny out of the punters by jacking up prices for everything from tickets to merchandise. Similar to City. That makes a significant difference to income.

Now before everyone starts throwing pillows at me I am not suggesting we suddenly jack up prices. But, if there is a waiting list for season tickets, doesn't that indicate there is room for some upward movement on ticket prices? Or if Kenwright wants to act like Mr. Community and keep prices well below market average, he could easily introduce some kind of tiers of pricing based on for example senior citizen pricing, etc. But realistically, there are fans who are not doing too badly financially who are paying a fraction of what someone in a similar financial state would pay for a season ticket at Spurs or just about any other club.

Realistically, in addition to actually having a commercial department, actually merchandising, actually borrowing money at low interest rates from conventional lenders, actually not wasting money on crap, to compete the club will have to start charging more. And, the shock of that will be greater than it would have been if prices hadn't been kept so low for so long. I imagine, with the new owners whoever they may be that fans are in for sticker shock once the new stadium opens.

Barry Hesketh
5 Posted 04/10/2023 at 18:49:59
Kieran @4
It's interesting that relatively speaking Everton's prices have remained lower than most clubs of our size. However, here's the rub, Kenwright is well aware that higher ticket prices, would inevitably have lead to calls for a better product. A product that until the arrival of Moshiri, he couldn't afford to supply and perhaps didn't want to afford.

Everton, own brand champions, but with little, to no chance, of becoming football champions.

Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
6 Posted 04/10/2023 at 19:18:56
Maybe, with most of our support living on Merseyside, we are unable to afford the higher prices of those clubs who train/coach/fly in their supporters each match.
I wrote to Philip Carter - must be almost 20 years ago and said increasing the ticket prices will do nothing. Think about it. 40000 tickets x 19 games = 760,000 tickets. Increase them by £10 per ticket is £7,5m p.a. Numbers were lower when I wrote - the one that brings in the money is corporate boxes was his response.

But what I came on to say - Never forget and never let the media forget - as of now 1st March 1899 - yes 1899 - is nearer to Spurs last title win than today. Big Club, Big Club, what was it Jim Royle used to say??

Danny O’Neill
7 Posted 04/10/2023 at 19:21:10
Well written piece that Stuart and an honest assessment of how the lost generation as I call them, feel.

I think most of us understand that we have never been, or are unlikely to be, a dynasty or loved by the media like we have seen the media fawning over Newcastle this morning. They never really took to us when we were last successful.

But we are a big institution of English football.

All we want to do is be competitive and compete. If we do that, we stand a chance of winning something.

Robert Tressell
8 Posted 04/10/2023 at 19:55:57
It's extremely difficult. In some respects we have a choice about what club we can be:

1. We can accept our lot as financial underdogs and go for it anyway. That means thrills and spills, going for goals, winning a cup, wins away at big clubs etc etc. But the flip side is it means relegation when it doesn't pay off. Leeds and Newcastle in particular have experienced the Premier League like this (albeit with spells of boring crap like us). Even West Ham.

2. We accept our lot as financial underdogs and go uber conservative. That simple premise is how we've hung on in there for 30 years - but without exciting players, without goalscorers, without Derby wins and without trophies. But it's soul destroying.

Martinez tried to do it a different way. Obviously upstart clubs like Brighton and Leicester have managed to do it a different way but in due course Brighton will come unstuck and get relegated, just as Leicester have been relegated (again). They're just not a big club and the good times won't last forever.

There is another choice though that takes up from where Martinez was trying to take us, and borrowing from the good things that Brighton and Leicester do. That is a player development and academy led club that exists to play great football - I think with the size of club we are, we should be able to manage that interspersed with spells of conservativism to keep us afloat. Doesn't happen overnight though. Need a good base to pull it off.

Robert Tressell
9 Posted 04/10/2023 at 19:56:04
It's extremely difficult. In some respects we have a choice about what club we can be:

1. We can accept our lot as financial underdogs and go for it anyway. That means thrills and spills, going for goals, winning a cup, wins away at big clubs etc etc. But the flip side is it means relegation when it doesn't pay off. Leeds and Newcastle in particular have experienced the Premier League like this (albeit with spells of boring crap like us). Even West Ham.

2. We accept our lot as financial underdogs and go uber conservative. That simple premise is how we've hung on in there for 30 years - but without exciting players, without goalscorers, without Derby wins and without trophies. But it's soul destroying.

Martinez tried to do it a different way. Obviously upstart clubs like Brighton and Leicester have managed to do it a different way but in due course Brighton will come unstuck and get relegated, just as Leicester have been relegated (again). They're just not a big club and the good times won't last forever.

There is another choice though that takes up from where Martinez was trying to take us, and borrowing from the good things that Brighton and Leicester do. That is a player development and academy led club that exists to play great football - I think with the size of club we are, we should be able to manage that interspersed with spells of conservativism to keep us afloat. Doesn't happen overnight though. Need a good base to pull it off.

Robert Tressell
10 Posted 04/10/2023 at 19:56:04
It's extremely difficult. In some respects we have a choice about what club we can be:

1. We can accept our lot as financial underdogs and go for it anyway. That means thrills and spills, going for goals, winning a cup, wins away at big clubs etc etc. But the flip side is it means relegation when it doesn't pay off. Leeds and Newcastle in particular have experienced the Premier League like this (albeit with spells of boring crap like us). Even West Ham.

2. We accept our lot as financial underdogs and go uber conservative. That simple premise is how we've hung on in there for 30 years - but without exciting players, without goalscorers, without Derby wins and without trophies. But it's soul destroying.

Martinez tried to do it a different way. Obviously upstart clubs like Brighton and Leicester have managed to do it a different way but in due course Brighton will come unstuck and get relegated, just as Leicester have been relegated (again). They're just not a big club and the good times won't last forever.

There is another choice though that takes up from where Martinez was trying to take us, and borrowing from the good things that Brighton and Leicester do. That is a player development and academy led club that exists to play great football - I think with the size of club we are, we should be able to manage that interspersed with spells of conservativism to keep us afloat. Doesn't happen overnight though. Need a good base to pull it off.

Derek Thomas
11 Posted 04/10/2023 at 22:36:45
We don’t just want 'Dogs of War' - we don't mind it if there is nothing else...ìn fact, even dressed up in Dyche Speak's 'Maximum effort is the Minimum requirement' we will always cut the Straqs of this world a bit of slack for no skill based on at least having a go.

But we don't forget (at least I hope not) that All the very top teams have plenty Dogs of War to go with top grade skill.

Too many times though, we have neither and when you add to that Dyches 1 dimensional version of Zonal Marking

Don Alexander
12 Posted 04/10/2023 at 22:44:03
Stuart (and increasingly many of us) sees that Kenwright has grabbed the club, taken control decades ago and, alone of the original "big six", destroyed us from within.

Negligence, recklessness, stupidity, greed are among the most lenient terms for his horrible tenure.

And then he brought Moshiri in ....... and things got way worse in every conceivable way........ and then things got way worse even than that with our club being touted for sale to various opaque entities, all of whom are right now lining up Moshiri's (and every competitor's) arse-cheeks for the biggest rogering imaginable.

And for "Moshiri" read "Us"!

But at least Kenwright has screwed us all for his fabulous personal wealth, so what's not to like?

Paul Birmingham
13 Posted 04/10/2023 at 23:08:03
Stuart thanks for writing a very good honest assessment of Everton FC and it's decline over the last 3 decades.

Focussing on the playing side which all supporters can follow but, right now the lack of structure and communication is killing the club and draining hope from many.

The day of change will hopefully arrive sooner than later. Deliverance, to start fresh, but a genuine start fresh.

So much is written about the virtues of 777 Partners but who really knows if their form is as bad as is suggested or if they are being maligned?

For me, my gut instinct has said No and I hope for something better in terms of a takeover.

When the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock is approaching completion, I expect the stakes for Everton will show some solid interest in taking ownership. But who knows what really is happening?

But hope eternal, and hopefully a clean takeover will happen soon. But beating Bournemouth is the most important task now.


Don Alexander
14 Posted 05/10/2023 at 01:05:04
With Kenwright at all involved just expect to receive the shittiest end of the shittiest stick Paul.

It's all he's ever been good for.

Ernie Baywood
15 Posted 05/10/2023 at 01:30:06
I've never really bought into the conspiracy theories around Kenwright. I mean, he could have made more money out of a successful, sustainable club than an unsuccessful club.

I just think he lacks any kind of competence and then his character gets very dubious under pressure. Then we got Moshiri, who clearly also lacks competence.

We can blame plenty of others for our decline but they were all appointed by the same people, and led by those same people.

So why us? Why are we getting the incompetent ones? There must be a reason? Even a raffle throws up some winners. We come out losing every time.

I've been told for years that it's sacrilege to consider us anything but a massive club. But I'm coming round to the idea that this level may just not be our level.

That might be because we're in a medium sized city that already has a local powerhouse. It might be that we carry the weight of expectations that are unrealistic for a club of our current standing.

I don't know… I just know I'm sick of swirling around the drain with no prospect of reversal. For that reason, I almost feel disappointed that I'm not looking forward to the potential of a promotion push this season.

Laurie Hartley
16 Posted 05/10/2023 at 03:44:32
Thanks for a very heartfelt post, Stuart. It made me feel a bit downhearted to be honest – but that's where we are.

We are like an old mansion that was once magnificent but now needs knocking down. That is actually what is happening with Goodison Park and the new stadium, I suppose.

It's what's inside that old mansion that needs clearing out and it appears that process has begun.

I can't help thinking about Marco Bielsa wanting to coach the youth last season instead of taking the manager's job. Pep reckons he is the best coach in the world.

I suppose it would be too radical an idea to appoint him to that role and hire a first-team manager whose brief was to play to the Bielsa system. It would take a couple of years to pay dividends – what owner would have the courage to go down that road?

Then there is the commercial running of the club. I think Colin Chong has earned a senior position within the club (CEO) but we need a Chief Financial Officer who can count.

Not much for 777 Partners to do then! I am not for giving up though.

You have gotta pay your dues if you wanna sing the Blues.

ps: Why us? Here is something that has been playing on my mind for some time now – brought to a head for me in the pre-match Luton thread.

I had the privilege of seeing Ball, Harvey and Kendall grace the turf of Goodison Park. Three great footballers – but only men. They are not The Holy Trinity.

The Holy Trinity is The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit.

I just felt it needed saying and I am glad I have.

Eric Myles
17 Posted 05/10/2023 at 07:36:32
Strewth Stuart, if that's your first article, don't hold back on posting more.

Bloody good read mate.

George McKane
18 Posted 05/10/2023 at 07:41:00
Good morning, Laurie, from New Brighton – sending Cosmic Grooves All The Way to you particularly and to All Blues.

Just to exist is not the way to live. I believe in Life, it is beautiful – if you want it to be.

Before last weekend's result, the two previous games filled me with a tremendous feeling of joy and hopefulness. We need to feel good – goodness is contagious – I have felt your goodness many times.

Please, please, Everton – rip up the script, get out of the box, believe in yourself, do something extraordinary.

Tony Everan
19 Posted 05/10/2023 at 08:25:21
Stuart, keep your pecker up. Existing is better than not existing, because in life you never know what's around the corner. Sometimes you just have to dig in and wait.

There's still some joy to be had even in these bleak times, as George said, there are some signs of progression with the Brentford and Villa results.

The quality of the young lads Garner and Branthwaite, and maybe Patterson, are also reason to think we have some fight in us. We have a stronger forward line and some options wide. Most players are fit, the manager has to be more positive at home and he will get his rewards.

Rumours today of Branthwaite signing a long-term contract to continue his development and progress with us. That's got to be a positive.

Dig in, fight and see what happens.

Sending posso vibes to you George, hope you are recovering well.

Laurie Hartley
20 Posted 05/10/2023 at 08:26:35
George #18 – we are on the same wavelength. 😉
Eddie Dunn
21 Posted 05/10/2023 at 08:31:55
We had the chance to go for Bielsa. But we went for Dyche. I was compliant, I wanted survival, which was achieved...just.

Now we are in the aftermath, and we might have a similar season.
If Bielsa came and we went down we would all have been devastated.
However, as said above, we were too scared to chance our arm and now we are where we were.

The Premier League is actually strangling the game. The VAR, the five subs, the difficulty for even Brighton or Villa to finish Top 4.

Eventually people get sick of finishing between bottom and 7th. It is boring and I am sure it has been bad for my mental health. But perhaps this superb article exposes us. We have got what we deserve.

Ian Jones
22 Posted 05/10/2023 at 08:36:45
Stuart, really interesting article. Look forward to Part 2...

Danny @ 7 re your comment about the media's relationship with Everton and the fawning over Newcastle.

I just think we are living in a completely different era with sport and media. Football in the media is so much more visible now, literally 24/7. Started early 1990s.

If you are talking about our last successful period being the mid-80s, football generally had a pretty bad image, crowd hooliganism, deaths in stadium, disasters including fires. Possibly perceptions of Liverpool region didn't help. The media probably didn't want to get too involved in the footballing side and focused on the bad stuff.

I think if we were to start becoming successful over a longer period of time, we would also start getting decent media attention. We had a taster of this when we started the 2020-21 season well under Ancelotti and with James Rodriguez.

On another note, assume Newcastle are also getting the media attention because of the recent developments, both off- and on-field etc.

From a footballing point of view, their team's fortunes turned around reasonably quickly when they sacked Steve Bruce, installed Eddie Howe (much derided by some ToffeeWebbers).

I had a quick look: when they sacked Bruce, they had 3 draws from the first 8 matches and their first win was a 1-0 in the 15th match that season – against Burnley, managed by Sean Dyche, which is typical!

Out of interest, I also listened to Sean Dyche's post-match report – link below. He could have been talking about recent Everton performances.

Burnley need to work on 'details' to win games – Dyche

However, by the end of the season, with 4 players added to the squad in the January transfer window at a cost of approx £90 million and assume different tactics from a managing team with a different philosophy and mentality, they finished mid-table and now, one season later, are beating Paris St Germain.

So, perhaps it's possible to change a team's fortunes if various stars align.

[Just re-read my post; apologies, I didn't mean to write so much!]

Jon Wit
23 Posted 05/10/2023 at 09:03:55
Personally I'd support the club whatever division - and I share the authors disinterest in the lower-premier-league.

Putting so much energy into supporting the club when really it is just feathering people's nests - Kenwright or 777 investors or whoever - with little joy for the supporters.

In modern football the club is the size of its benefactors - that is no longer the fans. Our current benefactors haven't got much money to throw the clubs way - it doesn't look like 777 will either.

So really Everton is as big as its balance sheet - which won't be as healthy as Tottenhams - despite our history.

Will we end up with owners / management that are interested in anything more than the 'being in the Premiership' prize ?

There needs be a longer term ambition - and the stadium speaks to something like that - but I am concerned about our next 'investor' (landlord...).

Tony Abrahams
24 Posted 05/10/2023 at 10:20:02
I thought the dogs of war, was just as scientific as any other team, because it played to the strengths of the players at the football club.

Merseyside derby’s have mostly been nothing more than embarrassing since Big Joe Royle, had Liverpool throwing their toys out of the pram, simply because we went out onto the pitch believing we were everyone’s equal, and didn’t give a fuck about the opposition.

“One man” was shot in Aintree, Brian W, and it broke my heart to see such a fine specimen being put down because of a broken leg, but if you give me the gun, I’d shoot Bill Kenwright, without any remorse whatsoever.

Peter Mills
25 Posted 05/10/2023 at 10:50:35
Stuart, that’s an excellent, heartfelt article. I share your dismay, and now find much more pleasure in watching football at lower levels.

Ironically, however, we have had some fantastic footballing experiences following Everton over the past couple of seasons, with late winners in a few crucial matches, surprise results such as the one at Brighton and, of course, the huge emotion of the home wins against Palace and Bournemouth.

Having written and re-read the paragraph above, perhaps I am just being duped by the Premier League hype that being in it is all that matters?

Eddie Dunn
27 Posted 05/10/2023 at 11:35:00

I looked at Dyche's post-match presser. Hilarious and sad.

"Details", "Huff and puff", "performances have been decent", "It's just the results". "This is a tough league", "We are working hard, always working".
He didn't mention any "noise".

It seems the "noises" are a recent thing like the voices...

Barry Rathbone
28 Posted 05/10/2023 at 11:36:50
Bar the Kendall blip of about 3 years, we've been mildly hapless since we sold Alan Ball.

I say 'mildly' because, unlike Man Utd and Spurs, we haven't been relegated and, unlike Newcastle Utd and Man City (pre oil money), Villa, Sunderland and Leeds, we haven't become a yo-yo club.

Infuriatingly, the model of how to be a success within the Merseyside environs stares at us from across Stanley Park. So the question arises – how did they succeed as we failed?

The answer is Bill Shankly.

Until we find such a maverick (my latest favourite word) we are doomed to failure – unless we get oil money of course.

Dave Lynch
29 Posted 05/10/2023 at 12:05:13
My eldest is 25, hes never seen us win anything but keeps the faith.

I've resigned myself to never being able to stand alongside him and watch us lift a trophy before I exit this mortal coil.

That really upsets me in a lot of ways.

Laurie Hartley
30 Posted 05/10/2023 at 12:06:35
Barry # 28 - you're right. The man we said we hated changed that club – he was a great manager.

I don't think we will see his kind again but you never know. Maybe this fella:-

Marcelo Gallardo

Barry Hesketh
31 Posted 05/10/2023 at 12:26:25
One man cannot rescue this club of ours, even if he was the son of God. We need root-and-branch change, a pile of money, and oodles of luck before we can even get the club in a state where it might be able to compete at a level that most of us would be happy with.

This club of ours, and I include us the fans in this too, began to accept defeat to the richer clubs, then it began to accept the result of every local derby at any level as a foregone conclusion, games where Everton wouldn't win, or would be happy to sneak a draw.

Exits to lower league teams in cup competitions didn't come as a shock, they became commonplace and accepted as "Everton That". Losing to any of the top-tier clubs in cup competitions also became accepted as, "What did we expect?"

Losing fairly good players to keep the wheels turning became a way of life, not something to get upset about. Signing poor players, who were welcomed because that's all we could afford. Even when we could afford more expensive players, we collectively waited for them to come good, but nine out of ten of those never came good.

Today, as we await the visit of Bournemouth, we are merely hopeful that they don't add to the growing list of teams visiting and leaving Goodison ark with all of the points in the bag.

That's bad enough, but we also fear the bailiffs come knocking and the penalties that may occur when the alleged transgressions of Profitability and Sustainability rules are judged at the back end of this month.

As I say Jesus Christ himself would be hard-pressed to address that list of issues, some recent, some historical.

Frank Wolfe
32 Posted 05/10/2023 at 13:02:32
Great article, Stuart.

I believe there's a cultural issue at the club and that includes the fans. Managers and players are burdened with the weight of expectation as we are a "big club" and expect NSNO.

Look at how many managers we have gone through, including the likes of Ancelotti. Surely that points to a fundamental issue with the club and mentality.

A major issue we've had in recent years is home form. I've written before that I believe a big factor is the pressure from the home crowd when we are playing "weaker" teams. They park the bus, let the pressure build and wait for the mistakes.

This point is echoed by Lampard in a recent interview:-

'Challenging at times' – Frank Lampard gives verdict on Everton home support as dreadful run continues

Ernie Baywood
33 Posted 05/10/2023 at 13:09:28
Peter 25, I think that's exactly the big con. As fans, I reckon we're better off in the right league than clinging on to the top one.

I celebrate our 'big club' status, but that's not why I support Everton. Of course I think we should be competing at the highest level, but we haven't in a long time and it now feels like we never will. It's not even sustainable for us to be uncompetitive in this league.

Now I imagine winning the Premier League would feel better than winning a lower league. But I don't think it's that significant a difference.

And that's not really a comparison we'll need to make anyway. More likely we could win a lower league or scrape 17th in the Premier League. I don't doubt which one would feel better as a supporter.

We could scrape a crucial 0-0 in the top flight or beat a team 3-0 in a lower league playing attacking football. I really miss us playing anything like decent football.

I don't buy the idea that we would collapse. We're too big a club for us to drop too far without someone seeing value in us.

Barry Hesketh
34 Posted 05/10/2023 at 13:14:43
I think most of us accept that we are no longer a 'big club' and our demands to win a few games at Goodison is not at all unrealistic, in fact, many of us would be reasonably happy not to continuously lose games at Goodison.

This mythical notion that somehow Goodison is a place where players can't express themselves or helps to make them fluff golden opportunities to score, is an easy out, for former managers, who have not been able to find the formula required to get a consistent performance level from their players.

In times of real 'crisis' the fans are the twelfth man, in run-of-the-mill times they are to be blamed for causing the 'crisis' - Hmmm!

Everton's sequence of home results in the last 17 matches at Goodison


Of real frustration stretching back to Marco Silva's time at the club has been results against newly-promoted sides. One or two defeats can be seen as a blip, but a pattern of defeats has emerged. It is now nine losses in 14 such matches. Source: Sky

Everton vs Bournemouth: Four home defeats from four games... why have Toffees struggled so much at Goodison?

Dave Abrahams
35 Posted 05/10/2023 at 13:29:55
Just adding my name to plenty who think you wrote a great article, Stuart, it was very good, better because it came from the heart.

I picked out two sentences that I think everyone agreed with, first: "I want change." Yes, Stuart, absolutely, will it come with new owners? Not sure with the present ones maybe coming.

The second sentence was: "But money talks.'

And you think, Stuart, that no-one will take a chance on risking big money on buying Everton and the chance has gone and the club will die? die without trying because the last act has already been written?

You could be correct, Stuart. I hope not… but Brian (2) posts about how desperate, financially, Everton FC are at the moment and I've heard similar stories.

I don't think any manager could change the long-standing predicament the whole club is in, on the field or off it.

In today's football, players rule the roost and the better the player the more power he's got. We haven't many good players and are not in a financial position to bring any in and I doubt any good player will want to come here when he has two or three options.

Like you, Stuart, I want change but money talks and we haven't got enough to make that change.

Laurie (16), You are right about “The Holy Trinity”. I said you were a gent, didn't I?

Christopher Timmins
37 Posted 05/10/2023 at 13:51:00
Expectation management over Kenwright ‘s ownership and pure fear of relegation have led to the current scenario!

The next managerial appointment, hopefully it won't come to it, needs to be more risk adverse.

Phil Hamer
38 Posted 05/10/2023 at 14:42:43
Excellent article, thank you for writing it.

I think the truth is, the club has been run in an outdated, backward-looking way since around 1970. The last time we did anything which suggested 'big club' was building the main stand, which was an incredible edifice at the time.

We didn't win those trophies in the mid-eighties because we were a well-run club, we won them because of Howard Kendall and Colin Harvey, and some inspired signings. The rot had already set in 15 years before that.

Barry Hesketh
39 Posted 05/10/2023 at 15:08:08
Should the question be, at what point in history were we ever considered a 'big' club?

The 1960s — because we were richer than most and equally as successful on the domestic front as Man Utd and Liverpool?

1920s and 1930s — because we had Dixie et al and won a few trophies?

Or perhaps only prior to the formation or renaming of Arsenal, Man Utd and Liverpool?

After all, our rightful position overall in terms of most league positions attained is 11th. How have we managed to maintain this mythical 'big club' status for so long?

Raymond Fox
40 Posted 05/10/2023 at 15:21:50
Firstly, the Premier League now is a totally different beast to when we were winning things. The club is a business, whether you like it or not, that needs to be run efficiently to prosper.

Any business that is not, such as us, heads downhill; that is why we are where we are now.

You can talk about managers till the cows come home but, on the playing field, it's the players that are far more important when it comes to winning games.

Somehow we need to become attractive to top players but it's the chicken and the egg: we need to be more successful to attract them but you need top players to win things in the first place!

Dale Self
41 Posted 05/10/2023 at 15:51:55
Stuart, this may be inappropriate as this is your initial article. It is a very good effort that I fully support with a conclusion that I reject. Since I'm in opposition, I will keep it short.

The Premier League is the most competitive league financially and on the pitch. There is no argument against this. In this respect, staying in the league is not simply existence.

Without financial backing to complete a European ambition, there will be a necessary rebuild constantly required by the competition. Only the likes of Leicester and Brighton have broken through differently and we will see if Brighton continue to sustain their model.

‘Big club' is about history and the expectation of the fanbase. Everton's history cannot be questioned. Once you start talking about recent achievements, I do not believe one can leave out how the Thatcher decision affected us at a point where we could have sustained position. Comparisons to other big clubs are driven by your chosen time frame.

The proposition that we will die is preposterous. Also, claiming it is already done is defeatist tripe. The article has a lot to offer but going to the punchline without speculating how getting rid of Bill Kenwright offers hope is a giveaway.

I hope that wasn't too harsh.

Kim Vivian
42 Posted 05/10/2023 at 16:28:34
This is an article that has been waiting to be written and it's time has come. Many, I'm sure will empathise with the narrative.

Personally, I'm finding it really uninspiring at any level to support the club these days. The 90 minutes we enjoy, or endure more often, on a Saturday seems almost incidental with all the other malarkey going on around the club – potential sanctions, financial investigations, bent Russian money, Moshiri, Kenwright, 777 Partners, MSP, Paul the Esk, even the new stadium – the list goes on.

All for the most part, stadium excepted, I am not really interested in having to listen to.

Don't get me wrong: my support is not wavering and like Jon Wit above, notwithstanding the financial hit that relegation would cause, I don't care what league we are playing in as long as we can actually enjoy the football. I want to enjoy watching our games.

The Premier League has sucked the fun out of the game with the VAR and useless officiating, money ruling all and, let's be honest very few charismatic personalities to entertain us. Just look at the England squad for example – sleep inducing.

I watch very little football now unless Everton are playing – plan my days around our games hoping for good streams most weeks – and have not managed to get to a game for a couple of years due to ticket availability, distance and cost (as the crow flies, Paris is considerably closer).

As people are mostly agreeing, we need change. God only knows when and what changes are coming but I just wish it could get done and over with and move on, preferably forwards.

Barry Rathbone
43 Posted 05/10/2023 at 17:14:28
Laurie 30,

Sounds like you might have stumbled onto something with this guy.

The consensus may be such transformative individuals don't exist in the modern game and modern success is entirely down to money but your example seems to show otherwise.

Dare I add Klopp at Dortmund, Mourinho at Porto, Wenger at Arsenal and maybe Simeone at Athletico?

Dale Self
44 Posted 05/10/2023 at 17:25:52
Barry 43, This is a salient point with Robert expressing doubt about Emery who I was already convinced by. The more I casually scan memory for the success stories, investment is an obvious driver.

Is this an open secret amongst players? That would explain some of the positions taken by players in pursuing moves that seemed impatient. Also, players bucking establised coaches' methods would be part of this.

No punchline, just wondering. It may be that finding the manager for your team is really about matching tactics and techniques to the squad in place as the initial maximum benefit. All else is who you bring in which is largely investment.

Jay Harris
45 Posted 05/10/2023 at 17:36:31
Excellent article, Stuart. Your question: "Why?" can be answered in one word – Kenwright.

Got his shares in the club free courtesy of Everton and Paul Gregg.

Proceeded to cling on to the fact he was potless but doing everything he could for Everton; while other clubs were seeing the riches that the Premier League offered, we continued to be "Plucky little Everton".

Refused to stand down when Paul Gregg offered to put up the funds for the stadium at King's Dock which would have made us financially secure by now.

Refused to give up his trainset when approached by Sheikh Mansour and his entourage who then moved on to transform Man City.

Tried to take us to a Tesco cowshed in Kirkby by telling us Goodison Park was not safe.

Built his acolytes around him to fortify his position by giving them positions they were not fit for.

Took out loans at ridiculous interest charges to satisfy his vanity and continued to get dubious characters involved in EFC.

We could write a book on his lies, divisiveness and deceit all while piling up his personal fortune and ego courtesy of EFC.

We need leadership and inspiration at the club to create a harmonious atmosphere that will encourage all.

Brian Williams
46 Posted 05/10/2023 at 17:37:08
The guy (ex-club employee) I spoke with, or rather listened to, said that the "structure" of the club is totally outdated and inefficient due, in the main, to one person's insistence on retaining the old ways of doing things.

Said this person believes only he knows what's needed and resists change and ostracizes anyone who tries to introduce such, or any ideas that would create delegation of responsibility.

The guy said the club was run like an amateur outfit but opposition was usually met with unemployment.

Tony Abrahams
47 Posted 05/10/2023 at 17:43:42
And that's exactly why people sing his praises, Barry.

He's definitely still lurking away in the background and has probably been needed more than ever since the sanctions hit, with this possibly allowing the slimy bastard to maybe even continue to keep putting his own little spanners in the works? I'm only speculating, of course.

Joe Hurst
48 Posted 05/10/2023 at 17:45:29
You mention ‘The Shite' and the successes that they've had, but in the 21st Century, all they've had is thanks to the ‘lottery' of penalties. The things they've won, CL wins and even the recent Premier League, were thanks to it.
Mark Taylor
49 Posted 05/10/2023 at 17:51:42
While correlation is not the same as cause, I think you answer the question yourself, Stuart.

Kenwright, even if he was competent and well meaning (which I don't believe he is), just wasn't rich enough to own a successful Premier League club. Moyes merely papered over the cracks.

We had a glimpse of a chance with the Moshiri/Usmanov money but blew it.

Now we're on our knees.

Danny Baily
50 Posted 05/10/2023 at 17:54:21
FFP and profligacy from 2016 up until Rafa's appointment started the recent rot. Our panicked, incoherent response has prolonged it.

I can't help but wonder what might have been had we not capitulated at home to Watford under Rafa. Has there been a more pivotal and damaging 15 minutes in our history?

If we'd seen that out 2-1, I'm confident we'd have finished top half and been better placed to deal with the eventual sanctions that have exacerbated our financial woes. As it was, from a mentality perspective, we failed to recover, leading to knee-jerk appointments and transfers.

Survive long enough to balance the books and we'll be back to square one (Premier League stalwart). That means Dyche has to get a tune out of this squad, or our future will be very uncertain indeed.

Barry Hesketh
51 Posted 05/10/2023 at 18:06:34
Danny @50,

Perhaps, off the top of my head, the 3-minute capitulation against Wigan in the FA Cup during Moyes's final season could be seen as very damaging to the Everton cause.

Had we beaten Wigan and gone on to lift the FA Cup in 2013, who knows how the future would have panned out? Would we have still appointed Martinez, or signed Kone, Alcaraz, McCarthy and Robles?

Danny Baily
52 Posted 05/10/2023 at 18:12:29
Barry 51, I was at that game.

A nightmare but we bounced back to finish the season strongly

We almost managed to stop the rot after the Watford debacle (eg, a solid draw at home against Spurs and the win against Arsenal), but never got that critical mass of wins together. We've been in relegation trouble ever since.

Barry Hesketh
53 Posted 05/10/2023 at 18:51:16
Danny @52,

I agree that we finished the season strongly, but not good enough to gain a European berth, which is what would have been earned if we had won the cup in that season.

It might not have been as catastrophic as your mention of the Watford game, but it certainly altered the course of the club's history.

Robert Tressell
54 Posted 05/10/2023 at 20:17:17
Barry # 43,

I think you're crediting managers as being transformational, when really they are just part of a jigsaw. Maybe people like Matt Busby did it in yesteryear, I've no idea. But let's have a look at the managers you mentioned...

Klopp at Dortmund: innovative tactics (gegenpressing), but with a club already the established 2nd biggest in Germany with good Champions League pedigree and access to excellent players (academy and development). Was possibly transformational at Mainz (albeit he finally got them relegated) but not transformational for Dortmund. What was transformational was the player development strategy implemented by the club after insolvency in 2005 - and this is what fed Klopp with key players like Grosskreutz, Hummells, Bender, Sahin, Gotze, Kagawa and Lewandowski.

Mourinho at Porto: again, innovative tactics but with an established Big 3 club in Portugal with European pedigree and access to excellent players (again, academy and development). Also benefited from a team with Carvalho, Deco being genuine world class talents along with a few others like Paulo Ferreira, Maniche and Costinha who were excellent but just a touch off world class. Transformative? Not really, just brilliant. What made the difference at Chelsea? Money.

Wenger: inherited the George Graham back 4 (and Seaman) and Dennis Bergkamp, taking over side that was massively underachieving. The transformational move was to tap into the French youth development system by investing in Henry and Vieira (failing to make the breakthrough at Juve and AC Milan) and Petit. But this wasn't Wenger alone - this was a shared vision of David Dein who brought him in in the first place from Japan, but based on exploits in Monaco. And don't forget, they also had plenty of money...

Simeone at Athletico, definitely a great manager - and took them to a new level. But look at the squad he inherited - and what they'd been building to over a period with the development of South American talent and a superb youth system. The side he took over had Courtois, Godin, Gabi, Koke, Saul Niguez, Diego, Turan, Reyes, Falcao and Forlan.

So, as much as these guys are brilliant managers, what is decisive is access to brilliant players and very competitive sums of money relative to the competition. It's a lot harder with Mainz (relegated), Spurs (failed) and Arsenal while the stadium is being built etc etc.

Dave Abrahams
55 Posted 05/10/2023 at 21:15:52
Robert (54), I think your last paragraph points out that though the manager is important it’s the players who make a team great no matter how the club gets them into the squad,either homegrown or bought.

Dyche has come into the club and inherited a very poor squad which has lost a few players getting them off the wage bill, hasn’t spent a lot on players, most bought on the drip and most probably more will go, no youngsters coming through, maybe Dobbin to join those already in the squad.

He kept us up when it looked very much we were going down, hasn’t had a fit striker until the last few games which could have ( yes I know, could have)put us n the top half of the league.

He ‘s made mistakes like every manager and he’ll make some more but still deserves time imo.

Christine Foster
56 Posted 06/10/2023 at 12:42:57
Jim Ratcliffe is offering $1.8bn for 25% of Man Utd… he could buy Everton twice with that and then some.

Somebody pick up the phone. just once in our godamned existence, would something just go well for us?

Robert Tressell
57 Posted 06/10/2023 at 17:55:24
Hopefully this link to an interesting article works. It describes Dortmund's journey from near financial oblivion back to being a serious contender. There must be some lessons learned here?

How did Borussia Dortmund become a factory for talent?

A few interesting snippets...

"Wild over-spending in the past led to the club almost becoming bankrupt and it's from that unhealthy experience that encouraged the club's executives to look at different ways and focus on talent development to avoid excessive and unnecessary costs."

"A model born out of necessity and desperation has since become a hugely profitable business model for the club."

"Truth is Dortmund would rather keep their best players to become the best club in Europe but selling some great players is in acceptance of economic reality."

"All factors remaining constant, Borussia Dortmund will soon be able to pay their players enough to keep them in the long term, then win titles and make a tremendous impact in European Football. The club will need to continue developing worthy talent in the academy, scouting, signing up-and-coming stars and consistently reaching the quarterfinals of the Uefa Champions League."

Mike Hayes
58 Posted 06/10/2023 at 21:04:17
The only lesson we need to learn is how to get rid of Kenwright.

Once this narcissist is gone, the better; the club will move on into the 21st Century.

Tony Abrahams
59 Posted 06/10/2023 at 21:40:11
This type of thing really intrigues me Robert, because I'm convinced that this is the model that Everton should be looking at, especially because of our present circumstances.

The fabric of club has been totally destroyed imo, so looking for the positives. Because it's already been ripped to pieces, then it might actually be a lot easier to start again from scratch.

I'm in a happy mood, I know.

Danny O’Neill
60 Posted 07/10/2023 at 06:54:52
Although it makes me uncomfortable with me being a follower of the German Royal Blues (Konigsblauen) Schalke, the Dortmund (Klopp, sing "that" song) example is a good one Robert.

Nothing is beyond repair with the right people in place and it requires a phased approach with a plan and a strategy, not just "what are we going to do next week".

If it wasn't for the supporters, they would have sapped the Everton life out of us.

Well they won't. They never will. I see that every time I attend the match.

Sir John Moores's words of old still resonate with me even though I wasn't born. That is the standard. Unfortunately if we were to actually get a meaningful statement from the current absent custodians, it would be more akin to "be happy with what you've got".

Change from the very top of the club. It hasn't worked for 36 years apart from an FA Cup.


I don't like being negative on matchday as I switch focus to the team.

Ian Jones
61 Posted 07/10/2023 at 07:39:41
Robert's link to Dortmund is an interesting read. I noticed it focuses on a timeline from around 2003 to 2019. I am intrigued to find out the story went to 2023.

It shows that, with a well-structured plan, things can turn around although don't think many of us on here can wait that long. We tend to want it now. I wonder if we didn't have the other team in the city, would we generally have more patience?

Anyway, back to today's game. I think the stars will align and we'll give some team a right hammering rather like the last Brighton match. Is today that day?

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