Another season without a trophy for Everton, but it really isn’t anything new. Standards have slowly drained away over the last 6 or so seasons and with it Everton’s rich identity which made us a formidable side to beat – at least at Goodison anyway.
It’s 3 seasons in a row whereby Everton have exited the FA cup in either the 3rd or 4th round. A stat that fans struggle to stomach and rightly so, but the stat tells it’s own story and projects the dire form the club have found themselves in during that period.
A very easy solution to those that don’t wish to scratch beneath the surface is to sack the manager and whilst that was evidently the right thing to do with Ronald Koeman, it is a trend that must stop. Sacking managers solves absolutely nothing and I’ll make it clear early in this piece that nobody in world football, currently in management, could resolve this mess within a season. No manager has the ability to wipe out 6 years of shite signings, embarrassing standards from training to matches or the complete and utter destructive leadership from our former director of football and management. What Everton have now is the best we have had since Martinez during his first season. We have an astute and highly experienced sporting director in Marcel Brands, whom has recently been promoted to boardroom level. We have a manager that has made 4 very good signings and started the season off very well.
Even for Marco Silva, he can not create a miracle and move an issue as big as ours to one side to make Everton the wonderful, all conquering football club we wish for. The fact of the matter is until we give one of these managers the time to correct the mess that has gone before the very same problems will always remain and manifest.
Flippantly, as is usually the case with most Evertonians after poor performances and their subsequent defeats, we often come out with things way off the mark. Towards the back end of Martinez’s painful era, the thing commonly said was “Where has our identity gone” and the answer would be; “we never had identity”. Yes, we did have an identity and yes it’s a naive thing to say. Unfortunately, Everton’s identity only lasted until the David Moyes days and started under Howard Kendall. It was a very simple philosophy in retrospect, made up of lots of smaller expectations meant as a bare requirement. The main gist of the philosophy was to work hard, be committed and refuse to get beat at Goodison park. It also include side notes such as nobody is bigger than the badge, you’re just as good as your worst player and if we lose you’ll expect to be bollocked as a team by the manager and a response in the next game was almost a certainty on the back of that.
Martinez exchanged the large majority of that identity in favour for an all out attacking mindset that would allow for weak showings occasionally and a point blank refusal to alternate to anything other, in the blind faith that his new motto would come good. During Roberto’s time we also started to see ill discipline and a lack of heart gradually take over. The likes of Kevin Mirallas given numerous chances under Martinez to correct his attitude, but instead of selling him he gets a 4 year contract on £70k per week, the bad decisions we’re still paying for now started at this point.
The philosophy of our once great club was completely eradicated under Koeman. A manager on a one track mission to create as many irresponsible fuck ups in the club as he possibly could. Players not good enough for our league let alone our team getting paid £120,000 per week (Sandro) and being tucked in with cushy 5 year contracts, instigated and not prevented by the very worst excuse for a sporting director in Steve Walsh.
If we are willing to look a bit deeper, then a trip up the M62 to Manchester United literally and physically shows us how very vital each clubs identity is. Manchester United had to find the man after Ferguson, a poison chalice some said, but in hindsight was it such a big task? Currently, they have Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in charge, a manager sacked by Cardiff City and deemed only good enough for jobs in the lower leagues or in his native Norway. But, what Ole has done is reverted Manchester United’s team of quality footballers back to exactly what worked for his club in the past, a direction that can’t fail if the players understand it’s the way things are and they lump it or lose it. We’ve witnessed a United side under Mourinho scared to attack, unwilling to battle and one that found it impossible to defend. Under Solskjaer it’s different, the players have to work, they have to want to play forward football and be utterly, utterly determined not to lose games of football at all costs. It is exactly what Manchester United built their success on over the last 20+ years.
So, Marco Silva needs to seriously consider incorporate some of Everton’s philosophy back into the Everton team, and have that message put across on a daily basis by someone that experienced and lived that same philosophy. Everton fans in particular are in need of a massive reality check and the need to acknowledge that fixes don’t come about as if by magic with new managers, but a change in the players determination and ambition might make the time needed to allow a fix to go by quicker.
I personally feel there is no logical option other than to support Marco Silva and my team. I have come to the understanding that the possibility of my team winning a trophy in the next 2-3 seasons is almost impossible until wage bills have been reduced and poor processes of previous times have been eradicated. I don’t expect Everton to win every week and I do expect us to have some more awful showings between now and the next season or so under Marco Silva. I know categorically that the possibility of relegation is a pathetic call from some small minded fans that want to shock fellow fans into following their merry bandwagon of ‘Silva out’ shouts. In no way do I believe we will finish higher than 7th and no lower than 15th and are set for those mid table positions, whilst that isn’t good it’s not the end of the world. We as fans NEED desperately to get back to the patience we gave Moyes through some utterly boring seasons and completely do away with that pathetic first press conference Martinez gave outlining the possibility of Champions league football, something not possible after so many wrong turns and probably not possible then either.
Time is the only healer, I’m not satisfied with mediocrity but I refuse, wholehearted refuse, to continue to see us naively sack managers because we want this none existent instant fix. Class and success is built over seasons with hard work and consistency, the continued change of management only starts that process again.
A philosophy involving some grit and all out determination needs to be instilled into this squad between now and the end of the season. It won’t win us anything and it won’t get us higher than 7th, but I guarantee it will put us along the right track and absolutely make it clear, once again, that you don’t come to our club for a fucking pay cheque unless you’re willing to earn it. Players must be sold and then Silva must move forward, but the manager can’t go prior to at least another season or two. It’s not so much faith in Silva, it’s faith in the fact that time and continuity will eventually rectify the mindless actions of the management before this one. A club such as ours, built on ethical values and run by hard working people, must always have a philosophy that matches the foundations it was built upon. Without that, what makes us any different to clubs that don’t have the history we have and only became relevant with money? They have no club philosophy their success were built on and we ignore ours.