A run of 11 Premier League games without a win came to an end for Burnley yesterday as they completed the double over the worst Everton team I can remember; the worst and, of course, the most expensive. Over 50 times under Sean Dyche Burnley had conceded the first goal and not once, until the Blues came to town, had they come back to win.
By half time, Everton should have been out of sight and would have been had Theo Walcott taken at least one of the highly presentable chances he had. That’s Walcott, plenty of talent and pace, but he lacks composure in front of goal when it really counts. He’s a serial line fluffer, a decent addition to the squad but, as we have so many times under Moshiri/Walsh (or whoever is in charge of our transfer activity), we overpaid big time.
Still keep the FAITH, it’ll be alright we can see this through, can’t we? Absolutely no chance. Our two centre backs were outfought, outthought and out-manoeuvred by the two traditional big men up front. Keane left a gap the size of the Mersey tunnel for Barnes to run into for the equaliser, and then Williams, as only he can, obligingly stepped backwards away from goal to allow Wood to power a free header past Pickford.
Williams has come for me to symbolise this Everton. A shadow of the shadow of his former self he lacks pace, judgement and any leadership qualities. The fact that he was made captain tells you everything. As we searched for an equaliser late on, a free kick was played into the Burnley box, and captain Williams thought it would be a good idea to throw an elbow at an opposing player. Red card every minute of every day.
That should be the last time he ever wears the Royal Blue; we know it won’t be though. Keep the faith? Faith in what? Faith in whom? Certainly not the collection of spineless men who represented us yesterday or at Watford or Spurs or Arsenal or Bournemouth. Five away defeats in a row, scoring 3 and conceding 14. It arguably should have been six in a row, but we stole a draw away to WBA on Boxing Day, a feat repeated in January at Goodison.
Faith in the Manager? A resounding no to that. He thinks we are still in a good place, away form isn’t his fault it’s “part of the fabric”. He gets Everton in the way that I get 16th century Dutch poetry. He’s an arrogant fool who should never have been appointed, which brings me to hope.
The hope is that our major shareholder, Farhad Moshiri, will be able to sort this mess out. Two years in you could argue that he’s actually made it worse. For all the money spent/wasted and the prospect of Bramley Moore, his track record of decision making is really not good.
Martinez and Koeman have moved on to international managerial roles; the former might even win the World Cup. However, neither of them could sort out the wreck that is Everton and get it moving forward consistently. Moshiri’s Director of Football believes that, without Lukaku’s goals, we would have still finished 7th last season. That tells you everything you need to know about him.
There is something truly rotten at the heart of Everton. What is it that is rotten?
Many times on EvertonBusinessMatters Paul, John and I have “banged on” about a lack of leadership, responsibility and accountability. For me it actually goes deeper than that. As a Club we are complacent beyond measure, praising ourselves whenever we can (Season Ticket campaign, record sponsorship deals etc.) failing to address any of our commercial, communication and PR shortcomings.
The fans are utterly taken for granted, and those who “see no evil and speak no evil” are part of the problem. They are complicit in sustaining the pathetic status quo.
Why are those in post at Director/Senior level complacent? Because they do not actually care, or care enough to be brave & demand change. They are happy to take their six figure salaries and are put under no pressure to improve the Club and its performance, let alone close the gap in the “foot race” we are in (and about to be lapped) with Spurs and the rest of the top 6. A trip to any of the last six away games or Southampton or Palace or Brighton might have helped them to realise what the Club means to its fans.
Look at the players in the same light. Do they care? Really? Do they feel the pressure to perform? Having said that, when good performances (Vlasic, Lookman) are rewarded with dropping, & Schneiderlin/Williams/Martina are picked time and again, it’s hard to see any logic.
In spite of everything we still have EiTC to be proud of, but as John Blain said in EBM XX, are we in danger of becoming a charity with a football club attached?
There is little sign of the hard-nosed commercial nous required to run a business: performance targets, KPIs, pressure to compete and improve at every turn. “We don’t need to improve we are Everton”, that’s complacent clap trap. The Everton way has become synonymous with being nice, often too nice, without a ruthless streak. That culture has spread to the pitch.
Corporate governance, in terms of clear roles and responsibilities, is largely ignored. Communication does not begin and end with a Fan Consultation over the potential new Stadium. Engagement is not a Legends Tour or exclusive Ambassador content.
The Everton way for me is summed up by this from Sir John Moores:
I woke this morning overcome by a sense of mourning for our Club; fearful of what will become of us. That charity for which we are rightly famous appears to have taken over everywhere. The CEO glories in reducing per seat revenue to £17. We accept the first sponsorship deal that comes our way, never seeking to get more.
In the transfer market we throw money around with no thought for value or even, God forbid, a plan. The clubs who have sold us players are still rubbing their hands with glee. Bill, love him or hate him, was always a tough negotiator. We’ve lost that tag now for sure. Even in this inflated Sky age we have taken player wages to obscene levels for truly bang average personnel (see Directors remuneration too). They too are rubbing their hands with glee.
On the pitch we are a charity too, helping Burnley break their hoodoo yesterday. Watford, Southampton, Brighton and others will all vouch for Everton’s generosity with points this season. It’s become endemic; it doesn’t hurt anymore.
In EBM XXI we began with “Losing my Religion”. As the worst season in living memory continues from one nadir to another, keeping the faith is tougher than ever; hope is a distant memory (at least it doesn’t kill us anymore). As Sir John said “something should be done about it”. Moshiri and his Board must heed these words and act before it is too late.
It all starts on the pitch, it all ends on the pitch. Without success on the pitch, underpinned by a winning attitude, commitment and pride, EiTC will not have the resources to continue their fantastic work.
Enough charity has been shown this season; let the last act of generosity be the termination of the contract of the current Manager. He is not our man. Something should be done about it, Mr Moshiri.
Up The Toffees!