I’ve been muted on Allardyce, and Everton as a whole really recently, because like many people I’ve stopped caring. I just don’t care about this Everton team. And to make a quick clarification, I will never, ever not love Everton, but this team is far from what I know as Everton. This is going to be a long read. Or more so a long impassioned rant lacking any attempt at second-rate tactical analysis, instead I’m just going to go through every single excruciating detail on why Everton are no longer Everton, and why Farhad Moshiri has to save one of the biggest clubs in the history of football from completely crumbling around him.
Another preface before we start, I’m young. I’m eighteen, so the only recollection of Everton being successful is a VHS of the ’66 Cup final and some ramblings from my uncle about the ’85 team. But I’d like to think I know a bit about what I’m going to talk about.
So, now that that’s out the way, let’s start with the restructuring of the club, shall we? Ronald Koeman had worked under a similar system at Southampton, where Southampton had a man in Les Reed to oversee scouting and player recruitment, so it was no change really with the appointment of our favourite Evertonian Steve Walsh as Director of Football. Walsh, supposedly, had helped to unearth players like N’Golo Kanté and Rihad Mahrez, so understandably we were all curiously excited to see who he could come up with on a bigger budget for a bigger club.
When Idrissa Gana Gueye came in, the transfer was met with hesitation as he played for an Aston Villa side that was widely considered to be one of the worst sides in Premier League history. However, he turned out to be the steal of the summer and developed into becoming our most consistent star. We were quick to credit the signing at £7.1million to Steve Walsh, ‘’the un-earther of hidden talents’’ himself. However, for every one Idrissa Gueye, there have been four of Michael Keane. Steve Walsh has far too much influence in a club where his position needs to be eradicated. Under his stewardship, the arrival of players such as:
- Yannick Bolasie at 25million.
- Davy Klaassen at 23.6million.
- Michael Keane at 25million.
- Sandro Ramirez at 5.2million.
- Ashley Williams at 12million.
- Gylfi Sigurdsson at 45million.
- Cuco Martina for free, and that is still too much.
And I’m not mentioning Morgan Schneiderlin yet, he’s going to get his own little rant, don’t you worry, but he also cost a crisp £20million. Regardless, there has been almost £140million spent on those seven players for a combined production of: 5 goals and 6 assists, with 4 of the goals and 3 of the assists coming from Gylfi Sigurdsson.
That is beyond shambolic, beyond relegation form. For five big money signings and a starting full-back to contribute 1 goal and 2 assists between them leads to what could be the single worst transfer window bust in Premier League history. Steve Walsh needs to be swiftly removed and the office of Director of Football consigned to the Everton annals.
Onto the Ronald Koeman situation, and why I, like many fans, jumped to conclusions regarding his sacking but probably weren’t wrong. Koeman was the right man at the right time, and it was well received when he was brought in from the South Coast, complete with ‘Welkom Koeman’ graphic (and thus, began the era of amazing face-in-face player edits). He brought in Gueye, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, a still good Schneiderlin, Ademola Lookman, an underrated Enner Valencia and… Ashley Williams. His system was a similar-to-Martínez’ 4-3-2-1 spearheaded by Everton’s greatest Premier League striker Romelu Lukaku. We were set for a long, long time with a core of Mason Holgate, Jonjoe Kenny, Ross Barkley, Tom Davies, Gueye, Lukaku and Calvert-Lewin with an ambitious manager who had us all dreaming of European nights once again, too familiar a tale for the scepticism-filled mob otherwise known as the fanbase of Everton Football Club.
We had a steady season overall, finishing 7th, but there was nothing really special besides the out-toggering of Pep Guardiola who had the gall to think he could roll up to Goodison and play the Toffs off the field. Well, another thing happened and Tom Davies’ legacy began to be set in stone. But we went into this season with optimism, even with the impending departure of Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley. Because Wayne Rooney was coming home and no matter how stone-hearted you are, the announcement video was an all-timer and everything was forgiven. Klaassen and Keane were brought in to be the on-the-pitch leaders and Jordan Pickford was a bright prospect that we fought off bigger clubs to get. The future was bright and very, very blue. The season kicked off with a 1-0 over Stoke with Rooney’s return being exactly as the script had predicted. We then drew with City away, who we had no idea would then go on to be the single-greatest team in the world come January. Honestly, we were boss.
Then everything came crumbling down at with a speed that hadn’t been seen since ‘Crystanbul’. Ronald Koeman lost the dressing room quickly as he jetted off to anywhere to play some Golf, he lost the fans with immense stubbornness over his tactics and his Cuco Martina-ness (only to then be bettered by Sizeable Sam, but don’t you worry your pretty little head he’s coming soon). He was swiftly sacked after an embarrassing loss to Arsenal where Oumar Niasse cathartically scored the last goal of his troubled reign. Niasse then took not just Koeman’s locker but his office, and led Everton to Premier League glory. He didn’t? Shame.
Instead, Mr. Moshiri thought it’d be sound to listen to Bill Kenwright and appoint the Large One himself, having said just days before that he didn’t want to appoint him ‘because the fans would not be impressed’.
Don’t know what he was talking about, we were thrilled. After David Unsworth had led us to the best performance of the season and also embodied the spirit of what an Everton manager (and player, Morgan) should be, we found ourselves waking up to Floundering Sammy holding the blue shirt like he couldn’t wait to get away from it and back to Dubai on a nice £6million pay packet. If I can speak freely, sir, you’re an absolute disgrace for ever even considering picking up the phone to call Sam. You should be ashamed of yourselves, whoever made that decision. I would have taken any other man (or woman, 21st century) with a Uefa Pro License over him and his footballing cronies. It’s below Everton to even think about letting Sam touch that shirt.
Anyway, that leads us nicely on to the current period, the worst state Everton has been in since our relegation in 1930. Am I being naïve saying that? A little bit presumptuous maybe? Probably. But I don’t think many of you will be running to the club’s defence given whatever this team is pretending to be at the moment, will you. So Allardyce is here.
“It’s nothing like the Mike Walker days”. “’You should’ve seen Walter Smith and Alex Nyarko lad”. That needs to stop. Stop pretending like this is some warped form of recency bias and realise that Everton Football Club were, and still are, very close to being relegated without a trace. We are a relegation-level football team being kept afloat by a 24-year old goalkeeper signed from a relegated team and a striker previously cast out to Hull City with no locker and no pride. That’s Everton, Nil Satis Nisi Optimum.
Allardyce has an unwavering and unwarranted disgust for Everton fans, also. He believes himself to be above any criticism, suggesting that his brand of football has put us in a ‘good place’ and quite literally laughed at criticism from the Everton fans who had gotten up at ungodly hours, spent money that could be going to useful places elsewhere, that warranted the same amount of support. I can’t put into words how much more Everton fans deserve, and yes, that’s an elitist, entitled point of view, but we deserve it. Everton have not won at Anfield in my life, and I’m legally an adult. Everton last won a trophy four years before I was born, and here I am, 23 years later commenting on the fact. Everton have won just two away games in the Premier League in over a year. Everton have won one of their last 46 games away against the top six, with the only victory coming from a manager who was sacked nearly three years ago.
As much as I am uncontrollably angry and frustrated typing out a death warrant of Everton Football Club, I’m also incredibly sad. I’m upset because I know this needs to change. I couldn’t care less if I die before Everton win another trophy. I’d give everything for my club, my only request is that they give everything for the fans who devote their time, their schedule, their money and their life to Everton.
So that brings me finally on to what is the root of the problem at Everton. There are disgusting attitudes across the club, from recruitment, to the manager, to the boardroom – but the main problem lies on the pitch.
Let’s get the main man out of the way: Morgan Schneiderlin embodies the modern Everton Football Club. An overpaid ego who has no footballing ability unless we are up by at least for goals. An Instagram personality with no respect for the working class people that come to watch him every Saturday. A sportsman who doesn’t represent the spirit of the fans like those who did before him. Tim Cahill wore his heart on his sleeve, showed immense passion, and would never have been seen disobeying direct training orders at USM Finch Farm/Bellefield enough to be sent away, and then have the gall to lie about it and come out and say ‘’I don’t know why they don’t like me’’. Morgan Schneiderlin is a plague on the football club, along with teammates like Kevin Mirallas and Ashley Williams.
I absolutely despise how ‘passion’ has become a joke in itself as well, with the players ‘appearing to actually care about the football club’ being almost shunned as a negative quality. It’s outrageous. Passion is the most important part of a player’s game, passion is how you win games and most importantly, how you win fans. It is not a joke, and it should be at the forefront of Everton in all of its operations, especially on the pitch, where we want the established team leaders putting heart and soul into the club like we, as fans, all have.
These players don’t fight for the shirt. In this day and age, New Money clubs have the same problem all of the time, but they don’t and will never have a fanbase like Everton’s. We want fight. We want bones broken for that shirt, and we want no excuses. We have gotten far too many excuses this year and in recent times, from both players and managers, which is a sickly disease that needs to be cut off come July. The player-base needs an overhaul, a 15 in and 15 out kind of scenario. We need leaders like Séamus Coleman, Leighton Baines and Pickford to let people know just what club you’re playing for. We need those types, we need less of Morgan ‘I promise it’s not my fault’ Schneiderlin. We need to develop Davies, DCL, Kenny, Lookman and Nikola Vlašić into the new, Bramley-Moore Everton. We need youth players coming through and less of buying Premier League Proven™ garbage that has run its course through the club.
The players that wear the hallowed royal blue couldn’t care less about Everton Football Club. That needs to be the first thing that changes. I won’t hark on and do my own ‘Keep or Sell’ list, but I will just say that if any of this current crop of Everton players were to leave tomorrow, I wouldn’t give it a second thought. I don’t care about this Everton. I’m entirely apathetic and that is a signal of disaster for Farhad Moshiri. When fans are happy, that’s ideal, you’re doing well. When fans are angry, they still care, they are passionate and want things to change, much like Martínez’ twilight, where we were fuming. With Martínez, there were protests and immense discontent, and Moshiri made the correct call to end his tenure.
Right now is the worst possible situation for Moshiri. Nobody cares about Everton, and we haven’t since we were knocked out of the cup competitions. Our season after January is over and we all switch off. When fans switch off and become despondent, you have an incredible task on your hands to try and win them back. Moshiri is now at this stage. He has to win fans back, and that starts with sacking every key member of staff and having a dressing room clear-out. He needs to hit the hard reset button or Everton will fade into oblivion, like Portsmouth, like Leeds, like Blackpool, like Wimbledon. In fifty years time if things don’t pick up, people will be asking, “Whatever happened to that other team from Liverpool?
“They used to be decent, didn’t they? It’s a real shame.”
Mister Moshiri, consider writing a much more positive chapter next, because if we stick to the same script, the story will result in a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions before we even get to Bramley Moore.