I haven’t felt this low about Everton for nearly 15 years. I haven’t felt this down in footballing terms, probably since that horrific afternoon at the Riverside as Walter Smith’s dire reign came to a crushing end in 2002. Yes, it’s that bad.
Since then and as a 30-year-old supporter of this Club, I have not felt this vacant and unenthused as an Evertonian considering the highs and lows we face supporting Everton, I’d say that is a massive statement. Yes we endured some disappointments during Moyes’s tenure, and post our FA Cup victory era in ’95, the fact that we never won silverware either side of that being the main focus, but nowadays I expect so much more from Everton, I expected much more from this current crop of players, and I expected so much more from Roberto Martinez.
If waking up on Thursday after Wednesday night’s horror show was bad enough, waking up this morning after Saturday’s developments at Wembley was gutting. I’ve lost interest, I’ve lost hope, and whilst I’ll always support this Club – I’ve lost of the fire I once felt for Everton FC.
And why do I have these feelings? It is because of one man and how his Everton team has under performed, it is because how us as fans have been undermined, it is the manner in which both of the above have unfolded in front of my glory-hungry and ambitious eyes which has hurt most.
The Liverpool game was appalling, and the United game sums up Martinez’ tenure to a tee; it was full of hope, promise, opportunity – but it wasn’t full of content, we went close but nothing more – a summary I’d make of Everton for some time now.
No leaders. No Plan B. No admitting you are wrong. No willingness to adapt and grind out results. No straight talking, no honesty – just constant waffle. Last minute conceding. Hardly any wins at Goodison. Players unhappy and speaking out. Protests, banners. Conceding goals left, right and centre. No confidence. No playing to players’ strengths. Players looking to leave. The list is endless. And this isn’t just one season – yet apparently we have so much to look forward to, we have the best squad we’ve had in years with so much potential – why is all of this happening then?
I’ll be the first to say I wanted Roberto Martinez to succeed at Everton; when he first took charge at Goodison Park it was difficult to not get carried away with his persona, his ideas for the Club and the way he put himself across – there was a vibrancy about him and Evertonians extended that onto the terraces and his team expressed it onto the pitch. His style in front of the camera and his fashionable brown shoes added to the excitement we felt as a group of supporters and, although some did have their doubts, what we witnessed during his initial 12 months at the helm made us feel hugely positive about what might lie ahead.
I’ll be the first to admit I got carried away; I was in dreamland.
We made some exciting signings (albeit many on loan, many of which eventually joined permanently – this he does deserve credit for) and we went about our business with a swagger and spring in our step, as Martinez’s maiden season got the pulses racing amongst Evertonians.
That season, Everton finished 5th with 72 points in total. We thought this would be the start of a memorable future under the Spaniard, we thought we would go from strength to strength. Yet instead we’ve gone backwards, and over the course of the past 18 months to two years we’ve wobbled between disappointment after disappointment.
Evertonians have been left confused and full of questions, but nobody is giving us the answers, on the pitch or off it. Apart from much-needed investment, there hasn’t been any positivity to shout about this season, or the past two seasons in fact. Bringing in quality players has been impressive, but managing them and getting the best out of them is another thing.
Everything we tend to do comes to an abrupt halt. Finally things have come to a head. Surely now something has got to give.
We massively under performed in the League last season -– finishing in the bottom half for the first time in over a decade – we crashed out of Europe in embarrassing fashion after such a decent run in the Europa League – the in-fighting and cracks began to appear – Distin, Eto’o and Mirallas to name but a few – and rather than address the common issues we were all seeing week in week out, Martinez refused to budge, even though we all knew what the problems were.
It was horrible to watch, from so much promise to so many questions within the space of a year. Blues couldn’t fathom how our fortunes could change so rapidly. Would we allow last season to be a write off because of Europa involvement – many probably would, I was willing to give Martinez another shot – but what has happened since has seen Evertonian’s patience not only ware thin, but eventually reach breaking point.
Then came the John Stones farce. This helped nobody and since then I don’t think his head has been there. It unsettled the beginning of our season, and although it wasn’t Martinez’ fault, the inconsistency and erratic behaviour of players, manager and results has continued.
As for this season, a chance to put things behind us, right the wrongs of the last campaign and kick on again. But again we’ve gone backwards.
The Tim Howard saga – so damaging that it was – eventually Martinez realised he had to be dropped but the damage had already been done, Tim’s legacy will be that of him being dropped and replaced by Robles rather than years of service. The failure to address the problems of the season before, results at Goodison absolutely shocking, our playing style continually biting us on the arse, the last-gasp equalisers we were conceding, our consistent failure to see out games… shall I continue?
Baines and Barry speaking out, the Baines apology, what about the games at Norwich, Swansea, we should have won by a country mile but we didn’t, that’s not to mention the sheer ridiculousness of Bournemouth and Chelsea away. More recently, the loss at Man United in the League sums us up, we looked lifeless and our fans deserve better. Looking at our home games, thinking back to the Stoke game – beaten 3-4, then Swansea, a dire display sees us beaten 1-2. You think it can’t get worse… then West Brom turn up. Not to mention the recent episodes against West Ham and Arsenal. It’s spiralled from one atrocity to the next. The Merseyside Derby last week – never more have I felt so sick after a defeat. We’ve been woeful at times and it more than hurts.
Some blues have said there is no place for hysteria, no need for panic… trouble is, I’m not jumping to conclusions, I’m not being reactive, I am being honest and real and it’s the manner in which we are heading for a bottom half finish again that angers me most. I can forgive people for giving their all, apart from one or two in that side none of them have, and Martinez I don’t feel has given his all to turn this round. I don’t think he should be given more time to either, too much has gone before.
Admittedly Martinez has led us to two Semi-Finals but to those fans who claim this is some sort of an achievement – isn’t winning the thing the achievement? Call me picky, call me dramatic, but we crashed out of both the City (League Cup) and United (FA Cup) Semi’s and Evertonians should not see this as acceptable. ‘Ah well we had a go’ – wonder if you’ll be saying the same in another 21 years. Another 21 years without a trophy because the Club needs grabbing by the balls and instilling a winning belief and mentality.
There’s an acceptance around Everton and to me it stinks, I’d compare it with a “It’s the taking part that counts” mentality. With Farhad Moshiri on board I do hope things change but whilst Kenwright is still involved I can only see ‘yes men’ being given the Manager’s job – and other roles at the Club. Will Kenwright swallow his pride and sack Martinez, admit that the appointment has not worked out – the scary thing is – he might not!
‘What a Manager’ – ‘You won’t meet a nicer guy’ what do you take us for Kenwright? Nobody is saying Martinez is a horrible man, I’m not sitting here disrespecting him, but he’s out of his depth.
Guess what, Bill – being nice doesn’t always get you success. I’m sick of seeing kids crying in the away end at Anfield… I’m sick of seeing Ross Barkley with his head down, wanting to win the lot for us but not being allowed to do so… I’m sick of walking away from Wembley defeated – none of us are getting younger and the next generation deserve success.
Martinez needs to admit his mantra might not be suitable at this Club – it may have clicked for the past three years but it simply hasn’t and he has to go. Was as simply on a crest of a wave when he first arrived? I’m not going to refuse to give him credit for certain aspects but I do believe he has been found out massively.
Sacking Martinez has a financial aspect to it but it is my opinion that, for the good of Roberto Martinez, for the good of Bill Kenwright, before this turns even sourer than it already is, and most importantly for the good of Everton FC and our brilliant supporters, the Spaniard needs to be relieved from his duties this week, or walk away before this gets nasty. Only then can we all move on from the ridiculous habit of inconsistency, small-mindedness and lack of leadership. Admit our faults and move on. Clear the decks. Let’s build again.
Will our ownership be ambitious and make a move for a big name, or will they revert to type. Moyes, Howe, Dyche, forgive me for raising my eyebrows at this type of talk. Be bold for once. Let me sit here and praise our ambition for once. I’d be the first to do so.
If Martinez is left in charge for our game against Bournemouth this weekend, then I dread to think how bad Goodison will be. For me that is him being hung out to dry. Unless the Club come out an back him wholeheartedly, or sack him, then this weekend is going to be a sticky situation.
People are angry, supporters have had enough, and it’s time for the Club to make the relevant changes in personnel so we can move forward and progress, because at the moment, we are going nowhere and everyone is laughing at us.
You don’t even have to be a decent side to beat Everton anymore.
Nil Satis Nisi Optimum.