Going into this season I was at a crossroads. Out of Roberto’s first two seasons, I had probably seen the best football from an Everton team this century in his first, and Koné in the second. But it’s Everton at the end of the day. I watched Paul Gascoigne play for us on the arse end of a two day bender and get man of the match; I watched an interview where David Ginola talked about investing in a pension plan and signed for Everton 8 weeks later; I watched Walter Smith shorten the length of the pitch so far below regulation length that we were basically playing on a fucking tennis court.
There’s always something ridiculous and disappointing about Everton and this was no different. It was a bit like Jack Dawson winning the ticket at the start of the Titanic and running to the ship, full of hope and aspiration but ultimately ending up at the bottom of the fucking ocean, frozen solid. It seems like a lifetime ago, back in the summer of 2013 when Bobby sat next to Kenwright, and with all the hope and conviction of your mate who has just sunk an entire bottle of Famous Grouse, ringing you at half 7 in the morning saying you and him are going to rule the world one day, said he would get us into the Champions League. It was fucking great wasn’t it. He was sitting there, smiling, with hair. The start of a new era. He was looking glorious and full of life and happiness, looking like a Thunderbird designed by Brazzers. It was beautiful, fantastic football; players clicking, a fucking mural plastered on the side of the ground, which turned into the equivalent of the Sistine Chapel being painted on the bog ceiling in The Blob Shop. Our highest ever points total in a season.
The future looked so positive, but the second season? Lacklustre. Although it did give us enough glimpses to think he could turn it around if he had the luck and made the right signings. But by the end of it he was talking like an alcoholic who had completely fallen off the wagon. He answered questions with riddles and the delusion was genuinely scary. It got to a stage of unreal nonsense. It was like Fear & Loathing In Finch Farm, and his hairline had receded that far it was sitting in the Top Balcony celebrating Gareth Farrelly’s goal against Coventry.
How did it all go so horribly wrong? The breathtakingly mediocre start against Watford was a symptom of what was to come. It was a team that on paper should really have been giving any team in the league a run for their money. There were some real highlights, a fantastic display at Southampton in the next game was one of the strong points of the season. It really looked like they could turn the corner, and they did. They turned it like Paul Walker. With the exception of the Chelsea game, they began to look more and more like a team who to put it mildly, didn’t have a fucking clue what they were doing, especially in defence. As we headed into early November we had an incredible display of Tim Howard showing us he had the positional awareness of a Malaysian aircraft whilst simultaneously breakdancing at the Emirates. Quite a fucking spectacle. For a man who admittedly has been a great servant for EFC, it looked as though moments and games like this would shape the season, and ultimately the Martínez era. Tim had been with us through some good times and bad times, he gave his all for the club, but his age was beginning to show. His handling became so poor that he couldn’t catch gonorrhoea at a foam party on a boat in Magaluf. Martínez failed to bring Joel in despite everybody screaming for it for weeks and this began to show big cracks in his management approach, much bigger than ones many of us hadn’t noticed before. It was costing us points, and the iceberg was approaching fast.
A freak Koné hat-trick took place against Sunderland which was a complete fucking miracle. A man who usually spends half the game man marking the urinal in the fucking Brick. A man who could be on Apollo 11 and still couldn’t find space became the brunt of all of my frustration. I made him on Fight Night just so I could spark him out every time we got beat. I wish I was messing! The absolute disaster that followed panned out exactly like the Titanic. A dire, lifeless string of performances followed through until March which culminated in that fucking West Ham game at Goodison. The worst defensive display since Adam Johnson’s barrister. That was the moment he lost me. To lose a game in that fashion at home was absolutely unforgivable. The string of results that followed wasn’t Everton. They were soulless, flat, sickening, sad displays which lacked any sort of positivity. It was heartbreaking.
The games against Liverpool, Leicester and Sunderland were public executions, and in particular the Liverpool and Leicester games were truly embarrassing. The derby could have easily ended up in double figures. He should have been sacked after that game. The board have a lot to answer for hanging him out to dry like that. Martínez tried, he gave it his all, and he wasn’t good enough. After that every day just dragged out the inevitable, the ship had hit the iceberg weeks ago. It was turning into the Titanic journey that I was talking about at the start. It was pathetic, and the only positive at this point was Darron Gibson’s breathalyser sample.
Then the wheels did fall off, and it was like watching the actual Titanic, except the violinists were playing Z Cars. Niasse was disappearing on one of the lower floors. Gibson picked up a knee injury trying to get on a fucking lifeboat. Kenwright ripped the lifejacket off a 12 year old boy and pretended to be Mrs Doubtfire so he could blend it. As the thing went down vertically and everyone else had either got to a lifeboat or drowned, Martínez and Kenwright hung on as the final part of the ship went under. Martínez was talking about the phenomenal design and craftsmanship of the boat and Kenwright was asking him if he could still guarantee European football once they got to the shore.
If you have even bothered to read this far then fucking well in mate because I barely read this far and I’ve wrote the thing!
There are positives to take from this season:
- There needs to be an overhaul at the club; bury the era completely.
- Ship out loyal and great servants of the club who just can’t cut it anymore.
- Start a fresh and get a manager who can harness the immense talent in Stones, Lukaku and Barkley and turn them into consistent top-level players.
Under Martínez there were two extreme ends of the spectrum. Lukaku looked as though he had spent a night firing juice into his neck before going through Chelsea like a fucking tank in the FA Cup; dribbling around the whole team, the reserves, the fucking team bus, Hiddink, the ASDA in Walton and The Black Horse before slotting and sending us to Wembley, but just weeks later showing the commitment levels of HMRC looking for the Arteta money.
Ross Barkley skipping around 3 or 4 players like they aren’t even there and scoring the occasional wondergoal, but spending the other half of the time looking like he’s been asked to divide 147.3 by the square root of -26, and spending post-match interviews looking like he’s been on the receiving end of Will Smith’s memory pen in the Men in Black. He’s still a fucking diamond though and he’s boss. He can and will be great under the right management.
It’s symptomatic of this season really that Gareth Barry, a brilliant servant and a quality player on his day, can deservedly win our player of the season. This is despite the fact he is so slow that he could get all the questions right on The Chase and still get caught. Barry is so slow that he’s still running around town putting up stickers from the Where Is The Love video.
If we can get all these players to work together properly under the right management then we have a quality team. And IF THIS IRANIAN’S GOT THE FUCKING DOUGH HE CLAIMS HE HAS then there’s no reason to not think big, as long as Niasse gets shipped back off to wherever he came from then we should be fucking flying mate. Who knows what next season will hold apart from a Kasabian concept album about Jamie Vardy, but if it’s De Boer or Koeman or Van Der Meyde then we have every reason to be positive. This season needs to be put behind us quickly. Next season with the right manager, team and squad we will be a force in the league again. Here’s hoping anyway… That’s the most positive I have been since Thatcher got wrote off in a hotel room. Onwards and upwards.