It’s time to get excited. Yes, we’ve had our hopes up before and we’ve been burnt. We wanted so badly to believe there had been a sea change when Roberto Martinez swept into Goodison and told us we could compete. His first season saw us dispense with a ‘sgian-dubh’ (dem knives what them there Scotsmen tuck in their socks when they wear kilts) as we went into the proverbial gun fights that David Moyes had grown weary of, and we took big, fuck off cannons. And it was boss. Especially when Martinez drafted in a tank who ran all over Arsène Wenger’s Arsenal in Spring 2014. But it wasn’t to be.
There are different kinds of revolutions, but make no mistake, one is underway in L4. The Walton White Socks are in flux, and 32,000 of you boss, loyal bastards are going to have a front row seat. On one hand, there’s the kind of 1979 Islamic Revolution that made Farhad Moshiri flee Iran, leaving thousands dead. At the total opposite end of the scale, there’s the kind of “body sculpting revolution” that has Ronaldo on our TVs selling some witch doctor electrodes with all the conviction of Tony Grant in a one-on-one in the late nineties. Don’t mistake the poised, calm, reserved entrance Farhad Moshiri has made leave you confused. Iran’s loss was our gain, a royal blue revolution of our own has begun. He isn’t fleeing this kind of revolution, he’s the driving force, the catalyst. Yesterday’s announcement of Steve Walsh as Director of Football was the second tangible result of his ownership so far. So what about them and their decisions to come?
Ronald Koeman had it good at Southampton. They’ll be playing European football next season, whereas we finished in the bottom half- level on points with Swansea City. They had just managed their highest finish in the top flight since 1984/85: Koeman was loved there- he won over 48% of his league games throughout his time at the Saints- a full 10% better than the 38% win rate enjoyed by Mauricio Pochettino in his time at St. Mary’s (and he’s just guided Spurs to their best placed finish since 1989/90). When asked about Everton’s supposed interest after Roberto Martinez had been relieved of his duties, Koeman was dismissive. He was happy. Then we showed our hand. Everton wanted him. He heard what we had to say, and he couldn’t resist.
Walsh is widely acknowledged as the visionary behind one of the most incredible stories ever told in football- anywhere in the world. His keen eye for a player and savvy buys were instrumental in their successes.
According to the official Everton website, “he (Walsh) has been credited with scouting and recommending the signings of such players as Gianfranco Zola, Didier Drogba, Michael Essien, Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and N’Golo Kante”: all great successes, but just to focus on the Leicester three- Vardy signed for a million pounds from Fleetwood in the lower leagues; Mahrez from Le Havre, in the French lower leagues, for £350,000; and Kanté for £5.5 million from Caen in the top flight of French football- pffft…. Anyone could’ve spotted Kanté, right? Right??
A story too fanciful to imagine before we watched it unfold. From promotion to into the Premier League- the richest league in the world, to champions, just two years later. Walsh was a living legend at Leicester. He had Champions League football to look forward to next year. Just six weeks before we came calling, he’d signed a long term deal to stay with the champions- his future was there. Then we showed our hand. Everton wanted him. He heard what we had to say, and he couldn’t resist.
The question is: just what exactly is Farhad Moshiri saying to the likes of Walsh and Koeman in private? He’s clearly a man of few public words, it appears he’d rather his work speak for itself. But behind closed doors, Moshiri is painting a picture of our future, and it’s captivating established, fantastically successful football men, who’ve no doubt heard it all before. Only, they buy into Moshiri’s vision, they trust him, and it couldn’t be more exciting. It was a gamble for both men to leave jobs that they probably could’ve kept for as long as they’d like- as rare as can be in modern togger. No doubt they’re being paid more money than they were, but as Koeman himself said, he could retire tomorrow if he wants. He doesn’t need the money. He knows success is in the air at Goodison Park, and it’s only a matter of time.
And to be clear, it might take time. We have to be patient, too. Out of ourselves, Man City, Man United, Arsenal, Spurs, Chelsea, Leicester, and Libpewl, someone on that list is finishing at least eighth next year, and it may well be us. And that’s before any of the rest of the league make a run. As exciting as it is, we, the fans have got to show patience with the team. But it’s time to be excited. We deserve some excitement, especially any of you reading this who, like me, are too young to have known Everton as a top side. Just as Koeman and Walsh have bought into Moshiri’s vision, so too will players, and so should we as fans. As difficult as it is when you’re an Evertonian, you can begin to let your guard down a touch. It’s time to get excited.
As always, you can find me on Twitter for more questionable logic: https://twitter.com/EvertonMusings