22 Years and Counting – Why Everton Fail

As the final whistle sounded at Goodison Park this Saturday, it marked Everton’s elimination from the FA Cup at the 3rd round stage. The Blues also exited the EFL Cup at the 3rd round earlier in the season, losing 2-0 at home to Championship side Norwich City. Barring a league title win, (about as likely as a Maggie Thatcher Comeback Tour) Everton will reach 2018 with no trophy, meaning 22 years will have gone by since they last lifted silverware. Everton’s longest ever trophy drought was from 1939 – 1963. In 7 out of those 24 years, no football was played in England due to the Second World War. Meaning that Everton are currently in their least successful period in the history of the club.

Other clubs have done worse. Newcastle haven’t won anything since 1955, West Ham since 1980. But these are clubs who are nowhere near the prestige of Everton. The Toffees have won 9 league titles – more than Chelsea, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, and fallen giants such as Leeds United, Aston Villa and Sunderland. Everton should have added to their trophy cabinet since 1995.

Here are just some of the clubs who have won a major trophy since Everton last did – Middlesbrough, Birmingham City, Swansea City, Portsmouth, Blackburn Rovers, Wigan. All clubs you would place below Everton in terms of stature and prestige, but all of whom have beaten the odds and lifted silverware since Paul Rideout’s winner at Wembley in 1995. Of the clubs I listed above, three are in the Championship, one is in League 2, and the other two are battling relegation from the top flight, while Everton sit in a solid if unremarkable 7th in the Premier League. The conclusion many would draw here is that Everton sacrificed cup success to ensure their Premier League status and keep the club financially stable after flirting with administration in the reign of Peter Johnson. However, that only tells part of the story, for Everton have reached 2 FA Cup Semi-Finals, an FA Cup final, and two League Cup Semi-Finals in this barren spell under two different managers.

If you look at these occasions individually, Everton have exited the competition to better sides than themselves – namely Liverpool (despite finishing above them that season), Manchester United, Manchester City, and Chelsea twice. Again, however, that is no excuse. On their way to their League Cup success in 2013, Swansea overcame Chelsea in the semi-finals. Birmingham City beat Arsenal in the 2011 League Cup final. The Everton teams from 2009-2016 have been more than capable of victory against those teams, but they didn’t win. Yes, we eliminated Manchester United in 2009, but only on penalties after a draw to what was a second string side. We took the lead in the 2009 FA Cup final, only to concede two goals and lose the match. The same happened against Liverpool in 2012. We threw away an aggregate lead in the 2016 League Cup Semi-Final against City. The match was drawn in the 2016 FA Cup Semi-Final but Manchester United scored in injury time to win the game.

 

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It seems then that Everton have been architects of their own downfall. Having had plenty of opportunities to win silverware the team has fallen short each and every time, bottling leads and conceding late goals in a manner that suggests the desire and commitment just hasn’t been there. The players have been allowed to fail. From Moyes to Martinez, Everton managers and the board have accepted failure as the norm, and even rewarded the less embarrassing failures. Everton have failed off the pitch too, putting up laughable commercial performances year after year and entering into the Chang and Kitbag deals that now are held up as an example of bad business within football clubs. The whole club is riddled with failure. Players who have never won us a thing are held up as icons. The current club captain has never won a major trophy. At least Phil Neville knew how to win a cup, no matter how crap he was.

The board have sat unresponsive as the club has declined into an also ran. Yes, the 90s under Johnson were bad, but change, in the form of bringing in Joe Royle, yielded a result. The Kenwright regime has meant stagnation and acceptance. I appreciate the need to balance the books, but that does not excuse the lack of ambition shown by Everton Football Club in terms of allowing the failing squad to continue in their cushy positions and managers to year upon year go trophy-less. Roberto Martinez was allowed to take charge of the 2016 FA Cup Semi-Final. That one in particular is on Kenwright and the pure idiocy/cowardice/arrogance of that decision cannot be understated.

I am angry. I am disappointed. But we have hope in the form of Ronald Koeman, a proven winner in charge, and new investment to do away with any excuses of financial deficiencies. The whole culture at the club needs to change.

I’m not going to tell Farhad Moshiri what to do now. First of all, he’s never going to read this article. Second of all, even if he did, why would he take tips off Joe from EAW who has never run a football club in his life outside of Football Chairman for iPhone. Finally, if he’s the right man for Everton, which the signs point towards him being, then he knows what to do. Everton must end the worst era in the club’s history in this promising new chapter, and completely change our image in the process. Make us as proud of Everton on the pitch as we are of Everton off the pitch. Live up to the motto.

NSNO.

4 Comments

  • Phil Evans  09/01/2017 at 18:48

    Fabulous article..

    Reply
  • Bob Jordan  09/01/2017 at 19:52

    Well said Joe and it needed saying. Our performance in the League Cup especially, since 1960 has been abysmal…..Bob Jordan

    Reply
  • Tony  10/01/2017 at 08:16

    Good article Joe. There are times when I think that most of the players could do with a lie down on a Therapists couch. Seriously the issue of a losing mentality which you allude to in terms of the losing culture that has been bred at the club should not be under estimated. As a 60 odd year old I was fortunate to see the successes as young boy in the 60s and as a young man in the 80s. In both those eras the team and indeed club had characters that were simply winners and would not tolerate the limp wristed defeatism that pervades the club nowadays. Sir John Moores was ruthlessly ambitious during his tenure which led to characters both as managers and players who embodied our ‘nil satis nisi optimum’ motto. Jimmy Gabriel, Brian Labone, Alan Ball to name a few were born and bred winners. They played with almost a sense of arrogance aka ‘Everton aren’t We’. During the 80s Kendall turned things around only when he brought in individuals like Peter Ried, Andy Gray – characters who demanded nothing less than those around of giving 100 percent but more importantly a ‘to win’ mentality. In turn more ‘meeker’ individuals such as Trevor Steven, Adrian Heath and Kevin Sheedy embraced that need to combine grace with a never say die mentality which was cultivated and turned a team that was used to defeat to one that became used to winning.
    I honestly believe that we are desperate for leaders and winners at the club. Jagielka – lovely as the guy is – is possibly the worst captain in my living memory. He encapsulates the vision of ‘defeat’ – quiet as a church mouse and no authority amongst his team mates. The debacle a couple of seasons back when Mirrales arrogantly snatched the ball off Baines to spectacularly miss a pen and deny us a victory – all whilst Jagielka stood away wringing his hands in the background was nothing short of pathetic. I despise Steven Gerrard – I really do. He’s caused me more sorrow to last a life time – but loathe him as I do I will say he’s a leader, a winner and could you imagine Mirrales doing that if the likes of Gerrard was his captain? I don’t think so somehow….
    I’m glad you mention Neville – vilified as he was – he has been our last real leader of any note. Okay not the most gifted but by God he wouldn’t allow the type of ‘roll over and tickle my tummy’ attitude of the past 3 or 4 years which has become the norm now. How I wish we had a Peter Ried alongside the likes of Ross Barkley now, barking down his neck but encouraging him at the same time. Andy Gray telling Lukaku he is a world beater but demanding 100% all of the time not just when he feels like it.
    Despite the gloom, I agree there might be a chink of light at the end of this dark tunnel. Koemann s record speaks for itself and his abrasive at times approach I think is based upon his total frustration with the group of players and the ‘let’s cave in’ attitude which predominates. At last weeks AGM like most Evertonians I was genuinely uplifted when Moshiri uttered those words ‘……I want us to win’ and that the club was more akin to a museum which was a breath of fresh air compared to the nonsensical ramblings of our very own ‘lovie’ from the West End bullshitting all things bright and beautiful for his love of Everton and Dave Hickson. Sorry Bill, we all love them but that’s not enough to be a leader.
    Going forward the Cup exit does now mean Koemann really does have the time he has spoken about to sort things out. Not much mind you as there is a sense of unrest within the ranks already about some of his decision making. But he does have the season now to decide who stays and who goes. Yes this window is important to get 2 or 3 in the team to hopefully grab us 7th and an unlikely Europa League spot but a whole sale clear out and new intake is needed and that will take longer. Let’s hope Ronnie and Steve Walsh can attract not just the right talent to the club but players who have been and want to be winners again. As Moshiri said, we have a ‘window’ of opportunity but it won’t be open for ever and the time is now for change – real change.

    Reply
  • Rob  10/01/2017 at 13:16

    The most balanced article I have read about Everton
    The writer is articulate and doesn’t resort to using fowel language like so many on face book. I can go back to the days of Cattrick and just before him when we sacked our manager in a taxi.
    We have a great past but we had teams who were proud to pull on the blue shirt that isn’t the case now
    Football has changed and it will never go back to how it was but there has been Miss management for years player kiss the badge but don’t have loyalty if anybody offers them a few quid more they are off
    If men of my age don’t encourage there kids or grandchildren to go to the games football is on a downward slope

    Reply

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