A strange thing happened at Goodison Park recently. They got money: lots and lots of it in the form of serious investment by the club’s new major shareholder and billionaire Farhad Moshiri. Factor in their share of the £5.14 billion TV deal and for the first time in living memory we can safely state that Everton are royally minted.
There was another unusual occurrence too. The Toffees sacked their manager. In the past eighteen years only three have peered out pensively from the Goodison dug-out, a commendable low turn-over of coaches only bettered by Wenger’s prolonged hold over Arsenal.
This was evidently not the Everton we’ve all come to know and love in the Premier League era. This was a new and improved Everton embracing investment and no longer settling for managerial mediocrity. Lessons, it seemed, were finally being learned.
Only, well, they obviously aren’t being learned. A trawl through the transfer sites reveals links with players even the most hardened of FM2016 devotees would be hard-pressed to claim any expertise on while the papers and bookmakers persist that David Moyes is one of the frontrunners for the vacant manager’s position. If you believe some it’s a two-way race between the dour Scot and Mark Hughes which boils down to the most Everton appointment imaginable or a man whose decade on Merseyside made such a statement relevant.
Everton, we need to talk, or rather those at the top we need to talk because the supporters know the score. And they have done for quite some time. Here are five things the board need to take on board.
Dialogue between fans and club is a fanciful idea for most occupants of the top flight and sadly respect from the latter to the former is rarer still. At Everton though they have taken that purposeful separation to new lows. Anecdotal evidence is plentiful of supporters’ concerns and opinions not being heard and it feels at times as if the club takes perverse pleasure in doing exactly the opposite from the majority view in the Gwladys Street.
Their interest in Moyes sums this up perfectly with many Blues claiming they will not be renewing their season tickets should he be reappointed and others even saying they would be done with the club altogether.
Listen to your supporters Everton. More times than not they know better than you.
Season after season Everton seem content to put all their eggs in one striker basket with a considerable drop in quality once you look to the bench. Lukaku’s 25 goals in all competitions masks the dearth of attacking options elsewhere that amounts to Arouna Kone or playing a winger out of position. Buy a top-notch forward Everton, and, if the rumours are true about the Belgian’s imminent departure: buy two. The best strikers guarantee you goals and goals guarantee you success. It’s a simple formula that others fathomed a long time ago.
Though Moyes would often secure a top 8 finish for the Blues he did so through caution and solidity. Martinez meanwhile couldn’t shore up a defence if he was lawyering for a man thousands of miles away from a crime who had no connection to it whatsoever.
It was telling that the Spaniard’s first season in charge was a relative success as he implemented a new ambitious style to complement the player’s default Moyes-isms, so surely therein lies the answer. Employ a coach who is neither gung-ho nor capable of selecting four centre-backs across the back-line.
While Spurs build a swanky new home and West Ham move their fixtures and fittings into the Olympic Stadium, Everton are getting ever more entrenched in the past by remaining at “Woodison” in its present incarnation. Evertonians may rightfully take pride in hearing visiting fans refer to the place as ‘proper’ due to its enclosed space and the fiery atmosphere that propagates but in reality the lack of corporate boxes, comfortable seating and revenue generated simply restricts the club from moving forward.
A move from Goodison Park would split the fanbase in half while extending the ground is impossible due to its location so the solution won’t be easy. But find one and fast.
Just stop it. You’re better than that.