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Everton Arent We

Everton Arent We has 198 articles published.

Crystal Palace v Everton Preview

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Two weeks to savour a win feels real good. So good that it’s tempting to wish for one of them continental style winter breaks so we can dwell some more, and stave off the the adverse reaction Everton can bring to your weekends.

The obsession, perhaps fanaticism and intensity of which is between you and Everton man. Maybe you’re not that arsed, it’s a convenient weekend excuse to nab some time with your mates. Or a forced habit as it’s something you’ve always done and can’t, or won’t break, the cycle. Or – more likely – you’re one of them Russian spambots scanning this article and about to post a comment at the bottom about how much you earn per hour working from home, and a link to replicate this which installs jarg bad cookies, hijacks your identity and sells your retinas to Crimea all because you clicked on one of them tedious fucking fan wrote football articles to kill a moment or two while you have a turd.

Let me not stall that shit any further. It’s time for Everton whether you fucking like it or not.

Last game was a much needed win and – all things considered – fabulous comeback against Marco Silva’s Watford. Any manager that can shit a two goal lead to a genuinely atrocious Everton side has got something about him so after Marco we went, and subsequently got KB’d twice. Worse rejections were to come.

Time is ticking round as we stroll to nearly four weeks without a full time Everton manager. Being the hypocritical fuck I am I wrote a self aggrandising paragraph on how it shouldn’t be Unsworth a few weeks ago, but as time goes on who else is reasonably out there that you think we could get?

Rather than cry arse about something I don’t understand, or control, I’ll hastily move on with my arse keenly lodged on the non committal fence. Sometimes it’s quite alright to say “I don’t have a fucking clue about this mate”. I just hope we get an Everton manager who makes our weekends a happier place.

So back to the scene of our last away win. Can you remember January that well? Watched it from a hungover bed in Miami when it looked like Ronko’s superbloos were turning a real corner, hot on the heels of trashing Man City.

Of course Everton don’t work like that and progress is seldom a straight line, with sustained ascendancy usually halted by crushing disappointment. It means we find ourselves 10 months without an away win, without a manager and the ignominy of Sam Allardyce (told you worse was to come) turning us down. The fat lying fuck. Let there be no doubt this is a man who associates showing gratitude after a hearty meal by licking the plate – maintaining full eye contact with the host – and letting out a massive belch.

The fat bung soliciting sports science loving toad happened to be Manager of Crystal Palace when we won our last three points on the road that day in January. They’ve had 2 managers since with the man in the hotseat being Roy Hodgson, who holds the prestigious title of “Kopite Manager I’ve despised least in recent times”.

And it’s similar to Crystal Palace really. There’s not much to despise them for which is an increasing rarity in modern Premier League togger. Sure, if you study their crowd some of them think it’s a fucking carnival and there’s some elements of BANTER NATION LOL but on the whole they’re decent sorts. I could try and pick away an edge to hideously stereotype them in a poor light but it’s the right thing to give them a nod and save the malice for the irrelevant southern bellwipes of Southampton and West Ham in just over a week’s time.

Also there’s loads of credit in the bank with Palace for thanks to the Crystanbul thing and how much they took great delight in piss boiling the shitheads across the park.

Here’s a list of some of their players to keep the facade of it being an actual preview going:

Benteke – fit again and ready to assault our assorted shit centre halves with his back.

Zaha – faster than a reply to Trump on twitter, blows hot and cold, and was blowed by the West Ham Manager’s daughter allegedly.

Loftus-Cheek – plays for England.

Townsend – place a warm hen on his head and within a week loads of other shite little footballers will hatch and try scoring from 35 yards but missing.

Cabaye – *gets number 10 brain freeze*

Sakho – irritated the kopites by celebrating beating the shite whilst on loan from there.

Dann – The same thing we do every night Pinky, try to take over the world. Spit.

Speroni – how long has the bad pasta sounding shitehawk been around?

They’re bottom of the league in desperate need of points and eyeing up an insecure Everton with desperate ambition of getting three points. Like us against Watford really. We can’t let that happen, like fuck we can.

As for who Everton plays? I’m no ITK, compadre, but I’d be surprised if Niasse doesn’t start which is some achievement as ten weeks earlier we nearly offloaded him onto a desperate Palace until some fax machine fucked up. Let’s face it Rooney will be around there somewhere whether you like it or not. We’ve got a right wing so fucking dull that even Twitter wouldn’t blue tick it.

Sigurdsson was signed for the cutting edge of goals and ace set pieces which our players score from. Spreading the goals around lar. Yeah that’s worked out, but really unless the Icelandic lad wants crushing Everton notoriety then he needs to start winning us some points. Absolutely no idea of who the midfield combination will be in there with him, Davies and Gueye I reckon.

Can’t be arsed speaking about a defence that scares me. Pickford is sound though.

Win this and Everton are 10 points off the bottom of the table, lose and that gap shrinks to 4. What can I tell you that a Russian spambot can’t?

Right fucking into these blues.

Everton v Watford Preview

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The lunatic is on the grass.

It’s ok though, international break is nearly here to save your weekends once more from the peril of Everton. The utter fucking shitehawks.

It’s also apparently the final game of Unsworth’s 4 game trial, the preceding 3 bringing defeats and two cup exits. Which was harsh timing on our generously-built-top-wool- as any pair of hands would have struggled.

But that’s your top flight football, baby. It’s a results business. Tough at the top. And all over fucking cliches you can think of, of which a few more will follow in a genuine dog’s turd of a preview to reflect accurately on this modern Everton team.

The Lyon and Leicester games accurately portrayed an Everton team devoid of backbone. As soon as a goal is conceded there would be a gigantic fork ran onto the pitch to poke out players one by one until death. There’s just nothing about them. They can’t keep clean sheets, they can’t score goals, and they can barely fight as a unit. It’s absolutely fucking terrifying that nearly £200m can be spent in one calendar year on a team to make them so pathetic.

To get to this particular crisis point has been a result of multiple failures, with Koeman paying the price but there have naturally been others. If they identify themselves as contributing to this shitstorm then they have some making up to do or a similar fate will follow them.

Because hankering for people in your sport’s team to lose their livelihood is so 2017. Our entitlement inflamed, we rate our perception so highly that we can critique a billion dollar business based on what we assume and gossip which may or may not be true.

The truth is that there is no club that has a right to evade relegation. That we’ve managed that successfully more than anyone else doesn’t mean it won’t come around to our door, as we witnessed in 1994 and 1997. With lots of blame flying around everyone and everything is easy game including at the fans ourselves. Fuck knows. I’d wager that the scrutinising nature of Evertonians and our almost fatalistic appreciation of the Greek tragedy that regularly consumes us works in both ways. But it is better noting that we are in deep fucking shit in October and doing something about it before it gets to an irreparable state. And if the dam breaks open many years too soon, you know where I’ll see you.

Watford come to town enjoying a buoyant season under new manager Marco Silva, who naturally Everton are throwing the eyes at. There’s no way he will end up at Everton right now as he’s merely a matter of months into a new job and there’s too much tangible risk in taking this Everton job for a swanky foreign who has designs on an elevatory career path. We’re not the lily pad you want to step on right now if you’re striving to make the fresh meadows on the other side.

I’d usually try and find some sort of unfair angle with a stereotype on the opposition right now but Everton are sucking all of my powers of despisement towards themselves rather than who were playing. There’s plenty to like about Watford as a club too, not least them running out to Z cars and being a club that proudly represents a parochial working class support.

Yes it is indeed true that the likes of Watford, Luton, Northampton and all those shite towns in wool-London are a breeding ground for Tommy Robinson types. It is also true that there is fervent England support and the type of poolside behaviour in your Canary Island hotel that affirms your shameful opinion on nondescript shit southern town inhabitants. People from Watford go to Tenerife rather than Lanzarote. You know that type. They’re sat in Linekers bar with hideous tattoos and red shoulders at 11.24am trying to create banter with the barman, who smiles pleasantly while zeroing in on his plans to seduce their 18 year old daugher.

There’s Watford there with three lions swim shorts and Reebok Classics beating a path down the sea front trying to build rapport with the lucky lucky men by altering his accent to a cringey Jamaican patois – despite the lucky lucky men being from west coast Africa. “Grassy arse” to the the Moroccans serving him that most traditional Spanish cuisine of club sandwich and fries. The soft bell can’t wait to tell anyone sat next to him that he’s self employed, as he fits a few carpets every month.

There’s fucking Watford on a jetski thinking he’s in a Miami Vice cutscene. Kicking a cockroach on the half volley in front of the kids and screaming LUTHER BLISSETT GOOOOOOOL as he runs down Los Cristianos high street with his shirt over his head, not giving a fuck that he is disturbing other people’s senses visually, audibly and their sense of smell on account of being drenched in jarg Calvin Klein Eternity that he haggled for 4 euros earlier that day. The same scent that comes from a group of Spanish students pissing into the vat knowing some poor sunseeker is gonna splash it all over his neck and think he’s sound.

There’s Watford, the acute minority who creates the stereotype for all the really sound normal British folk who fancy a quick week in the sun and to appreciate different sights, sounds and foreign culture. But we’re not doing stereotypes as Everton are shit.

Here’s some of their players:

Deeney – not playing because he strangled Joe Allen and perhaps because he looks like a big ET headed biff who is still cutting his milk teeth.

Richarlison – I never know about this lad until 3 mins ago reading some media previews so I can pretend I know anything about other teams. He’ll score a brace and no mistake.

Cleverley – tell yer fat dar who abused him mercilessly as some sort of paranoid devious Martinez plot that I hope Tom absolutely fucks us. His taunting celebration in front of the Lower Bullens prompting yer dar to fuck us right off and go and support whoever Lukaku is playing, the bitter arl fuck.

You know what, I’ve just searched unsuccessfully for Watford players in the past few minutes and apart from two above I don’t know any of them. They’ve loads of names of players that sound like Pro Evo before an option file update. And despite that they’ll still beat us with ease.

So who will they be beating? Rooney was rested so will start. Where and how deep he plays will be for you to lament and moan at. Calvert-Lewin may get another chance to twat his confidence or maybe Niasse rested too midweek may get a go. I’d like to see Vlasic in the mix somewhere as at least he affects the game.

I once loved Schneiderlin and although a brief love it was intense and now I feel dirty and used. Because of that expect more from Gueye, Davies and co in the middle. On current viewing the first name should be Baningime but only David Unsworth has the answers.

I don’t care who’s at the back I just wanted them to stop conceding goals. Pickford is sound so imagine how fuming we are gonna be losing him next season as we’re relegated like Sunderland were.

The preview is absent of manager chat as I genuinely don’t have a fucking clue who I’d want. Just some form of leader who makes an impact and isn’t scared of ruffling feathers of the established staff to sort what seems like a permanent malaise out. Francis Underwood isn’t available right now so I’ll leave that in the hands of those who run the club and have their money invested in it.

So this out the way and then two beautiful weeks without an Everton performance troubling your mood. You lock the door and throw away the key. There’s someone in my head but it’s not me.

See you there.

His Own Devices

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Amid the post-Koeman maelstrom, a host of names have been thrown into an unlikely melange of potential successors. In this bizarre waiting room, Paulo Fonseca is rubbing shoulders with Duncan Ferguson, Sean Dyche sees himself as a challenger to Carlo Ancelotti, and the bookies can’t see Thomas Tuchel having the edge over Sam Allardyce. It’s perhaps an excellent allegory of where Everton are right now – a heady mix of wild ambition and the creeping terror of being rooted in the bottom three. In the middle of it all is a man who sees himself as the one who can take Everton to where they want to be.

David Unsworth is an enigma to those with little interest in Everton, perhaps even a complete unknown. He played for Everton, famously got cold feet after moving to Aston Villa, and then played for Everton some more before entering coaching. He’s just another caretaker, hoping to be another Craig Shakespeare, when the Leicester boss’ recent sacking is enough of a cautionary tale. That would be a huge disservice to the stand-in Blues boss, who has become an excellent coach in his own right. That is how he is known by Evertonians; the positive, highly respected coach of a title-winning Under 23s side. His role in nurturing Everton’s top young talent is such that the main argument against offering Unsworth the job full-time is that it would be a shame to derail a hugely successful youth operation for what is ostensibly a major gamble.

The man who scored the first goal of David Moyes’ 11-year stint at the Everton helm has so far featured three times in the dugout. A 3-0 win over Norwich followed Roberto Martinez’s sacking in 2015, his post-Koeman spell began with a 2-1 defeat to Chelsea in midweek, and this weekend saw a dismal defeat against Leicester. In the first two, the players looked more willing to fight, and more dangerous going forward. Comparatively speaking, that is. The third could be put down to the remnants of the former manager’s incompetence – a handy excuse.

Being a caretaker manager is a double-edged sword. The first point of comparison is to a manager who has performed so poorly that they have lost their job, which sets the bar pretty low. Unsworth received plenty of praise for the way Everton set up on Tuesday, almost to the extent that some seemed to forget Everton had lost, and had subsequently missed yet another chance of a cup run. The Blues stand-in will not be given any breaks, should he assume the role permanently. The problem for the board is that his quality is hard to gauge now, when anything more than the lifeless, disorganised showings seen too often at the end of Koeman’s reign is considered some sort of success.

This being Everton, a club that cares deeply for both its history and geographical roots, there is a unique pressure for those with a close connection to the fanbase. Though Chorley-born, Unsworth started in the Everton youth system, appearing in the famous royal blue for the first time 25 years ago. Therefore, he is ‘one of us’, the subject of both an especially burning desire to do well, but also a more intense fan focus. You only have to ask Ross Barkley what that’s like. It is well-documented that every one of Everton’s post-war trophies have been won by former players – Harry Catterick, Howard Kendall and Joe Royle. Unsworth does not have the same sort of pressure as Colin Harvey, who was tasked with holding things together as Kendall’s empire crumbled, but invariably he will be lumped in with the men who have delivered Everton’s greatest triumphs.

For the wider world, Unsworth would join the list of managers given an extended stay after acting as caretaker, a club in which Nigel Adkins is considered a success story. The expectation is that such a move rarely works out. Some are simply not allowed to take the spotlight. See Sammy Lee, skulking in many a manager’s shadow; Terry Connor, due to be buried alongside Mick McCarthy a la Smithers and Burns; and Joe Jordan, whose dread at being rejected for the Scotland job and instead act as Harry Redknapp’s number two must grow with every passing day. He will struggle to ever shake off that tag.

David Unsworth, should he be appointed, will have the chance to forge his own path as Everton manager. He is already known to be a good motivator, and will undoubtedly keep the faith with his young charges from the U23s, but how he sets up tactically and what choices he makes in the transfer window are yet to be seen. The best gift those involved in Everton can give him is exemption from needless comparison. Unsworth, an ambitious man, will not consider doing better than Ronald Koeman in his last few months to be a success. He does also not need his achievements to be stacked against those of bona fide Everton legends. Football boils down to results, and results will decide if Unsworth is worthy of taking on the mantle of leadership on a full-time basis. Everton are currently battling to retain Premier League status, so there is no time for Unsworth to get his bearings. The pressure is on, and the only measure of success is the points tally. No matter the manager, they are only as good as the results they achieve.

Leicester City v Everton Preview

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Everton’s final game of October sees them in the relegation zone and with an interim manager. I’d say ‘imagine that’ but chances are you’re an Evertonian reading this so you can very well imagine it due to our propensity for painfully shitting it.

As with all new managers, temporary and permanent, you get a load of lids watching the game and over analyzing for desperate signs of either hope or doom. But since it’s Unsworth and he’s a well liked Everton man it was mostly scouring for signs of hope and salvation in the form of a spirited defeat away to Chelsea.

Shit stands though that we exited our easiest pop at a trophy we’ve never won in 22 years. Context is key so it was a much more committed start and away to the current English champions but, you know what, I’m still gutted we haven’t won a trophy for so long. This time in a few days the Europa League daydream may be popped too.

This sequence of games is Unsworth’s chance to put himself in the spotlight and he’s going about it in the right way off the pitch but talking up how Everton should play and not patting us on the head, before going home to stroke in a most methodical manner over all his old goals for Barcelona, as perhaps others did.

But nice Everton words only buy some temporary goodwill, it’s the results and to some degree the performances that will placate an increasingly frustrated fanbase. A fanbase energised by new ownership and urging smashing of previously tolerated glass ceilings. To move in that sort of company and stick there takes a lot of money, some time and cajones on a manager and player to compete and show they belong there. Here’s hoping. Just as I’ve been hoping for a few decades now.

Sound’s like a negative opening to a preview when there’s a spark of hope amongst my beloved fellow blues but while we’re sweating it away down in the bottom three you’ll have to excuse my anxiety. I was at the Wimbledon game, the Coventry one too, and I don’t want any more of that shit. Especially when merely ten weeks ago we were bouncing on the back of spending more money on new players than ever before and looking up the table, not down. Instability and flux are the the fatal foes of many a top flight team.

Leicester are a week or two ahead of us after sacking their internal-interim-manager-made-permanent after only a few months in the job. An indicator that the current Premier League is no easy cutting ground for managerial teeth. To improve things Leicester has taken Claude Puel – Koeman’s successor – who himself was fired after just one season on the south coast. Puel looks as though someone has pulled a plug under the skin between his eyes, and his entire face is being sucked down the drain.

Anyway plenty speak well of Puel and his French teams so maybe he has it in him to plunder Leicester what they expect. Or maybe Leicester have had their wonderful moment in the sun and are now in the process of returning to being, well, Leicester.

Excuse me for the moment but I can hear someone playing Spin Doctors’ Two Princes so I need to find the source and eliminate it.

Done.

What about the Leicester fans? I’m not much of a fan to be honest. There’s too much ‘rugby crowd’ about them. Genuinely no one gives a fuck about Leicester now except in Thailand where the questionable human rights fucks who own them have sold it as their own personal achievement winning the Premier League. When’s the next civil uprising coming? Can’t wait, go after them. And them knobheads in Chang who I had to endure as my match day pint for too long.

There’s an inherent dullness around many of their fans who are too casual about their footie knowledge, many of them piggybacking onto Leicester’s fluke from their other weekend pursuits of following “the rugger”, shite tattoo art and hunting badgers of a night time in their mate’s jeep the shithouse fucks. They support England avidly in Leicester. Did anyone tell you they found a king buried under one of their car parks? Well they did, because it’s only the second thing that’s ever happened in Leicester in 700 years of documented history. They’re so nondescript – the brogues and jeans wearing shitheads – that half the world can’t even pronounce the name of where they’re from. Try asking an American to say the word Leicester and watch as their tongue and mouth muscles have a full fucking breakdown.

Anyway a list of some of their players:

Vardy – the little racist fruit bat looking shitehawk. A face that could cut easily through a category 4 hurricane with ease. Fucking hurt him Everton.

Mahrez – ace player but a tithead.

Okazaki – really good player, like him a lot. Hard working skillful forward who doesn’t give any backline a moment to breathe. Takeshi’s hassle, if you will.

Ndidi – Nigerian midfielder who sounds like two scouse girls having a moan in Costa Coffee.

Fuchs – Austrian defender who sounds like two scouse lads having a moan in Wetherspoons.

Maguire – what an unfortunate looking bastard. Looks like Joey Barton would, if he had a peanut allergy and ate 14 Snickers a day, the porky biff faced twat.

Can’t be arsed with the rest of them. Let’s briefly chat Everton.

Seems that Unsworth set out his stall in what he likes in his Everton team which includes the welcome advent of width. So it wouldn’t be a surprise to see that width retained in either Lennon and Mirallas again, or Lookman & Vlasic if he wants to put some fresh legs in. We need to chat about Rooney playing as a centre forward. Stop that shit. His future in the Everton team is further back, which will cause some fun balancing that and the plethora of underperforming attacking midfielders we’ve got. He’s not everyone’s cup of tea but Calvert-Lewin has at least a presence up front through work rate and headers, even if he hasn’t worked out Premier League scoring as of yet. Hopefully that bit will come as there’s a good striker in there.

Gueye is signing a new contract which should be some relief to him as the likes of Davies and Baningime are going to push for midfield places if evidence thus far is anything to go off. McCarthy came back in and lasted an hour so let’s see if he’s deemed fit for this. Not sure is Schneiderlin is recovered from whatever affliction struck him down, but probably good for him to sit a few games out until his debilitating Honeymoon Flu passes over.

Experience was preferred at the back in Jagielka and Williams, there’s a £25m man in Michael Keane knocking around so maybe things will be rotated somewhat, or not. Baines and Kenny will likely be full backs and Pickford in goal.

Considering Leicester’s position in the league it’s as close to a six pointer in October as you can get. You’d think they’ll be desperate to get their new manager off to a good start, as David Unsworth once assisted a new manager of his own by scoring after just 30 seconds.

Anyway that’s everything that’s stored up in my head right now so I’ll bring this to a close.

Marry him, or marry me.

It’s a Fickle Game

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One of the first truly “English” English words I learned in the early days of my existence within the weird and wacky world of Everton Twitter was “bin”—a word that in American English is used as a noun but is used primarily by the majority of you, my sweet handsome readers, as a verb. Though I see it used in all kinds of ways. “Bin him off!” “Get in the bin!” Whatever, as an American I probably only still grasp the particular nuances of your use of the English language at about a 70% rate—even after all this time. I’m still only SLIGHTLY sure I could use “arse” or “blag” or “jarg” appropriately in a sentence. Luckily for me, I probably won’t ever be in a position where I need to use these words correctly because I don’t talk like the majority of you do and pretending to do so would only make me a phony. Besides, even if I don’t understand all your words, I love how you all sound like the Beatles to me. Each and every one of you scousers possess the voices of angels. Seriously, the girls over here dig it. You’re welcome.

So based on my best contextual understanding, to bin is to get rid of, sure. But used in the context of football, it feels like it goes beyond that and is utilized to dismiss/marginalize the current or even potential value of a player’s contributions. Which on the surface is fine. Hey, some players absolutely deserve to be binned.

Many of us—and I’m sure it’s not limited to Evertonians—have an itchy trigger finger when it comes to binning players. As horny as we are for significant financial outlay for player acquisition, we are often equally as amorous when it comes to dismissing them if they don’t almost immediately deliver. Sure, we give lip service to the idea that new players need the time to “bed in”, but we go from asking why Sandro (a player we almost universally lusted after over the summer) ONLY signed a four year deal to declaring that he’s got a big bag of nothing within a matter of a handful of appearances. But hey, that’s the luxury of being supporters with a voice on social media who aren’t actually spending the money in fees and salary for these guys. Snap judgements—regardless of their perceived merit—aren’t disappearing from the online world anytime soon. It goes with the territory of fandom in the 21st century and I certainly won’t fight it.

Which brings me to the matter of how those actually tasked with dealing in the tangible realities of our club on a day to day basis are charged with operating—namely those in the position to determine the next permanent Everton manager as well as the current man on the hot seat himself, David Unsworth.

Right now, there’s a lot that is unknown in regards to whether or not Unsworth is a serious candidate to be the full-time replacement for Ronald Koeman. How many games will he get? What’s the points threshold to extend his caretaker tenure and how much should said tenure even be extended? If we win the next three games does he get until the end of the season, the end of the festive period? Who knows? Not me.

But thus far in the discussion of David Unsworth’s merits as a managerial candidate, much of the focus has rightly been on his refreshingly clear and upbeat approach that has been simply focused on results. As Unsworth put it, the club needs a “winning manager” and if he wins, the rest will likely take care of itself. In a bottom line business, that logic seems straightforward enough and considering the club’s current position in the table, it really ought to be the primary focus at the moment. However, if Unsworth is able to string together some results, get us out of the drop zone and thus extend his audition a bit longer, the criteria for evaluating his long term viability as the permanent manager of a club with greater ambitions than are currently being realized becomes more nuanced.

Questions have fairly been asked about Unsworth’s lack of first team management experience which becomes especially pronounced when considering that few of us would consider the Everton job to be an entry level position into such an arena. Subsequent questions surrounding his ability to attract elite outside talent to the club are also fair and generally fall into the bucket of unknowns that can’t be addressed at this early stage of things. Yet Unsworth also has some clear points in his favor. He’s got an excellent track record of instilling high level effort, playing a particular style/brand of pressing football (even if there’s a lot of practical formational variability) and ultimately developing young talent–all great traits for any aspiring young manager. And yes, it goes without saying that his roots within the club itself and his accompanying understanding of its culture and supporters has and will continue to serve him well.

Yet for all the attributes and factors articulated above that have been discussed at length by many of us since Koeman’s departure, I’d like to throw in another essential criteria for the permanent manager of Everton Football Club that has been a bit less discussed: The ability to restore and/or elevate the first team players he’s inherited.

Which brings us back to the subject of binning—a tradition that is much a part of our DNA as Everton supporters as gun violence is to my fellow Americans in general. There will always be a faction that condemns it, but it isn’t ever going away. And this is something that happens in every sport and in every fan base. Player arrives and signs contract. Player proceeds to underwhelm. Fan base proceeds to advocate getting rid/benching/shipping away as soon as is humanly possible/passionately advocating first team role for teenager from the U-23s whose YouTube highlights give us the tickle. You guys would not believe how many SUPER EASY solutions there are to be found online to the problem of players you no longer have a use for. Unfortunately, the complexities of budget and finance and the overall big business of modern sport generally dictate that those who actually run professional clubs/sports franchises don’t have the luxury to simply cut bait on a whim—especially when a player or players’ acquisition(s) required a significant outlay in the form of financial and/or other types of limited resources. There’s no bigger “spending other’s money” bit on Everton Twitter like our demands for ownership to show “ambition” and spend money to bring in new faces and our subsequent willingness to quite quickly write said faces off as failures who can’t be any good for our team. Now you may not be convinced by the likes of Sigurdsson and Klaassen (the poor balding Dutch bastard) and Sandro and Schneiderlin. But we’ve gone from being heavily invested emotionally in these moves as supporters to being willing to ditch them after a few months despite the fact that they floundered under a manager that had completely mishandled them in terms of easing their transition to the club—namely in his failure to provide them with defined roles (a purported strength of Unsworth). It is our divine right as Evertonians to label a player as a failure who ought never to see the pitch again in a blue shirt, but it is rarely a viable option for the people tasked with the actual work at the club to execute such a whim in reality.

So if you think that David Unsworth can simply banish ALL of the underperformers like Schneiderlin, Sigurdsson, Klaassen, Sandro, and Keane into oblivion forever, you’re being willfully ignorant of the financial realities of the big business of modern football that all managers in the top leagues face. Ronald Koeman lost his job because he wasn’t getting results. Bottom line, sure. But he wasn’t getting results because he wasn’t able to get the best out of the big money players that he ultimately signed off on. Farhad Moshiri didn’t get rich by squandering his resources and making poor investment decisions. There’s an implicit expectation that—fairly or unfairly—a manager in his employ will be able to make his big money investments pay off on the pitch. And while Unsworth may not have picked or approved of the acquisition of these particular players, the club’s obligations to them didn’t simply disappear because Koeman was let go. We’ve got more money now as a club than ever, but we didn’t get SO much more money with Moshiri’s arrival that we can simply write off players we’ve only recently invested big money into. We don’t have the bottomless well of cash that City or Chelsea or United have. Even if you think these new arrivals have been bad (which you can definitely argue), the reality is that the owner just spent a giant chunk of his change on them. If Unsworth can’t advance the cause of getting the best out of these players (or at the very least those with strong Premier League track records), is he the manager we need in the long term? I wouldn’t be particularly convinced—especially considering that we’ve seen many of these players perform at a high level prior to their arrival.

Personally, I’d like to see Unsworth get some time to prove himself, of course. I’m rooting for him to steady the ship and if we start winning he should probably be given the rest of the season to show the hierarchy and the supporters what he’s capable of on a more holistic level. But if he is given more time, he simply has to get the best out of the talent at his disposal—including the talent that you may have no more patience for, but talent that came at a significant cost in time, effort, and cold hard cash from the primary shareholder. It’s great to be able to develop teenagers into first team players. But Unsworth has got to also be able to elevate talented senior players into consistent performers. Everton simply can’t afford for him not to.

There isn’t a magic “return to sender” button for these players—especially not in the short term. And while improving and elevating the players brought in will be critical for Everton’s success in the short term, it’ll also be a quality that will be vital for Unsworth or any permanent manager to have in order to make Everton an attractive destination to up and coming and established talent around the world in the long term. The clubs we hope to emulate—namely a club like Spurs—do a great job striking the balance between internal youth development and the integration of first team imports from both the Premier League AND foreign leagues. The likelihood of success for such a comprehensive model starts from the top down of course, but the execution of such a philosophy successfully on the pitch is largely down to the abilities of the manager. Mauricio Pochettino by all accounts possesses the developmental and motivational qualities that we’re so fond of in Unsworth. But he also possesses the ability to elevate good players acquired from other clubs into his squad. And while there will inevitably be roster turnover that may result in some of the aforementioned Koeman acquisitions ultimately moving on, the idea that all of them will easily be off the books in a window or two is simply not feasible. Steve Walsh has a job to do, but the idea that he has to effectively delete two windows of work completely from his ledger to move forward is an unreasonable ask at this stage.

So in acknowledging that reality, Everton under Unsworth or whomever the new manager may be simply must do what Koeman could not during his tenure—produce results by utilizing the talent at their disposal. This is a young man’s game and contributions from young talent will be key. But the ability of the manager to restore the output from veteran players will be the most decisive factor in regards to the ultimate fortunes of the club moving forward. I’m happy with my comfortable seat where I can bin all day and all night and so hard and so good until I can’t bin anymore. But after these early nightmarish days of the 2017-18 season, I’m ready for those at the club to embrace the reality of the conditions as they are. Only then can they move this project we love to hate because we love it so much that we sometimes hate ourselves for it called Everton forward. And I think there’s a viable path forward to a destination befitting our club. Look at me. Binning pessimism for a change.

The Midweek Ramble: Cold Chips

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The Koeman era came to an end just like an old tub of mayonnaise, sour and fucking stinking. His hopes fried just like a plate of his favourite chips, his dream of managing the love of life Barcelona in the shitter. And there ultimately lay the problem with the Koeman and Everton relationship. For him, it was only ever a means to an end. For him, the ultimate destination was to manage the team he had the most success for as a player. I personally don’t have a problem with that. I’m under no illusions that no matter who we bring in their ambitions may very well be beyond Goodison Park, and there is no greater lure in world football than to manage the Catalan giants.

But as a manager Koeman did very little to justify the flirtations of leaving when he wasn’t even a year into the job at the blues. His biggest problem, it seems, lies in his inability to get the best out of players when things aren’t going right. The Barkley situation is a perfect example of this. As much as I’ve been a critic of Barkley throughout the whole saga, you have to wonder how Koeman can justify a £6 million a year contract if he can’t convince a boyhood Evertonian to play for the team he has represented for nearly the majority of his life.

Whether it’s his version of tough love or public slander, it’s clear that Koeman struggles as a manager when the team is struggling on the pitch. He never seemed able to inspire a team, often radiating bad vibes even when standing on the sidelines, completely devoid of hope. How were the players meant to trust the managers tactics when it seemed he didn’t fully trust them himself? How can a player regain confidence when the first poor game he has results in him being dropped, only to watch players who consistently fail to perform play every single minute? How can players be expected to adapt to a new system, especially those who are told to play out of position, when the following week the system is once again changed?

It’s a shame for me because like a lot of Evertonians, I was taken in by Koeman’s ruthlessness and the winning mentality that he came with, but that high expectation of himself only served to weigh him down. Everton’s motto in the past couple of decades may very well have been lost in disappointment but with the arrival of investment, we really can ill afford to accept mediocrity, hence the club had to act and act swiftly. Any manager coming in has to respect the club, it’s traditions, the fans expectations and most of all, wear the clubs motto as a badge of honour. It should serve as a warning that anything less than your best is not accepted.

Koeman learned this the hard way, and it ultimately cost him.

So what’s next? Unsworth comes in from his extremely successful stint as U23’s boss to manage Everton on a temporary basis – for now. I have no doubt that he will swiftly get the message across to all of what’s expected from the club, the obvious issue is does he have the experience to manage a team in such a dire situation. He’s best placed to get the best out of the young players who he has previous with, and I’d be surprised if he doesn’t turn to the likes of Davies, Lookman, Holgate to try and breathe life into what looked like a soulless Everton team that was sweated aside by Arsenal on the weekend. A tough ask to come into against Chelsea away in the cup, but time waits for no one. No matter how well Unsworth does in his second stint in the caretaker role, he strikes as someone who is honest with himself, and wouldn’t want to take the role on permanently if he didn’t feel ready for the set up. One thing is for sure, he won’t accept anything less than full commitment from anyone to the Everton cause.

Chelsea v Everton Preview

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It was Heraclitus who piped up “there is nothing permanent except change”.

Sage guy all things considered and it’s a somewhat more classy way to start an impromptu preview than the arl fella rolling double Lambs and coke down his grid on the seat across from you in the Taxi Club who offers up “fucking shite that Dutch knobhead lad”.

As it turns out shiteness is somewhat less tolerated than it’s been in recent memory at Everton, and Ronald Koeman was gone on Monday with the indignity of Moshiri not being arsed to tell himself but instead sending the lackeys of doom to execute his will.

And the search started to find the 21st man ever existed who could call proudly himself the permanent manager of Everton football club.

I was going to swerve this preview on the basis of it’s a league cup game and mostly because I’m almost out of words about Everton with this two game a week thing, not forgetting that I expect Chelsea to put us out of a competition we’ve never won. I still reckon that will happen but all this change means I can fill out a few paragraphs, add a few arl photos and it passes as a preview for a few hearty souls of you to read on the shitter.

So Koeman getting jibbed. I’ve read some many different viewpoints and angles in the past couple of days and it’s been enlightening as many have been with validity, apart from the ones which go something like “I’d have Moyes back”.

There’s a great deal of risk with the decision about to come with who will replace Koeman for the medium and perhaps longer term. The next manager odds makes for some grim reading which illustrates the scarcity of quality replacements available (Ancelotti isn’t coming mate), certainly considering the ambition Everton seemingly have at the minute. That risk of change won in the end, no doubt heavily influenced by spending the thick end of £200 million in a calendar year on new players and not being able to get a tune out of them, culminating in Everton’s drop into the bottom 3.

In the short term at least it’s David Unsworth that’s been given the unenviable task of stopping the current rot, in a sequence of games that contains a likely exit from two cup competitions confirmed and a couple of tricky league games against teams gasping for the three points.

There has been a lot of fanfare about Unsworth and his suitability for longer term in the role. I’m fully on board with seeing a leader of the club speaking with genuine passion for Everton and a comprehensive understanding of our traditions, nuances and what we demand as a fanbase. After 16 months of hard nosed pragmatism and red Christmas tree decorations it’s refreshing for many. I would genuinely love an Evertonian to be successful in charge of our team and stick his finger in the eye of the kopites at every opportunity. I don’t think that Unsworth is the right man at this present moment to be given that task and let me explain why. With a sincere hope that it’s so fucking wrong that some clever cunt on twitter retweets the fuck out of it in the future when David Unsworth fist pumps towards the Park End (fuck you Gwladys St dar punchers) as Everton lift a second consecutive league title.

The Premier League is in many ways the toughest test of domestic league management in the world. If you find yourself shaking your head and rolling Spanish or Italian stuff off your tongue then you can get to fuck you bad BT Sport Eurotogger virgin snob, they’re a bunch of samey shite dominated by one or two clubs.

In the Premier League you’ve got competition from top to bottom. From month to month in some hideous weather, with the scrutiny of a frenzied media critiquing every single move every one of the 20 participating clubs does. The money involved in the league and the more equal distribution of monies means even the clubs near the bottom have an abundance of wealth to attract players and management staff. This is illustrated by Mourinho, Guardiola and yes Klopp being within 45 miles from Goodison right now.

To handle that type of test and pressure takes a very self assured man, and crucially some very valid experience. It’s why internal selections like Shakespeare, Sherwood et al seldom succeed. Unsworth will bring motivation and that’s a powerful tool for improvement but motivation is just one facet and without sound strategy amongst others then in most businesses you’ll get a short term bounce but ultimately then struggle as superior competition exploits your weaknesses. Throw in the mix a bunch of mega millionaire egos to manage and develop, and your ability to maintain control and respect will be severely tested without the gravity of experience and reputation.

If this seems a little arl arse it really isn’t meant that way, but I throw your memory back to recent appointments where the likes of Weir, Stubbs and even Neville had some support in applying for the permanent position of Everton manager. A bit of Everton chest thumping feels good at this moment but after 22 years every single fucking decision needs to be acutely designed to win a trophy dead soon. So the decision to replace Koeman needs to be considered towards who would make that happen.

So who should it be? Why the fuck would you ask that of a fat internet blert like me? Sometimes it’s fine to say I genuinely have no fucking idea who would come in and win us stuff because only time will be the judge of that. Hypocritically by that same token it also applies to condemning Unsworth before he even lifts a finger but I’ve a predisposition towards assessing risk when making difficult decisions.

Is there a point or crescendo to this tedious jarg rant? Not really, but this vital decision needs to be made with head not heart. It’s all a bit X Factor when there’s a new manager hunt on as everyone staunchly gets behind their preference until glory or abject disappointment. An age of social media pressuring clubs further adds an element of tail wagging the dog, with that dog being black and white striped and barking with a north east accent.

My hopes, dreams and weekend mental health are in the hands of those running Everton as a business for the foreseeable future. I hope they know what they’re fucking doing.

I can’t even be arsed talking about Chelsea. They’re miles better than us and although they’re gonna make changes they’ll still likely put out a team that puts us out of the cup. Some token resistance from Everton would be nice.

This season really should have been so much more.

New manager so likely some new faces starting in the team and a new system. Unsworth has the best knowledge of the crop of youngsters coming through at Everton right now so it was no surprise to see Baningime and Henen added to the squad. The latter’s main attribute being pace, so it was telling Lennon was mentioned as being fit too. In Unsworth’s thoughts will be a testing trip away to a similarly desperate Leicester on the weekend so I expect we will see a wider group of players given the chance to stake a claim in this latest installment of rescuing Everton.

At the heart of that will be working out some sort of system that offers any sort of chance creating and goal threat, a midfield combination that can grab some form of control over a game for any sustained in match period, and a defence than actually stops the opposition from scoring on their leisurely whim. The keeper looks alright though so at least that’s something.

Something. Anything. A sign of an Everton team that has some purpose and an ability to control its own destiny against oppositions good and average. That would be a start.

So we end as we finish with our Greek philosopher friend Heraclitus. He suffered from dropsy so he covered himself in shit to try and cure it, and was subsequently devoured by wild dogs.

There’s a metaphor for Everton right now in there but this aforementioned fat internet blert is not clever enough to unravel it.

Just fuck these Everton.

Everton v Arsenal Preview

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What can I say? Everton are shite. That about covers it I reckon.

Whatever stops us from being this shite will curry a lot of favour as it’s worryingly as grim as I can remember, or at least I have blacked out the even worse bits.

There were much worse bits too but they weren’t after spending the equivalent of nearly £200 million on new players in the calendar year.

The Lyon game went as you thought it may be. Wasn’t helped by giving away a penalty after 5 minutes but the fightback (in the literal sense too) was plucky Everton, right before that damaging pluck shit a second goal to Lyon and from that point on our goose was cooked.

Your in game anxiety as an Evertonian predicts nothing but abstract failure & pain, but as an instinct it’s prolific right now as there’s fuck all about this squad which shows any sort of character. Well apart from big Ash Willo lashing their keeper. The box of frogs headed jarg taff gets a five game pass from criticism from me for this beautiful act of petulance, as it was peculiarly nice to see some fight in the team. A bit less of the yer dar boxing the ears off the Lyon keeper while on babysitting duty, but that’s just us, we’re a bit full on like that once you get us going. Wouldn’t change us either.

So onto Arsenal and there’s a parallel between this fixture and the corresponding one last season. Everton go into both in nothing short of a tailspin of form, and with plenty of pressure on manager and players. The subsequent goodwill from that fixture and the run of games beyond it last season has been eaten up by October this season which tells you just how inept we currently are.

Arsenal aren’t having a great season by their own admission, they’re pissing the Europa League group and a win puts them in fourth place. Oh to be Arsenal. Without that cringey Brexit fanTV stuff they do though. Arsenal’s constituency didn’t vote for May or UKIP though so we’ll dead end that particular avenue of abuse, and well in too.

There’s an air of arrogance about Arsenal that makes me prefer Spurs a bit more. But then I remember their services to football with THE greatest football game ever in 1989 and all is forgiven. I can’t arsed typecasting them as it’s Saturday and I want to get this preview done so I’ll speed past Wenger being two defeats away from licking his own eyeballs on the touchline and move on a list of some of their players:

Sanchez – looks like he’s been buried alive, eyes like a weekend comedown but plays sensational togger. He’s gonna fuck us.

Lacazette – small, technically gifted, nippy and foreign. An Arsenal signing and no mistake.

Ozil – with eyes fresh out of Madagascar, either turns up arsed and destroys you or does fuck all. A conundrum of a player. Would love him at L4.

Xhaka – energetic midfielder who wants to portray having an aggressive steak with the main problem being nothing aggressive has ever come out of Switzerland, ever. Just milk the cow and yodel to your mate on the other mountain lad, and hold on to this rare painting for me until this war shit has passed.

Kolasinac – another of them Balkan boys who overcompensate for being from a land wreaked by invasions by doing loads of dumbbell exercises and never smiling. Fuck off lad and get back to my gardening.

Cazorla – take your foot and plant it up his arse early, problem solved. You won’t though Everton you little shithouses.

Mertesacker – if you plant magic beans then in the morning a massive stalk with currywursts hanging off it will appear in your garden, for Kolasinac to practice his roundhouses on, the intense fucking twat. Back to the strimmer dickhead.

Cech – alright lad you got kicked in the head we get it, there’s no scrums in footie so get that fucking thing off.

So, Everton.

Fuck knows who Koeman will play and if he can stumble upon a winning solution like he did last season v Arsenal. Have to say the evidence points otherwise.

It was telling that more than half the team were 22 years or younger that finish the game on Thursday. We thought we would be looking to the big signings and instead we’re looking to the youth for salvation.

I’d normally try and second guess some sort of team or formation but I can’t be arsed. Just find 11 players who won’t shit out and will at least compete and that will lift the crowd and then the crowd will…you know the rest.

We’re in the shit so we need some form of reaction on Sunday, but not as much as we need some points, and then some fucking momentum to turnaround this shit tip of a season.

Fucking hurt them Everton, you horrible bastards.

Everton v Lyon Preview

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That international break was welcome but now the games are coming thick and fast, with this game being the second out of a series of six in just three weeks.

As far as defining periods go then this is a particularly crucial one for the short term, and with it probably long term, future of Everton.

I’m fucking sick of drama and perennial crisis but Everton do like to epitomise the Greek tragedy genre and the media are only too happy to ramp up the situation. I preferred us better when we were winning games and they patted us on the head, confident in the knowledge that seventh was the highest we would finish. Heady days almost.

A late Rooney penalty spared our man Ronko from more pressure per inch than the Titanic salvage. It was yet again another substandard performance which leaves you wondering if he will ever get a tune out of them again, with the mass consensus of fans convinced he won’t.

I’d be very pleasantly surprised if he survived this six game series.

In an age of FIFA, Football Manager on the PC and various apps you’ve got tens of thousands of managers critiquing formations, team selections and dressing room mentality. Koeman has faced bigger pressure in a glittering playing career but right now he is fighting for the reputation of his reborn management career. Why is progress at Everton never a straight and happy line? All that money spent and it’s a dogshit team devoid of balance. Six million pounds a year gives you a lot of accountability round these parts too.

Anyway fuck all we can do – apart from moan, boo and hiss – so this internet tit will have a look at Lyon and offer absolutely nothing that you didn’t know before.

Whilst these previews do like to explore the sinister side of opponents it’s difficult to do it for this game as we’re playing a French team and I am a big fan of the French and how they go about shit. I realise that this frank admission is a fatal blow in any application for the Football Lads Alliance. On saying that I wouldn’t like to spend my weekends marching with a bunch of few thousand gammon faced testicles wearing Stone Island and telling blag stories about how they once charged Millwall, and how they want their country back. Still, the French nearly elected Le Pen so I suppose we all got our skeletons. Southall certainly has anyway.

Lyon is tucked away in deepest France not too far actually from Geneva. Here’s a list of things to celebrate French superiority over England, for some gratuitous self loathing.

Wine. That thing that you starting drinking in your twenties when you are taking birds out for dinner to try and add perceived depth to your flaky personality. Then you find yourself buying a bottle in your thirties and mix it up with cheese. By your forties it’s an outstanding fucking pastime, you’ll perhaps pay decent money for a bottle and recommend to your friends who are equally tedious middle aged fucking hanks. Anyway, France does it much better, there’s an excess of that exquisite shit over there.

Cheese – I don’t give a fuck about your Red Leicester or Cheddar. Get to fuck. Camembert is all over it, then throw some Roquefort in the mix. There’s over 1000 cheeses in the French lexicon – they compliment their wine and make sweet love to nervous system, as speckled mitsubishis once did but you can’t handle that shit now.

Women – smouldering stockings wearing mademoiselles who absolutely love a bit of complicated grot. They take work but if one makes the right connection then that nasty wank you got off Donna from Wakefield in Malia pales somewhat. Of course you have to be aware that love is fleeting with your French girlfriend as she’s is programmed to tire of you in time, and have numerous passionate affairs behind your back and ZAP you’re back in the room and sleeping on Donna’s sofa and lamenting she has a short bleached hair do and five kids calling you Daddy after the fourth night but, capitano, for the fleeting period in your life you had that French girl and a lifetime wank bank to project on Donna’s face when she forces herself onto you with that peculiar mixed scent of Aldi Prosciutto, garlic kebab and kiwi body butter.

Art – some of it is fucked up but it’s better than gloopy oil paintings of Cumbrian viaducts.

Smoking – you’re ducks arsing your Lambert & Butler between yellow stained fingers and the French are smoking like a James Dean coaching school pro.

Fashion – Le Coq Sportif is enough to make my point here.

Work – they are not doing one second over 35 hours in the week lest it interrupts them sitting outside a cafe as quickly as possible with confused melancholic joy. If you try to pay a euro less for their vegetables then the farmers are gonna block every single route out of Calais until you yield.

For any Football Alliance Lads reading this (which is doubtful in the usual readership of 9) then it’s only fair to balance up a list of what this rainy island does better than France: war, music, being pleasant to each other, cars, Formula 1, monogamy and xenophobia.

Suppose we should talk about Lyon a bit but let’s be honest you know more than me, including they have had a moody period of late which was broken with a fantastic 3-2 win at home to Monaco on the weekend and despite the first win in a month they find themselves in sixth place in Ligue 1.

They’re managed by Bruno Genesio and amongst their team they have the lad Traore who looked like every other young player trying to break through at Chelsea, ill fated, and Memphis Depay – you just fucking know it, don’t you? Well done shirking on that one Everton you bells. The rest of them I’ll leave to the euro togger snobs amongst you.

So what are Everton going to do for this? I’m guessing amongst your answers will be “play too many number 10s”, “defensive midfielders out of form who get in each other’s way”, “no pace and width” and “absolutely no goal threat up front”. It’s just a case of which players will hit those particular frustrations this week.

Rooney is not a centre forward now. It’s clear to see that his game doesn’t involve any sort of ball retention up front, pace to stretch any central defender and a look of complete isolation prevails with his face turning into sweating spam by the minute as his frustration mounts. He’d be more effective deeper but would he get a start ahead of Sigurdsson? Well probably as he’s shite at the moment too sadly, but it’s probably a wiser move to persist with him in the hope it will click, than Rooney.

So that leaves a centre forward slot for someone with any semblance of presence up front and that means Calvert-Lewin as there’s absolutely no one else. That means Calvert-Lewin centrally as he’s dogshit played wide which is not his fault. And hope it works. Vlasic looks worth a run as he is at least making stuff happen in the final third by direct contrast to his team mates. And hope to sweet baby Jesus that someone who is not allergic to a touchline finds a bit of out wide form to compliment them.

Gueye and Schneiderlin isn’t working right now so it’s frustrating to see Tom Davies come off the bench and outshine them both. Let’s see if he gets a start or indeed we stumble upon any sort of midfield combination that can boss a game.

Jagielka and Keane at the back give me the last amount of palpitations, Baines is our only left back available and someone or other at right back who can put in at least a 6/10 performance. I swear if he rotates someone for Pickford in goal then I’ll climb on his speeding bonnet myself.

It’s difficult to ponder or talk about Everton right now.

FIN.

Carpe Diem

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You may have noticed that there’s been a distinct lack of output from Everton Aren’t We’s fine writing posse. That’s mostly because there really isn’t much to cover any more. And, with Everton in the doldrums, there isn’t much inspiration to go around.

Even more established media outlets have nothing new to tell us. “What’s gone wrong?”, asks Chris Bascombe in the Telegraph. “What’s gone wrong?”, asks Paul Joyce in the Times. “You’ll never guess what’s gone wrong at Everton – click here to find out #efc”, the Liverpool Echo tweets. Our own Chris Smith has noted it in this Unibet piece. Everyone has identified the issues Everton have, both on the pitch and off it. It makes original content very hard to come by. And it’s the clearest evidence possible that the club is fully in the mire.

At times like this, the eulogising of David Moyes’ spell at Everton – a dynasty, compared to most managerial spells these days – goes into overdrive. “Back then, we never gave up” (we did). “We never got battered on our own turf” (we did). “We never struggled for goals” (you’ve got to be kidding me). We have a very selective memory of those times. The one thing that Moyes offered was consistency. There was at least a heartening familiarity to finishing 6th or 7th, knowing that a poor start probably meant an excellent run to the end of the season was on the horizon. There was a lack of pressure, too, as it wasn’t as if there were any huge spending sprees that needed to be justified, or any statements of ambition that needed to be followed up on.

Everton haven’t really changed that much. In mid-October 2005, Everton were bottom of the Premier League. Three years later, we were 16th. Eight games into the 2009/10 season, we were 11th. The next season, Everton were the last club in the top four tiers of English football to claim a league victory, and in October 2011 we briefly plummeted to 17th. What has changed is the expectation of success, and the lack of expectation that we can achieve it. Moyes brought pleasant mediocrity. Now there is but chaos and uncertainty. Essentially, we’ve captured the Brexit mood quite nicely.

Farhad Moshiri is at the heart of the leap from transient optimism to a steadfast demand of success. Money is the central metric of all comparison in football. Every Burnley win against a bigger side last season was extra special because they’d spent £46 and a few drachmae in their entire history. You can’t get through one weekend of FA Cup football without it coming up. And, because Everton went on an unprecedented spending spree, the results have to be there.

Nonsense. The results have to be there because we have enough quality players to get the results. We are as reliant on Idrissa Gueye and Nikola Vlasic, bought for £15m between them, as Gylfi Sigurdsson, who cost three times that. It is much too easy to focus on the money. David Unsworth very recently said it best. “We’ll never ever get carried away with any run that we’re on, but at the same time, we demand wins and we expect wins.” True ambition is not measured by money. It is measured by the attitude exemplified by the manager, the players and us, the fans, as well as those who sanction transfers. Burnley stringing together 24 passes to score the only goal at Goodison Park is a case of tangible ambition being rewarded.

Back to the issue. Ronald Koeman’s time at Everton is over, or at least close to being over. I have nothing particularly new to say here, because nothing is changing. The formation, the use of certain players, the reliance on players who certainly shouldn’t be focal points, the tempo of play – they are not changing. They won’t change. Because Koeman either doesn’t know how to alter things, or he refuses to. Either way, change must be made by those at a higher pay grade. It is back into uncertainty that we go. Such is life in modern football – a life we were sheltered from while David Moyes repeatedly averted disaster and provided consistent moderate success.

It would be very easy to stick with Koeman. As easy as, say, doing nothing. Transfers in January will sort it all out. Maybe things will just sort themselves out. After all, think of all the ‘expected losses’ so far. Even in those two words, Moshiri spoke of an Everton that harks back to a time of no ambition and little hope. There is a difference, though, between knee-jerk action and acceptable alterations.

Koeman’s act has already grown old. “He says it like it is”, something racists normally say about Paul Watson or some other monolith of bigotry, wore off when he alienated players, and began to overemphasise the promise of performances in the hope of saving his own skin. He is evidently in it for himself, and that’s fine if he’s Jose Mourinho, for whom success trumps self-promotion every time. Making overtures towards Barcelona after guiding Everton to seventh speaks of a very different motivation. He has also failed to deliver on his promises. Where is the high intensity pressing game he vaunted? Where is the super-fit, hungry Everton he championed? Where is the tight, secure, organised defence we assumed he could provide?

This has become a very long ‘Koeman Out’ piece. But forget Koeman for a second – he’s not bigger than the club, no matter what he thinks. What is it we want? Silverware? Reaching for the very top? Or returning to a state of security, with solid bedrock beneath and a thick glass ceiling above us?

Isn’t risk truly the mark of ambition? It goes at every level. Kevin de Bruyne’s mesmerising display for Manchester City against Stoke was such because he made deliveries that were at risk of failure, but succeeded because he had both quality and conviction. Compare that to most Everton players right now, struggling to beat a man or make a killer pass for fear of failure. Marco Silva and Roy Hodgson both reaped the rewards of taking the game to better opposition. Hull appointing Silva in the first place was a risk – just ask Paul Merson – but though they failed, there was an ambition to do something about their predicament, and Silva’s own innovations earned him a better job. And who’s been Everton’s brightest spark in the past few weeks? Vlasic, who seeks to take the game to the opponents whenever he can; something which puts the unadventurous Morgan Schneiderlin to shame. It is necessary to have the imagination to see the opportunity for success, and the bravery to make the leap with the hope – nay, the certainty – that things will go well. Carpe diem and all that.

David Unsworth did sum it up well – we should expect and demand success. Maybe then, he is the man for the job. Maybe he isn’t. Do you see the paradox? Uncertainty is not a good thing, but when the alternative is consistent meek drubbings and uninspired displays, it is. Whatever choices are made in the end, Everton will have to take a risk in order to get what they want.

Brighton v Everton Preview

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Sorry it’s late but like you I was enjoying the international break. A sure sign that all is not well on the (occasionally) good ship Everton.

After spending the big bucks in the summer it probably shouldn’t be this way but there’s absolutely no surprise as Everton are creative enough to find new ways to fuck us all off.

Anyway, can’t put the shit back in the donkey, so on we go.

Last game out was Burnley which you’ve chewed the bones out of enough so little I can add. Most striking thing for me was how brittle our collective confidence is, just one goal and the wilt was quicker and crueller than Kirstie Allie’s.

But it’s in the past isn’t it? Got to look forward not behind, right?

There’s a new team to preview this week as promoted Brighton play Everton for the first time in nearly 35 years. It’s good to have them too as they’re all fresh faced and hopefully bloodying the nose of the privileged, right until the point their fans make us cringe. Which, judging by the other south coast teams we play, is a high probability.

Due to Indian TV wanting a slice of the big-blue-weekend-fucking-up-machine; the fixture is at 1330 which is shite for travelling down there but great if you was looking for an excuse to make a weekend of it and stay the night in Brighton with your mates, which you probably were.

There was plenty buzzing about Blackpool’s promotion a few years ago but Brighton is levels above Blackpool for a night out even if it bankrupts similar to a drinking but not gambling visit to Las Vegas. The fashion and general ambiance is a bit off-yer-barnet-Hitman-and-Her-1990-on-yer-mars-21 inch-Sanyo but for those down there, have fun.

You also won’t catch any sort of commenting on Brighton’s liberal atmosphere as, well, I’d be an even bigger tithead pointing and laughing at homosexuality or bisexuality in the year 2017 wouldn’t I lads? Sound. That goes for the knobheads who sing songs about the opposition’s boyfriends, no doubt the same tedious fuckwits who bif up dull bigoted bores like that Prison Planet wool on twitter.

You’re nobody unless you’re edgy as fuck these days lads. Do you even insta? Not as edgy as Koeman playing Ashley Williams and fucking off any sort of width or pace for our line up though mates. Soz man, gotta let that shit go haven’t I? It’s gone now.

Chris Hughton is the manager and carries the permanent express of someone that’s dropped in the lift just before the door opens to a packed waiting lobby. He does however seem a good sort so it’s hard not to root for him to succeed, in whatever relative terms Brighton would consider success. For instance like not getting relegated, which on current form they may be battling Everton for. So it’s an October 6 pointer. How did this happen? Forward for fuck sake.

I don’t know any of their players apart from Shane Duffy so can’t do shite lookalikes or vague similies about them. They do have a player called Bong at left back though which will no doubt get one or two witty shouts during the game, or one of our ketwigs trying to inhale from him when the ball goes out of play.

So who will Ronald Koeman play? Two weeks to mull over our current malaise should hopefully prompt a plan of action to turn things around. Koeman is adept as trying different players and systems compared to his two predecessors with the caveat that nothing he tries doing seems to work right now.

But – moving forward – let’s hope the playing loads of attacking midfielders and narrower than an Amsterdam house project house is fucked off. In a week where Hollywood finally acknowledged that it may have a problem with young female actresses being exploited by rich powerful men then I’m guessing pretty much fucking anything can happen.

Calvert-Lewin at least has a presence and work rate up front so he’s got to be starting in my book. Sigurdsson has been shite but needs a consistent run in a position that works for a £45m signing. Or people gonna question why that sort of money was spent on chasing him for six weeks, at the seeming expense of a much needed striker. We don’t have much width so I wouldn’t be against Vlasic getting a run either, and if anyone hasn’t started a Moyeseque rumour about what Lookman has been up to with Koeman’s daughter then paint me disappointed. Some combo of Schneiderlin or Gueye with Davies in midfield.

Williams needs fucking off out of the team and as Jagielka is back then hopefully that’s a direct swap. Whoever plays at full back doesn’t arse me as none of the various permutations are particularly effective right now. Pickford in goal, bet he was pleased to leave a struggling team behind in the summer and move to Everton eh?

Eh?

So a downbeat preview but they’re doing my head in at the moment as there are very few things to pin hope on in the squad. Not to dissimilar to the Everton that Brighton last met in 1983, I’d take the four years we had afterwards like.

We’ll end with looking forward. Fuck these Everton, because you should.

Koeman, Stupid.

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Do songs ever pop into your head at certain moments that seem to be a manifestation of your exact state of mind at that particular time? Happens to me all the time for a variety of reasons. Pop music is weird like that for those of us who grew up clinging tightly to music to soundtrack our lame lives. The occasional intersection of moments like these with the perpetual pain of sport—one of life’s truly poor emotional investments—is often a sad bit of magic.

Yesterday as the third best football club in Cyprus headed in a gut-wrenching equalizer after having just gone down to ten men, that old familiar Everton disappointment felt like someone pushing ‘Play’ on the jukebox of my internal bitterness.

“Fuck. This. Band.”

Unlike most of the other songs on the now defunct Welsh noise rockers Mclusky’s magnum opus, “Mclusky Do Dallas” and despite a title—“Fuck This Band”—that would suggest otherwise, lead singer Andy Falkous doesn’t scream these words out. Instead, he quietly and slowly articulates each word—full of beaten down exhaustion to drive the point home in a way that his normal trademark howling never could.

That was my immediate, overwhelmingly raw response to yesterday’s latest chapter of Everton theatre.

Fuck. This. Band.

My Everton balls hurt. Like so much.

The last time I wrote for EAW, I discussed the idea that it was time to deal in the reality of the current situation as opposed to what ideally ought to be the case—especially in light of so much conjecture regarding what this all could’ve been if only we’d gotten all our transfer business right. I somewhat hopefully claimed that the person who could do the most to influence how things went from now until January was manger Ronald Koeman.

Well, he sure is “influencing” things at the moment, eh?

(Can you imagine how much Southampton supporters must be loving this?)

Problems in a sport like football are rarely ever simple to comprehensively define or solve. But if we have to capture the soul of the problem, it’s the manager. Ronald Koeman is the problem with Everton Football Club right now.

Managers often find themselves being the problem or part of the problem, but if you have faith that the manager can find a way to become the solution—or at the very least facilitate one—then you find yourself willing to be a bit more patient because if you’re honest, sport isn’t always logical and certainly isn’t always fair. So if you’ve got a leader who can see a negative situation for what it is and take steps to remedy it —even if doesn’t happen as quickly as you’d prefer—there’s a way forward.

Yet for the first time—even based on such a modest and rational bar as articulated above—I’ve got my first real doubts about Ronald Koeman’s ability to right the ship. And as much as the tactical choices have bothered me, it was yesterday’s post-match comments from Koeman that took me to a darker place than I’d been in quite a while when it comes to Everton and the manager.

In a post-match abdication of leadership for the ages, Koeman obviously and repeatedly blamed the attitude, the confidence and general mindset of the players as if he carries no role in it or responsibility for it—a BAD color on a man whom we all believed to be the walking embodiment of footballing accountability.

This triggered a series of disturbing questions and thoughts about Koeman that I never believed would enter my head.

The players lack confidence? So what exactly IS Koeman worth if he can’t at least get his players to be confident? His tactical acumen? He’s certainly poured gasoline on that fire of late.

Simply stated, Ronald Koeman was supposed to be the anti-Roberto Martinez. But they may be more alike than we thought. They’ve got a personality “brand” they stick to. And both seem to look at bad football and not recognize their role in it and/or be unable to industriously find a way out of it. For all the annoying, misplaced sunshine of Martinez, it was his unwillingness to change in the face of overwhelming evidence that his tactics were ineffective that was his ultimate downfall. Did we ever think THIS would be a problem for Koeman? Koeman was the guy who could look at situations, diagnose them, and make changes accordingly. Where did THAT guy go?

The absence of “Pragmatic Koeman” this season was bad enough without him throwing his players under the bus. But to look at a team that desperately needs to find a way to play together while integrating new players and believing that calling them out in the media without a hint of shared responsibility is the proper approach is utterly reprehensible given the role Koeman has played in the start to the season.

And while a man like Ronald Koeman has forgotten more about football than I’ll ever know, there are things that I and anyone with two eyes can plainly see. I may not know what he knows, but I do understand the concept of insanity.

His players can certainly stand to perform more effectively, but it’s HIS lineups without a wide threat and 2 defensive midfielders to start (AT HOME! AGAINST AVERAGE TEAMS!) that continue to doom us to the kind of slow starts that allow fluky, ridiculously Everton things to happen like yesterday and/or bury us so quickly against good sides that we don’t have the chance to get back in the game. It is NOT that he has started ineffective lineups. It is that he has started ineffective lineups, makes changes late that seem to have a positive effect, and then proceeds to start the next game with the same previously failed philosophy—expecting to do the same thing and have results magically change. That is insanity, kids.

Average Everton player positions vs Apollon Limassol

Some people claim that Koeman is too conservative. I don’t mind conservative if it wins games. But Koeman isn’t conservative. He’s illogical. And maybe most damningly, he just doesn’t have the imagination we all thought he did.

Being pragmatic and conservative aren’t the same thing. Pragmatism is looking at what you have, what’s working and not, and proceeding accordingly. Koeman’s inability to look at what he has and create a lineup that accentuates his squad’s strengths from the FIRST whistle week to week is confounding—and is the albatross hanging around the neck of Everton at the moment.

When you’ve got a squad full of new players, you’ve got to tinker until you find something that works. I get that. It’s that Koeman often finds something effective after yet another poor team selection mid-match and doesn’t appear to be learning anything from the experience. It’s like he’s getting his brain wiped a la Men In Black and he’s starting from scratch each game—not the kind of learning curve you’d expect a manager of his experience and alleged caliber to constantly rely upon. He either doesn’t appear to be learning what his squads strengths are and adapting accordingly or he does and is more concerned about doing things “his way”—either of which are shockingly concerning. What’s sad is that I was under the misapprehension that Koeman’s “way” was to figure out what works and go with it.

The most obvious blind spot that Koeman seems to have right now is the inability and/or unwillingness to put his players in their best positions/formations to succeed. And there may be nothing that better illustrates this issue more than Wayne Rooney’s role in Koeman’s current plight.

Rooney is both a blessing and a curse to this particular version of Everton. Because no matter what you think of his handful of goals and the fact that he’s been far better than the hyperbolically dour assessments of his remaining abilities before he returned home to us, his continued inclusion and the impact it has on others in the XI having to cede their natural positions to accommodate a system that runs heavily through him deserves questioning.

And it’s not that Rooney CAN’T contribute. It’s that the free license he’s given to play “positionless football” and roam around midfield or wherever the hell he wants compromises any effort to develop a coherent or cohesive offensive plan of attack—which is only further exacerbated by having no wing players to create an outlet and the other formational decisions that serve to slow things down to a crawl with everything flowing through Rooney. Rooney’s adventuring around the pitch also really sold out Sandro and any chance he had to be truly effective. And what happened? Sandro started dropping back to try and get the ball and thus the formation and any semblance of a plan or a philosophy was further undermined. I’m sure Wayne Rooney has plenty of “winning mentality” to provide to young players, but can we honestly say that the free license he’s given and then exercises sets a good example?

And It’s not a coincidence that the team became more dangerous when Gylfi Sigurdsson was playing centrally, he had a winger to play with (how great was Vlasic?!) and one less defensive midfielder slowing the attack down. Playing your £45m acquisition in his best position. How fucking novel.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some hard choices to make, but Ronald Koeman was supposed to be the emotionless, hard as nails Dutch football manager bot that was paid the big money to make the tough decisions. Decisions like tightening the reigns on Rooney. Or playing a real wing player even if he isn’t 28 (and a “man”) and full of experience. Or acknowledging that Schneiderlin looked better without Gueye on the pitch and seems generally like he plays better without a defensive midfield partner. I’m conflicted about this particular development. I’m not sure what to do, but it does seem like having two defensive midfielders play hasn’t been working. Like at all. But it isn’t about what I’d do. It’s about what a manager who is supposed to be one thing and has completely turned into another these days wants to do.

Koeman’s approach to start a season with so much promise is at best flawed and at worst completely negligent. A football season is like a vast ocean with a variety of opportunities to re-examine the map and right the course. But vast oceans can also be a graveyard for ship captains who continuously and stubbornly invite mutiny at every turn. Your move, Skipper.

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