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Everton Arent We has 217 articles published.

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.

Everton v Burnley Preview

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It’s one of them times again.

I reckon we’re about a fortnight from “he’s lost the changing room” and ace sounding German managers put forward as an easy fix. Except there is no easy fix, or it would have been fixed by now. I’d like to fix my weekends (and Thursday evenings) by fucking Everton right off.

Welcome to October.

Whatever way you wrap it up or analyse it I reckon even the most optimistic of blues would have struggled to see the liquid anywhere near the half point in their glass. The Cypriot league is shite and we just let one of their teams snap an away draw out of us, whilst playing with 10 men. As a result that means the hard earned European competition from a promising last season is very likely going to curtail at the Group Stage.

In the 18 months since Moshiri rode into town and hired his men Koeman and Walsh, and they got to pick their men to the tune of £200 million in transfers, you’d be hoping to be a little further forward than a listless predictable team who have very little about them.

Of course it’s early days for loads of new players but it’s the youngsters and forgotten players that hope is placed on getting us out of this. For a game on the first day of October it’s just really disappointing that more than a handful will share similar sentiments to myself right now. It was meant to be an exciting season. But then, well, fucking Everton.

Not that I want the flump headed Dutchman gone. In my humble opinion it would be taking us into geordie kneejerk territory and that seldom benefits a club long term. All the good managers are taken and it’s a massive risk to put an U23 coach in charge as some want. Not criticising this as how you support Everton is up to you, and I get how fucking desperate it feels now.

So riding into town ready to stick a knife or two in us are Sean Dyche and his Burnley boys. Something which we’re not, a team where it’s whole is greater than it’s parts. They’re not short of confidence with already this season some great results away to better teams than us, so I don’t reckon they’ll be too timid about their trip to Goodison.

In a Premier League sea of cringe and shitheads there’s plenty to like about our Lancastrian neighbours. While there’s a whole host of “projects” on the go with ball achingly tedious marketing self promotion of club and fanbases, you’ll find none of that shit at Burnley. Burnley aren’t going to win any style awards, either on the pitch or in the stands. They’re not going to beautiful documentaries made about them with a whimsical theme and classical music eulogising about great achievements or a collective identity that inspires folk around the world. Fuck right off, this is deepest rain sodden Lancashire and they’re gonna give you a game of footie and put a boot up your arse. They’re going through your silky playmaker. If you don’t like it then fuck you, they’ll do it again. Any of their players that doesn’t do it is getting hauled off quick smart and another eager beaver sent on to elbow your ribs when the ref isn’t looking.

It is a disservice that as they can play some nice footie but the key message is that the poor bastards in royal blue that are feeling sorry for themselves and low on confidence probably aren’t gonna like being on the pitch Sunday afternoon. The other point is a subliminal one which you probably picked up on and that is “how scruffy are Burnley?”.

The answer to which is “extremely, my friend”.

If it’s raining them expect a legion of three quarter length Puma coats heading via machine and beast to the 21st century from Burnley. Simple hordes with limited IQ but a good heart and commitment to the cause. Think north of the wall on Game Of Thrones. But with dirtier fingernails, and ENGLISH BY THE GRACE OF GOD tattoos all in places where a Donnay polo shirt doesn’t touch.

You’ll never find a clean ashtray in Burnley. Golden Virginia and yellow fingers all over the show. Rolled up and behind the ear. Calling passing girls “darling” and uncomfortable sexual innuendos are the hallmarks of the top shaggers in town. Knee tremblers round the back on the weekend. Kids with big ears and simple ways. Gruel butties for supper.

Want some data? The average life expectancy for a male is 4 years less than the national average. 63% of of all adults are classed as overweight or obese. There’s a higher % of people in Burnley that report having unprotected sex with their last new partner than those who used protection for someone new. All 14 districts in Burnley voted for Brexit. They did however vote Labour at the last General Election.

Social class is divided neatly and simply in Burnley between who goes to Blackpool on holiday and who goes to on a trip of a lifetime to Benidorm. Despite all this I like them, I like them a lot. And I wish the rest of the Premier League was more like them. Long may they stay in the top division as they’ll only be replaced by some annoying bellwipes with ideas above their station and fans trying to “banter” us. They also like putting one over the shite across the park. Wish we was more like that to be fair.

Manager Sean Dyche has a voice for promoting gritty crime dramas on UK Gold and has a head which is 85% Scotch Egg. He’s chatting absolutely no shit. He’s coming for the points and this is some of his team who may or may not play on Sunday:

Chris Wood – big galoot signed from Leeds who will be all over the Williams-Holgate axis of meh.

Defour – a previous Moyes wet dream, more than decent midfielder too. Didn’t cost between 25 to 45 million pounds, oddly.

Hendrick – an Aldi Robbie Savage and with a head so round kids try to carve it up and put in their window on Halloween, the pumpkin headed fuck.

Brady – Irish lad who can take a free kick and looks like the most Irish lad that’s ever existed. Bet you he’s “into the MMA” and wears a waistcoat to the Grand National.

Stephen Ward – give the lad a fidget spinner for that fucking nose.

Pope – young keeper playing in place of Heaton, I’m sure our team of number 10s won’t trouble him too much.

If the latest result doesn’t shock Ronko into making some changes then we truly fucked. Whatever he’s persisting with isn’t working at all. Right now we could do with a team of players in their preferred positions and if that means some big signings sitting it out then so be it.

Calvert Lewin is a nap to start as he’s the only presence we have up front that makes the ball hang around in the opposition’s final third. The rested Niasse should also be pushing for a start you’d guess. How the fuck did we spent £200m and end up with that as preferred attacking options for an almost must win game? No idea if they’ll be part of a 2 or 3, and who else comes in. Probably Rooney, but it should be Vlasic, or even maybe give that Lookman lad a shot as he surely can’t be any worse than the others up top.

There’s no real balance or understanding in the midfield which is a shame as Schneiderlin and Gueye are fine midfielders but it just isn’t working now, and probably not the best option together at home for games you want to be pressing. Davies had a poor game midweek but I’d stick with him as he’s at least effective when he turns up. What other options do we have? Sigurdsson somewhere in there I suppose, need to see something from him soon, with relegation battles being his forte. Me-ow.

Can’t see Williams doing many Everton after dinner speeches when he’s older and a shame Holgate is thrust into a partnership and team that’s under pressure and making mistakes. Keane misses out facing his old club through injury as does Jagielka. Is Funes Mori still playing for Everton? If so when’s he back? Seen some good stuff this week about partnerships and it made me think about Baines and his absence of any sort of partnership with a player on the left since Pienaar faded. I’d personally stick with Kenny at right back and give him a run of games, see how he does. Pickford will be in goal.

This fixture is the final game for a fortnight as we get hit by another tedious poorly timed international break. Really can’t be arsed chewing another Everton shitshow for a fortnight.

Onto October it is. Three points needed, apply within.

Everton v Apollon Limassol Preview

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Thursday night club resumes in L4 4EL this week as us lucky folk get a third consecutive shot of Everton at home. Another home game too where we can reasonably expect a win – with mandatory waiver about it being Everton etc etc.

It’s better than turning up knowing you’re getting tonked which was the tone for the previous month and a chance to gain some confidence and breathing space for our team to gel some. If they do at all. It’s also a chance to talk about Cyprus and cast loose mean stereotypes at them because, well, that’s what we fucking do isn’t it?

Last game out was another thriller at home v Bournemouth but not with six goals and back slaps all round. In fact we were lucky to win it and thank fuck we did as the league table is unpleasant viewing after the win, so one can only assume what it would be like if Josh King’s slalom & whack was the difference. There’s some that – probably more astutely than me – focus on the performance rather than the result but I wish to confess – dear reader – that for me it’s all about Everton winning at someone else’s expense. That’s the shit that releases endorphins in my brain and the absolute zero pity for who we trample over, snide or shithouse out the way to achieve this. I know y’all dislike him right now but our man Ronko is exactly the same.

Will that be a springboard for more? I doubt it like. But then are you expecting to really advance on seventh place in the league this year all things being well? Nah me neither, we don’t have enough about us to achieve this so while I want us very much to finish there as a minimum, I really want us to make some progress in cups with the goal of an Everton captain lifting one over their head and ending that 22 year ache that festers in the background and makes us all dead ratty when what seems like stagnation sets in. I fuck about online mostly and stoke the polarisation game of opinions that I do enjoy with rabid heat of the moment togger fans, but genuinely there may be moans that we’re negative and pessimistic as a bunch – and we so fucking are – but that 22 year itch is what creates the anxiety. And long may Evertonians never accept such a barren spell of trophies.

Anyway it’s not about me and what I think, it’s about who we’re playing. That happens to be Apollon Limassol this week and thank fuck I know Cyprus quite well. The problem being that I do like the country and people, which makes for dull previewing. So I’ll pick around the edges and see what we can find.

First of all Cyprus is not Greece. They speak Greek (with a weird accent using lots of “s” instead of “ch”) but are definitely not Greek. They’re only Greek when one of their Archbishops gets a snarl on and the Turkish decide to take over thirty odd percent of the island. Then they cry to Athens for back up. For all intents and purposes you could call them jarg Greeks. Or the Scrappy Do to Greece’s Scooby.

The main difference between them and the Greeks is that the Cypriots love money and have more of it than the Greeks. They’re a bit more business savvy than the Greeks who base transactions on if they like you – and no complaints of that as the Greeks are full fucking value and ace people with it. The Cypriots have that kopiaste about them but would sell you for a euro, or an extra mouflon fenced on their land. The mouflon being some weird goat thing that’s only found in Cyprus. They’re also happy to charge extortionate prices for Keo beer despite it being inferior to Mythos, and to odle your wife with lashings of sleaze whilst pouring you the local tsivania fire water stuff, that they’re defo pissing into out the back of “Churchill’s Bar”.

Spiros is also going to convince yer dar to spend your inheritance on a “luxury villa” in the heat of the moment, the utter ratsnake twat. He’s put his number in yer mar’s phone right there, the shameless bastard, so when she comes back to close the villa sale and sort things out he can help in putting her touch with the right people locally. By “right people” he means his “grubby little Cypriot cock” with pubes absolutely all over the show. Get your mother’s phone and set it on fire right away mate.

On their scorched, partitioned island you’ll find Limassol in the middle on the south coast. The city itself is dull as fuck. It’s a gigantic port so there’s all sorts of oil swill creating tankers and haulage ships lurching in and out of there day and night. It’s close to the British bases of Akrotiri and Episkopi so if you make it to the discos there – and there was a cracker with a floor so minty it was adhesive called the Auld Triangle – then rather topically you’ve some idea of the competition a single sperm faces to reach the prized egg, as any single female is being hit on every nine seconds by the drunk and randy forces lads. A kebab and a wank is the usual climax of a night out in Limassol. Or a fight with the gangs of vest wearing Eastern Europeans who have settled there and are good value for a spot of blindside shithousing on lads who don’t take their fancy, and that they outnumber. I’ve done poppers at dawn and mutual masturbation under a stolen quilt on a park bench with a girl I was fond of, while enthusiastically greeting sporadic morning joggers as they passed by the seafront in Limassol. That’s the sort of place it is.

A couple of name and place changes and I could be talking about Ellesmere Port there come to think of it. How fucking exotic and cultured is this Euro footie eh the lads?

There’s a huge amount of ex pats living in Cyprus – that’s a lot of commission and mar foof for Spiros – who will post all manner of social media photos on your timeline to make you sick as fuck. That’s why they do it. You’re sat outside Tesco with the sleet bouncing on your windscreen waiting for her to empty your paltry credit card and there’s some chestnut tanned dickhead who lives away and can’t fucking wait to let everyone know about. Fear not as it’s a farce.

Whatever anyone has bought in Cyprus be it property or timeshare has not made a profit in 20 years on it. Also that deep tan they’re showing off is gonna skin cancer the fuck out of them. There’s absolutely no UV getting in your car and through that sleet mate. Nor is Spiros sending whatsapps to your missus when you’re having a night bonding with other ex pats down the local bouzoukia, despite 75% of ex pats being the most loathsome sneering shitcunts around. A veritable fucking jackpot win for you there mate, so shut up and turn that Magic FM volume one notch higher.

What about their fans? As I said at the start I like Cypriots a lot, and mainly for their self depreciating dark sense of humour. So I’ll call them a bunch of passive aggressive George Michaels and a smattering of them annoying ex pats trying to integrate. Usually fat middle aged cockneys who tragically want to be ultras. What about Apollon Limassol themselves and who they’re gonna play? Do you really give a fuck if I rolled some names off at you? And pretended to tell you who their danger man is (I don’t know and never want to), what formation they’re likely to play (I don’t give a fuck) and how they’re faring of late with their performances (I hope North Korea target practice their stadium so I don’t have to preview them again).

So that all fourteen readers agree, let’s move quickly onto Everton.

Oumar Niasse, the beautiful stallion, is not registered for this competition so will be our main hope of goals in the Premier League. Point of order there, about 18 months ago when Moshiri came in and was told by plenty that we’d fucking made it and would promptly “Man City” the fuck out of the league. And here I am a year and a half later relying on Oumar Niasse to score goals and propel us to glory. Seriously Everton how do you do this to me? Not a slant on Niasse who is testament to all that we love at Everton – the wrote off underdog with a great attitude, amicable nature and infectious work rate. I just aspired for a little more sex up front in our team by now, but we go with what we’ve got.

That said it means opportunity knocks for Dominic Calvert-Lewin who is showcasing – in a unassuming way – a plethora of attributes to his game that we hope will continue to develop into a decent striker at Everton. We need to forget about fees and reputations for the moment and select the 11 most able to win games. That at the moment would include DCL and have Thomas Davies of West Derby ahead of some big money signings. What a through ball on the Ketwig Kaiser too. Whoever else plays is down the whim of our six million pound a year manager. Hopefully he’ll find a way like he did last season when he was scrambling about in autumn before hitting on a tested formula around Christmas.

We’ve a lot of new players, we’ve lost the best goalscorer of a generation or so, we’re balancing more games than anyone else in the league and we drew the fixture list of all twat to begin. I was hoping for more wins, panache about us and hope but so far it’s been a big meh. Context man, or girl. Or myself.

There’ll be some squad rotation for this so hard to second guess the team. I do hope that we find that formation which manages to turn one of the most unbalanced Everton teams I’ve seen into a slick game winning bunch.

So there’s your midweek bundle of joy preview. Bottom line is that shitshow in Italy hasn’t left us any room for anything less than goals and goal difference against the shittest team in the group. That’s what needs to happen. How Everton go about that is up to them but that needs to be the key. If Everton have to take a fucking knee for it every time a UEFA flag is flown then so be it.

Just beat these plucky biff leaguers without making us sweat. Afta einai skata.

Everton v Bournemouth Preview

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Suppose it’s a sign of how shite Everton have started the season when you approach a Bournemouth game at Goodison and consider it a “must win” in September.

Or maybe it’s a sign of the hyperbole and hysteria in the media slanting the view of dickheads like me to chat utter biscuits after just five league games.

In the most hurtful collapse seen since Tommy Cooper horribly stumbled into a curtain, Everton shipped three late goals to a Man Utd team they’d been pegging back, and typical of Everton to slash you where it hurts one of those goals was to Lukaku who then decided to shush the travelling away fans. As Sundays go it was a particularly shite one.

Then a midweek League Cup tie at home to Sunderland brought us welcome goals, clean sheet and an even rarer win. Go on and win it Toffees! Like fuck, you just drew Chelsea away in the next round you horrible downright hurtful shithouses. Fuck right off Everton.

So Bournemouth on Saturday at 3pm on St Domingo’s favoured patch of green. The south coast fucks are struggling like us and even below us in the league, the shit bastards, as Everton comfortably slot into the bottom 3.

There’s something fluffy and non threatening about Bournemouth – appropriate as Eddie Howe looks like a shaved Ewok – that endears Bournemouth to the wider Premier League audience. There’s no ambition other than establishing themselves in the cash cow of England’s top division, and no mega funding menace to creep on the teams above them, like Everton. A cosy ground and a family club banded around the place and it’s easy to see why Bournemouth – on the outside – would be treated with indirect affection.

If you’re a scouser and visit Bournemouth you maybe get a feel for the place, with it’s nice houses and relative lack of North Faced ninjas on the corners. Perhaps you’ll marvel at the fresh sea breeze coming in and stimulating your flake addled nostrils. The local shop owner not reaching for the shotgun under the counter when you walk in of an evening may seem strange, but pleasant nonetheless.

Both Bournemouth East and Bournemouth West continually vote Tory in the elections. Truth is mate, they fucking hate you and your type. Speak to the scousers that settled down there in the 1980s trying to escape the claws of Thatcher scraping their own city. It’s a facade mate. Scratch that surface and none of it is real. It’s a right of centre Truman Show, directed by Michael Grove and every single one of them is laughing their cocks off at you. They’re telling their neighbours that your kids have lice. They stand up when the national anthem comes on TV. They have savings accounts and upgrade on long haul aircraft to avoid being sat to close to you and your type. They can “see what Boris is saying” when he’s on TV and they nod every time he takes a swipe at Merseyside.

Fuck them and their comfortable, clean suburbia. Fuck them and the charade of their community. These are self serving lizards and they’re out to politely fuck Everton and our people over so we don’t feel bad about the privileged snaking us out of three points that belong to us. Fucking hurt these Everton.

What’s your favourite series of The Wire? Between 1 and 3 for me. Series 4 has it’s merits and Series 2 gets better the second time you watch it. Enjoyed Series 5 too myself but amongst Wire affectionados you show disconcerting taste by dismissing Series 5.

Eddie Howe is an Evertonian so we will lay off him and go straight to his squad of players for more of the usual shit.

Josh King – his mates called him “Jo” GREAT SITE LADS. I’d have him at Everton.

Defoe – what a striker he’s been, still banging them in. You could squeeze a hurricane between his front two teeth like, the wee dangerous goal-elf. I’d have him at Everton.

Ibe – it’s OK to sell Sterling, they said. I’d not have him at Everton.

Gosling – the peak of his professional career was shithoused by an advert. He was at Everton.

Arter – their central hub for most of their creative forces, looks like a yuppie, hurt him. He’s not Everton.

And some other players who I can’t be arsed googling.

So onto Everton.

Up front there’s somewhat of a quagmire. Only one person has scored for Everton in the league this season, yer man with the driving ban. Scored twice. No one else so far. This is our last league fixture of September. Sandro Ramirez understandably is adapting to his first foreign league, and seemingly the physicality of it. Our great saviour Niasse was photographed at Selhurst Park two hours before the transfer window closed so is some indication of lack of design there. Calvert-Lewin has a bright future in the game and is doing a fine job as our only big striker but it’s too much to rest on his shoulders twice a week the responsibility of scoring the goals Everton needs to improve. Barkley is injured and wants away. Lookman is incredibly raw, so too but seemingly lesser so is Vlasic. Mirallas wants to be in Athens.

Goals most definitely win games so it’s a grim picture filling that preferred front 3 with productivity until January comes around, and presumably there’s eyes on a striker but in a time period where proven high class strikers are generally not available. It’s a bit mad we’ve finished the transfer window like this.

The midfield is subject to chopping and changing as stale-cherry-blossom faced Ronko scrambles around for a system and personnel that delivers wins. Hope he finds one soon. In the meantime I reckon the resting of Gueye and Schneiderlin in midweek almost guarantees them a start for this. Someone else in there too, maybe Sigurdsson?

Jagielka twinged something so I reckon that’s a sure thing for Williams and Keane to partner again this weekend, whether that’s a good thing remains to be seen. Baines and Curacao’s finest probably at full backs. Pickford with his random eyes in the nets.

You know what? Sack the must win moniker or whatever. It’s 3pm at Goodison on a Saturday, nothing more, nothing less. And for such spectacles no matter the narrative or side story it’s the duty of Everton to get the fuck right into anyone who opposes them.

Let’s try and take it from there.

Man Utd v Everton Preview

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I doubt you want to read much about Everton at the moment so I’ll spare you the combined pain of that and my try too hard words with this special match day mini preview. Essentially a bog read for when you’re on a public toilet and can hear a belt unbuckle in the cubicle next to you. Pushed too hard there mate as the acoustics of the bowl echos the first salvo of air.

There’s a little bit about Man Utd if you do read on, promise.

The past 3 games have been utter shite. No two ways about it. It wasn’t the defeat and margin – although 8 without response is gonna rage the most serene of blues – but more down to there not being any redeeming aspects of the performances or even any crumbs of hope to cling to. It was textbook painful Everton from your buried memories of them at their shittest.

I’m not ready for calling for the gigantic Rice Krispy head of our Dutch overlord just yet but I can see why so many are so desolate. We just spent the thick end of £140m and look so much worse for it, which is fucking shite on any level. Anyway, don’t want to have to double drop on the Enalapril so will leave it there. But fuck off, all of you.

So, new season optimism completely eviscerated by mid September we can move on in search of a morale boosting turning point on which to turn a season. So a trip to the best Man Utd side in years, and one headed up by the ace striker they just signed from us is just what the doctor ordered, if said doctor was a twisted and malicious fuck.

You know loads about Man Utd, so what can I tell you about the most successful English team to play the game? Well in terms of fans it’s a mixed bunch. I refuse to let the kopites poison my waters in their search for an ally against them. While the wider footballing world has woken to the true nature of the kopite in recent years (thanks Mr Suarez and Mr Dalglish) there was only Man Utd who could see what we could see prior. The enemy of my enemy is my friend and all that. There’s a sizeable section of United fans who are working class locals and sound with it, I know this goes against the what may get banded around and therefore I guarantee you it is the last compliment I’ll pay them before moving onto poorly drawn stereotypes.

The scruffy bow legged canal pushing cunts. Fuck right off with your tedious songbook for the purposes of the TV microphones and just watch the game titheads. It’s also worth pointing out that any of Man Utd’s success had absolutely fuck all to do with you so claiming it as a some sort of reflected glory to sneer at others is the very thing you detest most – kopiteism. Hang on a minute, the more I think of this, and the cringey choir singing and the banners and chatting to smug mancs who chat utter fucking wham about football then I’m seeing hideous parallels. Do Man Utd hate Liverpool because they are vying for that profile? I’ll leave you to answer that, dear reader.

Going away to Man Utd is shite, and not just because they usually stove our heads in on the field. Off the pitch it’s overly volatile. The type of away where you have to stay with your mates and keep the accents down as there’s shithousing around for “scarsers” who appear an easy target. It’s 2017 lads. Calm the fuck down no one is arsed or impressed over your misplaced sense of territory. You’re wearing Joe Bloggs jeans mate and sporting the snidest of little bumfluff muzzies. You’ve got Slazenger trabs on you manc fuck and when the temperature goes above 20 degrees you drag the sofa into the front yard along with the Argos beatbox. Fucking tramps. Your accent, dress sense, inappropriate sexualising of your siblings and entire fucking culture is king wool behaviour. And for that you must be crushed/reduced to just a two goal winning margin.

So onto the team itself and it looks a good unit this year doesn’t it? Mourinho hasn’t fucked about after last season of home draws and shit. He’s gone out and prised Lukaku from us with utter ease, then got what looks like a relative fucking bargain in Matic not only for what he brings, but also for allowing Pogba to move up the pitch and start controlling midfields. The Frenchman will miss this game but they’ll still have too much for us. This is just 5 months after we were gutted to be denied a point in the same fixture. Where the fuck did that £145 million go? It’s one cruel fucking ponzi scheme Everton have bought into there.

Anyway, some of their players:

Lukaku – I hope yer dar is as critical of his first touch and miles ran up front as the boss Belgian pummels in his third against us. Best Everton striker of the past few decades, if you couldn’t see it then drop the edgy act and pay closer attention next time.

Mata – he signed yet? Oh no hang on, we’re fucking shite so why would he?

Rashford – what a player.

Pogba – what A.D.D. looks like in modern football, just pass the ball no one is arsed what your “brand” is you dull tithead.

Mkhitaryan – looks like a lead in a Kazakhstan remake of Friends but can play the footballs well, and is better in his second season after a slow first year.

Fellaini – I miss the big elbowing galoot.

Young – the Eat4Less Marlo Stansfield looking little shithead who snaked us when at Villa and I’ll never forget. You think it’s this way, but it’s the other way.

De Gea – ace him.

Time to talk about Everton and this is normally the point I’d chat a few names, commenting on who’s doing well or not. Maybe even a reference to what formation that may play. Like fuck I can be arsed doing all that right now but all I want to say is that Koeman needs to stumble on some formula of personnel and tactics soon to halt the rot. I don’t care who it is, what’s happened before with them or if we play in a most ludicrous formation. While we’re rummaging about fixing that it would be nice to find a least a few of said players who can throw a tackle in like they are arsed about their paymasters.

And that’s it really. Into them blues, just a simple wish.

With a knick knack paddy whack give a dog a bone. You know the rest.

The Burden of The Ideal

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Well, that escalated quickly, eh?

All I want to do is to go back and wrap myself up tightly with that warm, sweetly satisfactory feeling from this summer when we confirmed deals for Jordan Pickford and Davy Klaassen in the space of about 36 hours. We were finally going to be the bullies. It was like lingerie suddenly popping up where the big underwear had always resided and you were suddenly filled with both newfound lust AND hope all at once.

Just as there’s a pretty limited celling to living in the past, it’s also true that living in an idealized/imagined reality can be fun, but is also ultimately fleeting. And in the case of Everton, living in an idealized world is about as toxic an approach to our present adversity as there could be.

Let’s get this out of the way now. The window was good, but painfully incomplete. Whether you’ve subscribed to the comforting oversimplification that Everton didn’t try hard enough or only started looking for a striker during the final few days of the window, the bottom line is that while the club added quality foundational pieces, they didn’t get the target-man they needed. And if they’d gotten the target-man they needed but hadn’t signed a new long term keeper or center back, I’d be equally as frustrated. The degree to which this thing needed both a roster and philosophical overhaul from seasons past is becoming more painfully obvious by the day—especially when considering a club famously inept in transfer windows past managed to find a way to literally secure five of their six top targets and STILL find a way to fall significantly short of what was needed. It’s hard to wrap your brain around it, but it feels true, doesn’t it?

What’s also objectively true is that this team doesn’t win on the road (a long-term issue) and doesn’t score (a shorter-term, but no less alarming issue). Making it through the Europa qualifying stages and being previously hard to beat at home helped to mitigate the concerns about these a bit, but no more. And that’s fine. Let’s all acknowledge just how bad things are so we can begin to focus on what solutions look like.

In order to do that, let’s be bold and dare to live in both the present AND the real. I live in a country where reality and facts have been largely tossed into a highly disappointing stew of gray area, so I’m doing my best to confront the issues of the day through as comprehensive a lens as I can. And while I could pontificate endlessly on the folly of what happened to America last November, it’s almost a year later and I’m forced to wake up each day in the world as it is and not how I’d like it to be. So it is with football.

So what’s to blame for where we find ourselves at this moment? The manager? The schedule? The roster transition? The window? The players? YES.

And if you think it’s all on Koeman or all on the Board or all on the players or all on Olivier Giroud’s wife, you’re being intellectually dishonest. Most big problems are big largely because they’re also complicated. So it is with ye olde Everton. A bad, BAD run of form that feels longer than it actually is because of how god awful BAD its been has shined a light on every little crack that has threatened to result in a hemorrhage.

But of all the reasons listed above, there are few under anyone’s direct control at this point. The schedule is what it is. The players currently at our disposal can’t be augmented until January and/or when the healing powers of time do their thing. Ultimately, the greatest hope for changing the course of things must come from the single most influential person currently at Everton – the manager.

Ronald Koeman. A man who has never shied away from the legacy of his greatness as a player and who fashions himself a man’s man with a no-nonsense approach and a simple bottom line expectation for his players: Results

So it would seem that based on such a standard that the old platitude about doing the same thing over and over and insanity would force Ronny to consider a fundamental reconsideration of his approach–especially from a tactical perspective. Highly skilled teams CAN (contrary to what you hear so often on Everton Twitter) win without width and pace. Everton, however, are NOT–despite some major talent additions in goal, in defense, and some nice attacking additions elsewhere–a highly skilled team. They are a team with some players that have some unique individual skills that must find creative ways to take advantage of every yard of the pitch to get the most out of said skills. Don’t have blistering pace in the middle of the field? The answer isn’t simply to throw more guys into the center of midfield. The answer comes in taking a chance with players who can add width to expand the field of play in order to create some key opportunities/mismatches–even if their age/lack of experience irks your pragmatic Dutch sensibilities. That may mean taking the uncomfortable calculated risk of playing the likes of Jonjoe Kenny, Vlasic and Lookman in heightened roles–especially if Mirallas is beyond salvation. (Do we actually have the luxury to make such a dramatic determination about Mirallas at a time when Niasse is suddenly back in contention for the first team?). That may mean playing one less holding midfielder. That may mean rotating Rooney around or even to the bench on occasion (a proposition that many of us were just fine with before he scored our only two league goals) to give guys like Sigurdsson and Klaassen the opportunity to thrive in their best positions for the cause of the greater good.

For sure, a healthy Yannick Bolasie would solve a lot of what’s wrong with the current balance. So would Coleman. Hell, having Giroud up top would make things better. But again, there’s no point in lamenting what is presently out of reach. A lot of managers can succeed when things are ideal. In theory, you pay the big money for an elite manager to be able to succeed when conditions are not ideal. The roster isn’t ideal. The schedule isn’t ideal. The sheer number of new players who’ve spent little time playing together compared to their completion across the pitch isn’t ideal. That the manager hasn’t figured out how to fit his new pieces together isn’t ideal. The current injuries aren’t ideal. We can and should accept that all of those things are true AND still expect a highly skilled manager to take a proactive, creative approach toward overcoming the resulting adversity. So if Koeman is the manager we believed he was when we brought him in, it’s time for him to earn that money. Those beer buzzy beach binges aren’t gonna pay for themselves, mind you.

And part of a reconsidered approach also may mean sitting players who simply aren’t delivering enough right now. (Insert joke about how all the players are pretty much shit at the moment here). And this includes–painfully for me personally to admit–sitting French lothario Morgan Schneiderlin for a while. If there’s anyone who needs a carrot dangled in front of him at the moment, it’s him. Outside of getting married over the summer, there’s simply no explanation in terms of circumstantial change for his regression. He’s at his peak age physically, we’ve all SEEN him play really well for us not that long ago, and he’s getting plenty of playing time. What ails him must be between the ears. I won’t speculate on what the issue could be, but the answer for Everton may have to come in the form of–my lord I can’t believe I’m about to utter these words–James McCarthy. I just threw up in my mouth a little bit. Yes, the bane of my existence is–according to Koeman–a distinct possibility for next weekend. And while he doesn’t have the skill of Morgan Schneiderlin, it doesn’t appear that Morgan Schneiderlin has it either at the moment. So maybe we ought to take advantage of McCarthy’s running and pressing and tackling abilities for that period of time before the next inevitable hamstring strain to see if he can inject some much needed guile to this thing.

But of course, the issues run deeper than that. Koeman, in general, needs to consider how he can remove some of the ambiguity from his day to day approach both tactically and from a personnel standpoint. Some key questions/issues for Koeman to consider:

Koeman must understand that his preferred system and the system that is best for the players he currently has may be two different things right now and accept that. He’s allegedly a pragmatist, right? So what is that system? Who fits in? Start by managing that.

Can Koeman take advantage of the (relatively) softer part of the upcoming schedule and blood the young talent in positions of weakness? The growing pains are a requisite part of development. So either endure the pain now or stick with what isn’t working and be forced to endure it long after the season is lost. (Cliché alert) There are no easy games in this league, but the upcoming stretch is objectively easier than both the current stretch and later stretches of the season. Might as well spend this time building an identity and providing players with defined roles that can help them all to focus and perform more effectively.

What is Tom Davies role in this team?

Jonjoe Kenny may in reality not be ready for the first team. But if that’s the case, why didn’t he go out on loan? He’s not getting better playing for the U-23’s. So logic dictates that he’s been kept around for some reason. Surely an England U-21 coming off playing a key role in an U-20 World Cup title had options. And what exactly is the upside of playing Martina over him? They both have decent pace and can put a cross in, but we know Martina can’t defend and essentially is what he is. Could the play of the team really get worse having Kenny in the lineup?

Domino effect: What is the upside of continuing to play Holgate out of position? Could Holgate not at least play some games in the center of defense in Europe?

What formation best suits the abilities of Sandro and Klaassen? They seem to have been at their best when they’ve had width. Guys like this who aren’t slick and sophisticated passers yet ARE smart players who move well, link up well, and have proven in previous years that they can finish well seem to benefit when the attack is a bit more expansive. You paid a cost in terms of money and effort to get these guys in, so why not put them in more ideal positions to succeed?

What is Koeman’s philosophy on squad rotation? When you’re playing in Europe—especially in the punishing Thursday/Sunday format of the Europa league, squad rotation is a necessary balancing act to be sure. But if the goal is to keep players fresh, what is the logic behind resting young players and playing older players for heavy minutes—namely Rooney—both during the week and at the weekend? When I’ve broached this issue, the typical response is that Rooney has been one of our best players. This starts to feel like when you question the logic of a war and someone responds asking why you don’t support the troops? It’s conflating two very different issues. Wayne Rooney HAS performed well and he is STILL about to turn 32. Is starting and playing 90 minutes on a weekly basis not “regular” enough football for him? Doesn’t logic suggest that to get the best out of him for a longer season that his minutes must be managed strategically when possible? And if Koeman thinks Rooney’s minutes don’t need to be managed, why does he think players who are 10 years his junior need to have theirs managed? Surely, a more logically consistent approach couldn’t hurt.

Other random thoughts:

If you’re tired of Koeman have no fear. Only one more season before he leaves for that Barcelona gig, right?

Handsome Stek may be a painfully average keeper, but admit it—he looks like he smells fantastic. I’d keep him away from my wife.

I like Vlasic. He’s young, but he appears to possess some pace, as well as both strength on and for the ball considering his age.

One of the best parts about getting to know so many of you has been getting acquainted with your specific and creative uses of the English language. So to borrow a bit of that for a moment, any of you using sentences lately with “at least under Martinez/Moyes” can get to fuck. Like get right to fuck.

Everton have too many players who’ve held leadership roles for club and country for there to be any excuses for a lack of leadership. Rooney. Williams. Klaassen. Keane. Sigurdsson. Real leaders shouldn’t need an armband to step up. Yell and scream. Throw shit. Take the boys out for a bonding excursion to the strip club. Do karaoke together. Just do SOMETHING. As we’ve learned over the years, if you’re waiting for strong, vocal leadership from Phil Jagielka, you’re gonna be waiting for a while. Jagielka has been a fine player for a long, long time. But he’s been more a captain by default than anything. The club can’t continue to scream for a new mentality and expect it to come from the same leaders who are part of the old mentality. I’m not sure who that should be. But picking from the old guard seems counterintuitive. More importantly, a leader needs to emerge as opposed to being coronated.

Chin up, Blues. When you’re in the middle of the storm, it all feels pretty hopeless. And Sunday doesn’t offer much hope for a respite. But it can’t get much worse than what we’ve seen the last few weeks, right? The real question is: Can Everton begin the process of making things right? Sure. But it starts with a long, hard, honest look in the mirror. The only destination Everton will ultimately reach at the end of this present tempest is the one they earn. Not the one they think ought to be.

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