Well the season is now over and we need a new manager. I've been thinking about the challenges whomever takes up the challenge of managing the greatest football club on earth.
Reconnecting with the fans
Despite all the bad results and performances I reckon that if Martinez hadn't â€˜lost' the fans the board would have bought his 2 semi finals and on the cusp of achieving our phenomenal potential rhetoric. A key lesson for the new manager is that he will need to treat the fans with (not just match going ones) with some honesty and integrity in his media engagements (learning from errors will help too).
In all fairness the players need to reconnect with the fans as a number of these haven't displayed the minimum requirement of putting in a shift on match-days (especially during the last 2 months of the season). In addition, some may need reminding when speaking to the media that they are employed by Everton Football Club first and its fans will be able to access the interviews including their context. Making noises about other clubs only serves to create rifts with the fans (perhaps a code of conduct may be needed? â€“ lets face it most of us have to sign up to one irrespective of the industry that we work in!).
Rebuild team spirit
Recent performances have also highlighted that the players are either playing for themselves or have formed cliques, which doesn't help team spirt that the club used to be famous for. Whilst you don't have to be best buddies with all of your teammates you need to have some professional respect and want to work together (e.g. work back when we lose possession).
Get more leaders
While we have a number of experienced players within the squad very few of them can be described as leaders â€“ how often do you see the likes of Jagielka, Baines, or Barry organising or cajoling the team (or pointing and shouting as it used to be called under Captain Pip)? To my mind we've got too many nice or selfish players who don't take a lead on the field (can't comment on the dressing room or training ground) and we need to get some in who have that winning mentality and won't accept sloppy standards from those around them â€“ think of Souuthall, Ratcliffe, Reid and Gray from the mid-eighties team.
Some may already be at the club and a new manager may be just what they need to bring those qualities to the fore. Personally I think we need to buy in those qualities in a few key positions â€“ Goalkeeper, Centre Half and Centre Mid basically the spine of the team.
Over the course of the season it was apparent that a number of players were shot around the 60 minute mark so its no surprise that we conceded a number of late goals because concentration tends to fade when players are tired. Luckily as a number of players aren't on international duty this summer, a new manager and a number of promising youngsters knocking on the door will be the motivation to work on their fitness during the off-season. Either way the new manager will need to have a plan to improve the fitness of the squad if only to compete in the league as a number of clubs will have taken note of Leicester's title win and will seek to replicate their energetic approach.
Manage the â€˜star' players
Rightly or wrongly we have a small number of â€˜star' players who are ripe for headlines moving them on this summer. The job of the new manager will be to either convince them to give us one more year or work out disruptive influences and get the best price for them (while also having a replacement lined up either through the ranks or externally). I would probably move Lukaku and Mirallas on as they are disruptive influences albeit we need to have excellent replacements lined up.
Clear out the dead wood
One way or another there are going to be big changes to the squad with Howard, Hibbert, Osman, Pienaar and Gibson's contracts coming to an end. I think that a few other players should also be let go as they are either not good enough or ar ein a positon where we are over stocked (such as left back). Those ripe for leaving in my opinion are McGeady, McAleny, Oviedo, Kone and McCarthy (sorry I don't see the value of a defensive midfielder with no positional sense who doesn't add anything offensively).
Unfortunately this season has proved that Robles will never be a top goalkeeper, therefore, we need to find one to fill the void since Howard's demise. The new signing will need to be a leader as well as dominate the penalty area (being a good shot stopper is a minimum requirement). The iinly problem is that the very top keepers won't be interested (e.g.Neuer) but I think that Butland or Forster would be very good options.
Integrate the next generation
The club has a number of very promising youngsters on its books who are on the cusp of the first team the challenge I think is to integrate them into the first team whilst not damaging their development. I think that in the majority of cases we should be looking to send them on loan to championship teams to test their mettle and gain experience â€“ mainly the young defenders.
All in all there are more than a few challenges for the new manager to get his teeth into (not all of them bad) but the opportunity is there to build on a talented group of players and achieve something that goodison hasn't seen in decades.