I am generally known in my family and friend circles as a pessimist. The only exception to this rule is when I look forward to each new football season with Everton. I always start off thinking – this could be the year that everything changes for the better. This wears off at different intervals based on how badly we do each year.
Throw in early cup exits each year and you have the recipe for a lot of heartache and disappointment. I agree that these emotions are not exclusive to me – I assume that the vast majority of Evertonians have similar feelings.
I have to admit; I was a huge David Moyes fan and was deeply disappointed by his departure and the subsequent managerial musical chairs that our club endured. After years of perennial relegation dogfights prior to Moyes, we finally started to look up rather than down.
I agree that he had his share of times when we looked shaky. We also never threatened the “top” teams and were woeful away from home. The team did have an identity though – we were a tough team to beat, especially at home.
I am not one for the Watford style ruthless hiring and firing of managers. I prefer to give them time to build the team up in the way that they envision. However, Messrs Martinez, Koeman, Allardyce and Silva did very little to transform the team into something that I could be proud of.
The arrival of Farhad Moshiri turned us into the nouveau rich and we splashed the cash in ridiculous ways. We brought in a Director of Football but that didn’t seem to help either.
The rest of the Premier League found ways to use us as another example of how NOT to spend your money when taken over by a rich owner. They made it a point to describe, in depth, the amount that we had doled out on players who were happy to pick up hefty paycheques and do very little to justify those huge sums of money.
But the end of last season and the beginning of this one have felt different. It is not just the players who we brought in but the belief and attitude amongst the existing players that seems to have changed for the better.
Mr Ancelloti does not strike me as a hairdryer or shoe-throwing type of person. Somehow, he has managed to improve the morale and get us playing as a team. The players genuinely respect him as a manager and as a human being. This is not to suggest that there aren’t days when I look at the starting line-up or the substitutes and yell – “What are you thinking, Mr Ancelotti???”
I suppose this is a very different kettle of fish for him as well after having only managed well-established contenders in the past. But you just have to see how players have been transformed this season:
1. Calvert-Lewin – Was always full of running but this season he has added goals and this has made him a vital part of our team. So much so that his absence led to a complete change in formation.
2. Iwobi – I am not saying that he is the finished article but he has proven me wrong many times over with his energy and defensive duties. I think he can evolve into a really good player.
3. Michael Keane – solid player at the back and complements the more flamboyant Mina well. I have also noticed that he can pick a pretty good cross-field pass. Chips in with important goals too.
4. Yerry Mina – I would still keep him. I know that he has some lapses of concentration but I think we can weed them out if we try.
5. Pickford – This is a hard one since I would still prefer a more reliable keeper but, considering where he was over the last year or so, things could have been a lot worse.
6. The new players – Allan, James, Doucouré, Godfrey and Olsen have all been great acquisitions.
7. Winning, somehow: Seems like a new signing this one! We are not always playing our best football but we are finding a way to win those games. We are converting draws into wins and losses into draws. We are getting goals from different sources too.
Overall, I have noticed after a long time that, when we score, almost the entire team gets together to celebrate, the provider of the assist is acknowledged (most times) and the lads seem genuinely happy for each other.
Despite all that we have achieved over the last year, we continue to have some of our old problems:
1. Bias against us in the media – This could be in the form of commentators referring to fouls on our players as “soft” while condemning our fouls as pre-meditated murder attempts. It could be in the form of “pundits” writing our season off before it has even begun. The list is exhaustive and frankly quite repulsive, so I will stop.
2. Match officials hardly ever being fair to us – I know that every fan and every team will tell you that they never get the rub of the green but I think that we are somehow singled out for special treatment. Going through almost a whole season without a penalty a few years ago, having a player penalised retrospectively for simulation to name a few.
My wife often asks me during or after games – “What reason do the officials have for being against us, when we aren’t playing Liverpool or Man Utd?” I am yet to give her a good response… answers via e-mail or on TW would be very welcome!
In spite of our good first half of this season, the news is always about:
1. Liverpool and their woes – Not at all bothered… move on!
2. The title contenders – Liverpool, Man Utd, Man City, Leicester City, Spurs, Chelsea, even Aston Villa and Southampton.
3. Manchester United bringing back the glory days.
4. Jose Mourinho getting ready to fulfil some 3rd season prophecy that has always come true.
5. Lampard and his woes despite spending massive amounts this year.
6. Ralph Hassenhutl and his amazing band of players.
This troubles me at times as I think of the other teams getting the attention that we possibly deserve. Then I realise that it is much better for us to stay with the pack of teams who have started the season well and keep grinding out results while being almost invisible.
The less attention the media and other teams give us, the more likely that we can make them pay for their lack of respect by ending the season in a great position. Ignore us at your peril as we are building something great once again at our club.
Reader Comments (43)
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1 Posted 13/01/2021 at 17:03:29
2 Posted 13/01/2021 at 17:22:17
The wind of change has come with a new ambition owner and a lot of money spent, and yet we are not the finished article yet.
The current transfer window could define our final league position, some studios signings up front and in midfield would see the owners and managers ambition of European football sorted.
Take no notice of the press they have their own agenda.
3 Posted 13/01/2021 at 17:25:23
Beyond beating a Rooney bereft Utd on pens in the semis nothing has happened here for decades Journos must yawn at the mere mention of our name
4 Posted 13/01/2021 at 17:48:30
5 Posted 13/01/2021 at 18:04:51
Nice article Santosh, don't let media neglect cause you discomfort. Stuffed shirts for the most part. And on the Scorpions thing, never my cup of tea if you will, nor the NWOBHM stuff. That Lucifer's Friend initial LP does it for me though. Oh and maybe some System demo when the situation calls for it.
6 Posted 14/01/2021 at 03:39:26
I am not really for this media conspiracy stuff as every team seems to like to use it. I think Everton get some reasonable coverage but I am totally used to the Big Clubs dominating the limelight and I don't really care that much.
I also like to see teams like Southampton taking the plaudits because I do think they have been exceptional during Ralph Hasenhüttl's tenure and he also seems like a good guy to me.
As for Carlo, I think we are benefiting from calmness, experience, and a shrewd tactical brain. We are not the finished article by any stretch but I do think he is really getting as much out of this team as he can, making us hard to beat (we have been a soft touch for years ever since Moyes left) and setting a good foundation. The difference between Ancelotti and Moyes is the former has the will and ambition to take us to the next level whereas I never felt Moyes could.
We will have setbacks and poor games but I don't doubt Ancelotti can take us somewhere we haven't been since Howard Kendall was the boss.
7 Posted 14/01/2021 at 06:35:49
Watch when we play most anyone, we go in hard but fair, opposition players almost always roll around screaming and ultimately get our guy a card. Everyone knows how unfancied or is it unfashionable we are.
You see it more with unfancied teams – biased VAR is run by the same villains that decide who they want in Europe etc. – I'm still fuming about Collina!
I realise it could seem like victimised behaviour, however, just because your paranoid, doesn't mean it isn't happening, right?
8 Posted 14/01/2021 at 08:01:41
9 Posted 14/01/2021 at 14:44:50
We suck it up.
They spit the dummy out?
If so, I hear you, and consider myself lovingly told. 💜👍
10 Posted 15/01/2021 at 11:17:05
In one of those seasons Moyes submitted 20 penalty appeals to the head of the refs only to be told that 12 of them SHOULD have been penalties.
VAR was supposed to correct this but it seems to have gone the other way with the same institutional bias.
11 Posted 15/01/2021 at 12:44:51
That does not mean we are a lucky side, that means that the officials had to be overruled for decisions against us more times than any other club. Similarly Liverpool had the most incorrect calls in their favour overruled by VAR.
12 Posted 16/01/2021 at 12:25:03
13 Posted 16/01/2021 at 12:57:46
However, with Everton, it's not quite the same as we are traditionally one of the big clubs, at least pre-Sky era anyway. Consequently, there's an underlying concern that a good spell for the club could become sustained and eventually allow Everton to elbow their way back amongst the top echelon of clubs and, who knows, maybe even consolidate there! That cannot be allowed, as we all know.
See, now that's proper paranoia! ;-)
14 Posted 21/01/2021 at 10:42:25
I grew up when the media admired us. I suppose the years of mediocrity we've endured have made us unfashionable to them - a club with a great past but who offer little for the present and nothing for the future.
With the average reader or viewer now having the attention span of a gnat then the media feel compelled to sell them success and glamour – not historic heritage which holds no currency with the Twitter generation.
But now the media have a quandary. We have a manager with pedigree who they all like and admire and an owner who has the financial clout to be reckoned with. The two combined – who knows where we could go?
This is going to be an era defining period for the club, as, if we can inch ourselves up there with the 'big boys' and start to challenge and actually win things our presence could no longer be sidelined as 'wannabees' or 'yesterday's men'.
When you look at the table and the topsy turvy nature of this weird season, you see the chance we now have to make a claim.
Liverpool are defensively vulnerable and lacking the goals of the last two campaigns; United are flattered by their position and could easily go on a losing run; Tottenham are flaky; Chelsea lack confidence and Arsenal are as unpredictable as a Trump speech.
Man City and Leicester City are the form teams who stand out to me. But again, would a run of defeats for either of them shock me? No. This season is open to anyone who has to will and desire to grab what's available.
So, although the January window is one Brands seems to dislike, it should be (to me) a time to double up and get some class in that could make the difference between 'a plucky effort' and a Champions League place, or an FA Cup win (following favourable draws thus far).
Another striker is a must for me. If Calvert-Lewin is out, what are the real options? Cenk? Is now the time to get Max Aarons?
The next 18 months will define how real our ambition and desire really is. I hope we seize the opportunity or we could be destined to another long spell in the wilderness.
If only Usmanov would appear from behind the curtain. I'm weary of waiting. There were whispers that he played a part in Carlo taking the job. Now that would be a game-changer that the media couldn't ignore.
15 Posted 21/01/2021 at 12:13:00
16 Posted 21/01/2021 at 12:25:27
I know it's a business and easier said than done but that's what he's paid for. Tragedy if we are left high and dry with no proper help for Calvert-Lewin at least.
17 Posted 21/01/2021 at 13:43:49
Regardless of whether we make signings or not, the media will have their own agenda. After all, it is infested with RS.
For example, Lawrensen's BBC preview of the RS. v. Burnley match tonight makes a spurious reference to VVD's injury. (I didn't know he was injured. Oh dear. What happened?)
We have little strength in depth but nobody can doubt the progress made under Carlo. Without our mid-season blip (losing to Newcastle FFS - and more recently West Ham) we'd all be suffering altitude sickness this season.
Long may we continue to progress. Yes we need to strengthen - but I'm sure Carlo Ancelotti will have the loudest say in the matter.
18 Posted 21/01/2021 at 14:56:08
19 Posted 21/01/2021 at 15:20:46
I think the general perception is, if you buy in January, you pay massively over-the-top prices for largely average squad players and, a season on, regret the signings you made in January. Yes, there are exceptions to that but that generally is how January signings have played out.
Now I am sure that Brands and Ancelotti would like cover for Calvert-Lewin but maybe the quality of player to do that isn't available in this window. I see that it looks like Danny Ings may leave Southampton in the summer, he might be a realistic target depending on the fee. Also we still have the problem of FFP and it is something we will have to address sooner rather than later, hence why Brands has said moving players out is his priority in this window.
20 Posted 21/01/2021 at 15:31:08
21 Posted 21/01/2021 at 16:28:01
Off the wall, I am just wondering if Brands is going to United at the end of the season is he jsut clearing the decks for now and saving his "diamonds" for his new club?
There is not a supporter amongst us that doesn't see the need for at least a goalscoring forward (whether Calvert-Lewin is injured or not) and hopefully a right-back if Jonjoe Kenny is deemed not good enough.
23 Posted 21/01/2021 at 17:50:08
Possibly should look at scrapping the January window altogether and just allowing a couple of loans in and out.
24 Posted 21/01/2021 at 17:56:12
We're damned unpretty. Have been for years.
If there was another club currently lying in sixth serving up the awful stuff on a regular basis, nobody on here would give them the time of day... That's how we are viewed by the neutral.
We never go up, we never go down, and we never play edge-of-the-seat football. Carlo is just the latest in a long line of managers who is more interested in spoiling a game than making it fun, consolidating our status in the Premier League rather than looking to win it.
We are the only people interested in us...
25 Posted 21/01/2021 at 18:10:39
26 Posted 21/01/2021 at 18:11:56
27 Posted 21/01/2021 at 18:19:51
There is no conspiracy. We are not given media attention because we don't do anything to deserve it.
We either do something about it, or we drown in self-pity whining that nobody likes us…
There is of course a third option: We can take the Brazilian "snap shot" approach and throw up foolish nonsense published months ago after an uncharacteristic purple patch against some very poor teams.
That approach will of course go down well with the Brady Bunch (it has done for years). but it clearly isn't impressing anybody else.
You want to happy clap the spoiling tactics you are being served on a regular basis... fine. Just don't complain when the rest of football isn't quite so enamoured.
28 Posted 21/01/2021 at 18:37:21
That article was written by Billy Connelly.
He knows what puts a smile on punters faces.
29 Posted 21/01/2021 at 18:38:31
30 Posted 21/01/2021 at 18:43:55
Click your fingers and they come running like an unquestioning faithful dog.
31 Posted 21/01/2021 at 18:51:53
Ancelotti hasn't got that much control. He has got them eating out of his hand though. I will give you that.
32 Posted 21/01/2021 at 18:54:24
Give it a rest, Darren. I get it – youre a better blue than I am. Good for you.
33 Posted 21/01/2021 at 19:06:52
"Brady bunch"... "happy clap"... "unquestioning faithful dog"... condescending, unwarranted insults.
Yeah, the media-coverage complaining here does get pretty old... and yeah, that link was to an outdated article... but is it absolutely required that you be so snotty about it?
34 Posted 21/01/2021 at 19:08:54
About dog training.
Clicking fingers ffs You whistle lad whistle
35 Posted 21/01/2021 at 19:12:10
The optimist hopes and dreams and calls for our football to improve. The happy clapper applauds and apologises for the spoiling tactics he is seeing now.
They are Two very different caps.
People will wear the one which fits them best, I suppose.
36 Posted 21/01/2021 at 19:13:36
Would I like to see more elegant football? Of course, but we don't have the squad to put that out on a weekly basis and are getting by just fine thank you very much.
37 Posted 21/01/2021 at 19:26:09
Calvert-Lewin has been getting great media coverage and Rodriguez did at the beginning.
However, if we play average football, we get average coverage. Long way to go and when we do start playing brilliant football – which I have faith in Ancelotti that we will – plaudits will follow.
38 Posted 21/01/2021 at 19:31:28
They will whine and wallow when we lose and blame Ancelotti regardless then, when we win, they will whail and whinge and say the football isn't entertaining enough for them or we got lucky and the win was despite Ancelotti not because of him.
39 Posted 21/01/2021 at 19:34:50
40 Posted 21/01/2021 at 19:39:34
41 Posted 21/01/2021 at 19:49:58
42 Posted 21/01/2021 at 19:57:19
A club that hasn't won at their nearest and dearest trophy winning giants since 1999. It has to be earned, as Barry @ 3 says - We need to drop this martyr complex.
44 Posted 21/01/2021 at 20:29:05
My brother was never interested in football whatsoever until the shite signed a player with the same name as his first born and all of a sudden my nephew became a FKW!
Bless his little cotton branded socks!
45 Posted 21/01/2021 at 20:36:45
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