Sometimes in agreement; sometimes not so much, but always as Evertonians. Respect to all sides of the many debates – however heated they got… and will continue to do so. Long may that continue. We all share the same passion.
Given many of us only know each other in the virtual sense, a bit about my Evertonian background. Apologies in advance for the nostalgia and emotion. Despite what my wife says, I’m an emotional soul!
Everton for me was and is a birthright and a very strong part of my identity. Wherever I’ve been in the world, and whatever I’ve been doing, I’m always thinking about Everton. I’ve watched and listened to them, and just found out results in some weird and wonderful places and situations.
Everton was passed on to me by my father and grandfather. My father was from the Garston Tenements and had a terrible upbringing that didn’t really set him up for being a dad. I don’t blame him for that, it was just circumstances and background. My grandfather was an adopted Scouser from Belfast. A man ahead of his time and the most influential person in my life. Between them, I never knew why it was Everton and I never questioned it. It just was; I just am… and I just always will be.
As a young kid in the '70s, I believed in my dad’s and grandfather’s stories of old, and I truly believed I would see the same for myself. Young ignorance, blind faith, or just good timing in life? Regardless, that belief came good as I was fortunate enough to witness first-hand the '80s success, which my paper rounds (daily papers in the morning, Echo in the afternoon) paid for, as well as bunking on the train from Hunts Cross to Kirkdale to shave a bit off the cost!
My dad was born in 1945, so talked mainly of the '60s teams. A massive Evertonian, probably one of the most passionate I’ve ever known. I’ve mentioned before, as a young kid and son of a service-person living in Germany, we latched on to Schalke, a club I still follow and go to watch in person at least once a season. A huge name in world football that has just been relegated to the second tier of German football.
Meanwhile, Everton haven’t won a trophy in 26 years. There are uncanny similarities in those two clubs, not just the colours. The relevance and why I put myself through it? Supporting Everton, following Schalke; football is much more than about winning for me. It’s about soul, it’s about the passion, it’s about belonging. In my opinion, if you lose that, you just follow the winners, jump on the bandwagon, and may as well pack in. Not for me.
Sadly, me and my dad fell out big time when I was 16 as I left to join the Army myself. We lost contact apart from occasional meet-ups at family funerals etc, but we made our peace on his death bed when he was only 63. By then, he had left Liverpool and was living in Yorkshire.
At his funeral, they decorated his local pub, where they held the reception, in blue and white and as you entered, the welcome sign was a picture of him with the words “Everton Charlie” – as he was known to the locals. We may not have agreed on a lot of things, but the one thing we could not be separated from was our mutual and enduring love of (and frustration with) Everton Football Club.
I’ll admit, I’m an emotional Evertonian. I’m a romanticist who believes that our day will come again. I have to believe now like I did when I was 6; I’m also a decent enough ex-footballer (at my own level) to understand the realities. And, even when I watch Everton, I can occasionally take the emotion out of it and see what is happening on the pitch.
This season, we had so much potential and so much opportunity. But, when it came down to it, we didn’t have enough quality – and I hate to say this about any football team – but not enough desire when it really mattered. We bottled it. But, we got in touching distance of qualifying for Europe, so we are not that far off.
With the stadium on the way, there are a lot of positives around the club right now if you look at things strategically rather than in the heat of the emotional moment. The emotion and rawness of Sunday's defeat at the Champions and how we choked this season will go away.
We will improve the squad in the summer and make progress next season. I have to believe that. Regardless of what people think of the manager or who the manager should be, the most important thing is to improve what is on the pitch. That’s where you win games and you do that with better players. We need better players.
I said I’d hold judgment on the season until the end. In short, hugely disappointing and a missed opportunity on what could have been. Rather than ramble, if I put it into bullets from a personal view:
1. Excitement at the signings in the summer. Ones that genuinely looked as if they would improve us and, on paper, they did. A world-class talent in James, and uncovering a gem like Godfrey.
2. A start that generated a feelgood factor we haven’t had for a while. Spirit of the Blues… We all enjoyed the YouTube ride. Or most of us did; I still do!
3. Despite having a good and improved first XI, the thinness of the squad was creating concern as early as October.
4. Frustration at the tactics adopted in the second half of the season. Although enforced due to the playing staff available? We need better players.
5. We lost games we expected to win. We won games we haven’t in years or wouldn’t have expected to win.
6. We kept ourselves in the mix and in the fight for our European target… but failed to capitalise when we should have done so.
7. That all balances out and you finish where you deserve to. The Premier League table doesn’t often lie. We fell short.
8. The manager has to take blame for the team selections and the tactics. It’s his job to get that right. He got it wrong too often.
9. But ultimately we don’t have enough good-enough players. That’s what needs fixing as a priority. I don't apologise for repeating: we need better players.
10. Just hugely disappointing. Nothing to celebrate… and a reality check.
But that blind youthful faith that will never leave me is still there, just as it was there when I cried inconsolably in 1982 when Rush demolished us at Goodison Park. Less than 2 years later, I watched us lift a trophy at Wembley.
Continuous belief that we will come good. Never give up hope. Onward Evertonians.
Reader Comments (38)
Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer
1 Posted 25/05/2021 at 20:44:10
I grew up listening to tales of Dixie Dean, Warney Cresswell, Jock Thomson, Jimmy Dunn, and many many others. I was a couple of months short of 25 years old when I first tasted the success of a League Championship, and a couple of months short of my 28th birthday when I witnessed my first FA Cup Final victory.
My son is fortunate enough to have seen the teams of the eighties, but I'm afraid that my grandson, who has accompanied me as a fellow ticket holder since he was 6 years old, and now approaching 17, hasn't had the best of times. The only stand-out moments for him are a victory over Manchester United and a defeat at the hands of Chelsea, both of these at Wembley.
I keep telling him that his turn is yet to come. I just hope that I'm around when it does. I would urge all Evertonians to Keep the Faith.
2 Posted 25/05/2021 at 21:06:31
3 Posted 25/05/2021 at 21:29:47
I'm gonna have that framed. Danny's much-anticipated judgement on Carlo Ancelotti. All of a whole season in the making.
4 Posted 25/05/2021 at 21:41:43
5 Posted 25/05/2021 at 21:45:31
My take on matters Everton is it's best to avoid analysis because it leads to self doubt and questions about ones mental equilibrium whereas hanging onto emotional rational removes all doubt.
We're all off our skull, mate
6 Posted 25/05/2021 at 21:54:14
7 Posted 25/05/2021 at 21:56:58
It does come down to the simple fact that we need better players. Also, those players need to be organised right, trained right and motivated right. I think there is room for improvement on all fronts.
It's a big summer for the club for many reasons, I want Ancelotti to succeed but I think this may represent the biggest challenge he's faced. Let's hope the close season is more exiting than the open one just gone !
8 Posted 25/05/2021 at 22:04:23
Nice article. I think it's interesting to hear about how Everton fits in with people's lives in general be it generational, circumstantial etc. I am not sure if it's good or bad that I feel less disappointed about the season than many. I always hope for the best, but since Roberto's last cup failure I've been in a "seeing is believing" glass has a little drop left in it kind of mode.
9 Posted 25/05/2021 at 22:05:02
I think you are right about the main problem. We didn't have enough desire. I think the players actually were good enough to make top 4 this season, but they just didn't care enough. They were involved, but they weren't committed. Like the chicken that lays the egg was involved in the preparation of your breakfast, but the pig that supplied the bacon was committed. i've often wondered what it is that makes the great managers, and it seems to me that they have to have that hunger and charm. Peter Reid said at the end of the day the main thing for him was he wanted to win for Howard. And I recall Southall recalling a conversation with Howard in the dog days, when Howard said, 'if I pick you, will you guarantee you won't concede.' And Neville told him in rather a huff that he couldn't do that. But even though it was an unfair request, it shows the mindset. Howard wasn't interested in fairness, he just very badly wanted to win. Basically he was using any and every avenue open to him to get an edge. Carlo is capable of that sort of focus, but I really don't know if at this stage he now has the hunger.
10 Posted 25/05/2021 at 22:10:45
I would take issue with the statement on lack of desire for the team, to me it seemed like exhaustion. They honestly did not have it in the tank when they tanked. Some criticism on tactics and players out of position could be made but we won several games with those tricks on the other side of that. Overall, I accept your sanguine take bar one thing. we can always celebrate that we're Everton and not some pile of hammered dogshit. UTFT!
11 Posted 25/05/2021 at 22:11:18
12 Posted 25/05/2021 at 22:44:12
13 Posted 25/05/2021 at 22:50:32
Just like you, I will never lose my faith in Everton, mate, and no matter how much pain they can sometimes give us, “ We Shall Not Be Movedâ€ðŸ™
14 Posted 25/05/2021 at 23:05:27
Having read you genuine and interesting article regarding your Everton origins and your constructive season analysis I felt compelled to post.
Now I am away again for the second time, before the transfer circus starts. Have a good Summer Danny, a True Blue.
15 Posted 25/05/2021 at 23:23:30
16 Posted 26/05/2021 at 09:15:20
Do they really care? I doubt it very much. Lose a game and they drive back to their mansions, get another tattoo, make posts on their social media accounts, check their bank balances and sleep easy in the fact that they have a big contract and a guaranteed, enormous income for a number of years. Very sad.
17 Posted 26/05/2021 at 10:29:40
I was optimistic at the beginning of the season, Godfrey seemed an excellent, if unproven signing and Ancelotti signed three midfielders who seemed the answer to our problems: the tactically astute Allan to hold the midfield together, the box-to-box energy of Doucoure and the wizardry of Rodriguez. Added to Davies, Gbamin, Sigurdsson we seemed to have the nucleaus of a competitive midfield.
In fact Allan did his job, as a holding player, but added little to the creative needs, Doucoure had energy, but very little else and Rodriguez was a "sicknote" and seemed not totally committed.
The result, Everton looked as disjointed as they usually have in recent seasons, irrespective of their manager.
What happens next? Is there money to replace these players, though I expect they are on quite long and very juicy contracts?
If not, will it be more of the ame, moments of promise, but in most games the midfield is overrun. They add little to supporting the attack and leave a rather static defence, short of cover.
Wait and see, but not over optimistic.
18 Posted 26/05/2021 at 11:04:02
19 Posted 26/05/2021 at 11:21:53
Thats just the 15 potential signings they have touted in the last week alone.
20 Posted 26/05/2021 at 11:39:19
I always like reading your posts as they are collaborative and reflective - I could learn from them for sure. Your reflections are a fair summary - if they are not definitive enough for some then that is their problem. Reality is always nuanced rather than binary - worst ever/best ever/black/white.
For me, the best article posted on here in a while.
21 Posted 26/05/2021 at 13:21:14
22 Posted 26/05/2021 at 13:44:22
Thanks to all for the kind responses. I would love to respond to each and every one of you but that would end up being an entire new post.
However, couple of reflective points.
No matter how Everton finds you, once you are in you are part of the family and as much an Evertonian as any of us.
The passport is in date and waiting.
Thanks to the editorial team. Forums like this don't just happen.
23 Posted 26/05/2021 at 13:53:10
24 Posted 26/05/2021 at 14:15:15
On the pitch my gut feel is to rebuild the team with young players who aren't household names but have the desire and hunger to fight for the Community and the Club. Other clubs in the Premier League have shown that these qualities can make a difference and at worst the Club wouldn't be blowing money money who don't care for the badge. I think we could all get b behind a young Team with the necessary desire eg players in the mould of Godfrey
25 Posted 26/05/2021 at 15:54:15
When we saw the reaction of the players after the win at the RS I really thought the passion was there! Yet again another kick in the goolies!
How can you explain to outsiders about how we feel about our Club, impossible
Then again it's like that for so many Clubs, apart from the obvious glory hunters!
I'm as bad as you with Schalke except it's Hibs-shit weekend by the way. Season ticket holder with them and get to as many games as I can
Real disaster watching both teams in the same week!
26 Posted 26/05/2021 at 16:20:08
1) The away record
2) Killing dead some horrendous bogeys such as Anfield (the derby record too) winning at Arsenal and Spurs (with commendable wins at Leeds and Leicester worth mentioning)
3) Ben Godfrey showing he can be the new Joleon Lescott and hopefully it may encourage our manager that there are actually good players to be had from the Championship.
1) Dismal home record.
2) Two Cup Quarter Final defeats both at Goodison in games we didn't do ourselves justice in again.
3) Being 4th in March and somehow finsihing 10th.
4) The football style not being any real upgrade on Fat Sam's three years ago.
5) The new signings starting like a house on fire at Spurs on the opening day but fading badly due to injury and lack of consistency as usual.
27 Posted 26/05/2021 at 16:36:38
Dave #6, wonderful post.
Steve #20, ditto.
28 Posted 26/05/2021 at 16:37:49
We need a new right side, that's a new right back to replace, yes replace, Seamus Coleman.
We need a dynamic quick right winger/midfielder.
We need a creative central midfielder with an eye for a forward pass and can get about the pitch.
We need a striker, there's no way we can sit here and rely on one centre forward all season again.
Finally but not necessarily a top priority, we need a central defender because for me our best one is missing too much, Yerry Mina.
If Koulibaly does happen then that would be great.
It's absolutely imperative that we start scoring more goals next season, we have fallen way way short in Ancelotti's 18 months here so far and he can't afford to have another profligate season with money at his disposal.
29 Posted 26/05/2021 at 16:43:02
A brilliant article from you.
As articulate and passionate as always.
I look forward to reading many more of your posts.
In my opinion you are amongst the very best contributors on TW.
30 Posted 26/05/2021 at 17:00:40
I would even class the central defender signing as a top priority too. Perreira right-wing or forward, Emerson right-back, Koulibaily in exchange for Mina, Buendia AM. Bare minimum of 4 signings can change the look and potency.
Whoever we sign we need to be playing a higher line and we need some goals, assists and threat from multiple sources.
Emerson Koulibaily Godfrey Digne
Perreira Buendia Richarlison
31 Posted 26/05/2021 at 19:00:26
I agree particularly that the final position in the English Premier League mostly reflects where a club is "at" in terms of ability on the pitch, but in Everton's case, the expenditure on players should put us between sixth and eighth positions, so on that metric, the players, the Director of Football, and manager have clearly under- performed ?
I am worried most of all by the apparent lethargy of most of our players, and the inability to raise their game when facing the likes of Leeds and Villa, middling clubs who play a vibrant, high intensity game? Something is wrong with their conditioning and the mindset, we seem to start games on the back foot and end up panicking when we fall behind. This was a clear failing under both Koeman and Silva also? The Ancellotti father and son team have not addressed this in my opinion and they have to pull this round.
Back to your reflections Danny, I cannot disagree with any of the points you make at the end of your piece and thanks to Michael and ToffeeWeb for seeing us through the last 15 months of a crazy, horrible pandemic !
Personally, I'm hoping for better from our team, but I'm expecting much of the same next season unless Mr Brands can clear the squad majority of the non-performers, and allow Carlo to bring in more like Ben Godfrey players who look as if they want the blue shirt. Look what focus, intensity and passion at club level has done for Ben?
32 Posted 26/05/2021 at 19:30:47
Life's good and every days good and it's what we make of it.
Being an Evertonian, is special and fortunately we are born into.
Great memories, and hopefully very soon we can all be freed from the great memories of the past, to make new great memories as Everton will soon emerge from dormant slumber which is becoming Biblical in context.
Hope eternal and to a good summer in the transfer market, and all enjoy the preseason.
33 Posted 27/05/2021 at 08:21:31
We are all hoping for the same thing and, despite our frustration at the events as our season unfolded, as the dust settles, the reasons are now clear. We need better quality players and more of them.
I got the feeling that Carlo lost his way, especially in the second half of the season. I don't know if the break-in affected him or the subsequent illness and death of his first wife, Davide's mum.
What we all need is a few good summer signings to bolster the squad and hopefully we can weed out the dross. I watched a bit of the Europa League Final last night as a fairly ordinary Villarreal beat a team that cost so much more. It shows that teams can be built, togetherness can be fostered and success is within reach.
I don't think that we will achieve anything hiring slightly faded Galacticos. Give me hungry players, whether they are young or old, guys willing to put in a shift, even if they won't (like us) die for the shirt.
Enjoy the summer.
34 Posted 27/05/2021 at 12:13:47
I hope we all realise how lucky we are to have inherited Everton – me from my Liverpool born and bred father. In another life we could have supported poor old Bury FC. Or the closest league team to my home nowadays which is Bristol Rovers – never even a single season in the top flight and if you think Goodison is showing its age, try spending a couple of hours at The Mem.
Looking forward to watching a few games from the Lower Gwladys in 2021/22 with my elder son who's our family's third generation Blue.
35 Posted 27/05/2021 at 13:04:00
I think it's now clear that whoever is the manager, whatever players we sign - things will not change. What changes a club is rebuilding from ground Zero so that belief, commitment, intensity and a system are ingrained. We have none of that - so God knows what happens at Finch Farm.
We are doomed to repeat the cycle time and time again. Until we - the fans - stop demanding an instant fix, stop blaming Kenwright for anything and everything, stop clinging onto dinosaurs employes for old times sake and stop accepting players who patently do not want to be here.
Clear out Finch Farm and build from the base. Or carry on as we are for another decade.
36 Posted 27/05/2021 at 22:14:26
They've been gone for a while now, but it seemed like a good opportunity to get together!
My Mum tolerated footy, just, but my Grandad and Dad left us in doubt from a very early age who we would follow. And they made sure of it. And it has been passed down to my son and daughters, and my grandsons. Other grandchildren have been pulled towards Sheffield Utd, but that's ok as their Dads go to the match at Bramall Lane. It's how it is.
I have been frustrated by the calling to Goodison many times, more so in the last few years than ever before. But never have I wished I had been brought up to support another team.
I enjoy your posts, keep them coming. Best wishes to you and your family.
37 Posted 28/05/2021 at 11:55:49
38 Posted 28/05/2021 at 12:09:51
Add Your Comments
In order to post a comment, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.
Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and Talking Points submissions across the site.