The Perfect Storm

Starting with the ill-advised appointment of Rafael Benitez, a confluence of factors almost dragged this grand old club out of the top flight before Everton's terrific fans stepped in. A review of season 2021-22.

Lyndon Lloyd 27/05/2022 155comments  |  Jump to last

Season 2021-22 Review

In the final reckoning of what felt like the longest and most emotionally and spiritually draining season in living memory, it seems like rather than a single, identifiable turning point, Everton had a handful of crucial moments that ultimately ensured the club's Premier League survival, culminating in the dramatic events of Thursday 19th May when safety was assured.

One was undoubtedly the home game against Chelsea on 1st May, coming as it did a week after the Blues had finally been dumped into the relegation zone following a grinding and increasingly concerning descent since falling out of the top half at the start of November.

The Everton Fans' Forum, one of a handful of supporter groups who came together to help rally unprecedented backing from the fans — including the first of three stirring, blue smoke-filled welcomes to the players' coach down Goodison Road — captured the increasingly defiant mood with a post on the club's official website, writing:

It feels like everyone on the outside — other clubs, other fans, pundits, the media — is enjoying seeing a Club of our size in the position we are in. If it's us against the world, that's fine. Let's have a siege mentality for these final games.

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Whether perceived or real, there has been a sense that parts of the footballing world were revelling in the slow-moving car-crash that was Everton FC in 2021-22 and were expectant of a climactic finale that would result in the biggest club being relegated in the history of the Premier League. And the almost mocking quips by some that Frank Lampard's achievement in three months as manager had merely taken Everton from 16th to 16th simply seemed to reinforce that notion.

What that superficial conclusion by “drive-by” pundits overlooked, though, is that quite apart from the tragedy of England's longest-serving top-flight club dropping out of the position it has occupied for 68 consecutive years, the financial peril that falling through the trapdoor posed to Everton was significant. Had the worst transpired, given the scale of the club's recent losses, it's dangerously high wages-to-turnover ratio and dependence on Premier League broadcast revenue, there was a very real danger that the Blues could have been condemned to years in the comparative footballing wilderness of the English Football League.

Furthermore, that dismissive punditry of Lampard's achievement in keeping the Toffees up fails to take into account the mounting array of forces, events and decisions that combined to almost take the club down. This really was a perfect storm that threatened to take this famous old institution under this season but, ultimately, Everton were rescued by a historic groundswell of support from its fans who refused to allow disaster to consume their beloved club.

The Benitez Gamble

Carlo Ancelotti's 18-month spell at Goodison Park may have been a confounding episode that, at one stage, promised a return to European football but ultimately ended with a string of abysmal home results, a 5-0 thrashing at Manchester City and the Italian walking out for Real Madrid; however, what was to follow bordered on farce.

The abrupt departure of Farhad Moshiri's genuine “Hollywood manager” offered the Blues' owner an opportunity to reset; to cast off the profligate short-termism of the Ancelotti interlude and finally focus on trying to forge an identity at Everton.

Supporters latched onto the idea of someone like up-and-coming Christophe Gaultier or an established Premier League manager like Brighton's Graham Potter, coaches who could come in and imprint an ethos and style on a squad featuring many players who had been bounced through four managerial tenures in three years and who were desperately in need of some stability.

Moshiri, though, reputedly sought a steady hand and turned first to the uninspiring figure of former Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo and was reportedly within hours of offering the Portuguese the job before getting cold feet and switching his attention to Rafael Benitez.

Even setting aside the 800lb gorilla in the room that was Benitez's prior association with Liverpool, the Spaniard was a hugely controversial choice given his relative lack of success over the preceding eight years of his career, his middling performance at Newcastle, and his reputation for dull, defensive football dressed up as “pragmatism”.

Had Evertonians got a pragmatic coach who could organise the team defensively to be hard to beat, to deal with set-pieces while being able to grind out points and at least challenge at the periphery for Europe or the cups, they might have been prepared to turn a blind eye to Benitez's red past and ignore the inevitable taunts from Liverpool fans on derby day.

What the supporters had foisted upon them, however, once the brief bubble to start the 2021-22 campaign that yielded 10 points from 12 burst was a manager who had clearly lost his way and who had no answer to Everton's collapse in form that began in mid-September with a heavy defeat at Aston Villa and the club's exit from the League Cup at QPR.

Incredibly, the man who can count Real Madrid, Chelsea, Inter Milan, Napoli and Liverpool among his former charges and who has hoisted both the Champions League and Europa League as a coach, won just two more matches as Everton boss over course of the following four months.

A solitary Premier League victory over the club that would finish bottom, Norwich City, and just two away points in that time put Everton in a downward spiral that very nearly sucked them into the Championship.

Moshiri Doubles Down

For many Evertonians who had been stunned by the manner of the team's 5-2 capitulation to Watford at home in October, the final straw was the awful 4-1 defeat to Liverpool in the Goodison derby on 1st December.

The travelling supporters had already voiced their toxicity-imbued displeasure with Benitez three days previously at Brentford where an insipid Everton had ambled to a 1-0 defeat and that multiplied at Goodison Park as the reds humiliated the Blues and revelled in the fact that “Agent Rafa” was overseeing the demise of their enemy from across Stanley Park.

Calls for change at boardroom level and the sacking of Benitez reverberated around a mutinous Old Lady that night and Director of Football, Marcel Brands, faced the ire of one particularly distraught fan as he made his way from the Directors' Box but it was the Dutchman and not Benitez who would be gone from the club within days.

Appointed to much fanfare by Moshiri in 2018, Brands had been charged with paring back a bloated playing squad, lowering its average age and building a team with a younger profile under Marco Silva.

Silva only lasted 18 months before being sacked in December 2019 while Brands fulfilled some of his remit but frequently battled Moshiri's meddling influence and that of the British-Iranian billionaire's advisors when it came to player recruitment and the selection of head coaches.

Indeed, there was a feeling that the former PSV Eindhoven man was finding it increasingly difficult to his job, but while the clamour from supporters was for Moshiri to give Brands the proverbial wheel — particularly when it came to selecting Ancelotti's successor but even more so when it became obvious the Benitez hire was a disaster — the majority shareholder opted to hand the Spaniard even more power.

It was another near-catastrophic demonstration of Moshiri's myopia and tone-deafness. Brands parted ways with Everton “by mutual consent” five days after the derby debacle and, true to his reputation, Benitez had successfully consolidated his power at Goodison.

Moshiri, giving his manager a vote of confidence and placing his hope for a revival in fortunes on the return from injury of the likes of Abdoulaye Doucouré, Yerry Mina, and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, had doubled down on his big mistake over the summer and the costs would mount in the coming months as Benitez's malign influence forced out another of Everton's most important players.

Patching the Holes

That Benitez had only been able to do £1.7m worth of transfer business in the summer of 2021 was illustrative of the profligate and reckless recruitment that has characterised the Moshiri years. Premier League profit and sustainability restrictions means that five players came in after the Spaniard was appointed, two of them wide players, two goalkeepers and the eye-opener that was striker Salomon Rondon but only Demarai Gray commanded a fee.

On the face of it, the club appeared to have ample cover in midfield and defence but those two areas of the pitch would become significant areas for concern as the season wore on and injuries started to bite. Beyond the numbers, Everton lacked quality in the middle and selection problems only made that issue abundantly worse.

Fabian Delph had never been reliable at any point in his time with Everton and he would end up making just eight Premier League starts across the campaign. Doucouré missed important parts of the campaign in November and January because of injury, Tom Davies ended up missing almost six months with a torn hamstring, Jean-Philippe Gbamin never convinced Benitez that he was over his own long-term injury frustrations and Gylfi Sigurdsson, one of the team's most productive members on his day, sat out the entire campaign.

In defence, Yerry Mina's absence would leave a gaping hole for long periods of the campaign. The Colombian, arguably one of the most important players on Everton's books, made just 11 starts in the League; Ben Godfrey, another important component in defence, struggled for form early in the season following a bout of Covid-19 and then picked up two different injuries down the stretch.

And up front, of course, Calvert-Lewin's absence between late August and early January with a serious thigh injury, and his battles thereafter to recapture his form and effectiveness, robbed Everton of their top scorer from 2020-21 and placed an enormous burden on Richarlison to lead the line and score enough goals.

After he was belatedly dismissed in mid-January, Benitez cited that plague of injuries as contributory factors to the Toffees' struggles and there is no denying that they further undermined a mixed bag of a squad. They weren't all concurrent, however, and the Spaniard's dearth of charisma and inspiration combined with a mystifying lack of adventure, particularly away from home against supposedly inferior teams, were just as important factors behind Everton's malaise.

They also made Benitez's impulse to flex his increasing power once Brands left by forcing out Lucas Digne following a clash of egos and opinion that began in the wake of the Goodison derby all the more confusing and damaging. Having told James Rodriguez (another key – albeit expensive – creative outlet when he was fit) very early on that the Colombian wasn't in his plans, Benitez then froze the Frenchman out of the team for daring to question his methods and eventually led Digne to join Aston Villa during the transfer window.

Digne had been Everton's chief provider of assists in both of the previous two seasons and at a time when the club was crying out for goals and points to prevent them from going into free-fall down the table, Benitez allowed him to be sold. Few doubted that the £27m raised in the process would benefit the club in the long run but the timing was terrible and it would take Digne's raw replacement, Vitalii Mykolenko, a few crucial weeks to find his feet in England and settle into the side.

In an instance of bitter irony, Benitez was belatedly fired just three days after Digne departed but one of Everton's most dependable attacking outlets was gone and the Blues would win just one of their next seven Premier League fixtures without him.

Delay, Delay, Delay

Evertonians might never have truly warmed to Rafael Benitez or ever truly accepted him unless he were somehow able to deliver a trophy or demonstrable success but the vast majority were prepared to give him a chance… not that Moshiri had given them much choice.

However, if the warning signs of what was to come under the former Liverpool boss were evident in that dreadful performance against a Watford side destined to be relegated with two weeks of the season remaining, most Blues were left in little doubt that this latest managerial mis-step was destined for failure after those defeats to Brentford and Liverpool as November turned to December 2021.

That Moshiri not only ignored both the evidence in front of him and mounting supporter distress, delayed Benitez's sacking for another six weeks and, in the interim, allowed Benitez to tighten his grip on decision-making over the playing side and force both Brands and Digne out of the club will forever stain his ownership of Everton and foster doubts over his inability to effectively oversee the club.

Though Goodison's 12th man helped the team rally from a goal down to beat Arsenal in heart-pumping fashion the week after the derby, Benitez would win just one more match as the Toffees' manager, that a potential banana skin in the FA Cup at Hull City in early January.

Meanwhile, Everton dropped another 11 points, slipped from 12th to 16th and the only saving grace from a potentially ruinous Christmas period was that two key home games against Leicester and Newcastle were postponed amid a coronavirus outbreak, fixtures from which Frank Lampard was able to glean four vital points towards the end of the campaign. Few, if any, Blues believed that Benitez could have inspired his former charges to avoid defeat in either game, so poor was the team performing at the time.

Yet even as Everton's run in the League stretched to one victory in 14 games, Moshiri demurred, no doubt fearful of having to admit to another colossal error in judgement. It wasn't until the miserable defeat at Norwich on 15th January that the owner bowed to the inevitable and sacked Benitez with a win percentage in the Premier League of just 26%.

The 12th Man Steps Forward

If there was an antidote to Benitez's humourless demeanour and passive approach to managing Everton, it came in the form of Frank Lampard but, in another explicable delay from Moshiri and the Board of Directors, it took more than two weeks to appoint him.

Even then, it wasn't clear that Lampard was going to be the fifth permanent hire of the Moshiri era until a day or so before he was officially unveiled. In between, the idea of retaining Duncan Ferguson, who had stepped in as caretaker boss for the second time in just over two years, until the end of the season had been mooted and Vitor Pereira floated as the hierarchy's top choice, that despite a complete lack of Premier League experience and one failed relegation rescue mission behind him from his time in Germany.

Whether it was graffiti on a wall at Goodison Park imploring Moshiri to go for Lampard over the untried Portuguese, Pereira's decision to speak live on Sky Sports to push his credentials for the role or a growing feeling that the former Derby and Chelsea boss was the better fit, Lampard was eventually chosen following a protracted interview process that dragged into the final couple of days of the transfer window.

Had Lampard been drafted in two weeks earlier, he might have come to the conclusion already drawn by Everton fans that the squad badly needed reinforcements at centre-half and defensive midfield. Unfortunately, neither position was addressed and while the new boss might have had some input on the two new faces that did arrive, neither Donny van de Beek nor Dele Alli smacked as being what the struggling Blues needed at the time.

Perhaps, as seems to have been the case throughout his six years at the helm, Moshiri rather blithely felt as though everything would be alright; that the extra guile in midfield would somehow be enough to plug the gaps. As it turned out, Dele wouldn't start a game until the final day of the campaign when safety was already assured and Van de Beek was barely a factor in the run-in. (Likewise Anwar El Ghazi, an utter waste of a potentially significant loan slot, who made just two appearances off the substitutes' bench.)

Instead, it was Everton's long-suffering supporters who rose to the urgency of the situation and provided the backdrop of unwavering support and inspiration against which Lampard could drag the team out of danger. He had inherited a squad crippled by doubt and dangerously low morale. Publicly dismissing their ability to play possession-based football, Benitez had sucked the belief out of the players.

Lampard was a breath of fresh air — snippets of his first training session with the players where he told them to “enjoy the ball” were squarely at odds with Benitez's approach. The new man would come to find out some of the reasons why his predecessor had been so sceptical but while the Blues remained pitifully weak away from home — the new boss would pick up just four points on the road while seeing the Blues crash out of the cup at Palace — at Goodison Park under Lampard's enthusiastic stewardship they found the resolve and strength to push through, sometimes against adversity and the odds, enough times to pick up four priceless victories thanks in large part to the ceaseless industry of some key players like Anthony Gordon, Alex Iwobi, some crucial goals from Richarlison, and world-class goalkeeping from Jordan Pickford.

The fans responded to Lampard's more upbeat air, bringing a thunderous atmosphere to his first League game to help lift the Toffees to a handsome 3-0 win over Leeds. The lightning-in-a-bottle couldn't be harnessed for the next two home fixtures against Wolves and Manchester City but, after a heart-breaking and deeply sobering reverse at Burnley, where Everton had led 2-1 at the break only to lose 3-2 to a rival in the relegation dogfight, it returned against Manchester United on 9th April and against Chelsea on 1st May when the Blues triumphed by a single goal on each occasion to pick up six massive points.

All the while, as if Everton didn't have enough problems, infuriating injustice at the hands of match officials were compounding them… a classic case of, when you're down you don't get the breaks and it feels as though everything is against you.

A blatant handball by Rodri that denied Everton the chance to grab a point against Manchester City at Goodison didn't even get as far as the pitch-side monitor; Allan was controversially sent off against Newcastle after initially only being booked by referee Craig Pawson (Everton won the match but lost the Brazilian for the next three); a stonewall penalty for a foul by Joel Matip on Anthony Gordon that might have altered the course of the Anfield derby away from a routine win for Liverpool was denied by the Video Assistant Referee; and another clear penalty, when Richarlison's shirt was almost ripped of his back by Mads Bech Sorensen moments before Jarrad Branthwaite was red-carded for bringing down Ivan Toney at the other end, was also not given and directly contributed to a 3-2 defeat to Brentford.

Those slights only seemed to intensify the levels of support from Everton's fans, though, and when it seemed as though they couldn't do any more, hundreds rallied to Finch Farm to see off the coach to Leicester earlier this month, setting the tone for a rapturous atmosphere in the away section at the King Power stadium and a 2-1 victory for the Toffees.

The chance to wrap things up at newly-relegated Watford was spurned in a goalless draw and that harrowing loss to Brentford brought back the gnawing fear that the Blues might yet fall through the trapdoor but the pièce de résistance came, of course, with the decisive home win over Crystal Palace on 19th May, where the fans gathered once more to fill the air with smoke to greet the players' coach, Goodison Park reached new levels of passion and inspiration, and the players produced a historic comeback from 2-0 down at half-time to win 3-2.

In the final reckoning, Burnley's defeat to Newcastle on the final day meant that Everton would have stayed up regardless but no one wanted to go into an away game at Arsenal with any doubts over the Toffees' top-flight status. And no one of a Blue persuasion will ever forget that night under the lights at a rocking Old Lady.

A Narrow Escape

If there's one thing that this season has shown it's that Everton under Farhad Moshiri aren't immune to the harsh realities of football and mis-management. Neither is this club too big to have gone down, even if the power of the fanbase's passion clearly was.

It was a closer-run thing than the final table suggests, with an almost unprecedented array of factors conspiring to pose the greatest threat this club has faced in two and a half decades. The hugely ill-advised appointment of Rafael Benitez might have been enough to heighten the risk of relegation and the Spaniard certainly didn't do himself any favours with his archaic methods and abysmal man-management.

But when you layered on the loss for the entire season of the club's record signing, Mina only being available for a quarter of the campaign, injuries at various times to key players like Doucouré, Allan, Godfrey, Richarlison, Delph and, of course, Calvert-Lewin, refereeing incompetence, the loss of Digne, the criminal delays in sacking Benitez and hiring Lampard, and the hobbled psychology of the team following months of the Spaniard's management you had the conditions for disaster at Goodison.

Everton never even made it to the fabled 40-point mark for safety, they recorded the worst season in their history on a points-per-game basis, lost 21 games, one fewer than they did in 1993-94 when they played four more matches, and conceded more goals in a campaign than they had since 1975-76.

In many ways, the Blues relied on at least three teams being worse than them this term and, thankfully, Norwich, Watford, Burnley and Leeds obliged but, in the final reckoning, it was Everton's magnificent fans who played as big a role as anyone in keeping the club afloat.

It was the supporters who created the energy and the fuel from which the players could feed and produce the performances that pulled the team clear. From that perspective, it was an unforgettable campaign even while it was stressful, drawn-out, emotional and tortuous.

The lesson for Moshiri and the hierarchy is that decisions matter, that their stewardship of this grand old club almost ended in ruin, and that things absolutely have to change going forward if a brush with catastrophe like the one this season is to be avoided in the future.

The preliminary indications, at least if Paddy Boyland's recent piece for The Athletic is any indication, is that Moshiri is ready to take a more “collegiate” approach when it comes to making the big decisions at Everton.

A significant and vocal portion of the fans will demand greater than that but, in the short term, the owner and board will be well served by simply allowing Lampard and new sporting director, Kevin Thelwell, get to work reshaping the team and overhauling the Academy so that every part of the club is adhering to the same standards, style and ethos.

Decisions will need to be made over some of the Blues' most saleable asset together with the reality that if the number of new faces that are needed are to arrive this summer, Everton will have to cash in on at least one of Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison or Pickford.

In the new reality where patient rebuilding, re-aligned expectations and sell-to-buy are the guiding principles, the fans have accepted that one of those heroes will have to move on. That acceptance needs to be matched at Board level — that the responsibility for Everton FC and the preservation of its future demands far better governance than has been shown in recent years.

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Reader Comments (155)

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Gerry Quinn
1 Posted 27/05/2022 at 06:51:41
Lyndon, A superb summary of what could have been a catastrophic season – those loyal fans deserve so much better. Let us hope that next season will be much less scary...
Eddie Ng
2 Posted 27/05/2022 at 07:49:39
Such an excellent article in summarizing this stressful but unforgettable season.

Thanks, Lyndon!

Ajay Gopal
3 Posted 27/05/2022 at 08:31:43
Lyndon, you really have outdone yourself with this magnificent article which encapsulates Everton's season very succinctly.

I have some sympathy for Benitez – he really had to contend with an unprecedented list of injuries to his key players and we all know that the replacements were not good enough.

Where Benitez let the club and himself down was a stubborn insistence of playing Rondon, when it was clear as daylight that he had come unfit for the Premier League and it really put him unfairly in the limelight. Rafa should have found a different style and formation to suit the players that he had available instead of shoe-horning Rondon into Calvert-Lewin's role.

Looking at the positive side of Rafa's tenure, I would say bringing in 3 decent players – Townsend, Gray and Begovic for peanuts due to FFP constraints was quite commendable. And, while falling out with a key player like Digne during the middle of the season contributed to our flirt with relegation (even though Digne was one of the worst of Everton's underperforming players at the time), looking at the long term, it could turn out to be a shrewd piece of business to bring in 2 highly promising full-backs for net zero transfer fees.

I really hope Moshiri has learnt his lesson and will allow the footballing decisions to be made by Thelwell and Lampard. Somehow, I don't think Moshiri will be hanging around for too long. He may want to cut his losses and sell up.

Martin Mason
4 Posted 27/05/2022 at 09:16:23
Great article, Lyndon. How not to run a football club – total incompetence at every level.
Lynn Maher
5 Posted 27/05/2022 at 10:27:43
Lyndon, just when I thought I was safe, your excellent article brought the nightmares back!

I have stated before, the appointment of Benitez was, in my opinion, the biggest slap in the face to all Evertonians.

Brian Murray
6 Posted 27/05/2022 at 10:35:49
Okay, our owner has been negligent and very naive entrusting the Chairman with running his club but surely he will want to see this through if the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock gets built and all the bells and whistles that entails financially. Doesn't make sense having a winning lottery ticket and not cashing it in.
Brian Murray
7 Posted 27/05/2022 at 10:39:22
Thelwell is under big pressure to somehow do cartwheels and find us some gems. Not impossible as I don't know his contacts and capabilities. Pray he's on the ball!
Barry Rathbone
8 Posted 27/05/2022 at 11:17:17
The core of the present issue is Moshiri.

As clueless about footy as almost all foreign owners, he hasn't the money to recreate Man City or Chelsea and appears utterly bi-polar in his decisions.

How does appeasing fans with the binning of what could be argued a relatively successful period under Allardyce align with reaching out to fan hate figure, Benitez?

Tony Everan
9 Posted 27/05/2022 at 11:17:56
Top class review, Lyndon, it is harrowing to relive it.

I remember after the Wimbledon 3-2 match all those years ago. The first line that was rolled out was ‘This must never happen again'. Since then the club has coughed and spluttered along stumbled like the smoker at the rear of a cross country race. Desperately trying to keep up but in no physical state to do so.

The volcano has erupted, the earth has been scorched. Now is the time to rebuild and do it well. An identity and core playing system needs to be settled. Recruitment needs to be by a 12 person committee comprising of the manager DOF and scouts, ex-players and knowledgeable Evertonians reaching consensus.

It will take time but, with Frank Lampard and his team, and his reputation for being influential in progressing young players, we may just have the right manager at the right time for the club.

If he can find some great potential young fringe players, from Chelsea and elsewhere things could really start to move for us. Blend them with some quality experience and the amount of upside is unpredictable.

Players like Colwill, Garner, Hudson-Odoi, Worall, Brennan Johnson, Gallagher (I Know), Carter-Vickers, Bassey in conjunction with the best of our own, in future years, Dobbin, Warrington, Price, Whitaker etc. There are other prospects, home and abroad who Kevin Thelwell will be surely tracking.

It will be tough recruiting the best young fringe talent, but in Frank and his team we have a great mentor for them. I'll say it again, he is the right manager at the right time for what will surely be our new club strategy.

Young quality fringe players will be interested at the very least. We won't get them all but two or three will make a huge difference to our energy and transformation as a team. Especially when they can be added to the likes of Patterson, Mykolenko, Gordon, Branthwaite – even Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin, Holgate and Iwobi are only 25.

I always want to be optimistic, and this way forward presents an opportunity for the rebirth of Everton.

Steve Brown
10 Posted 27/05/2022 at 11:57:54
“The malign influence of Benitez” - yep.

When combined with the complete dysfunctionality of Moshiri and Kenwright, the outcome was this season’s disaster.

Rob Dolby
11 Posted 27/05/2022 at 12:08:54
The perfect storm indeed.

A season in which Moshiri showed his true colours. He isn't interested in anything other than washing roubles through the club.

The appointment of Benitez made me feel physically ill. The lack of respect shown to the fans is unforgivable. Without a shadow of a doubt the worst appointment at the club at any level in my lifetime.

Kenwright is the stooge and in his own words 'we have had some god times' has proven that he is not fit to run the club.

Lampard after a shaky start is worth sticking with. We have to let him have time at the club. I honestly wouldn't know who to turn to next.

Players that have surprised me:

Gordon improved his effort game on game. He now needs to add quality and we may well have a top player on our hands.

Mykolenko looks like he can defend.

Pickford is maturing into a top keeper.

Gray & Townsend gave us a flying start to the season.

Richarleson & Calvert-Lewin are quality when fit.

Special mention for Iwobi who was MotM in most of our end of season clutch games. The lad has turned his Everton career around to the point where he can't be dropped.

The highlight of the season and still gives me goosebumps every time I think about those special games towards the end of the season where the fanbase came together to act as a genuine 12th Man.

We deserve so much better than the mess Kenwright and Moshiri have created. If we are ever to progress both need to go.


Roy Johnstone
12 Posted 27/05/2022 at 12:11:23
Bang on, Lyndon. It was a perfect storm of a season where so many smaller factors created the scary big hell hole we have just endured.

If something good has come out of this, it's that, in order to create the greatest atmosphere I have ever experienced in 40-odd years as a blue, we needed to be galvanised. And Benitez did that.

Mal van Schaick
13 Posted 27/05/2022 at 12:12:48
Good appraisal of our demise over the last few seasons. Mismanagement beyond belief.

I would hope that straight-talking Lampard will put a few of the player issues to bed with Thelwell. We have to get rid of the rotten core of players who are not worthy of playing for our club, and change our recruitment strategy.

On the flip side, are Tarkowski and Cornet really the answer? For me, it is going to be Lampard's team, and I trust him to recruit some players on contracts and some on loan. He may re-visit Chelsea to use his influence in taking players from them.

What is for sure is that the guessing game on transfers in has to stop, and we have to be certain that the next batch of players that we recruit will improve the team and take us forwards, not backwards. Bring stability and continue to build over the next few seasons.

Tony Hill
14 Posted 27/05/2022 at 12:51:13
This season has been a more troublesome version of a long established theme. We've had 5-6 good seasons out of 50. We keep thinking that we're going to fix ourselves – as all supporters do – but there will be no major alteration in the pattern.

The players stopped playing for Benitez (as they had done for preceding managers) and thought they could glide out of difficulty when he went. That was very nearly a disastrous miscalculation.

Good luck, Frank.

Brian Murray
15 Posted 27/05/2022 at 13:01:25
Tony Hill @14.

I totally agree with this myth that is Everton and good times. I won't miss Goodison; as you say, a handful of seasons since I started going in 1969. Having said that, I'll never forget the support they got towards the end of the season.

To me, the old lady equals glorious failure and the new ground is a new Everton way of doing things with proper people fit for purpose. Here's to a new blue beginning. Go get 'em, Frank

Dave White
16 Posted 27/05/2022 at 13:44:05
Beautifully written, Lyndon, mate, as harrowing as the memories this brings back are.

I'll say one positive thing for this season: it was exciting! When I say 'exciting', I mean soul-destroying, anger-inducing and hair-pulling-outing!

I didn't even celebrate when Calvert-Lewin scored the goal that kept us up. I had nothing left in me. I collapsed on my chair and had a little cry… Everton eh?

The fans were head and shoulders the players of the season.

Pete Clarke
17 Posted 27/05/2022 at 13:44:20
The forecast for this perfect storm was issued when the new owner took charge but allowed the existing failures at board level to remain in place. Even worse was that the new owner did not want to invest too much of his time looking after the club, so the storm started gathering pace.

My wish over these past few weeks was that the truly wonderful support of ours, backed by a real fear of our club disappearing into oblivion, did not also go on the attack of Bill Kenwright and his absolute failure to run our club in any kind of professional manner.

Have we let him off the hook and are we really so forgiving of somebody so blatantly running the club as his own plaything? We could really regret not taking the momentum through to a fully charged demand for change.

I hope I'm wrong on this but I heard Lampard mention the chairman in one of his lovely well-mannered after-match speeches and it scares me that the horrible lying bastard has wooed Frank into his little circle.

Ultimately, we partially ignored the mess of the last 2 years to happen simply based on the fact that, without Moshiri, there would be no new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock. It almost brought disaster and we are still a shambles so it's not over yet.

Bringing in quality players is going to be tough given the restrictions but I'm more than hopeful Frank Lampard and his team will improve the squad. He is a very young manager who has just had to completely abandon his way of playing the game because of the paucity of the players at his disposal.

It's going to take a while for him to come out of that mindset due to the pressure we supporters will put on him and patience is pretty thin given our recent history.

If we go ahead and sell our main goalscorer and main goal stopper, then that will be the equivalent of keeping this board and we will deserve the dire consequences that follow.

Frank Crewe
18 Posted 27/05/2022 at 13:57:31
Everton have escaped relegation by the skin of their teeth three times since the Premier League began. This season being the most recent. So what "confluence of factors" caused the other two?

Outside of the spike we had in the mid-1980s, this is a malaise that has been dogging Everton since the end of the 1960s. Back then, it could be argued that Everton were the senior club to Liverpool but, once the 1970s began, Liverpool just ran away from us.

So what has caused these decades of almost unremitting failure while comparable clubs such as Man City, Man Utd, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Spurs have surpassed us in terms of wealth, success, and much higher profiles?

Why did it take us so long to get a wealthy owner?
Why has it taken us so long to get a new stadium?
Why has our recruitment been so poor for decades?
Why have so many managers come and gone in such a short time?

Dave Abrahams
19 Posted 27/05/2022 at 14:04:27
Lyndon, I don't understand why you don't illustrate who was in charge of the club and its affairs between the sacking of Benitez and the appointment of Lampard.

Who made decisions in this period? Was it Moshiri based in Monaco or the part-time Chairman resident in London? Or was the club left in Limbo at the time when great urgency was needed to guide the club and team in where it was going?

A great deal was made about Benitez's time here and Lampard taking over – what was the difference in the points gathered between them?

In my opinion, it was the terrific fans of this club who made the difference between relegation and staying up this season. The fans obviously preferred Lampard to Benitez but I never came to those games to cheer the Blues on because of Frank Lampard – I came because my team, Everton, were in great danger of being relegated.

I came to support the team I loved and I doubt Everton would have survived without the fantastic support they received from us.

Martin Reppion
20 Posted 27/05/2022 at 14:11:33
A great article, but I would dispute the conclusion.I don't see the need to sell any of Calvert-Lewin, Pickford or Richarlison.

With players leaving at the end of their contracts, and reported interest in some of the fringe players, there is no reason why this summer should not be like last year. Bringing in hungry players on free transfers and nominal fees to complement what we have.

First, it is up to the manager to get into the ears of all the players he wants to keep, and I would hope this includes all those mentioned by Rob (#11). he should emphasise what they achieved in the last month. The support they have and the potential of a basically young squad to improve together.

It does feel a bit like the end of 1983. Struggling and needing to be inspired. What happened then was 4 unprecedented years. I don't imagine it will happen quickly, but it won't happen at all if we allow our best players to go.

Niall McIlhone
21 Posted 27/05/2022 at 14:17:43
A tough read, but a necessary one, and very well set out, Lyndon.

I also share Ajay's sentiments, especially his concluding paragraph: Thelwell and Lampard need to have all the support they need to begin to turn the playing side around. The big “positive” for Frank is that the fanbase are right behind him and, in turn, he is both intelligent and empathetic in his engagement of the fans.

Personally, I would speculate that a top-half finish could be measured as progress, given the severity of FFP restrictions upon the club. I realise many Toffewebbers might disagree with me on this, but we are in a process of evolution, not revolution.

The away performances this season have, for the most part, been an absolute disgrace, and that has to change if Everton are to progress. I have high hopes that Frank will prove to be the right man to lead us out of the gloom and, with our fans backing him, and players buying into his methods, I am more optimistic than I suppose I should be.

Pat Kelly
22 Posted 27/05/2022 at 14:20:24
I doubt there's another fan forum anywhere which can rival the quality of the articles produced here. Excellent, balanced and passionate. If only the team could emulate it.
Jay Harris
23 Posted 27/05/2022 at 14:43:33
Your literary talent excels once again, Lyndon, with a perfect analysis of last season.

I do however agree with Martin (#20) on the importance of keeping Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin and to an extent Pickford.

Player sales have to be those players that don't contribute enough to the squad (including injuries), such as Gomes, Mina, maybe Broadhead and Virginia. We also need to let Delph, Tosun and others whose contracts are ending go. That should free up sufficient headroom within FFP to make the necessary additions and get a couple of loans in.

I think the main difference between Lampard and Benitez was the ability to inspire players. Players such as Iwobi, Holgate, Kenny and Coleman came alive under Frank but looked dejected under Rafa.

Now is the time for Frank to show his other managerial qualities regarding player choice and tactical acumen. I hope he can achieve the same level at management that he achieved as a player; then the Everton faithful will be happy.

Kevin Molloy
24 Posted 27/05/2022 at 14:54:31
Lyndon is a great writer, but...

Like most Evertonians, he is one-eyed when it comes to Benitez. I mean the Watford game cited as 'the last straw' for poor performance, we were winning with 10 minutes to go. I've seen worse games than that! I suppose I am one-eyed, in the opposite direction.

I felt he came to Everton with the best of intentions, was given no money, and still vastly improved our ins and outs. Got rid of James (on £1 million a month), and 30-year-old Digne and his additional 3 years of £100k-a-week wages. Replaced them with Gray and Mykolenko. And I reckon Patterson will be good.

He was very unlucky to lose Calvert-Lewin all season, he had based his whole recruitment around servicing him. And people can cite the appalling run, but this is a poor team when you take out Calvert-Lewin and Mina.

We only got across the line in the end thanks to the intensity of the Goodison crowd. No Manager would have kept us up without it.

With regard to Lampard, yes, he does need to be given credit. First, for accepting the terrible emotional pressure of keeping us up. Second, for getting absolutely key performances out of Delph, Iwobi, Holgate and Gordon. And for getting a series of extremely unlikely wins.

Knowing how bad we are, to leave Leicester with just one point after our double-header, to beat Man Utd, Chelsea, Palace and Newcastle really is an impressive haul. I don't think he is near to the manager Benitez is, but I will always be grateful to him for his efforts for us this season.

Steve Brown
25 Posted 27/05/2022 at 14:59:33
The difference between Benitez and Lampard was 2 wins in 4 months compared to 8 wins in 4 months.

Lampard earned 21 league points in the same period compared to 8 league points for Benitez. I don’t think trying to equate Lampard’s efforts with Benitez’s is a smart argument.

Dave Abrahams
26 Posted 27/05/2022 at 15:10:34
Steve (25),

Well, if you use the argument that you did, it would be untruthful. Over the season, Benitez got 18 points and Frank got 21 with Duncan manager for one game, and I think Rafa had more cup wins than Frank.

Benitez worked without a lot of the support behind him while Frank got the best support I have ever seen at Goodison Park for most of the games at home and, being honest, they both had to work with a very poor squad depleted by injuries and suspensions.

Jack Convery
27 Posted 27/05/2022 at 15:12:45
Great article, Lyndon – sums it up all too well.

Was this season a stay of execution? Only the summer comings and goings and how the team jells for season 22-23 will tell us that. I certainly hope we get our act together and that Kevin Thelwell and Frank Lampard can come together and secure us some real quality with the loose change from inside Moshiri's sofa.

As regards Benitez, Kenwright and Moshiri, they really are the unholy trinity. Unless Moshiri stops interfering and bringing in players his so-called advisers tell him to, then Thelwell will go the way of Brands.

Kenwright should now do the decent thing and step aside and let the club move into a new era, where the past is past and not part of the present. We need to move forward as we have a lot of catching up to do.

Denis Richardson
28 Posted 27/05/2022 at 15:33:25
Anyone have any insight into what happened behind the scenes around October time?

Lot of people lambasting Benitez but we flew out of the blocks at the start of the season. Our first 7 league games were W4 D2 L1 taking us into October before the international break. Something must have happened around this time as after the break we lost at home to West Ham and then had the season low of the 5-2 reverse at home to Watford.

What on earth happened in October? After that we never recovered and that was the start of the slow downward spiral that almost took us down.

Joe McMahon
29 Posted 27/05/2022 at 15:34:56
This must be a record, and shows exactly what Everton FC are up against. There are 10 Liverpool articles on the BBC homepage today. No other team, not even Man Utd would have that many.

A very good article Lyndon and the following statement says it all "Moshiri demurred, no doubt fearful of having to admit to another colossal error in judgement."

Tony Hill
30 Posted 27/05/2022 at 15:53:57
Benitez saw through the Kenwright regime and the cosy, self-serving Everton Way, and so he had to go. Like Allardyce before him. Neither of them needed or wanted The Ham’s arm around their shoulders.

On each occasion the fans fell into line.

I hope Frank is sufficiently tough to resist the schmaltz.

Lyndon Lloyd
31 Posted 27/05/2022 at 15:58:28
Dave (19):

"Lyndon, I don't understand why you don't illustrate who was in charge of the club and its affairs between the sacking of Benitez and the appointment of Lampard, who made decisions in this period..."

You're crediting me with more intel than I have, Dave. I'm not privy to the inner workings of Everton, so I couldn't tell you. I assume, like most of us do, that Moshiri was still making the ultimate decisions and there appear to be enough indications from the snippets that I did hear that Kenwright and Barrett-Baxendale were having their say but were still at the mercy of the owner's erratic whims.

Martin (20): I think it depends on the scale of rebuild you're expecting to or wanting to see. Yes, we could repeat last season's effort to add players, either for free, on loan or on the cheap, who can add something but, as was the case with Rondon, sometimes they are free for a reason.

If we want to vault ourselves back into the reckoning for Europe straight away (not impossible given we're starting from the same position Leicester did in 2015) then, I think, we will have to sell to buy to add the quality we need and plug the gaps left by the likes of Sigurdsson, Delph, etc. Otherwise, it's going to be a grind and the hammering at Arsenal underscored for me that we have some squad fillers who just aren't good enough as regular starters.

Kevin (24), I didn't say Watford (H) was the last straw, I said the Goodison derby was. (It was for me.) I said the Watford debacle was the first sign of trouble. The team was lifeless under Benitez and I'm convinced that we'd have gone down had he stayed in charge.

He needed to go and someone like Lampard to come in to buoy the fans; I'm not sure even the supporters could have rallied enough to stop us getting relegated had Benitez been allowed to stick around.

Tony Abrahams
32 Posted 27/05/2022 at 16:18:37
I'm certain the fans would not have rallied around in the same way if Benitez would have still been in charge, Lyndon.

I remember going to Birmingham City for a midweek game early in the Moyes regime, and their support was brilliant. It was fierce, very passionate and really partisan. I went a few years later, quite early into the season, and it was completely dead, and you just knew Birmingham City were going to get relegated, even then.

Goodison was like this under Benitez, the crowd tried to get behind the team, but it was mainly an agitated and frustrated crowd. I'd never known the streets outside Goodison so quiet before games, when it seemed that a lot of Evertonians were going inside the stadium out of habit, rather than because they really wanted to.

So Lampard's appointment definitely helped Everton stay up. This is without question, and although Frank has got a lot wrong, a united Goodison Park is such a very powerful force, and is hopefully something we can really exploit before the Old Lady closes forever.

Dave Abrahams
33 Posted 27/05/2022 at 16:20:47
Lyndon (31)<

Well I think you were crediting Kenwright doing the deal with Spurs for Dele Alli and the Rangers secretary was saying what a pleasure it was dealing with Kenwright over Patterson's transfer.

Seeing that Kenwright was the Chairman of the club, I would assume he was co-ordinating everything the club was doing during the abyss when we had no manager, yet there was no rush to get the appointment of the manager, the main deal, sorted out.

Mr Moshiri comes in for a lot of stick, deserves some of it, but the man who was Chairman of the club, some say insisting on staying in that position when he sold the club, doesn't get a mention in your post.

Danny O’Neill
34 Posted 27/05/2022 at 16:21:29
Not a lot else to say, Lyndon.

I think you're right on one of your last points (comment not post). The fans were unified but toxic and that would have continued had Benitez still been there even in the circumstances. That would have rubbed off on the players and would have cost us.

The fans were unified but positive when Lampard came in. To the point of witnessing scenes on Goodison Road even the older generations of us have never seen even in the circumstances. That rubbed off on the players and saved us.

I'll probably coin my own thoughts on this season at some point. You've done the analysis, I'll probably give a personal reflection of travelling and having the privilege to watch Everton and some of the experiences I had along the way. Home and away, or away and home as it often is for me.

Lyndon Lloyd
35 Posted 27/05/2022 at 16:34:42
Dave (33), I'm sure Kenwright was involved to a degree and, in the absence of a DoF after Brands left, he seemed to step in to handle negotiations over players in the way he used to when Moyes was in charge.

I still don't believe – and, again, this is my interpretation – that he was making the ultimate decisions over who the manager would be. That still seemed to be Moshiri's domain as the ultimate owner of the train set and the murmuring at the time that Bill and Denise were lobbying for Lampard right to the last minute would seem to bear that out.

Dave Abrahams
36 Posted 27/05/2022 at 16:49:47
Lyndon (35),

Fair enough. To be honest, none of us knows who is doing what at the club for sure but you've got me worried if Denise Barrett-Baxendale was having a say in who became Everton's manager, shows what a state the club is in!!

Stephen Williams
37 Posted 27/05/2022 at 17:17:28
Good article that sums up much of the feeling during the season.

Not wanting to dwell on such a gut-wrenching, energy-sapping period, I've turned my thoughts to a rebuild (as one is absolutely needed to avoid the horrors of this season).

It's not disputed that we need to retain our better players and then add further quality. The question is what is the current financial position and projected profit & loss for the 2022-23 season?

I believe (but I'm not 100% sure) that for P&S, losses are assessed over a 3-year period. We know that the last two years have been assuaged by the financial effects of Covid and other matters so those forming years 1 and 2 of the ongoing assessment shouldn't be a major issue.

Understanding what the loss was sustained in the first of those 3 years is crucial as that will drop out to be replaced by the 2022-23 result. If that first year was a significant loss, then that might offer us some flexibility to make a similar loss in 2022-23 (and therefore remain within the P&S threshold) by:

- further investment in the playing squad,
- whilst retaining our better players,
- and having enjoyed the significant savings on those contracts terminating this summer to be supplemented by a few carefully chosen sales of squad / perennially injured players.

However, if that loss was modest then it's unlikely we would be able to come in under that figure without at least one significant player sale.

Does anyone have the knowledge of the losses in each of the three years – particularly the first?

Jeff Armstrong
38 Posted 27/05/2022 at 17:28:48
I don't think it's fair to compare Lampard's last 3½ months to Benitez's first 4½ months.

Benitez started the season with a mostly fit squad who were joint top of the league, ergo 0 games, 0 points; he then resided over a 4½-month period that took us from joint top to 16th place in the Premier League.

This became Lampard's starting position, bit of a difference isn't it?

To get us to stay put from where he started from, considering we were falling faster than a lead balloon, was excellent management from him and his team.

Yes, he made mistakes along the way, I've pointed out plenty, but ultimately he steadied a sinking ship. He galvanised the support along the way, mostly, because of his enthusiastic “buy in” to the club. The supporters responded, and together we dragged ourselves out of the mess that Moshiri, Benitez, Kenwright and Brands created.

I really hope he can build something from his new starting point and stays for years.

Ed Prytherch
39 Posted 27/05/2022 at 17:58:37
Another very good article Lyndon, Thanks.

I hate to admit that I became apathetic during the Benitez reign as I had no confidence that anything good was going to happen - "don't worry about things over which you have no control".

Bringing in Lampard was the football equivalent of the evacuation from Dunkirk in 1940 (my dad was there). Maybe Moshiri has learned from this near disaster.

Brian Williams
40 Posted 27/05/2022 at 18:06:57
There's no way the supporters, for that's what we are, would have done what we did in the last few weeks of the season if Benitez had stayed and we were in the same position, IMO.

Lampard's an intelligent bloke and knew that he had to get the supporters onside. Benitez basically didn't give a fuck either way. It was his way or no way.

Lampard managed to galvanize the support, not through great performances, but through a shared realisation that, if we didn't do something, we were on the way down. He knew the noises he had to make, the things to say, and it worked.

I genuinely believe that he was shocked, surprised, whatever, at the true depth of meaning of this club. I believe he realised what a huge club this is, not in terms of recent success, but in terms of what the club means to those who support it. I hate to use the term "gets the club" but I do believe the club, and all that goes with it, has touched something within him.

I hope he's the saviour we've been looking for. I hope he's backed financially (wherever possible) and I get the feeling nothing would please him more than to stick two fingers up to that shower across the road, and everyone else in the league too.

Oh, and his Mrs is rather tasty too.

Roy Johnstone
41 Posted 27/05/2022 at 19:12:55
Brian @40 - Spot on. Whatever Frank turns out to be, he wasn't Benitez. Which is the defining point of this shit show of a season. No blue smoke for the man who wore a red tie at Norwich.
Christy Ring
42 Posted 27/05/2022 at 19:39:21
A very thorough and honest assessment, Lyndon. The crowd were immense and a massive lift to Frank and the team at Goodison, but Lampard deserves a lot of credit for our survival. We were in total free fall when he took over, but Moshiri & Kenwright leaving it so late to bring him in was a disgrace and could have cost us dearly.

Frank had one day to assess the squad, and try and bring in players before the end of the window, and whoever was responsible for signing El Ghazi, when we had a surplus of wingers, which meant he could only make one other loan signing – an utter amateur decision.

I'm looking forward to Lampard having a fresh start, and putting his stamp on the team this summer. With Delph, Tosun, and Sigurdsson off the books, it will free up over £10M in wages, and I don't believe we have to sell Calvert-Lewin or Richarlison unless they insist on leaving.

Tony Abrahams
43 Posted 27/05/2022 at 20:41:37
If Evertonians wanted to create the perfect storm, they could turn up at Goodison on Sunday in their thousands, filling up Goodison Rd, Bullens Rd, and Glawdys St, and protest against the way the club has been ran under Moshiri and Kenwright.

That’s what I’d like to see our fan groups propose. Strike whilst the iron is hot, and whilst people have also still got it fresh in their memory, about how close Everton came to a relegation, that would have put us back years.

Kunal Desai
44 Posted 27/05/2022 at 21:24:11
The fans, combined with the manager, cobbled together to clean up the massive shit sandwich dealt by Moshiri and Kenwright.

Unfortunately, those creators are still here; nothing tells me things will change anytime soon and we could well be here again in 12 months time. I just don't trust these clowns.

Tony Abrahams (#43), 100% agree. Only way this club moves forward. There is no alternative option.

John Raftery
45 Posted 27/05/2022 at 22:07:57
Thanks, Lyndon, for a very readable, comprehensive review of what has been a truly dreadful campaign. It was indeed a perfect storm of events conspiring to send the club into a downward spiral.

From mid-October to early April we were the worst team in the Premier League. The defeats against relegated Watford, Norwich and Burnley were evidence of that.

Having started the season well enough with 14 points from the first seven games, the manager was certainly undermined by the injury absence of key players coupled with the paucity of talent within the squad.

In these circumstances, given his reputation for pragmatism, it surprised me that, with the notable exception of the game at Chelsea, Benitez was unable to set the team up to defend properly.

Why did they keep trying to play out from their own 6-yard box? Why could they not defend corners and set-piece free-kicks? Why wasn't an extra man deployed in midfield to shield the back line?

These were questions puzzling me through the final months of Benitez's tenure. They continued to puzzle me in the weeks after Lampard arrived.

It was really only in the final weeks of the season that the manager cut out the frills, set-piece play improved, defenders focused on clearing their lines, and the team as a whole adopted a more compact shape. In other words, Lampard eventually learned the lessons that Benitez failed to heed.

Lampard has a style of play he wishes to introduce. With the best will in the world,d he will not be able to do that successfully until the squad is overhauled. Inevitably that will take longer than one window.

In the meantime, a degree of pragmatism will be required to ensure we grind out the points to keep us clear of another relegation threat.

Dave Abrahams
46 Posted 27/05/2022 at 22:17:11
John (45),

A good balanced and fair post. I hope Frank can carry on learning to correct the faults in the squad and carries on changing the way we play as he also makes a lot of changes to the squad itself. As you say, there is no quick way to do this.

Hugh Jenkins
47 Posted 27/05/2022 at 22:37:11
Frank Lampard is an Evertonian at heart.

He said as much when he was first appointed and a journalist asked him why he had take this job?

He replied, "This is a massive club. When I was a kid they were league champions".

Frank is six months older than my son and my son follows EFC and always has, because they won the league when he started to take an interest in football - no doubt at the same time as Frank did.

Kids, no matter what part of the country they come from, nor what team geographically closer to them they might have a connection with ( in Frank's case it was, of course, WHU), they still make a life long affinity with the team that really captures their hearts when they first take a real interest in football at the age of 7 or 8 years old.

That is why, based on Frank's age and what he said when first interviewed after taking the job, I am pretty confident that he is and has been a lifelong Evertonian since Howards first spell inc harge.

Nicolas Piñon
48 Posted 28/05/2022 at 00:29:37
Given the FFP policies put over us by the corrupt PL what are the honest chances we can spend and rebuild the squad?
Not so sure itll come that quick but at least we have a good coach now and we should keep getting behind i'm.
Weve got good talent in our squad.
Once a blue, always one.
Pete Clarke
49 Posted 28/05/2022 at 00:47:48
I don’t really see how we can actually accept this board or in fact this owner to carry on as guardians of this club when you take into account the damage that has been done and catastrophe that was narrowly avoided.
Let’s look at the facts here and admit that the recruitment of Allardyce and Benitez was a message to all Evertonians that they neither understood our club and it’s history and nor did they care about it. Who would have thought that things could get worse after Allardyce ?
Benitez coming to Everton was the equivalent of your missus bringing her boyfriend home with the red kit on and singing you’ll never walk alone. This is down to our owner but at the same time Bill Kenwright, if he’d any balls should have stood up to him and threatened to resign if that happened. There is a very big picture in there of total malaise and wrecklessnes that our club is embroiled in.
Even the decision to sell an admittedly out of form Digney was shocking as that alone cost us games and threatened our Premiership status.
The long drawn out appointment of Frank Lampard was another big indication that these idiots don’t have a clue and are fucking around with the club like some kind of toy.
Why was Ferguson even part of that meeting and why is he still here ? They have turned the club into a laughing stock and I want them all gone ASAP. Let’s hope the rumors of Moshiri selling up are true and that we get a new owner who will walk in to the club and his first move would be to grab BK by the scruff of the neck and lead him right out of the door.
He deserves no less than this for dragging all of us through these past few years of lies and football ignominy.

Steve Brown
50 Posted 28/05/2022 at 03:12:25
Dave A, you have been very fair with Benitez. Respectfully, he does not merit your support in the slightest.
Steve Brown
51 Posted 28/05/2022 at 03:24:20
The one thing that all Evertonians agree on is the collective culpability of this dysfunctional board. It has been nagging me that our escape act will result in no changes in the board composition – in fact, they will rationalise it to justify staying in place. In any other business, they would have been removed after this season's debacle.

I would honestly love to have a conversation with Kenwright to understand what benefit he thinks he brings by staying on as Chairman. Whatever his justifications in the past, I cannot think how it helps either himself or Everton for him to continue in his role.

Pete Clarke
52 Posted 28/05/2022 at 06:30:25
Moshiri is the owner and he left Bill in charge of things whilst he fucks around doing who knows what in Monaco. So the guy he leaves in control of the club overseas all of this mess and yet Moshiri still leaves Bill in his position as Chairman, even though it's cost him hundreds of millions.

In the meantime, Bill appoints people at Board level who have no background in this industry and are probably people he knows will just agree with him.

My thoughts are that Moshiri is the worst of the two but he is the one with the money – or should I say, the one who used to have the money. Is he so clueless that he's given Bill a lifelong guaranteed Board membership or something and can't actually get rid of him?

I would love to know this but I would love nothing more than to see the fans put some real angry pressure on Moshiri to take action before it all goes too quiet.

Eddie Dunn
53 Posted 28/05/2022 at 07:42:20
I agree that Lampard managed to squeeze performances from the likes of Iwobi and even seemed to get Holgate and Keane playing better as time was running out.

I do think that Frank was clueless about the real passion at Goodison. He knew it could be a bit of a bear-pit from visits from Chelsea, in his pomp. He was taken aback though at the support he and his team got when the writing was on the wall.

For me he made too many errors in selection and tactics.

I will wait and see what influence he has over ins and outs this summer but my worry is that the pragmatism that got us over the line may be replaced by his prefered possession-based football.

Until this squad is totally transformed, the current personnel are not capable of playing it out from the back and our midfield is possibly the worst in the Premier League (now the other 3 have gone).

He is a likeable guy and at times he got us playing some good stuff. He still likes five at the back and only two in midfield.

We can hope for a better season but blue smoke bombs can only inspire so much. This squad is piss-poor and no coaching team is going to do much better with them.

I hope they go on the park in August thinking that they are already in a relegation scrap, and play accordingly. Otherwise, we could end up in the same boat.

Danny Baily
54 Posted 28/05/2022 at 07:52:49
Pete @52,

Do you know if any of what you've written is true? Do you know what Bill Kenwright's day-to-day role is at Everton, if he has one at all?

I suspect not.

Graham Mockford
55 Posted 28/05/2022 at 09:03:31
A really good summary. I would only add when the chips were down, four players really stood up and secured PL survival. Pickford, Richarlison, Gordon and improbably Iwobi. Their contribution cannot be understated.
Tony Abrahams
56 Posted 28/05/2022 at 09:16:48

I read extracts of a conversation that people taped during one meeting with Bill Kenwright. He “never gave any indication” then, that he brought any benefits whatsoever, other than to say Everton wouldn't get anyone better than his good self.

This statement was a lot more outrageous than people having the audacity to tape Mr Kenwright, imo, because it was clear even then that the man has never had anything good to offer to Everton Football Club.

A club who used to exist to win would never get anyone better than this egotistical maniac? Wow, the proof was in the pudding the day he took over Everton, for me.

And he hasn't done anything of significance, since the day he took over the ownership of Everton, to convince me otherwise – except for his own benefits, which is easy to see, once you can see through the man's many lies.

Ray Smith
57 Posted 28/05/2022 at 09:25:36
Although we only spent £1.7M on transfers in, I'm guessing that that will not be taken into consideration until season 23-24. We will still be way over the top in respect of FFP rules and Frank will literally have his hands tied until we fall into line with FFP.

Again, I'm guessing but, if we don't sell or offload, our recruitment of one or two quality players will be rather restricted. Shipping out the deadwood is easier said than done.

Frank will put his faith in some of our younger fringe players, in order to try and balance the books, and a couple of loans from his vast array of contacts. I see us linked with a number of players for substantial transfer fees, but is that realistic?

I don't want Richarlison to go, but he's given good service, and he IMO deserves a crack at the Champions League with a club hopefully not in the Premier League.

Pickford hopefully will stay, he may have suitors, but not from the Top 4. He's coming into his own at the right time for us and England.

Calvert-Lewin… I'm not sure reports of him wanting to leave are true; media hype, together with his current injury problems, will see him stay. He's had a poor season, and needs to get his head down next season, and push his way back into the England squad. He's not going to displace Kane regardless.

I can't comment about Thelwell, so hopefully he and Lampard can work well together.

There are (at least) two flies in the ointment: one who has dragged us into the mess we are in, and the other who has been hoodwinked by the charlatan, Bill Kenwright. Kenwright won't stand down all the time the new stadium project at Bramley-Moore Dock is up and running.

Somebody earlier posted that Kenwright cannot be removed from his post by Moshiri, because it was part of the deal. Although unattributable, it does seem to be the case. I think, if Moshiri could've offloaded Kenwright, he would have done it by now. Only time will tell…

Hopefully top half next season, and push on from there the following season, with Frank still at the helm! Another manager sacking is not the answer.

Kenwright (and associated allies) Out!

Jerome Shields
58 Posted 28/05/2022 at 09:38:16
Denis #28,

IMO, that point in October was the pivotal point of this season.

“I have a lot of confidence in my staff but if we have to do something we will do it. One thing I want to be very clear is that I am trying to improve every single department. The fans, the club, the owners who have spent a lot of money – they are desperate to be competitive. ” – Rafa Benitez. October 2021

Everton were on an international break and they arrived back after it worse than they usually do after a international break. On the Tuesday after the first match playing, it was announced that Head of Medical Services, Danny Donachie, had parted company with Everton – "after new manager Rafa Benitez ordered a review of the club's injury record for key players. "

IMO, Benitez – who was hands-on from the start with high-performance methods – intended to continue as so over the international break and clashed head-on with the rest and recovery methods as the usual suspects headed for the couch at Medical Services.

The same thing happened to Ancelotti the previous season at the same time. He did not confront the situation, but tried to work around it with 'square peg in round hole' selections.

After that, the internal movement strengthed to get rid of Benitez, aided by the fact that there was already a strong objection to Benitez within the club and throughout the fanbase.

Getting rid of Benitez was the main preoccupation of the club for the next 2 months. He had continued support of the arms-length Moshiri, and Brands became a casualty as fan pressure turned on the Board.

Benitez was totally at that stage dependent on the January transfer window. A window he eventually realised he was not going to have a say in. Everton just worked with the remnants of Brands's work and the advice of Kia Joorabchian.

I agree, things would have got worse had Benitez stayed and Everton would have been relegated.

I will always maintain that Frank Lampard was selected by the fans. Bill and Denise just jumped on the bandwagon against Moshiri's selection, who made a fool of himself.

There is no doubt that the fans also got Everton over the line as Frank tried to get to grips with a squad who effectively had not played for 2 months in the middle of the season. Frank and his backroom team doggedly stuck to and adapted a system of play, with mainly makeshift players, which produced just enough points to avoid relegation.

Frank will stick to his style of play and is accepting of Everton's rest and recovery methods. There will be some really good football, a must for Evertonians, but hiccups as the underlying system sputters from four cylinders to three cylinders or rather less, an idle one.

As for the unperforming management of the club, they will continue as before unaccountable, embedded more after the review. Objective achieved – Premier League survival; sanctions managed, the Premier League allowing Everton £170million to meet FFP compliance.

Unfortunately, the true cost of this regime will be Everton's progress on the pitch. Bramley Dock will be built on budget, if not under budget, depending on where the money came from before it became stadium finance.

I increasingly see Moshiri as a frontman with access to money looking for limited home opportunities. One of the highlights of the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock will be the Kenwright farewell. Bill weeping and the unadulterated abuse of baying Evertonians lost in the stiff breeze of out on the dock and the acoustics of the new stadium.

Clive Rogers
59 Posted 28/05/2022 at 09:38:30
All the time Kenwright has been chairman of EFC, he has had a full-time job as theatre producer in London. He has been very much a part-time chairman. Now he has bought a large theatre concern from Lloyd Webber which will take up more of his time.

Moshiri's wealth on the just published Sunday Times rich list is down to £1.7Bn having previously been £2.9Bn.

Dave Abrahams
60 Posted 28/05/2022 at 09:39:48
Steve (50),

I believe Benitez was brought in to do a specific job by Usmanov – not Moshiri – and when things went bad on the field, Benitez wasn't given the support to carry on and he left.

Maybe that was the correct decision. Benitez said a few times "It will get better in January" – who knows who he had lined up in the transfer window?

El Ghazi certainly wasn't one of them and Dele Alli and the Dutchman were brought in on the last day so it's debatable they were part of Rafa's plans. I'm not sure who brought the two full backs in although I think they will both be very good signings.

Anyway, what's done is done and we got what we all desired: safety. Now the work really begins to revive the club to where we aspire to be and we all know it is a mammoth task mostly because the club has been allowed to get so low over many years.

Onwards and upwards from now on should be the only target to aim for… but I doubt they will be achieved with the present board still in control.

Brian Murray
61 Posted 28/05/2022 at 09:51:52
I was and still am hopeful ToffeeWeb is a true reflection, or at least for most posters, of the passionate feeling about Everton getting a proper CEO and Chairman. Hope I'm wrong but I still hear and see far too many Blues go quiet or put their head down when this subject is raised.

Surely even for the happy clappers, it's wearing very thin that toe-curling bullshit phrase "He's one of us"? He has never ever been one of us unless the occasion suits him and he gets more oxygen from a glorious game under the lights etc. Total fraud of a man.

Frank Sheppard
62 Posted 28/05/2022 at 09:53:23
Great article, thank you, a perfect précis of how not to run a football club.Thank goodness we survived.

The new reality: I think we will probably lose two from Pickford, Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison, and have to rebuild from there. Good luck, Frank.

Tony Abrahams
63 Posted 28/05/2022 at 09:59:03
Some people question you on ToffeeWeb, Jerome, but a lot of what you say has a certain ring of truth in it (to me - at least). Although I read Donachie left in November, I sometimes wonder if you are employed by Everton Football Club? The secret employee?

I just hope you're wrong about Lampard coming into line, regarding rest and recovery. Firstly because he's talking about making the squad more robust, and secondly because if anyone knows the benefits of hard work, it's got to be Frank Lampard – he's a man, who definitely got the most out of his ability, and also probably a bit more.

Bill Watson
64 Posted 28/05/2022 at 10:34:08
Glad to see the back of an absolute shitstorm of a season. For me, the alarm bells started ringing back in September when we collapsed at Villa Park and did it again in the Watford home game, soon after.

Maybe Frank should contact Abba and look into the possibility of creating a team of avatars for next season!

Jerome Shields
65 Posted 28/05/2022 at 10:46:07
Tony #63,

Frank in his pressers uses the words 'rest' and 'tired'. Even after the Arsenal game, after the second-half exertions against Palace he used these phrases. I'm hoping that he had decided not to rock the boat regarding Finch Farm, trying to get his system accepted enough and repetitively worked on to avoid relegation.

No, I am not a secret employee at Finch Farm, but have done extensive research on its structure and who's who in it. Often you and a few others give valuable insights into what is going on and feedback on ToffeeWeb what sources with first-hand knowledge have seen or heard.

There is one thing for sure that the culture there is unchanged and a manager will have issues with it. Hopefully Frank and his team have the ability to manage.

I suppose any manager coming into Everton and looking at the list of managers that failed, as they all did, has to be careful in his approach, if he eventually wants to get some measure of success. For any manager to think that he will have the undivided support of Finch Farm is an illusion.

By the way, Seamus Coleman will be given another extension or a coaching job. It is being worked on and Frank's support has been wheeled out. Nothing changes at Everton.

Have a good Summer, Tony.

Nick Page
66 Posted 28/05/2022 at 11:01:49
Is Kenwright still here? Absolute shame on us.

The Number One Priority for Evertonians between now and 2023 is to get rid of the blubbering parasite and his hoard of Yes-men, and put pressure on Moshiri to sell.

Full-scale clear-out and reboot needed in all departments. We were the only club in the Premier League last season without a sleeve sponsor. And the Cazoo deal has run out. Let's see how the awesome commercial department – probably ten overpaid blokes sitting round all day on TikTok at the club's expense – deals with that.

The performance of this board is utterly indefensible. There is a chance here to change things for the good, and forever. I would even advocate fans stumping up some cash if any deal is forthcoming because no-one knows the club like Evertonians…. and I don't mean the hand-picked sycophants that just toe the line. Let's get it done.

Danny O’Neill
67 Posted 28/05/2022 at 11:11:01
Thought I'd come back to this one. Repeating myself from elsewhere, but a bit of board room jargon to join the board conversation.

Retire the Chairman position and the incumbent. It's not needed; the incumbent is not needed.

Appoint a CEO with a proven track record in running a business, preferably with a sporting background.

Appoint a Chief Operations Officer who is proven at running day-to-day operations of a large organisation.

Appoint a Chief Marketing Officer who can build on the potential of our club's brand, promote the club on a global scale, capitalising on markets such as the USA.

Let the Fans Advisory Board have an actual voice. On that note, we do need to be vocal about this. We can't let this go. It doesn't mean we need flares every week and we should reserve the match for supporting the team in the magnificent way we have demonstrated. But we need to mobilise and generate a momentum for real change.

Listen to me. I sound like Comrade Danny.

That over, this season was a sea of emotions. For the New Zealand cohort, it was like crossing the Cook Straights. Calm, turning to turbulent, then to extreme rough waters before calming again and looking back at what you'd just been through.

Anxiety in the summer as rumours circulated over the managerial appointment. It happened and I gulped, but got on with it.

Enjoyment. I have to say, an enjoyable start. Were we starting to quietly accept him? He wouldn't come over after away matches though. To be fair, he managed that part well as it could have got hostile.

Concern. It starts to go wrong. Worried, but a long way to go yet.

Toxic. Brentford and Norwich ultimately stick out for me. The fans had turned. We all knew this had the potential to go toxic early and there was no going back once it did.

Optimism. Okay, we've got a young manager who is a proven winner. This should see us okay.

Worry. The ship hasn't turned and is still heading towards the iceberg and getting closer with little room to make an evasive turn.

Fear. Now the sleepless nights have started.

Ecstasy. In the context of relief not celebration.

We've been through it all, but I was glad to be a part of it.

Never again Everton, but we've said that 3 times now.

David Hallwood
68 Posted 28/05/2022 at 11:42:19
Like everyone else, Lyndon, I'd like to thank you for your fantastic writing over the years, culminating with this brilliant article summarising this suicide-watch of a season.

Firstly, the top priority must be to address the injury crisis that has been going on for two seasons. Injuries are and always have been part and parcel of football, but in all the time I've been watching Everton (starting in 1963 in the Boys Pen just like our Bill), I've never known a time when we've had so many injuries, and none of your "he's out for three weeks nonsense", they're usually out for months.

Is it bad luck or something in the preparation, but to state the bleedin' obvious, it seriously disrupted our season. It would have been interesting to see where Spurs would have finished if Kane & Son had spent as much time on the sidelines as Calvert-Lewin & Richarlison, not that I'm putting our two in the same class as Kane & Son, but they are as important to us as they are to Spurs.

Also, one of the few slivers of light in a depressingly dark season, which has been overlooked in the euphoria of the Palace game, was the difference of having three in midfield.

Yes, Palace came out for the second half thinking the game was won and holiday brochures tucked under their collective arms, but when you have three players willing to put a shift in, attack and defend when needed, like it was back in the day, as opposed to the modern way of having a specialist No 6 No 8 No 10.

So, for next season how about start with a midfield three of Deli, Doucouré & Iwobi, obviously it is an area we need more bodies in; a Sangaré type of player or a Gallagher would beyond my wildest dreams. Hopefully, Delph will be gone as will Gomes and sadly, Tom Davies (I think both players are suited to the slower pace of Italy or Portugal).

Say goodbye to Keane & Mina (error & injury prone). Bring in a coach to organise the defence which at times has lurched from Sunday league to pantomime (except nobody shouting "Look behind you!").

Reluctantly say goodbye to Pickford, Calvert-Lewin & Richarlison, either one or all three of them. If Richarlison & Calvert-Lewin do go, this is where the relatively new and much-vaunted backroom staff will have to weave their collective magic because getting players in who can regularly put the ball in the net is a difficult and expensive trick to pull off.

Pete Clarke
69 Posted 28/05/2022 at 11:55:55

It may be just a load of guesswork what I wrote but it's a fact that he is the chairman and it's also a fact that he has overseen the worst period in the history of Everton Football Club.

It's his duty to make sure things at the club are running correctly and everybody else is doing their jobs. It is clear after so much failure at Finch Farm, player recruitment, manager level and at board level,l that he is not good enough and in fact his presence is completely detrimental to our club. This is without mentioning the Kings Dock, Kirkby and shutting down the AGMs etc.

Last but not least, he brings in a wealthy buyer who then throws lots of money at the club and yet somehow it makes us worse. Of course it is Kenwright's fault that we are in this position because it's his job to keep the club healthy. How can somebody in such a high important role perform so poorly yet still hold onto his job??

He may have some binding agreement written into his employment that he cannot be sacked or something but I just hope to see the day when he is kicked out in shame. He looks after himself first and foremost.

Every successful business has strong intelligent leaders at the top and this will filter down through that business to make them successful. We have nobody at the top with either. Money is not everything.

Brendan McLaughlin
70 Posted 28/05/2022 at 12:18:21
Interesting Jerome #65

That you "have done extensive research on its structure and who's who in" Finch Farm.

It's just a pity you aren't aware of a website that might be interested in publishing an article by you based on your extensive research of Finch Farm.

I'm sure there's one out there somewhere...

Lester Yip
71 Posted 28/05/2022 at 12:43:51
I just hope that Moshiri needs cash and would sell the club to someone who actually knows how to run a professional sports business who would allow the manager and the sporting director to do their jobs.
Anthony Murphy
72 Posted 28/05/2022 at 13:37:36
The loss of Calvert-Lewin so early into the season was the catalyst for the shit show that the season quickly became.
Jerome Shields
73 Posted 28/05/2022 at 14:38:46
Brendan #70.

No comment.

Thank you for your reply.

Bill Rodgers
74 Posted 28/05/2022 at 16:00:03
Sort out Finch Farm or forget it. This is supposed to be an elite football club, not a sentimental home for retired dinosaurs.

The fact is that we have been turning out unmotivated, disorganised teams which lack basic organisation and commitment – for a decade. Blame managers, players, owners, directors, referees and the VARs – but the problem is Finch Farm.

Peter Mills
75 Posted 28/05/2022 at 16:18:57
An article of customary eloquence from Lyndon.

In many ways, this was the worst and best season I can remember in nearly 60 years. The appointment of Benitez hit me like a kick in the plums, the most stupid, ignorant action in Everton FC’s history. He is an arrogant has-been, and showed no interest in the job.

As predicted by many, particularly memorably by John Daly, he created discord and mayhem, and emotions somewhere between disdain and hatred amongst the fans. The baying singing of his name at Goodison by the rs as they waltzed to a win was sickening, and of course it was repeated at Anfield the second they scored a goal to keep them in with a chance of winning the league. And they call us pre-occupied and bitter.

The Spaniard will worry not, nursing the millions he was gifted by Everton FC.

The personal low spot for me was standing at White Hart Lane, an evening that was relieved very slightly by Spurs stopping playing after an hour. And lightened a touch by bumping into Rob Halligan at the end, and a little part of me gaining a sliver of belief in the power of support.

After that came glimmers of light. There was something in the performance at Burnley, despite the result, that hinted of promise. Hearing the fans at Leicester, and the result, were precious.

But the scenes at the home games were beyond anything I’ve experienced in football. The Chelsea game was huge. But I think the Palace experience eclipsed Rotterdam, FA Cup wins, Title-clinching performances.

We were very, very fortunate to be able to contribute to it and share it.

Robert Williams
76 Posted 28/05/2022 at 16:45:57
Hugh J@47

Quite right what you say about childhood allegiances. Up to my teenage years, I was a Burnley fan – what a team they had in those days under Potts. And despite their 1-3 defeat to Everton at Turf Moor, they then beat Everton 0-3 at Goodison the following day 27 December 1960 (ie, 2 games in two days).

What happened that day will always stand out in my memory and changed my allegiance from a Burnley fan to being an ardent Evertonian.

It was something that has been mentioned on this thread several times since Lyndon's post – it was the fans! That day, there were 75,000 in the ground and I shall never forget the sight of fathers passing their young kids down over the heads of others, to sit around the touchlines.

That to me was the definition of the People's Club. It was the days when the Toffee Lady went around sharing her wares and the days when the fans threw coins, not at the opposition, but into the blankets that were carried around the ground.

Those were the days that will live with me forever – let there be some more happy memories for our kids to remember in years to come. COYBs

Tony Abrahams
77 Posted 28/05/2022 at 17:07:26
Thanks, Jerome, I hope you have a good summer mate, but I'd be very surprised if Coleman gets a new deal, unless it's to incorporate him onto the coaching staff.

I don't like snitches, but Coleman has obviously gone straight to see Lampard the day after he arrived, because he must have been very concerned about what was going on amongst the playing staff.

In defence of Seamus, if enough people cared about the club, that it's obvious he loves, then he wouldn't have had to do this, and maybe his initial conversation with Frank Lampard, made our manager question the hydraulics of the squad, only a few weeks later? See what I did there, Jerome!

Peter Carpenter
78 Posted 28/05/2022 at 19:50:36
Tony, that reminds me of an interview Coleman gave to Radio 5 last season. He said, in answer to a fawning question from the idiot presenter about his dedication to Everton, that all he expected was for others to put in the same effort and 'turn up on time'.

The starstruck twit completely missed this open invitation and changed the subject. Clearly there are stories to be told about this period of Everton's history. Can't wait for his autobiography.

Michael Kenrick
79 Posted 28/05/2022 at 22:12:03
Nick @66

Just curious what this means:

"I would even advocate fans stumping up some cash if any deal is forthcoming"

You seem to be talking about the absent shirt-sleeve sponsorship but are suggesting the fans pay for it?

George Stuart
82 Posted 29/05/2022 at 00:55:31
Bottom line, though, did Carlo Ancelotti make the right decision in leaving us?

Huge huge sigh of relief from me. No clue, seriously, no clue what to do next.

If Richarlison goes, absolutely no recriminations. A true Everton hero in all the wrong circumstances.

Similarly Pickford. The world's best shot-stopper. And give Frank a chance.

Coleman is an elder statesman of worth.

And Gray is a grumpy worthy with much to be grumpy about. Some of the kids weren't all bad all of the time. That's it.
As I said, no clue. But at least next term we won't be surprised by a struggle nor fooled by false dawns.

Jerome Shields
83 Posted 29/05/2022 at 07:19:02
Tony #77,

I agree regarding Colman, great servant to the club, and really good in his day. Most likely to get a coaching job. In his determination to play on the left, Everton are lacking depth in his position. I think Kenny would be further on.

I don't think Frank would be impressed if he did go to him. I think more than the players contribute to the attitude in the dressing room. I doubt he included their names if he went to Frank. The problem at Everton is that there are too many managers and too many dressing rooms.

Brian Murray
84 Posted 29/05/2022 at 08:28:20
I know Coleman has been a great servant, albeit 3 years too long, as is the Everton Way but this new regime, new Everton need to steer away from ex-players and their "jobs for life" attitude, surely.
Tony Abrahams
85 Posted 29/05/2022 at 08:33:34
Yes, Jerome, I don't think I'd be impressed if I took over a new club, and the captain knocked on my door and started slagging everyone.

Lampard giving Coleman such praise, in front of the rest of the squad, seemed very genuine. I don't think our manager would have been giving him such praise if he'd been in and slaughtered them all behind their backs, so it was probably just a heart-to-heart, with Seamus telling the new manager about the severity of the situation.

Someone was telling me that an Evertonian mate of theirs played against Everton last pre-season, and was really impressed with the way Seamus Coleman gathered all the players in just before kick-off, and gave them a brilliant pep-talk about playing for the new manager. (Benitez – maybe Seamus could already see the writing on the wall?)

He said that because he's a blue, he wanted to get in the huddle and join them. So adding Coleman onto the coaching staff, does seem like a natural transition for someone who obviously loves Everton FC.

Brian Murray
86 Posted 29/05/2022 at 08:39:01

Call it 'old school' but a great Evertonian to me is a Brian Labone – a winner type, not a Coleman or Jagielka or Lyons. As great servants they were but maybe I'm just old school and want a new ruthless type of Everton. No offence, just my opinion.

Tony Abrahams
87 Posted 29/05/2022 at 08:42:30
I just read that, Brian (your first post) and totally agree mate, but Coleman does seem different. He's honest, he always sounds thoughtful, he doesn't seem to have any ego, and I'd say that it's his application, more than anything else, that has helped take him so far in the game.

But yes, he would have to be good enough to do the job. Most definitely.

Everyone of us wants a new ruthless Everton, Brian. I can't argue with that, mate, because what has happened over time with the slow introduction of the “cosy club” needs a fucken big sledgehammer!

Alan McGuffog
88 Posted 29/05/2022 at 09:20:05
There seems to have become a tradition of providing former players with sinecures at Finch Farm. Presumably because they "get" Everton.

Now I'm sure that this has been mooted before but what about making Seamus "our man in Ireland"? And doing a real productive job for us?

There is talent, undoubtedly, over there on both sides of the border. The Reds reserve keeper looks a find, for example. I gather he (Seamus) is held in the highest of regards by his countrymen... wouldn't he be ideal for persuading youngsters to come to Goodison Park?

Brian Murray
89 Posted 29/05/2022 at 09:22:15

Case in point: the words of Carragher always ring in my ears. I knew we had the beating of them even in the handshakes, the likes of Jagielka and Coleman saying "Alright, Carra".

"I didn't even want to look at them. I was about to go to war against them."

Would Ball, Reid, Labone ever do that but, yes, Seamus is probably the exception – albeit, I associate him Moyes and the tearful era.

Joe McMahon
90 Posted 29/05/2022 at 09:28:54
I'm with Brian, Seamus nice bloke, at Everton for years etc. But the obsession with ex-players who "Get Everton Misty Eyes" the only one for me that is driven is Tim Cahill.

Seriously, what is Duncan's role after 7 years on the coaching team? Is Big Unsworth still here?

The only genuine winners at Everton are Lampard and Cole, and neither of them unfortunately played for Everton.

Brian Murray
91 Posted 29/05/2022 at 09:34:22

Yes, but I'm hoping they won't stand for any "Look what we've done for Alder Hey" etc. They are winners and a totally different breed to most at Finch Farm.

We may, just may have stumbled on something with these coaches, including Clement. If it doesn't work out in the long run, we have to keep that mindset again, again and again, whoever gets the gig, as they say,

Tony Abrahams
92 Posted 29/05/2022 at 09:56:04
I couldn’t properly take to Jagielka, Brian, even though he was a very good defender. I just felt he had something snide in his make-up, but not snide in the way some real winners can be; if this makes sense?

The ice bucket challenge on Martinez, started it, and then coming out with what Martin Atkinson allegedly said to him, after the semifinal at the etihad, actually confirmed it (to me anyway)

Peter Reid wouldn’t have accepted that off the ref, who was never put under any real pressure from any of the Everton team, despite some absolutely terrible decisions, and after yet another “Everton crumble” we then had to read Jagielka saying, that the ref had told him, they should look at their own bad defending, before they started criticised him. How unbelievably embarrassing was that?

Danny O’Neill
93 Posted 29/05/2022 at 10:07:29
I used to have the Jagielka debate with my brother.

Good solid defender who grew on me. Continuously infuriated me the aimless "Jagielka clip", but a decent player.

But lacked that final ingredient that winners have. Too nice.

Christy Ring
95 Posted 29/05/2022 at 10:22:05
Brian Murray, to say Seamus Coleman should have been gone 3 years ago is a total insult to a player who has been a terrific servant, leader and ambassador for EFC. If every player put in the same effort as Seamus, we wouldn't have been fighting relegation. When Lampard said he was one of the best leaders and Captain he ever saw, and how humble he is, coming from a former top player who won everything in the game, is some statement. I also believe when Seamus told Lampard how things were at the club, he didn't rat anyone out, he just told him the honest truth, and shows how much he loves the club. I know some comments begrudge ex players getting a job on the coaching staff, but for the passion and commitment Seamus has given to Everton after signing for €60,000, I believe he'd be an excellent addition.
Anthony Hawkins
96 Posted 29/05/2022 at 10:29:26
Great summary of a wretched season. Only aspect to add is the board pasted the self into a corner once the appointment of Benitez had been agreed and so few signings made in the summer. They couldn’t get rid of him as he’d be failing because of lack of funds and opportunity…. Oh the appointment that should never have been!
Hugh Jenkins
99 Posted 29/05/2022 at 10:51:18
Brian (89). There is nothing wrong with a "job for life", IF the recipient warrants it. It's the doling out of such jobs willy nilly, that is the problem.
Christy Ring
100 Posted 29/05/2022 at 10:58:20
I made a comment 100# regarding the Liverpool fans last night. I said how come there was no trouble at the other side of the ground where the Real Madrid fans were entering the Stadium. Just wondering why it wasn't allowed?
Andy Crooks
102 Posted 29/05/2022 at 11:29:47
Christy, spot on about Seamus. In my opinion he was one of those who saved us but doesn't get the credit. He led by example, never hid and did the job. Frank Lampard trusted him and was proven right.
Wherever Seamus goes and whatever he does he will exemplify courage, integrity commitment and decency. I'd be happy to see him as an example to any young player who aspires to play for our club.
Tony Abrahams
103 Posted 29/05/2022 at 11:45:42
I personally thought Coleman was absolutely gone by the end of the season Andy, and although I’ve seen loads of footballers fall to their knees at the end of a hard game, I’ve never seen one fall flat out in front of themselves, the way Seamus did, when Anthony Taylor blew the full time whistle the other week.

Being asked to play in a back three didn’t suit Seamus, but I thought his nerves were absolutely shredded, and probably because he loves Everton so much?

David McMullen
104 Posted 29/05/2022 at 12:25:04
Great summary of the season.

My opinion is that we can't just blame Benitez, can't just blame Moshiri, can't just blame the refs or VAR. This is a culmination of years of mismanagement.
Carefree and careless spending. Bad stewardship and leadership. Years of apathy. It all adds up. Player recruitment, coaching, manager comings and goings. The board should step down and whether Moshiri stays or goes he should bring in new people that are competent at running a big organisation and more football people but not leeches.

John Kavanagh
105 Posted 29/05/2022 at 13:43:09
Thanks for the excellent summary of a nightmare season Lyndon.

I'm hoping Moshiri sells up to someone competent who can come in and run the club properly, first of all by retiring Blue Bill.

I fear we are only in the eye of a perfect storm and have worse to come unless recruitment is nigh on perfect in the weeks ahead. Lampard's tactical nouse needs to improve, especially when it comes to substitutions, but he seems to get the club and is willing to learn - so there is some hope.

Tony Everan
106 Posted 29/05/2022 at 14:23:35
Tony, I think Seamus cares so much, that he was carrying the responsibility on his shoulders as club captain. He was absolutely desperate and straining every sinew that the club wouldn’t be relegated on his watch. Despite his advancing years and his loss of pace, being force to play in unfamiliar roles, he gave everything. Then a bit more.

The player is a legend, not because of the (lack of) silverware but because of his total commitment to the cause through the most challenging times. The fact that a replacement hasn’t been addressed for three years or so is not down to him, it’s down to our chaotic recruitment. He has shored up the damn at RB in the face of the club’s embarrassing failures.

With regards a coaching role, Seamus is in a whole different category to some of the ex players who have been given jobs. If he can contribute behind the scenes in a meaningful way he’s got to be an inspiration and asset.

Danny O’Neill
107 Posted 29/05/2022 at 14:39:39
Seamus has been a fine servant to the club. Total 150% desire and commitment. Not in dispute.

But he shouldn't be given a coaching role just for that.

We need to take the sentiment out of it.

Sorry to sound harsh, but he get's given a coaching role if he's good enough to be a coach at Everton Football Club. Not on the basis that he gave his all for the cause and was a good lad.

Kevin Molloy
108 Posted 29/05/2022 at 14:56:46
Reading on another thread of how the powers that be at Finch Farm took the decision in October to try and force out Benitez because of the changes he was trying to make. I don't know how true that is but if it is, it explains an awful lot about how we've ended up the way we have.

It's also why I was alarmed to hear Frank praising Bill Kenwright after the season had finished. Honestly, have you ever heard anyone be the subject of such glowing praise from such a diverse set of people?

Was it Rangers when we signed Patterson? "And I'd just like to set on the record what a pleasure it was to deal with Bill Kenwright." Bla Bla Bla. Now, you could interpret that as just a harmless bit of nonsense. But it's a recurring theme, isn't it.

Basically, Finch Farm seems to be full of people who feel they owe Bill the sun and the stars, like Jose Baxter, or even Seamus, who Bill made a point of giving a 5-year contract to just after he'd broken his leg. Again, nice to do, but it means loyalty is baked into the arrangement from then on in.

And we know why Bill would feel the need to build up a powerbase like this, cos he was always in a precarious position at Everton, knowing he was hanging on to ownership by his fingertips in view of the fact he had no real money.

He just knew if he could hang on long enough, he could sell Everton for tens of millions of pounds pure profit, straight into his back pocket. Thank you very much. And so it came to pass.

But one of the legacies of that is that, for a generation now, appointments have been made at Everton not on the basis of merit but on whether your face fit. An early form of identity politics for luvvies.

And it drives me mad to think that the blob was successful, the powerbase was maintained last season under the threat of reform – and stuck with these mediocrities we remain.

I wonder, is Jose Baxter still in charge of guiding our young strikers in how to succeed at an elite sport, along with Ebbrell, Ferguson, Unworth, Jeffers and Baines?

Meanwhile other clubs must look at our recruitment and laugh.

Alan McGuffog
109 Posted 29/05/2022 at 15:10:09
No, no Kevin...other clubs when faced with decisions look towards L4 and ponder " what would Everton do ? "
And then, presumably, proceed in the opposite direction.
Michael Kenrick
110 Posted 29/05/2022 at 15:34:18
It's hard to know what to make of the stuff Jerome posts, Kevin. We've asked for his sources of this inside information but he never admits anything. And in some instances he will claim it's an opinion he has formed, rather than any verifiable fact. Sadly, that does not stop him from presenting it as such.

I'm not sure I believe that nameless entities at Finch Farm set about undermining Benitez's management, although you could understand it if stauch Evertonians on the staff (Are there any?) might not have reacted well to having the Liverpool Legend telling them what to do… even though that would be highly unprofessional.

You've got to balance this with a prolonged vendetta mounted by Jerome against the very idea of Rafa's sacking. He claims Benitez walked away. He's tried to set up a narrative were Benitez was trying to do what was best for Everton and the patient just would not take the medicine, so he finally downed tools and walked off the job.

Whereas the Everton fanbase – who he credits with having 'selected' Lampard as the next manager, when all they did was let it be known he was their preferred choice from the shortlist attending the final interviews – had made it increasingly clear that the ridiculous experiment was doomed.

I'm not sure Bill Kenwright;s position has ever been 'precarious' – certainly not through lack of money. He made himself Chairman of the Board and always made sure he had bulletproof support from his lackeys on the Board.

As for the jobsworths, Unsworth has gone, Jeffers left for Ipswich over a year ago, but the other three are still in place. My question is: How do we know they are doing such awful jobs?

Tony Hill
111 Posted 29/05/2022 at 15:47:05
Michael @115, most things cannot be proved. Anyone who knows football will accept that the players - or a sufficient number of them - stopped doing their best for Benitez around the time Jerome has indicated. The Donachie dismissal was, it is reasonable to infer, part of that collapse.

Benitez was loathed from the start by our deluded fan base, and by our deluded Chairman. He never had a chance once things turned against him. Bill won again and the best fans in the world clinched it for him.

Kevin Molloy
112 Posted 29/05/2022 at 15:52:42

Yes, we can never really know for sure about what actually goes on within a football club. You can try and draw conclusions from general observations.

I must admit, as someone who wanted Benitez to succeed, Jerome's 'insider info' was something that fitted in with my general unhappiness with the state we find the club in.

And yes, we can't know that Baxter Unsworth, Jeffers et al aren't top coaches, but we can see where they end up after Everton, and how we performed when they were on the backroom staff, and draw some cautious conclusions.

Even if they were all really good, though, cos Bill was a great 'spotter', I still would resent the way appointments seem to be made here. With Denise Barrett-Baxendale and all the Finch Farm mob, everyone seems to be Bill's mate, and more importantly, won't hear a word said against him. So we've been stuck with him.

One thing I do take seriously is Benitez's observations of how things were running. He was clearly unhappy with standards from a very early point, and you only have to look at our injuries record to see he was onto something.

Ed Prytherch
113 Posted 29/05/2022 at 16:00:59
I too cringed when I heard Frank sucking up to Kenwright and Barrett-Baxendale but, if he wants to be successful, he has no other option. As long as he works for them, he must at least pretend to like them.
Tony Hill
114 Posted 29/05/2022 at 16:09:57
Ed @118, why is that so? If they are the problem - as they are - then they need to go and a submissive manager will simply prolong our agony. As I have suggested, two managers in recent history have tried to disregard the Kenwright/Baxendale nonsense, and they have both been sent packing with the fans' loud approval.

We think we're much better than we are and we can't bear the thought that we need to re-build from absolute scratch, boring and nasty as that process must be. The solution starts with acknowledging how shit we are, not with lamenting and undermining the appointment of those who want to fix that reality.

Brendan McLaughlin
115 Posted 29/05/2022 at 16:12:39
Ed #118

Of course Frank did have an option...he could have opted not to single either of them out for praise.

Jerome Shields
116 Posted 29/05/2022 at 16:31:18
Michael #114,

Benitez left because he was sidelined on transfers, which basically meant that his management time at Everton was finished. He did offer to leave, with compensation of course. He went constructively rather than being sacked. If any manager calls the club to account, they will have problems. Even the Almighty Ancelotti.


That's it and there are reasons why Everton are in the position they are in. According to Everton, we are heading into a 'Bright future because of smart thinking' now that they have not been relegated.

IMO, it would be difficult to find evidence to support this claim even with inside knowledge. If Everton has a bright future, it will be in spite of those behind that statement.

Mike Gaynes
117 Posted 29/05/2022 at 16:35:43
Ed #117, isn't it possible that he really does like and respect them as he says?

Given Frank's reputation in the game and the way he has handled himself at our club thus far, I'm surprised to see you dismiss him as a liar/toady.

Joe McMahon
118 Posted 29/05/2022 at 16:51:36
I've just got in, so certainly haven't read all the comments, but Ed @117, sorry but I can only echo what Mike says. Frank is respected (rightly) in the game, and has played under some huge managers as a player.
Michael Kenrick
119 Posted 29/05/2022 at 17:00:34
Okay, Jerome, here's your big chance.

How come all the main news outlets reported that Rafa Benitez was sacked from his Everton job?

Put up a source on here to support your claim that he wasn't.

Dave Abrahams
120 Posted 29/05/2022 at 17:02:36
Mike (121),

Well Frank has been in their company many times since he joined the club, he's from the East End of London, of working class stock, so he should be able to smell a bullshitter quite easily and Kenwright reeks of it.

Maybe he is playing along with them and it's not as if Kenwright is very likeable, I sussed him after a 5-minute chat to him.

Mike Gaynes
121 Posted 29/05/2022 at 17:09:18
Dave, of course I respect your opinion of Kenwright. But Frank certainly doesn't strike me as a bullshitter, let alone someone who could be cowed into false compliments.

Until I see or hear evidence to the contrary, I'm gonna assume that when Frank says something, he means it.

Ray Said
122 Posted 29/05/2022 at 17:52:29
Regarding back of the scenes conspiracies at Finch Farm to oust Benitez-isn't that what he claims at every club he manages?

It can be argued that he has an extensive track record of alienating or targeting certain players to make an example of them and also creating conflict with his employers-'they promised me a bigger budget', 'they promised me complete control' -so they end up getting rid or agreeing to pay him off.
The little I know about him boils down to hating the type of football he churns out.

Jerome Shields
123 Posted 29/05/2022 at 18:12:44
Because, when a manager leaves a football club in such circumstances, he is sacked according to the media. Especially if he has not got another club to go to.
Dave Abrahams
124 Posted 29/05/2022 at 18:31:59
Mike (125),

I'm not saying Frank is a bullshitter, I'm saying Kenwright is and Frank is just playing along with them, keeping his friends close and his enemies even closer, maybe!!

Christy Ring
125 Posted 29/05/2022 at 19:27:04
Jerome, if Benitez walked away as you said, he wouldn't have got compensation. In other words, he was sacked and got his payoff, and the final straw was losing to Norwich.

His treatment of Rodriguez, and alienating Digne and saying he refused to play for the club. I respect Lucas for holding his tongue and not responding until Benitez was sacked, where he said it was completely untrue – that shows how Benitez worked.

Regarding the injuries at the club, didn't Benitez still play Calvert-Lewin at the start of the season with a broken toe?

Jerome Shields
126 Posted 29/05/2022 at 19:30:50
Christy, he did get compensation. It was a mutual agreement.
Tony Abrahams
127 Posted 29/05/2022 at 19:40:34
Playing Calvert-Lewin with a broken toe probably lead to him getting a much more serious injury, and this definitely cost Everton in the longer term, because we just don't have enough adequate replacements.

Imagine getting the Everton job, after being told you had money, but then getting to the club and realising this was only going to happen once you'd got rid of a load of players whose contracts were never really going to make this possible?

A poisoned chalice for a poisonous manager, although I still believe that the biggest poison still needs eradicating out of our club.

Christy Ring
128 Posted 29/05/2022 at 19:52:02
Jerome #130,

If the club paid Benitez his full contract, that's a sacking. Did Benitez agree less money and walk away?

Danny O’Neill
129 Posted 29/05/2022 at 20:07:22
When it comes down to it, I just want my Everton run effectively. The Benitez experiment was always destined for disaster.

I've risked my my marriage and followed Everton up and down the country like many. I don't want respect for that because my support is unreserved. They've had me hooked since before I can remember.

We have to stick with a manager and not fret after a few bad results. This East London boy gets Everton so give him a chance. I was on the fence but I'm behind him.

European qualification and Wembley. That's where we're heading.

Michael Kenrick
130 Posted 29/05/2022 at 20:49:44

So you finally admitted that you are making it up.

Benitez was sacked as the world media has confirmed. But Jerome says he in fact walked away of his own volition, because of those nasty people at Finch Farm.

Phil Greenough
131 Posted 29/05/2022 at 21:01:06
Thank you for a fantastic, honest report, Lyndon, or should we call you Stephen, Stephen King? Because it was like reading a horror story. Let's hope you never have to write a similar report again.
Dave Abrahams
133 Posted 29/05/2022 at 21:21:15
Michael (134),

You could go back to the leaving of Joe Royle, he went to meet Peter Johnson thinking it was about transfer dealings, he went into the meeting as Everton's manager and came out of the meeting without a job, shocked beyond belief, was he sacked or did he resign? I think Joe went with a good pay-off but a sad heart.

Brendan McLaughlin
134 Posted 29/05/2022 at 21:28:03
Benitez has made a few statements about his time at Everton but I've certainly never heard him or indeed any other source suggesting he walked rather than was pushed.
Gary Jones
135 Posted 29/05/2022 at 21:30:17
With Forest now up, I can see them doing a Brentford/Leeds next year and surprising a few in that first year.

Fulham under Silva will be no mugs, and whilst Bournemouth won't be the same without Howe, they too have the possibility of that first-season bounce.

It's going to be a really tough season. I think a few clubs are in for a real shock. Whether it's us and Leeds again, Southampton and Brentford, or someone like Villa, Wolves, Palace or Brighton who get in the dogfight is really anyone's guess. i can even see a surprise like Man Utd if they don't radically invest well. It really is that tight.

Equally though, some wise investment and an early season bounce… and only the usual top 4-5 are not unbeatable.

No idea how we are going to transform the midfield and shore up the defence… but one thing's for sure – we'd better crack the fuck on.

Tony Abrahams
136 Posted 29/05/2022 at 21:48:49
Interesting post, Gary, because, unless things change, most of the teams you mention will probably be our nearest rivals.
Brendan McLaughlin
137 Posted 29/05/2022 at 22:08:56
"Interesting" Tony #140

Downright depressing I'd say that we're back to hoping that the three promoted teams are shittier than us and no doubt checking next seasons fixtures when they are published to see who we play on the final day in case we need a result to stay up.

Danny Baily
138 Posted 29/05/2022 at 22:12:22
Forest have a few loan players, so their side next year will no doubt be much changed. Good news for us is that doesn't tend to work well for promoted sides.
Derek Thomas
139 Posted 29/05/2022 at 22:16:50
Michael K. @ 114; It's not beyond the realms of possibility that 'the patient wouldn't take the medicine's...Birch and his 6 week stay...because except when some weasel is telling them what they want to hear, Dumb and Dumber are not noted for listening to anybody else.
So if by some wild chance, Benitez Did offer a modicume of sense and made a bit of a sticking point of it, he would get sacked

Stating the obvious;
1) Benitez should never have been hired.
2) He should've been gone by Bommy Night...if not before.
3) Less obvious, it really doesn't matter if he jumped or was pushed
4) We have a chance, under much reduced circumstances, to learn and improve from this season's mistakes.

If we can.

Tommy Carter
140 Posted 29/05/2022 at 22:58:13
@143 Derek

Furthermore, I truly believe that someone from the club, presumably the one who sanctioned the appointment of Benitez, should publicly apologise to the Everton fans.

Back to the original article. The fact that we didn’t spend insane amounts of money on rank average players is somewhat of a positive. Mykolenko looks like he could be a decent enough left back with a build up of physicality and experience. As for Patterson, his appearances for Scotland suggest that there is a player with potential there. A window of 18 month for him to prove this or move him on.

Gomes. Allan. Should leave for any kind of fee that can be acquired. I would keep Townsend as a squad option but if rumours are to be believed and Newcastle are interested in Demarai Gray than anything above £15m and he should be sold.

Rondon goodbye. Cenk, Gylfi and Delph are obviously gone too. These are huge wages off the books.

In addition I expect that Richarlison and DCL may go. Certainly one of them will, if not both. Big wage off the books once more and a sizeable transfer fee also. Personally I would rather this be DCL as I think Richarlison is a far superior player. However the Brazilian would likely attract a larger fee.

Although outgoings must and should be plentiful. I think we should proceed with caution on signings.

Young, hungry players. With lots of game time experience. That’s what we need. Players from championship or lesser continental teams under the age of 25 with a couple of hundred games under their belt.

An addition of 3/4 players like this would be a big step forward I think.

Almiron. Absolutely 100% no.

Jerome Shields
141 Posted 29/05/2022 at 23:04:02
Michael #134,

That’s it, mutual agreement.

Brendan McLaughlin
143 Posted 29/05/2022 at 23:23:08
Jerome #145,

Benitez got the settlement that was in his contract and to which he was "entitled" but – if I follow your logic – no manager has ever really been "sacked"... they've all walked away.


I'm guessing "No comment" again!

Jerome Shields
144 Posted 29/05/2022 at 23:29:07

That has been the casev for a few seasons already. Everton are finding it difficult to play against promoted teams. If Everton can't move on they will be bypassed. Frank in his attempt to survive did develop. a style of defensive play, though not perfect he did stick with it and tried continually to improve on it. At least Everton survived by playing football, not dumimng down like Big Sam.

It is interesting that Real Madrid under Ancelotti channelled Liverpool into Save shooting positions, meaning that the Goalkeeper was well prepared for the shots he was up against, lowers the chances of a really good chance of scoring. . Arsenal did the same thing against Everton three years ago at the Emirates. The goalkeeper was Motm that day as well. Everton had 10 shots on goal and Arsenal scored on one of their two attacks.

The point is that there is the ability to develop a style of play based on good football at Everton now as Frank develops. Simple changes and tactics that can be very effective.

Laurie Hartley
145 Posted 29/05/2022 at 23:34:17
Lyndon - your article helped me to come to terms with what happened at Everton last season.

Now that we have collectively taken a deep breath and the euphoria of the final day fight back has worn off we are faced with the ongoing reality that premiership survival is an on going battle - certainly for us and a few others. The close season is only a chance to catch your breath and regroup.

My initial reaction to the appointment Benitez was that “I feel depressed”. However I tried to support him and for a few brief weeks I thought that it might actually work out.

That point of view was as deluded as that of the one who thought his appointment was a good idea in the first place.

I was also against the appointment of Frank Lampard and said so quite vocally on here. Some of his team selections, tactics, and substitutions have concerned me greatly. However the one thing he has done really well is tapped into the fan base and got us fired up again.

As things stand at the moment I hope Frank Lampard will have learned some valuable lessons from his short time with us, that he will improve as a manager, and be with us for a few years. That in my opinion is our only hope of clawing our way back up the table and into a position of stability because I think another change of manager would finish us off.

I have supported our owner Farhad Moshiri and our Russian sponsor because of their financial commitment but it seems almost certain to me that one of them made the decision to hire Benitez. Regardless of his shortcomings I couldn’t see the chairman and his Offsider making that call.

That is a great concern for me because it displays a total lack of nouse regarding what makes a premier league football club tick and or disregard for the supporters.

Bottom line for me - I hope he sells or stays right out of it and puts someone else in charge of the running of the club.

In the meantime we have to back our young manager to the hilt as we have done these last couple of months.

Jerome Shields
146 Posted 29/05/2022 at 23:37:40
Brendan #147,

The original purpose of the contract is that they can receive compensation and both parties can come to a mutual agreement if it does not work out. This happens numerous times in the Premier League every season and is an accepted possibility. There is never any legal action taken, and if so, very rarely. Sacking is nothing more than an emotive work of fans and the media.

Brendan McLaughlin
147 Posted 29/05/2022 at 23:38:32
Jerome #148,

"Save shooting positions"

I mean... no actually, I don't have the words!

ps: A "no comment" isn't necessary.

Brendan McLaughlin
148 Posted 29/05/2022 at 23:58:46

"Sacking is nothing more than a emotive work of fans and the media."

In who's view (if not the fans nor the media) does a manager's sacking... actually constitute a sacking? Jerome's?

ps: A no comment... you know the rest!

Don Alexander
149 Posted 30/05/2022 at 02:30:17
I'm completely bemused by some of us attacking Jerome Shields mere opinion on a website entirely dependent for success by way of fans expressing their mere opinion.

Pious demands for "evidence" of an all but criminal court quality are absurd.

We all merely view and comment on the shit-show repeatedly made obvious to us on the pitch, season after season.

We comment on the perennially inadequate Finch Farm performance, the hugely evasive tactics of self-serving Kenwright, the abysmal ability of Moshiri as an (alleged) owner, the media bias against us, the referee conspiracy against us, the shape of Klopp's teeth and anything else that a true Toffee deems unacceptable, and long may it continue.

But, on further reflection, might we all eventually find a measure of boring rationality in the event of us ever having a training ground fit for Premier League purpose, a chairman who is fully accountable, an owner with one iota of football knowledge, new love from the media, an exorcism on referees and the urgent attention of a horse dentist?

I doubt it. It's not the TW way.

Kieran Kinsella
150 Posted 30/05/2022 at 04:07:03

Mate. Jerome seems like an alright bloke and makes a lot of good posts. But he does tend to drop in things presented as fact when it's his speculation. There are (sometimes) that people on here with inside specific facts, eg, Gerard, or Rob relaying what Seamus told him and his dog.

No one has an issue with opinions but Jerome I suspect mischievously drops comments presented as fact just to rock the boat. That's why Michael as editor correctly challenges him because, while opinions are welcome, I presume neither he nor Lyndon want ToffeeWeb to descend into some deranged fantasy land where fiction is presented as fact.

You're a good poster to, Don, but I can't help but think your rant about Jerome was driven by you getting your feelings hurt over your RS post getting deleted.

Remember, mate, we are all Evertonians. But Mike and Lyndon based on their hard work are entitled to edit content on this website that we all enjoy for free.

ps: When are we gonna have that beet in Kansas City or are yiu all still in lockdown in Oz?

Gerard McKean
151 Posted 30/05/2022 at 07:47:56
Dave A 128: spot on!
Danny O’Neill
152 Posted 30/05/2022 at 08:10:13
John, Kieran, All,

I think the editors, who put in a lot of hard work maintaining and governing this site, do a sterling job.

For me and without bias, this is probably the most knowledgable fans website out there.

They allow difference of opinion, debate, locking of horns and crossing of swords, only really stepping in when it get's personal, abusive or out of order.

We all see Everton and the beautiful game in our own eyes. I welcome different opinions as it often gives me food for thought. I also welcome being challenged. If you come on here, you should be prepared to be challenged.

Jerome Shields
153 Posted 30/05/2022 at 08:17:12

Thanks Don, View on Everton are often unpalatable given the way the Club is run. Most people as fans want the Club run right, but it isn't unfortunately. Which is Tuf.


Getting facts on Everton. by official challenges with a PR machine, including the Chief Executive, is a difficult task, given the bullshit narrative that the Club wants us to buy into. Accountability, performance targets and Financial information ( no AGM)appear non existent, As for asking question about it, well that is now all structured via a Fan Advisory Board that is controlled totally by a Club Agenda. No one we recognise is on it. As for the Owner he watches Italian TV in Monaco in a high rise Lux apartment. You can't even shout through his window.

Lucky we have ToffeeWeb preventing us turning into Zombies where we can put forward our opinions. discuss, pull apart and allow frustration to get the better of us. IMO as a result we are therefore the most informed group of Fans and challenges to think of our opinions and the way the Club is going. . Of course

Michael being a referee is difficult, but even that adds to the discuss and opinions. Lyndon in the background trying to keep the peace helps as well.

Thank for all replies to my posts.

I am optimist about the coming season, but I say that every season. All Evertonions are.

Hugh Jenkins
154 Posted 30/05/2022 at 14:49:00
Jerome (157).

I agree with everything you have said in this post. Particularly your final two sentences. LOL - one day, surely, it will all come good?

Mark Ryan
155 Posted 30/05/2022 at 15:25:49
On a side note about Seamus, and I'm only mentioning this because it's within my last post, I truly hope that Seamus is seen purely and simply as a bench man for next season. I cannot witness the man struggling like he did last season. At times heroic, at other times like Old Mother Riley.
Gary Jones
156 Posted 30/05/2022 at 16:46:25
Jerome #148,

I think you're correct about Frank developing a style of play that combined defensive solidity with an ability still to “play” too. However, I think it still only worked against Chelsea, Leicester and Liverpool. it failed to get us past Watford, and very nearly cost us dearly against Crystal Palace too.

Against Palace, it was only when we switched to a “swashbuckling mode” that we got back in it. We effectively had little to lose, and took them by surprise with the massive change in intent after half-time. <>Guess the key question is whether we can effectively have two modes and learn to switch between them to manage the games?

The red shite went 4-2-4 (or more like 2-2-6) and played long ball swashbuckling against both us and Real Madrid when they really needed to (and more? Who knows, I don't watch enough of the cunts)…, it doesn't need to be one system.

Indeed, I think “one system” has been where all of Martinez, Silva and Benitez failed in the past. Maybe even Carlo. As soon as it was sussed, we were sussed.

Not sure how you buy for a flexible squad, or whether we have resources to… but we certainly need to. For me, it's:

1) Go out all guns against lower teams (and almost anyone at home), get 2- or 3-up and shut up shop.

2) Be hard to beat, and very fast on the break (with good long-ball use), against teams at the top.

Mixing it up occasionally through the game too, with flexible players like Iwobi key to it.

Michael Kenrick
157 Posted 30/05/2022 at 21:21:36
Jerome #146,

"The original purpose of the contract is that they can receive compensation and both parties can come to a mutual agreement if it does not work out."

No, Jerome, that is nonsense. The original purpose of the contract is to delineate the terms and conditions of employment, detailing many things for the agreement of both parties – one element of which (among a great many other points) will be Terminationand Compensation.

Yes, of course the terms of the contract relating to termination will be triggered by the manager's departure – it's the manner of the termination that's what is at issue here.

All sources I've checked say Everton sacked Benetiz, yet you say different, Jerome. But you cannot provide a source to back up your claim. That concerns me. It convinces me that you are making shit up, as I've said many times on here.


This is a little bit more than an opinion being voiced. Either Benitez was sacked or he walked away. Carlo Ancelotti walked away. Rafa Benitez was sacked.

The arrangements for Benitez's compensation would have been as stipulated in the contract, or as agreed between the parties subsequently. I don't know what they were and I don't need to know.

But I don't appreciate anyone posting their own falsehoods as fact, and then refusing to provide any sources, and ignoring the debate they have initiated with their falsehoods.

It doesn't make much difference either way at the end of the day, but what is important to me in running this website is what has been reported – yes, in the media – and is commonly accepted as "the truth".

Steer away from that concept and allow all sorts of diverse "opinions" and "fake news" to be presented as fact, and you're on a very slippery slope that I have no wish to be a party to. Yet that's what we do by maintaining this website and allowing Jerome's bulshit to go unchallenged.

Yes, people can choose not to believe the media, and a healthy distrust can sometimes be wise. But on the whole, most of us rely on the media for our understanding of the real world, and we are less inclined to adopt an alternate reality espoused by the few, the cognoscenti, the enlightened ones who invariably use this supposed ''knowledge" as power.

Most people using this website make it clear that they are posting their opinions, or reference source materials for other information they have found. Jerome doesn't do this at all. He posts his suppositions, theories and interpretations as fact, eg, as what is going on at Finch Farm.

Brendan was bold enough to ask for clarification and just got 'No Comment'. To me, that is unacceptable. Kieran @150 is spot-on: we do not want ToffeeWeb to descend into some deranged fantasy land where fiction is presented as fact.

Jerome Shields
158 Posted 31/05/2022 at 09:34:13

Thank you for your opinion.

'Rafa Benitez has reportedly agreed to leave Everton following a disappointing run of Premier League defeats. The Spaniard has faced calls from angry supporters to leave the Toffees and oversaw a disastrous 2-1 defeat by relegation favourites Norwich on Saturday.".

Daily Express.

Everton and manager Rafa Benitez have agreed to part ways after just six and a half months in the job, 90min understands.

This comes after Saturday’s woeful 2-1 Premier League defeat against Norwich.

'Talks on the specific details of his departure are continuing but 90min understands that the decision for the Spaniard to leave the club is mutual.'

90 min.

Steve Brown
159 Posted 31/05/2022 at 10:04:14
Jerome, employees tend to agree to leave after they've been sacked. Otherwise, we have to fetch security!
Brendan McLaughlin
160 Posted 31/05/2022 at 13:45:16
Jerome #158

Interesting you quote that paragraph from the Mail's report but ignore the opening line in the article:-

"RAFA BENITEZ could reportedly lose (my added emphasis) his job at Everton following a string of poor Premier League results."

Also once Benitez had been dismissed the Mail were less circumspect in their reporting:-

"Rafa Benitez has issued a statement to Everton fans following his sacking"

Michael Kenrick
161 Posted 31/05/2022 at 16:59:42
Jerome @158:

Thank you for naming your sources. But a little further research suggests that they both think Benitez was sacked, as does everyone else:

Daily Express:

"Rafael Benitez has been sacked by Everton following the Toffees' woeful recent form. The Spaniard paid the price for a dreadful run which saw his side lose six of their last eight matches in the Premier League. And the feeble 2-1 defeat to struggling Norwich on Saturday was to be the final straw, with Benitez being relieved of his duties on Sunday."

Daily Express:

"Jamie Carragher has been left red-faced following the sacking of Rafa Benitez by Everton. Benitez was relieved of his duties at Everton on Sunday, less than 24 hours after defeat to strugglers Norwich at Carrow Road."

Daily Express:

"The Toffees sacked Rafa Benitez on Sunday just a day after losing 2-1 to Norwich City at Carrow Road."


"Everton have confirmed the sacking of manager Rafa Benitez following their latest defeat at Norwich."

Brent Stephens
162 Posted 31/05/2022 at 17:20:49
Michael, you shouldn't kick a man when he's down!

Okay, just this once.

Ian Arthur
163 Posted 05/06/2022 at 20:00:36

Yet again another brilliant assessment / review - please may I never read another!

Just to add to your review and our dismay with referees and penalties What about the stonewall penalty / diving defender at Southampton... straight in front of the referee, whilst we were actually bossing the game?

Needless to say, no-one had told our darlings that the people up above hate us, so we capitulated yet again.

Hopefully, [deep breath] we can get things right this close season, as our luck is borderline and cannot continue into next season.


ps: If any of you have Sky TV, they are running The Big Match Revisited (for us that can remember). Last Saturday, I watched Jimmy Husband (legend) playing for Luton and Alan Whittle (no handbag in sight) playing for Palace, who destroyed an immense Man Utd team 5-0. See... I can be cheerful after all. :)

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