About now there are thousands of children in eager anticipation and excitement, not to mention hope about what lies ahead in December.
This much was true of Everton fans during the months of June, July and August. Having been liberated from the ‘phenomenal’ Martinez in came ‘new money’ and a new manager. Hope and optimism returned.
However, it is not easy being an Evertonian and nothing is ever simple or straight forward. It never ceases to amaze me how long it takes the club to finalize deals , be it for new players or a new stadium. There never seems to be a sense of urgency and as a consequence we are always trying to keep up with other clubs but falling back all the time.
It is not often that I can get to Goodison these days but managed to get to the Palace game.Two things stood out for me that night. One being the rather unusual ‘foreboding ‘atmosphere which pervaded the stadium almost bordering pessimism maybe it was due to two previous bad results against Norwich and Bournemouth. Secondly there appeared to be very little evidence of a change in style of play, tactics or commitment on display that evening. In fact had it not been for a fortunate decision by the officials we could have lost that game too.
Maybe I was expecting too much too early but as Koeman was an experienced PL manager you would have thought he had some knowledge of Everton’s strengths and weaknesses before he became our manager. Yet what do we get but six players of dubious talent all of whom were on the pitch against his own club last Sunday. In my opinion only 2 of them look half decent PL players.
As the players trundled off at half time at Southampton Sky camera panned to the commentary box and Thierry Henry was asked for a comment. He looked shocked and said he couldn’t understand what was going on at Everton. Comments made my Koeman after the game seemed to echo a similar theme. That he was at a loss to explain the first half performance and that he was quite satisfied about things in the second half. This is very worrying!
So what do we read into today’s situation. Well you can take your pick. Either the players are not responding to training guidelines or they are not being given adequate training or they are not fit or just not good enough.
Everton fans have always been passionate and proud of their club but it is the intensity of that support which is crucial and above all they need to be inspired . Support and confidence have to be reciprocal both on and off the pitch. For example in the early days of European football when playing the away leg the strategy was to play the ball around and slow the game down to quieten the home supporters. Do that playing at home and you fail to fire up the fans. If there is no passion or commitment on the pitch it won’t be reciprocated. Worse still it leads to open criticism of players for not pulling their weight. After all paying to watch football home and away costs a lot of Monet these days
At times, Koeman has not helped matters . In recent weeks he has not endeared himself with the supporters. I felt it was disrespectful of him to jump out of his seat and head down the tunnel at the final whistle at Southampton. Little things mean a lot. His comments have sometimes been too blunt and ill thought out (we know Liverpool are a good side but we don’t want to be told that by our manager) He has also publicly made reference to certain players at the club. A few weeks ago it was claimed Jagielka said the players were scared of Koeman. All I can say on the evidence of the past months they don’t look that scared. However such a throway comment does give an insight into Koeman’s management style. Is it suiting everyone?
Fans , players and management all have to be in harmony if we are to move on. I do not have enough knowledge of what goes on at Goodison to apportion blame . I know one thing for sure the fans are blameless for our present predicament. What is obvious is that things are not right and there needs to be a sense of urgency to turn things around quickly. Someone needs to step forward and crack a few heads together.
But isn’t that just the enigma of Everton Football Club . Having watched the Blues for 60 years we’ve been here before.