The way Everton have started under Roberto Martinez has been of a very positive nature; after 11 matches, Everton have 5 wins, 5 draws and only the 1 loss during their Premier League season. Due to this solid start, optimism on the blue half of Merseyside continues to be on the rise, and with it, expectation of Europa League football for the 2014/15 campaign. But would the Europa League be a good thing for Everton?
All teams want to be playing European football, but there are many drawbacks to qualifying for the Europa League. The struggle of coping with the demands of the Premier League and the Europa League are evident for all to see. This season Spurs and Swansea are representing the Premier League in the competition, but the Europa League is affecting their form in a major way.
Spurs are yet to win a Premier league match this season the weekend after playing a European tie on the Thursday. It could be argued that if Spurs do not manage to make the Champions League this season then it could be firmly blamed on their participation in the Europa League. Additionally Swansea have had the worst start that they have ever made in the Premier League, currently sitting in 13th, with 12 points after 11 games.
However European football is always something that football clubs want to be involved in, and for good reason. The Europa League brings the opportunity of more prize money and additional funds via the increased television coverage. We all know the financial situation that Everton find themselves in and therefore any extra cash for the club will always be welcomed.
Not only would The Europa League bring more money, but the prestige of European football will also attract a better quality of player to the club; meaning we can compete on a regular basis for continuous European football. Everton fans all wish to see their side in European competitions, competing on week day nights in front of a packed out, raucous Goodison crowd. Can we bring these nights back to Merseyside under the guidance of Roberto Martinez?
Many people believe that Everton can once again qualify for the Europa League, but in this time of transition at Everton, would this really be the best thing for next season? Everyone knows the small size of the Toffees’ squad, so questions would have to be asked if the blues squad size would be able to cope with the demanding fixture list that the Europa League brings.
The Europa League is a large competition, and if you reach the final then you play up to 19 European fixtures. Whilst Everton are in this period of transformation, the distraction of European football away from Everton’s Premier League campaign may not be welcomed.
We all want to see Everton compete on European nights as soon as possible, but arguably it would be best for Everton to put these dreams on hold for another couple of seasons. Martinez needs to add to his squad again next summer and look to qualify for European football the season after. By this time the Martinez philosophy will be fully in gear and the Everton squad size in the correct shape to cope with the demands of European football as well as all three domestic competitions.
By Toby Fletcher