Sack the Board…or the Manager?

Not even the misery and disappointment of last season could have prepared me for Everton’s dismal first half showing on Saturday. It wasn’t just the fact that we went in at half time 1-0 down to newly promoted Watford that was unacceptable, but the performance was distinctly average, and Watford, to their credit, took full advantage, proving that even the sides threatened with relegation have the quality to punish you if you are at anything less than your best. I have never been one to boo the team I support, particularly at such an early stage of the season, though given the season we had to endure last year, the fans’ reaction to the half time whistle on Saturday was understandable. But who is to blame?


There is no doubt that there are ever-increasing sections of the Everton fan base who are of the opinion that the club cannot and will not progress under the current ownership of Mr Kenwright. Certain groups in particular are becoming more and more outspoken, with meetings even taking place on Saturday morning with the sole aim of voicing discontent with a view to the current board resigning their posts. Firstly, let me say, I have no problem with fans expressing their opinions, as I do myself. I also agree to a certain extent that the current board have a lot to answer for with regards to a number of key matters that affect our football club, from transfers in and out to the ongoing new stadium saga. As I mentioned in last week’s piece, as things stand we have currently spent the least amount of money of any team in the division, which is frankly inexplicable. As far as I am concerned there are no grounds on which to whole-heartedly defend the current board.

However, contrary to the opinion of many of the supporters sat near me on Saturday, and the opinions of a few I have read since, the board cannot be blamed for the pathetic performance of the players. That responsibility, I’m afraid, has to fall on the players, and more so in this case, on the manager. Roberto Martinez was scathing (by his standards) with his post-match comments, conceding that we were “in pre-season mode”. I have to say I agree. The performance, particularly in the first half, lacked the energy, tempo and intensity required to break down a team intent on defending and playing on the counter attack, a tactic that we have seen Everton fail to come to terms with all too often. But that then begs the question, with the last pre-season game having been a week earlier, why were the players still in pre-season mode come the first game of the Premier League season? A game, I might add, that was a must-win given the run of fixtures to come. There is no doubt that an influx of new players would certainly freshen things up, and for that the board must hold up their hands, but surely it is the manager’s job to ensure that the players he has at his disposal are ready and raring to go from the first whistle to the last. As far as I am aware the board have no control over that. The simple fact is that for all the board have done wrong, our 11 is better than Watford’s, and had the team been prepared properly, 3 points would certainly have followed. There is only one man to blame for that in my opinion.

Now, I am by no means in the “Martinez out” camp, and I believe that sticking with the current manager is the right thing to do as I am confident that he will come good. He proved his worth during his first season when he tactically outwitted Moyes and Wenger to name but a few. Recently though we seem to have lost the dynamic, innovative manager who re-opened the School of Science, and instead, Martinez has become, dare I say it, almost Moyes-like in his approach, to the point where sometimes I wonder whether he and I are even watching the same game. By that I mean we seemingly only have one way of playing, he has his favourites who he will never substitute regardless of how many times they have passed the ball to the other team (Moyes with Neville, Martinez with Barry), he takes too long to make changes and the changes he does make are often like for like and have little effect on the game, and his apparent refusal to sacrifice a defensive midfielder at home is all the more frustrating when the introduction of Arouna Kone on Saturday yielded 2 goals. Had the change come at half time for example, who knows what the outcome of the game might have been.

I am willing to give him and the players the benefit of the doubt after Saturday – it was only the first game of the season after all. The sooner Martinez remembers and gets back to what it was that endeared him to us in the first place the better, and there is no better place to start than at St Marys on Saturday, when the team will certainly need to be well and truly out of “pre-season mode” if we are to get any kind of result. If he doesn’t, then decisions will have to be made.

About the author:

I am a lifelong Evertonian (since the early 90s) and season ticket holder. You will find me in the lower Gwladys every week singing songs and cursing referees. If we win another trophy in my lifetime I will die happy. 


8 thoughts on “Sack the Board…or the Manager?

  1. In answer to your question id say both. As a life long evertonian i don’t think ive ever been as disillusioned.

  2. Spot on Ryan! Frankly i’ll be amazed if we win at Southampton, but equally i’ll be running round well happy if we win! 3pts would earn RM much breathing space, then we can go at City, another win, 7pts & happy days! Fixtures after that dont come easy!

  3. I think the fans of Everton have to decide what type of team we want playing for us. The success that Martinez had in his first season was based on a passing game like ‘the School of Science’. When the team was passing it around last year there was a significant pushback from the ‘supporters’ and the team was criticized for their lack of incisive play. The game on Saturday was more of the lob the ball forward and see what happens.

    In my opinion we should be controlling the play by keeping possession and then use two men up front to give us the needed option to be more incisive. Lukaku was better when Kone came on and perhaps Kone will start to show us the player that I saw when he was at Wigan and sliced us apart with two goals at the DW Stadium.

  4. right were do you start i say get rid of both the board cos there greedy little pigs trying to run everton on the cheap and martinez for sending garbutt on loan cos he rates galloway more very strange and our midfield defence and attack is well short of confidence its looks like a team with no spirit left in it after only one match woeful there have both took the *mick* far two long

  5. Whilst the board have obvious failings the most important thing at present is the manager. A guy who seems tactically inept, who plays predictable football every time, passing the ball backwards/sideways continuously. A guy who plays Galloway at left back whilst having Oviedo on the bench. If he’s not fit, why send garbutt on loan?

    We cannot afford to play a team (especially at home) with three defensive midfielders and no creativity. The lack of creativity was obvious last season yet nothing has been done to rectify it.

    The constant hamstring injuries are clearly part of martinez’s training (or lack of) a problem for which barely existed under the now departed excellent medical team.

    Roberto won many of us over (me included) with his positive and different approach than what we grew used to with moyes however, his motivational speaker talk (see phenomenal and real desire) has worn thin.

    I worry if given money to spend, how he will spend it. Our best players are mostly Moyes purchases, Coleman, Stones, Jags, Baines. Lukaku and McCarthy are still young and potentially great players yet quite inconsistent.

    On Saturday it looked as if we were the team with 11 new players, with nobody realising actually where they were meant to play and looking like a team of strangers.

    I will never be one of these idiots who boo or constantly get on the players backs however, a man can only be given so many chances. He has to improve as a manager and quickly.

  6. Peter re the question of style. The school of science was a passing style that was predominantly forward based with speed quickness of movement and strength in the tackle. What we have now is,especially at home, is an intention to slow the game down and pass square or back . few players seem to have the ambition to pass forward. The movement too is poor. It seems to me that players look first to go back or square and if that’s not on they look forward when in fact it should be the other way around. Sole stuff but RM does not seem to grasp it.

  7. I totally agree about the manager, Martinez is out of his depth and we could find ourselves in the bottom 3 come early Oct! He said he wanted his targets in early, so we would be ready for the start of the season. How foolish he makes himself look, he just cant help putting his size 9 in his mouth!

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