Let me share with you a little bit of family life. My son, a relatively late arrival to watching football, and without any kind of arm-twisting, changed his football allegiance from his support of Arsenal as an infant, to a more mature, grown up love for Everton. He, like me, is now a die-hard Evertonian, and we live in Nottingham. He could have stayed with Arsenal, he could even have switched to a more local team (“we won the European Cup twice you know”; yeh, Malmo was a hell of a team to beat…..anyway, let’s not be bitter….yet), but no, once bitten by Everton (perhaps that should say ‘smitten’), instead of being twice shy, he became addicted to whatever poison it was that infected him.
Now you can probably tell from this opening, that today is not a good day for me. I’ve supported Everton for 50+ years this season, and I have always tried desperately hard to accentuate the positive, both when writing Obstructed View, and also when exchanging views (polite term) with fellow supporters and wind-up-merchants on social media. But today, it’s got to me. And I feel the need to tell you what and why. It may not make fellow Blues feel better, but it might help me.
In March, it was obvious to everyone that Lukaku was leaving. Here we are in November, with December about to start, and there is no obvious replacement, unless you count the wonderfully committed and scandalously treated Oumar Niasse. But with the greatest of respect to our top scorer (there’s something I never thought I’d write), he’s hardly a like for like replacement for the Big Belgian, even if he is catching him up on the goals tally! It seems, reading between the lines, as we have to in the absence of any sensible and consistent communication from the Club, that all of our Striking Eggs were firmly in the Giroud basket. And when the Frenchman and his wife decided they’s rather stay in London (and play in the Champions League?), we turned to the contingency plan, or Plan B. There was no Plan B. I was prepared to believe, looking for the good again, silly me, that Giroud had given a fairly cast iron guarantee that he was coming. No need for a Plan B then? Just a reminder, Giroud hasn’t played a full season of football for yonks, and he’s 31. At the very least, he was going to need a back up, and then Calvert-Lewin, and yes, maybe Niasse, could help in rotation games. Nope, no Giroud, no Plan B, no back up striker.
“Let’s sack Koeman” they may have said. Great. Replacement? Nope. No Plan A obvious, let alone a Plan B. Maybe all the eggs this time were further round the North Circular from Giroud, and sat in Silva’s basket. Had we sounded him out – seems like it. Had we factored in Watford’s intransigence? Doesn’t seem like it. Plan B? Let’s go back to the original plan before Plan A even started, and let’s court one of the most divisive managers on the circuit, a man sacked from the National Manager’s job because of ‘alleged corruption’, a phrase already used in Panorama’s investigation in 2006. By the time you get round to reading this, he may well have signed. I will applaud him if he does a good job as manager of my beloved Everton, but I’ll never applaud him as a man. He does not fit the NSNO brief, from either his playing style, nor the way he’s allegedly gone about his life. Will I cheer him if he wins us some games and moves us up the table? No. I’ll cheer the team, but even that will stick in the throat, as they shouldn’t have got us in to this mess in the first place.
With Lukaku, and now a search for a Manager which, in case you’re counting, has now gone on for 36 days, there appears to be something more fundamentally wrong. This season was the first time in living memory that we got some transfer business done early, swiftly followed by a summer’s trolley dash to see how many players who like to play in the same position, we could fit in the same team, let alone squad. And then reverting to type as the Gylfi saga dragged on and on and on. Who on earth was in charge of that? Walsh, a man living off his amazing achievement in signing Kante for Leicester, is looking like a King wearing as many clothes as we once thought, i.e. none. That particular King is in the all together, the all together, and if you haven’t got a clue what I’m blithering on about, google The King’s New Clothes by Danny Kaye, a re-telling of a Hans Christian Anderson tale. If the whole song isn’t actually all about this season and Everton, and not just Walsh, then I’m struggling to find a more decent metaphor.
We can go back over the last few years, and bemoan the lack of funds, but at last we have a benefactor. Good old Bill, coming good in the end. Or has he? The new Stadium is a massive achievement, even if it will add another 30 minutes to my journey time from the Midlands. That’s good then. Yes, a new ground, let’s just hope that the opening home fixture is against the likes of Man City, and not (with due respect) Shrewsbury or Scunthorpe.
For me, Walsh must go. Not convinced he’s up to the task. Elstone should go in the same taxi, a more humourless and uncommunicative CEO I’ve yet to witness, therefore making it impossible to judge him any other way than the evidence we have in front of us today. And then Bill. Dear Bill. I love his love of Everton, I really do, and as Chairmen go, he’s been one of the best, but I feel we need a new broom, and that broom needs to be able to keep Moshiri where we need him – at the nearest Cashpoint and not on the phone to Jim White. We need to step up a level. If we’re remotely likely to remedy the debacle we’re witnessing, we need a new management team to do it. No idea who other than Allardyce could do it; my preference was Dyche, then Silva, and now, frankly I’d rather chance our arm and go for Fonseca. If he’d come. But he won’t. Announce Allardyce then.
And Schneiderlin needs to put a tackle in.