Are things as bad as some make out?

evertonaway1617It’s been an uncomfortable start to the season in many ways. As we head deeper, almost a third of the way in, there are rumblings of discontent amongst Evertonians.

Like many, I expected Ronald Koeman to have an immediate affect on the blues fortunes, after all he managed it with what was a Southampton squad, many of their best players pilfered by other clubs for the second season in a row achieving a very creditable Europa league spot. Surely, with the best squad of players in a generation at his disposal, he would be pushing for a Champions League spot? So are things really that bad?

Is 7th Good or bad?

A scan across social media and talking to fellow Evertonians revealed some discontent at our position. At the time of writing, 7th and one goal away from the top 6. Some people, albeit hidden behind a keyboard are calling for Ronald’s head. So, having played mainly the poorer teams in the division 7th is poor or, having finished 11th last season we are close to top six?

Is the squad all that?

The positive start which saw four wins from five games seems a long time ago. So what has gone wrong since? Ronald did not have a full close season to reinforce his squad but still managed to strengthen in some of the main areas. The signings, Enner Valencia apart, have so far been generally positive. It now becomes apparent that this squad is not quite as good as many thought, yet Martinez managed 5th place with most of the current players involved. Strange in some ways, that some say Martinez was lucky as he inherited a decent defence from the often maligned David Moyes.

Management style?

Ronald’s early season nudge towards a pressing game seems to have morphed back to a near Martinez style. Why is this? Are the players rebelling against being made to work harder?

Rumours that Jagielka has had disagreements with the boss may or may not be true but he certainly doesn’t look the player he once was. Is discipline the way forward considering the amount of players meetings that allegedly took place over the last couple of years.

Fans confidence?

Selling out every home game is a possibility providing fans confidence and optimism remains.

After five games, there was general chatter of champions league football being a possibility. Five games later and some have even suggested relegation. These are extremes of course but underlines a mistrust in the team spreading through the club off the pitch as well. How many people do you know say that they won’t believe there is gong to be a new ground until they are actually sitting in their seat and the team come out onto the pitch? How many false dawns have there been only to be slapped in the face? (Both on and off the pitch, where do we start?) Maybe this has an effect on whether you consider it to be a decent start or not.

The next few months

Ultimately we wont know whether things really are that bad. The five nil defeat to Chelsea has been compared to the five nil defeat to our neighbours in 1982 (and remains the only match I ever left before the end) so things can improve pretty quickly in our experience. A big worry for me is that we are losing Bolasie and Gana in January and the January transfer window is usually an insipid affair brightened up only by some wealthy club with an over inflated opinion of themselves paying stupid money for a bit of a yard dog (I wonder who that was?). The FA cup is now our only prospect of silverware and only one bad away draw or early round performance from effectively signaling the end of the season.

After decades of many false dawns being a blue entails I will allow my normal pessimistic self to say maybe it’s not as bad as it seems. The recent interviews with Farhad Moshiri and Ronald Koeman, who was the clubs no1 target, revealed that many players had been targeted but were persuaded elsewhere by the prospect of European football. Negative in one way as it shows that if Everton don’t make sufficient progress this season then attracting players will continue to be difficult. Positive however, as it shows that the club appears to be trying and telling us they are too.

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Paul Chaloner

Paul Chaloner was born less than a mile from Goodison Park in 1962. He retired to Spain where he follows Everton from afar. He went to his first Everton match in 1970 (5-2 v chelsea), sold cushions in the stands throughout the 1970s until they were abandoned in the early 1980s and continued to watch the blues until relatively recently before going to live in Spain. He has three sons, all blues!

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