When our manager took over, you would be hard pushed to meet a blue who was happy with the appointment. Many, however, including myself decided that we had little choice but to give him our support until he achieved what he was expected to achieve. There have been differences of opinion over whether he started pre or post West ham but like him or loathe him, he’s taken the blues to 8th place. The rub being that teams outside the top 6 this season have been that poor, it feels like a hollow achievement. That said, I’d have taken it last November. Now we need to move on.
It was clear from the outset that two things were going to be an issue. The first being the style of play, Sam brought with him. For years he complained about not being given a chance with one of the ‘big clubs’ so this was a chance for him to throw away the chains and prove the doubters wrong. The trouble is, he hasn’t and the doubters were right. Not only does the football remain dour (I’m being kind), but the seemingly gutless rollover every time a top 6 team is played just rubs salt in the wounds of an extremely frustrated and unhappy fanbase. Away games are played without the confidence and intent a steady rise up the table is supposed to inspire. Gone is the ‘parked bus’ seen at Anfield and against Chelsea and in its place a team of uninspired individuals, intent on passing to the opposition and winning with as few shots on target as possible
The second issue is the 18-month contract. Insisted on by a man, who unbelievably, held all the cards in negotiations with one of the richest clubs in Europe. The dithering in replacing Koeman played completely into his hands. I don’t blame him, I blame the club who allowed it to happen. How can he be sacked after achieving what he was asked to achieve?
The answer to that is that It’s essential if you aspire to be successful. The next month will be telling.
The costs of not making a change as soon as possible and letting him go, however much it costs may be fatal. If we don’t move now, we may miss the boat. Newcastle are awaiting takeover and if and when it happens, they will be ready to spend. Wolves have been superb this season and are backed by a billionaire, Arsenal are being linked with the biggest managers in the game as are Chelsea. Mediocrity can be appealing to some owners who are happy to finish 8th every season and pick up the prize money and TV rights that go with it. Too much mediocrity and a lack of ambition can only end one way and it’s not in the top 4.
Fans continue to turn up in their numbers, selling out every home game with little or no reward. Everton continue to sell more season tickets, season on season even after the last four seasons of massive underperformance showing a loyalty and hope that many clubs can only dream about. The hope of a new ground of which many won’t believe will happen until the blues run out onto the pitch for their first match offers a glimpse of what might be. The addition of funds so evidently wasted last summer offers hope, but not if it’s continually wasted.
I’m not the biggest fan of Newcastle or West Ham but two clubs with such passionate support and with teams who have traditionally played good football, both jettisoned Allardyce. This despite him doing exactly what he promised them. It’s no coincidence.
In a season of few ups, I count Pickford as the only success story but have hopes that Tosun, Walcott and Keane fulfil their promise. I remain extremely thankful that Seamus Coleman has recovered from his injury as good as before. Please make him our next captain. I find it strange that Ademola Lookman, a young player with so much apparent promise can suffer ‘homesickness’ then go to Germany on loan. We still haven’t recovered from selling Lukaku and Schneiderlin, despite recent improvement (it would be hard not to improve really) shouldn’t be at the club. That Baines and Jagielka have come in and done a job despite being past their best, shows just both how good they were and how hard they will be to replace. Niasse and Martina are nice blokes and have had very mixed fortunes this season, neither are good enough. Tom Davies and DCL have promise and I would like to see how they fare with a more inventive manager. Kenny can only improve but whether he will be good enough remains to be seen. Gana is Gana and both Funes-Mori and Bolasie have both had long-term injuries so maybe they need a little more time? Klassen and Vlasic seem to have disappeared as I hope Williams has done and as for Wayne Rooney, he loves the club but is that enough?
Most of all, I fear that if we don’t do the right thing and appoint a new manager in the next few weeks, it will mean keeping Sam Allardyce and we will miss the opportunity to go forward. It was stupid giving him 18 months in the first place. He is apparently planning for next season, which is worrying. Having said that, why wouldn’t he? He’s been given a gold plated contract by a club that rolled over last November and had its tummy tickled. Bill Kenwright is still rolling over, apologising to Sam (or is that Sham?) over a fans survey that had the cheek to ask about the manager’s performance. He then arrogantly and with absolutely no sense of self-awareness, awarded himself 11 out of 10.
Maybe, with the constant moaning from Arsenal fans despite winning 3 FA Cups in 4 years mean they want to go back to the George Graham years? Well, let’s see if they come looking for Allardyce. Thought not!
Well, thanks Sam for keeping us up. It’s become a hollow victory in a game that’s meant to entertain. Only you could make us feel down after a victory. You can go now where you will be more appreciated, and we can move on. Having said that, would you trust the board to get the next appointment right? Just asking.