Everton Half-Term Report: 'We Can't Tread Water Forever'

No investment, negative tactics, and slipping down the Prem, right now is not exactly a good time to be an Everton fan.
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No investment, negative tactics, and slipping down the Prem, right now is not exactly a good time to be an Everton fan.

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No investment, negative tactics, and slipping down the Prem, right now is not exactly a good time to be an Everton fan.

What’s going right?

Everton have got a small squad but most of the fundamentals of a decent side are there. The back four and the midfield possess the quality of a top eight team and the young players coming through, such as the much admired Ross Barkley, suggest a club that has invested well for the future. We’ve also got Landon Donovan coming back to the club after the New Year, which should inject a much needed dose of pace into the side.

What’s not?

‘Mo money, mo problems’ opined Biggie Smalls before his sad demise; one that might have been avoided had he spent less time worrying about the problems associated with the accumulation of wealth and more about the problems associated with people wanting to shoot you in the chest.

But his assertion that more money simply creates more problems is one that contains an element of truth. The endless accumulation of wealth does often bring with it new and unforeseen difficulties.

And yet in the rampantly capitalist world of football, it is the absence of money, rather than its abundance that causes the most trouble.

Everton’s financial short-comings have been papered over during the last few years by the ability of David Moyes to work wonders in the transfer market and get the best out of all his players. But while this approach continues to pay dividends in defence and midfield, our inability to afford a decent forward has this season begun to illustrate the need for a better balance sheet.

Rumours of a potential takeover have been knocking around for months now but have come to nothing. This needs to change. Everton can only tread water for so long and ultimately if we don’t have the finances of a top flight club then there’s every chance that we won’t be a top-flight club for very much longer.

Got the right manager?

I doubt there is an Evertonian alive who doesn’t have anything but complete faith in David Moyes. He might have made the odd mistake in the transfer market but then what manager doesn’t? Moyes’ misfortune is to have his mistakes thrown sharply into focus because of the club’s meagre finances. Whereas, by contrast someone like Kenny Dalglish can get away spending £35million on a shire horse and receive relatively little criticism, simply because the club is awash with money.

Assuming we have any money available, a forward has to be the key purchase.

Star player?

Everyone’s favourite Berkshire commuter town, Leighton Baines has to win this. Consistently magnificent every time he graces the pitch. I also think that Royston Drenthe has both the best name of any player in the history of the club and the potential to be great (assuming he can kick the habit of giving away possession at key moments in the game).

Who would you like to sell in January?

I don’t think this question really applies to Everton. But I’d happily ditch Bilyaletdinov

Who do you want to sign?

Assuming we have any money available, a forward has to be the key purchase.  Bobby Zamora might be a good fit. He’s not getting on with Martin Jol and so could be available in January.

Best chant so far?

‘Where were you when you were shit?’ As sung by Evertonians to the growing number of Man City fans crawling out of the woodwork.

Best opposition player/team you’ve seen?

Sergio Agüero has probably been the best player of the season so far. He’s a delight to watch and arguably the key to City’s spectacular start to the season. Plus, the thought that he cost the same as Andy Carroll warms my heart during these cold, bleak times.

Biggest **** of the season so far?

It’s a toss-up between the most famous Uruguayan midget, Luis Suarez or ‘Neolithic man transported to a future age’, Andy Carroll. The former for his inability to get through a game without either diving or enraging the opposition’s supporters and the latter for his excessive celebration after scoring against Everton in the Goodison derby (it was a six-yard-tap-in, not some Zico-esque wonder goal).  You can probably add in Martin Atkinson too. His refereeing at the same game was a masterclass in partisanship.

End of season prediction?

A lot will depend on our form over the next few weeks. We’ve got games coming up against the likes of Swansea, Bolton and West Brom; games that we should be taking points from. If we manage that then a top eight finish is possible. If not, then becoming part of a relegation dog-fight could be a realistic outcome.

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