The 2014-15 Everton season was a trying one for the fans, possibly one of the most frustrating periods since the 2003-04 when they barely escaped relegation. In response to the difficult season, the Royal Blue Mersey writers got together to answer a couple of important questions.
What Does Everton Need?
1) On The Pitch -
2) In The Boardroom -
1) A willingness to give up possession – we looked much more dangerous on the break last season.
2) A focus on increasing commercial revenues. It's here that Everton lag behind their rivals, and it's here the executives should focus on growing the club's stature.
1) More creativity in midfield and a more secure goalkeeper (also learn to defend set pieces!).
2) This chief executive to receive his P45. For the Americans, that's the document you receive over here when you lose your job.
1) New wingers. Kevin Mirallas may or may not want to be around anymore, Steven Pienaar's health cannot be relied upon, and Aiden McGeady simply hasn't been good enough. Leon Osman and Steven Naismith have done their best to fill in at the wide positions, but they are not acceptable permanent solutions there.
2) Accountability in terms of where TV money is going. It is all well and good that the Premier League has this lucrative TV deal, but the supporters deserve to know how exactly the team benefits.
1) Everton needs more help in the defensive midfield and out wide. All of our struggles this year can be traced to poor DM play forcing our defense to try and cover more shooting opportunities. We also need more quality in our wide play to relieve pressure from the midfield. There is a reason our form improved with the arrival of Aaron Lennon on loan and Pienaar just can't stay healthy any more.
2) I'd settle for a competent businessman to run the day to day operations at the club. Someone who can maximize the commercial revenue given our current situation. Ideally someone with experience in the soccer world, especially experience at a club without the trappings of a Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City, or Arsenal.
1) A winning mentality. Drawing is simply not good enough, and that should be drummed into the players and evident on the pitch.
2) A plan. The club has been stuck in the mire of mediocrity for the past decade, and the board need a plan to help us advance financially to compete with the top clubs.
1) Another proven forward who offers something different to Romelu Lukaku’s game. Arouna Kone isn’t up to scratch and is not likely to do it after his injury.
2) A clear plan for growth. The current structure is not one that works, with the Kitbag deal just one of many that make no sense on the corporate side of things.
1) A strike partner for Lukaku. Rom is the undoubted first choice but when he is injured/playing badly we need another option, especially against sides that sit back and hit on the break at Goodison Park - something the likes of Hull City, Crystal Palace, Swansea City, West Bromwich Albion, Stoke City, Leicester City and Sunderland did successfully last season.
2) A redevelopment of Goodison Park must now be considered if Walton Hall Park is indeed about to collapse. Everton can't keep treading water while hoping a rich benefactor will come in a pay for everything.
1) A winger with pace and skill. Lennon showed us what we are missing in the second half of the season. The position seems likely to be sorted our this summer with Roberto Martinez publicly acknowledging that he would like to bring Lennon to Goodison on a permanent basis. However, reports suggest that Tottenham Hotspur has set too high of a transfer price for the 28-year old from Leeds. The other possible solution that has come up over the past week is the permanent/semi-permanent move of Gerard Deulofeu from Barcelona.
2) The club desperately needs to address their cash flow issues. A club with such a rich history and in a great football town should be run better. If a new stadium cannot be completed, Goodison Park will need to undergo several renovation projects to bring it into line with other modern stadiums. Sponsorships also need to be addressed as the club is way behind most of their peers in regards to money brought in from sponsors.
1) Squad reinforcement. Putting last season aside, the next step for the club is to mount a successful challenge for Champions League football. The team already has quality but finishing in the top four will be extremely difficult when baring anything spectacularly out of character results-wise; the top three places will be sown up by Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal. The rest vying for the final CL spot - Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham will all be spending big money to finish fourth. With those six spending money, Everton have to as well. We don't have as much money as the top four contenders but with the new TV deal there must be money available. Tom Cleverley and Gerard Deulofeu are a start. A centre-half should be next, the only problem is who? Tyler Blackett, Johnny Evans and Scott Dann have been linked but I'm not convinced by those three. Being speculative, Marc Bartra from Barcelona seems to be available and if Tottenham are being linked with him, why can't we be? On the verge of signing Deulofeu doesn't mean we have forgotten about another winger we had on-loan; Aaron Lennon is another player on the wishlist. Again being speculative, if Roberto Martinez still feels that we need a number 10 then I would like to see Shinji Kagawa, Sergi Roberto or Nabil Fekir. However I still have faith in Ross Barkley as a number 10 and therefore not pushing him deeper and signing Jordy Clasie would be perfect for rotating Gareth Barry and allowing Darron Gibson to regain fitness without any pressure of rushing back. And finally and perhaps what should be the priority is signing a striker. Romelu Lukaku needs more support upfront and I'm not convinced Arouna Kone has the quality to do that for a team that wants to finish fourth. Any of the strikers we've been linked with previously out of Charlie Austin, Loic Remy, Javier Hernandez or Patrick Bamford, would have my full support.
2) Off the field, moving Bill Kenwright into move of a life President role and appointing a 'David Gill type' individual would be beneficial in my opinion. Someone with financial acumen and football knowledge or two characters filling those attributes in director roles would provide solutions to problems the club faces away from football. The club isn't making enough revenue away from the TV money and that is something that should be looked into.
1) I'd start by saying we don't need many additions to the side. I genuinely believe the team we have are capable of taking us to the level we desire i.e Europe. If I were to make an addition it'd certainly be on the wings. McGeady just isn't up to it and Pienaar is coming to the end of his career, in the Premier league at least. I think the players need confidence to play, they need to be allowed to play expansive and attacking football. Thats something thats down to Martinez. We have a good young side and honestly, I believe we're capable on the pitch of hitting the top 6 spots.
2) Its a different kettle of fish! The Board seem to be holding money back from the fans and more importantly from the manager. The new deal suggests we should get in the region of £70-80mil based on our finishing position in the league last year. Its believe the club currently owe £30mil of debts to the banks, leaving £40-£50mil open to spend on what the board see fit. So far, I don't believe Martinez will have been offered anywhere near that amount and we're probably looking at an amount of £25-£30mil. We need a board that have the interests of the managers intentions at heart and back him financially and verbally. Remember last year in Martinez' tough spell when people wanted him gone? Nobody came out and reassured the fans. They constantly leave us the fans, guessing. We want answers and not lies that have seemingly so far been told.
1) A new formation. The 4-2-1-3 has run its course and our opponents are on to us. It's still a good setup to have as a Plan B or even Plan C, but we need to find a way to get the ball out of our half faster, and get it into the opponents' box more efficiently.
2) A unified direction. Here is the Blues Board of Directors: Jon Woods - businessman with little interest or input in Everton affairs; Robert Earl - billionaire with more interest in his Planet Hollywood business than Everton; Robert Elstone - CEO and money-man, widely believed to have been behind the scandalous Kitbag deal among other things. What chance does Bill Kenwright have to steer the club in any sort of positive future direction with this bunch of cronies keeping him company.
How about you, what do you think Everton need? Respond in the comments section below.