Before going on about the ins and outs of all things Everton, I would like to send my thoughts and condolences to everyone in Manchester and the surrounding areas.
While I personally sit on the other side of the ocean, the relationships I have fostered through this amazing club meant that when news broke I immediately thought of all those people I know who would be both directly and indirectly impacted.
Having gotten to know the Everton (and greater Liverpool) community over the years it was unsurprising that everyone in the area, regardless of shirt color, has, and will continue to, rally in support of Manchester as they seek to heal and rebound from the impact of this cowardly act.
While soccer is certainly put in perspective and onto the back burner on a day like this, the relationships this beautiful game creates are never more important. Families support each other at all times and today is no different.
Manchester will come back stronger, and those who were lost will never be forgotten. To all those suffering today, all of us here at Royal Blue Mersey send our thoughts and prayers, and stand in solidarity with you.
It’s finally over!
After wrapping up 7th place in what feels like late December, Everton fans have been watching their teams matches with a mixture of excitement and apathy.
With little to play for except pride once Europe was guaranteed, the Toffees rolled through the last weeks of the season with little fire about themselves.
But before we start to demonize the squad, coaches, and front office for their MANY poor decisions and missteps throughout the course of the season, let’s look at the big picture and where the team stood at this time in 2016.
Take a look at the tables!
We only finished 10 points from relegation last season!!!
This season, we were 15 points above 8th!! (and 27 points free of relegation)
Additionally, the extra 14 points we racked up over the course of the season helped push the Toffees four points closer to Champions League than they were in 2015/2016.
The season wasn’t perfect, but if you would have offered me this years finish in May of 2016 I would have taken it so fast my OWN head would spin.
Without knowledge of who would be pulling the strings moving forward, May last year was a scary time.
Once Koeman and Walsh were finally brought in, they were cautious if not effective in the transfer market. Getting Maarten Stekelenburg signed on early was.......business...but after that the front office was a bit more effective.
Idrissa Gueye proved a revelation, Dominic Calvert Lewin looks the real deal (albeit a bit young), and January signings Ademola Lookman and Morgan Schneiderlin either showed their unlimited potential (Lookman), or in Schneiderlin’s case slotted in like he was a life-long Merseysider.
The signings we brought in were useful, if not successful, and none were total flops.
So why aren’t I MORE optimistic??
Well, I’ve been a Toffee for a while and I know how the transfer windows tend to go for us.
But before we get into the growing angst around Goodison, let’s take a moment to remember the good times.
Enjoy all of this seasons videos from our friends @Toffeeanalysis
Now about that angst.......
Don’t worry.....not everyone has such a gloomy outlook on the summer as Jordan.
Ok.... maybe I lied.
While it has certainly been exciting to watch Idrissa Gueye bring back bite to the midfield, Morgan Schneiderlin remind everyone why he is a French international, and Tom Davies figure out how to groom himself, there has been an
quiet angst growing among the fans.
You see, it appears that while there is plenty of faith in Ronald Koeman’s ability to get the most out of the players at his disposal, there is CONSIDERABLY less faith in the board to get the most out of the money at their disposal.
Remember that table from the beginning of the mailbag?
Well, while I lauded the team for putting an additional 17 points between them and the drop zone, I skated over the fact that for all of our on field improvements we only ended up four points closer to the top four.
So?? The league was better!
That is a wonderful argument, but as Toffees fans we have been through this before.
1. Toffees have underwhelming season A
2. Toffees respond with emphatic rebound season B
3. Club assumes underwhelming season A was aberration, don’t want to ‘overreact’.
4. Toffees has underwhelming season C
Wash, rinse, repeat......
So after having a fairly successful year on the field, Everton fans want to know what is going to be so much different about THIS offseason?!
We are sick and tired of being told to be happy that we are never going to be a bottom dweller, that we are far too grand a club for that. Go back to any Aston Villa fan in the late nineties and I would venture to guess you would have heard the same type of justifications being used.
Mediocrity is not a tornado, devastating but brief. No, mediocrity is climate change (and if you’re still denying the existence of climate change then we need to have a separate word). The effects are minimized by the hubris of the present, but once it rolls in it’s effects are devastating can’t be reversed.
Having more money is nice, but give a teenager old a blank check and shopping spree they’ll come back with a lot of expensive clothes that don’t quite fit right. It’s one thing to have the right money to spend, it is quite another to spend that money right.
The thought of the same old board trying to pull off moves for a caliber of player that have yet to negotiate for is..well....worrisome...to say the least.
The unfulfilled promises of last Summer were written off to a late start by Koeman and Walsh, and the feeling is that this window will show not just the Toffees ambitions, but their abilities.
Should late July Europa League qualifiers roll around and the squad finds it self thin and full of place holding youngsters Goodison will find itself buzzing, and full of angry fans.
The summer bell tolls
Who will end up a Toffee
Oh to have an orb
Liverpool is under threat.
There is a killer on the loose, and no one can stop him.
Known as Big Dunc, this (large) shadowy, the ghost of the now deceased former Toffees striker lurks in the night, killing his unsuspecting foes with a simple header, decapitating them in a single blow.
Now, Ronald Koeman (Tintin....google it, it’s real) is the last man standing between Big Dunc and his final victims.
The Everton XI.
Watch as Tintin uses everything in his arsenal to defend his team from sure relegation....to the afterlife.
Can Tintin’s free kicks defeat the ghost of Big Dunc and bring the once celebrated striker back to life?
Or is this too tall a task?
Find out this Christmas in....
This is a tough one.
Now, even if we lose Romelu Lukaku, I just don’t see the front office trying to replace him with another big name with a big price tag.
Assuming we get something along the lines of 75 million for Rom, I would expect to see a gaggle of 10-15 million strikers and attacking mids to fill his void and recoup his goals.
Koeman has never struck me as someone to put all his eggs in one basket.
In the midfield, the signings of Gueye and Schnedierlin, coupled with the emergence of Davies, means that the Toffees are looking for pieces to fit around those three, so the midfield doesn’t need the MARQUEE name.
That leaves the backs and keeper.
While I do anticipate some help being brought in at outside back, I think it will be cover, not a player brought in to make a statement.
This is where I go back and forth.
Will Koeman ask Moshiri to spend BIG on a center back in hopes of luring Virgil van Dijk or someone of the sort? Or will the Dutchman trust his ability to rate and coach center backs and opt for a little quantity over quality?
If so, that means the marquee signing of the summer would be a keeper!!
While normally that would scare me, I also believe that the keeper position is one that can radiate confidence through your team, get you across the line against the top teams, and ultimately help you close the gap with the teams at the top.
None other than Jordan Pickford, who is rumored to be going for upwards of 25 million pounds.
He’s young, athletic, and does this regularly...
Pickford's side volley is porn. pic.twitter.com/glcJVFg5xo— David Preece (@davidpreece12) May 16, 2017
One more end of season video....