I have to admit I do have a touch of sympathy for the Everton media team at the minute. The toxic atmosphere surrounding the club, due to circumstances beyond their control, means they can’t do right for doing wrong.
The club are regularly accused of not being in touch with the supporters, so a fan survey sent to all season ticket holders and members makes perfect sense.
Unfortunately, asking fans to rate Sam Allardyce’s performance out of 10 when antagonism towards the current Toffees boss is at an all-time high is only going produce one result.
It was quickly seized upon by the media, who accused Everton of publicly undermining their manager.
This take is unfair, given the survey contained a wide range of questions designed to gauge the mood among a section of the fanbase.
Allardyce’s friends in the media leapt to his defence, though thankfully more considered journalists put them in their place.
A similar survey was also sent out last season, but with Everton playing well and pushing for Europe, nothing was said. Therefore I highly doubt Everton sent this out with the intention of using it as a reason to sack Allardyce, even if the results are hardly likely to bolster his position.
However, from a PR perspective it has been an absolute disaster.
Neil’s probably right that he’s stabilised them, but the chronic lack of ambition, the endless belittling of what Everton is, the awful football, the mediocre results, the sneering dismissal of the fans: it’s a fair old price to pay.— Rory Smith (@RorySmith) April 17, 2018
The fans have made their minds up about Allardyce and only his departure will lift the toxic cloud that’s currently lingering over the club.
Until that happens, everything the club does will be viewed and treated with cynicism by a fanbase worn down by years of underachievement.
I’ve said before that Allardyce isn’t to blame for Everton’s struggles, even if he is on the receiving end of much of the flak from the terraces.
They barely even tried to win against United at home. The two performances in the derby were effective, ish, but defensive to the point of nihilism. That’s fine for Bolton. It’s not fine for Everton, and he doesn’t get that, or isn’t capable of change.— Rory Smith (@RorySmith) April 17, 2018
He is a symptom not the cause, with his panicked appointment last autumn the culmination of 18 months poor planning piled on top of 25 years of underachievement.
There is no doubt he stabilised the club at a difficult time. But to compare Everton with some of the other ‘rescue jobs’ Allardyce achieved at the likes of Crystal Palace and Sunderland would be exaggerating.
He did what he was asked to do, but was never the right fit and never will be.
Announcing his departure, even if it is at the end of the season, would instantly lift the mood and perhaps start to heal the rift between the supporters and their beloved club.