First we had only Djibril Sidibé going over to thank 8,000 increasingly disenfranchised supporters after Sunday’s shocking 1-0 defeat to Liverpool’s third-string side.
Then, footage surfaced of Seamus Coleman, assisted by Mason Holgate, locked in a furious spat with Liverpool fans as he headed down the tunnel at full-time.
Then, we had Fabian Delph supposedly arguing with supporters on Instagram, players biting back at criticisms levelled at them by Duncan Ferguson and Carlo Ancelotti, and now, a confrontation between a group of supporters and director of football Marcel Brands.
Earlier this week, Brands reportedly addressed seven furious fans who turned up at Everton’s training ground, Finch Farm, speaking to them at length in what has been described as an ‘amicable exchange’.
These concerns are said to have stemmed from the sub-standard display offered up by Everton, whose starting XI cost more than four times that of Liverpool’s, and a perceived lack of application shown by those in royal blue at Anfield on Sunday.
A report from The Times says:
“Seven fans turned up at Finch Farm on Tuesday morning as they sought to make their displeasure clear to Carlo Ancelotti’s squad following Sunday’s abject 1-0 reverse to a weakened Liverpool team.
“They asked security to bring the players out and, when that request was refused, it was suggested that more could be mobilised to turn up at the training complex and stage a blockade, highlighting the toxic nature of the fall-out from the humiliating loss.”
Everton’s season is effectively over now, having been knocked out of both cup competitions in the last month and currently mired in mid-table of the Premier League.
From the 2-0 home defeat to Norwich City which saw Evertonians sing “you’re getting sacked in the morning” at their own manager, to the two Anfield humiliations in the space of a month, it has felt a particularly bleak midwinter for Everton, even with the much-trumpeted arrival of bona fide world-class manager in Carlo Ancelotti.
This, though, was when boiling point really arrived. It just feels like everyone’s had enough now; Of course, loyalty and respect are two-way streets, but the most depressing factor in all of this is just how wide the chasm seems to currently be between the club and its fans base. Nothing epitomises that discord quite like this latest episode, with furious supporters baying for blood outside the training ground.
Is anyone in the wrong here? Probably not. The Finch Farm protest may not change much, but the frustration among arguably the most short-changed fan base in the country is as palpable as it is understandable. And for what it’s worth, good on Brands for not just dismissing them without giving them a moment’s thought.
From the cowardice on display at the final whistle, to having the brass neck to argue your case in the dressing room afterwards, to picking fights over social media with your own players and supporters, there is a cancerous core at Everton which threatens to undermine any positives you can derive from this club. Be that the new stadium, the new era under Ancelotti, or the handful of genuinely good players who deserve to have a future here, all of this will count for nothing unless current issues are nipped in the bid immediately.
Ancelotti and Brands should not just play to the gallery and appease fans for the sake of it, but at least, whether you agree with the way they’ve gone about it, the club are aware of the supporters’ feelings now.
Players, managers, coaches, directors of football and owners all come and go, your fan base does not. What might not have mattered to some of those on the pitch by Monday morning will still have bruised every single Evertonian watching on, either at the ground or not. In that respect, it’s hard to criticise people for taking action over something they hold so dear to the hearts.