There are no two ways to look at it. Everton are a club who have spent big and have shown ambition, yet have done everything but improve over recent years. Just a year after Carlo Ancelotti led the Toffees to a 59-point campaign, including an early-season run where the Blues were high-flying and top of the league, the club had one of its worst-ever seasons, narrowly escaping relegation and what would have been the biggest disgrace in its illustrious 144-year history.
The fact that the club has gone backward since Farhad Moshiri’s takeover and has wasted all of the funding that promised to bring Everton back to former glory is an indescribable disappointment. To think that the Blues are as far away from a European berth as they have been at any other point in this millennium can only fill the fanbase with hopes of what might have been, especially when in that time a smaller side like Leicester City not only won the Premier League but established themselves as the true pretenders to the ‘top six’ throne.
Lack of Vision
One of the main reasons behind said regression is the complete lack of a cohesive vision among the hierarchy of the club. Farhad Moshiri has shown many times he lacks the foresight to be an effective owner and forcing the appointment of Rafa Benitez as manager despite all signs suggesting the contrary was yet another disastrous decision from the otherwise successful businessman.
Frank Lampard is the sixth manager in Moshiri’s six years on Merseyside, while new Director of Football Kevin Thelwell is the third to hold that post. Moshiri’s constant meddling regarding player recruitment has certainly played a big part in the chaos. The departure of Marcel Brands made it clear that the board has not been on the same page during these years of stagnation, and until there is a clear plan for how the club will progress, nothing will change.
It’s hard to use injuries as an excuse for the pathetic performances that Everton put forth this season, but the fact of the matter is that the Toffees were the second most injured team in the Premier League, only behind Leeds United who faced a similar regression this season, with 11.3 injuries per 1,000 minutes played, and a total of 1483 days missed across the year according to Premier Injuries’ Ben Dinnery.
Long-term injuries to Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Yerry Mina, Abdoulaye Doucoure, and Andros Townsend as well as minor injuries to other key players like Richarlison, Allan, Demaray Gray and Ben Godfrey had a large impact on Everton’s inability to pick up any kind of form until the home stretch of the season. Benitez’s vain attempt to stem the issue at the physiotherapist’s office by replacing the Rehabilitation Fitness Coach with his own man did not work in the slightest and Cristian Fernandez was gone with Rafa soon enough having made no impact on the frequency or impact of injuries the Blues were getting.
It can be argued that Everton’s lowly standing meant there was more pressure on the coaching staff to bring players back into the playing fold sooner than they should have been, and the number of recurring injuries we had last season bears testament to that school of thought. Hopefully the Toffees’ bad luck will even out with a healthy season in 2022/23, God knows we need it.