Having money to spend and a grand fan base doesn’t guarantee you success in the cutthroat world of the Premier League, as Everton fans are finding out.
The blue half of Liverpool are so often held up as an example of a club sticking to tradition, with their Archibald Leitch designed stands, connection to the fans and core values.
As the years have worn on, they’ve had to come around to the brave new world of the Premier League, but despite a big net spend in recent seasons, they’re looking increasingly isolated from the top five spot they so desperately crave.
At the tail end of the eighties, Everton were looking to match their city rivals for success. Two titles in three years saw them exert some form of dominance and had English clubs not been banned in Europe they might have added success their too.
They lifted the 1985 Cup Winner’s Cup, but were unable to compete in the big one thanks to the ban. When it was lifted, the Toffeemen had dropped out of the reckoning. Since winning their last title in 1987, they haven’t finished in the top three.
Goodison Park – By The original uploader was TheBigJagielka at English Wikipedia. – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons., CC BY-SA 2.0,
In an effort to catch up with the big five now, they’ve been spending plenty of money but not reaping the rewards. Richarlison arrived in the summer for £50m from Watford, he’s scored 14 times but was unable to prevent them from falling to the fifth Premier League defeat of 2019 five days before Valentine’s Day.
The Brazilian Bernard came on a free transfer and his slick skills were expected to bring the best out of his expensive countryman. He’s scored once, that coming in an FA Cup tie against League Two side Lincoln City, a game they found themselves clinging on to in the dying stages.
Quite what is going wrong is hard to ascertain. They’ve put their faith in a succession of managers who have come with big reputations and it seems therein lies the crux of the problem. Ronald Koeman, a success with Southampton, flopped as did former England boss Sam Allardyce.
The latest Premier League betting has them as rank outsiders for a Europa League place and that had to be the minimum they achieved this season. They’ve enjoyed far too few European nights in their traditional old stadium and if the current run continues, they’ll enjoy even fewer next season.
Richarlison – By Agencia de Noticias ANDES – ECUADOR-BRASIL SUB 20, CC BY-SA 2.0,
Marco Silva is on thin ice and should he be fired, he’ll usher in the fifth incumbent of the role since David Moyes left the club. Despite spending big, despite aiming high, they’re arguably no further on than they were when Moyes departed for Manchester United.
The Goodison roar is much more like a murmur these days, the piped music drowning out any enthusiasm the fans have for the side. The ground is barely fit for purpose, the traditional stands almost crossing a line to become antique. Everything is steeped in history, but it feels like the club still have one foot in the past.
Until they find a new idea and approach, they’re always going to be living in the big shadow being cast across Stanley Park.