Yes. It’s just pre-season, but it’s time for get cracking!


Disclaimer – If you’re one of those people who’s super-chilled and laid back about Everton and how they’re shaping up ahead of the new season, this one probably won’t be for you!

Last night Everton lost 3-0 against a promoted Championship side in Blackburn Rovers.

Yes. A weak Everton 11 took to the field in the first half.
Yes. Blackburn should be a week ahead of us in thier preparations for their season.

But, are they valid excuses for what the performance we saw at Ewood Park last night? Personally, I don’t think so.

Maybe I’m expecting too much too soon, but I believe Everton’s second-string should be getting a result from Blackburn Rovers who, let’s not forget, were in League 1 last season.

But, okay, okay, I know, I know… I can almost hear you lot saying it’s just pre-season, chill out! I get it and I’m with you.

But, this little piece is about the bigger picture for Everton which is quite simply, we’re 15 days from the Premier League here and I don’t think we’re close to being ready.

We’re also 13 days until we’ll know which group of players we’ll be relying on until January.

Listen, I can only speak for myself and I know there are blues out there who disagree but I don’t understand why Everton have left it this late in the transfer window to start addressing areas of the squad that clearly need improving and have done for the best part of 3 years.

Yes. We’ve changed manager and Director of Football this summer.
Yes. We’ve had the World Cup this summer.

But, by the time the World Cup finished, we were 1 of only 3 Premier League clubs not to have signed a player. Arsenal and West Ham (who also changed managers this summer, remember) managed multiple signings in that period but Everton, zero.

Of course, a major international tournament going on makes things more difficult, but if 17 other Premier League clubs could get players through the door, including 2 with new managers, I just can’t have it as a valid excuse for us doing so little.

Do I buy into the ‘Silva needs to evaluate the squad first-hand’ theory? Not really, because, let’s have it right, Marco Silva and Marcel Brands been lined up by Everton for months.

Ask any Evertonian at the pub what the squad needs and you’ll be told in no uncertain terms exactly what’s lacking. Yet, we’re meant to believe Brands and Silva didn’t watch a few video tapes and share a few phonecalls regarding the squad in the months before they were unveiled?

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying the pair of them should’ve been followed through the door by half a dozen new signings in May/June, but to me, things felt too calm and cosey in what should’ve been a summer of change at the club.

Since the squad returned to pre-season training on 3rd July, we’ve been waiting to see players leave so we could get fresh blood to replace them, but it just hasn’t happened at the rate most would like.

We were lucky Wayne Rooney still holds a name big enough to get himself a move to the MLS, we were surprised by the sudden depature of Ramiro Funes-Mori and everybody else (save for Joel Robles walking on a free and Davy Klaassen leaving today) has hung around to the point there’s less than 2 weeks left of the transfer window and they’re still here.

And, what’s more, not only have they hung around, they’ve been getting chance after chance in these (curiously scheduled) pre-season games…

– Ashley Williams. Dropped under Sam Allardyce following the ridiculous red card at Burnley. Suddenly, leading the team out at Blackburn.

– Sandro Ramirez. Failed to earn a move to Sevilla. Suddenly, in the Everton team getting more minutes than anybody.

– Matthew Pennington. Failed to earn a move to Leeds United in the Championship. Suddenly, in the Everton team.

– Mo Besic. Failed to earn a move to Middlesborough in the Championship. Suddenly, in the Everton team.

– Kevin Mirallas. Failed to earn a move to Olympiakos in the Greek Super League. Suddenly in the Everton team.

…want more, or shall I go on to those who are too old or too young? I won’t, but you get the picture with much of this squad.

And all the while, non-World Cup players that most Evertonians would like to see involved such as; Mason Holgate, Ademola Lookman, Theo Walcott and Dominic Calvert-Lewin have hardly kicked a ball in anything resembling a competitive pre-season game.

So, that brings me to pre-season as a whole and to ask, what is it really for?

I’m sure everybody have their own definition but to me, it’s a crucial 6 or 7 week period where a manager gets his team ready for the challenges of a new season…

The manager and his conditioning team get the squad fit to compete for 90 minutes
The manager sets out his tactics in 6 or 7 pre-season friendly matches
The manager implement new things in those matches/in training
The manager beds new players into the squad

Yet, we’re witnessing a pre-season (which is now over 50% complete) where there is 1 new player (who only arrived this week on 24th July) and where nearly half of our first team aren’t even close to being ready for the league campaign to start.

Remember the days when the accepted wisdom towards summer business was always ‘let’s get our players in for the start of pre-season’?

Well, I still believe that idea makes the most logical sense. But lately, whether we’ve had Bill Kenwright, Steve Walsh or most recently, Marcel Brands running the transfer side of things, Everton seem to have slipped into the risky habit of leaving it late.

I personally don’t see the sense in a club putting itself under pressure to do last-gasp deals that, if not done, could ruin a club’s season (see our failure to replace Romelu Lukaku 1 year ago) especially, when the players we do bring in will have missed key elements of pre-season.

Anyway, will this bumbelling pre-season have a huge detrimental impact on our league season? There’s certainly no guarantee and all could work out just fine, but surely even the most optimistic of laid-back blues would acknowledge it doesn’t exactly bode well.

I’m sure everybody has their own ideas about what needs doing, but in the remaining 13 days of this transfer window, I reckon Marcel Brands needs to ensure about 10 deals (both outs and ins) are done. I

Yes. It’s just pre-season, but it’s time to get cracking.

Plenty to be done.

Come and Discuss the blues on TEF! If you haven’t registered, get yourself on there, it’s dead east. Whether you’re laid back about things, or just fancy a moan like me in this… there’ll be somebody on there who agrees with you or tries to set you straight!

Here’s the link – http://www.theevertonforum.co.uk/forum/

3 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Harry, couldn’t agree more with your comments. Started supporting Everton when Tim Cahill joined, and being based in Australia, didn’t want to support the usual clubs most people support ie. Man U, Arsenal, Chelsea & Liverpool. Everton lately have the process during transfer windows of leaving it to the death to get deals over the line & if they don’t, which has happened, the squad is undermanned. Pre season games are there to review player performances & integrate the manager’s game philosophy.The sooner the better. The player rotation/selection process so far this pre season has been baffling. Time is of the essence. Finally, don’t sell Lookman & Wolves are going to be up for Game 1.

  2. I agree. Gylfi took ages to settle last year because he didn’t have a preseason and we’ve made a right mess of this one too. No idea what our starting lineup will be at Wolves and only 2 weeks to go.

  3. Agree with every word Harry, Everton are just too slow & late for everything! For eg Everton & Brands knew about Lozano in Jan, so why wasn’t a bid put in by the 8th JUNE? We were in for Diop first, but dilly dallied & West Ham nipped in! No time for new players to get games in before Wolves! Great preparation!!

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