Everton have lost their opening two games of the league season without scoring a goal for the third time in their history; Sean Dyche’s side have 10 days left in the transfer window to improve their squad; the Toffees are being run by a transitional board at the moment
It’s bound to be a week of searching at Everton. Searching for new players, searching for some sort of consistency, searching for investment, and above all searching for something positive to look forward to.
Following a summer of departing directors and players – together with the prospect of new investors – there was a hope that things would change, and the club could put behind them two previous seasons of relegation struggles.
Manager Sean Dyche talked about a positive approach, a change of culture and a look to the future, all highly commendable and what in fact is needed. Dyche talks reality, straight with no sugar coating, which is long overdue at Goodison Park.
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However, Sunday’s debacle at Aston Villa was a shock to the system, even to an Everton fan base which developed herd immunity to surprise many years ago.
The performance of the team was very unlike a Dyche performance. It lacked energy, organisation and was strewn with individual mistakes. Villa didn’t really have to get out of second gear to get the victory.
Everton’s problems, though, are deeper than one heavy defeat and solving them presents a much bigger problem than even the manager will have this week in trying to pull the team together again in training.
No, the same issues that appeared to be dragging the club downwards in recent years remain, there may have been a few shavings off the end but there still remains the need for a clean cut.
The news that three directors would leave the board in June brought hope that new investment was on its way – around six weeks was the timescale suggested when things would move forward. Nearly 10 weeks has passed since then and the tumbleweed still rolls across Goodison Road.
A transitional board is doing its best to keep the club running on a day-to-day basis. But with no firm sighting of the promised new future – and a chairman who is intrinsically connected to the failings of the previous board still in place – the fanbase is sceptical, at best, that change is indeed coming.
What should have happened is that these changes were completed before the start of the new season, to give not only the manager – but everyone at the club – a fresh beginning and something to grab hold of and run with.
That can never be used as an excuse for a performance like the one at Villa and it certainly will not be an excuse by the manager and players. But nevertheless, positivity has to come from the top at any football club and, at this moment, all anybody is getting is uncertainty and mixed messages.
This has been a difficult transfer window to deal in for Everton, financially stretched to say the least. They must make the right deals to make any purchase and added to that are the complications of clearing the underperforming and unwanted players out. It all makes for a perfect storm.
Despite those restrictions, Everton have brought in four signings this window already, with Ashley Young, Arnaut Danjuma, Youseff Chermiti and Leeds winger Jack Harrison brought in to strengthen Dyche’s options.
But new players are crucial to finding some level of success even if that is just progression, and time is running out to add more.
Everton fans often look to past glories for setting the standards of today but there needs to be a reality check from all who have an influence to change the fortunes of this once major force in English football.
They say: ‘a fool will lose tomorrow reaching back for yesterday’ but good times can return to Everton if those able to act do so soon. All that is needed is to give the manager and the fans something to hold on to and believe in, and make the right decisions quickly and positively.
It’s the third time in Everton’s history that they have lost their opening two games without scoring a goal. Of course there is a long way to go but already it feels like unwanted pressure is evident ahead of the club’s next game at home to Wolves on Saturday.
The message to those at the top from the fans is to get it sorted before too much damage is done…