Euro Diary – Day 1

I’m assuming you watched Time.

If not, you should. It’s about as good as the telly gets. 

The violence is obviously horrific, but even more affecting is watching the characters deal with the deep trauma of realising that they are not what they think they are. A good teacher and a family man, Sean Bean’s character is broken coming to terms with being the sort of cunt who drinks and drives and kills someone. Likewise Stephen Graham’s officer finds himself the victim of circumstances that lead him to betray everything he’s ever stood for in protecting his colleagues and the prisoners under his care.

Even the little Scouse lad chose to ruin so many lives including his own rather than accept that he’s not the hard knock he’d convinced himself he was.

We tell ourselves these stories to get through the day, and any deviation from our personal truth causes us pain.

What’s that got to do with Italy 3 Turkey 0 you might ask?

Fuck all, is the answer.

But there is a thread that runs through to Everton’s present search for a new manager, and the departure of Carlo Ancelotti from Goodison.

In terms of the actual performances on the pitch, Ancelotti’s impact was pretty minimal. The football was very rarely attractive and, at home especially, decreasingly effective. So in tangible terms, are Everton worse off without him?

It’s hard to make a case.

However, what he did have – he was easy to construct a great yarn around for the Blues. His record of achievement made him close to unquestionable. Backs-to-the-wall victories at Anfield and the Emirates were down to his organisational genius, while getting embarrassed at home by – fuck it, you know the list by now – was down to the ‘shithouse players’.

Nice work if you can get it.

And once Marcel Brands gets rid of the dead wood and Ancelotti gets his own players – and he wouldn’t have taken the job unless Moshiri had assured him there was a decent ‘war chest’, right kids! – then the sky’s the limit for these Toffees.

Or so we reasoned.

Turns out the eyebrow-arching arsehole was just here for the big bag-o-money after all. Fair play to him like, no one forces you to offer huge contracts to these ratbags. 

The big problem that we have replacing Ancelotti though is that he was the one who was always going to get time. That groundless belief we all had in him, despite the evidence before our eyes, meant more than most he would have got the breathing space from the fans to work Everton’s issues out.  

And he might have as well. 

Just the lack of constant upheaval in itself might have paid dividends eventually. But we will never know now, because he’s a snake, and there feels like a sense of resignation among the supporters now that we are about to recommence the self-sabotaging managerial cycle that the appointment of the sacked Napoli manager was meant to have broken.

Despite the click-bait clowns throwing out names from Eddie Howe to, the best of the lot, Fatih Terim, and creating this impression that the Blues are in turmoil, it’s always looked as if their preferred target’s been Nuno Espirito Santo from the start, and it will be surprising if he doesn’t end up taking charge. 

‘Kenwright wants Moyes’, ‘Brands is insisting on a foreign fella who can work with a Director Of Football’…. All absolute conjecture. And almost certainly a load of shite. How would anyone know any of that? It just happens to suit that comfortable ‘Everton are a shambles’ narrative that seems pervasive, especially online. There’s established now a satisfying feedback loop whereby the various media outlets peddle that stuff and we obligingly lap it up.

Anyway, is Santo, or is it Espirito Santo – ‘Nuno’ feels uncomfortably close to ‘Trent’ territory – the man for the job?

How on earth can we possibly know? Past performance is no guarantee of future profits is a phrase that couldn’t be more applicable in any field more than football management. It’s not alchemy or voodoo – it’s the application of core management skills to wildly differing circumstances. You come in and do your best with the chaos you inherit and occasionally you will touch lucky and achieve the level of success that the budget dictates feasible. 

Other times you do the same stuff and it doesn’t work out. Hence until this era of massive financial doping so few managers won the league at more than one club. Being good isn’t enough, and neither is being lucky. You need to be both.

The next fella needs time. The time Ancelotti would have got. But part of the Italian’s legacy is a deep distrust of the players among the fans. And that could seriously hamstring the next batter up.

Because it’s a fallacy that the manager’s under pressure when the fans start getting on the board’s back. The manager is screwed when the supporters turn on the players. They go into their shell – we’ve seen it so many times at Goodison – and they play conservatively to protect themselves, which comes across as a lack of effort, and they look for someone to blame. 

And we all know who that will be.

That squad is nowhere near as bad as Ancelotti’s tactics made them look against absolute shite. The midfield was hung out to dry by the defence sitting so deep – the opposition had acres of space to play in (for fuck’s sake that little ginger fella for Fulham) – and the Brazil and England centre-forwards were starved of service. 

Where the majority of modern-coached teams look to win the ball back in danger areas, and spring quick, instinctive attacks, we wouldn’t recover it until it got to the edge of our box. Lucas Digne would gather the ball and look forward, and it was like a trial from the Crystal Maze figuring out how the living fuck we were going to get the ball from all the way back here to all the way up there.

The hope is that our new manager makes better use of the resources available, as well as strengthening the obvious weak areas, and gets off to a great start. I mean, you hope that anyway, obviously, but especially this season because he needs to get this new chapter – see what we did there? – off to a start that banks enough goodwill for when we inevitably encounter uncertainty and poor form.

Otherwise they will be stirring the sugar into the kettles in the Park End by Christmas, and no one wants that.

Right, boss?

One thought on “Euro Diary – Day 1

  1. Our Carlo who arent in heaven, sallowed be thy name,

    Give us the Son over the Holy Spirit anyday!


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