Stand Up And Be Counted – By @LowerGwladysLad

If it was the weekend, then I’d probably just get pissed, have a rant on Twitter and try to forget about what I’ve just watched unfold at the Liberty Stadium.

But it’s a Tuesday night and I am going to remain sober and attempt to put into words my frustrations at Everton FC after witnessing us crash out of the League Cup at the first time of asking, again.

Stand Up And Be Counted: Testing times for Martinez and his players

Stand Up And Be Counted

By @LowerGwladysLad

Tonight we were beaten 3-0 by Swansea City, and tonight, for the first time since Roberto Martinez took over, I’ve really started to feel worried.

Since the Spaniard arrived last summer I am of the opinion that he has been brilliant, and I have immersed myself in his vision, positivity and work ethic that he has brought with him to the Football Club.

Everything he has said or done since arriving at Goodison Park has been met with enthusiasm, a smile, and even through disappointments he has remained calm, reassured us Evertonians and most importantly – been constantly upbeat and optimistic. Those two words are something us Blues struggle to feel towards Everton on a regular basis, but since Martinez departed Wigan and was installed at the helm in L4 things have begun to change.

Last season was fantastic and the buzz about the Club this summer was incredible; everyone has been looking ahead and feeling excited about our chances this season, plus we’ve signed some big name players, spent a bit of cash and even put forward plans for a new stadium.

Things appeared to be improving for ‘plucky little Everton’ and overall the feeling was one of hope, confidence and positivity going into the new campaign. However, since we kicked the season off against Leicester on August the 16th, it is fair to say that things haven’t gone to plan and although it is still early days there appears to be some serious issues within our squad.

Whether or not the blame lies directly with the players, the manager, or a combination of the two is your decision, but whoever you point the finger at there is no getting away from the fact that collectively we need to stand together and come through this tricky period, but the upcoming fixtures we now face are going to make this very difficult indeed.

For all of my praise for Martinez since he joined Everton I do now feel that it will be a real test of character for him, his players and his staff to put an end to these costly errors and embarrassing defeats and begin to get results again.

People have their own opinions of us playing in Europe and whether or not this will automatically have a negative effect on our domestic form but I’d disagree; I believe we have the squad capable to get results but at the moment there just seems to be a psychological block across the squad, and it is costing us dear.

Individual errors and nervous play, a lack of composure and no confidence when in possession. Lacking in fluidity and ideas going forward and lacking any organisation or leadership at the back. These have all been common traits of this Everton side all too often already this season and it is like we are seeing the complete opposite to last term when we had a swagger about us at times.

It is really worrying to see and I’ve not felt like this for a while, and sitting here tonight watching the game versus Swansea has left me annoyed, angered, confused and very frustrated. I know some Blues aren’t too bothered about the League Cup but I’m not just writing this because of one result, as a whole I don’t think we’ve been good enough since the trip to Leicester City away.

I always try to take the positives out of our poor results or performances and defend certain players or certain decisions Martinez makes but I’ve run out of excuses for them and if things don’t start to change in the coming weeks we could find ourselves in a bit of a mess. Without singling players or positions out I think the team overall needs a kick up the arse, and each and every one of those Everton players need to take responsibility of what has been happening.

Oviedo made his return in Everton's defeat at Swansea

The more experienced players need to show their experience and lead this team, because tonight and in recent fixtures we’ve lacked heart, anyone to guide us or kick us on, and it is so disappointing to see because we all know just how capable this crop of players are.

We cannot blame injuries or players needing time to bed in, there isn’t anymore excuses to use, we have simply not been good enough and the mistakes we are making will carry on being punished in this League. Some of it has been school yard stuff and really out of character, and our decision making has left a lot to the imagination. Players falling over and looking uncertain or uneasy every time the ball is near them, we are a side being carved open and shipping a ridiculous amount of goals already, players not looking fit, players being deployed out of position, it has been horrible to watch.

Have we been found out? Is Howard good enough and are Jags and Distin coming to an end? This is to name but three of our current players who are struggling, I could go on and on.

I can only hope that over the course of this season our players prove me and many others wrong, but at the moment I question their commitment to Everton FC and wait to see who and when they stand up and fight for the shirt. We’ve made our name on grit and determination and ‘punching above our weight’, but add to that a bit of flair and attitude as we did last season and we saw in front of our own eyes just how good we could be.

Martinez has brought this ideology and new ideas, but are we now becoming complacent and do these players actually want to keep improving? Do we want to win a trophy? because tonight against Swansea I know a few lads from Sunday League who could have done a better job out there than some of them.

Mickey Mouse Cup or not I’ve said it before and I’ve said it again: a trophy is a trophy and we haven’t won one for 20 years. 20 years. I want success and silverware and I really couldn’t give a fuck if it was the Capital One Cup or Champions League, it is a cup at the end of the day. To those fans who say ‘one less competition to worry about’ what if we go out of the Europa League, then the FA Cup, will you say that then too?

To me the Swansea defeat has made me get this off my chest but it has been brewing for a while now. If you write a negative article about Everton you can get yourself a bit of a reputation and I don’t usually make a habit of it (look at my other stuff, if you wish), but after tonight’s lackluster, dejected and embarrassing display, I had to get my feelings out there.

I only want success for this Club and us the die-hard supporters, and with every defeat or cup exit a little part of that disappears, so we are bound to be frustrated. However the bad things we’ve seen from this Everton side since mid-August have shown no real signs of going away and I think this is the main subject of worry and anxiety amongst our fans.

Whilst I am not the sort of Evertonian to panic and suddenly believe we are going to get relegated or anything dramatic like that, I do feel that if things don’t improve quickly we could see some of our fans turn on the team and manager (some have already) and the pre-season feeling of optimism and hope will feel like a distant memory.

We are now facing the prospect of a Merseyside Derby at Anfield after conceding 17 goals in 7 games and this has got myself and many others fearing the worst, but a lot can change in football and if we can get ourselves a point or three on Saturday then this will be a boost after a disappointing three days, and erratic few weeks for the Blues.

I believe Roberto and his current crop of players do have the character and quality to get through this difficult period and hopefully in the coming weeks our fans will see an improvement in our performances and no more costly mistakes.

For now though, I think our manager and every single one of our players need to take a good long look in the mirror and decide whether or not they are up for the fight, which is what we have to do for every point in the Premier and Europa League.

We need all of our players to stand up and be counted, cut out the stupidity that has crept into our play, keep calm and start to believe in each other as we did last season.

And most importantly, start to play football with a smile on our faces again.

 

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Mark Finnegan

Proud Dad, Evertonian and owner of @EFCFeelinBlue http://efcfeelinblue.com

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