So we enter a new year and the feel-good factor at Everton continues. Last year was a mixture of emotions; as one chapter ended a new one well and truly begun and since Roberto Martinez took over at Goodison Park, we haven’t looked back. The Moyes situation wrangled on and eventually he departed to Old Trafford and let’s be honest, things have far from worked out for him. Are we bothered though? Not one bit. Since then, we’ve recruited a new manager and done some really good, in fact excellent business in the transfer department. A new-look, fresher Everton have emerged from the latter half of 2013 and we go into 2014 with a spring in our step.
So far this season we have seen some truly brilliant things from our Club, both on the pitch and off it, and it is certainly an exciting time to be an Evertonian. Admittedly, as many of you probably were, I was a bit unsure after our opening three games. I was interested to see how we would line up, how we’d play, and whether RM would immediately get the results. Three games in and three draws later, I remained positive and continued my belief that the Martinez-Everton fit was the right one. After that, it has been a natural transition and one that has been a joy to be a part of. Some fantastic memories and historical moments have already happened this season and although we are only half way through the Premier League campaign, there is a lot to be pleased about.
Our playing style is the major thing that has got me buzzing; in fact it has got me brimming with confidence. Every time we play, no matter who it is against, I think we are going to win and I definitely feel we will score too. This confidence comes with an Everton team expressing themselves, full of life and allowed to play. This confidence oozes from everyone around the Club before, during and after each Everton game. We have the blend of experience and youth, but we also have a blend of extremely talented players, a blend of born leaders, some with a point to prove, others who are just starting out in their careers and others who are coming towards the end of theirs. Regardless of their personal situation at Everton FC, each and every one of them is playing their part. The spirit is brilliant and this is something that Martinez has instilled not just in his players but in all of the staff at the Club, the people who support the Club and anyone associated with the Toffees.
Bobby really has been a breath of fresh air, he says and does all of the right things in my opinion and already, even though he has only been in charge a matter of months, I believe he can go on to become an icon at Everton. Before he came here we all could see how classy he was with Wigan, how much of a gentleman, football man, and well-respected he was. That opinion of him has now increased tenfold now that he is our manager and he continues to drive up the positivity with everything he does. This team can achieve things under the Spaniard’s guidance and even if this season we fall away and don’t manage to qualify for the Champions League or win silverware, try not to be downbeat – we waited a long time under Moyes for success and although we improved, I feel our current manager can take us even further than that, win things, bring us some glory, and let us experience those highs again. Look at the bigger picture, he may not take us to the top four in his first season, but already the platform is there and he is making us that force we all know we can be. Forget the media, the shite journalism and the dodgy pundits, all that matters is that ‘plucky little Everton’ go about their business and continue to do the good things we have been doing. We are the fans here with these players and this manager, so who gives a fuck what others say. Bring on anyone in the league and we’ll take them, we’ve shown it this season already. There isn’t anything lucky about it, we’ve more than matched most already this term. Martinez and this current crop of Everton players are hungry, you can see it. Us Evertonians are hungry, you can feel it, and we’ve waited long enough. I firmly believe we are on the cusp of something and after slowly going about our business for the past decade or so, we now look like a side who are serious top four contenders and with the addition of one or two, who knows even the title. Yes I said title. I am not getting ahead of myself, I am just speaking of what I see before me and I feel that confident that if we can keep our main men fit for the next five months, then why can’t we have a real go?
The squad we have may not look the biggest on paper but I tell you what every Everton player who has come into the side in place of someone suspended or injured has staked their claim for a regular place. Look at Jela last Saturday, he could just get a cob on, sulk and wait for a move, but no he starts, scores two and could have had a third. The celebrations when he scored represent our spirit, togetherness within, and his quotes about being ‘made up’ for Lukaku scoring nine for us this season just prove the positivity in the camp. Everyone is vying for a place, a chance to impress in this vibrant Everton side. It’s brimming with confidence, playing with no fear, belief.
Belief is the key word, and from what we have seen this season there is no shortage of it from anyone associated with this Club. The Martinez-effect is one that has impressed many and I have to admit I am hanging off his every word every time he speaks. I am interested to see what he says and does next, his next formation or substitution, his next statement to us Evertonians or the way he embraces our culture and our history. He never speaks in negatives, everything is positive. No matter who or what he is talking about it is a positive, it is we, us, Everton, this Football Club. His imagination and vision for Everton is something we are all a part of, and you can see how honoured and privileged to be our gaffer. He has had my full support from the start and I know football is a results business and things could take a dip for the remainder of this season, but let’s remain focussed, let’s keep going at teams and seeing what we can achieve.
This month will be interesting to see if we will strengthen or not but already Martinez has said ‘we’ll finish the month stronger than we started it’ – already positive thoughts. Talk of McGeady coming in will add to our options going forward and by the sounds of it our Spanish manager may have one or two more up his sleeve. Overall we look in good shape and although we have three players out long-term, Deulofeu should come back shortly and with the addition of a couple of fresh faces, we go into the next few months we yet more options and yet more confidence. We are still in the FA Cup, we sit fifth in the Premier League having only lost twice and we are seeing an Everton team blossoming in front of our very eyes. Players like McCarthy, Barkley, just look at Seamus Coleman. Even Alcaraz, Stones, there’s no more Anthony Gardner’s sitting on the bench, just decent players who are coming in and doing well. A squad full of character and showing its potential, and long may that continue.
In Martinez we have a manager who has ambition, who just simply gets Everton. Just notice the little things he says and does and appreciate them, because I know I am. Even down to the historical pictures he’s had put up at Finch Farm or the way he has built a fantastic rapport with our supporters, our former players, he has time for everyone. These things are vital to the incredible way in which he does things and the Spaniard is working tirelessly to take this Club to the next level and fulfil the potential he sees within. We are already seeing the rewards of his hard work and everyone involved at Everton deserves praise for what has happened over the last six or so months. These are exciting times to be an Evertonian, and I am just one of many who has certainly been encapsulated by the manager of our Football Club – keep up the good work Roberto.
Happy New Year Blues