As £317m Everton capitulated… has money made a team more miserable?

After £317million Everton capitulated at the weekend… has money ever made a team more miserable?

  • Frustration is growing at Everton after a poor start to the new top-flight season 
  • Marco Silva’s men were defeated 2-0 by Sheffield United at Goodison Park
  • And the side had been the most expensively assembled XI in the club’s history 

The old stadium was almost empty before the final whistle, a worrying sign that the patience of locals has worn thin.

Everton, again, had deceived their supporters — Sheffield United didn’t have to be anything more than organised and honest to inflict this misery — and there was crashing realisation around Goodison that another season of frustration beckons.

The thing is, it should be so much better. The arrival of Farhad Moshiri as Everton’s major shareholder in February 2016 was supposed to be the catalyst for an exciting new era, one that would fulfil potential and allow happiness to reign. You could not help but wonder, as the masses spilled out leaving swathes of blue seats, whether the arrival of money has ever made a club so miserable.

Everton fielded their most expensively assembled XI in the club’s long history on Saturday

A quick calculation of the Everton players who were on the pitch in the 94th minute put the situation into stark context. At £317million, this was the most expensively assembled Everton XI in history. To illustrate the point further, no member of the team that haplessly tried, and failed, to overhaul the Blades’ 2-0 advantage has been at the club longer than two years. This is the Moshiri era.

When you make an investment of that nature, it is necessary to show progress, but Everton, consistently, take two steps back after a step forward. They had the chance to move into the top four on Saturday but finished the afternoon 14th. It sums them up quite neatly.

They were all over the place — chaotic and nervous. To see Phil Jagielka, a former captain, on as a Blades substitute, throwing himself into tackles and running the extra yard, reminded you of the qualities that made Everton progressive under David Moyes and Bill Kenwright.

Phil Jagielka’s cameo was a reminder of the qualities that had made Everton progressive

Heat, inevitably, will arrive at the door of Marco Silva, the embattled head coach.

He looked jaded when conducting his postmortem, the Portuguese’s appearance at odds with his assertion that the pressure on him is ‘normal’.

Moshiri, such an unpredictable figure, will look at results, just as he did with Roberto Martinez, Ronald Koeman and Sam Allardyce, and feel twitchy. But Jagielka, who experienced that managerial turbulence, offered a rational perspective. ‘There is no point chopping and changing,’ he said. 

To make Silva solely culpable for this predicament is unfair and it was left to Fabian Delph, who has quickly established himself as a big figure in Everton’s dressing room, to point out it is down to the players to raise their standards.

‘The manager always ends up coming under a lot of pressure, but us players need to have a good look in the mirror and look at each other,’ said Delph.

He was the last member of the Everton squad to leave the dressing room, at 6.30pm. Richarlison, by contrast, had departed by 5.16pm.

It was left to Fabian Delph to point out that it is down to the players to raise their standards

‘I hate losing,’ Delph said. ‘I have three little girls and cannot let them win anything. I’m a nightmare.

‘But you get your frustration out, you speak about the game individually to people and collectively. Now we focus on Sheffield Wednesday.’ Everton meet them in the Carabao Cup.

‘We weren’t good enough, We planned well all week and it didn’t click. It is a big club with a lot of history and we expect more from ourselves. The fans always turn up and they have made their feelings clear.’

They did. Much more of this and the tempest will become even stronger.

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