Ahead of Saturday's clash with Everton at The
Hawthorns, we spoke once more with Toffees' fan Gary.
He gives us his views on
Martinez, Koeman, Stones and more. You can follow Gary on Twitter @Gary_Maiden.
mid-table Premier League finish and semi-finalists in both cups, how will the
2015/16 season be remembered by Everton fans?
Don’t let the two semi-final
appearances fool you, last season was a shocker for us Toffees. A second
successive 11th place finish simply wasn’t good enough for a squad possessing
the quality that ours does.
As for the two semi-finals, the
idea to go 4-4-2 away at
Man City when ahead on aggregate
was truly unforgivable. We absolutely handed victory to Manuel Pellegrini’s men
The FA Cup semi against
Mancunian neighbours United was equally frustrating. We only started playing
with 20 minutes left when already 1-0 down. It was a cruel way to lose but we
brought it upon ourselves.
After that, the season couldn’t
end soon enough.
The man in charge of the Toffees
last season, Roberto Martinez, was sacked in May. Was it the right decision by
the club? Was it a decision welcomed by the majority of fans?
You can probably gather from my
previous answer that, yes, it was the right decision. Roberto is a nice guy and
genuinely wanted the best for Everton. In the end, he just wasn’t good enough.
I stuck by him for probably a
bit longer than most and my dad refused to hear him criticised. He should never
have left Anfield still in a job after the 4-0 embarrassment, even my old man
agreed with that!
Southampton boss Ronald Koeman
replaced Martinez in June. Were Everton fans happy with his appointment? Was
there anyone else in the frame for the job?
The vast majority of Evertonians
were delighted with his appointment, and remain so. He demands standards that
the previous regime simply didn’t. There were a few names thrown around ranging
from Eddie Howe to Jose Mourinho!
In the end, Everton and Koeman
seem a good fit and there is genuine hope that he can bring back success to the
blue half of Merseyside.
What do you make of Everton's
business so far during this summer's transfer window? Who got the better of the
John Stones deal? Are Williams and Bolasie good acquisitions?
So far, so good. Although our
new majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri has admitted that we’re far from done in
For a club like City where money
truly is no object, they absolutely got the best deal in signing John Stones.
The lad is a one in a generation defender and will be the new Rio Ferdinand. He
really is that good. The media were far too critical of a defender lining up
under a manager who completely neglected the defensive side of the game. He’ll
thrive under Pep.
Ashley Williams is exactly the
type of no-nonsense defender that we currently need. He’ll help solve our
defensive issues and Yannick Bolasie, while expensive, offers something
different. His direct style will help as an outlet when we’re under the cosh.
Idrissa Gueye looks brilliant. I
don’t recall too much of him at Villa last season but anyone would find it
difficult to shine in that side. He was the best player on the park against
Spurs and long may it continue.
Anything else the Toffees need
to do before the window shuts?
We do need a ‘keeper. Joe Hart
is continuously being linked – what a coup he would be! I’d like to see another
centre half and a striker, irrespective of whether Romelu Lukaku leaves. We’re
too reliant on the former Baggie and his dip in form towards the back end of
last season proves that he requires genuine competition.
Looking back at 2015/16 again..
Player of the season?
Unfortunately for us, our player
of the season was a 72-year-old Gareth Barry! He was one of a very few shining
lights in a horror season and the former England man will want to prove to
Koeman that he still has the legs.
Villain of the season?
Oumar Niasse, bless him. He has
been labelled as a “competition winner” since his £13m switch to Goodison and he
really did look like one. At the time, he represented our third most expensive
acquisition of all time and will forever go down as one of the strangest Everton
signings of all time. If we manage to recoup any sort of fee for him we’ll have
done very well indeed. Poor lad.
Highlight of the season?
There really weren’t many and
I’m sorry to say that our come-from-behind win at your place represents one of
the few bright points.
The 2-0 FA Cup quarter final
victory over Chelsea was probably the best performance of the season. Lukaku’s
double sent us to Wembley and I haven’t seen Goodison rocking like that in a
long time. Unfortunately, it all amounted to nothing. Great night though.
Moment to forget?
The 3-2 home defeat to West Ham.
At 2-0 up and cruising, we were awarded a second half penalty after Mo Besic was
upended. Lukaku missed and our heads fell off. Slaven Bilic threw Andy Carroll up
top and our Martinez
“trained” defence simply couldn’t cope. A last minute Dimitri Payet winner
derailed our season and the Spaniard lost a huge part of the fan base that day.
Back to the current season.. How
do you see Koeman's men faring? What would be a successful season for the
People outside of the club may
not agree, but the general feeling from us blues is that silverware is the only
currency of success. We’re a club with nine league titles and a huge following
and we have to start competing. We’re not winning the league, last season was a
complete one off. But a push for the European spots and our name on a cup would
be most welcomed – believe it or not!
How are Everton likely to line
up on Saturday?
We played a kind of 3-5-1-1 with
wing backs against Spurs and for the most part it worked. Williams will likely
replace young Mason Holgate in defence and Bolasie could well feature. Gerard
Deulofeu was deployed in the forward position with Lukaku out but the Belgian is
expected to return on Saturday – luckily for you.
Thoughts on the game and
I’d take a repeat of last
season! Despite a fairly decent record at the Hawthorns in recent times, it’s
never a ground you look forward to playing at. The crowd get right behind their
team and you know you’re in for a battle. I think there’ll be no more than a
goal in it either way, I just hope we come out on top.