What’s gone wrong at Everton? It’s not long since I heard a phone-in show in which one fan wanted to publicly declare his thanks to manager Roberto Martinez. “I don’t care if we win anything, I just want to thank him for bringing back entertaining football to Goodison Park. My son believes again. I believe again. After watching teams under David Moyes for years, and being bored week in, week out; my son and I now leave the ground with a smile on our face.”
I wonder if that caller feels the same now. Make no mistake, Everton are in trouble. It’s all very well people saying a big club cannot go down. They said the same about Leeds United and Sheffield Wednesday.
I don’t think Everton will be relegated. I believe that will be QPR, Leicester and Hull (with Aston Villa the one to go should one of those three suddenly start winning games). But the fact remains Everton are drawing too many games and, at the time of writing, sit only four points off third from bottom position in the Premier League. And, next up, they go to a Crystal Palace side full of the one thing the Everton players lack right now. Confidence.
Gareth Barry takes on the role of Lance-Corporal Jones in Dad’s Army. He says there is no need to panic and speaks with passion of his belief in the manager.
Barry says: “From day one the manager said: ‘I’m not going to put any pressure on you throughout the season.’ I’m more than halfway through the season now and it couldn’t have gone any better for me personally.
“The moment I first spoke to the manager, I thought: ‘I like this bloke, he has good vision.’ Within ten minutes, he’d given me my confidence back, telling me he believed in me, that I could be a focal part of what we could do at Everton.”
Of course, for Everton fans in their middle years the word ‘vision’ brings back memories of one of the finest BBC Television plays of all time. ‘The Golden Vision’ was a play based around the passionate supporters of Everton in the era when the club had one of the very best collection of players. Part 1 of that superb play, directed by Ken Loach, is available on You Tube and the first part of it is below.
Everton supporters will be hoping for a return to those heady days.
Gareth Barry says: “Everton fans don’t just come to watch the football. They are there for Everton, the club. They really believe in the history of the club. It’s drilled through their families, through the years, about Everton.”