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Outsiders will judge, but Everton fans deserve more than Sam Allardyce

Mathew Coull

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Yesterday was certainly a busy day at Everton. The club shifted around the boardroom and appointed a new director of football in Marcel Brands. They also sacked their manager. After just six months in charge, Sam Allardyce has been given the boot by Everton, despite having one more year to run on his contract.

It was a decision that met with something of a backlash from those away from the club. Non-Everton fans and pundits asked why Allardyce was chopped. ‘Big Sam’ was asked to come in and do a job for Everton. After a torrid season based on the rocky foundations of poor recruitment Everton were in relegation danger. With that in mind, Ronald Koeman was sacked and with David Unsworth struggling to turn things around Everton eventually turned to Allardyce.

But it was common knowledge Everton did not want Allardyce. The former England boss was clearly not their number one choice. In an ideal world, the Toffees would have employed him only until the end of the campaign, but Big Sam pushed for an 18-month deal knowing this might be the eventuality that befell him.

(during the Premier League match between Huddersfield Town and Everton at John Smith’s Stadium on April 28, 2018 in Huddersfield, England.

Everton ended up finishing the season eighth, which was impressive considering their struggles early on.

But to say Allardyce kept Everton in the Premier League is something of an exaggeration. Many Everton fans feel Unsworth would have done the same job, although finishing in the top half might have been a stretch.

Yet, the football being played by Everton under Allardyce was woeful to watch. Fans were indeed happy Everton survived after a difficult start, but at what cost?

A simple statistic sums it all up. In the time since Allardyce’s appointment in November Everton had just 213 shots at goal in the Premier League. No team has had fewer and that is simply not acceptable.

Fans, especially at a club like Everton, go to watch their team and be entertained. Allardyce again proved he is adept at keeping a side in the Premier League, but making them good to watch he is not.

Fans at Goodison Park would undoubtedly rather be entertained and finish 12th, then have to watch Allardyce’s brand of football and trudge their way through a season into eighth.

(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Evertonians did not like the man or what he was doing on the pitch. Off of it, was not much better either. The decision to send Ademola Lookman away, the waiting to pull the trigger on Cenk Tosun and his general demeanour just rubbed the fans up the wrong way.

Everton now have a chance to appoint a new manager and start playing their own brand of football again.

With Allardyce it will always be a thanks but no thanks relationship with the Everton fans. Outsiders will continue to question what it was Everton fans wanted. But they did not have to suffer through the Allardyce style week-in and week-out, whilst paying a heap of money to do so.

He had to go and hopefully Everton will be entertained next season, rather than just surviving.

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Everton

Heurelho Gomes would be perfect back-up for Everton under Marco Silva

The Brazilian veteran would be a great option for Everton.

Mathew Coull

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Everton certainly do not need a new first-team goalkeeper. The Toffees have an excellent young stopper in Jordan Pickford who, in the long-term, has the potential to be a star for both club and country. This summer it appears he will be the number one goalie for England at the World Cup in Russia.

However, Everton may need to bring in a new stopper to back him up. Joel Robles is out of contract this summer and Maarten Stekelenburg continues to suffer from a long-term hip problem.

Everton, who are also after a new boss, are therefore likely to bring in a new face this summer. Well, if they make the managerial choice they clearly desire, the best option for back-up ‘keeper becomes clear.

(Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

The Toffees want former Watford boss Marco Silva to become the new boss at Goodison Park. His appointment would surely see a move for veteran Hornets stopper Heurelho Gomes become a possibility.

The 37-year-old has established himself as a top keeper in English football at Vicarage Road. After a mixed spell at Tottenham Hotspur, he has been fantastic for Watford for the past four years.

The 11-cap Brazilian international might be on his way this summer. Javi Gracia, Silva’s replacement at the club, was clearly not his biggest fan and dropped him for Greek international Orestis Karnezis.

(Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Therefore, if Silva does get the Everton job, bringing Gomes to Goodison would appear something of a no-brainer.

With years of experience in the English game, he would be a brilliant back-up and mentor to young stopper Pickford. When called upon, Everton would be able to relax in the knowledge that the still talented shot-stopper was coming off the bench to do his duties.

The 37-year-old could be a cheap and shrewd piece of recruitment from Everton this summer.

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Everton

How Sam Allardyce’s failure to prove preconceptions wrong resulted in Everton exit

The 63-year-old was relieved from his duties at Goodison Park last week.

Martyn Cooke

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Photo: Getty Images

Sam Allardyce was sacked by Everton earlier this week, bringing an end to his brief and somewhat controversial six-month reign at Goodison Park.

On paper, the 63-year-old has fulfilled the remit that he was given when he accepted the role in November.

Poor early-season form had left the Toffees with genuine fears of being drawn into a relegation battle and Allardyce successfully guided the team away from trouble and to a respectable top-half finish in the Premier League.

However, his dismissal came as little surprise and the reality was that the former England manager was nothing more than a short-term solution to Everton’s immediate problems.

Allardyce has a reputation for being a survival specialist who utilises a pragmatic, rigid style of football to grind out results.

This was highlighted during his recent spells with Sunderland and Crystal Palace where his philosophy and methods were able to produce enough results to pull both clubs out of the relegation zone and to safety.

However, his style of play is a means to an end. There is little aesthetic appeal and supporters only tend to tolerate it if their club is desperate for points or it is facilitating significant success on the pitch.

The decision of the Everton hierarchy to appoint Allardyce was logical and made business sense.

In short, the 63-year-old would guarantee that the Toffees retained their Premier League status, allowing the club to rebuild in the summer.

The question was, could Allardyce prove that the preconceptions about him being a nothing more than a survival specialist and only being able to produce a pragmatic style of football as false?

If so, then maybe there was a long-term role for him to play at the club.

Ultimately, the 63-year-old was only successful in cementing those preconceptions.

It has been a miserable six months for Everton supporters and there has been little for them to cheer over the cause of what has been a chaotic and disappointing season.

Allardyce’s reign was characterised by some positive results that came courtesy of a dire, pragmatic and, at times, just downright negative style of football.

Yes, Allardyce inherited an imbalanced squad, but the notion that the club was destined for relegation is completely false.

When he was appointed Everton were five points clear of the relegation zone and David Unsworth has just secured a 4-0 victory against West Ham in his final game as caretaker manager.

A seven-game unbeaten start to the 63-year-old’s tenure at Goodison Park effectively meant that The Toffees were well clear of trouble by the turn of the year.

There was no need to grind out results anymore – it was time to build to the future and give the supporters something to look forward to.

(Photo by Lynne Cameron/Getty Images)

However, Allardyce made no attempt to take off the shackles and the pragmatic style remained unaltered.

In the end, Everton supporters, and ultimately the club hierarchy, were left frustrated and struggled to buy into a future where Allardyce led the rebuilding process at Goodison Park.

There was no surprise to see the club opt to move in a different direction.

For Allardyce, his spell at Everton has only helped to reaffirm the perception that his role will always be that of a survival specialist and that his style of football simply does not suit progressive clubs looking to establish themselves in the top half of the Premier League.

His approach is begrudgingly accepted when results are the priority but is cast aside when entertainment and progress comes to the fore.

Everton and Allardyce were always a mismatch – now it is time for both to find more appropriate appointments.

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After failing in Greece on loan, Kevin Mirallas’ Everton career is surely over

The Belgian still has two years remaining on his contract at Goodison Park.

Max Cohen

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Kevin Mirallas
Photo: Getty Images

Once an integral part of the Belgian national team, Everton’s Kevin Mirallas was dealt a harsh blow when he was left out of his country’s World Cup squad by former manager Roberto Martinez this week.

The devastating news is the latest disappointment in what has been a failed season for the winger, leading many to wonder if Mirallas has played his last game for the Toffees.

It has been a sharp fall from grace for the 30-year-old, who signed a three-year contract at Goodison Park just 12 months ago.

At the time, Mirallas spoke of his desire to win trophies with Everton and the faith Ronald Koeman had in him. A year later, the Belgian’s situation could not be more different.

The winger made just two Premier League starts in the first half of the season, and was entirely left out of the match-day squad from late November to New Year’s Day.

(Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Due to Mirallas’ lack of opportunities at Goodison Park, he was sent on loan to Greek club Olympiacos in January.

He had previously enjoyed two fruitful years at the club from 2010-2012, even winning the league’s top scorer award in 2011/12.

Yet a return to the site of his former glory failed to produce the intended effect, as Mirallas contributed a disappointing two goals and two assists in 15 matches in all competitions.

In a country not known for its defensive prowess, the Belgian’s lack of attacking firepower is a worrying sign of a player on the decline.

And in early May, Mirallas was reportedly shipped back to Everton earlier than expected due to his poor performances, according to Belgian journalist Kristof Terreur.

Although there are two years left to run on Mirallas’ Everton contract, it looks increasingly unlikely that the winger will ever appear for the Toffees again.

Thanks to a failed loan spell in Greece and an abject run of form, Kevin Mirallas appears to be on his way out of Goodison Park this summer.

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