Lifelong Everton fan Joey Barton has genuine fears for the future of the club as the club languishes in the bottom half of the Premier League table.
Despite a relatively small football budget, Everton have defied all the odds to entrench themselves in the top 10 of the Premier League for the past decade, even pushing the top four clubs under the guidance of David Moyes.
But Barton is worried that one bad season could undo all that work, as manager Roberto Martinez faces the prospect of losing stars like Romelu Lukaku and John Stones without Champions League football next season.
“It is really worrying times,” Barton told BBC Radio 5 live.
“I know there is discontent because I have dinner with my family once a week, they are all Evertonians and they all moan about what is happening there, some even refuse to go to the games under Martinez, that is how disillusioned they are.”
Everton barely managed to hold onto Stones at the end of last season but Barton said they will have no luck holding onto him and other stars if they do not make the top four, which is looking very unlikely with a 12-point buffer between them and fourth-placed Manchester City.
Barton, who plays for Burnley, added: “This summer Ross Barkley, John Stones, Romelu Lukaku and Seamus Coleman could all potentially leave Everton – what are you left with?
“Everton have very good talented young players but how long are they going to say ‘we are not playing Europa League or Champions League and we need to go’?”
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