Everton have been a club patronised to the hilt in recent years.
The Toffees under former-boss David Moyes were often described as ‘plucky’ or ‘overachieving’.
Both of those tags would be a complete disservice to Everton as a football club.
Everton are one of English football’s traditional powerhouses. The Toffees are still rated in the top five English clubs of all-time, when it comes to winning trophies.
Prior to the start of the Premier League era the Toffees were considered a massive club, after a spell in the 1980’s that brought the Merseysider’s two league titles, an FA Cup and a Cup winners Cup.
The 1990’s were unkind to Everton and the club drifted towards the bottom of the top-flight table. David Moyes arrived at Everton in 2002 and gave the Toffees stability for the next 11 years. Unfortunately he never gave the Goodison faithful any silverware.
Moyes was very cautious with his team selections, tactics and management of the media, seem familiar Manchester United fans? The Scot always played down his team’s chances of success to prevent raising expectations at the club.
However, at times Everton fans thought the Scot was far too negative. Moyes did a solid job and he deserves credit for that, but he far too often derided Everton’s chances of success because the Toffees did not have the same financial muscle power of some of their rivals.
Sorry to say Mr Moyes, but your successor has made a mockery of the ‘poor old plucky Everton’ tag and turned the Toffees into a team capable of playing football and winning games.
Roberto Martinez goes out in every game looking to win, no matter who his team comes up against. At Wigan he had little finances, but managed to keep the Latics in the Premier League on very tight budget, even tighter than the one at Goodison Park.
The Latics did get relegated in his last season, but they also claimed their first ever piece of silverware. I am sure the majority of Wigan fans will remember the fact that they won the FA Cup in 2013 and not the fact they were relegated.
It is correct that Everton do not have a big budget, but they have history and an ambitious boss who has connections all over the world. Martinez has been at Everton less than a season and has already made some very shrewd signings.
The Toffees have been heavily criticised for their policy of signing player’s on-loan. However, they have done nothing wrong. Martinez has just used what money the club has and his connections to bring in some very good players.
The loan signings of Gareth Barry, Gerard Deulofeu and Romelu Lukaku have helped the Toffees mount a challenge for the Champions League places this season. The signings of James McCarthy and Aiden McGeady also look like clever ones.
The Toffees boss has also given youth its chance in the shape of England starlet Ross Barkley and young defender John Stones. Barkley has been superb for the Toffees and has almost certainly played himself into England’s World Cup squad.
A special mention must go to young John Stones. The youngster has encountered some difficult moments since being thrown in at the deep end in that Toffees defence, particularly in the 4-0 defeat at arch-rivals Liverpool.
However, in the last few games he has started to show why Everton shelled out £3million to sign him. Stones looks is a defender that is composed and can step out of defence with the ball. He is very much a Roberto Martinez defender.
The England under-21 international is even currently keeping England defender Phil Jagielka out of the heart of the Everton defence.
Everton have enjoyed a fine first season under Martinez and whatever happens between now and the end of the season, Toffees fans will be thinking that their Catalan boss has made great progress with his team in just one season.
Everton fans of course are daring to dream of a place in the top four this season. The Toffees host Arsenal at Goodison Park next Sunday in what could be a crunch game in the battle for fourth place and a Champions League spot.
Everton are currently four points behind the Gunners, with a game in-hand. Everton have the best home record of any team in the last five games on home soil. Martinez’s men have won five out of five at Goodison Park, scored 12 goals and conceded just four.
One thing is for certain, Arsenal will not be relishing the trip to a ground where they have a very good record. If Everton can continue their current momentum that record could be about to get a lot worse.
Everton are now in with a chance of qualifying for the Champions League for only the second time in the Premier League era. With Everton currently in fifth place and going well it looks like European football will return to the blue half of Merseyside next season. The Toffees are now odds of just 1/8 to finish in the top six.
Everton were disappointing in European campaigns under David Moyes. Something tells me that their affable Spanish manager will probably achieve better results than his Scottish predecessor.
Everton have managed to combine the fighting spirit of Moyes’ Everton teams with the football philosophy of Roberto Martinez. The result has been a hard to beat team that likes to play good football.
Gone are the days of people calling Everton ‘Plucky’, all of a sudden Everton are being taken seriously as a football playing team and it is not a moment too soon. Everton are going places under Martinez and the future looks bright for one of the top-flights oldest clubs.
Where Everton underachieving under David Moyes?