Everton’s mess is their own - not helped by bad calls. And good luck Erik ten Months.

Published: Monday, 25 April 2022

Let’s get this clear. Everton’s mess is 99% of their own making. This proud club are staring into the abyss because the owners have made one bad decision after another. No-one has ever been able to explain to me why Alisher Usmanov and Farhad Moshiri bought the club in the first place. There must a reason - but I’ve no idea what it is. Well - no idea that I could expand on here.

Anyway. It is what it is. Right now they’re my favourites to join Norwich and Watford in the Championship. And that’s sad. I hate saying it.

But - what if they go by just a point? A single point - one that could’ve been taken from the game v Man City? Even Mike Riley had to apologise for the calamitous error his staff made in that game when they failed to award Everton a pen. Of course - an award means nothing unless you score and there are no guarantees about that - but the odds are generally in favour of the taker. Score - and it finishes 1-1. A big big point should've been Everton‘s - and Liverpool would be top of course - because City would be two points short on their current total. Also worth considering eh? And to think - when they crow-barred VAR into our game they told us that ‘never again would mistakes be made that might see clubs relegated. Or denied prizes rightfully earned’. Really? What if Liverpool come up one point short again?

The reason I’m mentioning this is because Everton were also denied a stone-wall pen at Anfield. Not the one first half - which would’ve been a pen had Gordon not gone into a swallow dive. There was a stray leg offered - he had every right to go over it - but he made it all too dramatic.

No. I’m talking about the one at the Anfield Road end. Again - let’s be clear - Liverpool deserved their win. They were the better team. Klopp made smart changes - but how different might it have been had Everton scored first? We’ll never know - but it was a pen and Frank Lampard had every right to be disappointed.

On beINSPORTS Andy didn’t blame Stuart Attwell. He made the very reasonable point that Attwell didn’t have the luxury of the angles that we saw and with the first-half incident in his mind - he guessed.

Why is he guessing? He shouldn’t have to. We were told VAR would operate as an ‘assistant’ to the ref - not as his boss - which is what’s happening now.

All season I’ve argued that it’s wrong for the big calls to be made in the VAR bunker. I’ve revealed that Mike Riley has told his staff that he wants VAR to have the final say. Wrong Wrong. Wrong. This policy is flawed.

The match day ref should have the final say on big decisions.  VAR should be offering help. What Darren England should’ve done (VAR operator Sunday) is told Attwell that he might want to see other angles of it. If he had done - Attwell gives it. He’s got to.

But Riley is obsessed with the bunker making the calls. England obviously didn’t feel strong enough to ask Attwell to look again, so justice wasn’t done. VAR failed again. It didn’t ‘assist’.

England was only going to tell Attwell to look at it if he himself was certain it was a pen. Refs only go to monitors when they’ve been told to change their minds on a call. Anyone yet seen a ref this season stay with his original decision? No. Nor me. It doesn’t happen.

You don’t have to believe me that it was a pen. PGMOL liaison were furious that I revealed what they told us about it. Their view was that had it been given they wouldn’t have argued.

I still don’t know why they got so upset. What have they got to hide? We need more transparency. Fans have a right to know these things. We should be able to hear every conversation at the monitor. Why are the PGMOL allowed to operate as a boys club keeping thoughts and decisions to themselves? It’s our game as well. We want to know why decisions are made. If there’s nothing to hide - let us listen. If not - I can only conclude that there must be something they don’t want us to hear. Why?

So now we know. Football’s worst kept secret is out. Erik ten Months is confirmed in the most uncomfortable hot-seat of all.

I genuinely wish him well. I hope he gets beyond the 10 months or so that United coaches are generally given - a pattern set after the sacking of David Moyes.

Ten Months might turn out to be a stroke of genius by football director John Murtough and Darren Fletcher - but I have to wonder - what was the rush to appoint him? Not one of the other big clubs in Europe was chasing him. Not one. So why did United dive in headlong now?

As I write Poch looks as though he’ll be on the market. I still don’t believe Conti is in for the long haul at Spurs. There are so many other options. But it’s done. Ten Months has got his work cut out and I fear he’ll go the same way as the others.

I read this at the weekend - from Willem Janssen. I know. Who? He plays for Utrecht. He once played for VVV-Venlo, Roda JC and Twente. ‘Erik certainly made me a better player’. He said in an article in The Guardian.

He went on ‘his first sessions at Utrecht took some getting used to. He immediately demanded an extra training pitch, which the youth department was not thrilled with. All kinds of extra lines were applied on the pitch. In fact, the entire pitch was divided into sections. Everyone thought: "What are we going to do now?" But this way Erik could make clear exactly where you should be in which situation. He constantly stopped the game, which was annoying at the beginning. You were enjoying the game and then the whistle was blown again and Erik would say you were positioned wrong. But he also explained why you had to stand elsewhere’.

Good luck with that at Carrington Erik. ‘Er - Ronnie. You’re standing in the wrong position. You too Bruno. And you Marcus’. I think not. As I said last week - big players at big clubs are different. They need handling differently. They’re not impressed by white boards and crayons.