Duncan Ferguson faces a difficult challenge in stopping Everton’s current dismal form

Duncan Ferguson faces a difficult challenge in stopping Everton’s current dismal form


DOMINIC KING: Everton are NOT too good to go down… thinking Duncan Ferguson would bring sunshine was like expecting Gordon Ramsay to produce a Michelin-starred banquet with frozen waffles and nuggets

  • Everton lost 1-0 at home to Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa on Saturday afternoon
  • Toffees sit 16th in the Premier League and just four points above the drop zone 
  • Merseyside club are statistically the worst team in the Premier League currently











Duncan Ferguson’s voice cracked, ever so slightly, at the end of another numbing day. He was trying to find the right words to describe his feelings and chose “on the floor”.

Poor Ferguson. He loves Everton so much and all he wanted to do was give the fans who adore him a reason to happy again by engineering a momentum-changing result. Defeat to Aston Villa, then means that he will have spent the last 48 hours in purgatory.

There were limitations to the caretaker manager’s tactics and the direct route Everton adopted, crashing balls forward from back to front, did not unduly fluster a Villa side – for whom Emi Buendia and John McGinn starred – that looks encouragingly progressive under Steven Gerrard. 

Everton caretaker boss Duncan Ferguson faces a tough challenge turning around woeful form

Everton caretaker boss Duncan Ferguson faces a tough challenge turning around woeful form

MATCH FACTS AND RATINGS  

EVERTON (4-4-2) Pickford 6: Kenny 6, Mina 6, Holgate 5, Godfrey 5: Townsend 5 (Gordon 56mins 7), Gomes 4.5 (Allan 51mins 5), Doucoure 5 (Onyango 65mins 5), Gray 7: Calvert-Lewin 5, Richarlison 4.5 

Subs not used: Begovic (GK), Keane, Coleman, Gbamin, Rondon, Dobbin 

Booked – Mina, Godfrey, Andre Gomes, Allan, Calvert-Lewin 

Manager – Duncan Ferguson 6 

ASTON VILLA (4-3-3) Martinez 6: Cash 7, Konsa 7, Mings 5, Digne 6.5: McGinn 8, Douglas Luiz 7, Ramsey 7.5: Buendia 8.5 (Hause 90+1), Watkins 7.5 (Ings 79mins 6), Coutinho 6 (Chukwuemeka 74mins 6) 

Subs not used: Olsen (GK), Targett, Sanson, Young, Hayden, Iroegbunam Goals – Buendia (45+1) 

Booked – Martinez, Cash, Mings, Ings 

Manager – Steven Gerrard 7 

Referee – C Pawson 5.5 

‘It was important in the opening 15-20 minutes that we showed the crowd and Everton that if they wanted a fight or a war we were all in,’ said Gerrard, whose satisfaction at these three points at a stadium that will forever be enemy territory was unmistakable.

Ferguson was right to say that he was “on the floor” but those words apply to the club as a whole. The Scot is not a magician and thinking the sight of him in the dugout would bring sunshine was like expecting Gordon Ramsey to produce a Michelin-starred banquet with frozen waffles and nuggets.

Do not listen to anyone who will tell you that Everton are too good to go down. This team is sinking faster than a stone in the Mersey; they are statistically the worst team in the Premier League at present – six points from 42 – and everything about the place screams chaos.

No manager; no Director of Football and no Head of Medicine. No player in Blue whose presence inspires those around, no individual who the stadium can identify with as a hero in waiting. They concede cheap goals and barely look like scoring.

Anthony Gordon, the youngster who is trying his hardest to provide some light, gave some impetus when he was introduced but to think a 20-year-old with limited experience can drag them away from danger is grossly unfair – and unrealistic.

Everton fans turned their fury at Chairman Bill Kenwright, with more than 200 staying behind to bellow at him that it is “time to go”; afterwards, he was confronted by an angry mob and there was something disgraceful about a 76-year-old man needed police assistance to get into a waiting car.

Steven Gerrard's (R) Aston Villa took all three points from their trip to Goodison Park

Steven Gerrard’s (R) Aston Villa took all three points from their trip to Goodison Park 

It was a grim footnote to a shameful day, one that saw Villa’s celebrating players peppered with objects from the stand, including plastic drinks bottles and coins. The Football Association are investigating, while Merseyside Police made one arrest.

Those who lambast Kenwright overlook the fact that it is Farhad Moshiri, the man who controls 94.1 per cent of the club, has been having the final say on what happens in terms of major decisions and there have been so many false steps that one more could be catastrophic.

This is where Everton currently are. They have two weeks off before an FA Cup fourth round tie against Brentford but what follows in the Premier League will go a long way to shaping their future – games against Newcastle, Leeds, Southampton and Manchester City.

Everton's Demarai Gray says that 'it's difficult for the players' and for the fans of the club

Everton’s Demarai Gray says that ‘it’s difficult for the players’ and for the fans of the club

‘We know what position we are in,’ said Demarai Gray, who continues to be a lone beacon of endeavour and determination. 

‘It’s difficult for the players, it’s difficult for the fans and for the club in general. All we can do is go again, take accountability and make sure we put things right.’ 

Easier said than done. Moshiri, whose open letter to fans on Friday did not suggest he was fully au fait with the gravity of the situation, must act decisively, as Everton’s points tally is similar at this stage to 1997/98 when they escaped relegation on the final day. 

This time they may not be so lucky. 

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