Frank Lampard called his squad together at Finch Farm one day last week and left nobody in doubt about what was needed at West Ham.
Everton’s players were told, in no uncertain terms, that balls were required. He wanted to see a week of hard graft on the training pitch and a big show of strength at the London Stadium to begin the process of salvaging a desperate situation.
Really, he should have known better. The vast majority of this squad had accounted for managers with more glittering CVs than his and, after folding meekly 2-0 on Saturday, they have accounted for him, too.
Struggling Everton sit 19th in the Premier League after losing 2-0 to West Ham on Saturday
No announcement has been made yet but it is now simply a matter of time. Lampard has been in football long enough to know that a manager whose record across 44 games reads 24 defeats to 12 wins is unsustainable.
He has had 357 days to try and revive an institution that has completely fallen asunder. He is many things but he is not a magician.
Lampard joins an ever-growing list of managers who have been bestowed with the responsibility of taking Everton forward on Farhad Moshiri’s watch but have been cast aside, the chopping and changing causing havoc along the way.
To see how things have changed, this statistic needs to be carefully digested: David Moyes was Everton manager for 11 years and oversaw 518 matches; the Moshiri era, which began in February 2016, has seen Everton play 304 games — the next man, including caretakers, will be the 12th change in the dugout.
They have won just 12 of 44 games under Frank Lampard’s management and lost 24 matches
Nobody has completed two full seasons in the hot seat. It really is remarkable to think that on December 27, 2020 Everton were second in the table.
Since then, the club have collapsed. ‘We were promised the world under Farhad Moshiri, a Hollywood manager and top players to take us into the Champions League in a new stadium,’ said Mark Jackson, who described himself as ‘a long-suffering Blue’ to Sportsmail outside Goodison Park on Saturday.
‘Here we are six years later, looking more likely at the Championship. Poor player recruitment and haphazard hiring and firing of managers has put us on the brink. I fear the worst.’
His friend and fellow season-ticket holder, Paul Lipton added: ‘All we wanted this year was to have mid-table mediocrity, away from the stresses of last season with signs of a turnaround in fortunes and steady progress.
The club has struggled for stability ever since owner Farhad Moshiri took over Everton in 2016
Instead we’re in a worse position with a squad that looks even more impotent than last year.
‘The players who we had big hopes for have let us down and everything appears to be pointing towards the outcome we escaped from in such dramatic fashion last May becoming a reality.’
Never before has the mood been so broken in the Blue half of the city. Goodison Park is enveloped by a timeline of notable pictures and big moments from their past, two of which show dramatic images of the final day escapes from 1994 and 1998.
The timeline has not been added to since 2014 and the final picture is of Roberto Martinez, the first manager Moshiri bounced out of town, standing next to a fresh-faced Romelu Lukaku, having just become the club’s record signing.
Neal Maupay has not improved the club since signing from Brighton and has scored just once
Lukaku was sold in 2017 and he represents a tale to wrap up Everton’s predicament. They have consistently allowed quality to go out of the building without properly replacing it and the decisions have been shocking.
Richarlison was never going to be easily replaced last summer but it would be wrong to say there was universal agreement that Neal Maupay was the answer at £15million from Brighton; Ben Brereton-Diaz was put forward as an alternative, Che Adams was also considered.
Maupay’s one goal in 15 matches has not helped Lampard and the desperation to find an answer has been such that Everton asked Aston Villa in the last week of December to loan Danny Ings, so he was available to be unveiled on January 1. The move never got off the ground.
The Toffees now look destined for relegation after a sad few months for the Merseyside club
So here they are, scrabbling around for a man to take them forward, looking for a striker to score some goals when they do not have much money available and putting their trust in a group of players that, by and large, do not deserve it.
It is said that the mood within the dressing room after the defeats against Southampton and West Ham has been volcanic, with relations strained and tensions brewing.
They never showed balls, all they did was show their true colours. It is why they are taking Everton down.