Oh Ronald. We’ve moved on, so why haven’t you? Our former boss was in the news this week ahead of the Netherlands’ Nations League clash against England, and took the time to reveal that he felt Everton let him go far too early.
Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, the now Dutch manager Koeman said: “Sometimes that kind of decision is taken too quick, too early by the responsibility of that people and the presidents, but we know most of the time, I don’t know exactly how much, but most of the time it is not a good decision because the team is not doing better and the problem for Everton is they like to be part of the Champions League, but how you compete to the Big Six and the crowd historically-wise expect more, and that’s really difficult for Everton.”
To be fair to Koeman, he had a very good first season at Goodison Park, leading the side to qualification for the Europa League. But the start to his second season was so woeful, it left the club with little choice to press the trigger button and ensure we didn’t slide any further.
Indeed, he never really seemed to embrace the fans, and the relationship he enjoyed with the Toffees faithful was virtually non-existent. It always seemed like it was on the edge, and that it would have taken very little for the whole thing to boil over.
And in those first few weeks into his second year in charge, were just that. Having sold top-scorer Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United, the absolute necessity was to sign an elite centre-forward to replace him. £150m spent. And virtually nothing of note to show for it. Gylfi Sigurdsson and Jordan Pickford have since proven their worth, but the less said about the likes of Sandro and Davy Klaasen the better. The transfer strategy that summer was a complete mess, with almost £70m spent on numerous number 10s, and not a number nine.
The final straw was the 5-2 defeat at home to an Arsenal side that many pundits thought we would be close to matching or even overtaking in the summer. The result was shocking, but the performance was nigh on embarrassing. It left us 18th in the Premier League, having won just two out of our first nine games.
For all the criticism of the players under-performing, Koeman needed to take a long hard look at his own role in our demise. Not settling on a team or formation, spending money on players we simply didn’t need, and perhaps the worst of all, being cold and distant with some of the most passionate supporters in the land.
So Koeman can talk all he wants about feeling aggrieved about his early sacking, but the harsh reality of the situation was that the Dutchman never truly felt like an Everton manager. Goodison Park has always been about fire, heart and passion. The cold and calculating Dutchman simply had none of that.