Everton leadership can point to a better future and make a decisive break with the past

While the derby defeat of Liverpool on Wednesday was hugely enjoyable the Toffees must look forward to the future with more ambition.
Everton FC v Liverpool FC - Premier League
Everton FC v Liverpool FC - Premier League / Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/GettyImages

All of us Everton supporters have enjoyed the oh-so-rare experience of winning a derby, especially at the Grand Old Lady and having bragging rights for the rest of the week.

But, although it was a terrific evening's entertainment and a hugely valuable three points - which also put a massive, hopefully terminal dent in Liverpool's title hopes - going forward the Blues must aspire to more than just the odd victory against the old enemy in a campaign of struggle and frustration.

Everyone knows this of course, the problem is the club has been mired in so many problems both on and off the pitch, for so long, that a sense of fearful gloom and resignation has set in.

Simply surviving from one season to the next has become the default outlook. Assuming the club does stay in the Premier League then that must now change.

It does seem that almost anything and everything that can go wrong for a football club does with Everton. And this current campaign has been the epitome of that.

Unprecedented points deductions, chaos and uncertainty over the ownership combined with often underwhelming performances from an average and inconsistent squad which looked as though it could have meant another relegation fight to the wire, have made this a season from hell, yet again!

To be fair there have been a few good moments with impressive wins against Newcastle, Chelsea and obviously Liverpool at home, probably the highlights. Interestingly all of those victories came under the floodlights in evening fixtures.

However, too often there have been failures (particularly at Goodison) in games that could and should have been won.

That was certainly the case with the early-season losses against Fulham, Wolves and Luton Town. And we won't forget that 6-0 trouncing at Stamford Bridge for quite a while!

It is a strange paradox though that despite the clear limitations of this Toffees side and those defeats mentioned above together with a record thirteen game win-less streak, if the eight points had not been deducted, Everton would still be sitting comfortably in mid-table!

Furthermore, had the Blues won those opening three matches for example, then together with the points taken off, they could even have been contenders for Europe at the end of the season.

And that of course is where the club should always be aspiring to aim for, as a minimum.

After all look at Aston Villa, a similar club to Everton and one of the founder members of the original football league but also a team that has tasted very little success in the Premier League era.

A season or so ago they were struggling but having stabilized under decent owners and having spent shrewdly as well as bringing in a very good manager, they are thriving now.

Given all the vast sums that have been squandered by the Toffees over the last six or seven years the club should be competing at the very top now.

Still there in little to be gained in going over all that ground again now. What is done is done and we have to try and move forward.

Obviously, assuming Everton do stay up, the next big question is who will be the owner of the club in the summer?

Without stability at the top it is going to be almost impossible to start building something positive at last after so many false dawns over the last few years.

So we must hope that very soon 777 Partners can get the green light for their proposed takeover. If they don't what on earth happens then?

While I have my doubts about them and whether they are the best people to take Everton to the next stage, there isn't anyone else it appears ready to swoop and given how long it has taken the US group to get this far, is there time too?

Everton desperately need a summer of stability, financially and in terms of leadership from the top with owners who can provide a solid, sustainable plan for the club's future.

What is needed too is a culture change with renewed but realistic ambitions.

One very positive piece of the puzzle should be the new stadium. Hopefully the club will move into it in 2025 with a much stronger and more competitive team.

If somehow all that can be achieved then it is just possible that genuine progress might be made at last.

Is Sean Dyche the man for the long-term too?

I still have my doubts, but if he can keep winning football matches that is all we can ask for at the moment. Any questions about his ambitions or future will have to wait for the summer.

It seems inevitable that one maybe more of the best young players in his squad will leave. Chief among them will almost certainly be Amadou Onana.

Hopefully, the club will be able to keep hold of the other obvious potential target, Jarrad Branthwaite. But if a really big offer comes in for the England defender will whoever is in charge be able to say no?

Were say £120 million raised from those two sales then in theory a least a large chunk of that could be used to re-build the whole squad.

After all that's what Brighton have done so well; bringing in young players and then selling them on for a massive profit and re-investing the money in the club and new players.

Whatever exactly happens it is going to be another very busy and critical summer coming up and it is one that must represent a decisive break with the failures of the past.