2018/19 has seen Everton finish 8th and extend their trophyless run to 24 years. An underwhelming penalty shoot-out defeat at home to Southampton in the Carabao Cup was followed by a truly spineless display when the Toffees fell 3-2 at Millwall in the Emirates FA Cup.
Yet compare the mood at Goodison Park to this time 12 months ago. The list of mistakes during Ronald Koeman’s reign is endless, and six months of Sam Allardyce drained any optimism.
After the departures of Allardyce and Director of Football Steve Walsh, in came savvy operators Marco Silva and Marcel Brands, marking a new era.
Recruitment and player development improved, with Richarlison and loan signings Andre Gomes and Kurt Zouma among Everton’s top performers, and Lucas Digne and Bernard forming a potent partnership down the left.
Going into the Merseyside Derby in December, Everton sat 6th. At the very least they matched Liverpool at Anfield, the gift for Divock Origi the cruellest twist imaginable.
Rather than be filled with confidence from the performance, a farcical period followed. Everton lost ten of their next 15 league games, including Tottenham and Wolves comprehensively outplaying them on their own turf. Oh, and the Millwall debacle. The feeling of hope draining away was all too apparent once again.
But a 17 day break in February reinvigorated Everton. Silva’s men then kept eight clean sheets out of ten, and again competed well with Liverpool in a goalless draw, followed by a 2-0 victory over Chelsea, and a steamrolling of Arsenal and Manchester United in 1-0 and 4-0 wins at Goodison.
Another busy summer is a must, but perhaps for the first time since Roberto Martinez’s debut campaign in 2013/14, there now appears to be a real connection between players, fans and management.
Everton finished above Champions League finalists Tottenham and Liverpool as recently as 2014 and 2013. Both those clubs turned to managers fully invested in a project, and achieved unity between players and supporters.
Everton are a considerable distance off the Champions League, let alone the final, and Koeman and Walsh’s mess makes things more difficult. But for a club whose nine top flight titles rank them fourth in the all-time leaderboard, their fans need something to dream about. Silva has shown signs that he can take Everton on a journey. Some long-awaited silverware next term would be a good place to start.