Former Everton striker Andy Gray admits he fears for the future of the club but believes Sean Dyche should be given time to try to turn things around.
The Toffees narrowly avoided relegation last term, ending up 17th, two points above the drop zone. Dyche replaced Frank Lampard as manager at the end of January and managed to keep the club in the top tier. But it was touch-and-go for the majority of 2022-2023.
And, after a lacklustre summer recruitment drive, they have endured a tricky opening to the current campaign.
The Merseysiders picked up their first points on September 2 courtesy of a 2-2 draw at Sheffield United. That followed defeats to Fulham, Aston Villa and Wolves.
The north-west outfit failed to score in any of those three matches and sat 18th in the standings heading into the international break. It has been an uninspiring opening to 2023-24.
Gray, who won a league title, the FA Cup and the European Cup Winners Cup during a two-year spell at Goodison, has now had his say.
And it seems as though the former Scotland international is far from upbeat about the club’s chances over the next nine months.
When asked about his thoughts on Everton, the pundit pulled no punches.
“Dismayed, distraught, whatever adjective you want to use,” he told The Mail.
“Everton are paying the price for years of mismanagement. They’ve been circling the plug for three years and of course I fear for them again this season.”
Gray wants Dyche to face tough challenge
Everton won the FA Cup in the 1994-95 season and claimed the Charity Shield later that year.
There has been no further addition to the club’s trophy cabinet since then.
And the fans have also witnessed a sharp decline in league form in recent times.
The Blues ended up 16th in 2021-22 before last season’s woes. And it seems as though it will be another struggle this time around.
Dyche earned a reputation as a manager who could operate on a small budget and produce results while at Burnley.
It seems as though he will need to do the same in his present surroundings.
There have already been calls to sack him, however, with Graham Potter waiting in the wings. However, Gray does not feel that is the right way to go.
“This is the biggest challenge Sean has ever faced in management and that includes keeping Burnley in the Premier League,” he added.
“People talk about Graham Potter. Do me a favour, what could he do better than Sean with the current group of players.”
Everton bought just Chermiti and Beto during the summer window while Arnaut Danjuma was recruited on loan.
Scoring goals has been a problem and may well continue to be one.
Dyche will need to utilise all his experience and know-how to turn things around.
They return to action on Sunday, September 17 when Arsenal come calling before a trip to Brentford six days later.