Good afternoon, Evertonians.
It is an honour to write my first programme notes as manager of this proud football club.
I know about Everton’s illustrious history, passionate fanbase and what a huge club I have had the privilege of joining, and I’m looking forward to my staff and I playing our part in getting us back on track. It’s a big challenge ahead, but one we are ready and eager to take on.
The key to doing that must start with a basic principle of what Everton Football Club has always been about: hard work. We must put sweat on the shirt and give everything. That means putting out a team that works, that can fight and wear the badge with pride to meet the demands of a fanbase who care so much about their club. Of course, we must have the tactical understanding and the technical ability layered on top but the will to give everything is a great starting point.
It takes time to build the culture and an environment we all expect but we’ve got to fast track that to move us in the right direction. We have to be strong, fit and organised as a base to work from alongside the freedom for the players to relax and play. Football is a hard game, it’s beautiful and amazing, but it is always underpinned by hard work. One of my big sayings is, 'A great attitude is everything', and we have to apply that every day.
We must all realise that everything starts with hard graft. I’m not doubting that has been here before I joined and I would never question other managers and coaches but I’ve got to imprint my feeling and style to the team and the Club. One which can win while being supported by you as fans. The connection between us all can then strengthen as we attempt to align the whole club from top to bottom and can then grow again quickly into a powerful unit from the Boardroom through to you as fans.
I’ve managed teams at Goodison Park many times and the atmosphere is truly unique when this grand stadium is rocking. We know it has been a tough time recently but we are determined to bring back that good feel.
All I ask for is a bit of a breather to get the team operating because it is vital there is unity and we are all aligned right the way from the ownership, the staff, players and our fans.
Of course, that starts with me as manager and our players giving you something to grip hold of and get fired up for. I have to earn your respect which I appreciate and will endeavour to do - I don’t expect a free ride, I assure you.
We are not where we want to be in the Premier League but there is real quality in this squad and sometimes it takes just a few adjustments to improve. The task for my staff and I is to make our players shine.
Today, we welcome Mikel Arteta and the staff and players of Arsenal.
Evertonians know what a quality player Mikel was from his time at Goodison and he is proving himself as a manager, too.
Arsenal are league leaders for a reason and we are under no illusion as to the size of the task ahead of us this afternoon. It is vital we stick to what we need to do and focus on each individual game as it comes. I want us to play with style but an effective style. We need to mix our play and ask questions of the opposition. We also want to add quality to our hard work.
If we do that, we will get our supporters on board. I’ve experienced Goodison bursting at the seams when the energy is so powerful and it makes such a difference. There’s nothing better than a player going out on the pitch and knowing their fans are behind them.
We are fortunate to have that from Evertonians. It’s up to us to do our part to show we are giving everything so we can build your respect and join together in order to move forwards.
Enjoy the match.