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What are your priorities?

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Over the years we've seen countless debates on this forum and the old one about the priorities of the modern football club.

"I'd rather win a trophy than finish 4th every season" 

"At least our club is capable of developing its own talent"

"Winning the league should always be the priority"

"Our manager is doing a good job when you consider how much less money we spend than you"

"The League Cup is a Mickey Mouse competition"

And so on and so forth.

How about we settle the whole thing? Below is a list of 'achievements' available to a football club in the English Premier League, or at least things that people use to defend their club in debates. If you support a club in the Championship or a different country you can obviously change titles to promotions or the names of competitions accordingly, but I want you to order these from the top priority to the lowest priority.

What do you expect from your club? Feel free to add in any extras I've missed off and delete any that you don't think apply to your club. I've probably included too many anyway!

- Win the Premier League

- Qualify for the Champions League (Top Four)

- Qualify for the Europa League (Top 6/7)

- Avoid Relegation

- Win the FA Cup

- Win the League Cup

- Have a decent domestic cup run (let's say Quarter Finals)

- Win the Community Shield

- Win a European trophy

- Have a strong run in Europe (again let's say Quarter Finals)

- Play "Attractive" Football 

- Bring young players through the academy

- Have a likeable team

- Sensible spending in the transfer market (you can take this to mean making a profit or just not spending too much or whatever)

- Have a manager that "understands the club" or "relates to the fans" or similar

- Make big name signings befitting of the club's status

- Perform well in marquee matches (e.g. local derbies, Man Utd v Liverpool etc)

I think that's enough for now. If I've missed anything daft I'll add to the list.

Hopefully this sparks some debate and controversy.

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This is interesting. And also much harder than I thought it would be, haha.

- Win the Bundesliga
- Avoid Relegation
- Play "Attractive" Football 
- Bring young players through the academy
- Sensible spending in the transfer market
----------------------------------------------------

- Win a European trophy 
- Win DFB-Pokal
- Qualify for the Champions League (Top Four)
- Qualify for the Europa League (Top 6/7)
- Have a decent domestic cup run (let's say Quarter Finals)
- Have a strong run in Europe (again let's say Quarter Finals)
- Perform well in marquee matches
-----------------------------------------------------
- Have a likeable team
- Have a manager that "understands the club" or "relates to the fans" or similar
- Make big name signings befitting of the club's status

Tier 1: League is the top priority for me, and so I'd even put avoiding relegation ahead of winning other trophies. Club philosophies such as playing attractive football, being financially sustainable and developing youth come next in terms of importance to me.
Tier 2: Personally, I never cared much about European competitions and the prestige of it - I mean I don't have to worry about it either way, as realistically, we don't have a minuscule chance of even getting close to winning one these days, haha. However, winning trophies is nice, so winning a European trophy and DFB-Pokal comes next. After that, qualifying for Europe, as that would mean a good run in the league, and it simply helps the club stature and makes it easier to attract new players and keep key ones at the club. After that, having a good run in domestic cup and Europe, and good performance in derbies etc. It's nice, but not something I care much about as such.
Tier 3: Not very important. "Likeable" is very subjective, there's a good chance I'll find the team I support likeable 99% of the time, and I don't particularly care if others feel the same way or not... Similar with the manager, not very important unless he's a complete cunt, but even then, other criteria would be much more important to me. Don't care about big name signings at all.

Hope that makes sense xD 

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I'll try and kick things off. As Everton aren't in Europe this year I'm going to exclude both of the Europe-related ones, as well as the Community Shield one and the winning the Premier League. As for the rest:

=1) Qualify for the Champions League - This would obviously be massive for the club as long as we didn't get knocked out in the qualifying round like 2005, although to be honest if this squad finished 4th by some absolute freak series of events it would still require significant work or there's be a pretty good chance of us losing to a Valencia or a Hoffenheim at that stage. I'd love to see us win a trophy but if you offered me the FA Cup or a Top 4 finish I'd have to take this at this stage as in the short term we could get a bit lucky as the 7th best team in the country and win a cup but in the long run it doesn't do much to meet our long term goal of turning the big six into a big seven.

=1) Avoid Relegation - This goes equal with the Top Four Finish for me just in case our season ends up going the other way. Obviously 4th place includes avoiding relegation but I'm looking at this as "would you rather stay in the Premier League or get relegated and win a trophy". As above, winning a trophy would be amazing but getting relegated would absolutely ruin us if you look at our wage budget and stadium plans etc.

3) Win the FA Cup - I still rate the FA Cup as a massive deal, even though a lot of people think it has lost its appeal. Winning the League Cup would still be great but winning this would be something you remember for the rest of your life.

4) Win the League Cup - No surprises here I don't think. I can see why some of the top six clubs in the country might put this lower down their list because silverware isn't as hard to come by for them but I've seen Everton get into Europe through league positions numerous times, I've never seen us lift a trophy (well I was 2 years old in 1995) and only seen us get to one final.

5) Qualify for the Europa League - This is probably our realistic aim for the season, finishing 7th then seeing what happens with the domestic cups. This goes below winning either of the cup competitions because obviously if you achieve that you're in Europe anyway. Rather finish 14th and win the League Cup this season than finish 7th and win nothing again.

=6) Play Attractive Football - Usually this would be very near the bottom for me and I laugh at people who even suggest they might be happier to see their team lose or draw playing exciting football than they would to see them park the bus and win 1-0. However after what Koeman and Allardyce each served up last season I'm looking forward to hopefully being able to enjoy watching Everton play football again.

=6) Have a manager that understands the club - Again, I'm usually more pragmatic in that some of the things below this are more important than something as "fluffy" as the manager's public perception. This can go both ways as Moyes understood the club and that was a part of his success. Then you get Martinez who also seemed to understand the club but took us to back to back bottom half finishes. As above, though, I think it is important for the club to get the fans back on side as we reached a point of unrest last season that saw a very worrying level of apathy and anger from pretty much all of our supporters. Hopefully it turns out that Silva is someone we can rally behind and create an atmosphere at Goodison Park again.

=6) Sensible spending in the transfer market - Some short termism here from me. This is important at the moment because we need the perception of our over-inflated spending of last summer to be the exception and not the rule. One of Marcel Brands' first jobs here is to balance the books a bit and sort out the wage structure at the club before we can think about making progress. The wages handed out to players in the last two years, even if less of them had turned out to be quite so shit, are not sustainable unless we're competing for top 4 finishes and major honours which we are at least a few seasons away from doing.

9) Perform well in marquee matches - In a different year I might put this slightly lower but the fact that I can't remember whether it's more or less than a decade since we won a Merseyside derby is a bit of a disgrace. If you offered me a win against Liverpool or a run to the FA Cup semi-finals it would be a tough decision whereas if it hadn't been quite such an awful drought against them I'd probably be more pragmatic, accept that the derby is only worth 3 points like every other game and enjoy seeing us go to Wembley for a big game with higher stakes.

10) Have a decent domestic cup run - A cup run is nice and can give you something to be enthusiastic about when your league campaign fizzles out. This kept people interested in Martinez' final season when we reached the semi finals of the League Cup and FA Cup. Compare that to last season which was similar in that our league campaign was a dud (actually slightly better), but different in that we got knocked out of both domestic cups by January and there was nothing to make us dream and distract from our turgid Premier League performances. However, we're in a place now that I rank this quite low whereas you might think differently if you're a bottom half Premier League or Championship side. This season I'd rather see other things that show evidence of the club moving forward because that's what we haven't had. A few decent cup runs in recent years we have had and if we're not going to win the thing then I can take it or leave it at the moment.

11) Bring young players through the academy - This is a tough one because I do think it's important but I'm struggling to pick many things off the list that I'd sacrifice to see us bring through a few more kids. I'll try and explain why I think that is - Everton are a club where I think we've got a pretty respectable reputation for producing good academy players but I think I'm just a bit fed up of players not living up to the hype, and probably fed up of the hype itself. Too many of them have been touted for big things and either ended up in League One or left us. Even when you get a Wayne Rooney or a Ross Barkley, we've realistically had half a dozen moments where they've done something in an Everton shirt and you've had this massive pride about what the club has produced from the youth team. Rooney's transfer was big for us financially so maybe this was a bigger deal before Moshiri came on board. I also have reservations about the number of "nearly" youngsters we've had - even now we've got Jonjoe Kenny, Tom Davies and Kieran Dowell in and around the first team, which is an impressive triple header of youth products but you still don't know whether all or none of them will become first team players in the long-term.

12) Make big names befitting of the club's stature - This one doesn't bother me. I can see how it's slightly important for some clubs because they either need to advance their 'brand' or you've got the likes of PSG who are trying to make a big splash and need marquee signings like Neymar to turn the heads of other players who might not have otherwise considered moving to the French league. I don't think this is a priority for us. Obviously it's great to sign big names but for the quality of the player not the name.

13) Have a likeable team - Nope, the only benefit to this is that it makes you slightly less hypocritical when hurling abuse at players of other teams. I've met enough people in my life that have told me Everton are their second favourite team. You could believe that it's because we stand for good things but if we get real it's because we've not done anything to make people jealous of us and not like us so I hope that changes sooner rather than later.

Thanks to my rambling that took an awful lot longer than I expected xD.

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 Play Attractive Football - There is more than one way to skin a cat but I adore concise, fast, attacking football. I don't care for possession stats, if the team has 40% of possession but it's all used in an attacking manner, I'm happy. Nothing annoys me more than watching the CBs and GK create a passing triangle. If I'm not enjoying myself watching games, there is quite literally no point at all. All style can be entertaining but some do it more easily than others. Watching a decisive defensive team play that is calm in possession as well as defence can be entertaining, as long as isn't scrambling 'park the bus' nonsense that makes the team look like it is hanging onto dear life.

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1. Win the Premier League

2. Win the Champions League 

3. Qualify for the Champions League 

4. Avoid Relegation

5. Win the FA Cup

6.  Play attractive football

7.  Sensible spending in the transfer market. 

8. Have a manager that understands the club and his role 

9.  Bring Youth Players Through 

10.  Have a likable team. 

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Qualify for Europe - I still miss the Champions League and the experiences it brought along with it :x . Not saying Champions League is the goal but getting Europa League will be just as fun I reckon, considering a couple of seasons ago was first time we'd been in Europe for nearly 20 years. 

Win a Cup - merged the two together as I'd love to win a trophy at the new Wembley regardless. FA Cup is the ultimate goal cos we've never won it but winning the League Cup after late 90s/early 00s success would be good to experience again.

Avoid Relegation - with some (relative) turmoil our club has been in recently with managerial changes, the concept of being relegated was a real one just before Ranieri got sacked and the same just before Shakespeare got the boot too. With some still apprehensive about Puel the pressure is still on him and obviously I hope he comes out on top of it and thrives under it, as opposing to buckling. I hope the board back him and give him time to be successful. Clubs don't get stability by chopping and changing managers. But it's become such a ruthless business these days who knows what the future holds!

Attractive football - some of our fans are absolute knobheads who get sick and tired of boring, possession-based, defensive football. Given the football we played when we won the league, perhaps they have some reasoning behind their moaning but football is a results business at the end of the day. We love to see entertaining football but that's a bonus over points on the board. Not sure I'd be too pleased if we finished bottom half/ended up in a relegation fight but then say 'oh but we played good football'. I firmly believe we can do both this season especially now that Puel has been able to get his own players in and we won't be fitting square pegs in round holes. I hope we can take some solace and confidence in the way we played against Arsenal towards the end of last season and play attractive/entertaining football along with getting enough points on the board to finish 5-8th.

Likeable Team - This could go hand-in-hand with the above as when things are going well, it's less likely there's gonna be disputes or controversies - the less our players/staff are in the media for any dismeanours the better. I'd always want good publicity for the club. And if that's not possible, then no publicity at all. I think overall our squad are quite likeable - there's good personalities across the board. The only 'controversy' there seems to be at the moment is Schmeichel allegedly falling out with Puel and some players who won the league getting upset that they're not playing regularly.

Youth - Thankfully Puel has a good habit of bringing youth through clubs wherever he's been. That's no different to our club at the moment with Chilwell and Choudhury being the brightest prospects in the squad at the moment that have come through our own academy. Add to that the likes of Maddison, Ndidi & Kapustka who are all 21 or under, Gray and Diabate who are 22. And we've got players like Harvey Barnes who are good prospects too getting good experience in the Football League (look at the England squad and how many of those players were well-known in the Football League?). I trust that Puel will do well to keep bringing those kinds of players in or breed them through the ranks.

Sensible Spending/Big Name Spending - This doesn't matter too much to me. Spending is just fucking ridiculous in the world of football these days and you see some absolutely bizarre fees for players sometimes, not to mention agent fees. Killing the game from the inside. When it comes to us, recent big spending hasn't been too profitable - Slimani, Musa the biggest examples of breaking transfer records with spending and not getting much reward in return. For us, they were big fees at the time and we got our business in summer 2016 all wrong, or at least we didn't make best use of the achievement that preceded it. We've spent similar on Maddison and Pereira but the early signs are good in that they'll fit in to the squad well. To emphasise the 'big spending' even more, it's so pleasing when you see bargains like Kante & Mahrez play like world-class stars and outplay some bigger purchases across the league. It goes to show if you look hard enough, you can get some very good players on the cheap - you don't always have to spend millions and millions of pounds just to make a statement.

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What I'd say I prioritise, or demand for us, being realistic:

- I don't demand we win trophies as we're a mile off being ready to regularly compete for them bar a shock (which we did pull off, of course), but I absolutely won't have us surrendering the cups for the sake of 'survival' or any other virtually meaningless feat. It is an absolutely ridiculous trend that has polluted English football and for me a worryingly reflection on how the Premier League brand can turn peoples heads to fans actually wanting their own team to NOT TRY AND WIN COMPETITIVE GAMES (!!!!!!!!!) for the sake of doing better in the league. The league matters, of course it does, but it's not the be all and end all. Losing cup games is just as likely to kill morale as it is to keep players fresh. Utterly baffling concept and I think we've been guilty of it.

- I don't demand we make a profit as that's frankly daft. When I'm telling my grandkids about Leicester, I'm not going to ever bring up the time we made the greatest profit in the league. Football is entertainment and pride, it isn't purely about profit - HOWEVER, I do believe massively in spending money properly as it is the best way you can progress a club without ripping the fans off, as a club who aren't one of the richest or biggest in the league, we cannot go toe to toe with these clubs by over-paying for players, handing out far too generous contracts and treating the amount we've spent as a marker of ambition rather than what we've actually spent it on.

- I demand progress. As stated, I don't demand trophies yet, but I at least demand that we're heading in the right direction, and not guilty of some of the things I've listed above.

- I want a consistently strong academy, to become a club with a reputation for bringing through academy players and one that can supplement the national team. I want to be able to have a go at other clubs for their lack of academy emphasis without being a complete hypocrite xD we currently have a manager that to his credit gave under 21 players the most minutes in the league last season, and we have an absolutely top drawer training facility on the way in the next few years. Maybe this is something we're aspiring to. It's a gradual process and not something we will perform overnight, and currently we are still absolutely miles off.

- I want us to be ambitious. Again, I'm realistic - but don't be told by the media or fans of other clubs that we owe anyone else anything, that our players should be let go for less than they're worth, that we're too harsh in our decision making - and then succumb to such bullshit. If you aren't bloodying noses you aren't ambitious enough. Take the criticism and make a name for ourselves.

- Aim to have the loudest ground in the country.

Follow these principles and there will be some degree of success one way or another.

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Oh, regarding style of play - whatever works. This will usually be attractive football, but if we go toe to toe with sides like Man City and Tottenham trying to play like this, as we currently are, we will be slaughtered. What made us so successful in 2016 was the surprise factor. Innovative is probably going a bit far, but it was totally different to what the rest of the league were used to, and we just so happened to be very good at it.

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Win the Champions League - This is the pinnacle of club football. It's the most prestigious trophy and the biggest achievement.

Win the Premier League - A close second. Being the best team in the country over 38 games is a huge achievement, but the Champions League edges it because the quality of opposition (at the business end) is so much higher.

Qualify for the Champions League (Top Four) - Part of me wishes it wasn't this way, but it beats winning either of the cups because qualifying for the Champions League (and building on that) is how you grow as a football club. Strictly speaking, avoiding relegation and finishing top 7 should go above this because you can't finish top 4 without also doing those, but just doing those would represent failure for us, so I've got rid of them.

- Win the FA Cup - It should be valued because it's a trophy and I wish more clubs/managers would take it seriously, but I just can't justify putting it higher because you can't grow a club by winning the FA Cup in this day and age

- Win the League Cup - As above

- Have a strong run in Europe (redefining this to semi-finals. Obviously it depends on the draws, but it usually should be easy to qualify from the groups and win your first knockout game)

- Have a decent domestic cup run (I'm re-defining this to semi finals as well)

- Perform well in marquee matches (e.g. local derbies, Man Utd v Liverpool etc) - It's not an achievement in its own right, but it can make a 'nothing season' more enjoyable

- Play "Attractive" Football - I really like attractive football, and the stuff we play gets me rock hard at times. But it's scant consolation if we're not winning

- Have a likeable team - I think we've got quite a likeable team (I'm sure others would disagree) and us more fun to watch, but again, scant consolation if we're not winning

- Bring young players through the academy - This just feeds into having a likeable team and isn't a consideration in its own right for me. It's easier to like them if they're from the academy, but if they're cunts, it doesn't make a difference where they're from (looking at you, Flanagan)

- Have a manager that "understands the club" or "relates to the fans" or similar - As above, it just feeds into the "likeable team" thing.

 

 

- Sensible spending in the transfer market - These last two aren't considerations at all for me. They do lead into building a successful team (this one more than the other, which is why they're in this order) but in their own right they're not important.

- Make big name signings befitting of the club's status

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Big names don't interest me. I wouldn't deliberately not sign a player because they're a big name, more put the emphasis on if they're an asset to our side - such as Cambiasso, now it was quite something seeing him play for us but he turned into a very good fit for our team as well. I support us signing Cambiasso on the basis he's a fit for our side, not that he's a big name.

If you buy quality players then they will either become names or you'll become successful, or both. Who were Vardy, Mahrez and Kante once upon a time? Buy the next names rather than the current ones.

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7 minutes ago, Dan said:

Big names don't interest me. I wouldn't deliberately not sign a player because they're a big name, more put the emphasis on if they're an asset to our side - such as Cambiasso, now it was quite something seeing him play for us but he turned into a very good fit for our team as well. I support us signing Cambiasso on the basis he's a fit for our side, not that he's a big name.

If you buy quality players then they will either become names or you'll become successful, or both. Who were Vardy, Mahrez and Kante once upon a time? Buy the next names rather than the current ones.

I generally agree, but I think there's only so far you can go if you zealously stick to this approach. At some point you need to stop taking a chance on relative unknowns and cough up.

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14 minutes ago, Burning Gold said:

I generally agree, but I think there's only so far you can go if you zealously stick to this approach. At some point you need to stop taking a chance on relative unknowns and cough up.

I agree but you've got to remember I'm viewing this from our point of view rather than say Liverpool's, and Liverpool can attract a better calibre of player than we can.

If we recruit efficiently we'll progress into a position where we can attract some good names. It's a sickener that the one time we managed to get to that position we totally blew it. Our record on record signings is as bad as literally anyone's.

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I'm going to fill this out in terms of what I 'want' along with what I think is least likely. 

In terms of our goals and Priorities this year:

Qualify for the Champions League - This has to be our #1 Priority. The money and CL experience attracts better players and most sustainability. 

Win Serie A  - Oh the glory days when I would watch Inter win the league while Juventus were either in Serie B or struggling to rebound. We still aren't in the neighborhood of where Juventus are, and their are other major contenders for the title. 

Win Coppa Italia - This almost went as #2, only because I think the chances are more likely that we win this over the league. 

Win the Champions League - Not happening, but this becomes a priority if we make it to the Quarter Finals. 

Beat Juventus - Just once...please. 

Sweep AC Milan - They are as weak as ever, and going the opposite way of us, a sweep would be absolutely wonderful .

The rest is just 'blah', I love attractive football, but it's not a priority. I would also have put avoid relegation on the list if I thought it was possible, but as the only club in Italy to have never played in Serie B, it's not happening this year.  

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