Many of us had high hopes for the Everton FC campaign this season.
A strong off-season by manager David Moyes, bolstered by several key contract extensions, was reason for optimism.
Tim Cahill, Leighton Baines, Mikel Arteta and Jack Rodwell were among those all signing on for more years of Blues' glory. Key additions like Jermaine Beckford and Magaye Gueye were expected to contribute quickly.
Even a slow start to the season didn't derail expectations fully, as this club has started slow before. In fact, as recently as the 2009/2010 season Everton got out of the gate slowly, falling all the way to 18th on the table in November before rising up to 8th spot by season's end.
But it is now starting to dawn on all Everton supporters that this is a different animal altogether. The half-way point of the season is now well in the rear view mirror. The Blues have played 26 games, leaving only a dozen left on the schedule. They find themselves with only 30 points in those 26 games. That is currently good enough for 13th on the table.
13th doesn't sound so bad at first glance, however it needs a bit of a closer look.
Moyes' squad is only six points above the bottom spot on the table, currently held by Wolves with 24. And Everton is only three spots above the relegation zone and 18th place, held by Wigan,
On the other hand, if Everton did suddenly turn this disastrous season around, they are only seven points behind the team in seventh place, Sunderland. Seventh place of course carries with it a chance for Europa next year, something that barely eluded the Toffees last year when they finished 8th.
David Moyes, who has failed to show any real concern or anger with his club all season long, has finally stepped up and questioned his boys. After the loss on Sunday at Bolton zero to two, Moyes showed true disgust at his players.
"This performance was as bad as I can remember since I have been in charge," Moyes said after the game. Moyes's statement covers nine years, since he took over the club in March of 2002.
He went on to say, "The toughness we have had I didn't think was there, and it was required. We have been built on that quality.
"We did not perform. Players who have been performing well all season probably had their poorest game."
With 30 points in 26 games, and only six wins in those games, I'm not exactly sure who he is referring to when he says players who have been performing well. Other than perhaps Tim Cahill and Leighton Baines, most of the squad has seriously underachieved this season.
Perhaps it is in the mirror where Moyes needs to look the hardest. This is an expensive club that is talented and deep, and has for the most part stayed fairly healthy this season. There is no way they should be sitting three points above a relegation spot this far into the season..
"I pick the players and I pick the team," he added after the game on Sunday. " Maybe I have just gone a bit soft on them. Maybe I need to toughen up on them again."
An angry David Moyes? Well, at least it is a plan. Anything at this point is worth a shot. The clock is ticking, and the "R" word is starting to crop up in hushed whispers around Goodison Park.