The Key Steps

Mike Oates 14/05/2018 13comments  |  Jump to last
If there is one thing we have learnt over the last two years, it's that there isn’t any fast route to the top 6. We cannot hope to think again that, since you have got access to mega-millions, it gives you instant success. The arrival of Farhad Moshiri has clouded our judgement. We wanted everything, now – a new stadium, a top team, European Football every season... and it’s plainly not going to be like that. We’ve effectively lost 2 years from a 3-year plan to demonstrate we can compete with the what was originally thought as a Top 4, but which is now a Top 6.

Spurs started their journey a good 2 or 3 years ahead of us, somewhat struck lucky with Pochettino, then recruited youth extremely well, developed a great style of football to watch and, after 4 years, they’ve got a team we would die for. They’re soon to move into a 62,000-seater stadium, have a top-level management team from the Board down, but still haven’t won a thing and though they're in the Champions League again, and their fans are still downbeat. They haven’t seen that winning mentality which the real top teams develop and keep for years. That will come, I’m sure, once the first pot is won.

So where does that leave us? Well, it’s got to start at the top. A new Board of Directors is required. Blow away the history-entrenched board we have now, blow away the overly mothering approach which Kenwright and Co demonstrate towards our elderly/loyal players and our own homegrown young players. Get a new board with experience, energetic commercial and financial nouse; an efficient administrative group; and a football director who can lead his chosen manager, coaching staff, recruitment staff, academy, and all other attached sections down a path to success with style. Which, let's be reasonable, will take another 4-5 years from now.

Moshiri needs to take control and ask Kenwright, Woods, Walsh, and Elstone to step down. He has to get in the best board members who can run a company successfully. He has to appoint a Director of Football who has demonstrated the required skills to run a top team – maybe Marcel Brands; to be fair I don’t know if he’s got the necessary Premier League knowledge – but someone advising Moshiri must know someone somewhere.

It’s important then to let this Director of Football appoint the rest of the key football management team he believes will be able to fundamentally change the philosophy of the club bit by bit, from academy to first team, player by player, boring to stylish, but to a target we all want: a clearly defined step-by-step programme to fame and glory. There is absolutely no sense in Moshiri appointing a DoF, then Moshiri to choose his own manager. The new manager then appoints his 5-man coaching team, his 5-man stats team, his 3-man conditioning team, etc etc.

Then, the new football manager must accept his job description, accept his new 4- or 5-year target and start to change the playing staff, the playing style. Unfortunately, with a World Cup summer ahead, this will undoubtedly hamper any key changes he sees as a priority, getting rid of players who won’t fit his style, enticing new players, having a decent amount of pre-season time to effect initial change.

I think the problem I see, and I suspect we all see, is the large number of players who need to depart: the elderly – Jagielka, Baines, Williams, Rooney? Then he needs to really assess the likes of Klaassen, Davies, Vlasic, Bolasie, Niasse, Keane, Funes Mori, McCarthy... are they good enough? Then the youngsters on the fringe: Lookman, Dowell, Pennington, Robinson, Baningime etc – will they ever make it? And we must stop this blind faith that we have numerous kids all ready to break through. We don’t; we continually overhype them.

This huge amount of work can only be done over another season, a potentially lost season again, but one which puts in the foundation for future growth. It’s going to take time and patience – and I don’t think Evertonians are very patient at all. The problem is that we become the laughing stock if we go down the path of hiring and firing continuously – someone decent needs to be given a good amount of time to deliver.

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Reader Comments (13)

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Frank McGregor
1 Posted 15/05/2018 at 18:23:10
Mike a good article that makes sense there is no quick fix. What the club needs now is a manager in the same veins as Shankly or Ferguson – no nonsense and in complete control. At the moment there is no one around that fits this description.

As the article states it is going to take 4 to 5 years to move Everton into a top 4 club. To be honest from the names being mentioned to replace Allardyce I don't see massive changes in Everton's position, in fact I will not be surprised that the relegation candidates for next season being Huddersfield, Watford and Everton.

William Cartwright
2 Posted 15/05/2018 at 18:53:43
Some perceptive comments here Mike thanks for that. In para. 7 your comments regarding the playing staff are generally open-ended, but your comments regarding the youth teamers chances of breaking through, and the reality of the skill level if and when they do, is especially interesting.

Traditionally, before successful squads were bought of the summer shelf, the home grown or purchased and nurtured option was the method. Things really have changed.The mentality is totally different. Bigger price tags whet the appetite more than sixty grand for a world class full back!

Even the Finch Farm model has adopted the bu in youngsters, sometimes at significantly high prices, not all work (Henen?).

The bottom line is if you're good enough you're old enough. Rooney, an exceptional talent acknowledged, was pulling up trees at 16. Garbutt is no 24 and is slipping out of contention, as is Galloway.

The youth system is one of the aspects of the club I am most satisfied with in that it produces quality players who even if they don't make it with Everton, they do manage to have careers in the game. What needs to be appreciated is just because a player has come through the ranks, unless he is BETTER than players in the same position who are available to the Club via another route then he has no automatic right or even a favorable bias to sealing his position in the team.

Having said that, seeing the home grown likes of Kenny, Baningime, Dowell doing well is very satisfying. I would love tho see Dowell having a good season next year, and id (bought in) talented Calvert Lewin can add goals to his game he could be a real winner.

Steve Hogan
3 Posted 15/05/2018 at 19:01:53
Mike, can't disagree with any of the points you have made above. The 'change' required for Everton to compete at the top table again, MUST be driven from the top.

Witness the events at the Philharmonic just two week's ago when the evening turned out to the 'cosy' affair we all knew it was going to be with Bill proclaiming ALL the player's signed last summer would still be there next season, why? Why on earth would an ambitious chairman make such an ill founded statement, to make us feel better?

Even worse when he thanked 'Sam' for 'helping us'.

Then the cringeworthy award to the father of the unfortunate child who died lately, why did Bill even think of a stunt like that?

He and his cohorts are so out of touch with the groundswell of opinion amongst fans it is really frightening.

Sadly, we have not only stopped making real progress this season, we have actually gone backwards. I hope to god when the CEO goes in the next month or so Moshiri isn't swayed by Kenwright's wish to keep the appointment in the Everton family, and appoint the deputy CEO Denise Baxendale to the position.

If that happens, it will prove once and for all that Kenwright is still pulling the strings at Goodison. We need a 21st century visionary to drive the club forward, or I fear once more, we will become the charity with a football club attached to it, and yet more EITC sponsored events at Goodison.

I for one, am prepared to remain patient (Spurs style) as long as we can see REAL evidence both on and off the pitch that the club is moving forward and making progress.

Jack Convery
4 Posted 15/05/2018 at 20:07:12
Great article. FS and LS are the first to board the coach - a taxi is no longer big enough for the multitude of inept people, that have been holding our great club back for far too long. The good thing is that when the coach driver reaches his destination the whip round for him should be a good one, given the coach will have been full, when he set off from Goodison.
Iain Love
5 Posted 15/05/2018 at 22:05:10
Steve Hogan (#3), spot on. All I would add is that one key signing could make a world of difference. Marko Arnautović for me.
Jim Bennings
6 Posted 16/05/2018 at 09:01:40
Think we need more than one key signing to be honest although Arnautovic is a player I’d have personally bought last summer ahead of the Davy Klaassen signing.

Koeman got it badly wrong last summer and we can’t get it so spectacularly wrong again it’s as simply as that.

Last summer I’d have had a shortlist of signing that included making absolute certain I got a least three from..

Arnautovic ( powerful running carries the ball, causes havoc and scores goals)

Shaqiri ( the one shining light in a terrible Stoke team, specialist deadball user, powerful, creative for goal source and scores too)

Maguire ( How many more Keane cargo tanker turns can we realistically accept)

Vardy ( Once Lukaku left this should have been first port of call simple as)

Bertrand or Shaw ( Baines needs replacing as soon as possible let’s be brutally honest, great servant and man but he’s on his way down not up and no it’s not acceptable to just stick Martina or Kenny there as stop gap and pretend they are great left backs , they are not!!)

Jonathan Tasker
7 Posted 16/05/2018 at 09:43:08
Decent summary


Key is for Kenwright to go

How were spurs lucky in bringing in Pochettino? Surely that was a very astute appointment?

Rick Tarleton
8 Posted 16/05/2018 at 11:45:37
Elstone and Allardyce have gone. Kenwright must go too. Then we must hope that the structure is right for the gradual management of real change, including the new stadium.
David Ellis
9 Posted 17/05/2018 at 06:41:53
Well Mike within 48 hours of your article a lot of things you want have already come to pass... and in the correct order i.e. from the top:

1. Change of board responsibilities and CEO (I have high hopes for Denise Barrett-Baxendale);
2. Appointment of Director of Football;
3. Departure of old DoF and Manager;
4. Next step will be the hiring of the new Manager;
5. Once the new Manager is in, we can look at the playing staff.

I don't think our squad is that bad. These are all players that have performed well at some point in the past (in particular – Keane, Klaassen, Bolasie, Schneiderlin) – I don't think they can all regain their form but I am hopeful that some will be able to shine again – they're all young enough. And even playing poorly, we finished 8th.

The managerial appointment is key. Our structure won't allow for a Ferguson or Shankly type to control things from top to bottom – and I think those days are gone because the players have much more power now and transfer dealings are much more complex - it's just too much for a manager to handle.

Also managers don't stay as long as they used to because the financial stakes are so much higher (in the old days when gate revenue was a much higher proportion of revenue, relegation was nothing like as dramatic as now because gate revenue would hold up reasonably well – whereas now the TV money falls off sharply over a 3-year period).

So I like the DoF model – and now we actually have a proper DoF we'll be able to see how it works in practice. As was pointed out on here on day one, Walsh was really just a chief scout and never a DoF. There's a massive difference, and (independent) advice on the footballing side is what Moshiri was sadly lacking last summer in our very unbalanced recruiting spree. The Manager is not independent as his career may depend on having good players so naturally they tend to get as many as possible – but this is not in the best interests of the club.

Phil Greenough
10 Posted 17/05/2018 at 10:21:41
I can understand the claims for a no nonsense manager in the same mould as Ferguson, but does that work anymore with players? The players have all the power now and if you try to use the hard management style they just down tools. It's very hard to motivate somebody to do anything when they're already guaranteed their salary. If you do bench them, they just sit on their backsides until they're a free agent. There's always another club stupid enough to employ them.
Jerome Shields
11 Posted 20/05/2018 at 21:20:03
This is the type of plan that Everton need. I'm impressed with the delegation of responsibility. This is the only realistic way of getting into the top 4.
Jerome Shields
12 Posted 20/05/2018 at 21:23:55
Additionally, I couldn't agree more with the need for squad assessment. This hasn't been done properly for this past five years.
Danny Broderick
13 Posted 21/05/2018 at 12:47:08
To summarise:

We need everyone pulling in the same direction – DOF, Manager, players, board, fans.

This hasn't been the case since we started this model with the disastrous appointment of Steve Walsh. Here's hoping it works out better under Brands!

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