Bad Luck or Bad Brands?

by   |   25/11/2019  51 Comments  [Jump to last]

I think most of us thought Brands was a breath of fresh air at the time, what with him replacing Steve Walsh. And whoever took over from his role at Leicester seems to have done an okay job.

We’ve gone from a core set of players to ripping it all up to start again. That never works, never has. When Chelsea and Man City came into money, they were somewhat alone. They had a core to work with and gradually improved their squads. We have come into money and I'm sorry to say Moshiri should have a say but surely not the final say. Silva should never have got the job. He had zero credentials.

Anyway, Brands. Is it just bad luck this season? Look at his signings? Over £100M of them. Gbamin (injured), Gomes (injured), Delph (injured). Then we have Kean, who it’s unfair to judge given he is being asked to play with this mess. And Sidibe (quite an average player, a squad player if you will).

So that’s what £100M has got us. Some bad luck there, you can’t deny it. So far though, what a waste of money!

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Andrew James
1 Posted 26/11/2019 at 02:18:47

Chelsea and City both had gradual takeovers. There was money at both before the big bucks came in. Chelsea were able to buy at the top table before the Russian money and City went from being a newly promoted club to troubling the Top 8 courtesy of their Thai owner.

We went from being relative paupers to princes quickly and it's something we have not adapted to.

I think Brands has done an okay job so far. He has solidified left and right back and the wings.

The club has not brought in a striker but I cannot see one who suits us. A decade ago we went out and bought Yakubu which made sense. But I cannot see a striker out there we should be buying now.

We had a good one and he left. Then you go to ones like Vardy and he won't move and is too old.

Si Cooper
2 Posted 26/11/2019 at 02:35:06
I thought at the time our summer recruitment was inadequate overall. I don’t know whether there was an overestimation in the club’s ability to retain the services of the likes of Gana Gueye and Kurt Zouma, or whether lots of hoped for signings just didn’t come to fruition for one reason or another.
Although Silva should still be doing much better with what we have (even with the injuries since the summer) I wonder if much more was promised in the way of recruits than was ultimately delivered whether that is the reason he hasn’t yet been shown the door?
Jerome Shields
3 Posted 26/11/2019 at 03:26:55
Brands seems prone to taking a risk on injury prone players, but maybe that is all that is available to Everton,

Anthony Murphy
4 Posted 26/11/2019 at 08:59:45
David, I think you’ve sort of provided an answer to your question by highlighting players injured and Kean needing to be judged when the team are performing better. However, given the mess we are in, no one of that seniority should be exempt from scrutiny. Brands needs to be held to account along with the other usual suspects. I’ll be watching what happens with Brands very closely as I simply can’t believe he would be happy with some of the names being mentioned as Silva’s replacement.
Kevin Prytherch
5 Posted 26/11/2019 at 09:13:02
One of the remits branded around (no pun intended) at the time of his appointment was that Brands would invest in youth who would then have a greater sell on value. Who, other than Digne and Bernard do you think would have a significantly greater sell on value at present??
I’m not including Richarlison as this was blatantly Silvas signing.

Mina - inconsistent - doubt we would make much money
Gomes - we paid market value
Sidibe - if we pay £13million I don’t think anyone else would.
Gbamin - too early to tell
Delph - injury prone
Iwobi - I doubt anyone else would pay above £20million
Kean - potential but at the moment we would struggle to get our money back.

Derek Thomas
6 Posted 26/11/2019 at 10:03:56
Silva is (rightly?) getting the stick, but Brands has to look at his own relationship with Silva.

Who is the organ grinder and who is the monkey.
Just how is this DoF thing set up? - are they both on the same page?

Its a lot easier to measure Silvas performance than Brands, just look at the Table...but with Brands what is it we are measuring, Is it even measurable?

Who sets the formation Silva or Brands.
Does Silva say I want an 'xxxxx' type of left sided player and Brands does his best to find the nearest thing we can afford.

Or; does Brands say - I've got you a 'yyyyyy' type player (he's a bit of a sicknote but was a bargin at £8.5M) anyway, you're supposed to be the shit hot coach, coach him to play 'xxxxx'.

Drew O'Neall
7 Posted 26/11/2019 at 10:15:44
If Brands has to take any stick, it’s for not having a shortlist of decent replacement managers lined up.

It is supposed to be his job and we’re talking about Moshiri and Kenwright choosing between Moyes, Hughes and Arteta.

What is going on in that boardroom?!

Sam Hoare
8 Posted 26/11/2019 at 10:29:36
Brands did not have a good summer but I think he will prove a useful addition and certainly an improvement on Walsh.

It's hard to judge the players in a team that is low on confidence and less than the sum of its parts. Look at the difference in Leicester City under Puel just 10 months ago and now under Rodgers.

In my mind the recruitment (whilst not perfect) has been far better. Richarlison is better than Tosun, Gbamin will be better than Schneiderlin, Iwobi will be better than Sigurdsson, Bernard is better than Bolasie and I think Mina will prove better than Keane. Digne was a bargain. Personally I would not have bought Gomes and the jury is out on Kean but I do feel we are heading in the right direction.

It's still relatively early days for a person whose job it is to change the entire culture at Everton. It took a few years before both Alkmaar and PSV benefitted from his stewardship and he surely did not inherit such a mess there as he has here.

As for managers Silva was clearly lined up before Brands took the job. The next man in will be more his choice and should be an interesting indication of how he wants us to play and where he sees our present and future.

David Pearl
9 Posted 26/11/2019 at 10:41:34
Andrew, really good points, and you are right of course. Although from 5th-7th place finishes our starting position was pretty good. How can a club spend 500M and drop? We did of course.

If anyone spends over 100M l don't think its too much to expect us to improve... then again only Sidibe is playing (maybe not next game).


Yeah even last season a lot of his signings came in late and injured and didn't even start for us till a couple months in. Maybe Steve Walsh wasn't so bad after all. I mean most of his signings could walk unaided into Finch Farm... and that's always a good start.

From the other answers we are scratching our heads but mainly saying the same things. Blame all over the place, Moshiri, Brands and Silva... both hired by Moshiri.

Although l'm impressed 5 comments in that nobody has blamed BK as yet.

Conor McCourt
10 Posted 26/11/2019 at 11:34:51
With Brands it's clearly a game of two halves. Last summers acquisitions were strategic, were invigorating and only Mina until this season could be questioned as a success.

This summer however it's almost like we reappointed Steve Walsh. Not only have we not progressed but Brands in my opinion is culpable for making us worse especially in the short term.

We had formed two really strong units at centre back and centre midfield last season and with the former we didn't replace at all where is the latter seems a hatchet job to me.

I mean we sold the best player in his position statistically last season for 30 million despite a contract to 2022 yet we spend 5 million more on an Arsenal squad player and Marcel is suppose to be a shrewd negotiator.

I know we have been unlucky with Gbamins injury but like Kean I doubt we will see the best of him until next year regardless.

What really surprises me based on how methodical he had been before was his lack of foresight. He has brought in Gomes and Delph both injury prone and in the same area so he was investing a lot of luck in Gbamin being fit and adapted quickly. Two sick notes in the one area is just daft and not unfortunate and I'm not talking about poor Gomes horrific injury.

In defence it was equally shambolic. I know he thought he was getting Zouma or Timori and he was shafted but the surprising thing to me in the whole episode was releasing Jagielka until it went through. Any organised individual would ensure we had some sort of cover.

Sam I feel comparisons with Walsh are a bit silly, that's like saying Silva is doing a remarkable job if you compare him to Mike Walker.

Hopefully Brands has been reflecting over these last few months on his part and been working in a diligent fashion behind the scenes for January.

Mark Guglielmo
11 Posted 26/11/2019 at 14:12:18
I'll just eat 🍿 for this one.
David Pearl
12 Posted 27/11/2019 at 01:36:51

We have only 6 weeks till the new window opens. Have we anyone lined up yet? Or shall we all be checking the internet every half hour for news of a new striker, a new Arteta and a new centre back?

Brands was supposed to be our dof... but it seems like he has no say on the manager.

Conor McCourt
13 Posted 27/11/2019 at 10:07:00
David-maybe after his job in picking players this summer Moshiri doesn't trust him pick his nose.

No but on a serious point the stark difference in the two windows raises the question of who chose which players and the dynamic between Silva and Brands.

We presume that Silva picks the profile, Brands will suggest a few and then they agree and go get their man. That's how it was suggested last year with Richarlison being the exception as clearly Silvas man.

This summer seems totally different in the sense that some of the key positions identified by Silva weren't rectified and there were clearly players brought like Iwobi and Kean who don't seem to be his men.

I'm even wondering if his Norwich selection was political as is common in Portuguese culture as only Sidibe started from these new acquisitions i.e. Silva feeling he's doomed so he's showing who his feelings as to who he feels responsible?

I know this is a bit Michael Moore but I couldn't believe the selection on Saturday and in recent weeks with Holgate and Davies,Silva seemed to play the form players but the inclusion of Tosun and Siggy screamed politics to me.

Stan Schofield
15 Posted 27/11/2019 at 19:57:10
As far as I'm concerned the players brought in by Brands are very good signings, subject to Kean being a young player with potential and Gbamin never having really got off the ground because of injury.

Our problems started when we sold Gana whilst knowing that Zouma was returning to Chelsea. We don't know whether Brands was in favour of that or against it but outvoted by the other Board members, so we're not in a position to criticise him. The Everton Board certainly has form in being willing to sell pivotal players like Gana (and a couple of years ago Lukaku) at the drop of a hat. Similarly, the failure to sign an experienced striker, example Zaha, might well have been beyond Brands' control. We just don't know. But many folks can't seem to handle the notion of not knowing things, and seem to pretend they do know by making assumptions.

What we do know is that we've had terrible luck with injuries and clearly biased officiating. Add that to the loss of Gana and Zouma, and the failure to sign an experienced striker, and it's no wonder we look like shite.

Mark Guglielmo
16 Posted 27/11/2019 at 20:21:46
Stan, do you really think the Board has, or even injects, any say into personnel recruitment/player sales? I'd be shocked if so. Otherwise literally why does Brands have his job? I can imagine having to clear the wage bill or transfer fees, but if Moshiri has shown to be anything, it's pretty hands-off about everything except picking poor managers.

I should think Brands has a budget range he's asked to stick within, and if something comes up that would push the ceiling of the range, he goes to ask for more bags of money. At least that's how talent recruitment works at every business the world over, sports or otherwise.

If I had to make an educated guess, I would think Silva identifies needs, then Brands's scouting staff identifies options, then Silva & Brands together evaluate for fit, then Brands/his staff perform analysis of the ones who get a "thumbs up," and finally Brands handles negotiations, dealing with the agents and contractual side. That's what a DoF is supposed to do. And none of them operate on an island.

Everything else about "[player] is Silva's guy," or [player] is Brand's guy" is conjecture and would operate in the exact opposite way it should. Certainly possible, because this is Everton we're talking about. But gun to head I'd emphatically say nope, that isn't how it works.

Conor McCourt
17 Posted 27/11/2019 at 20:47:37
Stan-even if we play your game and say that the board sold Gana, told him we couldn't buy a centre half or forward and just judge Brands on his summer signings.

Alex Iwobi 35m- attacker who has never scored more than 3 goals in a season.
Moise Kean 27m- striker yet to cement place in team, 0 goals but best judged next year.
Fabian Delph 8m- replacement for James McCarthy because McCarthy was injury prone and past this best, ironic.
Andre Gomes- 22m 2nd injury prone midfielder signed. Class act when fit after horrific injury.
Jp Gbamin- 25m yet to play due to terrible injury.
M Sidibe- loan player seems decent going forward but poor defensively. Is he really better than Kenny?

6 players- 2 unfortunate long term injuries
1 frequently injured and not pulled any trees
2 minimal contributors to the team
1 unsettled and struggling to adapt to prem.

He has spent 120 odd million and not a goal or even a success among them. You speak of great players and perhaps Gbamin and Kean will in time prove to be so. We know Gomes is a class but as of now you calling them very good players is a huge leap of faith when not one has made even a positive contribution.

Stan Schofield
18 Posted 27/11/2019 at 21:16:28
Mark@16: As you say, Brands probably works within a budget. And a scenario where a decision is beyond Brands' control could be the requirement for an experienced striker (such as Zaha) not being met by the asking price being beyond what the Board is willing to pay.

Conor@17: I referred to very good signings, and didn't mention 'great' players. Everton haven't had a great player since Rooney's first stint here. The team hasn't much gelled as a unit this season, apart from the West Ham game. Your assessment of individual players is probably influenced by this lack of cohesion. Individual players shine more when the team gels more.

It is of course a two-way thing, in that individual form affects the cohesion of the team, but the effect of good cohesion on individual performances (especially of younger players) is a very significant factor that can confound assessments of those individual performances.

In other words, when we play well as a unit, an individual player can look excellent, but when we don't play well as a unit, that same player can look shite. That's football, and indeed applies to many (if not all) team games.

Conor McCourt
19 Posted 27/11/2019 at 21:46:41
Being in a dysfunctional team hasn't stopped Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison banging in a few or Haller at West Ham.

Likewise young men like Davies and Holgate who the club didn't spend a penny on are able to make positions their own and stand out in a fractured outfit with some outstanding displays.

Mark Guglielmo
20 Posted 27/11/2019 at 21:54:43
Conor, you know by now I love doing this with you, but let's have a reality check for a moment.

Iwobi (£29m, not 35) has a goal, btw, has contributed greatly to multiple build-ups, is clearly our most creative player in the center of the field, and based on advanced metrics has partially been unlucky (very high xG, and has hit the crossbar 1x, the post 2x). He's very young (23), what he did at Arsenal is irrelevant (even though he was 4th in xG and 1st in xA). By that logic you would have dismissed Serge Gnabry before he turned into a goal-scoring machine for Bayern, so maybe we shouldn't be trusting Arsenal's development of their younger assets. If you see 'nothing' in him it's because you don't want to. At worst, he needs molding and finishing school.

Kean (£23m not 27) is probably exactly where he should be, though he does have an assist. Has also hit a post, and been stopped inside the area, all in very limited minutes in a foreign (in more ways than one) formation or out of position. Again if we look at his advanced metrics, he's 4th in expected goals, and 1st in expected assists. He wasn't on every single top 20 players under 21 in the world because people liked his haircut.

I honestly don't even know how you can type "not one has even made a positive contribution" with a straight face.

Gbamin (£21m not 25), Gomes (£21m not 25), Delph...yep, ravaged by injuries. That's 2 starting mids, and Delph, who was the 1 guy over 26 brought in to 'stabilize' the team and provide some leadership. Not to mention he was only £8m. Sidibe was a stroke of genius; a paltry £2m loan fee with guaranteed £12m option to buy. Thus allowing us to monitor Sidibe AND Kenny at the same time, and make a decision on who to move forward with by summer 2020. Oh, and Sidibe's defensive numbers are on par or slightly better than Coleman's, in case you weren't aware.

I don't know why you won't consider his signings from 2018 (4 starters when healthy), but that's just a circular argument with you, so we can skip it.

I'm pretty sure this has been covered by others' replies to you already, and dismissed, but you have to realize there were extenuating/mitigating factors involved in not replacing Zouma, right? Even if we ignore the widely-reported fact that it was Silva who held out for Zouma for a ridiculous length of time - he didn't even concede we weren't getting him until 3 days before the window end - Brands had been working on a couple of plan B/Cs. There was a deal in place to take Tomori on loan from Chelsea, which they pulled out of thanks to the surprise deadline deal of Luiz going to Arsenal. Oh and the whole matter of Chelsea's transfer ban to deal with. Plan C was Rojos from United, but they wanted an absurd £50m so you should be thanking him for saying no thanks to that.

So ignoring Richarlison (no doubt made easier b/c of his relationship w/ Silva), Mina (widely considered our best player ytd), Digne (2018/19 PoY voted on by fans & teammates), and Bernard (on a free, no less) from last year as successes, he has still signed what would be EIGHT starters in 2 summer windows.

Yes, he didn't replace Gana. Name me someone who is Gana's equal from anywhere in Europe. He may have been able to get more, sure, and he may have been able to refuse Gana's wishes, but who knows what the fallout from that could have been. Not me, and not you. Gana is 30 and wanted to play CL football. What are you gonna do? Gbamin has the talent to be 80% of Gana, but we don't know how that'll pan out yet either.

"Proven" scoring forward as per Marco's wish. Do you have inside information that one or 14 options weren't approached and simply didn't work out for this, that, or the other thing? This isn't a FIFA video game. Stars do in fact have to align for deals to make sense.

In sum:
2018 summer
£85m signings
£25m departures - net spend: £60m

2019 summer
£101m (not 120) signings
£65m departures - net spend: £36m

Average age of the 10 signings from both summers: 25 years old

So your argument is hinged on 1) no one has done anything so therefore the money was wasted, and 2) that he didn't replace Zouma & Gana. Oh and 3) is riddled with inaccuracies and falsehoods.

He spent less than £100m net in 2 summers, and picked up 8 starters. And you want to find fault. You know how the saying goes...You can please some of the people all of the time, but you can't please all of the people all of the time.

Stan Schofield
21 Posted 27/11/2019 at 21:56:20
Conor, being in a dysfunctional side doesn't necessarily stop individuals playing well, but it tends to. Players tend to play better in a well-functioning side.

Regarding how good Brands' signings are, last season we had some terrific performances, the best team displays and individual skills for a long time. Ironically, one of the best was in the Anfield derby, fucked up only by a last-second goalkeeping error. Gomes in particular was and is a class apart. In my opinion, he's technically the best midfield player I've seen in an Everton shirt since Colin Harvey. Most if not all of those signings would easily, on form (and note the term 'on form'), get into 'top-6' sides.

Conor McCourt
22 Posted 27/11/2019 at 22:14:54
Reality check Mark you are speaking about some fantasy nonsense where our new signings are doing well.

I'm too tired to go into the same arguments. Apparently, Iwobi is actually worth £34m including add ons etc.

I'm not going to repeat myself in stating how I feel about his signings before this window. I get he can do no wrong with you. Last year, I was praising him as much as you.

If you are happy with the squad development from last season then fair play. The crux of it is that its Marcel's job to make us better with each window-he spectacularly succeeded last year, he clearly hasn't this.

Mike Doyle
23 Posted 27/11/2019 at 22:16:41
Unless anyone can produce a copy of Brands's Job Description (if one exists), it's difficult to know what exactly his remit is.

While most of us would expect it to include selecting the coaching staff, remember – this is Everton. Normal protocols don't apply.

Conor McCourt
24 Posted 27/11/2019 at 22:52:35
Stan, I totally agree with you on Gomes but he is injury prone aside from a horrendous unfortunate incident. I feel that you can have one like him in midfield but the Delph signing wasn't well thought through.
Tony Abrahams
25 Posted 27/11/2019 at 23:04:02
Gueye, Lookman, Vlassic, McCarthy, and Henry went for £65 million? Surprised me that.
David Pearl
26 Posted 27/11/2019 at 23:20:46
Mark, how was the popcorn... guessing it’s gone.

Interesting really that each window comes and we get excited about who’s come in. Then they don’t play for months. Another question l’d like to know just what Brand remit is. I mean especially after he was promoted to the board. Did that spread him too thin, or was it to appease him because looking at things now his role seems to be either diminished or he never had the control that we all thought and hoped he had. Seems very clear that he doesn’t have much of a say on the future or recruitment of the teams manager.

Mark Guglielmo
27 Posted 27/11/2019 at 23:36:09
Conor, mate, don't let facts get in the way of your narrative. There's quite a bit that is incorrect in your comment, most of which is used to support your argument. One way of correcting a great many of them is to use your country's currency rather than inflating Brands "wasteful spending" by listing it in €.

You can believe that actual, universally-used advanced metrics derived from literally 300,000 data points "fantasy nonsense," I can't stop you. It's not like I'm making them up. What are your thoughts on climate change? Lol

Call me "new school" if you will, but data rules the world and football isn't excluded, so I will stick to my facts, and leave you to your opinions passed off as facts.

Let me be clear: I did not ever say Brands can do no wrong. If you show me where I did, I'll mail you a nice Xmas present. What I've inferred without outright stating it is that he's done a very good job by any standards, in a very short period of time. It seems as though it's the Zouma/Gana pieces that have caused you do a 180 and now feel he can do no right (an assumption on my part because the only things you listed were negative).

I can't even imagine what you'll say when he avoids badly inflated prices and doesn't spend anything during this upcoming winter window!

Bill Gienapp
28 Posted 27/11/2019 at 23:44:00
I guess I shouldn't be surprised people are already turning on Brands. I'm not saying he's above criticism, but some are already calling for him to be fired, or worse, claiming he's Steve Walsh 2.0. Man alive.

Anyway, Mark (20) said just about everything I wanted to say, so cheers for that. I'll just add that, if you want to talk about savvy negotiating... some with short-term memories are belly-aching over Kean's price-tag now, but over the summer the general feeling in the football world was astonishment that a) we got Kean at all b) we got him for less than 30-million and c) we got Juve to back off the buy-back clause.

David Pearl
29 Posted 27/11/2019 at 23:48:16
Mike, sorry I kind of repeated what you wrote... but longer. Only saw your post now.
Mark Guglielmo
30 Posted 27/11/2019 at 23:48:26
David I ran out of popcorn!

And you guys who brought it up are very right to question what his actual role is. Who knows where I wrote it; there are at least 6-7 other threads all with the same topics lol. But in a normally functioning business, the person you hire to do a job is usually the person you let actually do the job. That doesn't seem at all to be the case but we can't actually know as we're not privy to literally anything that happens. As much as we want it, Everton doesn't owe us any transparency.

Personally I believe Brands is doing exactly what he was hired to do, we just don't know it. Say you work as a senior leader for a large technology corporation who generates revenue from selling X, Y, and Z services. Your every move and decision isn't discussed in an open forum for the public to digest, lol. In football, fans tend to look at things in isolated incidents, ignoring the bigger picture. One tree vs a forest, one puzzle piece out of 500, one transfer window out of 8. You get my drift.

As for guys coming in and not playing, that's on Silva. I'm pretty sure you're a Silva-out ASAP guy so why do you trust his player evaluation? Seems incongruent but maybe I misunderstood you.

Rob Dolby
31 Posted 27/11/2019 at 23:49:07
Brands has probably spent more time trying to move players on than trying to sign them.

Anyone can be a scout when you have decent money to spend. I think he has failed miserably in not recruiting more goals throughout the team. Heaping more pressure on Richarleson, Sigurdsson and DCL.

Iwobi, Bernard, Delph, Gbamin, Gomes, Sidebe equals zero goals or goal threat.£80m

Not buying a striker of prime age, gambling on a 19 year old is reckless.

Not buying a centre back and letting one go on a free who is playing in the same league is an error

Digne, Mina and Richarleson are his success stories which cost £75m

His biggest signing will be the next manager, If it's a Moyes type appointment we know where the clubs ambitions are.

Mark Guglielmo
32 Posted 27/11/2019 at 23:59:00
Bill @28 appreciate it, mate. Would you believe that the players Brands spent the £101m on this summer are currently valued at ~£200m?!

Check it out (I had to do the € to £ conversion:

As an example to show how value changes, we paid £45m for Sigurdsson in 2017; his current value sits at £30m. Whoops. Thanks Koeman.

Trevor Peers
33 Posted 27/11/2019 at 23:59:32
Good players maybe but were our summer signings the right players - No.

Conor made some excellent points, considering the amount of money spent we haven't added a single player with a real goal threat since we signed Richarlison.
That's a damning statistic, how could Silva and Brands look at the side in the summer and not make a few goalscorers an absolute priority?

Gomes, Kean, Delph, Gbamin and Iwobi, that's over a hundred million and not a regular goalscorer to be seen. If I were Moshiri I'd be gutted. It's gross incompetence, we could've signed Mitrovic from Fulham he's knocking goals in for fun, he was looked at and for some reason overlooked.

David Pearl
34 Posted 27/11/2019 at 23:59:53
We all thought Brands was hired as a DoF. He can’t have been. It must of been as head of recruitment and selling. Mustn’t it?

I wanted Silva gone last year as l believed we’d made the mistake of hiring a manager that was learning on the job. When he has time to think he can start the game having picked his 11, many of them l agree with. Once the game starts he can fold his arms and look like he’s thinking about something. Probably it’s ‘what’s for dinner.’

He hasn’t had the option of picking 4 midfielders together that would have a good chance of all starting... however he hasn’t even got a working system after nearly 18 months. If l had any hair left l’d be pulling it out. We now go into a derby with as little hope of winning as l can remember, l mean l always felt we had it in us to eek out a win. Not this time. That’s maybe a reason to place a bet on us beating Leicester and the RS. (Just to piss me off).

Mark Guglielmo
35 Posted 27/11/2019 at 00:15:53
Impressive. In short order 2 consecutive comments blamed Brands for not getting more "goal-scoring threats" and then listed Gbamin, Gomes, Delph, and Sidibe. Do you guys read what you're writing before clicking submit? I tell ya...

The other common theme from detractors seems to be "he didn't do this" or "he didn't do that." How do you know what did or did not happen? If you're in the war room, please divulge your inside info.

Or perhaps you believe he should have insisted Moshiri give him more money - £100m worth - for Zaha? Who has 1 goal btw. Arsenal dropped £72m on Pépé after he scored 22 for Lille last year. He has 1 goal btw. Who are these magical proven strikers who grow on trees apparently? Mitrovic, really? He scored 11 non-pen goals last year on a team where he was literally the only option.

I need to go find more 🍿

David Pearl
36 Posted 28/11/2019 at 00:29:08
There you go then Mark.

Is Brands unlucky? 3 of those 4 are out injured. With them in the team we might of made more chances (in the correct system). Last season Mina and Gomes had to wait a few months to put the shirt on.

We might not need a new striker. Richarlison, DCL are young and improving. Tosun and Walcott just can’t get going but have the ability to score.

We need it all to click but it’s just not happening. Them across the park have 3 goal scorers. We don’t need a full team of goal scorers... we need 2 or 4 to bang them in on a regular basis and the others to chip in or make assists. We haven’t got any of that.

It’s been a long few weeks being a blue.

Mark Guglielmo
37 Posted 28/11/2019 at 01:40:51
I do think David, that the bad luck surrounding our Club appears to be pervasive. The long-term vision Brands was hired to carry out was to the best of my knowledge, basically threefold:

1. build a young core roster that could grow together and either bring consistent results, or develop to the point where we'd get tremendous ROI if/when they leave
2. clear out the dead wood (wages)
3. develop a clear, efficient way of moving talent through the various youth levels (I'm least sure about this one, it just seems to make sense and is without question the hallmark of the top clubs)

1 & 2 are works-in-progress. In my attempts to talk reason into this thread, it's clear that he's being judged on an unfinished product. 2 is probably the most difficult one. Who on Earth is going to pay us any reasonable amount of money for Sigurdsson, Walcott, Schneiderlin, Tosun? The answer is no one. Meanwhile all 4 were bought by Koeman/Walsh, cost EFC something like £100m; Bolasie another £25m. If we could get £60m for the 5 of them it would be a coup. And good luck to Brands with those wages. They're over £400k/week. Which means we lose a good amount of our investment AND probably have to cover a hefty chuck of the wages.

Because of all this, he simply doesn't have £1b to fill 5 more spots, and then have an EPL-caliber player backing up each spot. It's just not possible. Certainly not in the 16 months he's been on the job. So yeah, he goes out and steals Kean for £23m with designs on turning him into a top striker. And people complain he didn't also go get some £75m "proven" scorer. News flash: they're few & far between. Juventus wanted £90m for Dybala over the summer and he scored 5 goals last year!! Those 3 jerks across the street? Worth £350m as a starting point. Oh and DCL, while nowhere near perfect, is projecting to 9 goals. If he actually performed to his xG, he'd be on pace for 12+. Maybe, I don't know, give Kean a run of games, and you have 2 guys contributing around 20 goals. Takes the pressure off Ritchie and like you said, he starts scoring goals. We have quite a few pieces. Luck and poor managing is getting in the way.

Anyway, he's doing a FINE job at working through 1 & 2 IMO. As I said above, I have no idea about 3.

But yeah, he buys, and loses 2 starting midfielders, our 6 & 8. And for all the reasons above, we don't have back-ups. Maybe if we weren't paying Schneiderlin that £100k/week, we'd have the money to go get one. Silva, for all his problems, is the frontline guy who has to deal with the bad luck the most. And to top it all off, we have a front office & Board who quite frankly are inept. I don't even know why gave Brands a Board spot instead of simply letting him put 100% into his job and staying the f*ck out of his way.

Long story short (too late); great talent doesn't grow on trees. Moshiri's money isn't a bottomless pit and he's invested a TON of it already. Regardless of whether the lion's share (~60%) was pre-Brands or not. But yeah, let's blame Brands for not replacing Zouma.

David Pearl
38 Posted 28/11/2019 at 02:06:24
He replaced Zouma preemptively with Mina... you could say. Anyway, excellent post Mark. Thanks for the thought and logic. I have one week left of Everton before going off to volunteer in the Middle East. That’s not a joke by the way. A big week though isn’t it. Not too often l agree with what l read on ToffeeWeb but what you wrote makes sense. Not that it makes our situation any easier. Less than a week now. Send me off on a high blues!!
Ken Kneale
39 Posted 28/11/2019 at 13:20:12
Mark You undoubtedly have done impeccable research and I offer no fault on that. However using such data does show errors. If someone offered £30m I would take it - I personally don't think we would get even close to that figure for a passenger in this and likely any team
Conor McCourt
40 Posted 28/11/2019 at 13:30:02
Mark with regards to your value on that type of data it is greatly flawed. On Iwobi for example Silva spoke of his quality then qualified that he would be a great addition if he improves his goal returns and final product. Your presented stats I would guess would be similar to those of the last four years at Arsenal showing an equally exciting and frustrating player. In his four months here I see no progression and at a guess I would say his goals and assists per minute will be worse considering his extra game time but similar figures.

Equally this type of analysis will favour players like Bolasie and hinder the effect of a Roy Keane so judging players without the eye you are negating character, leadership, desire, experience and reading the game which are crucial to success. AVB tried to manage like that at Spurs and Chelsea and you can guess how long he lasted.

Mark I don't debate the long term process he is undertaking and I agree that over the 18 month period we are generally going in the right direction in re-shaping the squad. I agree with much of your analysis regarding the age profile,wages,balancing books etc.

My issue with Marcel and especially your viewpoint is that you have a blinkered view where the spine of last seasons 8th place team has been dismantled and you apportion no responsibility to Marcel for this despite my understanding that he signs off all transfer dealings. Is that unfair? Well last summer I didn't praise Moshiri,Kenwright,the board or Silva for the signings yet I didn't know their exact input either.

You consistently refer to these successes when discussing this window in your smoke and mirrors trick to focus on his entire tenure and haven't contradicted me when I have apportioned his unequivocal responsibility. However for this windows work Marcel doesn't seem to be held to any standards;
Zouma-Silvas fault as he chased him too long
Timori-Chelsea and Luiz fault
Gueye-impossible to replace, boards decision?, his wish
Kean- Silva fault for not playing, is as expected
League Table- Silvas fault plus injuries
Silvas requested positions- budget restrictions/ numerous reasons/ we don't know what goes on.

On the flip side even this summer you overstate anything to propel Brands into a better light
Sidibe- a genius signing
Iwobi- statistically strong (boasting about hitting posts and crossbars when he misses open goals) and comparisons with Gnabry even though Walcott is more applicable
Summer Outlay-Doubled in price already. If true could this not be due to signing long contracts rather than performance? Kean will be worth a lot more despite being poor so far.

Mark you seem to have no issue correcting me on numeral inaccuracies but don't comment on specific questions I raise about Marcel.
1-Was it clever to sign Delph when we had just signed another injury prone midfielder which is a major factor in the managers reliance on Scneiderlin this season whom he suggested wasn't in his plans in the summer.
2-Do you not think retaining Jags until the centre back situation was sorted was amateurish?
3-If you were Silva would you have been happy with summer recruitment and are we stronger from last season even if Brands wasn't culpable ( being left with 2 unworkable senior centre halfs, main man sold and key areas not strenthened)

Mark if you had said you believe on the whole Marcel is doing an excellent job but this summer he was unable to address key areas, made some key mistakes but has been hampered by unforeseen injuries and circumstances but you expect that we will look back favourably on it given the fullness of time...I would have respected your appreciation as much more credible.

My belief is not that Brands has wasted money as you claim but more so hasn't been used to the best effect in at least consolidating if not improving the strength of the squad.

In summary I feel I have proved that you see little wrong in Marcel reminding me of a lovesick boyfriend whose girlfriend is screwing half the street but he still only sees her as his little princess. I'm hoping my xmas present is a nice brunette or if Brands-a-Claus wants to wait to pick up something in January I'd be more than content.

Stan Schofield
41 Posted 28/11/2019 at 13:47:10
Mark@27: It's in vogue to say that data rules the world. It might have a role to play in ruling the world, but it's people who actually rule it. Data can help or hinder, depending on who you are and how you use it.

There's a saying: All through the ages very clever men have constructed arguments to justify decisions already taken by very powerful men. Sounds modern, but apparently it's from Aristotle over 2000 years ago. Nothing much has changed when it comes to human nature, data or no data.

Conor@40: Taking Iwobi as a particular case, my understanding is that he was never really recruited to score goals, or certainly not many goals. I thought he was seen more as someone who helped the team gel towards scoring goals rather than scoring them himself. At Arsenal, I believe he was referred to as an 'enabler of overlapping fullbacks', because of his ability to work with such fullbacks in creating chances. Since we have decent overlapping fullbacks, it seemed likely he'd perform a similar here, but the trouble is we haven't gelled as a unit and things don't seem to be going to any discernible plan.

Conor McCourt
42 Posted 28/11/2019 at 14:39:51
Stan 41-I agree with your general point about Iwobi but we already had one of those in Bernard in that position. I think Silva prefers him more centrally as do I and while he brings movement and pace and guile to that role it's the final ball and end product that he needs to improve and the belief that this would come with more game time.

Again Stan I do like Iwobi and really prefer him to Siggy but if he can develop his adversaries clinical edge and killer pass we could have some player on our hands but how many players could you say that about down the years. We have enough attackers who can't find the net, my worry is that now we have another.

I suppose Stan it depends what we are expecting. You could argue if your taking Marks argument that he is another piece in the jigsaw puzzle who offers competition and a different dimension than Siggy and once we have the other pieces he will look much more influential. If your assessing his signing in terms of what we need now and what we are missing then you will probably be more critical.

Mark Guglielmo
43 Posted 28/11/2019 at 17:35:40
David @38 volunteer in the Middle East?! You're a much braver man than me! You know Americans fear (perhaps irrationally) much of that region. Do you mind me asking what you're volunteering to do?

Ken @39 no question. The value is basically a perception based on "similar" players at a like position. In other words, if there were only a handful of quality left backs in the world, Digne's value would be sky high due to rarity, for lack of a better word.

Mr. Conor @40, I promise I will answer you on all accounts, but I have to go to my in-laws for our latest genocide-celebrating holiday. Trust me when I say I’d prefer to debate with you 🙂

I shall return, god willing...

Conor McCourt
44 Posted 28/11/2019 at 19:08:35
Mark you have my condolences...that must be bloody awful if you prefer debating with me. Good luck with the inlaws
Mark Guglielmo
45 Posted 29/11/2019 at 18:46:44
Conor, I made it!! And the pumpkin pie was delicious.

"Mark if you had said you believe on the whole Marcel is doing an excellent job but this summer he was unable to address key areas, made some key mistakes but has been hampered by unforeseen injuries and circumstances but you expect that we will look back favourably on it given the fullness of time...I would have respected your appreciation as much more credible.

My belief is not that Brands has wasted money as you claim but more so hasn't been used to the best effect in at least consolidating if not improving the strength of the squad."

Is a very fair analysis, actually.

Despite my feverish defense of him, I don't think he's been perfect. I do think he's the least to blame for where we are right now. The only real issue I take with your position is that the majority of the gripe appears to be twofold:
1) He didn't buy/spend wisely.
2) He failed at addressing/acquiring key needs.

#1 I think this can honestly be summarized with you & I simply having a different opinion about how we rate the guys he did sign, yeah?

#2 This appears to be where we go back & forth. I don't disagree with the end result that we can see in black & white. We did not replace Zouma. We did not replace Gana. Those are facts and I cannot (or won't) dispute them. Where I differ is that we really don't know what was attempted, only what the clickbait sites & tabloid back pages reported (which I trust about as much as I do my ability to pick you up and carry over my shoulder).

For all we know, he tried with a great many players/teams and for one reason or another (cost analysis, player/agent willingness to move, etc.). But that sort of thing just isn't reported because unless you're manning the phones with him, it's just that, speculation, you know? I really do think we were a victim of circumstance with regards to the Zouma situation, and with Gana I will concede that we took a calculated risk with Gbamin (that so far hasn't paid out a single dividend) as well as not getting the value for Gana that we should have. Not that they're same position fellas, but I genuinely hope we throw £50m at Doucoure in January.

But there we go, can we settle there? Sort of settle there? Not at all settle there shut up Mark? :-D

This would have been a great pub debate, cheers.

Conor McCourt
46 Posted 29/11/2019 at 20:15:36
That's close enough Mark its probably closer than I expected. Still didn't answer any questions but that ok.
You would make a great politician lol.

Just to clarify I think Iwobi is a good player who could be great if he develops those aspects of his game but not sure he will. Gbamin and Kean I still think can be great players.

To be clear I see Brands work this summer like a cake where he's bought the icing, berries, swirls and decorations but he fucked up the key ingredients and it's flat and collapsed even though it looks pretty. I see him as the instigator of our poor season with Silva the driver

For me his strategy was all wrong he was trying to solve too many areas and instead he solved none. I believe he needed to focus on the backbone of the team and making it stronger e.g. he should never have been looking at Timori as it was never a long term solution and back to square one next summer.

I found his initial work to be methodical and strategic where as this summer was like an episode of Dales Supermarket Sweep. He had from January to solve both areas so really has no excuses.

Mark Guglielmo
47 Posted 29/11/2019 at 20:38:32
Whoops, my bad, Conor. I did mean to and forgot because I'm eating peanut butter & jelly straight off the spoon and it's delicious.

1-Was it clever to sign Delph when we had just signed another injury prone midfielder which is a major factor in the managers reliance on Scneiderlin this season whom he suggested wasn't in his plans in the summer.

Hmmm, 50/50 on that one. Delph was cheap, and I believe brought on as a counter to all the under-25s. A steadying lockeroom guy. Which he probably still us. Just on crutches. Not great, not flat-out awful primarily because of the low investment.

2-Do you not think retaining Jags until the centre back situation was sorted was amateurish?

This one flat-out no. Unless I'm mistaken, Jags was let go on the free as soon as the window opened, wasn't he? He knew he had the final year (maybe he'll come back next year too), and made it pretty clear he'd love to go back to where he began. Again, I can't know this, but I would guess a calculated risk was taken given the amount of time left in the window. It only looks bad in retrospect.

3-If you were Silva would you have been happy with summer recruitment and are we stronger from last season even if Brands wasn't culpable ( being left with 2 unworkable senior centre halfs, main man sold and key areas not strenthened)

Maybe 66-75% happy. Silva made 3 key asks: Zouma (seriously, that's it at CB), a versatile box-to-box CM, and a left-footed wing/forward (it was left, wasn't it?) Maybe it was right, whatever. He didn't get any, though I suspect Iwobi was a cheaper consolation prize to Doucoure, and Kean was a cheaper consolation prize to Zaha. Just guessing but it makes sense as I type it. If Gbamin & Gomes had been fit from the start and remained that way, I'm at 95% in stating we'd be better off than last year. You can't replace Gana as there is no other Gana, which is why I conceded that we should have gotten more (or kept him, which I left unsaid).

David Pearl
48 Posted 29/11/2019 at 20:44:05
Hi Mark,
I’m helping at a goat farm making cheese at a kibbutz. No really, l am. Why? Not sure. And there’s also some coaching kids soccer. Palestinian and Israeli. I think it’s my way of dealing with my midlife crisis. I’m 50 on 1st Jan. I can’t afford a Ferrari. Just wanted to do something different. I’ve had a bad year so running off to hopefully some sunshine. Anyway, I’m sure our form will improve once lm out of the country.

Conor, within our young squad lurks huge potential. That’s the way Brands has gone, we are all impatient. The money these geniuses are on though we should be expectant. Most of this squad are young enough to be around and in their prime when we move into BMD.

Mark Guglielmo
49 Posted 29/11/2019 at 20:47:20
That's so cool, David! Be safe down there.

I'm 47 in February, but I act like I'm 27 so figure my mid-life crisis is still 20+ years off.

Conor McCourt
50 Posted 29/11/2019 at 20:55:37
Mark I should have kept my big mouth shut as for a second our planets aligned.

David potential must be realised. Leicester are a much younger squad whose players deliver week in week out. Compare product between Maddison and Iwobi etc. Look at their spine to ours. Rome wasn't built in a day but it was built lol.

David Pearl
51 Posted 29/11/2019 at 21:04:14
Conor, yeah l agree. Iwobi reminds me a bit of Barkley. It would help them all if our manager was a little bit better. Leicester are growing up fast while ours are stalling... but it is within them. On paper we look like we could be anything.

Mark, well any risk is okay by me. It’s offset by the women and the falafel (in any order). The sunshine, the air. I can take my guitar and just relax.

Mark Guglielmo
52 Posted 30/11/2019 at 14:19:11
Conor, alas, twas such a brief romance.

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