A Fair Assessment of Marcel Brands

A look at the performance and role of Everton's Director of Football as he enters the last 6 months of his 3-year contract

Dylan Joseph 09/12/2020 32comments  |  Jump to last

As has been widely touted in the press, Marcel Brands is entering the last 6 months of his 3-year contract which he signed with Everton to replace the previous Director of Football, Steve Walsh.

The hope from the start was that Brands, an internationally recognised Director of Football with a track record of success in his native Holland, would be a significant upgrade on the misguided and misaligned time under Walsh. After all, Mr Walsh supposedly had the final say on transfers and, if that theory holds true, green-lit some of the worst transfers in the history of Everton Football Club. I could write a few paragraphs on Steve Walsh here, but one line should suffice. Steve was responsible for Sandro, Klaassen, Bolasie and Ashley Williams, for a combined outlay of £72M. Enough said…

On a winning start already, given how glad Evertonians were to see the back of Messers Walsh and Allardyce, we were told that Brands would have input on the next managerial appointment. Only the most gullible of Blues would believe that this is true. Marco Silva was Moshiri’s man and his from the start (in much the same way that Cenk Tosun was) and Brands had no influence over the managerial appointment at the time (more on this topic later).

So Marco Silva arrives and Marcel Brands is tasked with a significant overhaul of what was inherited. And, to be fair, what was inherited was a club with lots of the same players (an example would be wide players: Bolasie, Walcott, Vlasic, Lookman, none of whom had contributed much but no back-up right- or left-back of Premier League quality) and not a lot of proven depth. Williams and Phil Jagielka were still our centre-backs at this point with Mason Holgate used as backup.

So the first summer that Marcel was at the helm saw a dramatic change in personnel. Seven new players came through the doors, including Richarlison, Digne, Gomes, Mina and Bernard with Zouma on loan, it looked on paper like Everton were moving in the right direction. Silva liked to play a 4-2-3-1 formation and, with Richarlison and Bernard flanking Sigurdsson in the No 10 role behind a range of strikers (all of Niasse, Tosun and Calvert-Lewin were used), we looked okay going forward. We still had Idrissa Gana Gueye, who was such an underrated player and putting Gomes next to him looked like a class move. It would be fair to say that most Blues I spoke to thought that we needed another striker and a right-back but that the rest was pretty much there. That season, we finished 8th (ironically our highest finish since Koeman’s first season, when he had inherited Lukaku and Barkley).

Hs first Summer then: spent approx £120M and we went from finishing 8th under Allardyce to finishing 8th under Silva; although the brand of football was much better, the results didn’t reflect that. Moving on to the next season and in the following summer, in comes Jean-Philippe Gbamin to replace Gana who was madly sold to PSG, despite being the anchor upon which our team was built. Fabian Delph too, alongside a World Cup winning right-back in Sidibé, potential superstar Moise Kean and Arsenal cast-off Alex Iwobi.

Being frank, none of the signings in that second summer have worked out yet. Delph was a poor buy with a shocking injury record; Gbamin is a mystery as injury has meant that he has barely kicked a ball for us since he moved; Iwobi has been mostly cold with a few sparks, for example, against Fulham when he was excellent; and Moise Kean has been misused by both Marco Silva and Carlo Ancelotti. Sidibé was another totally mixed bag. Moments of brilliance. Moments of madness. It’s fair to say that Marcel's second summer was not a success as none of the players have had much impact on the team in the way that Digne, Richarlison and Gomes have.

It can’t just be coincidence that a poor summer transfer window resulted in Silva finding himself in the relegation zone and being relieved of his duties before Christmas 2019. Now again, Brands was supposedly involved in the choice of manager. If you look at Brands’s career history, he tends to work with progressive managers who build from the bottom and look to buy younger players to complement the academy prospects that Brands has so much desire to bring through. Carlo Ancelotti does not fit that mould. It screams of Moshiri’s meddling again. And here lies a key point…

What is Brands’s job? And what is his remit? If he is the Director of Football )perations, formerly Director of Football? What does that mean? Does he select the players he wants to bring to the club? Does he select the manager? Does he instill a playing style into the club from junior level up to the first team? Because, if the answer to any of those questions is Yes, then his job has been compromised. He hasn’t picked either manager and he has been told who to buy by both the managers he has worked with.

With Carlo steadying the ship, we finished a poor 11th last season, although it could have been much worse as we were drowning under Silva. So to his thrid summer: in come James, Allan, Doucouré, Olsen and Godfrey. I would say Doucoure and Godfrey were Brands-type signings, although Doucouré at 27 doesn’t fit the age profile. Godfrey could be a superb player and future partner for Holgate at the centre of our defence. (I have little faith in Mina and Keane is now 28.) James and Allan are pure Ancelotti demands. In the same window, we kept hold of Glyfi Sigurdsson, Yannick Bolasie and Cenk Tosun, while letting Moise Kean and Theo Walcott leave on loan.

I don’t understand either of those players being allowed to leave. If Calvert-Lewin picks up an injury or suspension, we are relying on glacially-paced and one-dimensional Tosun up front, and when we need to change it in games in the last 25 minutes, rather than bringing on the blistering pace and trickery of Bolaise or Walcott we have the options of Sigurdsson of Tom Davies!

This, coupled with the fact that in five transfer windows we haven’t been able to identify a successor (or backup) to increasingly injury-prone Seamus Coleman, nor one for Lucas Digne, boggles my mind. Case in point: we currently have four goalkeepers and central midfield options of Sigurdsson, Gomes, Davies, Gbamin, Doucoure, Allan, Baningime for three positions (also including the fact that Alex Iwobi has stated his preference to play in a midfield three), further exacerbating the point that we are (same as when Walsh was in charge) oversubscribed in some departments and woefully inadequate in others.

My other big criticism of Brands is the academy and the pathway through to the first team. We have spent a lot of money on academy and U23 players over the last five years (Lewis Gibson, Nathangelo Markelo, Josh Bowler come in at circa £15M) and yet none seem to have a pathway into the first team. It feels the same with Ellis Simms and latterly Anthony Gordon. Is this because of how the academies and U23 are run or because insufficient thought has gone into how to make them into Premier League players?

Furthermore, what has Brands actually changed? The club is still run by ex-players with coaching badges and friends of Bill Kenwright’s. We are still a family club but one starved of success. The culture hasn’t changed and, despite circa £250M spent on players, I don’t believe we are any better off than we were prior to either Marcel Brands or Steve Walsh. A likeable guy sure; a good negotiator, I believe he is… but has he re-shaped our operation on the path to success?

Of all the players purchased under Brands, can you name more than five you are happy with? Given that over 20 players have come thru the door, to say that Richarlison, Digne, Allan, James and Godfrey look to be solid buys with the jury firmly out on Gbamin, Kean, Iwobi, Mina, Bernard, Doucouré, Delph and the loan of Sidibé isn’t what we had hoped for when he came into our club.

I do wonder if Marcel is trying to face a West Indian pace bowler with one arm tied behind his back and a slightly cracked bat, as it doesn’t seem to me that he is in charge. If he has a philosophy of players between 20 and 24 with potential and backed up by statistical analysis, whilst bringing through academy players, then buying 4-7 first team players every summer who are ‘Premier League Ready’ isn’t going to allow him to achieve that.

I guess what I thought when Brands came in was that we would have an Ajax type model where Eirk Ten Hag works wonders on a fraction of the budget we have and has a team that plays with an identity and verve. But then I guess that idea is built into the DNA of that club, whereas our club is frankly a mess with multiple chefs trying to concoct a winning recipe and instead serving up mediocre fare, sitting after sitting.

So, for me, Brands has been a failure, but I don’t believe the whole blame can be laid at his door. If we want a Director of Football to run the team, as per many continental models, then you do what Manchester City and Sevilla did. You get the right man (Txixi Bergenstein and Monchi respectively) and you leave them alone to do what they know best while you go away and make the money to support the Director of Football and (their) chosen manager.

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Reader Comments (32)

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Derek Thomas
1 Posted 09/12/2020 at 09:00:11
I'm not a big fan of the whole DoF thing at the best of times and Brands hasn't pulled too many rabbits out of hats upto now...not aided by both Koeman and Kenwright bringing in Schniederlin, Siggi and Rooney respectively.

No doubt he will be given an extension on his contract just for continuities sake.
But the next 3 years had better be much better or there won't be another extension

Derek Taylor
2 Posted 09/12/2020 at 11:47:57
It rather looks as though Bill and Mosh are happy to see their DoF as a functionary whose main role with the first team is to negotiate terms within a given framework and keep an eye out for promising youngsters like Bowler and Nkounkou -neither of whom had left much impression on Carlo !

We often read that any manager should not be judged until 'his own team' is in place. If we follow this mantra, Brand's job is to serve the manager in any way Ancelotti dictates, presumably working to a 'required' list of super stars. The old role of Chief Scout springs to mind, indeed, the only difference is that D0Fs earn ten times the salary of Harry Cooke Jnr and his ilk ( Inflation adjusted )

Mark Taylor
3 Posted 09/12/2020 at 13:11:51
This article really needs to be considered in vonjunction with Paul the Esk's on governnance and who actually reports to whom about what. If Brands is not responsible and accountable in the way suggested in this piece, then how can he possible have a position on the board? You might as well put Ancelotti on it and be done with it, with Brands reporting into him.
Joe McMahon
4 Posted 09/12/2020 at 13:20:23
Frightening reading. How not to run a premier league club -Chapter one.
Jerome Shields
5 Posted 09/12/2020 at 13:44:17
I do think his is a fair assessment of the Brands era, though it does fail to mention the Zaha derailment saga in the second transfer window.

I agree with Mark#3 there are serious issues round governance. The strange structure of having a DOF on the Board is a strange one and makes it even more difficult first define Brands' job description, responsibilies and accountablity.

Unese role is another conundrum. Though there has been a lot of reform of the Academies' purpose, initiated by Brands.

Fran Mitchell
6 Posted 09/12/2020 at 14:12:03
I think it is very easy to get into 'football manager mode' when analysing and critiqueing a clubs transfer record. There are many contributing factors - influence of agents, need for signings that 'appease' fans, pulling power, etc.

I think for Everton, we are very much without an identity when it comes to how to build. Brands came with the apparant task of developing that strategy - but like anything in the Premier League, a few defeats and 'long term plans' get scrapped very quickly.

So then we get caught between going for young talent, to then going for proven, developed players.

But we can't attract the best, so we have to go for those that have for some reason fallen short, in the hope they rejuvinate themselves.

Digne, Mina, Gomes, James, Sidibe, Iwobi, Bernard and Delph could all be considered of that ilk. Digne is the only undoubted success, James has his moments and could become a legend - or could become a symbol of our unbalanced team. The rest? Wouldn't be missed and we'd welcome getting our money back.

When it comes to getting young players, we've gone for Godfrey, Richarlison, GBamin, Kean. Richarlison is an undoubted success and will probably double his fee or more should he leave. The rest, well one is still adapting, one we'll probable never know due to injuries, and another a failure, but likely to at least recoup his fee if not still make a profit.

From a business point of view, the young transfers are better as the famous 'resaleable' value, but does not mean a successful Premier League team.

Many people call for the 'Dortmund' model, but I fear that (and I think the money men also think), in the PL, the risk could be too high. The cost of relegation is huge, and any drop towards the bottim 5 will see any 'plan' scrapped in the name of PL safety.

Fact is, we can't attract the best young players, and we can't attract the best established players. So we either pay sky-high wages and hope a mid-range player can develop and improve, or sign mid-level young players and hope they improve beyond expectations (like DCL). However for every Digne, there will be a Sigurdsson, Gomes. For every DCL, there will be 5-10 young players who don't make it.

Saying that, there have been players we should/could have gone for - Bowen, Eze, Maddison who had been screaming for moves from the Championship and for some reason we didn't even try. And Brands could certainly have done better in identifying players to move for. He talks a good game, but we are still a mid-table team, with a mid-table squad.

Robert Tressell
7 Posted 09/12/2020 at 15:48:42
Really good article, thanks Dylan.

Hard to argue we are badly run, but I think that Brands is often thwarted by circumstance and by lack of commitment to a strategy.

Fran. I'm one of the pro-Dortmund type model fraternity. But not because of resale value, I think that particular point seems to be used be detractors who seem determined to miss the point. I disagree that we cannot adopt that model - largely because we already have adopted it (DCL, Holgate, Stones, Lukaku, Deulofeu, Kean, Vlasic, Lookman, Onyekuru, Branthwaite, Nkounkou and Godfrey). Instead of watching dross see out big contracts, we've actually made money on failure (Vlasic, Lookman and Onyekuru) with a potential bonanza coming from the sale of Kean. The only trouble is we've adopted this strategy at the same time as a load of others which really have failed.

I won't labour the point further here - but if of interest there's an article from me last week about how Leipzig have have gone from 3rd tier of German football with squad worth €8.03m to beating Man Utd in the Champions League with a squad worth a bit more than ours (€525m) in just 7 years. This is the period since Moyes left.

Fran Mitchell
8 Posted 09/12/2020 at 16:00:09
For me it isn't about resale value, it's about the viability of the model for the Premier League. I think it is no surprise that the model is a success in Germany. At the end of the day, the lower clubs in the Germany aren't at the level making easier to guarantee an 18/19 year old regular football without any real risk of relagation.

I think we should invest better, but I don't think it is as simple as 'invest in the Dortmund model'. I don't think it would translate to the Premier League.

A team of 18/19 year olds won't qualify for Europe here, they will in germany. So the best 18/19 year old want to go there before making the step to 'Big Clubs' of the Champions League Elite.

I would love us to buy a world class team for 50m, just don't think it's gonna happen.

Frank Wade
9 Posted 09/12/2020 at 17:39:26
Dylan, Interesting piece, many thanks. Football is a very tricky business and circumstances are constantly changing. An incoming player may seem like a bargain but may not turn out as such. Marcel Brands no longer has sole responsibility for selection of players ( maybe he never had ? ) as was proved with Allan and James. His Director of Football role has certainly changed since Carlo was brought in. He will now liaise with the manager on targets. This model can work. Buy some for the future and some PL ready. I do wonder about Carlo's patience with young players. I am assuming he has decided that Gordon and Nkounkou are not to be trusted.

There are a lot of unknowns. Sandro was a no-brainer transfer, cheap and on the back of a stellar season with Malaga - No one, not even on TW cried foul at the time. Moise Kean seemed like a bargain, but he turned out to be unsuited to the Premier League for whatever reason. He seems to lack awareness and confidence - agree with Carlo on that one.

To quote from your Post an Ajax type model where Eirk Ten Hag works wonders on a fraction of the budget we have and has a team that plays with an identify and verve. Davy Klaessen suits this team playing with identity and verve, yet is regarded as a Brands failure. Ajax played at Anfield last week, losing narrowly and the rookie Liverpool keeper was Man of the Match, with Klaessen playing a key role.

Chemistry, management style, team tactics and player confidence are key components. Some transfers work and others don't. Some players are deemed a success by some and not by others. Gana's primary role was as a ball winning midfielder, a role in which he excelled and was one of the League leaders. Best ball winner I have ever seen in a blue shirt. Many on this site moaned about his lack of passing range, but he was as good as anyone else we had and is sorely missed now.

James Primark
10 Posted 09/12/2020 at 19:49:40
Great piece, Dylan.

Brands has been hamstrung to some degree during his time here. I think Moshiri just seems to want a Director of Football to negotiate transfers. Moshiri was dead set on bringing Koeman in even before a DOF appointment (I wonder if that's why it was a struggle to appoint a DOF considering what we now know of Koeman's personality!) Walsh, when appointed, seemed subservient to Koeman.

Silva was already lined by the time of Brands's appointment and we did not hear of any other candidates interviewed. After Silva's sacking, candidates seem to have been randomly cobbled together by Moshiri and Kenwright. Moshiri said we needed an experienced manager to meet expectations, seemingly going against the strategy started with Brands's appointment.

Hard to achieve anything substantial with the first team with no consistent strategy. Moshiri gives off the vibes of a rich bored guy looking for excitement and that does not lend itself to careful strategy. It makes you wonder why Brands has been okay without having a wider remit. Is the money and exposure of the Premier League enough for him?

Don Alexander
11 Posted 09/12/2020 at 20:11:24
Meddling from the top-brass, ineptitude from the top-brass, stagnation as a Premier League club since its inception.

Are we talking about Everton and, if so, which person has been at the top-brass table throughout, now, according to the owner, with a newly enhanced role there?

Robert Tressell
12 Posted 09/12/2020 at 20:34:43
Fran, my question to you then is what strategy do you think we should adopt? Because we are a good example of a failed strategy.

There are 6 significantly better squads above us, and each club in that category has at least as big a budget. So, with our inferior squad and modest budget, how do we catch up?

By the way, I'm not proposing that we play 18/19 year olds. I'm proposing we buy 18 to 21 year olds and ready them gently for the first team. This will involve loans and careful introduction to the first team football.

This sounds arsey but it's not supposed to be. I'm doing a virtual beer tasting and it's removed my powers of articulation.

Christy Ring
13 Posted 09/12/2020 at 21:38:09
A very fair assessment. Our squad is top-heavy in midfield, with little pace, and no back-up for Coleman and Digne at full-back. I said it myself, how did we keep Sigurdsson, Tosun and the injury-prone Delph, who was another shocking buy, and loan out Kean and Walcott?

Also to pursue Zaha, and then spend about 㿊M+ on Iwobi on the last day of the window, was a panic buy by Brands, considering we were also pursuing Bowen at Hull, a natural winger, who joined Moyes later for 㿀M.

In my opinion, he hasn't been a success. Richarlison, probably our best signing, was down to Silva.

Paul Hewitt
14 Posted 09/12/2020 at 22:08:37
If you want to blame someone for how crap this club is, look no further than Moshiri. How he made his billions is beyond me.
Michael Kenrick
15 Posted 09/12/2020 at 22:36:25
Fair and balanced... like they say on Fox News.

But no mention of Branthwaite, Nkounkou? Mind you Carlo seems to have forgotten about them too, so you're in good company!

Jay Harris
16 Posted 09/12/2020 at 23:23:49
Very good summation of our club, Dylan.

I use the expression "Too many cooks spoil the broth" and that applies to directors, Chairmen/Owners and the succession of different managers all with very different philosophies and backgrounds. Is it any wonder that the club is drifting.

Rather than Dortmund I would look at the Wolves or Leicester models. They all sing the same song from top to bottom and the owners are all at one with the manager. They play in a consistent way and recruit players (on the cheap) that fit their profile.

The real success in recruiting top class footballers is not with a Director of Football, it is with the scouts at grass roots level who work every day to find the best young talent out there. All a manager or DOF does is rubber stamp the scouts report.

I get the feeling Moshiri only appointed Brands to the board as his balancing act with Black Bill and he is not 100% behind Brands right now. Other than that, if you are as rich as Man Utd, you pay 䀅 million plus per player to buy a team and, as we can see, even that is no guarantee of success.

Chelsea started the adventure of getting all the best young talent years ago and then loaned them out to other clubs. I think they had as many as 40 young players out on loan a couple of seasons ago.

We need only look back at Sir Alex Ferguson's version of the "Busby Babes" which was the last top class success Man Utd had.

We need a period of sustained consistency and the patience to wait up to 5 years to see it bear fruit because there is no doubt the plan is not working right now.

Bill Gall
17 Posted 09/12/2020 at 00:20:26
I do not believe in following the systems that a number of teams on the continent follow. The same names in the Dutch, Spanish, German and Italian leagues seem to crop up as League Champions or in the European Cups. This shows that these leagues are weak. We need a system to be developed for the Premier League.

Ferguson started it off with his Busby Babes and was just lucky enough to have a talented squad of youngsters. After getting their success, they just started to buy the best players and continued to be the best in Europe. Other teams started to get extremely rich owners to buy top players and started to catch up and overtake Man Utd.

What Ferguson got at Man Utd was continuity in his job as manager; since he has left, Man Utd are just one of the top 6 in the Premier League who can't get stability, as they chop and change their managers, as they expect instant success.

You have to have stability to be successful and, for a long time, Everton have not had it. Now we have an owner who is willing to back us, we are behaving the same as Man Utd in chopping and changing managers. It took a long time and money for Chelsea, Man City, Arsenal and the rest of the top 6/7 to start winning the leagues and cups but the foundation had to be built.

Everton are starting to build the foundation with the Director of Football, who works with the manager, and yes not all players he has bought have been the best, but he was pushing for these players who the manager recommends, or letting the manager be aware of other young players who will be able to adapt to the manager's philosophy.

Teams that get mentioned – Wolves, Leeds, Liverpool – all have managers who have been their managers for 3 or 4 or more years building a team and a squad. With Ancelotti, Brands has a manager who is aware of what he needs to stabilize the club and his philosophy for players he will need for the future.

Robert Tressell
18 Posted 10/12/2020 at 07:20:34
Jay. The Wolves / Leicester model is very much along the lines of the Dortmund / Leipzig model.

Wolves, having assembled a quality side through close connection with agents, are now buying expensive top class youth like Ait Nouri and Fabio Silva and local cheap youth like Matheson. They needed players like Jiminez, Boly and Moutinho to get them settled but still bought in the likes of Vinagre, Neves and Traore. Leicester have been buying the likes of Benkovic, Tielemans, James, Soyuncu, Maddison, Gray, Kapustka etc for some time.

The sorts of players we would buy in the German type model would include the likes of McNeil, Cantwell, Aarons, Olise etc not just highly rated foreign talent like Veron and Hlozek.

It is basically a model designed to guard against the accumulation of deadwood.

Kevin Prytherch
19 Posted 10/12/2020 at 07:58:25
I think that, until this season, Brands had been poor. Other than Digne, (Richarlison was Silva's) he hadn't really had success. I think he was like a kid in a sweet shop for the first couple of years, abandoning his former principles and blowing money because he now had it. Big money deals for Iwobi and Mina haven't worked out; ٦M for Delph was ridiculous, and the wages that these players were on (Bernard our highest earner) dwarfed anything else at the club.

However, I believe that he turned a corner this season. Branthwaite and Nkounkou are the type of players I expected, Godfrey is an investment, and the way he played hardball with Allan, Doucouré and Rodriguez (on a free?) was excellent. I think his hand was forced due to the current finances; however, it has forced him to go back to his principles.

I am more enthused going forward now than his first two seasons.I now hope he stays.

Craig Walker
20 Posted 10/12/2020 at 12:40:37
Good article, Dylan. Thanks for posting.

The jury is still out on Brands for me. He seems good at the PR – the way he treated Moise Kean's mum springs to mind – but his transfer dealings are patchy at best.

Two of the best signings of recent years have been Allan and James and both of these are purely down to the pulling-power of Ancelotti.

It doesn't bear dwelling on what a wasted opportunity the last few seasons have been. When you look what the RS paid for Salah, Mane, Jiota, Milner, Robertson and what we spent on the likes of Sigurdsson, Klaassen, Bolasie, Walcott, Tosun, Pickford etc. For years, we were crying out for investment and we've blown the best chance we've had of bridging the gap since we messed up the Kings Dock.

I hoped Marcel would recruit players that meant we had a distinct playing style but I still don't know what brand of football we're trying to play. It is still too pedestrian and vulnerable at the back.

I'd like to see Ancelotti given a few more transfer windows before he is judged. I'm questioning whether we need Brands though.

Phill Thompson
21 Posted 10/12/2020 at 13:42:34
That's a good article.

I would point out though that Gibson, Bowler and Markelo cost nothing like 㾻 mill, my estimate over the years is about ٢ mill initial fees for all three and, as none have made the first team, I doubt of it's been much in terms of add-ons. And of course all three were bought before Brands arrived, so nothing to do with him.

I would agree that the path for our youngsters is not a clear one; again, this existed pre-Brands and still does. The most frustrating example for me was Gibson who looked promising at left-back for England youth, yet we played right-back Cucu Martina there when Baines was injured a few years ago. If he really was/is that bad that he can't be developed, he should have been sold.

But those issues are largely down to the manager, who should be the one developing them from U23 standard to first team standard. If we were constantly playing in Europe or close to winning trophies I could understand not wanting to disrupt a winning, experienced team and a reluctance to develop and play youngsters.

So far this season, Brands has done exactly as I'd hoped: rearranged the structure below the first team and bought in four young players in Godfrey, Branthwaite, Nkounkou and Seedy Jagne for a total cost of about 㿂 mill with the first three starting first team games already. Only time will tell if this is successful, so let's give him that time.

Finally, Mounchi is mentioned, as a successful DoF. Shockingly, he played for Sevilla, has spent most of his days at the club, and was given about 5 years to implement his plans. Maybe there are lessons we can learn from Monchi re ex-players being involved and giving DoFs time.

Kieran Kinsella
22 Posted 10/12/2020 at 15:34:09
Echo claim brands is in for Ali Daie. Isn't that the name of George Weahs “cousin” who played for Soton?
Patrick McFarlane
23 Posted 10/12/2020 at 15:46:14
Kieran #22
I don't believe he is the guy who Souness had at Southampton, but rather an Iranian goalscoring legend who is retired and owns a football kit manufacturers and was the manager of Iran circa a decade ago. Why he is linked with Everton FC or what capacity he is likely to employed in, is a complete mystery to me.

Ali Dael

Brian Williams
24 Posted 10/12/2020 at 15:57:40
Kieran I believe that story stems from a misheard conversation by a visiting journalist (use that term loosely) to FF.
What Brands actually said in response to the question "How long are you in for?"

"I'm in all day."

Sam Hoare
25 Posted 10/12/2020 at 16:14:27
Fran M, I take your point about the standard and hence risk being higher for us in the PL than Dortmund in the Bundesliga but lets not forget that Dortmund have done well in Europe at times too.

Also there's is not a "A team of 18/19 year olds"; they have a well chosen bunch of pros like Witsel, Delaney, Can, Hummels, Reus etc to marshall the youngsters.

As Robert T says it is a model that Wolves and Leciester have tried to emulate. And with some success.

I think our biggest problem has been that the recruitmen of those senior professionals has not been good enough. The likes of Sigurdsson, Rooney, Bolasie, Delph, Gomes, Doucore, Allan, Tosun, Walcott have all come in during their late 20's or beyond on big wages or for big fees and almost all of them have failed to really make a notable impact (so far). All of them have or will be sold for a loss as well which of course does not help us moving forward.

I was excited about Brands. He seems like a smart guy, he certainly carries himself well and his record in Holland was pretty impressive.

Whilst he was certainly an improvement on Walsh (who did terrible damage to us in his era) he has still bought his fair share of duds. Perhaps that is due to bad judgement or perhaps that is due to his hands being tied by governance structrures. Either way I struggle to look at any transfer window that we've had where i've felt truly optimistic about the business we've done. A big part of that may be constantly changing managers. Its hard for a DOF to find the right balance in the playing staff when the manager and his style and needs keeps changing. Though a top notch DOf (with according power) would ideally recruit a consistent style of manager to suit the players acquired rather than vice versa.

Tom Harvey
26 Posted 10/12/2020 at 17:26:36
Hello Dylan,

Excellent article, you've seen right through that shiny blue veneer that the new corporate EFC faces the world with.

There's not whole lot I can add other than to say I wish I'd written it!

Being on the subject of DOFs and Brand in particular I'll add a few thoughts.

Firstly, money! money! money! Brands would have been offered a hell of a lot more to come to us than stay in the land of windmills, this would have softened any blows he may have taken concerning professional pride in any encroachment of his duties with us, that he may have had full control of at his previous club.

I feel his duties were made clear to him at the beginning.

Brands if he is anything, he's a pro and he seems quite savvy to me, that being said, I can appreciate his train of thought at his interview for EFC. He's thinking I'll take the money and run and if this goes sour because they're encroaching on my duties, I'll keep quiet and when interviewed for my next club, I'll tell the truth. EFC took my powers away and I could only play a bit part, just look at my marvelous achievements at PSV, that's the real me!

And he's right, there's no reason he shouldn't leave us with reputation intact and a nice new club. He couldn't lose when he joined us and he knew it!

I'm putting a greater % of the blame at Moshiri's feet for not allowing the DOF to do his job. Just like Walcott on the pitch, Brands was there but never really turned up.

Christy Ring
27 Posted 10/12/2020 at 18:11:10
Tom #26,

How is Moshiri to blame for Brands not being allowed to do his job? All Moshiri did was give him the money to spend; he didn't buy players like Mina, Delph, Iwobi, Bernard & Co – Brands did.

Tom Harvey
28 Posted 10/12/2020 at 19:43:25
Hello Christy,

You've only mentioned the players that didn't work out for us, to balance your list I'll include some that did or are looking good to succeed: Digne, Richarlison, Branthwaite, Nkounkou, Godfrey.

It's the like of the last three players that this club should be building success on. All Directors of Football make good and bad choices.

Bernard it's often forgotten was a freebie and will be sold on for a fee, good business and I don't regard him as a failure, we can't lose on him.

As for Moshiri's blame, I've said I agree with the article. It might be worth reading again in case you've missed something.

The other three in your list, Brands got wrong; poor judgement.

Christy Ring
29 Posted 10/12/2020 at 22:21:46
Hi Tom,

I don't disagree with you, he brought in some good young players, and got rid of a lot of dead wood. I personally like Bernard, and disappointed that Carlo hasn't given him more game time, especially in Sigurdsson's role, but I can't see us getting a fee for him.

Okay, he got him on a free, but his salary is 𧴰k a week, I think they'll just be glad to get him off the books.

I'm old school and believe the manager is No 1 and gives the DOF the list of players he wants, and he then negotiates the deals, and the DOF recruits the young players.

Tom Harvey
30 Posted 10/12/2020 at 22:47:15
Christy @ 29

When you compare Ancelotti to Brands, Ancelotti has played in one of the greatest team ever and won all there is to win as a player. Ancelotti as manager has won all there is at the biggest clubs and Brands has not. It's logical anyone would choose Ancelotti to have the final say.

The thing is though, DOFs are paid to take a view that puts the club's long-term prospects first and managers live in the here and now. In the modern game, it's not the done thing anymore to allow a manager to write his own cheques now when he might not be here next week?

It would certainly be nice to know who's actually in control at EFC; I wouldn't be surprised if it was the tea lady.

I do think Bernard has shown enough to get a few £M back on him. It would surprise me if there wasn't a German club or two having a look at him. Their league is a step down in the physical aspects and pace; he'd do well there.

Don Alexander
31 Posted 10/12/2020 at 23:51:10
I suspect that Marcel Brands, a football "pro" with decades of experience, just like so many experienced players who by their (un)enterprise on the pitch quickly "gave up", happy to see out their exorbitant contracts, quickly realised that our basket-case leadership, Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum, to whom he was answerable, were wholly inadequate in the world of professional football.

So what's a "pro" to do?

Sit back I suggest, take it easy, see out your exorbitant contract and, when contract renewal comes around, just see if the gruesome twosome are stupid enough to re-employ you.

If they don't you'll likely get a contract elsewhere and, given that European agents and players probably equate us with the likes of Ossasuna, Atalanta, Twente Enschede and other also-rans, you might just be able to improve your career prospects a la Klaassen and Lookman.

Fans aside, who in our club is worried about their futures?

Derek Thomas
32 Posted 11/12/2020 at 00:17:09
Tom @ 26; nail - head mate.

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