Moshiri’s Big Gamble

His prior association with Liverpool and diminished reputation mean the appointment of Rafael Benitez is fraught with difficulty and he will have very little margin for error with many Everton fans. It's either a hugely courageous or tone-deaf decision by Farhad Moshiri that could be mad enough to work or go the same way as his last four managerial appointments

Lyndon Lloyd 30/06/2021 125comments  |  Jump to last

If someone had said back in February 2016 that Everton’s long-awaited billionaire owner was about to materialise, the club would have diggers at a stadium site in five years’ time, the team would one day feature none other than James Rodriguez on the right side of his 29th birthday, it would be managed in that time by Sam Allardyce and Carlo Ancelotti, but it would all culminate in Rafael Benitez taking the helm, you would wonder what kind of fresh dysfunction had taken hold at Goodison Park.

Yet here we are. Benitez will make history by becoming the first man since the 1890s to manage both Everton and Liverpool, bringing with him all his baggage from Anfield, which includes a significant degree of reverence from the Reds’ faithful and the not-insignificant legacy of an apparently disparaging comment aimed at the Blue half of the city following a goalless Merseyside derby almost a decade and a half ago.

It brings to an end weeks of speculation over who would succeed Ancelotti after the Italian walked out on Everton just 18 months into a 4½-year term to re-take the reins at Real Madrid having failed, in fairly alarming fashion, to capitalise on a gilt-edged opportunity to take the Toffees back into Europe. His departure, the tortuous football he inflicted on supporters during a miserable period of pandemic-enforced lockdowns and empty stadiums, and the limbo created at the club, have all left the fanbase a little bruised, let down but, perhaps more than anything, also yearning for a renewal of an “Everton” identity.

Here was the chance to reset and finally put the club’s energy behind both Marcel Brands and a model of building something sustainable with younger players and a more youthful, up-and-coming, hungry manager who could work in tandem with the Director of Football to attract the right profile of players and bring academy prospects through. If it felt as though Ancelotti’s gravitas meant that Brands’s plan had to be temporarily shelved in favour of older players capable of making an instant impact, the close season offered Farhad Moshiri and the rest of the Everton Board of Directors time to bring in a head coach more suited to the over-arching vision.

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The huge sense of disappointment at the route Everton have taken was a big part of the reaction to the suggestions that Benitez was the chosen successor. Benitez isn’t young, he doesn’t have a reputation for being very progressive, and there’s an inescapable feeling that this will be another stop-gap appointment. But, just as Tottenham have learned following their decision to sack Jose Mourinho, Everton have been left in the lurch at an extremely inopportune time. The pool of available managers from which to choose has been depressingly small and, despite the salary that was reputed to have been thrown at Ancelotti and its membership of the Premier League, arguably the most popular in the world, the club is probably a hard sell given the instability that has characterised the past eight years at Goodison Park.

For his work at Saint-Étienne and in guiding Lille to the League 1 title, Christophe Galtier quickly became a favourite among Evertonians but, while media reports have alluded to him being on the shortlist, it’s not known for sure whether he was actually approached or whether he turned the Blues down, either because of a verbal agreement to join Nice or because the Goodison job didn’t appeal. Erik Ten Haag was an attractive option but has, it seems, committed his immediate future to Ajax. Antonio Conte was mooted but unrealistic; Graham Potter was also mentioned but it might have entailed an expensive battle to pry him away from a long contract at Brighton.

That left the likes of Nuno Espirito Santo (who appeared at one stage to be hours away from being unveiled as Ancelotti’s successor), Eddie Howe, Roberto Martinez, Frank Lampard and Duncan Ferguson as varyingly unsatisfying options alongside more promising choices like Paulo Fonseca (considered for the role at the time Marco Silva was appointed) and Ralf Rangnick (who was interviewed in 2013 but was discarded in favour of Martinez), neither of whom, it seems, were really ever serious contenders.

That Moshiri has plumped for Benitez appears to be down to the lack of suitable candidates, the Spaniard’s availability, his success from 15 years ago and before, his Premier League experience, and his proximity to Liverpool — he has maintained a residence on the Wirral since leaving Anfield in 2010. If it feels all very safe and convenient, maybe that’s the point after the turmoil of five managers in as many years. But supporter reaction to Benitez means that this will be anything other than an easy appointment.

Indeed, in railroading through perhaps the only manager to rival Allardyce in the unpalatability stakes for Everton fans, and in the face of demonstrated — and increasingly sinister — opposition, Moshiri is either displaying significant testicular fortitude and conviction, worrying desperation and blind faith in his choice to coach his team, or a staggering tone-deafness bordering on, if not preposterous, then at least questionable arrogance. Not for nothing did one local source describe it to The Independent recently as perhaps the biggest gamble in Merseyside football history.

Yesterday’s – Not Today's or Tomorrow’s – Man?

The Everton-Liverpool rivalry runs very deep and there is no question that, despite the familial and community ties that bind Blues and Reds together, not to mention the brotherhood forged after Hillsborough, it’s one that has become embittered over the course of the 21st Century so far. There’s a case to be made that Rafael Benitez, with his infamous “small club” comment — more on that later — played some part in fostering that animosity but, in general, the “friendly derby” isn’t as cordial as it once was (not that it ever truly was… but at no other fiercely-contested local grudge match do opposition supporters mix so readily in the stands).

Nevertheless, had Moshiri appointed Brendan Rodgers, a manager with an established Premier League pedigree built on a number of top-five finishes and demonstrated ability beyond his achievements in an inferior league with Celtic, there would be a much smaller issue with hiring an ex-Liverpool manager to the Everton post. It helps, of course, that Rodgers didn’t ever win anything at Anfield; Benitez’s Champions League success left an indelible mark on the Reds’ history and he will, therefore, forever have a prominent place in their history.

So, had the purely footballing case been sound enough, the new manager’s past allegiances would be far less of an issue, perhaps vanishingly so. What makes this decision more controversial, however, is that, while he isn’t at all a bad manager, taken at face value, Benitez ticks very few of the necessary boxes for the situation in which Everton currently find themselves.

Again, he does not have youth on his side, his last major European trophy was eight years ago, he doesn’t have a reputation for playing expansive, attractive football, his performance at Newcastle was middling at best, and he has a history of ruffling feathers with the decision-makers at the various clubs he has managed. His arrival immediately prompts questions over how he will interact and mesh with Brands, particularly as Benitez is said to be very particular about having heavy involvement in recruitment decisions.

There are plenty of Blues looking at the current Everton squad and doubting that a manager who wasn’t able to push a mediocre Newcastle side into the top half of the Premier League will be able to get much more of a tune out of the personnel at Finch Farm than his predecessors did. It’s a situation that appears to demand an energetic, inspirational coach with a dedicated system and way of playing rather than simply one with a preference for defensive solidity over attacking dynamism.

But, as has been argued in this column more than once since Ancelotti cut and run, the key to Everton’s immediate progress lies less with the manager than it does in recruitment — simply, the acquisition of players capable of making a genuine and lasting impact on the squad to elevate it above the mediocrity that has come to define the Blues for far too long. Get the recruitment right and the task for the new man is immediately more favourable; indeed, it could completely transform the task at hand.

Even without a successful close-season that addresses some shortcomings in key areas, though, Benitez appears to offer a steady hand at the tiller. At the very least, he is a highly competent coach and tactician who is reputed to be obsessed with football in a way that Roberto Martinez and Marco Silva were – and Ronald Koeman and, perhaps to an extent, Ancelotti were not. His most recent job in a top-level league was one that was always hampered by the instability of the Mike Ashley regime and recruitment that ensured the Newcastle squad was weighed down by bang-average personnel.

Looking at it through an even more optimistic lens, there are plenty of people in the game who regard Benitez, who has helmed some of Europe’s biggest clubs, as an excellent manager with a drive to succeed that will see him pour all his energy into the Everton project in ways that Koeman, for example, wasn’t ever going to. Not an arm-around-the-shoulder man-manager in the Ancelotti mould, the 61-year-old from Madrid is more of a my-way-or-the-highway character who could be what a few in the current squad need to get back on track.

There’s also something about this decision that means it could be mad enough to work. Everton have hired a smooth-talking Catalan, a well-respected Dutchman, a supposedly up-and-coming “new Mourinho”, and one of the most decorated coaches in the game – and they have all failed. Sometimes things just click and there has to be a lot about how Benitez interviewed and what plans he outlined to Moshiri et al that has convinced them to push through this decision despite unprecedented resistance. And there is something admirable about a man, who has done plenty of good for the city of Liverpool away from football, still wanting to manage our club in the face of such vocal opposition.

Forever Stained Red?

As much as many fans’ concerns have been couched in terms of his fading credentials and current image as “yesterday’s man”, it’s Benitez’s association with Liverpool FC that is ultimately what sticks in the craw of those Evertonians most vociferously opposed to his appointment as Blues boss. That he was the man to guide the Reds to Champions League glory over Ancelotti’s AC Milan in one of the most dramatic comebacks in the history of the competition means that he will always have a place in Liverpool hearts.

That would, of course, be a stumbling block for many Blues but, while there have been former Liverpool players like Peter Beardsley and Gary Ablett who crossed the Park to play in Royal Blue and were welcomed, Benitez’s post-match interview following a goalless draw in the 2007 Anfield derby, in which he referred to Everton as a “small club”, has never been forgotten, even though he has tried to clarify it in recent years. And it’s that perceived lack of respect that is what chiefly lies behind the backlash. Some, this writer included, are prepared to overlook it, either because it was a partisan quip or was simply lost in translation.

Benitez claims that he was inferring that Everton, who, under David Moyes that day, employed a defensive posture chiefly aimed at avoiding defeat, had played like a small team – as opposed to implying that Everton itself was a small club. In an example of supreme irony, however, it could be argued that, in hiring a man whose last two jobs were at struggling Newcastle (a gig that included a stint in the Championship) and in the footballing backwater of the faltering Chinese league, Everton are behaving very much like a small club rather than one aiming for the Champions League.

Moshiri and the Board — how much of the Board is not clear; reporting from Paul Joyce in The Times, for example, suggests that Benitez does not enjoy universal support among the hierarchy — clearly see it very differently; they see the one-time Real Madrid, Chelsea and Napoli boss as the man to finally lead the Toffees into Europe’s elite competition.

It is, nonetheless, an appointment fraught with difficulty from the outset, with Benitez beginning his tenure behind the proverbial eight-ball with very little margin for error. Everything negative in terms of performances or results is going to be amplified tenfold by fans. In many ways, Everton’s relatively kind run of fixtures to start the 2021-22 season reduces that margin even further; he has to make a strong start in his quest to win over the apathetic, the skeptics and, hopefully, the staunchly opposed – otherwise, Goodison is going to be a very uncomfortable place. There is no question, also, that this season’s Merseyside derbies will provide Reds fans with an irresistible opportunity to rub Evertonian noses in it, particularly if the results go their way; the “Agent Rafa” banners might already be written.

And therein lies the massive gamble of Moshiri pushing through the selection of Benitez as manager. The Spaniard himself is known to be thick-skinned and he famously endured a rough ride from Chelsea’s supporters to deliver them the Europa League trophy before departing after just one season in charge. But while he may be able to shrug off a toxic atmosphere, the players, many of whom have been criticised for their weak mentality and who showed last season just how much they need a supportive crowd to enable them to perform at home, might not be able to.

In that respect, it’ll be incumbent on Evertonians to back the new man and the team when the new season starts, irrespective of their misgivings over his appointment. A disgruntled atmosphere will do nobody any good; it would be cutting off our collective nose to spite our face. Better to save it for the I-told-you-sos and your ire at the Board rather than scupper our chances of making progress on the pitch this coming season.

That might be wishful thinking and what is already a difficult assignment as it is without the added complication of supporter angst will be a supreme test of Benitez’s managerial and coaching ability. Ultimately, it’ll come down to what he can do once he has the group at Finch Farm where he can instil in the players the right mindset, convince them to shut out the noise, and show them he can take them where they want to go as a team.

The squad, when the current first-choice XI is fit, is better than it looked for much of last season, especially at home, and with the right additions (and a quality replacement for James Rodriguez who even though he was managed by Benitez at Real sadly looks destined to leave this summer) there is plenty of scope for Benitez to do better than his predecessor.

If he is able to do that, to bring winning, more entertaining football to Goodison Park, help Brands bring in some exciting players, show clear progress and finish in the European spots, why on earth would any Blue wish to hold on to a grudge forged 15 years ago in what feels like was another lifetime? If — please, God! — he manages to land us a trophy, he will have succeeded where seven different manages have failed over the course of what will be approaching three decades. Achieve that — a very different kind of “Everton, that” — and Benitez will have earned our support, our respect, and his unique place in Merseyside football history.

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Reader Comments (125)

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Jack Convery
1 Posted 30/06/2021 at 14:57:55
Well at least we all know now, that Moshiri aka Usmanov does not get Everton after all.

The new stadium should be built on a Pier and not on a historic dock. A Variety Theatre is what we have become. The irony will be if Kenwright is really pissed off about Benitez's appointment.

Howard Don
2 Posted 30/06/2021 at 15:00:04
Why on earth would any Blue wish to hold on to a grudge forged 15 years ago in what feels like was another lifetime?”

Exactly, Lyndon – as you say, had Brendan Rogers been appointed as manager, it wouldn't have resulted in all this furore and the only difference is one throwaway, post-match comment from before some younger fans were born. The man wouldn't have been my first choice, but he's a good manager and he's going to be managing Everton, so he gets my support.

Marvin Tiebout
3 Posted 30/06/2021 at 15:08:26
Nail on the head Rafa thing has me arguing with myself.

1 min: I’m like nah not for me, recent record isn’t what you would call great.

Next min: I’m like but he must really think he can build & win something. As he certainly won’t be doing it for the money. Plus I imagine his Ego would love the boost of bringing us back success.

At the end of the day, I just want a successful Everton. If Rafa can bring us those days again. Then I’m behind him 100%., Plus if he did turn us around I can think of nothing better than him holding a Trophy saying “once Everton has touched you, nothing will be the same”.

Jimmy Hogan
4 Posted 30/06/2021 at 15:33:18
I was at Goodison Park one Saturday when we played Newcastle managed by Benitez. It was so depressingly boring that I can't even remember the result, but I do remember thinking how negative Newcastle were.

This feels like an Usmanov/Moshiri appointment. Not exactly panic, but with a desire to get someone in place before pre-season preparations begin. As Lyndon says, it's such a wrong choice in every way, it might just work.

Brent Stephens
8 Posted 30/06/2021 at 15:39:56
So Duncan stays. And thankfully not appointed as manager.
Bill Fairfield
9 Posted 30/06/2021 at 15:42:13
It's a massive gamble by Moshiri, but one I hope will work out for a change.

The deal's done now, so everyone needs to be positive and get behind the team.

Frank Crewe
10 Posted 30/06/2021 at 15:49:57
Every time a new manager is appointed it's a gamble whoever it is. Not to mention it's a gamble Everton keep losing. We have had up and coming managers like Martinez and Silva, experienced managers like Fat Sam and won everything managers like Ancelotti. Yet we are no nearer to success than we were under Moyes eight years ago. If anything we appear to have slipped further away despite spending money like water. Maybe Rafa can find the vital spark the others couldn't. Who knows? Only time will tell. All we can do is cross our fingers and hope for the best.
Francis Munoz
11 Posted 30/06/2021 at 15:51:54
Well, well what do you know... El camarero espanol gordissimo gets to manage EFC!

All of you complaining will have to get on with it. Get behind 'El Gordo'... give him a chance and see how it turns out.

He's a professional in a sport that has a partisan crowd that sees him as a 'Red' – he's not... he's a manager for whatever team he is employed by.

Just be thankful it's not Big Sam again. It will be interesting to see where Big Dunc fits into the plot: assistant or gone? Nil Satis and always optimism.

Minik Hansen
12 Posted 30/06/2021 at 15:54:04
Better have that transfer money, incomings and outgoings right, not to mention a good start to and a stable upcoming season. COYB.
Mike Gaynes
13 Posted 30/06/2021 at 15:57:52
Good, thoughtful piece, Lyndon. Seems like you've been working on it for days. Thank you.
Michael Barrett
14 Posted 30/06/2021 at 16:01:10
Duncan's just an arse licker he will work for anyone who will keep him in work.
Jack Convery
15 Posted 30/06/2021 at 16:04:39
Its officially official. Surprise Surprise !!!!

Agree with Mike, a very thoughtful and insightful piece Lyndon.

Jack Convery
16 Posted 30/06/2021 at 16:06:20
By the way folks. Does anyone know who is behind the Goodison website.
Jay Harris
17 Posted 30/06/2021 at 16:17:49
Very good summation of the situation Lyndon.

Personally speaking I am over the "Benitez" conversation and am just waiting for the success or failure of this appointment to hit home not only on the pitch but also in the boardroom.

The only positive about this appointment I see is that Moshiri is sending out a message that it is HIS trainset.

James Flynn
18 Posted 30/06/2021 at 16:18:16
If he can wring out the 7-8 more points that get us back into Europe, it'll be a start.

But Rafa or any, we need to get in some talent this window.

Dave Abrahams
19 Posted 30/06/2021 at 16:25:12
Great post, as usual Lyndon, all the pros and cons of a manager not wanted by a big majority of the fans on here, but given the nod by many as well, let’s hope the outcome is a happy one for all of us.
Jack Convery
20 Posted 30/06/2021 at 16:28:49
Here's one for the Street End:

"Oh Rafa's our Gaffa" – to the tune used for that not so world class Belgian, Kevin Mirrallas.

I know – I'll get me coat.

Peter Mills
21 Posted 30/06/2021 at 16:30:21
“Grant me the courage to change the things I can change.
The serenity to accept those things I cannot change.
And the wisdom to know the difference”.

He’s here now, we need to get behind the new manager, give him a chance and see what he can do.

Alan McMillan
22 Posted 30/06/2021 at 16:48:42
If he is the best candidate for the job, then the club have clearly been interviewing the wrong people.

Just watched his first interview, full of soundbites, cliches. Almost cringeworthy.

I think we have made a huge mistake. I hope he proves me wrong.

Rick Tarleton
23 Posted 30/06/2021 at 16:59:31
Like everyone else, I'm not totally enamoured of Benitez because of his past associations and his rude and crass comment, but I could accept that if he was Jurgen Klopp and at the top of his game. He isn't; it's a generation since he was at the top of his game.
And even when he was at the top of his game he was of that breed, popular in the noughties, like Mourinho, Allardyce and our own Moyes, who were even at their best, cautious and ultra defensive in their style.
Football has moved on Guardiola, Klopp et alia have transformed the attacking emphasis and such a style looks boring and old-fasioned, even if it has been espoused by Southgate.
Like Ancelotti, he seems like yesterday's man, appointed at the wrong time and with the added baggage of his past remarks and associations.
We may move up to ninth next season or slip to twelfth, but don't expect Europa League or dream of Champions' League.
Dale Self
24 Posted 30/06/2021 at 17:01:03
Fair enough but it would be nice to see some treatment of the Board/Mgt fiasco that created the ash pile for Rafa to rise from. This 'it's so wrong it might work' is not convincing and rather inappropriate. I'll give you that his residence and other ties to the city give some comfort but it is not obvious that he too knows how to operate with shaky-handed owner types and is set up nicely for the next Euro owner-manager mating season. Our owners are getting off easier than the Septic Six if you think about it, even adjusting for the situational differences.

Until there is an explanation expect some muted support. Rafa may be honorable here but the common impression we all have is that he has the mettle to ride out any resistance which is both his appeal and risk. At some point either Moshiri or Alisher need to put their name on this without whispering it.

Get on record with an " I felt it was time for a drastic move and this man has qualities that can be useful in our turnaround" and maaaaaaaaaaaaaaybe if it is a good performance we can leave it at that.

Anything short of that and I think we all see some disrespect whether it is coming from fear or ahem ahem testicular fortitude.

Addendum: that statement from Moshiri about why Rafa is the one is some template Marie Antoinette shite. Dude does not understand as many of you might not. I honestly hope Rafa can solve the squad problem, it is our only hope here.

John Crawley
25 Posted 30/06/2021 at 17:02:44
If this decision doesn't prove to you that Moshiri is clueless, inept and that he has no strategy for the successful running of Everton Football Club, then nothing will. A disaster of an appointment.

Black Wednesday. The end result of all of this is that Moshiri must go.

Stephen Morgan
26 Posted 30/06/2021 at 17:11:05
He needs to get a tattoo on his forearm ‘Kopites are gobshites’ to endear himself to the fans.
Jack Convery
27 Posted 30/06/2021 at 17:15:45
Meant to say the Goodison News website.
Michael Kenrick
28 Posted 30/06/2021 at 17:15:56
Dale, we won't be getting any explanation beyond a pile of facile dross supposedly spouted by Farhad Moshiri by way of 'explanation' for this whole mess: Farhad Moshiri: Why we wanted Rafa.

Of course, it is nothing of the sort. And that is not their style.

Remember, they have a Fans Forum to bounce this sort of thing off. Don't recall any of the names proferred at voting time being ones that I recognized as contributors here, but someone must know someone who could ask the question: "Where you lot even consulted?"

But I know the answer already.

Steve Boardman
29 Posted 30/06/2021 at 17:17:03
Lyndon, an excellent, well balanced piece.

Personally, I was on the record suggesting Benitez one or two managerial appointments ago (so many in recent years that I have lost track!). Now my only reservation about Benitez is that he may no longer have the energy and drive we need. I'm not being ageist; he is younger than me.

I think the bigger issue is the one Paul the Esk addressed in his recent article about recruitment. The culture of the club is complacent and the performance of the Board is appalling. The change needs to start at the top and I am not sure who is in charge?

Moshiri, as the major shareholder, needs to clear out the old guard, including Kenwright and the hapless CEO. Benitez, or whoever else might have been appointed, can only do so much.

Rant over…!

Si Miles
30 Posted 30/06/2021 at 17:22:01
Personally, I'm made up.

He knows the city, knows what football means to the supporters, and whether or not he was a manager of them over there, he's good at his job and commands respect.

I've read about Rafa; he takes no shit and is not there to be anyone's mate.

Good luck to him and us.

Dale Self
31 Posted 30/06/2021 at 17:22:58
Thanks Michael, I promise not to bleat on about it and will not target Rafa specifically. It really looks like a patchup and the tell is "fits into our structure" or something like that. Can't be bothered to reread it actually.
Jer Kiernan
32 Posted 30/06/2021 at 17:26:24
I see he has backed his "small club" statement up with the proof by getting himself appointed

May as well just throw in the fucken towel, a new low has been stooped to. (How many times have I thought that in the last 30 years?) I wouldn't mind if it was Klopp or Rodgers, at least they offer some hope having achieved something in the last 10 years.

Even if he hadn't managed that lot, I wouldn't want him. I think we are so used to eating Kenwright's shite that this just slides off the back

Mediocrity is the best we can hope for in the next 3 years and beyond into the future. I can't believe there are posters on here laying the boot into Dunc and welcoming this money grabbing has-been?

Dean, Ball, Kendall et al will be doing backflips in their graves... anyone know a good club I can follow?

Nothing short of a disgrace. It would not happen anywhere else. Make no mistake, we are an embarrasment.

Barry Hesketh
33 Posted 30/06/2021 at 17:26:27
Come on, people, it must be very difficult being the owner of Everton FC especially when other rich folks gather together at posh functions and events.

Imagine it, little Moshiri sitting at the table in a large restaurant, surrounded by oligarchs, parliamentarians, celebrities from all fields – all laughing at you and asking various questions such as:
"Hey Moshiri, how much did you pay for x or y?"
"Hey Moshiri, how many managers have you had since you bought the club?"
"Hey Moshiri, tell us that one again about your ambitions to win the Champions League."
"Hey Moshiri, I thought you were good with numbers?"
"Hey Moshiri, wait until your boss, erm… sorry… "friend" finds out how much you've lost for him!"

From that perspective, it's little wonder that he's decided upon the safest pair of hands he could find, whether we as Evertonians like it or not.

Geoff Williams
34 Posted 30/06/2021 at 17:27:31
I am so disappointed with this appointment.

Personally, I have no issue with the Liverpool connection as some of my favourite players came from Anfield: Sheedy, Morrissey etc. I just think he is wrong for the club on so many levels.

I don't think he will ever be accepted by a large section of the fan base. We have to wish him success for the club's sake but, if he doesn't hit the ground running, he is doomed and Moshiri's credibility will greatly undermined.

Anthony Dove
35 Posted 30/06/2021 at 18:16:20
Great article Lyndon. This odious appointment is causing me a real dilemma. Although I have been watching the blues since 1954 my present inclination is, that being unable to even
stomach the sight of the Spaniard on the touch line,
I will give up my season ticket. On the other hand
at my age that will effectively be the end of my
football days.
Moshiri must have really burned the midnight oil to come up with a worse appointment than Sam, but we are at such a low ebb that the majority seem to
have rolled over and accepted it.
I can’t believe the Man Utd fans would ever allow the man anywhere near their club.
Paul McCoy
36 Posted 30/06/2021 at 18:21:26
He's a less successful version of Ancelotti. We will win nothing with him and be stuck playing boring football to boot. Terrible appointment and 100% not the right fit for the club right now.
Geoff Williams
37 Posted 30/06/2021 at 18:53:41
I genuinely regret renewing my season ticket.
John Zapa
38 Posted 30/06/2021 at 18:59:58
Everything will depend on whether the signings are Alonso quality or Aquilani quality. That's the difference between fighting at the top end, or trying to survive.
John Malone
39 Posted 30/06/2021 at 19:01:00
Our fans honestly are a fucking joke!

Moyes - Noooooo! Negative football We're going backwards!

Nuno - Noooooo! Too negative 3-5-2 and what's he ever won!

Howe - Noooooo! Shitty Bournemouth manager, we'll get relegated!

Rafa (best CV out of every available manager on the market) - Noooooo! Called us a small club and won the Champions League with the RedShite!

Fucking grow up and get over yourselves. We've been an absolute bag of shite since Martinez's first season ended.


Daniel A Johnson
40 Posted 30/06/2021 at 19:12:10
Actually fair play to Rafa to want to take on the challenge and all the crap baggage that goes with EFC at the moment. Obviously £6M a year helps but you can't blame Rafa for wanting to throw his hat into the ring and manage one of the biggest clubs in the premiership.

I'm more annoyed with Moshiri and his lack of consideration for the fans.

From the get go it was obvious if you had any sort of interest in EFC that it was a resounding no from all sides regarding Benitez. Yet he has blindly and stubbornly proceeded with this appointment.

Shame on you Farhad Moshiri for backing all us fans into this unnecessary loveless marriage of convenience.

Kev Jones
41 Posted 30/06/2021 at 19:23:35
Your article on Nuno gave me hope. Your Rafa piece is equally thoughtful and measured but this time I don't feel much hope.

The red background is hard to swallow but my main concern is that he does seem like yesterday's man and I wonder how Rafa will work with Brands.

Anyway, Rafa has shown some strength in walking into a Goodison bear pit so good luck to him. Let's hope he is the best man for the job… and so I'll shout COYB and get behind the manager.

Jerome Shields
42 Posted 30/06/2021 at 19:25:52
Good summary of the situation. I get the impression that Benitez is going to be full-on. Hope we see a competitive Everton, which he has put a big emphasis on.

I remember Valencia when he managed them. They were a very competitive and relentless team. They did remind me of Everton's style of play at their best. If he could achieve a team performance like that at Everton, he really would be doing well.

Bill Hawker
43 Posted 30/06/2021 at 19:30:26
If he's the guy to kick the shit out of the players so that they know the days of the "easy ride" and "guaranteed position" are over, then I'm all in. Everton's problem since Moyes left has been, and until someone changes it in the foreseeable future, is our mentality. As I've stated before, I didn't care one way or the other who we appointed. All I want is to see Everton win football matches and I don't care how either. Give me the ugly 1-0 wins all day long. It's clear this club is stuck in some sort of mental doldrums that we can't shake our way out of.

If Rafa Benitez is the man to get us there, then it's absolutely fine by me.

Ken Kneale
44 Posted 30/06/2021 at 19:32:39
For the sake of Everton FC, we need to get behind this appointment now whatever our personal feelings. A really well scripted article as ever Lyndon.
Si Cooper
45 Posted 30/06/2021 at 19:33:10
I really don’t give a flying whatever for the partisan quip. That’s ‘sticks and stones’ level stuff.
I don’t get those who support him on his record though. “best CV out of all the available managers on the market” - does that actually mean anything? They showed his Prem record on Sky. His best was 2 points per game at Chelski and worst was 1.2 per game at Newcastle (1.9 with you know who). Hardly barnstorming performance, imho. If you can’t average more than 2 points per game at two of the ‘biggest’ clubs then I don’t think you are really doing that well.
What points per game return do people expect that will translate to with our current squad?
I’d really much rather we’d gone for someone who’d never managed at a club our size or in the Premier and given them a chance to prove themselves, although Frank Lampard was my option for a real throw of the dice.
Derek Taylor
46 Posted 30/06/2021 at 19:45:58
Moshiri does what his Russian paymaster tells him to do. Kenwright disagrees but knows if he doesn't show respect, he's a gonner. Brands is already surplus to requirements. Already, like Angelloti was, Benitez will be dreaming of his escape.

Nominations for the post, early season, please !.

Pekka Harvilahti
47 Posted 30/06/2021 at 20:05:44
Rafa was not my 1# choice either, but he is the best of what was left there to pick from. Duncan's time will come, he has still lot to learn.
Anyway, I think The Waiter will win us some silverware or at least a place in Europe. We just have to get rid of those who are not good enough and those who do not want to play for us. Then get the new ones in (a striker, two wingers, a playmaker, CB and a right back).
I think Rafa has been guaranteed of big signings, that's why he came here.
At Newcastle he did not have much but still did Ok.
If he (Brands) can get the right persons in it could be interesting.
Jay Wood

48 Posted 30/06/2021 at 20:09:34
Since Carlos Ancelotti sabotaged our summer plans by completely blindsiding the club and walking away 4 weeks ago, I’ve been mute on TW with regards to the search for a new manager. I didn’t vote on any of the offered polls because I couldn’t see an outstanding candidate.

Off TW I did chat with friends and family saying ‘whoever the new manager is I will support them once at Everton and evaluate them then,’ with the caveat 'although Beneathus or Moyes returning would severely test that resolve!!!'

Now Benitez is confirmed I’ll stick with my first clause above and support and evaluate him by his performance with Everton.

I can understand the rage some express at his appointment, even though I personally find it ridiculous that many are declaring ‘that’s it! I’m finished with the club!’ Good luck with that.

What I can’t agree with are the claims by some that the board and Moshiri in particular has been maliciously incompetent in even inviting him to be interviewed for the post.

This is not a knee-jerk reaction, hurriedly appointing the first candidate in a flustered manner. In the first week after Carlo’s unexpected departure, the Echo reported the club received more than 40 applicants. The board itself would have drawn up a list of potential managers. Everton is an English PL club. It is a much desired position.

The club has been a model of discretion, maintaining total radio silence on the issue in the last 4 weeks until today. I personally don’t disbelieve Moshiri when he said that the club did their due diligence, identified the qualities they wanted and interviewed several strong candidates, some of them multiple times.

The notion that the club’s guardians paid no heed to the possible consequences to the reactions of Blues should they appoint Rafa is a quaint but unrealistic one IMO. At least one voice on the board would certainly have drawn attention to it.

Knowing all that and having interviewed ‘several strong candidates’ multiple times, Moshiri still went with Rafa and the Spaniard accepted. Like Moshiri's serious injection of funds and his determination to push through BMD, in the final reckoning he has chosen possibly the hardest candidate to 'sell' to the fans. But he has done it anyway. That doesn't necessarily equate to arrogance or stupidity as some are labelling it, but rather ruthlessness and determination to achieve his long-term goals.

Moshiri choosing Benitez and Benitez accepting suggests to me that both have ironclad cojones.

Now as the manager of ‘them’ of course we mocked him and wanted him to fail. But personally, I have to say I was impressed by the previously mentioned cojones he displayed in his time at Chelsea. Booed and detested by his own supporters, he simply shut it all out and won a European title with them.

And that is a quality long associated with Rafa Benitez. The ability to shut out all the noise and be totally focussed on the task at hand, never more so than on match day. It’s a good quality to have. And it’s going to be a necessary one.

His professionalism and attention to detail is self-evident. Whether he is the man we need is another question. But then, any and every appointment – be that manager or player – never, ever comes with gilt-edged guarantees.

What I do know is that in just over 5 years at the club Moshiri has had 6 different full-time managers and two in-house caretaker managers. The attrition rate is too high. We need stability and continuity and to start seeing some genuine progress on the core interest of most supporters, Everton’s first team.

And I for one genuinely hope Rafa Benitez is the man who can deliver on that.

Billy Bradshaw
49 Posted 30/06/2021 at 20:23:24
Jay Wood @49, spot on 100% in agreement with you.
Anthony Dove
50 Posted 30/06/2021 at 20:59:45
Daniel 41. Spot on.
John Raftery
51 Posted 30/06/2021 at 21:26:48
In football as in life, the decisions least welcomed sometimes prove to be the best decisions. The reverse also applies. Bowing to supporter opinion, often fickle and irrational, can never be an adequate substitute for evidence based decisions.

As we know Moshiri has a significant financial stake in the club’s future prosperity. While ideally he would not have chosen to upset a large section of the fan base, he has decided that the best interests of the club, and his financial stake, will be served by appointing the best available candidate for the job. Any other appointment would have represented an even bigger gamble.

The suggestion the Fans Forum should be consulted about the appointment of the manager is arguably the most laughable contribution on here.

Dale Self
52 Posted 30/06/2021 at 21:36:10
I'm still hung up on this aspect of the Big Okay: So after appointing Rafa which effectively neuters Brands we are now depending on Brands to come through with all he's got in a rather challenging transfer market just because it is his defined job?

I'm just trying to understand the incentives and motivation of various assignments in this ostensible solution to a football problem

Dave Abrahams
53 Posted 30/06/2021 at 21:46:47
Jay (49)I agree with every word of that post, I thought Benitez was the best choice of the managers who wanted to come here, no guarantees of any manager who comes, as you say, I hope he turns out to be better than many expect.
John Boon
54 Posted 30/06/2021 at 21:48:47
No appointed manager will ever stop me from being an Evertonian. I am by no means delighted with the decision to sign Benitez but I among the group who will be delighted if he is able to have a positive effect on Everton.He has a huge challenge ahead. I hope he can match up to it rather than being one more in a line of losers.

Any Evertonian SHOULD care about his association with Liverpool, but I will just have really try to not let it cloud my vision until he has been given a fair chance such as one home game and one away.

Brent Stephens
55 Posted 30/06/2021 at 21:58:56
To be honest, why on earth would we get so angry (as opposed to somewhat peeved) about somebody calling us a "small club". Do we really want to let that sort of thing get us so angry? Really?!

It's nowhere near as bad as calling somebody a fat "c--".

Allen Rodgers
57 Posted 30/06/2021 at 22:09:19
Having Rafa in the dug out won't stop me turning up at Goodison, no more than the odious sight of Sammy Lee did. I support Everton as an entity not just individual people. For what it's worth I hope he does well and sticks with the club, unlike Carlo who had me fooled. I thought he meant it when he said he found a family club and wanted to stay for the duration. Mind you, the Sheffield Utd. result may have swayed him !
Glenn Williams
58 Posted 30/06/2021 at 22:36:22
Meh meh. wake me if the nightmare ever ends
Kunal Desai
59 Posted 30/06/2021 at 22:48:56
The narrative is clear by Moshiri and the board, no ambition in winning just stay safe in the league until the ground is built and personally, I don't think that'll happen anywhere near being ready in three years time, these large projects never go according to timescales. We'll bumble along until we are in that stadium until Moshiri can make a substantial profit and flog us to the first bidder.
Jonathan Tasker
60 Posted 30/06/2021 at 22:51:50
Past caring
Tony Abrahams
61 Posted 30/06/2021 at 22:55:24
I’m past thinking because it’s all’s I’ve done for the last ten days, although I’ve still got one obvious wish, for the man who saved the blues!!
Mal van Schaick
62 Posted 30/06/2021 at 23:03:26
A balanced view of Benitez and the current situation.

Aside from managing Liverpool, aside from his trophy winning record, Moshiri has decided that his vision for Everton is an experienced manager to take his plans forward.

Only time will tell, if Moshiri has made the correct choice. He and others are putting the money, but if this choice turns sour and the fans become alienated with the running of the club, their feet may do the talking.

Ian Burns
63 Posted 30/06/2021 at 23:10:33
Another great article Lyndon, which captures the feeling surrounding our club perfectly.

Whilst reading, I was thinking it was a great pity the EFC board couldn’t have read a draft of this piece a week ago on the assumption Benitez was going to be appointed. It might have given them pause for thought as I very much doubt they have put so much consideration into their decision as you have put into this article!

Anyway it is what it is and we now have to pray that by some quirk of fate Moshiri has stumbled from the frying pan and avoided the fire.

Lyndon Lloyd
64 Posted 30/06/2021 at 23:34:46
Jack (27), I believe Elliott Cuff is behind the site and, unfortunately, he seems hell-bent on trying to out-clickbait every other site on NewsNow... which, given the competition, would be quite an achievement!
Jamie Sweet
65 Posted 30/06/2021 at 23:41:21
Great article Lyndon.

The problem for me is that even if you completely remove his affiliation with the reds from the argument, this still feels like a step backwards for the club.

It feels like we're replacing Ancelotti with a similar yet far less successful version.

The biggest stick that was used to beat Carlo with was that the football was dull. And I think that is ultimately what worries me the most about Rafa.

It's not the small club jibe. It's not the Champions League win. It's not the Agent Rafa chants. It's the fact that I watch football to be entertained, and I can't stand the thought of a season of boring football.

I'm willing to give him a chance to prove me wrong, but as you have alluded to, it will get very toxic around here very quickly (even more than we've seen so far) if he doesn't do anything mightily impressive within the first handful of games.

Mike Corcoran
66 Posted 30/06/2021 at 23:51:21
Tactical analysis, for anyone who may be interested:

Holding Midfield: Rafa Benitez’s Liverpool

Some players will get well ruffled!

Danny O’Neill
67 Posted 30/06/2021 at 23:57:21
Jay (BRZ) @ 49; your point on attrition is bang on. It has to stop and we need stability. Whether we like this or not, we have to give him a chance as Everton manager and hope (that word again), he can succeed in improving us.

We were not that far off our target last season and fell short at the final hurdle. All of our own making.

To a point Lyndon makes in the article and one called out many times by many of us. We need better players, regardless of who the manager is. The team was improved last summer; now we need to further improve and add depth to the squad.

Howard Don
68 Posted 30/06/2021 at 00:21:23
Bill Hawker (44) spot on.
John Gorham
69 Posted 01/07/2021 at 02:15:37
I am a blue of 58 years for good and poor, but realistic to know that we need something different to get into the Top 4.

If you look at the managers we have had in the last 5 years, they now manage Barcelona, Real Madrid and Belgium, and one that managed us 10 years ago who will be in Europe with West Ham next season.

I only hope Rafa Benitez can help us. The home support is going to be critical next season.

Kristian Boyce
70 Posted 01/07/2021 at 02:55:25
Jack @27,

Unfortunately, the admin on the Everton USA Facebook group has annoyingly allowed them the spam post every article they produce.

It seems that a good portion of their writers are from India, with many without any connection or interest in the club (even though they claim all they write about is Everton). It seems that every article they put out is just pure click-bait.

Jim Harrison
71 Posted 01/07/2021 at 06:23:12
Not endorsing or supporting his appointment here, I just think that judging the style of play he implemented at Newcastle is similar to judging Carlo's football at Everton. Both have much larger CVs to look at and these represent the lowest level of their management experiences since becoming successful coaches.

They both have a larger body of work smattered with successes, but took a pragmatic approach to these roles.

Hopefully Rafa will be supported in terms of recruiting players in the same way it was planned to support Carlo.

Mike Iddon
72 Posted 01/07/2021 at 09:03:17
With due respect to the author of this article, this piece by Andy Hunter of the Guardian (a blue) nails it for me:
Jim Lloyd
73 Posted 01/07/2021 at 09:30:16
Jay (49) Really excellent post. I look at Benitez' record and it's pretty good. Whatever we think of the Liverpool connection, it's us who are in the mire and he's the one chosen to get us out of it.

As I see it, he's the best available manager and was chosen by people who have committed hundreds of millions of £££'s with more to come. Opinions are fine, but the actions we've seen and may yet see, are just totally counterproductive.
If we want to see EFC get over the mess that Ancellotti's left us in; and hopefully progress, then the only thing that we can do that is positive, is support the team and support the manager.

David Midgley
74 Posted 01/07/2021 at 09:54:33
Well Rafa B. is now our manager and we will just have to wait and see. Do people really think he won't be trying ? He will be going flat out to prove everybody wrong. He doesn't have to get the club for me, he just has to get the football.
I'm not interested if he's on the beach at Hoylake gazing out over the Irish Sea dreaming about our 'Glorious Past ' that was when we had gas mantles and buttonhook shoes. I have thought he was yesterday's man. However, he's here and we have to get on with it. If he doesn't do well in this gig he will know it and so will everyone else. Any player not trying will feel his wrath as it won't just be reflecting on the team but him as well.
Lyndon mentioned Galtier and also wrote a great article about him. I fancied him for us but there you go.
One of the reasons for Lille's success was their player recruitment policy. That was down to Luis Campos, a great scout. Just check out some of the players he's found. He could find gold on Asda's reduced shelf. They have both gone their separate ways.
Marcel is our DoF. He is now on the board, will he be able to spend time looking for some upcomer at a third division club or a minor French league ? Luis Campos is reportedly having talks with Arsenal about joining them.
Everton should be talking to him also. I think he could be a wonderful asset. He probably has a list of young players. We should be trying to get him. In all this managerial turmoil this might not be noticed.
Liverpool isn't as attractive as London, however, if the Wirral is suitable for Rafa it could suit Luis.

I'd even take him for a pint.

Barry Hesketh
75 Posted 01/07/2021 at 09:59:24
Mike @73,

I got the impression from Hunter's piece that he's painting a scenario that he hopes will happen, therefore if Benitez fails – like many think he will Ü he can point to the fragility of Everton as a reason to excuse his former hero.

I'm not saying that he has got the wrong impression of the mayhem that may exist at the top of Everton FC but, like most of his LFC-loving friends in the media, he will try to spin a positive for his club and their former employees at the expense of little old Everton.

This is the dilemma that Evertonions now face: support the club unconditionally or continually criticise the appointment of the manager that many didn't or don't want. It's hard to create a siege mentality when there are real or imagined rifts at the top of the club; it's even harder when the supporters are so conflicted about their own behaviour and how it might affect the club they support.

The most important element will be how the players react to this summer's events: will they be able to show professionalism and fortitude? Will they be willing to give everything to Benitez in every match? Or will they behave like shrinking violets and hide behind the discord that might manifest itself in the coming weeks and months?

Like the football that we are likely to witness next season, none of it's going to be pretty, but sometimes in life, something has to be fully broken before it can be properly mended. Let's hope the club is able to come out of the next 12 months in better shape than it looks at the moment.

Richard Lyons
76 Posted 01/07/2021 at 10:23:21
I can't help thinking that we're hearing the sound of a barrel being scraped. OK, so the barrel was almost empty to start with, but this is not the inspiring appointment I had hoped for.

I've ordered patatas bravas and chorizo, so I hope he doesn't spill any on his crisp white shirt on the way over to my table.

Of course, he has my support and all that - I just wish I felt a bit more excited...

Jim Lloyd
77 Posted 01/07/2021 at 10:32:36
Hard or not, the supporters have a major role in this club. We've got a manager who has a pedigree, a decent one. A portion of the supporters appear to hate him as much or more, as Alladyce.

I'm glad he's been chose, as I see him as the best of those who appeared on any list, other than the likes of Mancini, and why on earth would he come.

It looked to me that at the 2nd half of the last season, Ancellotti, and several of the players, were losing enthusiam (if they ever had any!) week by week, and towards the end, ancellotti looked like he wanted to be anywhere other than at our club. Or in Crosby for that matter after the break in.

Anyone who thinks we will get into the top 6 this year, without an influx of good players and the departure of a number of the first team squad, I think is being optimistic. If Benitez can get the players looking like they are up for a game and can keep going for however many minutes there are on the clock. Then that'll be a good job well done for the first season.

I think he's the man to do it, time will tell, but again, we have a massive part to play, it's not what we write on here that counts, it's what we do at the match.

Mike Iddon
78 Posted 01/07/2021 at 10:47:37
Barry @ 76
I thought Hunter painted a reasonable picture of the dilemma that Everton are now faced with; big-stakes gamble by the owner and fissures in the board and fanbase. Hunter like other EFC-supporting journos (Phil Nulty, Paul Wilson et al) mostly over-criticises the club to balance his support so he can't be accused of favouritism. I think he pitches the situation pretty well, it's a bit of a mess that could become a very big mess or work out; let's all hope its the latter.
Jon Wit
79 Posted 01/07/2021 at 11:58:32
Didn't want him at all, but this rings true, thanks Lyndon :

"there is something admirable about a man, who has done plenty of good for the city of Liverpool away from football, still wanting to manage our club in the face of such vocal opposition".

Barry Metcalfe
80 Posted 01/07/2021 at 12:15:48
Benítez was not my first choice however he will get my support. In some ways it is an indication of progress of sorts as pre Moshiri I suspect we would have had little chance of hiring someone of his stature in the game.

Most angles have being covered of the appointment but I want to float one that is not to my knowledge getting much of an airing. Alisher Usmanov - possibly for our club this could be the most significant aspect. If he has played a key role in appointing Benítez does it follow he is now a major player at Everton? If so then maybe we have some financial clout at long last. Financial Fair Play rules etc etc permitting. My guess is that finishing second is not something he would easily accept.
If he is truly on board then for myself this is the bigger story.

Mick O'Malley
81 Posted 01/07/2021 at 12:55:28
Here we go again with posters telling fans how to react to Rafa. If someone wants to vent, then so be it. The toe-curling arse-kissing of him is just as annoying to me as the posters who abuse him are to the fans who have accepted him. No-one is right and you don't have to read the posts or posters you don't agree with. Everyone has the right to say how they feel. COYBS!
Andrew Clare
82 Posted 01/07/2021 at 14:25:12
Regardless of the appointment of Rafa Benitez, I think we will be okay in the long run because money doesn't seem to be a problem.

Farhad Moshiri seems to be absolutely determined to make the club successful and, as he has very rich and influential connections, the spending will continue.

It's a long time since Benitez had the luxury of a big transfer budget which I am sure he will now get, so hopefully we will see what he can do with a higher calibre of player next season.

He is our manager now, so let's wish him good luck.

Annika Herbert
83 Posted 01/07/2021 at 17:16:36
John @ 39, and we will continue to be a bag of shite with this loser in charge
Derek Wadeson
84 Posted 01/07/2021 at 17:43:20
Great news about BMD new stadium start date today and no need to worry about the capacity being enough with all the so called Evertonions giving up on the club because we have a new coach.

Sad really that so many Evertonians will be wishing defeat on match days, just so as they can 'I told you so.'

I didn't like Rafa when he was Liverpools manager because he was a winner. Same job for us will do me.

Nick White
85 Posted 01/07/2021 at 19:30:34
Great article Lyndon!

Not my choice of manager (but genuinely didn’t know who I’d actually want from those mentioned, just glad it isn’t Martinez), but he’s here now and we have to get behind him.

I just hope Brands is already trying to shift the deadwood and Benitez doesn’t want to see them in action. We already know there are a lot of players who need to leave and should not be given another chance.

A good summer of recruitment (including outgoings) is crucial for the season ahead (and atmosphere inside Goodison and on here)!

Nick White
86 Posted 01/07/2021 at 19:34:23
Just thinking of previous Moshiri gambles, Marco Silva has just been appointed Fulham manager. He will probably do well in the Championship but was out of his depth in the Premier League.
Derek Moore
87 Posted 02/07/2021 at 14:46:18
Well, I'm going to take a slightly different tack. I think it's a fucking awful appointment. I can only thank our good fortune that Emlyn Hughes passed away in 2004 as he probably would have been next on the owner's shortlist.

Nothing to me is more symbolic of the total shambles that has been the Moshiri era than this hire.

You can mark my words out, here and now. This won't end well because it has absolutely no chance whatsoever of going well. This has-been of has-beens will be gone in 18 months, but the jokes at our expense will last for much much longer than that, I assure you.

Another sad day in a recent history littered with them. Joke of a club makes joke of a managerial appointment, that's the real headline here.

Tom Harvey
88 Posted 02/07/2021 at 22:24:30
Andrew Clare @83,

"Regardless of the appointment of Rafa Benitez, I think we will be okay in the long run because money doesn't seem to be a problem."

Do you think Moshiri is going to be out of pocket after his spending? He'll pass on the debt to – have a guess who? Or he'll sell the club and pass the debt on to the new owner who will then pass the debt on to – have a guess who?

Football, as the red half of this city have already found out, is about to become expensive, for you know who?

Mike Doyle
89 Posted 02/07/2021 at 23:19:19
One interesting aspect, that doesn't seem to have attracted much comment, are the numerous suggestions that this was a Moshiri/Usmanov appointment.

It seems that, by an osmosis-like process, Usmanov has formally entered the boardroom.

Tom Harvey
90 Posted 02/07/2021 at 23:26:03

He's probably been there all along… after all, the holding company that owns Everton FC works out of the same company office that Usmanov owns in that tax haven called the Isle of Man.

Don Alexander
91 Posted 02/07/2021 at 00:11:09
Moshiri needs to take full responsibility for the pitiful way the club's been run since he took over. The fact that he's spent so much in rendering us pitiful is his fault alone. Being disappointed by his appointed advisors is his fault alone. Jeez, whatever shite they may or may not still be serving in the Finch Farm canteen is his fault alone.

It's his fault alone because he's the owner. If, however dodgy it may be, he's not the owner, then the full responsibility passes to the unknown enigma who is our actual owner.

It no doubt takes a lotta bottle to realise you've stupidly squandered £hundreds-of-millions but in appointing Benitez, of all people, the owner now needs to immediately step up to the plate in terms of trying to maintain a hugely diminished football-credibility by writing-off his squandered money, and signing some proper, expensive players to at least give the hitherto stultifying shit-house a chance of delivering something us fans (and the owner, according to his latest confession to the risible TalkShite) have a wish to see.

That's what "project" Ancelotti needed though, wasn't it?

Or is Benitez identified by the owner as "a magician"?

Albert Perkins
92 Posted 02/07/2021 at 00:30:02
Will he have the energy? I think he will. Lives just around the corner. Can even work from home, the latest fad.

Will he make the effort at his age? I'm in my 70s and doing more creative work, art and music and writing and other extramural activities than I ever have. He's much younger than me and knows it's his last chance at success at the job he loves.

He's obsessive and can channel all his creative energy into this job. It's what he lives for, like many on this site, except that he gets paid a ton of money for it.

Can he get the players to perform? Apparently he's a hard-ass with both players and owners. What's not to like about that?

Will he give us entertaining attacking football? For me, football is only entertaining if our attacking football brings results. The best managers start from a strong defense and develop an attacking program from that base. This is key to Rafa's success or failure and he knows this and we all know this.

Hoping the stars are aligned, however improbable it may appear, and we are chanting Rafa's name at a new stadium.

It's the hope that kills you but, without that hope, life has little or no meaning. Especially for this Evertonian.

Steve Brown
93 Posted 03/07/2021 at 07:53:06
Benitez comes clean


Danny O’Neill
94 Posted 03/07/2021 at 08:23:57
Cannot compete with big Doonc's Pigeon Racer of the Year 95 title.


Steve Brown
95 Posted 03/07/2021 at 08:37:24
Headbutt of the Year 1989!
Brian Murray
96 Posted 03/07/2021 at 08:44:59
Haven’t lost my sense of humour but every sketch that d Farley does is a nod to the shite or a piss take to us. He couldn’t make it more obvious. Not just in this one. Although his hogs son and Steve Bruce il give him that.
Michael Kenrick
97 Posted 03/07/2021 at 09:23:58
Mike @90,

Usmanov has not 'formally' entered the Boardroom.

If you had said, "Usmanov has informally entered the boardroom" – you'd probably be closer to the truth, as Tom @91 indicates. But to 'formally' do so, there would need to have been some public announcement from the club… and Companies House would have to be notified.

I recall talk of a 'shadow director' a few years back but that was aimed at Sir Philip Green, who faded away once Bill had found Farhad. I don't recall the issue recurring with respect to Usmanov.

Paul Smith
98 Posted 03/07/2021 at 09:29:40
Yeah Don, spending all that money, hiring Ancelotti and building us an iconic waterfront ground makes him a proper wanker. He really should look at the shit show that is Everton FC since he came to town.
Trevor Peers
99 Posted 03/07/2021 at 09:33:47
Moshiri has made his hugely controversial choice, of course we the supporter's had no say in the decision. If I was Rafa I'd look at forward line first, when it comes to new faces, as we badly need more pace and goals.

Another season of grinding out 1-0 wins away from home might be acceptable, but a continuation of Ancelotti's grim defensive tactics at home would be a big mistake and would quickly kill off his chances of winning over the fans. He has to be bold and attack teams at Goodison.

Hopefully there will be some signs of a change, in our summer signings, they will be crucial to Rafa's chances of getting off to a good start, we'll just have to wait and hope he spends wisely.

Dennis Stevens
100 Posted 03/07/2021 at 09:35:41
Thanks for that, Steve #94 - I was hitherto blissfully unaware of the talentless gobshite!
Mike Doyle
101 Posted 03/07/2021 at 09:52:42
Michael # 98] You are correct I should’ve typed ‘informally’
I made the mistake of posting on Toffee-web while watching Andy Murray struggling at Wimbledon and Belgium’s “Golden Generation” failing to deliver at the Euros.
Clearly multi-tasking isn’t my forte.
Andrew Ellams
102 Posted 03/07/2021 at 09:54:30
I thought Ancelotti was Moshiri's big gamble because where did he go next if that ended the way it eventually did this takes it to a whole new level.

If we get another season like the last or even worse I really don't see how he repairs the damage on the pitch or with the fans.

Martin Mason
103 Posted 03/07/2021 at 10:06:47
I applaud the club for ignoring childish tribal issues in their hunt for a new manager. He called us a small club? He was absolutely spot on; he was manager of Liverpool once? Who gives a f*ck.
Alan J Thompson
104 Posted 03/07/2021 at 10:29:15
Why would we get so upset by something said about us so long ago? The same as if it was said tomorrow.

Self respect!

If we don't have that then why bother about where we finish in the League or the type of football we play. Sod it, as we're a small club? Well, I'm an Evertonian and proud of it!

Brian Harrison
105 Posted 03/07/2021 at 10:46:37
Michael 98

You are correct that Usmanov is not on the board but without doubt he is the man in charge at Goodison, his accountant is front of house to take any flack but I don't think anyone can doubt who really pulls the strings. Just like his pal Abramovich owns Chelsea but in all his time has hardly said 2 words to the press in all that time, instead has Bruce Buck as his chairman to make any club statements.

For those not sure about Usmanovs power at Goodison I would remind them that he had a meeting with Ancelotti prior to him signing his contract, and it was on his boat that the deal with Benitez was finally settled.

But despite who holds the power the people who hold the ultimate power are the match going fans. Just as Abramovich replaced Di Matteo who had won the Champions league with Benitez despite their fans despising Benitez almost as much as that feeling permeates through many Everton fans. And although they won the Europa league even Abramovich realised with the groundswell of Chelsea fans protesting on a regular basis he couldnt keep Benitez in charge. I think this is what will happen with us, there will come a time when it becomes untenable for him to continue if the backlash from the match going fans continues.

Chris Williams
106 Posted 03/07/2021 at 11:52:29

If there is no doubt Usmanov is in charge at Everton, how is it that this breach of Company Law is not being investigated by the authorities?

How is it that the FA, PL etc are not all over this?

I can doubt this, Brian, because a lot of this stuff came out in the Panama Papers, was covered extensively, and never went anywhere.

Ancelotti himself said he met Usmanov but it was socially and unrelated to EFC.

Having said that, he undoubtedly can’t be ignored, because of the level of investment his companies make in the club. And if rumours of the Stadium Naming Rights deal, £200M over 10 years are correct allegedly, he’s not going away. But if this happens, it’s bound to attract attention, in any case, so I’d think exercising caution might be recommended.

Influencing is different to being in charge, and is also legal, at arms length.

But none of us can claim there is no doubt.

Tony Abrahams
107 Posted 03/07/2021 at 12:26:42
You won’t learn anything funny listening to the D Farley, Brian, because he hasn’t got anything even remotely funny to say. He’s good at doing the voices though which unfortunately means he’s got to speak to do his job, but when it comes to trying to be funny, I’d sooner listen to Matt Hancock and Boris Johnson, who at least don’t have to work so hard at being shite.
Brian Harrison
108 Posted 03/07/2021 at 12:45:53

I never suggested that Usmanov has breached company law, what he said some months back is when journalists asked him why he didnt want a seat on the board his answer was he could be more useful by not being on the board.
He obviously knows that were he to become a board member he couldnt pump in the money he has, because it would transgress the FFP rules. But by being a sponsor its harder for the FFP rules to be applied to someone who wants to sponsor a club by pumping in hundreds of millions.

This is why Mansoor had a problem with FFP rules at City as the money being pumped in was by companies he owned, so the link wasnt just someone sponsoring a club it was the owner using his companies to be sponsors.

Chris Williams
109 Posted 03/07/2021 at 13:14:33
Cheers Brian,

I agree with all of that, and I think it probably let’s him get involved in other clubs too. All the while flipping the finger to Arsenal!

The other point you made originally involved Abramovich and Buck. The real comparison with them is Moshiri and Kenwright. And you can see 2 different ways of running a club here. Chelsea do it right with owner and Chairman working together, but the Chairman doing his job, and the owner in the background. Our owner is way too visible, especially whenever changing Managers, way too frequently, especially this time.

Dysfunctional relationship? Love of the limelight? Lack of trust? Whatever, Moshiri is pushing it a bit by being so obvious, not being on the Board himself.

I’m really hoping and expecting some real restructuring of the Board taking place sooner rather than later, to make it fit for purpose for a forward looking company.

Fingers crossed!

David Woolrich
110 Posted 05/07/2021 at 20:39:51
I usually like Lyndon Lloyd’s articles. But this one ended that for me. He argued that, if Benitez could win Everton a trophy, he would gain our respect for ever. Really?

This appointment is the greatest stain on our history. Here we have a money-grabbing martinet whose best days are behind him. Worse still, you must remember who made the first noises to appoint him. Our old friends, the Liverpool Echo, Sky and Jamie Carragher. Do you find it acceptable that these people pick Everton managers?

That they are delighted with the fact that they now have Klopp at Liverpool and Benitez at Everton, the whole city sown up, Liverpool FC 1 and Liverpool FC 2 to brown-nose to? You will not hear an anti-Benitez word from this lot, or any other ex-red pundits (God knows there are plenty of those).

Did you know that Jamie Carragher has said that now we have Benitez, he will buy a bag of popcorn and sit back and watch the fun? Did you not see that Benitez has to arrive at the training ground in a blacked-out van, presumably packed with bodyguards? It is shameful.

We are literally being laughed at. We have no identity anymore and should just be a feeder club to Liverpool FC - Athletico Liverpool anyone?

And to those Everton fans who say "I love the club, not the manager" – can you really not find a better thing to do than watch three more years of dross? Show some class and keep away.

I am finished with the club because I won’t be bought by Sky and the rest of that shower. Have the guts to do the same. It is a great feeling when you can’t be bought.

Tony Abrahams
111 Posted 05/07/2021 at 20:59:45
We have got no identity anymore Please bring back plucky little Everton, pronto.
Billy Bradshaw
112 Posted 05/07/2021 at 21:00:06
Dave 111,

"Finished with the Club"? Sounds to me deep down you're not a True Blue, so staying away should not be a problem to you. I could never turn my back on Everton FC.

Joe McMahon
113 Posted 05/07/2021 at 21:11:13
Dave @111, you state "We are literally being laughed at", sorry but I cannot agree there. Clearly not everyone is happy with the appointment (such as the vile banners), but I haven't seen anyone laughing about Everton with Rafa's appointment, he is respected in the game. Who gives a flying fuck what the spitting pundit says or thinks!
Jay Wood

114 Posted 05/07/2021 at 21:13:28
David Woolrich @ 111. Interesting.

Not your post, but because I don't recall ever seeing your name I used the TW search facility to find if you have ever posted on TW before. You did. Once. In November 2011.

Funnily enough it carried a similar msg to the one you closed your latest post with. For anyone interested, read David's words of wisdom at post #1 in this thread from the archives.

Everton to Open Free School

David's text in full:

'Saw the news today about the Everton free school.
I am a season ticket holder and so are my two children. However, they will not see another penny from me.

Why? Free schools are a flagship Tory policy. They are designed to privatise education by the back door, reducing teachers' pay and conditions. The Tories will bribe those making bids for free schools. This is public money being given to private organisations.

Why is our club dealing with such a vicious government? These people hate our city with a vengeance (remember the European ban, anyone?).

For a club in such a poor area, with a fan base largely against the Tories, why are we having dealings with them? Is it to get a bribe to build the Park End development and call it a school building?

Enough is enough for me. What a disgrace our club has become.'

Presuming the club never received another penny from you in all that time, and presuming you were true to your declared words from 10 years ago that 'enough was enough' for you and that you DID turn your back on the club, why the hell would anyone take seriously anything you now say?

Brent Stephens
115 Posted 05/07/2021 at 21:23:52
David #111 - once a blue...
Danny O’Neill
116 Posted 05/07/2021 at 21:27:30
Most non-Everton supporters I talk to aren't laughing. Interestingly a lot of Chelsea fans believe it to be a good shout considering where we are right now. Newcastle are disappointed as they wanted him back.

I find a lot of intrigue, more than anything. Interest in how us Evertonians feel about it. I explain my discomfort, but not dismay, and use the ToffeeWeb poll to explain there seems to be a near 50-50 split, but now more of a lets get on with the business of the new season.

Maybe Kopties are laughing? But talking to my Merseyside family and my brother-in-law in particular who is a big red and not happy at all, I'd call it a nervous laugh if they are. A front to mask their own disappointment and probably just the opportune excuse to take the piss.

Disclaimer; obviously, I can only go on the conversations I've had.

Stan Schofield
117 Posted 06/07/2021 at 09:45:22
Danny @117:

I've got half-a-dozen old school mates who are all reds, and they're not laughing. Their assessment of Everton is similar to mine, in that if we let our best players leave in their prime without equivalent immediate replacement or better, and don't improve our strength-in-depth, then we're unlikely to progress beyond midtable.

They believe that Benitez would make this problem unlikely to keep happening under his watch, and that's where my opinion differs. I can't see the choice of manager having much effect, unless Everton solve this perennial problem of letting the best players go too soon. All clubs lose players, but top clubs tend not to lose them in their prime, but tend to sign them.

If we aim to be a top club, we need to behave like one in terms of player recruitment and retention.

Danny O’Neill
118 Posted 06/07/2021 at 09:59:58
You've just managed to make me play my scratched record from the end of last season when I assumed Ancelotti would still be taking us into the next one.

We need better players, whoever the manager is or was.

And, yes, you can lose players, sell them. But have a strategy to replace them. Like that lot across the part have done to very good effect in the main.

Derek Moore
119 Posted 06/07/2021 at 10:03:47
Jesus Danny, who do you talk to about football mate?

Not a single person I've spoken in my non-ToffeeWeb football interactions to thinks Benitez is an improvement on Ancelotti. Not one of them thinks he's likely to do any better than Ancelotti did, nor play in any significantly more pleasing way. Not one of them thinks the club is anywhere near the top six nor even a remote candidate to get there quickly.

Nobody is laughing now, but we haven't kicked a ball in anger yet. When Benitez has departed, and is giving inside interviews telling the world the differences between "professional Liverpool" and "amateurish, bumbling Everton", there'll be plenty of time for jokes at our expense.

Danny O’Neill
120 Posted 06/07/2021 at 10:18:04
Agree with your second paragraph Derek.

I didn't say an improvement; if anything I've called it out as being a lesser model if you look at past CVs. Kind of more of the same but not quite the same pedigree.

I just haven't yet had anyone laughing at us, which is the point of the poster I was originally responding to. My brother-in-law is equally as uncomfortable as me, which is interesting given he's a red!

Steve Brown
121 Posted 06/07/2021 at 10:43:32
If Benitez can defeat 6 out of the top 10 away from home and combine that with Top 10 home form, then he will be an improvement on Ancelotti. I have zero expectation that he will pull it off, but if he does all the doubts will gone.

On the Farley video that I posted, each to his own. I found it quite funny and I have seen Farley post videos mocking Liverpool players too. For me, it was using humour to highlight the irony of hiring Benitez as manager from all points of view. Let's not turn into Koppites for god sake - humourless, over-sensitive and inflated sense of worth - otherwise the next 12 months will be even more painful than they are already likely to be.

Brian Murray
122 Posted 06/07/2021 at 10:53:27
Steve. His mocking of them is quite tame compared to the snidey way he attacks us. Doesn’t fool me and I’m not being petty. Just seeing it ( a kopite ) for what it is. Anyway bollox to em.
Steavey Buckley
123 Posted 06/07/2021 at 12:05:12
Wherever Benitez went, except when he was manager at barcodes, he usually delivered champions league football. If Benitez gets Everton into the top 4, job done. And if fans keep their expectations to a top 4 place, happy days. When the likes of Liverpool, Man United, Man City and Chelsea have fans who expect their teams to win the premier league. No pressure there?
Ian Jones
124 Posted 06/07/2021 at 12:23:01
I am loathe to cherry-pick specific comments in response to articles because we generally latch onto a specific comment or phrase and leave out the context. I am guilty of that sometimes as the following will testify!

David @ 111

I don't agree with your response to Lyndon's last paragraph in the original article. If Benitez was able to do all that Lyndon suggests and ends up winning a trophy, surely even the most bitter blues should afford Benitez some sort of respect.

Lyndon didn't actually state 'for ever' but I suppose the implication is there. Can you manage if Benitez actually stayed the course of his contract and delivered the title – would that get that your respect? It would get mine.

As for your comments about who made the first noises to appoint him, I think you will find that Moshiri is his own man and will, with the advice or hindrance of others (and not the media), have drawn up his own list. You might remember that, according to much of the media, we were about to appoint Moyes, Nuno, Potter, Martinez and no doubt many others.

As for other's comments about Darren Farley and his mocking of Everton. As far as I am aware, he supports Liverpool. Am sure if he supported Everton and was making fun of Liverpool we would be laughing too. Over the years, he has targeted many players and managers from different teams, not just Everton-related. He is reasonably funny and his impressions are usually good. The choice of Benitez as manager is a good opportunity for Darren Farley – one that he couldn't miss taking.

as Steve @ 122 says 'Let's not turn into Koppites for god sake – humourless, over-sensitive and inflated sense of worth – otherwise the next 12 months will be even more painful than they are already likely to be.'

Pete Clarke
125 Posted 06/07/2021 at 12:47:38
My anger over this appointment has subsided to acceptance although I must admit that if I were still living in Liverpool I would probably have made some kind of protest.
I have tried to make sense of it in that it could surprise us all and he gets us playing nice winning football. He could simply just steady the ship for a while and use his experience to bring some solidity on the playing field.
That was one half of my brain.
The cynical side of me is saying that it’s such a bad move in bringing Benitez here that if it goes badly early on then the supporters will turn on Benitez, Moshiri and indeed each other and the club ends up in a more chaotic state than ever.
The risk is so great that it simply has to go well in my eyes.
The current playing staff are not really going to help Benitez here. We need to bring in a really dominant center midfield player. I like Allan but he lacks pace. Doucouré for me just cannot pass the ball any where near good enough so unless Benitez can work a miracle with formations we are going to struggle.
With Seamus coming to the end of his career and Digney not far behind him I think we are struggling for a leader. Somebody who knows the club. Ben Godfrey may be that player if we can keep the wolves at Bay. This is a very big year for Michael Keane also. He needs to step up mentally and show he can stand up to pressure. I really hope he can because we need a core of UK players to give us some steel.
Still need some fresh faces coming in and a few stale ones leaving.
I can’t believe I’m saying this but good luck to Rafa Benitez. I think we are all in this when I say he’s going to need it.
Tony Abrahams
126 Posted 06/07/2021 at 13:21:50
Derek@120, I think he’s an improvement on Ancellotti, and firstly because he wants the job. Secondly, I think he might be even more pragmatic, but only time will tell, because I personally think that the biggest problem he might have at Everton, is upsetting people who have been there for years, and I don’t even mean the supporters.

Danny O’Neill
127 Posted 06/07/2021 at 14:28:46
I wouldn't say I was angry Peter. As I've been saying since the rumours gathered momentum, I was disappointed and worried.

I agree, there is the danger of this going toxic early, but now it's happened, let's hope not, because now most of us, even those who didn't want it, accept it's happened, it will mean things have gone wrong on the pitch.

We need better players to compliment the ones we brought in last summer and those who improved. We cannot expect Benitez to be a magician (to coin a phrase) and turn this current squad, as is, into challengers. The squad isn't good enough regardless of who the manager is.

I disagree on Digne. He's 27 and probably hitting peak. He still has 3 years+ in him at the top if he's around with Everton that long.

I've been vocal in my opinion about Michael Keane. At 28 and our oldest senior centre back, he's as good as he's going to get. And in my opinion I'd rate that as okay on a good day. And even then, only when we play a system that suits him, which Ancelotti fathomed out pretty quickly. But that means playing compact and on the edge of our own box for long periods. Not what I want. We need a different type of centre back in my opinion.

To Tony's final point, and I'll again contradict myself here, which is fine. I come on here often as many will have noticed, and always like to learn and be educated by the views of others. Once the dust settled, I thought Benitez to be a lesser Ancelotti, as I have said. Similar but not quite on par in terms of CV or pedigree but fitted the profile the owner(s) seem to want.

But that Observer article called out a good point that made me think. Benitez could be a better fit as he's achieved success with so called lesser clubs who are not quite there but have the aspiration to do so. Ancelotti didn't have that on his CV as some continuously and ultimate, it seems rightly, pointed out.

All we can do right now is see where this takes us. Hold on tight!

Pete Clarke
128 Posted 06/07/2021 at 15:53:07

My mistake as I thought Digne was 29. I think he's a top player and possibly captain material but Rafa will decide that.

It will be a shame to see Seamus coming to the end of his career. He's high up on my list as the best signings ever. Players with his hard work and ethics don't come along very often.

I live in hope for Michael Keane but you are probably more honest in your description of him. I feel a similar mistrust for Mina. He's awkward and uncompromising with mistakes all over his game and yet sometimes domineering.

As for Mason Holgate, he left us with a lot more questions than answers last season so not sure what his role is going to be.

No doubt the defense will be Rafa's starting point but, for me, it's midfield we need to spend big on. Maybe Gbamin could save us some money if he's finally recovered.

I normally hate the long wait for the season to start but I am dreading this one for some reason.

Sukhdev Sohal
129 Posted 15/07/2021 at 14:20:40
Pete, when has Mina ever given the ball away? There's a reason Barca signed him. He never makes mistakes and never gives the ball away, contrary to myths created by fans who think just because he's tall and awkward he's poor on the ball. As for Rafa, I think he could be a better fit than Carlo as Danny said as he has excelled with clubs more similar to ours and is a lot more demanding of his players. Probably a better coach too.

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