Shopping for Dresses

Martin O'Connor 01/06/2021 32comments  |  Jump to last

So I'm shopping for dresses with no one to wear them
One in each colour and one in each style
Maybe someday I'll find me a lady to wear them
And my shopping will be done for a while

Merle Haggard — “Shopping for Dresses”

As I have never been a supporter of Carlo Ancelotti’s appointment, I am not surprised it has all ended after eighteen months with absolutely no progress. Another Hollywood appointment by our bungling owner. (Let’s not pretend that Brands had anything to do with Ancelotti’s appointment or was working in glorious tandem with him). So much for our Chief Executive’s email to supporters on 22 May espousing the progress we had made under Mr Magnifico! The stark reality is Moshiri, Kenwright and Co have made one failed appointment after another. Mostly all have the fingerprints of the bungling Moshiri over them:

  1. Ronald Koeman: Hollywood Manager number one. Moshiri's choice but Kenwright was happy with it. Add in a scout to become Director of Football and the recipe for disaster was firmly in place.
  2. David Unsworth: A failed stop-gap who has produced nothing with the academy. So, hang him out to dry as Manager for a short time then put him back in the academy to carry on failing. Although Kenwright would have liked him to carry on and fail as first-team manager.
  3. Sam Allardyce: Bumbling Moshiri’s panic move as he thought we were in relegation trouble (no we weren’t, we would have finished in mid-table). A move to a dinosaur with a record of keeping teams up. To be fair he did gets= us to eighth, but let’s leave that nightmare behind.
  4. Marco Silva: Moshiri had wanted him for some time. Brought in with Marcel Brands as Director of Football, with a plan to sign young hungry players 25 and under, while also bringing players through the academy. Silva never worked out in the end, but do you ditch your strategy if your manager fails? No, you have a plan and you stick with it by bringing in another manager who fits the strategy. But such logic is not for Moshiri and Co.
  5. Duncan Ferguson: Stop-gap who with a bit of rabble-rousing got a tune out of the squad for a few weeks — Kenwright probably would have liked to keep him! — playing 4-4-2 and a bit of shouting. At least we never went down that route.
  6. Carlo Ancelotti: Moshiri gets his hands dirty again with his Hollywood manager syndrome paying Ancelotti between £9-£11 million a year to take us nowhere and improve us not one jot. It was as clear as day to me that Ancelotti would never have been a Brands appointment. The Director of Football was sidelined over the hiring of Ancelotti. There was a disconnect between Brands and Ancelotti since the first day he stepped into Finch Farm along with his son and assorted backroom cronies. The summer recruitment is proof of this.

Would Brands have signed James and Allan? No way. Godfrey? Yes. But along with Moshiri and the club’s board, the vast majority of Blues were taken in by the “world-class manager” pipe dream. Had Moshiri not looked at the last five failed years of Ancelotti’s managerial career? A once-great manager who had declined and was no longer a great manager. So, we got what we paid for, absolutely nothing in 18 months, until Ancelotti moved on to Real Madrid (thank God).


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Since the sacking of Martinez, who had lost the supporters and dressing room, bumbling Farhad and the club board have moved from one disastrous managerial appointment to another. The club really can’t go on like this or mediocrity will continue into infinity. We will appoint a different manager every 18 months or so, all with different ideas and approaches to the game and all who will bring in more and more of a mish-mash of players.

It is now time for Marcel Brands to earn his money. Moshiri, Kenwright and Barrett-Baxendale should be sidelined in the hunt for our next manager. We have a Director of Football. It is that Director of Football who should set out the strategy for the club and appoint a manager to work to that strategy, as well as working with the Director of Football. We should go back to the strategy which we had when Brands joined the club, and which was put on the back burner with the appointment of Ancelotti.

It is Brands who should insist to going back to the strategy of signing young hungry players 25 and under and improving the academy (which means dumping Usworth and Co, Marcel). It is Brands who should put together a shortlist of candidates to work to this strategy. It is Brands who should make his recommendations to the Board on the next manager. That is the role of the Director of Football. If this does not happen and Moshiri and Kenwright get involved then Brands should seriously consider his position and walk.

I have not been a big fan of Brands since he joined (he could have at least sorted out the mess which is the academy, but he has made that worse by giving Unsworth more power instead of getting rid of him, plus some questionable signings.). But he is the Director of Football who had a strategy when he first joined the club. He should go back to this vision.

As Director of Football, it should be Brands and Brands alone who leads the search for out next manager to fit the strategy he has for the club. If not, then we will carry on spinning on the roundabout of mediocrity and we will never find the right dress or the right person to wear it. Brands may get it wrong, but he is the Director of Football. It is his job to lead the search for our next manager not our bumbling owner or anyone from the Everton board.

By the way, Marcel, please get on the phone to Buenos Aires ASAP.

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Reader Comments (32)

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Barry Rathbone
1 Posted 01/06/2021 at 22:19:45
I agree with almost all of that, Martin.

The worrying thing is, bar Allardyce, none of Moshiri's appointments have had any sort of plan – they sorta drift in and wing it for a while before realising the size of the job; by then, it's too late. Any number of supporters have been saying the squad needs rinsing year after year but Moshiri just doesn't get it. Presumably this delusion is fed to the candidates he employs.

Harry Enfield had a comedy character – "Tim Nice But Dim" – gormlessly taking on the opinion of whoever he last spoke to; this is Moshiri.

Someone (Brands) needs to lay it on the line and tell him just how shite the situation is made even worse by Ancelotti's desperation buys of the hapless Doucouré and Allan.

Moshiri is a real worry!

Jerome Shields
2 Posted 01/06/2021 at 22:38:46
No matter who Moshiri decides will be Everton's next manager, he will have to sort out the mess that he has created by allowing the maintenance and continuation of the present structures that exist in the Club, which are a drag on performance, change and competitiveness.

Brands is an enigma who is now part of the Everton establishment and has not performed as he should have.

Anchelotti has left by mutual consent. Everton were not prepared to change as he wanted and the Everton establishment were not prepared to tolerate his public thinly-disguised criticism of them. Ancelotti needed Europe to tip the balance of power in the Club and more than him knew that. Not getting it meant the game was up.

I agree that Brands's initial plans where promising, but he is not his own man in his decisions regarding transfers, being influenced by others. He has failed at Finch Farm, most markedly in Youth Development, as you have said, having brought in promising changes only to rollover for Unsworth and his new mate Baines.

It will be more of the same with Brands advising Moshiri and Bill giving his tuppence worth.

Very apt, timely and well observed article.

Kevin Molloy
3 Posted 01/06/2021 at 22:59:29
Brands has had 3 years to scout the sort of young players Leicester are bringing through. I'm not sure we're there yet. And he fought like a tiger for Marco Silva.

I think Marcel's retainment should be entirely at the discretion of the new manager. Some managers, eg, Moyes, like to do the spotting themselves, and are rather good at it.

Jerome Shields
4 Posted 01/06/2021 at 23:01:49
Kevin #3,

He is a Director on the Board and has a new contract.

Kevin Molloy
5 Posted 01/06/2021 at 23:05:22
Jerome yes, not ideal at all. But the most important appointment is the manager, he can't be made to fit in with the Director of Football.
Jerome Shields
6 Posted 01/06/2021 at 23:11:14
Kevin, I totally agree, but Everton is a mess structurally so this creates these problems that are alien to a properly run, adaptable and competitive club.

Probably this is one of the reasons Ancelotti is gone. By rights, Brands should have been gone with Silva.

Barry Hesketh
7 Posted 01/06/2021 at 23:23:48
Listening to the Echo podcast earlier, it would seem that Brands hasn't been able to do his job without interference from the owner, the board, or the manager.

As they pointed out, this is really the time for the owner and board to allow Brands to choose the manager and all of the other stuff on the football side; he is, after all, the Director of Football.

Tony Everan
8 Posted 01/06/2021 at 23:28:28
I fully agree that Everton is a mess structurally. Why can't Brands sort that out? Is he meeting resistance from Kenwright who is badly advising Moshiri? Or is he just taking the easy route of going with the flow and not rocking the boat?

My god, we need a manager to put a flame thrower through the mediocrity that is festering in every corner and start running the club like a Top 6 outfit. We need someone with a pair of balls the size of grapefruits to come in and stamp his authority and get this club functioning as it should be. This mediocrity has gone on far too long, and it's time to put it right.

And Martin, I agree that Brands has to choose the manager; the two of them will be the main drivers for Everton to change and become successful. It makes total sense that he should be the one who has the final say.

Jerome Shields
9 Posted 02/06/2021 at 08:36:13
Tony #8,

In my opinion, Moshiri promoted Brands to the Board to compensate for his own lack of football knowledge, which had previously seen him ripped off by directors, management, managers and players for staggering amounts of money. Brands was loyal and knowledgable. He could take on Moshiri's responsiblity and allow Moshiri to be at arm's length. Moshiri also had been allowed to be roughed up by the existing management to put him in his place.

I initially thought that Brands, with supposedly increased power with the appointment, would be able to take total control of contracts and transfers and begin structural change with his much-heralded youth policy when he started.

His first Transfer window was promising, but no hidden gems came to light. Even his January policy of no panic buying impressed. . . until recently abandoned. I was concerned by his lack of support for Silva after Moshiri treating AGM pronouncements. My faith in Brands's control of contracts and transfers was damaged in the Zaha Summer Transfer Window, which showed he was not his own man.

I did attack his Youth development only to be told of noticable changes by on the ground ToffeeWebs who actually follow and attend Everton's youth matches and had talked to their coaches. To a man, they were all not impressed with Unsworth's elevation. I was not impressed by a job being created for Baines by Brands which the Chief Executive hinted at. Baines has recently recieved alcolades from Unsworth.

I have concluded that Brands is very much one of the Everton Establishment now and he's swallowed his football principles.

The Moshiri [cough: *Unsmanov*] appointment of Ancelotti was a bold attempt at change. But, even one of the most experienced managers could not make an impression on the established Everton culture that is content with Premier League survival, with no extra European work. This was especially the case when change would have been inevitable, had the European-experienced Ancelotti got European qualification. As Ancelotti would say, you can only flog a dead cat for so long. . .

Anyone who thinks a new manager will change things does not know Everton. AGM: Moshiri absent, Brands wheeled out, smiling Chief Executive, smug silent Chairman, managed small shareholders, holiday camp Finch Farm, perpetual long-suffering supporters.

Dave Williams
10 Posted 02/06/2021 at 11:17:02
There was always going to be a problem pairing a successful manager of superstars with a Director of Football focussed on younger players. Brands acquiesced to Carlo and we were given a dysfunctional squad.

As Martin says, now is the time for Brands to step up and run this club on the playing side with a manager who buys into the vision. This is likely to be a younger guy rather than an older one with his ideas at odds with Brands.

Bill Hawker
11 Posted 02/06/2021 at 14:49:32
In my opinion, we've had managers that could have succeeded at Goodison under the right conditions. Unfortunately, we haven't had the right conditions since Moyes left. Don't ask me what those conditions are as I couldn't begin to tell you but I do know this. There is something wrong with Everton from an institutional basis. When you have this many different managers and this many different players who fail over and over again, you must start to look a the club and it's structure. It's the system. It's the mentality. I don't know how you fix it other than what someone said earlier..."take a flamethrower to it" and start from scratch. That means everyone gone, and I mean EVERYONE but Moshiri and his money. I know that sounds kneejerk and reactionary but I've been thinking this since Allardyce left. There's something in the water at Finch Farm.
Robert Tressell
12 Posted 02/06/2021 at 21:20:34
I've changed my tune a bit on managers. They all have faults. But Moyes, Martinez, Koeman, Silva and Ancelotti all have one thing in common. They managed Everton long after we were even vaguely competitive financially. It makes a colossal difference. Avram Grant, Roberto di Matteo and various others with trophies are not better managers. They just had exceptional expensively built sides.

Whether we appoint Conte or Santo or Howe makes no real difference. Maybe the difference between 6th and 10th in the league for all that really matters.

What we should be asking is how do we turn a deteriorating £500m squad into a competitive £1bn (+) squad without spending £500m.

With a £1bn(+) squad we might find by strange coincidence that our managers start to get better at winning things.

Jerome Shields
13 Posted 03/06/2021 at 07:14:47
'Every club has different goals. Real Madrid's goal is to win the Champions League and La Liga. Everton's goal is to try to get a European spot, and a few years ago it was to stay in the Premier League, ' -Ancelotti

I would even question whether there is a unanimous objective to get a European Spot at Everton.

Stan Schofield
14 Posted 03/06/2021 at 07:29:47
People make so many assumptions and assertions. We don’t know that the structure of Everton is a mess. If the aim of Moshiri is to be midtable in the PL, then his aim is being successfully met. We were comfortably midtable this season. And although a lot of money has been spent, it’s far less than is spent by the top, elite, clubs, and is probably enough to keep us going in midtable.

However, if Moshiri’s aim is to be a top club, then the expenditure on players will need to be comparable with what the top clubs spend. It’s a necessary condition to be at the top in any consistent way.

I can’t see any point in signing Hollywood managers if we don’t sign Hollywood players, ones who are more consistent and less prone to injury than the players we tend to sign. Until that happens, we’re very likely to stay midtable.

Tony Everan
15 Posted 03/06/2021 at 08:17:53
Robert , Stan , good pragmatic comments , as long as the extra investment needed isn’t spent on Iwobi’s, Gomes’s, Delph’s , Tosun’s, Walclotts, 125000pw on Bernard’s, Bolaise’s, Rooney MK2 ffs , Sandro’s, 70m total outlay on a Sigurdsson, etc etc.

We will need the right money and a bit more intelligence spending it to progress into the top 4 or even into the top six on a permanent basis.

As Robert mentioned in another post , this will be a three or four year incremental process . Brands and Nuno will be on the same page and there are good signs that the recruitment policy will now shift to Brands’s philosophy without the headwinds.

Robert Tressell
16 Posted 03/06/2021 at 08:33:23
Stan, you are right that we've been seriously out spent by some very rich sides. But we have actually outspent the RS and Leicester by a very substantial net amount in the past 5 years.

They have chosen to assemble and develop players of outstanding talent. We have bought players at their underwhelming peak.

Both Leicester and the RS accept that all clubs sell players and therefore maximise their transfer kitty by selling players they have developed for more than they bought them for.

We struggle to shift our crap on a downward trajectory.

If we had focussed on the likes of Lukaku, Stones, Onyekuru, Lookman, Vlasic, Holgate, DCL, Branthwaite, Richarlison type players as a consistent strategy we would be in the same boat as Leicester and the RS. Since we just don't the the money to spend, spend, spend that is our only chance of building a £bn(+) squad.

Unfortunately Brands has been required to dance to various different (crap) tunes for the duration of his term here. Hence Leeds, Villa and WHU managed to catch (and ecen overtake) our deteriorating £500m squad quite easily.

Ian Horan
17 Posted 03/06/2021 at 09:24:19
RT@16, I agree with alot of what you say however this spending RS, Leicester and Everton always gets viewed as a net spend. The net spend is where we come unstuck, RS net spend is substantially influenced by the 80 mill sale of Suarez and the 135 mill sale of Coutinho also the RS seem to get 20 mil a pop for any player that comes through their acadamy irrespective of that players ability. Leicester sold big on Kante, 50 mill, Drinkwater 45 mill, Mahrez 60 mill, Maaguire 85 mill and finally Childwel 50 mill. Everton practical give our players away our last two big sales Lukaku 75 mill, Stones 50 mill. Nearly every other outgoing we have sold cheap, paid up contracts or even subsidised wages... in essence we don't generate enough income from sales the latest being Kean, PSG want to pay 30 mill for him, he has 3 years left on his contract so we need to play hard ball with them.
Robert Tressell
18 Posted 03/06/2021 at 10:28:22
Ian, the RS and Leicester keep their net spend down in order to compete with 3 clubs with far greater riches.

That's what enables them to spend big gross. The RS would never have made the decisive signings of Alisson and VVD without capitalising on re-sale values.

And it isn't tough negotiators that determine sale price, it's market forces. Clubs bought Ibe, Brewster and Solanke (all bought in by the RS as teenagers) for big money because these are young players who had shown very significant early promise in the first team, international duty and / or on loan. A bit like us with Lookman. And Suarez and Coutinho were sold at their peak. The point is that this all enabled them to reinvest in a modestly priced but exceptional quality front 3 - and then the game changing centre half and goalie combo.

Danny O’Neill
19 Posted 03/06/2021 at 10:39:42
Liverpool in particular have done fantastic in terms of transfer policy.

Just picking on 3 examples:

Torres. In for £20m, moved on for £50m
Suarez. In for £20+m, moved on for over £60m?
Coutinho. The best one of them all. In for £8.5m, moved on for £105m.

Never scared to sell their best and most popular players but made sure they got good money and made sure they recycled it wisely by going back to the market to find the next Torres, Suarez or Coutinho etc.

RB Leipzig has assembled a team in a similar vein. Not spending ridiculous in terms of their competitors. I don't thing they spend over £20m on most of their players.

Leicester. Respect. To get £80m for Harry Maguire is just shrewd and aggressive business negotiation. It made us look like we ripped off Burnely paying £30m for Michael Keane.

Robert Tressell
20 Posted 03/06/2021 at 10:53:13
Just to exand on this, the RS have spent £585m on transfers in the past 5 years. But with a net spend of just £119m. In that time their squad has been getting better and better despite selling the likes of Suarez, Coutinho. They are doing the same thing again by signing Konate from Leipzig for £35m. He's a very young but experienced player with the ability to be an elite champions league player. They have not paid £45m for someone like Lewis Dunk which is the sort of thing we've been doing.

To highlight, we have spent £510m with a net spend of £255m. However, in all that time our squad has been deteriorating in quality because we have invested big money in mediocre players in their mid to late 20s leaving us with nothing to reinvest in their replacements.

In footballing terms this is the expensive route to midtable anonymity and in financial terms its a disaster.

Ajay Gopal
21 Posted 03/06/2021 at 12:07:51
Martin, this is a very well thought out, articulated article questioning Brand's role in a hard-hitting but fair way. I think that Moshiri should come out with a statement stating that Brands would be responsible for the recruitment of the new manager, of course, with the board ratifying that decision. So that the new manager is left is no doubt as to who the boss is. Moshiri should never interfere in player and coach recruitments. He should also reset fans' expectations and lay out a clear road-map for success. Kenwright's role also needs to be clarified by Moshiri, by stating something like: "Bill Kenwright as Chairman of the EFC supports the club's endeavours with the overall Everton community including new stadium build and EiTC. However, Bill is NOT involved with day-to-day running of the football club including player and manager recruitment processes." Or something like that. Then, Brands will have a carte blanche to overhaul the entire footballing side of Everton. This is going to take a long time for fans to experience success but this is the only sustainable way. And who knows, if Usmanov jumps on board, (or we get new rich owners) then that could change everything very quickly.

But Martin, I did not quite get your last sentence: "By the way, Marcel, please get on the phone to Buenos Aires ASAP". Are you referring to Mauricio Pochhetino?

Ajay Gopal
22 Posted 03/06/2021 at 12:21:06
Robert, I firmly believe that the ex-RS players dominated media play a big part in pushing up the value of the players they want to sell and pulling down their buying prices. For Everton, sadly, it works conversely. If they were Everton players, we would never have been able to sell Ibe, Solanke, Brewster, and Benteke for a combined - wait for it - 90 million!
Robert Tressell
23 Posted 03/06/2021 at 13:12:00
There's definitely a premium attached to squad players at the glamour clubs. However, Brewster hit 11 in 22 for Swansea last season as a 20 year old who has been an impressive part of the England youth set up and highly rated. If Simms matches that next season at a year older with no international pedigree then he'll be worth at least £10m. Solanke looked a better player than DCL at u20 level and had already hit 7 in 21 as an 18yr old (I think) in the dutch top flight and Ibe had a few very good games in the Premier League including one against us. All had been picked up like Sterling as teenage prospects from other clubs and were much courted for many years. For balance they only got £3.5m for Ejaria who they pinched from Arsenal youth despite a good prior season at Reading on loan. Also for balance, we could certainly get £10m to £20m now for Branthwaite. So there is a premium, definitely, but the market sets the price not the negotiators.
Don Alexander
24 Posted 03/06/2021 at 17:45:58
Your article is very much what I've been saying on various recent threads Martin, so I fully agree with you.

That said, maybe we could all learn a thing or two from the late good ol' Merle, a lifelong advocate of booze and marijuana.

I'm sure he has many followers at USMFF.

Thomas Richards
25 Posted 03/06/2021 at 17:48:12
Wliie Nelson Don?
Don Alexander
26 Posted 03/06/2021 at 17:53:40
Willie wrote two songs that need to fit our next manager Tom, "Crazy" and "Me and, er, Marcel"!
Thomas Richards
27 Posted 03/06/2021 at 17:55:53
Great life stories for both Willie and Merle Don.

An owld scally made good Merle.
Willie is just Willie

Stan Schofield
28 Posted 03/06/2021 at 21:14:14
Robert@46: What you say is correct about Liverpool and Leicester. But I thought we were aiming to be at the top, like Chelsea and City? Liverpool are second tier, it taking them 30 years to win the PL, and Leicester are generally midtable. For me, I’m not looking to be like Leicester or Liverpool, who I regard as tedious, but like City and Chelsea, who are stylish and elite.

I was brought up with the Everton of the 60s, and to me it’s natural to EXPECT Everton to be top in terms of style and dominance. I’m not happy with the current Everton, with three decades of shite, and I wouldn’t be happy being like Liverpool or Leicester, who I consider not only tedious occasional winners of a trophy but also cynical cheating dirty bastards.

As I say, unless we spend big on substantial talent, like City and Chelsea do, we aint going anywhere regardless of who the manager is.

Danny Baily
29 Posted 05/06/2021 at 08:04:53
Why the Brand's love in? He's brought some absolute garbage to the club.

In fact, we've had nothing but trouble from this DoF/head coach arrangement.

Ditch Brands and let the next manager do his job properly.

Colin Glassar
30 Posted 05/06/2021 at 08:21:22
But according to boys pen Bill, “Everton is the club that everyone else in football looks to when making decisions”.

While this bumbling fool is anywhere near the decision making process we will not make any progress. He’s been at the helm for 17 years now overseeing a slow, perpetual regression. Only darling David, and gormless Farhad have saved his fat ass. He should be frogmarched out of the club once and for all.

Steve Brown
31 Posted 05/06/2021 at 09:04:10
While we continue to say that this former manager wasn't good enough or no longer a great manager, three our ex-managers are now managing Barcelona, Real Madrid and Belgium, the FIFA number one ranked international side. The reality is that these hires all failed due to dysfunctional senior leadership, a confused strategy and poor recruitment.

The one exception is our 'young Turk' manager Silva who remains unemployed, so I am baffled with the suggestions that we hire another up and coming manager to manage such a poor quality squad - a recipe for disaster. A high quality manager who is prepared to develop the squad over several years, a defined football philosophy set by the DoF, a recruitment strategy based on that plan and a radical overhaul of the Academy to accelerate playe development must now be the way forward.

Brand should be the only person involved in the recruitment of the new manager up to the point where he recommends his final candidate to Moshiri.

Colin @ 30, other clubs probably do look at weepy Bill and the Everton board and think 'what would they do?'. They can't go wrong provided they then do the exact opposite.

Martin O'Connor
32 Posted 06/06/2021 at 00:24:47
AJ @21 Gallardo mate

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