From Hollywood to the Gates of Hell

Martin O'Connor 30/06/2021 28comments  |  Jump to last
“You show me Regan’s identical twin – same face, same voice, same smell, same everything down to the way she dots her i’s – and still I’d know in a second it wasn’t really her! I’d just know it, I’d know it in my gut, and I’m telling you that thing upstairs is not my daughter!”Chris McNeil to Father Karras in The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

After 30 days of the most inept managerial search imaginable, with numerous names thrown into the hat to replace the latest of Farhad Moshiri's "Hollywood Manager" failure, Everton have ended up with an ex-manager of the evil empire across the park. Following one catastrophic managerial appointment after another under the bungling ownership of Farhad Moshiri, one would think it could not get any worse. But, in true Everton fashion, we have out-done ourselves by employing a man who called us a 'small club'.

Rafa Benitez is seen as safe pair of hands, a manager with Premier League experience. Never mind he managed across the park, never mind he has not been successful for over a decade, never mind he actually took Newcastle down, never mind he plays one-dimensional defensive football. Was Benítez (it is actually hard to keep saying his name!) the man our supposed Director of Football had at the top of his list of candidates? Or even had on his list to replace Ancelotti? I don’t think so.

After Moshiri’s courtship of his first choice, Nuno Espirito Santo, hit the buffers, he quickly consulted with his puppet-master friend, Alisher Usmanov, and moved on to Benitez. What must Mr Blueblood Bill Kenwright be thinking?? Or our e-mail friendly Chief Executive???

Blueblood Bill, for one, has been briefing that Benitez was not his choice. It seems Moshiri jettisoned the brain-dead “Hollywood Manager” strategy, listened to Uncle Alisher, and went back to the equally brain-dead safe pair of hands roll of the dice with Benitez.

This has nothing to do with ambition. It has everything to do with a safe pair of midtable Premier League hands who won’t scare off any potential funders of the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock. We are sacrificing any football ambition on the altar of a new stadium and the whim of an owner who thinks he knows best, but actually knows nothing.

We are now, after our second Hollywood Manager escapade in Carlo Magnifico went up in flames, back in the era of Sam Allardyce. We have in Benitez a manager who plays God-awful football, has not done anything significant in over a decade, and who will have us kicking around midtable, while bearing the badge of unforgivable sin, having managed the great Satan.

When you look at Benitez's managerial record, it is not especially anything to write home about; over the last decade, it has been an absolute failure. Yes, he had Valencia… [let's skip over the next bit]; since 2011, it has been very underwhelming. He had a good squad at Napoli but all he could deliver was a Coppa Italia and Super Coppa – not the greatest achievements in Italian footballing eyes. In the league and in Europe, he failed with them.

A half-season at Chelsea where he inherited a good team mismanaged by Di Matteo – how lucky can you get? – saw a Europa League triumph. But against this we have Internazionale: failed (sacked); Real Madrid: failed (sacked). Then we have his time at Newcastle United. What did he do at Newcastle? He got them relegated.

After bringing them back to the Premier League, he embarked on the most unimaginative defensive football one could think of, before having a bust-up with owner Mike Ashley and leaving. Steve Bruce, it has to be noted, has done just as good a job, if not better than Benitez, at Newcastle.

Meanwhile, Rafa took the Yuan, or Renminbi (take your pick of which name you use for the Chinese currency), and moved on to the Chinese Super League at Dalian Professional. Surely a supposedly elite manager could succeed in China? But just 12 wins from 38 games proved the opposite; however, it did highlight his limitations as a manager and irrelevance in the modern game. He left Dalian by mutual consent, but his bank balance must have looked good.

So, besides the great sin of managing across the park, his managerial record since he left the evil empire is, to be frank, underwhelming at best. Benitez has also over time morphed into an incredibly defensive manager. Nothing wrong with that if it brings results but, under him, it certainly does not.

Benitez, like the buffoon who has just departed to Real Madrid, is a manager who has not moved on with the times and has been left way behind by the modern game. Just another managerial dinosaur, à la Allardyce and Ancelotti, who has absolute zero relevance to today’s game.

Another concern with the appointment of Benitez (as if we needed one), is what do we have a Director of Football for? Why have a Director of Football if every manager search is led by Moshiri himself, with Blueblood Bill Kenwright in the background putting his own oar in, and as it seems with the appointment of Benitez, the grand puppet-master Usmanov also having a say?

This appointment reeks of dim-witted billionaires thinking they know more about football than the actual supporters. They hold us in contempt, and don’t care a jot what we think.

Marcel Brands, as with the previous appointment of the disaster that was Carlo Magnifico, has been side-lined. Instead of the Director of Football leading the search for a new manager, a manager who he could work in tandem with, he has again seemingly had little, if any say in the appointment of Benitez.

Will the notoriously political Benitez work in harmony with Brands? In one word: No, he won’t. With Benitez, it's either his way or the highway. We will have the same situation as under Ancelotti, a split and a non-working relationship between the Director of Football and the manager.

Who will get the ear of the dreamer Moshiri out of this duo? Well obviously, as was the case with his last Hollywood manager fiasco, it will be Benitez. Brands really should now question his position at the club but, with the cushy number he is on, I doubt it.

I seriously question the way Moshiri has run our club since he arrived with a bag full of cash and a suitcase full of failure. Since Moshiri has bought into the Blues, we have lurched from one different sort of manager to another with no strategy or plan of what we actually want to be.

Moshiri listens to no-one but himself (with the possible addition of Kia Joorabchian and Jorge Mendes), Blueblood Bill Kenwright (but seemingly not on this occasion), and friend and puppet-master, Alisher Usmanov.

With the appointment of Benitez, we have carried on the knee-jerk process of choosing managers, which has been the raison d’etre of Moshiri’s reign. We move from his latest Hollywood disaster movie to another supposedly safe pair of Premier League hands. Where is the plan? Where is the vision? Where is the strategy? Where is the ambition?

Bringing Benitez to the club lacks any sort of plan, vision, strategy or ambition. This appointment will take us only to the giddy heights of midtable at best. But not to worry: Farhad will deliver us a shiny new stadium!!!

Meanwhile, we will watch the most backward defensive football imaginable while hanging around midtable. I’m all for defensive football if it yields results; under Benitez, it won’t. We can also add to this toxic recipe a massive split in the supporter base… What did Moshiri expect? Benitez to be accepted with open arms!!

So, we will be managed by the devil incarnate, and when we all become bored of the predictable football and tactics he is serving up, Moshiri will, after about 12 to 18 months of mediocrity, start to consider employing another manager. (Will it be Hollywood’s third go, Farhad?)

With the departure of the disaster that was Carlo Ancelotti, we had the chance to really assess what sort of team we want to be, and to appoint an ambitious manager who could excite the supporter base and have a real plan, strategy, vision, and the ambition to lead us into the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock and the future.

Instead, the board have dragged us to the gates of hell. They have made a Faustian pact with Benitez, selling our soul to a man who will play awful football, take us nowhere, and be gone in about 18 months – or hopefully a lot sooner.

I will still be there supporting the team through thick and thin next season… but this really is as low as it can get. The club took 30 days in a manager search, 'extensive and thorough' they like to spin, and the best they could come up with is Benitez? Incompetence abounds.

This is the worst managerial appointment possible; it divides the supporters, and brings even more well-deserved opprobrium on the underperforming leadership at the club. It shows no consideration for the feelings of the supporters, and is the most divisive, unambitious, backwards and idiotic decision that could ever be imagined from the numskulls who are running our football club.

I can’t wait for the next e-mail from our Chief Executive (they have certainly dried up since the last ridiculous one eulogising our world-class manager and progress!!!). How will you spin this one, Denise!?!

What is the point of giving the keys of Goodison Park to another Ancelotti Mk 2? A man who has no relevance to the modern game, had his day a very long time ago, has caused a civil war among the supporters, and who will take us precisely nowhere?

When all this goes belly up once again, which it inevitably will, it really will be time for the bungling Moshiri to takes his millions and go somewhere else, along with Blueblood Bill and puppet-master Usmanov in tow, and stop inflicting any more managerial nonsense on us.

As Chris McNeil said to Father Karras, I say to you, Bungling Farhad, living-in-the-past Blueblood Bill Kenwright, puppet-master Usmanov, our e-mail friendly Chief Executive, and "I've got no say" Director of Football, Marcel Brands:

“You show me an Everton Manager’s identical twin – same face, same voice, same smell, same everything down to the way he dots his i’s – and still I’d know in a second it wasn’t really an Everton Manager! I’d just know it, I’d know it in my gut, and I’m telling you that thing at Finch Farm is not an Everton Manager!”

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Reader Comments (28)

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Bill Fairfield
1 Posted 30/06/2021 at 17:48:25
Feel depressed after reading that.
Darren Hind
2 Posted 30/06/2021 at 17:51:48
Wow. I was depressed enough before I read that, Martin.

Don't disagree with a single word though.

Alan Baillie
3 Posted 30/06/2021 at 18:20:33
Well said Martin👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏 100% in full agreement. You should be an advisor to our owner and board.
James Flynn
4 Posted 30/06/2021 at 18:57:12
"After 30 days of the most inept managerial search imaginable." You haven't the faintest idea how the Club conducted the managerial search.

What I will give you is that if we conducted a 30-day search for the biggest bunch of "Boo-hoo, poor me, crybaby bullshit" ToffeeWeb OPs, you'd be a top contender.

Christ almighty, at least pretend you have some self-respect.

Bill Gienapp
5 Posted 30/06/2021 at 19:05:56
After 30 days of the most inept managerial search imaginable."

I'd actually argue that that crown belongs to Tottenham.,"After 30 days of the most inept managerial search imaginable."

I'd actually argue that that crown belongs to Tottenham.,,,1,19:04:39,,,ok,19338,06/30/2021 19:04:39,bgienapp,reader,,,no 1171623,40976,toffeeweb,30/06/2021,Dale Self,,A more compliant version of Ancelotti as well Paul.

But hey! Who are we to get in the way of some good business huh?,A more compliant version of Ancelotti as well Paul."Brent, plainly:

I am vitriolic. I don't like our managerial appointment whatsoever.

But look on the bright side! I'm not leaving! 😂

David Pearl
6 Posted 30/06/2021 at 19:27:47
I felt all the same emotions, Martin, over the last couple of weeks. Didn't believe it would happen but it's upon us.

Right now, and as Lyndon alluded to: this may be so left-field, so ridiculous... that it just might work.

If it doesn't, then l want him out sharpish so our season is not wasted yet again. If we begin well, however, in the first 6 games, then let's see if the momentum and mood can carry the players.

He has already been looking at the player recruitment this morning.

We have no choice. None. But to hope it works out and to back the club.

But yes, Moshiri... What the fuck??? If l was Brands, l would quit.

Bill Hawker
7 Posted 30/06/2021 at 19:35:51
I didn't choose Everton. Everton chose me. But I sure as hell wish some of these so-called "supporters" would wake the hell up. What an embarrassment. We cry about everything!

Time will tell if this will work or not but what is it about Evertonians and moaning about players and managers before they've even been put to work?

"He called us a small club." So fucken what? Who cares? Grow up. If this is the best that Moshiri and Brands thought we could reasonably get, then here we are. Back the man.

Dale Self
8 Posted 30/06/2021 at 19:39:04
Again, stop minimizing the complaints against Rafa. It is not him per se; it is the way this has been handled, and then add his selection to that morass. I'm tempted to say it is the small minds on both sides of the debate clinging to that phrase.
Tony Abrahams
9 Posted 30/06/2021 at 19:47:18
Wait until we sign Andros Townsend, and Rondon, then things will turn really nasty!
Paul Jones
10 Posted 30/06/2021 at 19:50:37
We've had the original Allardyce, the Italian version and now the Spanish version.

The silver lining is we'll soon run out of nationalities to scrape out from the barrel. Although I'm sure someone's breeding them somewhere to part Moshiri from his money.

Jay Harris
11 Posted 30/06/2021 at 19:50:55

I believe this is an emotional outpouring rather than an actual analysis of our situation.

Benitez was not the first choice of a lot of our supporters and in fact many of them, including myself, didn't want him on the list at all.

My only tolerance of this appointment is that it will rattle some cages in the corridors of power and at Finch Farm.

Whether that will be a good or bad thing remains to be seen but I am fed up of treading water, so revolution rather than evolution suits me fine.

Jack Convery
12 Posted 30/06/2021 at 20:06:07
Usmanov runs Everton, that much is now absolutely clear. This is his appointment. He has lost patience with Moshiri and Kenwright / Brands. He wants a return on the money he has put into Goodison.

If Kenwright and Brands are not truly supportive of this appointment, they should resign, as they cannot give 100% to the cause. A divided kingdom will always fall.

2021-22 looks to me as though it's going to be a really defining season in Everton's existence.

Dixie, Catterick and Kendall must be spinning like tops.

Ray Jacques
13 Posted 30/06/2021 at 20:51:55
Paul,10. Are you really comparing Ancelotti's career to Allardyce's? Strange comment.

Good luck, Rafa, you will need it with some of the people who support this club of ours.

Joe McMahon
14 Posted 30/06/2021 at 21:08:26
So much negativity. Guys after the Everton way achieving on the whole nothing since the premier league formation nearly 30 years ago. How can the appointment of Rafa be any worse than David Moyes (who's CV boasted promotion to Division 1 (now the championship) with Preston. That was it.

Yes Rafa may not work out, with our current midfield of high salary misfits, Pep, Tuchel and Klopp would struggle. The anger and frustration should be directed at Koeman/Walsh.

Rafa accepted the job even after the vile banners, he will want this to work out. Give the man a break, as they say give him some slack

Frank Wade
15 Posted 30/06/2021 at 21:23:55
Martin, LIke many others, I wasn't in favour either but at this stage we just have to continue to support the Blues and hope Benitez can deliver an improvement, easy enough to improve on 2021 form. Suggest you read Lyndon's well thought out piece. By the way, he took over an ailing Newcastle in March, managed to win his last 6 games but was still relegated, can hardly blame him for that.

Intrigues me how you can say Where is the plan? Where is the vision? Where is the strategy? Where is the ambition? , when you have as much of a clue as anyone else. Moshiri is a successful businessman, he knows plenty about plans, strategy, vision etc, a lot more than you or I.

In Moshiri's interview on the official site he says he impressed us in the interview process with his passion, his ambition and his vision, so you must have missed part of the Interview Martin.

John Boon
16 Posted 30/06/2021 at 22:09:21
Agree with what you have analysed as depressing as it might be. Fortunately you will remain a loyal Blue, "through thick and thin." I was so glad you did not finish your excellent article by joining those luke warm Evertonians who threaten to never enter Goodison Park again, or they will rip up their season ticket

"Once a Blue, always a Blue." We don't really have much choice. I know I don't. Whatever happens, I just have to support Everton, although I don't always have to support what goes on behind those "Blue" management doors.

Richard Jones
17 Posted 30/06/2021 at 22:19:14
Christ, no wonder we're in the mess we're in people just accepting this sham of an appointment... How can you not be upset with this?
Jim Lloyd
18 Posted 30/06/2021 at 22:25:49
James Flynn (4) Well said. and Joe McMahon., Joe, I agree with you over Koeman, but I think Walsh if he'd had been left to jst bring players in, he'd got a good record at Leicester at getting great players in.

Anyway,We were dropped in the shite by Ancellotti, 3 weeks ago. Everton had little time and not many top managers willing to come to Goodison. That's just my view, and I think that from the list of available managers, we have the best. He's not got a recent record as good as, but there's not many got a better record than him.
It seems to me that reviling Moshiri (and Usmanov if he is now taking a more active role) is not only counter productive, is vilifying them when we haven't got a clue who they've interviewed or how those interviews went.

Both of them have put more millions into this club in 4 or five years that Moshiri took over, than in last 50 years, with a lot a lot more to come.

I think the only thing supporters should be concentrating on is how our new manager and his team, does, in bringing in better, younger players and getting rid of as much as they can, of the dead wood that's still in the squad. Not an easy job!

I think some of the criticism over Benitez's recent record may may bwe justified; but I think that is an excuse for many because they detest the fact that he was a Liverpool Manager and a successful.

Well, he's here, so supporters have a choice, they can undernine him ad the backroom staff and the players at every setback on the path out of the mire; or we can back them. I think there's been enough of the vilifying and not enough supporting; if we want this club to progress.

John Raftery
19 Posted 30/06/2021 at 22:57:24
It is far from inevitable that this will go belly-up, depending on what you regard as 'belly-up'. Mid-table is not belly-up. Belly-up is being in a relegation battle.

Koeman and Silva took us into the bottom three. I doubt Rafa will repeat their mistakes.

Andy Crooks
20 Posted 01/07/2021 at 00:46:17
Well said, John.
Bill Gienapp
21 Posted 01/07/2021 at 02:25:17
I agree, John (19).

Unless things just implode out of the gate, I think there's little chance of outright calamity. Boredom, sure. Calamity, no.

Alan J Thompson
22 Posted 01/07/2021 at 07:16:43
This appointment depresses me too and, for the life of me, I can't fathom what they saw in his CV that made him the stand-out applicant. Surely he wasn't "headhunted" on the basis that he was winning more with his "bigger" clubs as his career progressed.

If it doesn't fall apart as a result of nobody now knowing what their duties and responsibilities are, then the Board must also resign en masse if he fails to reach the KPI's that must be part of his contract that will at least stop the massive termination losses paid to previous failures.

Stan Schofield
24 Posted 01/07/2021 at 10:50:20
When Koeman was appointed, and again with Ancelotti, ToffeeWeb was replete with hope and expectation, and with positive anticipation, that finally we were going places. It also happened part-way through Silva’s reign. But each time it was another false dawn.

With Benitez, there’s no such sense of positive anticipation, and indeed from some a sense of negative anticipation of dullness and failure. There’s no ‘new dawn’ sense this time.

Having positive anticipation is clearly irrelevant to how we perform on the pitch. The same is true of negative anticipation. There’s really no point in either, this we have learned with Everton.

So all we can do is actually see how things turn out, for better or worse. All the rest is a waste of time and energy.

James Stewart
25 Posted 02/07/2021 at 00:20:56
@7 Well said.

Found the article utter nonsense.

Don Alexander
26 Posted 02/07/2021 at 00:38:38
The one way Moshiri and his string-pulling boss (if he is indeed a string-puller, or a boss) could show us fans they mean business with our current shit Benitez when they all spout on, still, about qualifying for Europe is to spend sums of money to equal those clubs actually achieving it.

It means waving bye-bye to £hundreds of millions on misspent pissch, and becoming for once vaguely plausible to us fans and the football world beyond.

Ain't gonna happen though is it?

This is Everton - Bullshit Central, with an "owner", board and backroom staff of staggeringly complacent ineptitude.

Laurie Hartley
27 Posted 02/07/2021 at 04:42:59
Don # 26 - they have pumped millions into the club already but they haven’t waived bye bye to it and it doesn’t look to me like they are going to give up on their long term goals. Rafa will get a transfer kitty alright.

As far Rafa is concerned we will just have to get Father Karras (and us) to convert him. He might even change his dogs name from Red to Blue - life is full of surprises.

Richard # 17 - “How can you not be upset with this?” There is no point in getting upset just now. I have made a choice not to. Give it till Christmas and see what happens.

Barry Lightfoot
28 Posted 03/07/2021 at 15:06:15
Well, in one's humble opinion, he's here and it would be stupid to try and shout him out, so let's not see another wasted year and get behind him and the team and see what happens. You never know, it may just be good. If he fails, then he's gone anyway.

Matt Busby used to play for Manchester City and Liverpool.

Brian Murray
29 Posted 03/07/2021 at 15:30:40

And to add to that, we played Man Utd at Old Trafford when they had a minute's silence re Matt Busby's death. You could hear a pin drop in the away end. The Mancs I speak to now and again have never forgotten that. But we know we are different than them animals.

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