Everton's Biggest Construction Project?

What needs to change at Everton moving forward? What does Farhad Moshiri, his board and executives have to do differently... not on Bramley-Moore Dock but on the more immediate issues concerning matters on the field?

Paul The Esk 13/07/2021 55comments  |  Jump to last

Let’s not get distracted.

Everton’s greatest construction project is not what is about to transpire at Bramley-Moore Dock. It’s another project that has spluttered and failed to get off the ground despite the huge resources thrown at it. It’s the project called Everton FC, one of the leading, most significant, most famous clubs in the 150 or so years of organised association football. A football club that, today, has a less clear identity of who it is, what are its goals and how will they be achieved than they did when Moshiri first arrived at the club 5½ years ago.

In parallel, the progress towards a new stadium and the Moshiri version of Everton Football Club have similar characteristics: a somewhat tortuous journey, expensive for the owner, several iterations, a number of years later than anticipated, and both several years off completion.

If that sounds harsh, even by my standards, it is, in my opinion, the truth. If one removes the blue-tinted spectacles and a supporter’s usual bias towards optimism, then that is what remains. Whilst the stadium will ultimately enhance and re-invigorate the heritage of a great maritime city, Everton’s footballing heritage remains as hidden as most of the docks do today to the west of the great dock wall.

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I’ve written many times about the leadership vacuum, the lack of governance, the inadequate culture within the club and, in project terms, the lack of project management. However, for me, the absence of a clearly stated, consistent objective in terms of what to achieve on the pitch is the greatest omission.

From time to time we’ve had objectives articulated to us. However, it is the lack of consistency, both in terms of message, how we go about achieving them and ultimately who leads us in achieving them that is, to say the least, confusing and suggests muddled thinking.

I wrote recently about recruitment, but it is worth reflecting on the manager/coach recruitment specifically:

Martinez fired

After 3 years at the club, and within 3 months of Moshiri arriving, the faltering Martinez era was brought to a swift end in May 2016. Moshiri, it appeared, was showing the decisiveness and ruthlessness many Blues longed for.

Koeman appointed

After several weeks of pursuing a number of big-named managers, Moshiri agreed a compensation agreement with Southampton and welcomed the appointment of Ronald Koeman. “Ronald has such a strong track record in the game, instantly commanding respect for what he achieved as a player and for his qualities and accomplishments as a manager,” added Chairman Bill Kenwright.

Within 5 months of being here, and with a decent start to his first season under his belt, Koeman spoke to the BBC, identifying his goals as: Year 1 (2016-17) “still best of the rest, possibly qualify for Europe” Year 2 (2017-18) “to improve” and finally in Year 3 (2018-19) “be close to Champions League qualification“.

Indeed, Moshiri himself chipped in with this quote in November 2016: “For our club to compete in the northwest of England, which is the new Hollywood of football with Guardiola, Mourinho and Klopp, we needed a star to stand on the touchline, so we got Koeman.” 

This was backed up in January 2017 with another memorable quote: “It’s not enough to say you are a special club and a great club, we don’t want to be a museum.”

On the back of an excellent start to his first season, Koeman achieved qualification for the Europa League. Yet, such was the confusion in the 2017 summer, losing Lukaku, not replacing him with an established goal-scorer and seemingly sweeping up every available No 10, combined with a terrible start to his second season and a disastrous Europa League campaign, Koeman was on his way before the end of October.

Koeman fired; Unsworth, then Allardyce appointed

Following a short, emotionally driven but ultimately unconvincing stint with David Unsworth as interim manager, Moshiri again took matters into his own hands, appointing Sam Allardyce at the end of November 2017. There were significant objections, noticeably from Bill Kenwright, but Moshiri justified his selection on the basis that Allardyce was “the most under-rated British manager … I’ve followed him for many years and I’ve been a great fan of him. He will be able to stabilise Everton’s position in the top half of the table.” 

Allardyce fired

By the end of the season, in May 2018, Allardyce was shown the door in receipt of a very generous settlement package. A loveless relationship and losses to Watford and Burnley, following heavy defeats at Tottenham and Arsenal, brought the ill-feeling to a head. Somewhat comically, this not helped by Everton surveying fans on their opinion, including asking for rating of his performance, on a scale of 1 to 10.

Silva appointed

June 2018 saw us conclude a bizarre pursuit of Moshiri’s next desirable candidate, Marco Silva. Moshiri’s interest in Silva started following Koeman’s dismissal in October 2017, an interest which caused Watford to claim Everton were tapping him up. Watford made a formal complaint, the matter finally resolved months later with Everton paying Watford compensation.

Moshiri, however, was convinced that Silva was the right man. Indeed, he was backed with the words of newly arrived Director of Football, Marcel Brands: “He’s a guy who has proved already that he wants to work with young players, make them better, and he has performed very well with the teams he’s worked with. He will be a very good manager for Everton.

Chairman Bill Kenwright enthused “It is a pleasure to welcome Marco Silva as our new manager. As the posters outside Goodison have proclaimed for many years, DNA is important to Everton and Evertonians.

Unfortunately for all concerned, Silva failed to deliver, finishing 8th in his first season and with two early cup exits. By January 2019, with Everton 11th and having gained only the same number of points as the previous season at that stage (18 months into his tenure) the writing was already on the wall with Moshiri expressing the view at the Annual General Meeting of shareholders that the club’s league position “is just not good enough” – while still claiming his latest managerial appointment retained the board’s total support.

Not only had Silva received the dreaded “vote of confidence” but, despite the evidence apparent to most Evertonians, Moshiri told Everton’s 2019 Annual General Meeting that he was confident the managerial team of the Director of Football, Marcel Brands, who has been appointed to the club’s board, and the Chief Executive Officer, Denise Barrett-Baxendale, would deliver on his long-term project. That aim, according to the CEO, was “to win Premier League titles and compete regularly in the Champions League in a world-class, world-renowned football stadium”

Moshiri, who admitted “bad luck and poor judgment” had featured in his £250 million investment at the time, said: “We did our homework and we put a big bet on Marco and we stick with him. He has our total support and we have a professional in Marcel Brands who monitors the progress. Consistency has been an issue but we have had some terrific performances and the challenge in the second half is to have more of those performances. The football management team are totally focused on it. We know what we are and I’m comfortable.”

Silva fired, Ferguson takes interim role

By early December 2019, a 5-2 defeat at Liverpool and three successive defeats left Silva’s Everton 18th in the Premier League. Silva was fired and Duncan Ferguson was given the unenviable task of picking up the pieces, administering some life-maintaining first aid until another doctor was found to treat the patient.

Our Chairman, most-likely unwittingly, put the situation and lack of strategic planning into perfect focus, quoting John Lennon “Life is what happens when you are planning other things.”

Ferguson, to his credit, never slept a wink in the 15 days he was interim manager, treating the Goodison faithful to one of our most passionate performances in many years versus Chelsea. I suspect he’s a man of rare faith because prayers were answered with the appointment of Carlo Ancelotti rescuing Ferguson from his Herculean task.

Ancelotti appointed

Incredibly, following his dismissal from Napoli and despite Ancelotti’s desire to spend recuperating time in Vancouver (who wouldn’t?), Moshiri got his man. Negotiating from a position of relative weakness, Moshiri had to pay a high premium for Ancelotti’s services and, as we were to discover all too soon, clauses which frankly made contractual obligations a one-way street.

Understandably, Everton effused over his appointment with Marcel Brands saying “He is the perfect appointment for us. He embraces our vision for the Club and we are sure that his enthusiasm to take the helm at Goodison, together with his tactical abilities and well-renowned man-management, will make him successful in this role. This was a clear and exciting decision for the Board to make. It was a unanimous choice and one we were all fully united behind throughout. Carlo has proven time and again, he knows how to build a trophy-winning side and we share the excitement of our fans at the prospect of him leading our team in the years ahead. We’re all greatly looking forward to working with him.

Ancelotti’s 2019-20 season was badly interrupted by the Covid lockdown, but a thrilling start to his first full season, followed by tremendous away results kept us in the hunt for European qualification despite the horrors of playing at Goodison in the absence of a crowd. The season fell away badly with Everton and Ancelotti, it must be said, appearing to run out of ideas, discipline and motivation as the season ended.

Ancelotti’s departure

Within 24 hours of declaring his ambition to lead Everton out at Bramley-Moore Dock in 3 years time, Ancelotti was gone – returning to Real Madrid. Whilst Ancelotti provided the usual thanks to his now former employers, there was more than a reflective hint in his final comments: “while I have enjoyed being at Everton, I have been presented with an unexpected opportunity which I believe is the right move for me and my family at this time.

Silence, followed by acceptance by stealth – Benitez's appointment

As is usually the case with Everton communications, having notified us of Ancelotti’s departure on 2 June 2021, there was no word whatsoever as to process – who was leading? Brands? – let alone potential candidates and the rate of progress or otherwise. The media speculated on the usual candidates plus managers with Premier League experience. Despite leaks suggesting Nuno Santo was close to being appointed, it became obvious that Moshiri had set his mind on Benitez, unthinkable and unacceptable to many Evertonians given his former associations, comments, and less-than-convincing recent managerial record.

Fully 10 days before Benitez’s appointment, media contacts with established Everton credentials were laying the groundwork for his announcement. Eventually, on 30 June 2021, in as low a key manner as is possible, Benitez was announced. The appointment was very much of Moshiri’s doing, with an exceptionally lukewarm welcome from the Chairman and, given the nature of Benitez’s comments, evidently little input from Marcel Brands.

Moshiri’s comments are particularly worthy of note, especially in the context of previous comments: “We are appointing Rafa because we believe he will bring success to our Club and to Evertonians. To put it simply – we need to be competing at the top-end of the league and to be winning trophies.

So what is the point of this admittedly, lengthy review of the managerial comings and goings?

It’s an observation of the inconsistent thinking of the last 5½ years. It presents the scatter-gun approach to recruitment and an inability to build on each individual appointed. To go back to the construction analogy, an architect can only produce on the basis of his or her clients’ brief, his or her clients’ wishes, circumstances and budgets. Having a less-than-consistent brief and then changing architects doesn’t usually produce great results. The evidence for Evertonians is there in plain sight.

Moshiri has spent huge sums of money, but failed to find and retain the right architects. Furthermore, he has acted alone and he retains a board with an inability (despite having the technical expertise in Brands) to challenge his strategy and manager selection. It is worth observing the increase in wages and amortisation costs (squad costs) over his tenure and what it has delivered in terms of results:

£’000s May-16 May-17 May-18 Jun-19 Jun-20
Wages 83,985 104,655 145,479 159,255 163,705
Amortisation 22,398 37,298 66,933 95,057 99,232
Wages & Amortisation 106,383 141,953 212,412 254,312 262,937
Turnover 121,541 171,100 189,500 187,664 185,882
Squad cost v turnover 88% 83% 112% 136% 141%
Wages v turnover 69% 61% 77% 85% 88%

Season League Position FA Cup League Cup Europe
2015-16 11 Semi-Final Semi-Final Didn't Qualify
2016-17 7 3 3 Didn't Qualify
2017-18 8 3 4 Europa League
2018-19 8 4 3 Didn't Qualify
2019-20 12 3 5 Didn't Qualify
2020-21 10 6 5 Didn't Qualify

So the question must be, for this latest iteration of the Everton re-development project (on the pitch): What is going to change and improve the chances of success in the coming months and indeed in the lead-up to that first game in the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock?

Will Moshiri recognise the need for change in the boardroom? Will he recognise that his ownership and governance model doesn’t necessarily serve the club well? Will he recognise that best use of the financial resources he has made available, lies in the hands of the subject matter experts – his Director of Football, first-team coaching staff and his Academy. Will he resist the temptation to involve himself not only in managerial selections but player transfers (aided and abetted by his super-agent friends)?

The jury will be out in terms of Benitez’s ability to succeed. What can help though is a corporate environment and culture that makes success more likely and more sustainable. Moshiri has to make the changes in his own behaviour plus the changes in his own board and executive team to provide those conditions.

Having decided upon a new architect in Benitez, he must provide a project team that allows Benitez to deliver his best, plus support and develop the latest reconstruction through to a successful conclusion. Continuing as in the past is not going to be sufficient, in my opinion.

Moshiri has to make significant changes without hesitating, in order to construct a successful football club, not just a stadium.

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Reader Comments (55)

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Danny O’Neill
3 Posted 13/07/2021 at 19:14:36

I shall do this justice in the morning once I've properly digested it and socialised it with the dogs. I always like to get their view.

The wife is looking at me suspiciously and still hasn't forgiven me for cheering on Italy the other night, so I need to be careful with all things Everton. And she doesn't even know I'm on the waiting list for my first season ticket since 1989.

But first thoughts; just as with Alex Ferguson and dare I say the Shankly and Paisley regimes over the park, this is football. Get it right on the pitch and the rest follows. United built and redeveloped Old Trafford around a successful team, not the other way around. I guess Everton can say the same. Not now, but in it's day, Goodison was ahead of it's time. But built because of success on the pitch.

Suspicious looks a plenty. We're supposed to be going out for dinner.

Paul [The Esk]
4 Posted 13/07/2021 at 19:25:06
Danny, get out for dinner!
John Zapa
5 Posted 13/07/2021 at 19:30:05
The poor leadership at the top of the club will continue to hamper any manager who is appointed, regardless of how good or successful they were in the past. The club continues to be run in a highly unsustainable manner. Even with the Usmanov billions, resources are still finite, as is patience. It's very easy to lose £100M+ per year with a poorly run club and eventually run into the wall, as many other clubs have done in the recent past.

Fans and history will remember Moshiri / Usmanov on the same level as the Glazers, Hicks+ Gillette and others who eventually took their clubs backwards.

Jerome Shields
6 Posted 13/07/2021 at 19:39:13
Gosh, Very familiar and more, which I missed the first time around. The big question is why run a Football Club this way?Why not run it from the start taking the decisions Paul has stated as being necessary?

Which have been necessary from the start and after each debacle juncture. Now, Everton are at another juncture and it all needs to be done more than ever. If it is not done this time, it will be as hard as winning the National Lottery to progress. Unfortunately we are all waiting on the lucky draw, very unconvinced.

Thank you, Paul, for the shocking detailed Everton History. You have come to the same conclusion, which is the obvious right one. . . Totally missed by the parties involved at Everton???

Brian Harrison
7 Posted 13/07/2021 at 19:51:55

I agree that the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock won't solve the problems. In fact, the financial strain it will create might be as big a problem as fixing the playing side of the problem. I think Moshiri / Usmanov must have looked at Everton always managing to finish in the top half of the league, probably thought "If we inject a few hundred million, we might have a team able to compete with the Top 4 or 6."

But, despite pumping in nearly half a billion, the club has gone backwards. I just wonder how much more are they prepared to pump into the club to turn it round? Not forgetting financing the £500 million needed to build the new stadium.

As you show in your figures, wages are at 88% of our turnover. I read some months back that a guy from Deloitte said anything above 75% is unsustainable. So how do you reduce the % paid in wages while still trying to back a new manager, and to try and do all this when we are very close to our FFP limit?

Fans will say just sell off the deadwood, but we are a mid-table team who pay their players the equivalent of what the Top 6 pay their players. But our players are not good enough in most cases to play for a Top 6 side. So we have a group of players who, in the main, would only attract interest from clubs lower than Everton in the Premier League and who wouldn't offer the players anything like the salary they get at Everton.

Moving on the so called deadwood is near impossible as these players wont move for less money. So the likes of Delph and Tosun and Iwobi etc will stay till the last day of their contracts.

The other alternative is to sell our better players, which include Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison, James, Pickford; I am not sure the new manager would be happy with that scenario. But who knows...

Maybe that was the scenario that Moshiri / Usmanov offered Benitez, that we will have to sell our better players and replace them with cheaper options? As there are no other options to help reduce the wage bill, but they must be aware the backlash from the fans that would cause. So I think they are in a very tight corner with very little wriggle room.

Danny O’Neill
9 Posted 14/07/2021 at 09:24:48
Very sobering state of the nation article Paul. The dogs had to bring me home early as they were genuinely concerned and didn't want to answer my questions through fear of pushing me too far.

Given they went ahead and appointed Benitez Brian, I don't think they have too much concern over a fans' backlash.

I also don't think that is necessarily a bad thing. The hope (that word again) is that maybe having previously been overly bought into the sentimental Everton "the People's Club" and "If you know your history", Moshiri has decided to detach himself from the emotion. He will lead this and apply the governance in his own way that Paul calls out as lacking. I reiterate; hope and a few years late. Whether I agree or not, we need the leadership to have a direction of travel; a strategy. For those who know it, we've been travelling around that notorious roundabout in Swindon for the last 5 years.

Back to my previous points though, we have to get this right on the pitch first and foremost. A strategy of building a new stadium and all the benefits that it brings, both to the club and the city, is positive and part of the wider strategy. But pointless if we don't have a team worthy of playing in it. The clue is in the title "football club". It has to be built, managed and governed from the foundations up. Those foundations start with the team and on the pitch. Get that right, the rest follows. But to enable that to happen and the rest to follow, the leadership needs to lead. And do so with a consistent strategy, starting with the team.

Moshiri's reign so far has been plagued by inconsistency, indecision and a scattergun approach. Both in the transfer market and in managerial appointments. Silva? I'll never understand that one. I was appalled at the Allardyce appointment but I suppose I can begrudgingly see why. But a statement from our owner of wanting to stabilise Everton in the top half of the league is concerning. I can only assume that was a "there and then" concern rather than a strategy and a vision.

I really wanted the unfortunate walking out of Ancelotti to be a eureka moment when we could restructure the management, leadership and governance from top to bottom to get it right on the pitch. From academy through to first team. I'll apply my grass roots football analogy to Everton. You build the foundations first (team / pitch), not the roof (stadium).

I've said previously, the irony is that In many ways, Benitez is pretty close to what they had in Ancelotti, so could suggest a continuation of a strategy? And as unpalatable as Benitez is to many Evertonians, if that is their chosen path (strategy), maybe a better fit than Carlo having proven himself at lesser clubs including a pretty average Liverpool at the time in comparison to their previous exploits?

My only fear is that, having employed a DoF, we haven't empowered him and he is increasingly seeming like a submissive yes man rather than imposing a strategy and footballing structure on the club. That's why I was keen on Rangnick (the builder). If we are going to have a DoF model, then apply it correctly as part of the structure of how the club is managed. The team "manager" effectively becomes the head coach. With an appointment like Benitez, I don't see that happening.

I hope at least some of that made sense. Please excuse the early morning brain dump of emotion!!

Excellent read as always Paul.

Jerome Shields
10 Posted 14/07/2021 at 09:40:05
As Brian has rightly pointed out there is a problem with the quality of the Squad built up previously and a large chunk of deadwood that even Brands has added to. Benitez is saddled with the same conundrum as was Silva and Anchelotti. Both of them failed to bring up the tactical and technical ability of the Squad, even with strategic additions. They both I am sure worked hard on this. Benitez has to tackle the same problem and Brands has to continue with the perennial policy of shifting deadwood to hopefully release funds and reduce wages %. Another contributory problem is a underperforming Commercial side not realising more funds. Propped up by USM largesse.

Actually it is good work if you can get it, not being subject to performance targets and not being held accountable. Able to come out with bluffers guff at the AGM and being seemily fully supported to do so.

' Oh the Deadwood Stage is rollin on over the plain.

With curtains flappin'and the driver slappin the reins

A beautiful sky , a wonderful day

Whip crack-away, whip crack-away , whip crack- away'

I am so sick of that word 'deadwood. ' Whip now thats a idea.

Derek Taylor
11 Posted 14/07/2021 at 10:50:06
Who can Moshiri blame next? My bet is that Director of Football, Marcel Brands, will not see out the coming season – that's if he sees the start of it!
Roy Exley
12 Posted 14/07/2021 at 11:18:55
Remember Nottingham Forest, well-established First Division team - double European Cup Winners? Then they spent a fortune building a new 'Super-Stand' at the City Ground - we know what has happened since then - hope this wasn't a precursor for Everton and the Bramley-Moore Dock project.
Simon Dalzell
13 Posted 14/07/2021 at 12:06:49
Interesting read as ever Paul, and a tremendous effort putting all these facts together. Thank you.
Anthony Murphy
14 Posted 14/07/2021 at 12:18:55
New Board members announced - Bill to go soon I reckon
Tony Abrahams
15 Posted 14/07/2021 at 12:26:34
As soon as Kenwright leaves Everton, we will win the cup Anthony. Take it from me mate, even if is something I say every January!!
Laurie Hartley
16 Posted 14/07/2021 at 12:32:51
Usmanov’s nephew Ismailov, has just been promoted to a full board member.
Colin Glassar
17 Posted 14/07/2021 at 12:35:06
Usmanov is moving his pieces. The takeover is continuing and boys pen Bill is probably seeing the writing on the wall. Bye bye Bill, and please take Iwobi with you.

Welcome aboard Tovaritch Ismailov.

Tom Harvey
18 Posted 14/07/2021 at 12:45:57
Tony Abrahams @ 16

Hello Tony,

Probably just like yourself I don't really know what's going on in the boardroom, but my instincts tell me BK's influence will be down to very little if not negligeable, he's not buying players or doing deals anymore, maybe the odd whisper into Moshiri's ear of which he probably doesn't listen to.

The club is what it is: Moshiri's & Usmanov's toy.

David Pearl
19 Posted 14/07/2021 at 12:51:10
I'd prefer BK to negotiate players over Mosh any day of the week, and twice on Sunday. But that's just me.
Danny O’Neill
20 Posted 14/07/2021 at 12:54:43
Wembley in May Tony.

I would like to see us properly empower Brands David. Then we can judge him.

I don't believe that will happen, but if you're going to employ a DoF, let him be one.

Colin Glassar
21 Posted 14/07/2021 at 12:55:09
Hardly a toy, Tom. These guys are investing some serious money into the club, something which hasn’t happened for about 50 years now.

Of course it’s an investment from which they will expect a return but they are slowly pushing us to get a seat at the table.

Financially, we’ve been on a downward spiral ever since John Moores dumped us for the red whore across the park. A succession of useless, and skint, owners (right up to the Scouse Buddha) have kept us there with no hope.

As the bard once said, The times they are a-Changin’.

Danny O’Neill
22 Posted 14/07/2021 at 13:03:28
As I said earlier, maybe finally, Moshiri and his backers have decided enough is enough and decided they'll take it from here.
David Pearl
23 Posted 14/07/2021 at 13:17:44
Danny, we've all been wanting Brands to have more power to bring in his choices so that in the event of a manager moving on there is continuity in recruitment. Not bloody likely!

Benitez wants his own players, as did Bobby, Ronny, Marco, Carlo, Dave, Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich. I think that covers it.

Rafa's first presser coming up 15 mins. Everton are The People's Club..... facht.

Barry Hesketh
24 Posted 14/07/2021 at 13:22:41
Despite the expensive mistakes made by the owners and the board in the last five years, I'd still prefer to have Moshiri and perhaps his pal Usmanov on our side, rather than not. It has been a bruising period for Evertonians and has left many feeling bereft and shocked at the state of the team on the pitch.

Can the new manager get that extra 10% - 20% out of the team, that is required to get us into Europe, can he succeed where everybody else has failed? I don't know the answer, but if he does and the money guys don't baulk between now and the new stadium's opening, this might, at long last, be the time when Everton can escape the shackles of its recent history and begin to make a sustained assault on the higher places in the league.

We can only hope and pray that things begin to turn in the club's favour on and off the pitch, but it will, as always, be what the team does on the pitch that will determine whether we are heading in the right direction.

Iain Latchford
27 Posted 14/07/2021 at 13:39:05
This is good news...

"De Miguel Moreno, known as 'Paco', is established as one of football’s foremost fitness experts. He obtained a degree in physical education in his homeland and formerly worked at Madrid’s National Institute of Physical Education.

The 48-year-old started in football with Atletico Madrid, then had time at Getafe and Valencia.

De Miguel Moreno joined Benitez’s Liverpool staff from 2007/08 and was subsequently with the manager at Inter Milan, Chelsea, Napoli, Real Madrid, Newcastle United and Dalian Professional in China.

“Paco has been part of my success with different teams and is a key part of the staff,” Benitez told evertonfc.com.

“He is very knowledgeable and an exceptionally hard worker.

“Paco is informed on every aspect of modern training technology and how to apply this to maximise the output of every player and the team.

“He has been my assistant for 14 years and will be very important in what we want to achieve with Everton.”

Alan J Thompson
29 Posted 14/07/2021 at 17:14:34
As a diary of events it is fairly accurate but I would like to know Paul's feelings as to the divisions that seem to be surfacing within the club with regards to Assistant Coaches and Boardroom appointments and if this will spill over into transfer business and especially as it appears it may become amongst the, mostly, majority shareholders appointments.
Tom Harvey
30 Posted 14/07/2021 at 17:22:43
I've justed watched the Benitez press conference.

He was asked what his expectations are for next season, he said to do better for next season, to look a the cups and no mention of Europe whatsoever and just take it game by game.

Not too hard to be better than last season, is it?

After Moshiri spending all that money, we have regressed to the pre-Moyes era, it's now "Keep us in the Premier League and there's a big bonus for you, Rafa, mate!"

Tony Abrahams
31 Posted 14/07/2021 at 17:52:12
Tom@18, I don’t think Kenwright has had much influence in the boardroom for a while now mate, but he’s still at the club, and this is the place where he surrounded himself with a lot of his “own people” imo Tom, and a lot of those people are still there.

The master made the rules, and seemed to look after the ones he had on his side, and usually when change comes, then the poison is created by some of these very people, who begin to lose their power?

If Benitez can win us that cup, then not only will he win 99% of the crowd over, won’t that also mean that we will qualify for Europe, anyway Tom?

Tom Harvey
32 Posted 14/07/2021 at 18:02:34

Absolutely mate, win the cup and qualify for Europe, we can follow in the footsteps of Wigan Athletic!

Didn't they have a Spanish manager just like us?

Raymond Fox
33 Posted 14/07/2021 at 18:06:57
The reason we don't finish in the Top 4 is because we don't have enough Top 4 players, simple. What's the point of changing managers if players are of the same standard?

How many do we have now? Digne for sure, Pickford maybe… Rodriguez is too injury-prone; Allan near but not near enough; Richarlison a maybe also.

We have a good strong squad, I'm not disputing that, but we still lack 2 or 3 world-class players that would make us really competitive.

Brendan McLaughlin
34 Posted 14/07/2021 at 18:19:04
Tom #32,

Hopefully the fact that both are Spanish is the only similarity between the ex-Wigan manager and the current Everton incumbent!

Tony Abrahams
35 Posted 14/07/2021 at 18:20:51
Of course they did, Tom!

It's mad though because people always look for comparisons, and some people say Bill Kenwright saved us from becoming a Forest or a Leeds.

They also used to say Leicester (or maybe it was just me using The Foxes as an example!) A club who fell into League Two, along with administration, but guess what? Since Kenwright came on board, that same club have won every one of our country's three domestic honours.

But at least our club is still full of Evertonians though, even if it seems that most of them have forgotten how we should truly exist, and that's why I'd give nearly anything to emulate little Wigan, and win the FA Cup!

Jerome Shields
36 Posted 14/07/2021 at 18:25:53
They must have finally understood Paul the Esk articles or are they another off shore type Director appointment.
Bill Hawker
37 Posted 14/07/2021 at 19:11:06
Another in-depth, well written article. Keep them coming, Paul!!!
Tom Harvey
38 Posted 14/07/2021 at 19:40:19

Yep, I want the cup the also.

It just worries me that existing to survive can mean that you don't always survive, but existing to be the best means you nearly always do survive. If that makes any sense?

Basically aim for the gold medal and you might get silver or bronze, but aim for silver or bronze and you might get nothing. I sense this club might not be aiming for the medals anymore?

Tony Abrahams
39 Posted 14/07/2021 at 20:02:01
I've felt it for years, Tom, and this was probably the reason why I wasn't incensed by the appointment of Rafa Benitez, mate.

In the eyes of many, this is a terrible appointment, but I've had enough of Evertonians looking out for each other at Everton, Tom.

It doesn't look like they've been aiming for the medals for a long time now, except for David Unsworth's Under-23s team, whose mantra should be more about producing players, especially for the money he's allegedly earning.

John Boon
40 Posted 14/07/2021 at 22:11:50
Danny (3) and other posts. Please do not take this as being a criticism but, HOW do you have the time to go on Toffee Web so regularly on almost all topics and still have time to take the dogs for a walk and please your wife.

I find your posts interesting to a point. You are never abusive or overly critical of other posters. You are nearly always supportive of the article or topic under discussion.

On rare occasions I post twice on one particular topic.You are so obviously a "fine" Evertonian. How do you find time to watch TV, cut the grass, talk to your wife or offspring, go for a walk, play golf tennis or Senior gymnastics. Are Everton on your mind all your waking hours. I am just awed by your Èverton diligence.

Brendan McLaughlin
41 Posted 14/07/2021 at 22:32:09
"I find your posts interesting to a point."
High praise indeed! 😊
Danny O’Neill
42 Posted 15/07/2021 at 09:39:44
That made me laugh John @40!

I've always had a knack of multi-tasking. It helps I now work from home so have multiple screens running.

Not as exciting as when I was in the Army, but it's nice walking the dogs, spending more time at home with the family and reading up on Everton more regularly than I used to be able to!

Jerome Shields
43 Posted 15/07/2021 at 10:27:56
Tony #31,

That is always going to be the underlying problem, which I am sure Benitez is aware of. If not, he would be well aware after the meet and greet party with Denise, Duncan and David wheeled out on his arrival at Finch Farm.

Benitez is just restating the Ancelotti message of effort and spirit right from the start, knowing this is a real problem at Everton. He has insisted on his backroom team from the start and named them in positions. It took Ancelotti six months to do this. In Duncan's case, he has defined his role, which is not first-team coach. It will be interesting to see Brands's role on Transfers as Benitez outlines wider involvement.

He repeatedly has put an emphasis on financial considerations. Working before his announced appointment and since with the squad, he is hitting the ground running.

The recent Director appointments are arms-length in nature, which would suggest the backing for change still lies in the backing of the manager. More political than financial though.

Everton is going to need ongoing funds to address the barriers to progress, even with Benitez.

John Boon
44 Posted 15/07/2021 at 16:31:35
Danny (43).
You obviously also have a sense of humour. To have supported Everton for a long period of time, particularly over the last ten years, being able to laugh at many of the "goings on " is essential. I read nearly all the posts and see fellow fanatics rant, rave and turm "BLUE" in the face. The simple much used statement from non football people is how can a "GAME" be that important ?

There really is no sensible response to that seemingly idiotic question. For me it is even more significant because the question most often comes from my own wife. In fact I can say with pathetic honesty that the first thing that comes to my mind when I wake up in the morning is "I wonder if Everton have signed anyone ?". If I told that to a psychiatrist I would probably be certified.

Keep posting. Do not be put off by the many naysayers. In fact ALL posters, including myself, are making statements, drawing conclusions and giving astute advice about all things Everton. Only the poster knows how to improve the team that they adore. In reality we are addressing and making sense to about. 0001%of the world population. Sad that the other 99.0009% just don't know what they are missing. GREAT TO BE AN EVERTONIAN !

Jay Wood

45 Posted 15/07/2021 at 17:23:52
Jerome @ 43. This.

'[Rafa] has insisted on his backroom team from the start and named them in positions. It took Ancelotti six months to do this.'

Another of your fantasies you keep repeating, only goodness knows why. Carlo had 6 backroom staff (besides Duncan Ferguson and goalkeeper coach Alan Kelly) at Everton who he takes everywhere with him.

Their own LinkedIn profiles and Transfermarkt bios list their appointments as follows:

Assistant Manager, son Davide, appointed 22 December 2019, same day as Carlo.
Athletic Coach, Francesco Mauri, appointed 22 December 2019.
Video analyst, Simeone Montanaro, appointed 22 December 2019.
Fitness Coach, Manuel Morabito, appointed January 2020.
Sport scientist and data analyst Luca Guerra, appointed January 2020.
Recovery & Performance Specialist, Mino Fulco, appointed January 2020.

Danny O’Neill
46 Posted 15/07/2021 at 17:42:08
It's not idiotic at all John. We are all certified fools who cannot give it up and don't want to either.

I totally relate to your first thought when waking up in the morning scenario John. The dogs start waking me up from 5:30am and expect to out the door by 6:30am and I've never been an early to bed person, so I have long days. Especially now when I have more time at home and time on my hands.

I've thought about and managed to get information about Everton in situations and isolated locations when it was difficult to do so and I shouldn't have been thinking about them. But even then, I wanted to know how we got on or who we had signed.

I love being an Evertonian. I hope now that my life is more stable, I move up that season ticket waiting list and can revisit the time I last had one, which was watching us lift 2 league titles and come very close to 3 in a row.

Steve Jones
47 Posted 15/07/2021 at 18:31:25
Scattergun approach?.

We've tried young 'up and coming' managers with vibrant enthusiasm, new ideas and 'no fear'. We've tried established and respected managers up to and including one of the worlds best and, once, we hired Big Sam to stop everything going to shit.

Is that really scattergun or is that trying fresh options as they become available?. The bearded mug that the Wolves fans ridicule becoming the new Spurs manager tells a story in my view. That sometimes your choices aren't what you might like them to be.

I'd have loved Bobby Martinez's sin meido thing to have worked out - we have just seen, years down the track, though he cant win silverware even with the awesome talent that the Belgium national side deploys. Are we sad we didn't hold on to him?.

I've got a mate who's a Barca fan, lives just down the road from the Camp Nou, he regularly offers to drive Koeman back to Goodison if we want him. Cant stand him - thinks he's safe in the job because he's an 'old boy yes man' not because he brings anything to the team. Are we sad to have parted with him?.

I hope not because he was a madman - tried to change our style of play twice without the players to make the style he wanted to play work and was surprised both times it failed!. One season he had Lukaku's goals to save him, but, next time he didn't.

Difficult to tell that the managers going to be crap before you sign him I imagine?.

Brendan McLaughlin
48 Posted 15/07/2021 at 23:04:49
Steve #47,

Cometh the hour... cometh the man.

Let's just hope it's the bastard who used (?) to be a Red?

Jerome Shields
49 Posted 16/07/2021 at 00:19:08
Jay #45,

I am not disputing that Ancelotti had backroom staff. In fact, I posted the same list in the early part of last season. But Ancelotti's backroom team were only officially announced in October of his first full season – 6 months after he started???

Dale Self
50 Posted 16/07/2021 at 00:51:01
Jerome, that doesn't make sense man. You make an insulting comparison to Benitez' supposed better preparation and when told that ANCELOTTI did in fact have his staff together your refer to some announcement that came later. It's not the timing of the announcement that challenges your supposed point.
Jay Wood

51 Posted 16/07/2021 at 00:55:20
Stop babbling nonsense, Jerome, as if you've discovered something deceitful and underhand to support your fantastical ramblings about the inner workings at Everton and Finch Farm in particular.

The appointments were not only announced in October 2020 as you now claim – a full 10 months after Ancelotti was appointed, even more than your already inflated 6 months.

Check out this link from the official club site, dated 11 March 2020, not even a full 3 months after Carlo joined on 22 December 2019.

Meet The Staff

A written article and a 90-second video in which each new staff member appears and introduces themselves.

The opening paragraph reads:

'When Carlo Ancelotti was appointed as Blues boss in late December, he brought with him six trusted lieutenants from his spells at some of Europe's most illustrious clubs.'

Then there is this article from the Guardian dated a week earlier than the above, 4 March 2020, in which Carlo speaks in detail about each member of 'the staff I brought with me in December', adding he wants them all to improve their English.

Carlo's Backroom Staff

Your repeated claim about when Carlo Ancelotti announced the names and positions of his staff is typical of many of your TW offerings.

Demonstrably false.

Mike Allison
52 Posted 16/07/2021 at 07:38:00
In the last five years we’ve thrown away the thing we were good at: stability, continuity, identity and togetherness. We’re now paying the price.

The good news is that these things are free; the bad news is that they take patience, hard work and strong minds. We need to rediscover these virtues to have any chance of building Everton back again.

The ‘Hollywood’ approach has been a resounding failure. We now need the others to get out of the way and let Brands do his job: identify young, hungry players with enough ability right now and potential to improve further. We need to sign them at sensible prices and pay them reasonable wages. If the only thing attracting players here is money, then we are doomed to failure.

It’s also worth pointing out that last season was nowhere near as bad as some people are now telling it. The football was awful, but we were three results away from the Champions League. If we’d won at home against three of the bottom four, we’d have come fourth. 35/38 results were good enough.

The squad needs tweaking, not a massive overhaul. It’s the connections between the parts that is the major problem, not the parts themselves.

Danny O’Neill
53 Posted 16/07/2021 at 08:25:06
I'll agree and disagree Mike, but I liked that post.

I agree on continuity and patience. Absolutely. But in the context of the modern game (well mostly my life time). That patience is 3 - 5 years, not an 11-year Moyes type cycle, especially when the needle isn't moving after 6 years. Continuity of mediocrity is not a good thing.

If you look at the teams winning the trophies and titles, the past few years, then the "Hollywood" model does work. Even Leicester City adopted that when they brought in Ranieri and have followed with Rodgers. I feel dirty saying that, but he has established himself. He is no longer up-and-coming having won titles with Celtic and very nearly the Premier League with Liverpool.

Look at the last decade of Premier League winning managers:

Ferguson (established)
Guardiola (x 3)

All proven and established with previous success. None of them up-and-coming.

I do like your final point about last season. Yes, awful to watch, particularly the latter half. I didn't realise we were only 3 results off a Champion's League place. I saw our target as the Europa League and we were one game off that and could have qualified on the last day of the season. So yes, perspective.

Andy Crooks
54 Posted 16/07/2021 at 09:46:20
Danny, I fear that patience is not even 3 to 5 years. If, God forbid, we should be in the bottom five for two weekends, the patience with Rafa will be done.

The important thing is for us all to see a plan, to believe we are going somewhere, a sign of better things to come. I just didn't get that in Ancelotti's last 6 months. I think Rafa has 6 weeks.

Danny O’Neill
55 Posted 16/07/2021 at 09:52:43
Hard to disagree with that Andy. With Benitez, there was and is always the probability it can go toxic early.

I think the club (owners & backers) have a plan off the pitch. The problem is I don't think they have one on the pitch. And with a football club, that is ultimately where it matters.

Simon Jones
56 Posted 16/07/2021 at 10:00:30
With those figures at the end and the rumours today that six of our biggest earners are available for transfer, perhaps its Benitez's experience at Newcastle that made him ideal for the role at Goodison.
Steve Brown
57 Posted 16/07/2021 at 12:01:59
John @ 44, you need to speak to my missus. Her favourite phrase is 'it's only a game', followed by 'you're like the bloody manager' when I get worked up watching a game.
John Boon
58 Posted 16/07/2021 at 14:39:18
Steve (57). Just tell her that you are the "Manager", but just of this house.After you pick yourself off the floor you can also tell her that you have already applied for the next opening at Everton provided that they give you the right contract. Based on the last five or six appointments that might be quite soon. I am sure you could do a better job than some of the others. Use your wife as a reference.
Anthony Jones
59 Posted 17/07/2021 at 12:37:09
Moshiri is not accountable to anyone but Usmanov.

If they are both aligned on poor decisions the inevitable plays out.

Less words than the well written article above but this is the real issue the club faces.

John Pendleton
60 Posted 17/07/2021 at 20:25:35

Your excellent posts set off mixed emotions every time.

They cut through the data to shine a light on the strategic fragility of the club, reminding us that we’re on an unsustainable route without a significant change in fortunes.

Yet we’re incredibly thankful you undertake this analysis and share with us well-articulated conclusions that add huge value to the TW debate.

I always learn something important and new, even if it adds to the size of the task ahead. Thanks for the time and effort you put in.

Paul [The Esk]
61 Posted 19/07/2021 at 08:57:05
John #60, thank you for your incredibly kind comments (and everyone else too).

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