Sleepwalking to Disaster, Part IV – Moshiri's Mire

As he approaches the sixth anniversary of his first investment in Everton, Farhad Moshiri finds his grandiose Everton project on track in terms of the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock but in considerable disarray on the pitch. His ambitions face multiple challenges after a series of failed managerial appointments and massive waste on unsuccessful signings but none of them are insurmountable with an incremental, considered plan of action. In the radio silence from the Monaco-based billionaire, however, it's impossible to know if that's likely to happen

Lyndon Lloyd 20/01/2022 48comments  |  Jump to last
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The new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock sits out there on a temporal horizon as a potentially transformative event in Everton’s history. The search for a resolution to the problems posed by Goodison Park, with its obstructed views, limited capacity and restrictive site, is 25 years old but, with construction on a new 52,000-plus stadium on the banks of the Mersey now underway, there is hope that, finally, the club will soon have a home more capable than their current one of supporting its financial and footballing goals.

There’s an argument to be made that, if delivering a new ground where the two previous owners failed is all that comes from Farhad Moshiri’s time at Everton — assuming, of course, the club doesn’t fall through the trapdoor into the Championship — he will have cemented his place in the club’s history, regardless of what happens on the pitch in the interim. It would represent a massive waste, however, because the British-Iranian businessman has shown no shortage of ambition since coming on board in 2016.

Those ambitions have, however, crashed against some stark realities over the past 6 years — that Premier League football is very often an unforgiving environment where naïveté and profligacy are punished and simply throwing around scads of money is no guarantee of success — and there’s a worry that having ploughed an estimated £685m into Everton already, Moshiri’s ambitions have been curbed with the new stadium itself still not fully funded.

Yet what Moshiri desires isn’t just being limited by the competitive landscape of an English game awash with new money; it’s now being seriously challenged by intensifying dysfunction at the club and the kind of internal chaos that felt almost unthinkable in the early stages of his reign. With the team manager-less once more, hovering above the relegation zone, Finch Farm stripped of much of its previous personnel structure, and the club in a financial straitjacket of its own making, it’s easy to feel that the Blues are sleepwalking to disaster.

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Things can change quickly in football, though. The issues currently holding Everton back are by no means beyond resolution, but getting the club back on an even keel and heading in the right direction is going to require a coherent, well-articulated and competently executed strategy. The problem is there doesn’t appear to be one; if one exists, it isn’t being communicated at all anymore.

The Owner

Rafael Benitez is gone, the fourth of Farhad Moshiri’s managerial appointees to be sacked, but not before he had forced out Everton’s Director of Football, Marcel Brands, along with the Head of Recruitment and Development, and the Manager of Scouting and Operations. The club’s former head of medicine was also elbowed out of Finch Farm and his replacement left this week with Benitez. The team sits 16th in the Premier League despite having spent over half a billion pounds on players in the last 5 years and is restricted from buying many more because of the Premier League’s profit and sustainability rules.

There’s more you could add but when it’s spelled out in that way it’s easy to write Farhad Moshiri’s time as major and then majority shareholder off as an utter failure; the unfortunate consequence of inexperience and, perhaps, irrational exuberance. The reality, as is often the case in life, is a lot more complex than that. [At this point you can, if you so choose, skip the brief history review that contextualises the path Moshiri took to 2021 → ]

Moshiri arrived at Goodison Park in February 2016 as Bill Kenwright’s long-sought billionaire saviour with what appeared to be some pent-up frustration from his and long-time business associate Alisher Usmanov’s inability to penetrate the boardroom at Stan Kroenke’s Arsenal. He spoke in ambitious terms of transforming the Blues into a Champions League outfit and had acknowledged that there might be a tight window of only a few years to achieve that goal before the gulf to the country’s biggest clubs simply became too wide to bridge.

Everton fans were fully on board with their new benefactor as, just weeks after Kenwright had extolled Roberto Martinez’s virtues with his “What a manager” line after a Romelu Lukaku-inspired FA Cup win over Chelsea in the spring of 2016, he sacked the Catalan amid alarmingly worsening results in the Premier League and protests from the stands at Goodison calling for the manager’s ouster.

It was the beginning of an attempt to both modernise the structure at Everton and raise the calibre of coach in the dugout. Steve Walsh, the scout who discovered the likes of Jamie Vardy, Riyadh Mahrez and Ngolo Kanté, was plucked from Leicester City to become the Toffees’ first sporting director. Ronald Koeman was prised away from Southampton and billed as Moshiri’s “Hollywood Manager” to round out a northwest quartet that included Mourinho, Guardiola and Klopp.

Close to £220m would be spent on incoming players during Koeman’s tenure in an unprecedented spending spree, albeit one offset to a large degree by the sales of John Stones to Manchester City for £47m in August 2016 and Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United for £75m a year later. While eyebrows were raised at some of the inflated fees — the £40m+ paid to Swansea City for Gylfi Sigurdsson felt highly questionable bordering on ludicrous at the time, likewise the £28m spent on the erratic Yannick Bolasie — and a significant chunk of the expenditure was concentrated on central midfielders, the majority shareholder had appointed his men and was fully backing them in the market.

As the man charged with heading up a 3-year project to get Everton into the Champions League, Koeman was thought to be an astute appointment but, aloof and almost half-hearted in his commitment from some accounts close to the team, he proved to be a poor character fit with a surprising inability to impose on the team any kind of recognisable style. Those millions of pounds in expenditure in concert with Walsh and a run of some terrible results to start the 2017-18 season eventually resulted in his sacking, with the Dutchman’s time at Everton ending up being more akin to his disastrous spell at Valencia than his promising time on the south coast of England. Everton are still feeling the effects of his tenure today.

Had Evertonians known that the objectionable Sam Allardyce wouldn’t end up being the most unpalatable managerial appointment of the Moshiri era, they might not have tolerated the disgraced former England boss quite so readily for six dour months following Koeman’s departure. Moshiri still had credit of trust in the bank with supporters, however, and he continued to support his second hire with £41m for two signings in the form of Cenk Tosun and Theo Walcott as Allardyce completed the job of keeping Everton in the Premier League.

True to his wider vision, though, Moshiri dispensed with Allardyce as soon as the 2017-18 campaign was over. Whether it was his impressive exploits with Estoril in his native Portugal, his valiant attempt to keep Hull City in the Premier League in 2015, or the manner in which he had guided Watford to a place among the early Premier League pace-setters in 2017, Moshiri had clearly seen something in Marco Silva, enough to keep his simmering in the background during the season, and he eventually managed to extract the Portuguese from the Hertfordshire club following bitter negotiations that would rumble on into the courts for months afterwards.

Silva’s appointment was followed swiftly by that of Marcel Brands and the pair set about spending more of Moshiri’s millions in the summer of 2018 with the acquisition of Richarlison, Lucas Digne and Yerry Mina for a combined £80m. Though the Blues weren’t able to improve on their 8th-place finish in the first season under the new regime, the way in which the team finished 2018-19 with just two defeats in 11 matches offered hope of real progress the following season, particularly after another £60m net spend on players was sanctioned that summer.

Unfortunately, for all his promise, Silva proved frustratingly intransigent in his methods, refusing to adapt his tactics and formations to better suit the personnel at his disposal, and was unable to reverse an erratic run of form in the autumn that had left Everton languishing in the Bottom 3 by early December following a particularly harrowing 5-2 defeat in the Anfield derby. Moshiri, dealing with mounting concern from supporters and fearing another potential battle against relegation, was once again compelled to act by sacking Silva and embarking on the search for his third manager in as many years.

Enter Carlo Ancelotti who, somewhat fortuitously from Moshiri’s standpoint, had recently been fired himself from the Napoli job and was persuaded by the Monaco-based businessman to take the reins at Goodison Park. One of the most decorated coaches in the European game, the Italian was regarded by outsiders as the type of manager Everton could never get and he therefore represented something of a coup.

If Silva’s tenure had seen Brands doing his best to pare down a bloated roster and reduce the average age of the squad by concentrating on signing players under the age of 25, with their peak years ahead of them and potential sell-on value if the Blues couldn’t hang onto them, the model was cast aside when Ancelotti arrived to accommodate the new manager’s own designs for the team.

Ancelotti had identified significant weaknesses in midfield and moved to sign Allan from his former club in Naples and James Rodriguez from Real Madrid, the star player he himself had brought to the Bernabeu following his blistering emergence at the 2014 World Cup. A longer-term Everton target in the form of Abdoulaye Doucouré was also brought in along with Ben Godfrey to round out another £60m outlay.

We will never know how things might have turned out for Everton had Ancelotti fulfilled his stated desire to remain with the club beyond his initial contract and lead them to Bramley-Moore Dock because he was gone within 18 months of his arrival. What happened in between his arrival and abrupt departure, particularly over the final five months, was mystifying. James may have been frustratingly unavailable for stretches and generally lacking commitment by the end but – in a strange pandemic-affected season played almost exclusively to empty stadiums – the Blues sat second on Boxing Day 2020.

The door to the Champions League was open; European qualification of some description was very much within the team’s grasp, but Everton’s form fell off a cliff over the remainder of the campaign, with Ancelotti proving singularly unable to coax a solid performance from his charges on home turf, even while they equalled a club-record 11 wins away from home. The club finished 10th, Ancelotti disappeared back to Madrid and Moshiri was left to pick up the pieces once more.

→ While this brief skip down memory lane covers well-trodden ground for Evertonians, it does illustrate that at every major turn, there seemed to be purpose behind Farhad Moshiri’s actions even if his various managerial hires didn’t fit a consistent profile. While there were reservations or uncertainty from supporters around some of the decisions, they could more or less understand why the owner made them.

Even the decision to bring on board Benitez in the face of obvious supporter disapproval had a graspable rationale if you believed, as many did, that a man of such vast experience, a supposed master tactician who “sweats the details”, would at least put the team on a stable footing and have it moving in the right direction again – even if the football served up wasn’t the most exciting.

However, the events of the past few months have raised significant alarm, both at Moshiri’s handling of the club and the ability of the Board of Directors to unify and coalesce around a defined path forward. They also raise the worrying question of whether the club’s supremo has lost interest to an extent and given up.

Perhaps cajoled by Benitez into believing that the Spaniard could be everything from coach and manager to chief scout and sporting director all rolled into one, the owner handed almost total power over all parts of the footballing operations to a man who, results and decisions increasingly indicated, shouldn’t have been appointed in the first place.

It was an almost desperate, all-or-nothing decision and, having allowed Benitez, through his well-documented brand of divisive politicking, to force Brands out, along with his chief scouts and Lucas Digne, Moshiri then had to sack the manager himself once it appeared as though he was losing the plot as well as matches on an almost weekly basis.

The Rebuild

The soul of the club has been wounded by the Benitez episode; it feels a little lighter already now that he has gone. Nevertheless, Evertonians are frustrated and deeply concerned, not only about the immediate threat of relegation but about what comes next after this season under a seemingly divided Board and increasingly unpredictable owner. More than anything, they want something to believe in, to rally behind… much like when Farhad Moshiri first arrived.

A banner that will, no doubt, be on display at Goodison Park at some point on Saturday reads, “Moshiri if you want success fix this mess”. As ToffeeWeb contributor Paul The Esk has frequently argued, our interests as supporters are completely aligned with those of the owner, whether he simply wants to make a profit on his investment in the club or genuinely wants to build a successful team that ends up challenging for the game’s top honours.

It doesn’t have to be as hard as it has been — it really doesn’t. Pundits and even supporters have been spelling out the steps that Moshiri and the Board could be taking to make this a much less fractious and stressful situation than it is for months but it doesn’t seem as though anyone is listening. Despite how bleak things look in the aftermath of Benitez’s short tenure, there is a pathway out if disaster is averted this season. It’s going to take a period of introspection, of taking stock and unity of purpose among the hierarchy — something that, from the outside, based purely on recent decision-making, doesn’t look likely at the moment — but the process of setting the club back in the right direction is one that can begin in fairly short order, starting with some incremental steps:

Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.

When boos and chants of “Sack the Board” rang out at the Goodison derby last month and Marcel Brands was barracked by an irate fan as he left the Directors box after that sorry 4-1 defeat, it sent a very clear message that Everton supporters were frustrated. They felt ignored by Moshiri pressing ahead with Benitez’s appointment and had grown tired of the club’s declining performance against its peers under a Board of Directors deficient in genuine corporate expertise and sufficient breadth in terms of football knowledge.

It was a cry for information, for communication, for the hierarchy to do something tangible and it’s baffling that Moshiri didn’t initially take the easy win of belatedly addressing the fanbase through the club’s official communication channels. He could have headed off a lot of grief by simply talking to his customers; instead, he elected to call his friend Jim White and inflamed Evertonian angst even more.

It’s high time the owner sits down in front of evertontv’s cameras, acknowledges that mistakes have been made, and speaks plainly about what his plans now are for the future. It would begin the process of repairing what is a damaged relationship with the fans ahead of the moment the club asks them to pony up more money to watch the team at Goodison Park in preparation for the move to the docks.

Replace Brands; Give his successor free reign

It’s unclear who, if anyone, will be continuing the strategic review of the football operations at Everton now that Benitez has gone; and there is no way of knowing yet whether the director of football model is one that the club will persist with in the medium to long term. The hope is, of course, that the hiring of a new sporting director to replace Brands is at the top of Moshiri’s to-do list because it’s a proven model and currently the Blues are one of just two clubs without one in the Premier League.

It’s very difficult to assess the success or otherwise of the DoF model at Everton because Brands was only allowed to do part of the role’s remit and very little of that appeared to involve selecting managers. If Moshiri is genuinely ready to take a step back from controlling the decision-making process, he needs to find a new sporting director to whom he can hand the reins and let them rebuild the recruiting structure at Finch Farm without interference.

And if the new person arrives before the next permanent managerial appointment, he should, of course, be in charge of that, too, even if Moshiri retains the power of veto.

Recruit Smarter

Having had their fingers burned so badly under successive managerial regimes, Everton were forced, by financial fair play restrictions, to be much more savvy about their player recruitment last summer and for a fraction of the massive fees they were shelling out before they picked up Demarai Gray, a genuine match-winner, for just £1.7m.

It showed that there are useful players out there in the right age range who can be picked up for a song and if the £18m paid to Dynamo Kiev for Vitalii Mykolenko still feels a little steep, the Ukrainian international is still young and has plenty of time to grow to eventually justify that price tag. Likewise Nathan Patterson who, all being well, could be a Blues player for many years to come. Both will also be on significantly lower wages than some of the less-than-stellar signings made in recent years.

Even without Brands, who had already instilled that model at the club, that approach must continue moving forward. The club can breathe easily to an extent knowing that in Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Jordan Pickford and Richarlison – all three of whom will have big ambitions of their own and can’t be expected to hang around while Everton sort themselves out – they are sitting on north of £150m of talent.

Under the right recruitment team, one that has learned from the mistakes of the recent past, that kind of money can go an awfully long way. And if it means the owner losing Kia Joorabchian’s number — and Jim White’s along with it — then so much the better.

Expand the Boardroom

With the recent addition of Graeme Sharp, Everton’s boardroom is well-stocked with long-serving Evertonians but it still lacks genuine corporate expertise from outside the world of football. Many of the club’s most significant commercial deals have come from within the USM stable, suggesting that there isn’t someone on the Board who has thus far proved capable of landing sizeable sponsorship deals to rival those of Premier League clubs who are out-stripping us in terms of commercial revenue. It might also explain why Everton don’t currently have a sleeve sponsor.

Without going over ground comprehensively covered by The Esk on these pages, clearly there is scope to augment what remains a particularly small pool of directors, preferably with representatives from non-sporting industry.

You don’t accumulate a billion-pound fortune without knowing a thing or two about business. Farhad Moshiri is no dummy and it’s worth highlighting that for all his challenges on the football side since he took control of Everton, some significant real estate and construction efforts have been conducted under his stewardship.

His purchase of the Royal Liver Building for the club’s new headquarters was a savvy piece of business, in line with his ambition to make Everton the premier club in the City. It certainly winds Reds up fans up when it is lit up in blue and such antagonism will only be enhanced if it comes with success on the field of play.

Meanwhile, the very fact that ground has been broken on a new Everton stadium after numerous failed attempts to find the club a new home is a monumental achievement in itself. That’s not to mention how thoroughly the consultation process was conducted, how fitting is Dan Meis’s design and what its completion will mean for the city of Liverpool and the Blues’ profile.

And it shouldn’t be forgotten that Everton aren’t simply leaving Goodison Park to speculative developers but have put together — and got approval for — a detailed and considered plan to leave a lasting legacy in Walton that benefits the local community.

Starting with the simple task of dressing up Goodison’s tired exterior, something that was neglected for years prior to his arrival, Moshiri has brought a lot of positive, forward-thinking change to Everton. So it’s a shame that his standing with supporters now feels so damaged.

Again, given the depth of his involvement, the extent of his investment and the fact that he is destined to be tied to the club at least until the new stadium is completed, there’s nothing that can’t be rebuilt over time, starting with the simple act of opening up the lines of communication. Otherwise, he is going to continue to face agitation in front of the gaze of television cameras on match days from entities like the #27YearsCampaign calling for change.

At this point, despite the media drumbeat blaming the managerial merry-go-round on the fans' unrealistic demands, Evertonian expectations have been pared back significantly over the past year. The Champions League remains the ultimate goal but almost no-one is expecting that lofty goal to be achieved any time soon. A return to Europe in either the Europa League or Conference would be nice and, with the right managerial hire and some savvy recruitment, it’s an attainable goal in the medium term. A domestic trophy and the end of the trophy drought for which the “27 Years” movement is named, would, of course, be a cause for wild celebration.

In the meantime, while the club works towards those goals, simple competence, transparency, the sight of the owner’s face at Goodison Park on a match day once in a while, and a return to forward progress would be enough to soothe supporter frustration. That’s not a high bar to reach, nor is it a big ask in return for the kind of unwavering support in terms of attendances that many clubs can only dream of.

Part I – The Backfiring Gamble | Part II – The Enigma of Brands | Part III – The Incurable Romantic

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Pete Clarke
1 Posted 20/01/2022 at 01:05:48
Moshiri has fucked-up big style on his mission to put this club back where it belongs. He is the owner and supposedly has the first say in all decisions. Even if he didn't have all the say in decisions, it is fair for us to say that most of them have been wrong on the football club side of things.

If he is adamant to see this through to the end and get us back where we belong or for that matter just keeping us stable in the short term, then he has to get rid of Kenwright and Little Miss Dynamite and start showing us he can lead with his brains and not his gut feeling. He's showing no brains at all from what I've seen.

Let's be honest, if it carries on the way it has with a squad full of expensive misfits and an endless managerial shift, then we would be better off without him. If you took the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock out of the equation, then he would have been run out of town long ago.

Frank Sheppard
2 Posted 20/01/2022 at 07:21:28
A good article about the mess Everton have created for ourselves. It’s all been a bit “Load, Shoot, Aim” for 5 years or more. Oh for a few sensible decisions, and points on the field soon.
Bill Rodgers
5 Posted 20/01/2022 at 07:44:15
There is only one consistent feature of the last 8 years at EFC. Regardless of the manager, players, the money spent – the coaching staff has consistently produced the least motivated and worst organised team in the entire Premier League.

And now some people want to promote them?

Benjamin Dyke
6 Posted 20/01/2022 at 08:54:01
Bill, are you really implying that the assistant coaches should have mutinied against the manager, put their jobs on the line etc? Don't be daft!

Unlike the managers, the assistants are on more 'normal' wages and have no guarantee of jobs afterwards and get this... maybe wouldn't be in football if they couldn't work at Everton. That's a lot to risk when they go against the highly paid man that has the Board's backing.

I think rather that we see the real Ferguson, Baines, Ebbrell, Kelly when they can follow their philosophies and values without the manager going in a different direction and without the same risk of them losing their jobs.

Let's see at the upcoming games and judge them after that. I'd love to see us succeed (stay in the Premier League) with a Blue at the helm. It's what we've been missing since Royle left.

Dave Williams
7 Posted 20/01/2022 at 08:57:02
A very good article and hopefully moves are afoot to improve the state of the club.

As for the coaches Bill, they can only do what they are allowed to do by their boss, ie, the manager – the buck surely stops there?

Jimmy Hogan
8 Posted 20/01/2022 at 10:11:02
Is it a matter of the wrong people being in the key jobs though? I wish BK would go. It's obvious that he and Moshiri have fallen out, so what good can come from him remaining. This is the "problem" people hint at when they talk about Everton. DBB has been promoted beyond her level of competence (The Peter Principle). Widely admired when she was at EITC, there is some doubt as to whether she is cut out for her current role. I fear that until we have a new Chairman and CEO, nothing much will change.
Alexander Murphy
9 Posted 20/01/2022 at 10:13:27
Nicola Cortese

I first read his name here on TW.
Thank You.

Cortese is the man.
In every single respect.
Football Knowledge

PLEEEEEEASE get The Widow Twankey, Matthew Pocket and Miss Haversham OUT of Our Club.
Then Cortese, find Us an Owner NOT in the mould of teary eyed billy bullshit.

Danny O’Neill
10 Posted 20/01/2022 at 10:18:23
As always, thanks Lyndon.

From my ageing perspective, my mates and I (Kopites included) have been talking about the need to renovate Goodison or move for 40 years, let alone 25. Danny aged 4 (I was actually 24) even wrote to Peter Johnson in 1995 to express my opinion. To be fair, he responded; or someone did on his behalf. And it wasn't a token response either; to your point on communication.

Moshiri's reign has, to date, been symptomatic of knee jerk, short term thinking. Fuelled by not having a plan or vision, leading to making the wrong appointments, compounded by insisting on leaving those responsible for running the club for him in place and still taking advice from them. Individuals who are incompetent or incapable of running a successful, trophy winning football club.

I have no issues with the way Moshiri intended to run Everton as a hands off benefactor. But he has failed to do the necessary; build a successful team, which starts at the top. Clear the boardroom. Out with the old and familiar, in with a new, fresh and forward thinking team. Ruthless re-organisation of the club's structure. Recognise and respect the club's history and heritage, but don't live and wallow in it. Leave that to me and other overly emotional fellow Evertonians. Otherwise, just employ me. That's almost a plea!!!

But have a plan. Have a strategy. DoF/Sporting Director; I've said enough on that on these pages, but you capture it here Lyndon. It's needed but it also needs to be empowered to be one in order to stop the short-term, knee-jerk reactions, lessen the impact of changing managers and add more coherence to the transfer policy as well as youth development and footballing philosophy throughout the club.

Also on the transfer outlay, to repeat myself several times over, for a club in Everton's position of the past decades and where we want to get to, initially it's how you spend, not necessarily what you spend. We only need to look close to home to see how an effective strategy in that sense can work towards progressively getting you back to where you want to be. Even if that means selling your best players to reinvest on that journey. When you get there, then you can play with the big guns; but get there first.

We have the blue clad Liver Building. We will have an iconic stadium unrivalled in terms of setting. It's not all bad and it's not lost yet. Go and make history Mr Moshiri so my son and younger brother can talk tales of old like my Grandfather and my Father did, and as I do when they get to my age.

Laurie Hartley
11 Posted 20/01/2022 at 10:21:34
Hopefully at last, our owner has realised that if he gets the fans on side he increases his chances considerably of turning things around. Showing an interest in what they think would be a good starting point.

You mention the need to appoint a new DOF Lyndon. I have been banging on about this for a couple of weeks now. In my opinion that appointment is more pressing than the appointment of a new manager. I think Duncan Ferguson is just as likely, if not more so, of getting a tune out of the current squad in the coming weeks than any newcomer.

Actually my view is the new DOF should nominate the manager he wants - and who knows that might well be Ferguson. The key issue is that the DOF has to be a football man who knows the premier league and gain the immediate respect of everyone in the club.

Clive Rogers
12 Posted 20/01/2022 at 10:22:18
Jimmy, agree with all you say apart from the “they have fallen out” bit. Kenwright is more secure than ever. He picked Martinez and elevated Sharp to the board and has been talking to the staff and players at the training ground this week. I also read he has brought Prentice in to replace Sharp. I think Moshiri has given up to some extent and is leaving it to Kenwright which is really bad news. There is no evidence they have fallen out.
John Daley
13 Posted 20/01/2022 at 10:28:46
There is only one consistent feature of the last 8 years at EFC… And now some people want to promote them?

As a fan base some buy far too readily into the notion that anybody still involved in the game with an affinity for, or past association with, the club are automatically an amateurish ‘Kenwright acolyte’, lacking any admirable qualities or the tools to take on the task at hand. Any positives they could bring to the table are usually played down or instantly dismissed by dint of the fact they simply sat their arse down there at some point previously as a player. People go straight to banging out the “because they ‘get’ the club” line with wit-free sarcasm, as though there’s absolutely no chance anything other than simple-minded sentiment has come into consideration. It is pure hyperopia being posited as hard headed prudence.

Go outside the club. Go for someone with no connections who can come in and tear it up. We need it and someone with emotional or controversial connections won't do that”, I read on here yesterday.

Fuck me. The last eight permanent managers all came from ‘outside the club’ and were ‘connection free’. So, why do people carp on like we’re stuck in a constant cycle of handing the reigns to people already within the ranks and the only hope is to employ someone who doesn’t give anything approaching a fuck, but can be swayed to give it a shot solely by the wedge on offer ?

It’s utter bollocks, fuelled by a belief that one dewy-eyed, hoople-headed, Evertonian blagger equates to anybody who has ever worn the blue shirt and may subsequently be brought to the club in a non-playing capacity while he’s still around in the background, being exactly the same sort of soft-arse succubus. Like they’re Carnage from his crap Venom.

Unsworth, Ebbrell, Ferguson, Jeffers, Baines et al, have all been painted as being ‘part of the problem’ with the input they actually have/had (or are/were permitted to have) on first-team affairs being blown wildly out of proportion. A litany of highly paid chancers come through the door with their best days far behind them like they’re doing us a favour, chuck millions away on dross, chat a load of waffle about bringing a ‘winning mentality’ and what they’ve achieved elsewhere, before sitting back to do the absolute bare minimum and serve up boring safety-first shite, week after week, and then wonder why supporters aren’t sat there clapping like seals. Yet, the fault doesn’t lie with them apparently. The root of all evil is Finch Farm. The fucking Innsmouth of Evertonia, with it’s malign secret culture of shadowy ex-player coaches subverting all around them with their hereditary stench of shite…and their habit of sitting on the sidelines scoffing Haribos while playing Hungry Hippo probably..

Look at Duncan Ferguson. Written off by many as some sort of ‘old boys club’ charity case, a work-shy galoot only good for grabbing cones, who has got to be ‘part of the problem’ simply by virtue of being around at the same time as a series of substandard gaffers. ‘What does he actually do?’ they demanded to know. Then he steps in at a time of crisis, leads the club admirably through an extremely tough set of fixtures, gets the ground rocking for the first time in recent memory and finally earns a few begrudging plaudits before gracefully stepping back to let a more experienced ‘winner’ work his magic.

Fast forward a couple of years and another couple of failures and he’s straight back to being tarred with the same brush: an ex-blue leech too lazy to make it on his own, as culpable as the clueless caudillo making all the decisions and a contender to be placed in permanent charge that only the cretinous could plump for. Why? For doing what was asked of him and getting on with his job quietly and professionally? For not publicly challenging or undermining the bloke who was handed the baton ahead of him?

Does anybody genuinely believe we would be in a worse situation than we are now if Ferguson had been handed the reigns in the summer instead of a ruinously stubborn red-shite relic?

As for Farhad Moshiri, in appointing both Allardyce and Benitez against loud protestation and expecting long-suffering supporters to promptly fall in behind, he’s shown himself to be about as skilled at ‘assessing the situation’ as Wee Jimmy Krankie when he wandered into Jimmy Savilles dimly lit dressing room and squealed “fandabbydozy” upon finding out ‘Rolf’ had rocked up too.

Robert Tressell
14 Posted 20/01/2022 at 10:29:26
Alexander # 9. Getting innovative professionals involved in club management is absolutely key. Cortese obviously is one such candidate. We are a very old fashioned club still seemingly trying to operate as though the Premier League never happened.

What even are we trying to achieve?

We're not trying to buy success, because we simply don't have the money.

We're not trying to develop success because there's no development strategy.

We're not investing in our own youth - because the academy still seems much the same as it has been for years albeit benefitting greatly from the Brands restructuring.

We're not creating a particular club and / or footballing identity. Is it school of science, dogs of war or whatever we can muster from a strange jumble of players?

Commercially we have put ourselves at a huge competitive disadvantage against the Rich 6. We're now being overtaken by a host of innovative upstarts and, before too long, mega rich Newcastle.

This is why we're now languishing outside of the top 10. We are a badly run club and it has a huge detrimental impact on the on the field results.

Danny O’Neill
15 Posted 20/01/2022 at 10:41:07
John Daley, I think you're focussing, as many do in the wrong area when you call out the previous managers not being previously associated with Everton.

In my opinion, the manager position is not the problem.

As for the rest, I care not whether they are Everton, ex-Everton or not Everton. I want competent people who can run a football club top-to-bottom and back.

The problem is, the club is giving itself the perception to what you are trying to counter. And that is not just coming from Evertonia or Evertonians now.

Forget who they are. Are they the right people? Are they achieving success? And that doesn't just mean on the pitch; that's the end product. As Robert says, we are a badly run club, which reflects on the pitch. The only positive I see is that we are starting to see the shoots of the seed Brands laid at Finch Farm. But he got forced out.

Why is our academy Director also the U23 coach and stands in the dugout? Be the Director or be the coach.

Clive Rogers
16 Posted 20/01/2022 at 10:41:40
Robert, we’ll said, all very true.
Brian Harrison
17 Posted 20/01/2022 at 10:43:47

As always you have been very thorough in pointing out the catalogue of mistakes this club have made since Moshiri became the majority shareholder.
Many posters quite rightly lay the blame for what has happened at Kenwright at DBB and Moshiri, but very rarely does anybody ever question the real owner of EFC which is Alisher Usmanov.

Moshiri is just his front man and for me has little or no influence in the big decisions that are made. Moshiri was gifted his Arsenal shares by Usmanov in an attempt to overthrow Kronke, and when that failed Moshiri who has little interest in football sells those shares and buys Everton. Seems to much of a coincidence that within a short period of Kronke closing the door on any chance of him selling his shares to Usmanov that out of nowhere Moshiri invests the money he got for his shares to buy Everton.

I know that many companies pour hundreds of millions into football clubs, which usually translates into shirt advertising, and is used as an advertising ploy to get the company even greater exposure. And those who regularly compete in the Champions league attract the really big sponsorship deals, as the advertising on the shirts would be seen to the bigger audience. Now in Usmanov he has invested heavily in Finch Farm which would hardly attract much advertisement so you have to wonder just as an advertising ploy that would hardly get your company greater exposure. He has also paid £30 million to be 1st in the queue when it comes to the naming rights of the new stadium, really £30 million just to be the front of the queue why waste it when I doubt any major investors will be clamouring for the naming rights for a club that struggles to get into the top half of the league.

Finally when did a club allow a sponsor to have preliminary talks with prospective new managers, which Usmanov did with at least 2 we know of, he had reportedly 2 hours with Ancelotti before he signed and spent a number of days talking to Benitez on his yacht off the coast of Sardinia before he signed. Yet he is very rarely mentioned when we talk about changes that need making at the club.

Alexander Murphy
18 Posted 20/01/2022 at 10:44:44
Robert #14

THANKS for your support.

Carters name adorns the Park End Stand, yet he epitomises arrogant and abject failure at Everton.
He sold the greatest club side in Europe and allowed our most successful Manager ever disappear to a meaningless third rate Spanish outfit.

Bullshit billy has made this the acceptable standard to such a point that even criticising Everton nowadays is considered insurrection and shouted down.

Get billy, denise and the mish-mash-mosh OUT.
Then, and ONLY then let's talk about success.

Barry Hesketh
19 Posted 20/01/2022 at 11:16:23
Moshiri appears to use Usmanov as his proof to potential managers that he has the financial backing necessary to fund the club in the longer term.

Perhaps having Usmanov in the background is itelf the problem, because it has made the board lazy due to them believing there is an unlimited supply of cash on tap, thereby, whatever daft decisions they may make, they will be bailed out at some future point?

Or does it indicate that the real owner of Everton FC in all but name is Usmanov himself, and that has caused the owner and board to appear as if they don't know what they are doing, because they are always awaiting instructions and approval from the guy with the wallet?

Even today, it appears that the chairman has his own idea of the direction of travel for the football club, i.e. hire a manager who has an understanding of what the fans would like to see and it was he who called for unitiy from the footballing staff. Meanwhile, Moshiri and or Usmanov are holding out for a 'big-name' manager who they can boast about to their rich friends and associates, but may prove to be just as useless as all the other 'big-name' hires of the past few years.

It might be quite some time before the ordinary fans get to know the truth of the matter, but the club cannot carry on in the same manner for too much longer, something has to give, and someone has to declare ownership of the club and act like an owner should, by putting in place a coherent plan and sticking to it, come what may.

John Daley
20 Posted 20/01/2022 at 11:21:49
Danny @15,

Except it’s people repeatedly calling out any ex-Evertonian who is brought to, or linked to, the club in any capacity (whether that be managing, coaching, working with the kids, scouting etc) as being part of the problem, or synonymous with the problem, without any proof or insight other than proximity and a presumption of pure sentiment, who suggest someone without such links must automatically be possessed of a more desirous skill-set, not the reverse.

I don’t see many people, if any at all, positing that someone who is not an Evertonian would not be able to do a decent job purely on that basis. It would be nonsensical.

Yet anybody who has previously played for the club are promptly dismissed as some sort of talentless, drive-free eunuch, who could only be selected for a role if raw sentiment was the sole consideration?

You say “I care not whether they are Everton, ex-Everton or not Everton. I want competent people”. Yet the quote I used….”Go outside the club. Go for someone with no connections who can come in and tear it up. We need it and someone with emotional or controversial connections won't do that”…came from your very own lips (well, ok, finger-tips..whatever) in reference to the managerial position you now claim not to be a problem.

If you’re not arsed about anything other than competence or ability then why stress the need for ‘an outsider’ and claim a lack of past association with the club is absolutely paramount? Why ignore all recent evidence to the contrary and claim anyone with ‘a connection’ to the club would automatically be far less likely than someone connection-free to put a jolt through the corpse of this club, when the only demonstrable precedent you have to go off indicates the polar opposite?

Danny O’Neill
21 Posted 20/01/2022 at 11:31:27

I wouldn't and don't claim the manager position to not be a problem. I should probably articulate myself a bit better. I don't think it is the problem. We are focussing on the wrong problem – and there are many at our club.

My rantings about going outside the club don't mean I am averse to having ex-players or associates in key positions. Most clubs do have that. I suppose I use that as a counter to the "we've only ever won with Evertonians in charge".

Sorry that is a dated argument and plays to Kenwright's tune.

Liverpool binned the bootroom. Man City and Chelsea do not have it.

That's all I'm getting at. If they're good enough and they are successful, who cares where they come from or who they used to play for?

Michael Kenrick
23 Posted 20/01/2022 at 12:06:25
Pete Clarke @1,

You suggest that, if Moshiri was not mid-stride in delivering us a magnificent new stadium, "he would have been run out of town long ago".

Ignoring the fact that the Monaco magnate is hardly ever in town, I take it you meant that he would have been run out of the club? I'm curious how you think that might have happened?

In simple terms, he's the majority shareholder. That means he has more shares than anybody else. As with the Johnson regime that preceded this one, the only way it ends is when someone offers enough money for those shares and Moshiri agreees to sell up and go.

Now you could argue that Johnson was effectively "run out of town" when threats were made to him and his family. It was reportedly the final straw that convinced him to sell his controlling interest in Everton Football Club. Is that what you're suggesting would have already happened with Moshiri?

I don't think that's something you can force to happen. Even the #27Years campaign have had the sense to acknowledge that it's a non-starter, saying that it wants a closer relationship with shareholders, fans and partners.

That's not saying Moshiri won't sell up at some point. But the fact that he survived the ridiculous appointments of Allardyce and then Benitez without in any way being "run out of town" suggests you are mistaken.

Rick Tarleton
24 Posted 20/01/2022 at 12:42:50
If there is one sign of something good that has happened under Moshiri, it is that work has started on the new stadium. If there is anything that could doom his ownership in the history books, it is the failure to complete that project.

In terms of managers, he has "over-appointed". He has picked huge names with stellar reputations without thinking how they fit in with a middle-ranking club.

Koeman came purely for the money, everything he did suggested that he thought the job was beneath him. He expected the Arsenal job, but Wenger hung on and he was greedy for the Everton salary, but didn't really think Everton were worthy of his name and talents.

Silva tried and failed, a fair appointment, while Allardyce was fire-fighting with a green goddess rather than a proper red engine.

Ancelotti was a huge name; he had a way of playing and working that really suited European giants, not mid-table aspirants. He couldn't transfer his ideas to middle-ranking players and he didn't seem to be the greatest of motivators.

Benitez had a reputation, forged really a decade or more ago. His history, his defensive mindset, and his vindictive style of man-management meant he was separated from his players and his so-called team of backroom men. The fans were either totally against him or grudgingly pragmatic about him, but there was no affection or warmth for his appointment.

So we have had a series of managers who on paper looked the real deal, but who in reality never fitted the reality of the current Everton.

Will the next appointment be the right one? It needs to be. It needs to be someone who has the ability to motivate and communicate. To bring on some youngsters and to enthuse older professionals; it's a massive long-term task.

Whoever comes must know the parameters within which he has to work and must have not just objectives, but the methods to succeed. He cannot be another old man with a way of playing that disappeared before Guardiola and Bielsa changed the landscape.

It could be Potter, I don't know enough to be certain, but whoever it is, he has a formidable task on hand.

Brian Williams
25 Posted 20/01/2022 at 12:54:09
You can't run the owner "out of town" and neither would anybody with any sense want to, in my opinion.

I'll admit he's made many mistakes but putting his money where his mouth is isn't one of them. Would anybody like to go back to scrimping and scraping for money?

Yes, people could say we're in a far worse position than when we had no money but I think you'd see it differently if we went back to having none.

He's got the biggest part of what we needed right, the new stadium, but unfortunately his inexperience in footballing matters has cost us dearly and so has his trust (I'm guessing of course) in Kenwright.

I wonder whether Kenwright was clever enough to include a clause in his agreement to sell his shares to Moshiri that prevented him from being removed as chairman? It wouldn't surprise me at all if he'd managed that.

Tony Abrahams
26 Posted 20/01/2022 at 13:02:31
I personally think It's impossible to say that we would be in a better position now, if Ferguson had been given the job in the summer, John @13, because of the injuries we have had to key players.

I do think the players would have tried harder for Duncan though, and also hope he does that well he becomes our next manager.

My own view is that the poison that exists within the club makes it an impossible job for an outsider.

“One in, one out, Mr Styles… sounds like Finch Farm to me!

Howard Sykes
27 Posted 20/01/2022 at 13:04:54
Mr Kenwright saved Everton from the disastrous Johnson era. But that was long ago now.

But the situation is that he has been here for too long for any good he has done. In the name of God, go, with our thanks, but go quickly.

Pete Clarke
28 Posted 20/01/2022 at 13:43:24

Just to reply to you and it's really hypothetical now anyway but, if it was not for the stadium being built, then Moshiri probably would have received so much shit for appointing Benitez that I think he would have given up and put the club for sale.

The fact that he then gave Benitez the job, gave him full control, and then we supporters watched as he proved to us all how wrong his appointment was, then you have to realize the owner is clearly out of his depth at running a football club and making good decisions.

He has been given a massive amount of leeway because of the stadium and the money he has put into the club. Money is not a problem for them as they will get that back for sure.

If the rumours of Martinez were true, then it's clear his decision-making is not improving. It could be, of course, that he is allowing Bill too much say in decision-making but that in itself is scary.

Let's hope Duncan can turn our fortunes around and save them from another poor decision.

John Keating
29 Posted 20/01/2022 at 13:50:55
It must be really bad.

I was in town last night with mates I've known all my life, some, unfortunately are of the other lot. We've always taken the piss out of each other especially over footy.

Last night someone brought up Everton, the chat stopped and my RS mates changed the subject! Now I really know we're a joke!

James Hughes
30 Posted 20/01/2022 at 13:55:42
John D @13 & 20,

Have to agree with both posts. This constant painting of all things wrong with the club stemming from Finch Farm and ex-players draining money from the club and stealing a living seems a bit simplistic.

Ferguson has now survived 8 managers; he must have something to offer for all managers to keep him on. Unless of course within the first week he gets them in a darkened room with a sharp knife and a bag of lemons and some salt. We arent talking Tequila either...

James Hughes
31 Posted 20/01/2022 at 14:06:14
Danny #21

Liverpool binned the bootroom. Man City and Chelsea do not have it.

May be a coincidence but the RS getting rid of the bootroom may (just may, not definitely) have contributed to them going from regular league winners to a 30-year gap and a real shame it wasn't longer.

The other two aren't real comparisons as both have spent at least treble what we have under Moshiri. Both have well and truly bought success and given them a platform to now employ the best managers and players.

Chelsea change their manager so often that the bootroom would be an airport arrivals lounge.

Jay Wood

32 Posted 20/01/2022 at 14:06:55
Alexander Murphy @ 9.

Presuming you are the same Alexander Murphy who posted @ 64 in this historic thread from March 2018 in which I trumpeted Nicola Cortese's history and qualities, it appears I have a lot to answer for!

Elstone to Leave Everton?

As I shared in my posts on that thread, Cortese was actually punting for a return to English football in an interview with none other than Jim White at the time when then CEO Robert Elstone was rumoured to be leaving the club. Denise Barrett-Baxendale got the gig instead a couple of months later.

Nearly 4 years on, Cortese would still be a good appointment for Everton.

Brian Murray
33 Posted 20/01/2022 at 14:13:46
John @29,

I can't be in their company more than 2 minutes so good luck with that. Maybe they changed the subject and had fear in their eyes because of the blue Dunc inspired uprising on the way. Just saying.

Kenwright Out!

Danny O’Neill
34 Posted 20/01/2022 at 14:24:47
If you look at Chelsea and Man City in the longer context, James, it was actually a stepping-stone approach, having found investment that they invested wisely and constructively rather than throwing money around like a stag party on the Las Vegas strip (Everton).

Chelsea were building and improving throughout the late 90s prior to their title win in 2004. Man City also, years before their triumph in 2012.

Not comparable, but they put the structures and organisation in place to gradually improve the standard of players and managers they could attract.

The bootroom; Liverpool tried it, with the last rolls of the dice being Souness and a couple of Dalglish revisits. When they finally chinned it off and went for the best man for the job (that's what it's about), they gradually got back to where they wanted to be and picked up a few trophies on the way.

John Zapa
35 Posted 20/01/2022 at 14:27:30
I wouldn't trust Moshiri to deliver a pizza, let alone deliver a £500M stadium. We are now well into the stadium construction with no indication of how it will be funded.

Material, transportation and construction costs are rising, interest rates are expected to rise, the £500M stadium may soon need £600M to build.

I'm still not convinced the stadium will be completed.

Stu Darlington
36 Posted 20/01/2022 at 14:43:17
Invested wisely and constructively, Danny?

Both Chelsea and Man City bought a lot of dross before they hit a successful formula.

Jay Wood

37 Posted 20/01/2022 at 14:49:06
Another good piece, Lyndon.

You echo the incredulity that many - Blues and non-Blues - express about the running of Good Ship Everton under Captain Moshiri.

BMD is a HUGE uptick on what he has brought to the club. The whole process has been exemplary. The search for a viable plot. The securing of it. The design. The canvassing and public consulting. The exceedingly detailed planning application that helped ensure it would be approved, even with opposition from the UNESCO and Historic England. The engineering involved in the build to date mesmerises me.

Even a red-supporting city councillor on the planning committee was fulsome in his praise, saying developers submitting planning applications would do well to follow Everton's example.

But the rest? It's a dog's dinner a stray dog would turn its nose up to.

WHAT. IS. THE. PLAN? Football-wise?

On reflection it seems there was a belief 'throw a lot of money on buying new players, job done. We'll reach the promised land.'

Only we paid over the odds for middling to poor players and hamstrung ourselves by paying them exhorbitant wages on long contracts. All compounded by our stick-a-tail-on-a-donkey manager recruitment without any commonality or continuity between them.

Unless and until we get our club administration and management in order, we will continue to exasperate.

This last two months have badly defined Everton. It's not the Everton that BK claimed last year that someone at another club told him 'when making decisions, we ask 'what would Everton do?'

Rather, Everton is a club that has self-sabotaged.

Director of Football. Heads of recruitment, scouting and medical. All gone and everything on the football side invested in one man, a manager who showed himself to be incapable. Backed over Brands. Backed in the stand-off with Digne. Backed in the transfer market this month. A defeat to Norwich and he and his auxiliary staff are also gone.

We are a completely shelled out club in a precarious position in the league. And the only people remaining to appoint the replacements for so many vacancies are the very same people who allowed this all to unfold.

Why am I not brimming with confidence that they can get it right now..?

Moshiri HAS to take a big breathe, pause, reflect, and make big decisions on the entire governance and management structure at Everton if he genuinely wants to succeed in our raison d'etre. Football.

Because as of right now we are not even a dusty museum he once alluded to, but rather a gruesome horror show.

Bill Gall
38 Posted 20/01/2022 at 15:01:53
Brian #25,

The owner of Everton can hire or fire anyone he feels is not fulfilling the position he was hired for. To become owner of Everton, you have to be a majority shareholder, and as he bought shares from Robert Earl and Jon Woods, these shares alone would have made him majority shareholder and defacto owner.

As he even bought shares from Arthur Abercromby and the bulk of Lord Granchester's, and Bill Kenwright's holding out, the sale of his shares would not have made any difference.

Moshiri was the owner with the authority to hire or fire anyone at the club, so I don't think because Kenwright wanted to stay as Chairman had anything to do with him selling all but 5% of his shares to Moshiri.

Bill Kenwright is chairman of Everton FC because Moshiri wanted him there.

Robert Tressell
39 Posted 20/01/2022 at 15:03:09
Jay @37, that is why I often wonder whether Moshiri's ownership is almost exclusively about creating an opportunity for a huge construction project. The football is a nice little vanity project on the side. It would explain why the former is run so well, and the latter not well at all.
Allen Rodgers
40 Posted 20/01/2022 at 15:13:51
Robert @39,

I always thought Moshiri would buy the Bramley-Moore Dock site, irrespective of planning approval being granted for a stadium. They seem to be cracking on with construction now but, if the stadium project had gone tits-up, he could have built hotels and apartments on the same site.

Jay Wood

41 Posted 20/01/2022 at 15:30:35
Robert, I've long expressed the belief that Moshiri's (and Usmanov’s?) interest in Everton was not solely vested in the club and the football.

The book ending of BMD at one end and the club's occupancy of the Liver Building at the other establishes their presence on prime real estate, with a lot of front and back fill in between.

Paul the Esk 'pooh-poohs' the notion, but he is looking at it strictly from an Everton point of view IMO.

Moshiri's (and Usmanov's..?) possible real estate and development interest in the city is NOT intended to benefit Everton per se, but rather, their own pockets.

Their involvement in Everton towards that aim is almost incidental.

Some very smart, well-monied people are going to make a LOT of money in the coming years in the development of Liverpool Docks. Moshiri (and Usmanov..?) have put themselves in prime position to be among the benefactors of that windfall.

Danny O’Neill
42 Posted 20/01/2022 at 15:31:13
Stepping stone Stu @36

I wouldn't have said dross in comparison to where Chelsea were in the late 80s after bouncing between divisions and when then were finishing about 12th or 14th in the top flight in the early 90s. Similarly it wasn't dross in comparison to where City were around 2000 in comparison to about 5 or 6 years later.

Gradual upping of the quality combined with trial and error.

But there was a strategy. That's what we have lacked. We had the money but were shooting from the hip with no target. They were aiming for something and had a gradual path to get there.

Barry Hesketh
43 Posted 20/01/2022 at 15:47:25
Danny @ 42

Everton's strategy, particularly in hiring managers, has been akin to playing Russian Roulette with a fully loaded revolver.

Ed Prytherch
44 Posted 20/01/2022 at 16:29:01
Thanks Lyndon for another very good piece. Also some very thoughtful posts, especially John Daley and Rick Tarleton and whoever proposed that Moshiri is just a front man for Usmanov.
Stu Darlington
45 Posted 20/01/2022 at 16:43:15
Would still disagree that they invested wisely Danny.Both spent a lot of money on players who didn’t make the grade and were eventually moved on.They also made mistakes in recognising the talent they had eg. De Bruyne, Salah, Lukaku, etc.
You’re right about strategy however,at least they were identifying where they needed to strengthen and bought accordingly even if not always successfully
We have lacked that recruitment strategy for years and that’s one of the the reasons we are where we are today
Michael Kenrick
46 Posted 20/01/2022 at 17:09:47
Pete, thanks for your reply.

Hypotheticals are always hard to argue, which is why I was asking more about the mechanism by which you think Moshiri could be run out of town.

You changed the narrative, though, to him wanting to sell up. He's shown no sign of that either. Yes, he makes bad decisions. Some really bad ones. Nothing new there, I'm afraid. But it hasn't got him run out of town.

You're now saying he's been given a massive amount of leeway... But the guy owns 92.16% of the shares in Everton FC. There is no-one giving him leeway. He just does what he wants... doesn't he? He's the owner.

Or is this "massive leeway" because there was no massive revolt when Benitez was appointed?

As is so often the case with the largely passive Everton fanbase when it comes to protests, it was just a small minority who were vehemently against his appointment as manager. But all they could muster was a nasty bedsheet on the wrong house in Caldy and some graffiti on the hallowed walls of Goodison Park, while the majority I think felt they had little option but to see how it panned out.

And you're convinced the massive cabal of rabid fans with their bedsheets at the ready, all said... "I never wanted Benitez but, you know what – I'm prepared to go along with it because this lad is building us a nice stadium"?

I think that's probably what qualifies as a non-sequitur.

Phill Thompson
47 Posted 20/01/2022 at 17:39:34
My worry is that the new stadium becomes our equivalent of “ Send in the Clowns”. It’s like when the trapeze artists fails miserably, crashes to the floor and the Circus owner says “ Get the clowns in the ring to distract them”. “ Look over there everybody, we’ve got clowns, never mind about the bloody mess on the floor look at them, look at them!”
“ Look ! we’re building a splendid new stadium, don’t worry about the mess we’re in”
I hope my analogy is wrong, I’ve seen far too clowns involved with Everton in recent years.
John Raftery
48 Posted 20/01/2022 at 19:07:45
Another fine article in what has been an excellent, albeit depressing series, Lyndon. The point about 90% of Premier League clubs having a sporting director role is well made. The complexity of the modern football business makes the role essential but of course it will only be successful in the right hands and in a structure which supports it.

Given where we are, re-establishing the club in the top half of the league is in itself a mammoth task made all the more challenging by the focus required to deliver the Bramley-Moore project. There are no quick fixes; we have tried those with a succession of managerial appointments and off the shelf player recruitment which has made things worse.

We need a long term plan. At Manchester City in 2012 they already had a decent squad with Kompany, Aguero, Touré and Silva, star players recruited when Brian Marwood was in charge of City transfers. With the aim of building sustained success the club recruited from Barcelona Ferran Soriano as chief executive and Txiki Begiristain as director of football. Their brief was to build City into a new Barcelona with player recruitment geared in readiness for Guardiola’s arrival in 2016.

As we know even Guardiola struggled in his first season but many of the key players of the team which now dominates the league were in place; John Stones, Jesus, De Bruyne and and Sterling. Yes they had a financial advantage well beyond the reach of most clubs but they had a strategy and the personnel behind the scenes to make the best use of it.

We start from a much lower base but we will not progress without a long term plan and competent people to deliver it. It will take several years, at least.

Pete Clarke
49 Posted 20/01/2022 at 23:26:05

You're possibly correct that the fan base have become passive. I only recently spoke to my brother who goes the game with his son and whilst he is prepared to scream and shout at the players for lack of effort he believes that the board will finally get it right. I totally disagreed with him in that the players are poorly coached and the board are a useless gang of amateurs and I aim my disdain fully at them. I can't get there but I know I would be protesting if I could.

Moshiri is not helping us to build a stadium because he loves Everton he is here because there is big money in football and the future sale of the stadium. He's not paying for it all himself anyway but he's getting all the leeway in the world from the fan base because it is happening. My point was exactly that. Take the stadium out of the equation and I'm sure the passive fan base would have turned on him given the never ending shit show that's going on with everything on the one thing that truly matters and that's the way the club is being run. There is no plan, there is no strategy and there are no true professionals making football decisions.

Kenwright left to run the club was the biggest mistake ever. Massive outlay of money on very poor players. Executive roles chopping and changing. Bringing in two of the most divisive managers our club has ever had. Poor coaching staff.
This is all on Moshiri's watch and we are in a relegation fight.

Do you think it's just going to be the odd bed sheet protest if he continues his reckless way of running this club? I don't think so because the leeway he gets due to the stadium will wear very thin and the passiveness will turn to deep anger if his next decision is as poor as the last.
Martin Mason
50 Posted 21/01/2022 at 20:38:14
Excellent article as always, Lyndon. I hope that the arguments against having a DoF are now dead. The days of the manager, as Benitez thought he was, are like him long gone. What we need is a top head coach who will work with the DoF; we need to look at Brighton for our club model.
Tom Harries
51 Posted 22/01/2022 at 16:06:53
" Steve Walsh, the scout who discovered the likes of Jamie Vardy, Riyadh Mahrez and Ngolo Kanté"

He was head of Leicester's scouting department - I don't think he discovered any of those players himself. We just hired the boss - a bit like promoting a General because one of his soldiers has won the Victoria Cross.

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