A More Calculated Risk

Picking managers is a fiendishly difficult task in the high-pressure, high-stakes environment of Europe’s top leagues. Sometimes you just need to assess the risks and go with the candidate that gives you the best chance of succeeding. Farhad Moshiri and the Board have done that with Frank Lampard, a man who will add youth and fresh ideas after six demoralising months at Goodison Park

Lyndon Lloyd 31/01/2022 67comments  |  Jump to last

In football, there is perhaps nothing less guaranteed a successful outcome than when it comes to choosing a manager, particularly for clubs who aren’t able to consistently attract the game’s best and most successful coaches. Picking managers is a fiendishly difficult task in the high-pressure, high-stakes environment of Europe’s top leagues, where patience is almost always in short supply. Which is why the rate of turnover is often so high; not least at Everton, whom Farhad Moshiri wanted to turn into the northern equivalent of Arsenal but has come closer instead to turning them into the Watford of the north.

Moshiri has rolled the dice on five different managers up to now, of course and, as was covered more thoroughly in the final part of the “Sleepwalking to Disaster” series, there was an appreciable rationale for each of the Owner’s choices to lead his team even if they didn’t end up being the right fit. The key question, in a sphere where no candidate can ever be perfect, is whether Moshiri had done full due diligence and given himself the greatest chance of winning the gamble — the most “edge”, if you will — in each instance. Many would argue he didn’t, although he has also been a touch unfortunate, particularly with regard to Carlo Ancelotti.

Even then, there’s often no telling how well a manager will do under certain circumstances and at which clubs. Howard Kendall, Joe Royle, David Moyes and Roberto Martinez, all four of whom achieved varying degrees of success at Everton, came to Goodison Park from clubs either already in the division below or freshly relegated. Only Martinez could boast any trophy success.

Mauricio Pochettino, for another example, arrived at Southampton following a respectable but unspectacular three-year spell at Espanyol that showed glimmers of the coach he would become but none of the success that would be a pre-requisite for any big club considering him. Indeed, Marco Silva’s achievements in Portugal were arguably more impressive.

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And amid the outcry over how close it appeared Vitor Pereira was to succeeding Rafael Benitez, it’s worth pondering how supporters might have felt if they were told that the sum total of the Blues’ next manager’s first-team managerial experience was assistant manager at Sheffield Wednesday and Swansea, and a single season as head coach at Benfica (where at one point he won just two games in 13). They might have been be ready to throw themselves in the Mersey, but the man who fit that description, Bruno Lage — admittedly with a more balanced squad, a few more match-winners at his disposal and a deal more time to bed his methods in that Everton currently have — is doing a pretty good job at Wolves so far.

It’s suspected that Moshiri has paid too much attention to fan opinion in his time at Everton before rumours emerged that he no longer cared what Evertonians thought — ergo Benitez’s controversial appointment — but in this particular instance, with the club sitting just four points above the relegation zone and in the midsts of its worst run of form since the 1990s, what supporters want matters an awful lot.

The club found itself this month in a position where the profile of the next managerial appointment was as much about the next few weeks as the next few years because the team needs to start putting points on the board as soon as possible and they may have no greater weapon than Goodison Park’s 12th man.

Had Moshiri chosen the man most supporters wanted the least in Pereira or Roberto Martinez even one over whom they might have harboured a little anxiety due to his inexperience in Duncan Ferguson or Wayne Rooney and the Owner might have taken some significant edge off the advantage that a passionate, united Goodison can provide in the midsts of a relegation dogfight (if that’s what it comes to).

In that respect and in the absence of a completely fresh face to the Premier League like Lucien Favre or Niko Kovac, both experienced and successful in their own ways but don’t appear to have been seriously considered, or more forward-thinking, modern but relatively untried coaches like Jesse Marsch or Diego Martinez, Frank Lampard was arguably the best of the candidates on Moshiri’s shortlist.

Certainly, from the perspective of attracting players, the former Derby and Chelsea man is a better bet than Pereira and Ferguson, both of whom might have struggled to tip the scales in Everton’s favour on any of the last-minute deals that might be in the offing before tomorrow’s transfer deadline.

For that reason, not to mention his pedigree and glittering record as a player, should he successfully steer the Toffees away from relegation danger this season, Lampard will unquestionably be seen by the club’s current star players as a more ambitious “statement” hire than anyone of the other candidates. The likes of Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison may leave regardless in the summer but Everton stand a better chance of keeping at least one of them with Lampard in charge.

The 43-year-old is still something of an unknown quantity given that he has only 2½ years as a head coach under his belt, although as the aforementioned Everton managers from the past four decades showed, that’s not necessarily a barrier to success. Kendall was younger when he took the reins at Goodison, first as a player-manager 40 years ago and Royle was only 45 the season he led the Blues to FA Cup glory.

In that sense, in opting for Lampard, Everton have joined the ranks of top-flight clubs led by younger coaches, certainly than the last two incumbents of the Goodison hot-seat. Pep Guardiola joined Manchester City at age 45, Brendan Rodgers is 49, Thomas Tuchel 48, Graham Potter 46, Steven Gerrard 41 and Mikel Arteta is just 39. Bring on the new generation…

He also brings valuable experience of having won everything in the game as a player and worked under a host of different managers, styles, temperaments and approaches in his time at Chelsea, from Ancelotti to Benitez, Guus Hiddink to Jose Mourinho, Luis Filipe Scolare to Andre Villas-Boas.

Lampard admits that his failure to get Derby promoted at the end of his only season there is the biggest regret of his career so far. He guided the Rams to the Championship play-offs final but was beaten by Dean Smith’s Aston Villa at the end of a campaign where he had married the experience of the likes of Tom Huddlestone with raw loan recruits from Chelsea’s academy like Fikayo Tomori and Mason Mount.

Described as a front-foot outfit geared towards fleet-footed, young attacking players, Lampard’s Derby had a clear style of play that emphasised possession football to a far greater degree than the man he will replace at Everton. With a preference for a 4-3-3 system reliant on a high press without the ball and fast attacking fullbacks combined with flexible wing play when in possession, there is much about the Londoner that will gel with the “Everton Way”.

Nevertheless, in the context of attacking metrics — shots on goal, shots from inside the box, and expected goals (xG) — Derby under Lampard were middling at best and relegation candidates at worst which suggests an over-reliance on individuals and explains the criticism that he took over a sixth-placed team and led them to sixth place. And he might still be ruing the tactical decision not to field a striker in his starting XI in that fateful playoff decider against Villa.

With the benefit of a year’s experience and a significant upgrade in the quality of his squad, Lampard’s Chelsea fared much better and he guided them into the Champions League and to the FA Cup Final in his first season despite the transfer embargo that prohibited him from replacing Eden Hazard. For the 19 months he was in charge at Stamford Bridge, the West Londoners had a better xG than Thomas Tuchel’s currently do, although the German’s early success was clearly grounded in tightening-up of the defence he inherited and more discipline across the board.

Indeed, one of the most consistent knocks against Lampard’s tenure at Chelsea was his team’s defensive vulnerability, particularly to the counter-attack, that saw them ship 54 goals in his only full season there (interestingly, a quarter of them came in the northwest, including three at Goodison Park in Duncan Ferguson’s first game as caretaker boss), more than any other team that finished in the top half that year.

He also had issues with some of Chelsea’s highest-profile or more senior players, frictions that manifested themselves in a run of results after another defeat to the Toffees at Goodison in December 2020 that ultimately led to Roman Abramovich wheeling out his well-used guillotine the following month.

Lampard describes himself as being very driven, a trait that didn’t go un-noticed by his peers. In a clip for The Coach’s Voice website in 2018, John Terry said of his former Chelsea team-mate’s obsession with being the best he could: “I’d see Lamps, all the ability in the world; had everything. The complete player aged 28, 29; had everything, but wasn’t happy scoring 20 goals a season. As if that wasn’t enough, he wanted to score 30. He wanted to break and set records for the next generation to try and beat.”

He arrives at Everton with a point to prove and if he is able to transfer the lessons learned from his two previous gigs on the one hand and the benefits of the reflection, research and networking that he has done over the 12 months he has been out of the game on the other, it could be one of the most important attributes he’ll bring to Everton.

That and his proven track record of putting his faith in and blooding young players. Granted, Chelsea’s inability to spend made in his first season heightened the necessity to cherry-pick from the club’s academy but he moulded Mount and Tomori at Derby and nurtured the likes of Billy Gilmour, Tammy Abraham and Reece James at Stamford Bridge.

Everton’s own transfer restrictions will surely mean Lampard and his team will be poring over the Finch Farm academy which, in addition to promising recent graduates like Lewis Dobbin and Tyler Onyango and new signing Nathan Patterson, has a few emerging prospects in the form of Charlie Whitaker, Lewis Warrington and Tom Cannon. They might not be pressed into immediate action in the coming months as the Toffees try and drag themselves up the table but they will undoubtedly come into the new manager’s thinking as he builds for the future.

In the short term, he will need to shore up a porous midfield, a nervy defence that has been horribly vulnerable to set-pieces, get Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison firing, and settle a group of players that overall has looked badly coached and bereft of confidence in recent weeks. Convincing them that they are a better outfit than their poor record suggests and that they are, indeed, capable of a more possession-based game would no doubt be a good first start.

The anger of the 27 Years Campaign and general frustration with the Board and the Owner will no doubt rumble on despite this welcome development but the most pressing concern is, of course, how this group of players scratches out enough points between now and the end of the season to keep this faltering giant in the Premier League. A few home wins and a couple of away draws should be enough and, again, a united and upbeat Goodison will play a huge part in that.

Frank Lampard presents the supporters with something to believe in and stand behind. In Paul Clement, he has brought in a coach with a wealth of experience at home and abroad while Joe Edwards has been highly regarded at Chelsea. Clement, in particular, offers hope that some of the defensive naïvete that the new manager displayed at Chelsea could be curbed by someone who is older, better-travelled and who has managed struggling teams in the past.

Just as important, Lampard brings a hunger to improve, learn from past errors and to succeed and he represents an overdue injection of fresh blood and new ideas to Finch Farm.

Like all appointments, he represents a risk but as has been said more than once on these pages in regard to an incoming manager, sometimes you just need things to click. Fingers crossed this is the one…

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Reader Comments (67)

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Gerry Quinn
1 Posted 31/01/2022 at 14:18:22
You really do have a way with words Lyndon - a thoroughly excellent and interesting article.
Keith Harrison
2 Posted 31/01/2022 at 14:25:01
Of all the managerial appointments over the last few years, including Ancelotti, this one excites me the most. I believe he is driven, hungry, modern and enthusiastic.

I expect a youthful team against both Brentford and Newcastle, full of running, and aware of their responsibilities. Bring on the rest of the season.

Dennis Stevens
3 Posted 31/01/2022 at 14:31:54
Just win 4 of the next 5 matches, Mr Lampard – that'd be a decent start!
Tim Michael
4 Posted 31/01/2022 at 14:38:29
This is an appointment long overdue. Lampard brings to Everton the type of person which the club should have turned to after the sacking of Martinez. Instead it chose to follow a path of older high roller type appointments. It was never going to work. They were either not up to the task or leave when a better option came along.

We have now returned to a young, hungry manager who has plenty to prove. This can only benefit Everton going forward. This has been my club for almost sixty years and for the first time in years I see a new era developing. I can see Frank Lampard becoming a legend here...

Brent Stephens
5 Posted 31/01/2022 at 14:40:06
I hope the 27 Years Campaign can put aside, for now at least, their not insignificant concern and let everybody unite around this. No distractions, no negativity. This will be a serious few months for us all.
Mike Gaynes
6 Posted 31/01/2022 at 14:49:56
Excellent article, Lyndon. A thoughtful analysis of Lampard's potential strengths and weaknesses, although I continue to believe that his experience at Derby and Chelsea is largely inapplicable to our current situation. He will succeed at Everton if his abilities fit the situation -- I believe the British expression is "horses for courses" -- but that's a difficult thing to predict.

I do question, however, your basic portrayal of Lampard as a "calculated" risk. So chaotic was this process that I truly wonder whether Moshiri and the Board calculated anything at all. I agree that Moshiri's previous choices were at least somewhat understandable and he has had a lot of bad luck, but this time around I believe the selection of Lampard was more about desperation than calculation -- a product of fan outrage and spray paint more than any cool analysis of leadership or strategy -- and that success will be a matter of luck evening itself out.

Brent Stephens
7 Posted 31/01/2022 at 15:08:41
Mike, it might be that the dismissal of Benitez was chaotic and done in a panic, whilst the process of deciding on his replacement has possibly been more thorough and considered?
Rick Tarleton
8 Posted 31/01/2022 at 15:12:26
There is not a lot to disagree with in respect of your comments, Lyndon, you sum up the situation intelligently and objectively. I feel like Mike Gaynes that "the process was so chaotic" that although we ended up with the best of the listed candidates and Lampard is certainly that, we got to him by serendipity rather than by planning.

I've moaned on two separate threads about how the shortlist was drawn up, or rather how it wasn't. None of this planning and looking around at those managers who've done well with "smaller" clubs. Just pick names you fancy, two "legends" to keep the fans happy and when thefans protest, change your mind and go with public opinion.

God knows whom Moshiri consulted in this process, possibly Kenwright, three names suggest his input, possibly Joorabchian and possibly Usmanov. Maybe it was all his own work. Whatever, I think Mike Gaynes is being kind in calling it a chaotic process, it wasn't a process at all.

Given the five names, I'm delighted to be celebrating Lampard's appointment, and on Saturday, this old man will be at Goodison to give him a cheer. I hope he can do what the last eight "names" have failed to do. Come on, you blues.

Michael Williams
9 Posted 31/01/2022 at 15:15:00
Of course I'll support him, just like with all our previous managers, but it appears Lampard has a personality that may not be conducive for the long-term.

As reported in the Guardian: "There had also been questions over how Lampard handled senior players such as Marcos Alonso and Antonio Rüdiger. There was a feeling that the 43-year-old was not a great communicator. At times Lampard came across as awkward and distant. His man-management could have been smoother and there will be concerns that he could struggle again if he has not worked out how to forge stronger connections with players."

"Some people feel that Lampard needs to loosen up. Even he admits that he can be an over-thinker. Nerves can be an issue. Lampard's interview for the vacancy at Crystal Palace last summer did not go well – the club ended up turning to Patrick Vieira, who has been quietly impressive this season – and it is understood he has spent time working on how to convey his ideas more effectively."

He seems driven to learn and improve himself and that is something I can get behind.

David Bromwell
10 Posted 31/01/2022 at 15:41:52
Just watched his first interview, very encouraging, eloquent and passionate. We all know he has a very difficult immediate job to do but he seems relaxed and well prepared.

It's been an embarrassing and difficult couple of weeks and I am sure left to his own devices Mr Moshiri would have appointed someone else. Let's hope that he has learnt from this exercise, in Frank Lampard we have a Manager with an excellent football pedigree. He will need some luck and our full backing but I think we are in a much better position now than when we last played and lost.

John Daley
11 Posted 31/01/2022 at 15:44:08
Looking forward to Frank slapping his ‘sanction sheet’ up at Finch Farm:


Mike Gaynes
12 Posted 31/01/2022 at 15:54:08
Brent #7, I don't discount that possibility, I just question it. An extremely well-connected Merseyside contact -- who entertains questions about Moshiri's actual sanity, BTW -- has provided me with a link to the Athletic article that describes Moshiri, Barrett-Baxendale, Sharp, Ingles and surprisingly Tim Cahill teaming up to conduct the final interviews for the position Lampard has now been given. (By that account, Kenwright was not involved in the end-stage process.) But as that process is described, it does seem marginally more organized than it appeared from the outside.

Michael #9, Lampard's issues with established senior players at Chelsea don't concern me much. There are no such accomplished senior players at Everton, except perhaps Richarlison -- who I believe will be delighted with a young, successful-on-the-pitch manager who talks sensibly. I am most optimistic about Lampard in relation to keeping Rich happy and with the club.

Rick #8, I'm not confident in Moshiri's competence, but everyone can agree that he's overdue for some good luck, and he may have lucked into the right choice this time. We shall see.

Mike Gaynes
13 Posted 31/01/2022 at 15:57:18
John #11, that appears to be an ideal strategy for recouping some of whatever we are paying for Dele Alli.
Tony Abrahams
14 Posted 31/01/2022 at 16:31:29
Talk about getting off to a bad start Fffffffrank, those players are going to shit themselves, when they realize they’ve got a young hungry professional manager, who actually goes to training to work, and is even prepared to fine people, who don’t have a similar professional outlook!

Enjoyable article Lyndon, and hopefully Goodison, is also going to become a more enjoyable place, especially if our great crowd, gets the opportunity to really unite!

Brian Harrison
15 Posted 31/01/2022 at 17:11:36
I think this is a good appointment, yes he is young but Martinez, Moyes and Silva and Kendall were all younger than Lampard is. He has also managed one of the Premier leagues top sides and had then top of the Premier League and top of their Champions league group. His backroom appointments look spot on to me, Paul Clement has been an assistant at some of Europe's top clubs with Carlo Ancelotti who rated him very highly. Also the appointments of Ashley Cole and Edwards from Chelsea. Plus Ferguson is also to be retained, although not yet clear what role he will play.

I doubt if any of the other candidates would have convinced Van Beek or Alli to come to Everton, and most posters on here have been saying for months we need to do something with our midfield, well not a bad start considering he has only been in charge for a very short time.
He likes to promote youth and has spoken in his first press conference in how important it is to show young players there is a pathway to play in the first team.

John Raftery
16 Posted 31/01/2022 at 17:13:11
Lyndon, thanks for a well rounded appraisal of the new manager. Great players rarely make great managers but they have the advantage of being able to attract better players. I don’t believe any manager would be able to turn our current squad into an effective possession based unit. The pace, fitness and skill are simply not there. If however we add better quality players today and in the summer Lampard might be able to improve the style and impact of our attacking play as well as deliver badly needed points.

I commented last week that Frank would be the ‘unity’ candidate. Now that he has arrived I hope everyone connected with the club gives him their full support even if results fail to improve to the extent we all hope. Fingers crossed indeed!

Will Mabon
17 Posted 31/01/2022 at 17:16:47
They could raise the mobile phone fine to that 20 grand mark for me. I hate that.

Recent years, I've experienced phones going off twice at damned funerals ffs.

Lyndon Lloyd
18 Posted 31/01/2022 at 17:20:23
Mike (6), admittedly it does read as though I was saying that Moshiri et al conducted a thorough Europe-wide search and considered all options and draw-backs but the shortlist didn't reflect that. Lampard is a calculated risk in the context of the managers the club eventually went for, in my opinion, as opposed to the massive gamble that was Benitez.
Barry Rathbone
19 Posted 31/01/2022 at 17:37:43
I love these positive phases before a ball is kicked.
John Raftery
20 Posted 31/01/2022 at 17:46:49
There is a video interview piece on the official site in which Mr Moshiri talks about the need for all components of the club to get behind the new manager. He gives particular mention to the crowd as the twelfth man.

I think this is the first time we have seen him communicate directly through the club website. He seems to have finally bought into the need for him to be more hands on.

Ed Prytherch
21 Posted 31/01/2022 at 18:07:19
Mike, it is reported that we are paying nothing up front for Deli and his salary at Spurs was 10,000/week - the same as Sigurdsson who will be off the books at the end of the season.
If Donny is on similar money then we have a 6M addition to the wage bill between now and the end of April.

Then Tosun and Delph will free up another 180,000/week

Peter Mills
23 Posted 31/01/2022 at 18:33:28
I was dead against the appointments of Martinez, Silva, Allardyce and Benitez. Satisfied with the choice of Koeman. Delighted with the selection of Ancelotti.

So my judgment does not stand up to the the closest scrutiny. But I am in favour of Frank Lampard and will give him my support.

Bill Gall
24 Posted 31/01/2022 at 19:06:21
As someone who has no personal knowledge of who the owner and board had any actual list of who they wanted to interview, I believe of the people they actually interviewed last week they appointed the right person to be manager.

Every one who was interviewed,with research could be found to have faults with previous clubs, including Lampard. I believe that any one who applies for a position is aware of previous mistakes and is willing to change; this what makes me feel that Lampard is the right one for the job, plus getting the experience and help with the coaches he is bringing in with him.

Welcome to Frank Lampard, and hope we have finally got someone, who can actually organize a team out of who we have.

Ed Prytherch
25 Posted 31/01/2022 at 19:25:33
Reports that Frank has asked Duncan to stay. He is clearly not going to be assistant manager, maybe coaching our strikers?
Jerome Shields
26 Posted 31/01/2022 at 20:33:38
The impression I got was that intially Lampard wasn't under consideration, as Moshiri conducted his own selection process assisted by Kia. Martinez was put forward by Bill as a stop gap and an attempt to get back control. Then Rooney was contacted. Pereira was selected, in the background there were leaks from Everton of the need to interview more than Pereira. Pereira turned out to be a nutter, when Fan protest materialised. Lampard had the fantastic support of the Barrett Baxendale and suddenly was the man. Duncan who was only temporary, went to London via train ( photo on twitter)for a interview. Lampard was now the target all the time. The ESSG group when on twitter calling for a Fans to get behind the Club(Thank you Denise). Moshiri releases statement via the Club on the importance of the 12th man. Reports that Fergusion was leaving the Club, then reports he has been asked to join Lampard's coaching staff. Bill will do everything possible to keep him carrying a Everton Kit bag.

Rather than a calculated risk, they landed on their feet. The two factions of Kenwright &Co and Moshiri & now Kia still exist and where in their fully glory throughout the shambolic selection process. It was actually the Fans that forced Lampard into serious consideration. Moshiri is susceptable to fan pressure. , Paticularly with the emergence of a Evertonian Banksy.

Lampard is all that Lyndon describes and hopefully the Fans will land on their feet with Frank's appointment.

So Everton will remain with the Offshore Moshiri and the dyfunctional Board, or interesting Board as Frank described it. The difference is Moshiri and Kenwright &Co are running out of road, and alot deadwood contracts are coming near their end at last. Lampard should improve midfield with his know how and a new experienced Assistant Manager should help build a Management team, improvements ng coaching, better than was previously possible. His development of first team youth is a plus. I expect alot of movement out and in over the Summer. Above all Lampard is about playing good English football, which was lackling at Everton. The players have had great difficulty in get the grips with anything else. Tactically and technically they looked as they did not have a clue. .

Steve Barr
27 Posted 31/01/2022 at 21:46:13
This podcast interview with Frank when he was manager at Chelsea is well worth a listen.

The High Performance Podcast: Episode 21 – Frank Lampard: Taking on 100% responsibility, whilst retaining humility

John Boon
28 Posted 31/01/2022 at 22:08:38
Lyndon you have covered all the aspects of hiring Lampard as manager, te possibilities of success, but a realization that this is a new position for Lampard. We are not Derby just as we are not Chelsea. I just feel that Lampard gives a sense that he will do his best to provide supporters with a united front.

As a regular reader of ToffeeWeb and an occasional poster, it is so obvious that there is far too much conflict between supporters, all of whom are honest Evertonians, Constructive criticism is often put to one side by insulting other supporters who may have a diffeent point of view. It often goes far beyond honest banter. Healthy debates are too often forgotten in an attempt to denigrate others.

I honestly think that Lampard could be the perfect leader to bring fans together. Benitez could never succeed for obvious reasons and none of the others seemed to have the ability to do anything other than to divide the supporters. Lampard has one main goal this season: to help us move away from the relegation zone. Not as easy as it may now seem but let us all get behind him for the next few months. Then we can have higher goals for next season.

Danny O’Neill
29 Posted 31/01/2022 at 22:50:03
I would have liked Favre, but I am not offended by this appointment. This can work, so I'm behind it.

A blend of his apparent tendency to try the young players (and we have some good ones) combined with his name and influence in the English game could be a good mix.

Derby a good stepping stone. Chelsea a step too far too early. Given where Everton are right now, this could be a good move for both manager and club.

If I keep saying it, it will happen. He's repeating his and his dad's corner flag celebration at Wembley in May.

Welcome Frank. Blue is your colour.

Nicholas Ryan
30 Posted 31/01/2022 at 23:01:27
I have a feeling 'in my bones' that Lampard will turn out to be "The Man". How we came to get him, is neither here nor there.
Bob Parrington
31 Posted 31/01/2022 at 23:03:51
John Daley@11 - Nice one John! It would be great to see the faces on the "lazy" ones if something like that goes up!

Lyndon, great article as mentioned by others already. THX.

Phil Teece
32 Posted 31/01/2022 at 23:45:50
Tim @ 4: Its 70 plus year for me, Tim, but I feel as you do. Lampard looks like something different and, importantly, something more enthusiastic. He's the right age too. Good luck to him and here's to better times ahead.

Another great article, Lyndon.

Alan J Thompson
33 Posted 01/02/2022 at 06:56:16
Sorry, Lyndon, but as I feel, reads more in hope than expectation and a good case of possibly the best of a not particularly good bunch.

But what do you expect when it appears you are in a relegation fight, have limited transfer opportunities, and at the same time difficulties of having to decide if and who to renew contracts or try to move on, medical staff excepted.

Hi ho, hi ho, off to Finch Farm we go!

Jacques Sandtonian
34 Posted 01/02/2022 at 09:11:33
Great article, Lyndon. I think “calculated risk” is absolutely the best way to describe this appointment and I personally feel he was the best of the available options.

My concerns now are centred on how Lampard approaches defensive tactics and how the rest of the football organisation takes shape around him.

On the former, I hope he doesn't overestimate our defenders who are very easily exposed on the counter-attack as it is. A high press could result in a huge attrition of goals.

On the latter, there remains a vacuum in the recruitment and sports science departments. It's unclear to me who leads the recruitment of that. For as long as Bill Kenwright is operating as chairman, I don't have a lot of faith in there being any clear leadership in the technical direction of the sporting organisation. I

fear Lampard getting unnecessarily drawn into that overly political world in order to get the pieces in place around him, thus distracting him from his core focus.

Mark Andersson
35 Posted 01/02/2022 at 10:17:48
Great artical Llyndon.. you have even managed to keep the polar opposite views down to a more constructive debate...

Nothing is certain in football... well except that all fans seem to think they have the answers to problems they have no control over..

Good luck to Lampard he is going to need the rub of the green before he can impose any kind of identity with Everton..

At least the majority of fans seem to be a wee bit happier... for now..

Peter Carpenter
36 Posted 01/02/2022 at 11:40:54
I've been in a Himalayan monastery for a month - did anything happen in January? WHAT? You cannot be serious man!
From the still smoking bombsite of Everton's last few weeks maybe there are enough reasons to be optimistic. The dead hand of Benitez is gone - no more weird line-ups, odd substitutions or just plain obstinacy. A new young manager is in place with lots to prove and is more likely to be on the same wavelength as the current players. We all said the midfield needed more creativity - we got that yesterday. We did nearly end up with Martinez and then Pereira but perhaps the majority shareholder finally realised that, knowing very little about football, he should listen to those who do, not so-called super-agents. It would be very interesting to know what the role of Tim Cahill was in all of this. The fans have a voice too and will be largely behind this appointment. Whatever happens next, the new man needs time - lots of it. We can't do this again for a long, long time. And there is just the little matter of getting a few wins on the board to banish the threat of the R word but we are in a better place than we were a month ago.
Jerome Shields
38 Posted 01/02/2022 at 13:13:08
I see that Duncan appears to be part of the Coaching Staff with Frank at Finch Farm today, on the training ground.
Cathal Donnellan
39 Posted 01/02/2022 at 14:27:04
I guess we are going to have to wait a few weeks to make any sort of judgement on him. He has cup tie against Brentford to start with, and essentially another cup tie in a must win game against Newcastle. February is a crucial month as the fixtures get much harder after that.

The big change so far is that we have gone from a club of pessimism to optimism. Frank, and his two signings yesterday, have got everyone perked up again. We are still in the exact same boat though, and pretty much every team we'll be battling with for relegation have made their own changes, or may have already turned a corner..

*Newcastle spent a lot of money but maybe not as much as they wanted. Plus they are unbeaten in 3. the new additions are going to make a big difference to their season. I expect them to stay up.

*Norwich have back to back wins (one against us!!) and could go 3-in-a-row against Palace.

*Watford have hired Roy Hodgson as their manager. How everyone laughed not me! He will already be working on their defence. Ourselves and Watford are the two worst form teams (I still cant shake the memory of that 5-2 disaster). Roy will relish another relegation battle

*Burnley - games in hand and Dyche in charge. you wouldn't put it past them to start clocking up a few points

Hopefully, some of the clubs above us can get sucked in to the relegation fight too!

Some good additions for Frank, but he has to get these guys back on form. Could be a tall ask with Dele Alli, but he wanted him from the get go. He obviously sees what we all saw a few seasons ago. If he can get him playing half as good as that then we still have quite a player. He could end up being our key man in attack, but I still wonder how he will play him and DVDB in the same team,

And still we have that nervy defence. I'm just wondering will he bring Branthwaite in to the team. It needs some sort of shaking up. Lampard's last two jobs saw his teams lacking defensive stability as he attached more. We're unstable enough as it is so good luck to him with that conundrum.

Anyhoo roll on Saturday. I'm enjoying the change in mood, although the best I can muster is nervously optimistic! Big month ahead

Francis van Lierop
40 Posted 01/02/2022 at 17:02:28
As ever a very well written article Lyndon.

Let's hope we've turned a corner, after decades of mediocrity.

Santosh Benjamin
41 Posted 01/02/2022 at 17:47:53
I watched his first training session at Finch Farm. I was surprised to see Big Dunc there. Although he looked fairly subdued, I for one will be happy if he continues to be a part of the backroom staff as I think he can help the strikers and is passionate about the club. To be honest, this is the first manager that I have been excited about since Moyes. He is young and eager to prove himself. I would love for him to be "The One" who gets our wonderful club back on track, but I will take it one game at a time. I would like to see a better defensive record, sensible formations and timely substitutions.

I am really excited to have Van De Beek in the squad as I was hoping we would get him from Ajax after that great run that they had in the CL. With Dele Alli, I have always thought of him as a sneaky player who got under our guys' skin. He does have bags of potential and here's hoping we can get the best out of him. Would have loved a proper DM - a real Carsley/Makele/Gueye type to shield the back 4, but it wasn't to be in this transfer window. Sad that both new additions are cup tied. Am curious to see the team sheet for Saturday. A decent Cup run will boost morale and give us some impetus.

Jay Wood

42 Posted 01/02/2022 at 19:38:20
Whilst happy with Lampard’s appointment and player recruitment, a couple of things still preoccupy me over the events of the last couple of weeks.

The owner and club management that created the crisis we find ourselves in remains the same. Worse, they are the ones who have charged themselves with the task of conducting the ‘internal review’ of the club. That simply won’t work, will it? It needs the naked eye of independent, external reviewers to ‘see’ the failings and the necessary changes needed to improve performances across the board.

Secondly, Duncan Ferguson.

I’m not one that has a downer on Duncan. However, I can't understand how a man who not once, but twice, when being asked to be interim manager ruled himself out of the running to be the full-time manager. Who was not considered worthy of getting the job by the owner and the board on either occasion. But who somehow was called to the 'final interview' last Friday.

How did that come about? Did he change his mind and declare his interest? Did management flip 180 degrees and decide he was worthy? And what now? How, why, is he retained at the club when he is a losing candidate to the man who WAS chosen as manager?

From a position of strength just a few days ago, Duncan has been neutered. Downgraded. He looked marginalised today in the video clips of Lampard's first training session.

Since Martinez promoted him to work with the first team, Ferguson has sat alongside every manager on match day. Given the backroom staff Lampard has brought with him, I don’t see the need for Duncan to join Frank and his assistants on match days, unless it is an act of tokenism.

Whilst there are reports that Lampard wants Ferguson to stay (role undefined), Duncan himself has a decision to make. Is he going to remain in the comfort zone of Finch Farm, or is he going to prove himself elsewhere?

Personally, I have no issues with the man if he decides he is happy to continue as auxiliary staff at Finch Farm which to me signals the limits of his ambition. David Unsworth did likewise when he sat in as interim manager after Koeman left. Among his very first words in taking on the role were: ‘I’m ready for this.’

That was four years ago. Rhino evidently wasn’t ready and privately maybe accepts he is not well-suited to the day-to-day role of club manager. Why? Because he has shown no ambition to fly the nest and test himself as a manager elsewhere.

Has Duncan Ferguson has a similar ‘Road to Damascus’ moment and realises he will never be Everton’s full-time manager without gaining first-hand experience as a club manager himself? That rather than take the risk of failure in the precarious world of football manager he is just fine and dandy where he is at Finch Farm?

Kieran Kinsella
43 Posted 01/02/2022 at 19:51:02

It's possible Dunc was ready to go and try his luck elsewhere after his "I don't have the experience yet," comment last week. But there were reports last week also that the players wanted him to stay on until at least the end of the season. As a self-proclaimed Evertonian, it's possible that with all the upheaval of recent years, Bill/Frank etc may have lent on him to stick around just to provide some continuity so the likes of DCL/Rich don't get their heads turned as easily. His actual role hasn't been explained and there's no word on a new contract or anything. Perhaps he plans to give in six months of transition then try his luck elsewhere? Or maybe he is just happy doing what he is doing.

On the interview? I think that was face saving for Bill and Mosh so it didn't look like a graffiti artist picked our new manager. They made it seem as if they alone made the final decision from the various candidates.

Jerome Shields
44 Posted 01/02/2022 at 22:45:55
Everton have a Chairman who appears to have a parental view towards ex players. The place is coming down with them. Does he see this is a way of supporting himself in his position as Chairman?Even the takeover by Moshiri appears to have been conditional on this theme and it has been a continual theme of placements and promotions of ex. players and long term connected individuals within the Club. There is a policy of long term employment for these individuals no matter how the team performs. Duncan wasn't going anywhere. Their wages appear not to be peanuts.

The Strategic revenue of the Long term PERMANENT Strategic plan ( named as so by the Chief Executive) has increased these placements with Sharpe and Cahill, as part of the Review. Maybe the 'Permanent ' in the Strategic Plan title is about maintaining and adding to these ex player permanent placements, all paying homage to Bill. A recent Daily Mail article, referenced on ToffeeWeb, expounded the qualities of Evertons Chairman, concluding he should go on forever. This article is full of Deniseisms from the Chief Executives, who appears to be a non de plume for both Kenwright/Moshiri and continually singing the praise of these Permanent Employees.

The whole thing is Brazeningly barefaced, is a major preoccupation of the current Club Management, that shows no sign of abating and is set to continue.

I fully expect the Chief Executive at the AGM to cite this all as part of a successful Strategic Review. The other part of the Review, the ESSG, has office space at the Liver building and tweeting via the Chief Executive/ PR with special Board fan representative positions, to be announced, on guess who's selection. criteria ?

Alan J Thompson
45 Posted 02/02/2022 at 03:32:15
Not to worry, the Strategic Review will show that we are after all in a good financial position and like Barca it is just a case of somebody having stuffed some down the back of the sofa and been confused by what was meant by the double entry accounting system, now known more commonly as the Arteta Manoeuvre or the Super Mower Cut.

Picture a teary Bill, tears streaming and threatening to throw himself from the top tier of the main stand when Mosh and DBB step forward, throw an arm around him with promises that we will never again be in this position even if the Barcodes are outspending anything Wimbledon could manage and the books will be creatively corrected shortly, or possibly a share issue.

And the mob known as the Finch Farm Hangers will rise up shouting, "What would Barca do in this situation!", knowing that it will be nothing until the investigation, Strategic Review whatever, is complete, recommendations studied etc blah, blah, blah.

And the show goes on....

Jerome Shields
46 Posted 02/02/2022 at 07:52:17
If Unsworth or Duncan took up the Manager's job and did not perform, they would be sacked and would have to leave Everton. By not applying they have been both assured of a well paid job and, up to now, promotions. Duncan has had to take a demotion, but will be on a substantial salary.

Whilst I understand that people are happy where they are and entitled to that, I question the renumeration involved and the lack of associated performance targets. I assume that the high renumeration is parallel to the risk of tenure involved in a required high-performance environment. But this is evidently not the case at Everton. I have no comparative evidence to provide, other than my own experience.

My opinion of Duncan's interview was it was, as Kieran states, a face-saving exercise for Kenwright and Moshiri or a negotiating ploy in talks with Lampard or the offer of an interview with employment law in mind, which Duncan accepted. Duncan did not mind, allowing himself to be photoed on a train to London with a blogger, which was put straight onto Twitter. Was he just doing his paymasters’ bidding and gaining continued renumeration and employment? He previously stated that his role as manager was only temporary.

I myself have had to eat humble pie and like it on occasions.

Tony Abrahams
47 Posted 02/02/2022 at 08:26:19
A post that asks a lot of questions Jay W, with the rumours being that Lampard telephoned Ferguson, to ask him to stay on because he knows the personnel, better than anyone, and he’d appreciate his help, because he’s got to hit the ground running to get Everton out of its current mess?

I enjoyed watching the training on the video. It might have looked basic, but I think you can gain a lot by watching people in these little tight sessions, to see how hard they work, something that Lampard has said must be the blue print for the players of Everton from now on.

Lampard was right in the middle of the shooting session, but I’m sure that once he’s overseen everything, then he will shorten the groups using different coaches, and Duncan will probably start taking over those shooting sessions, maybe?

Robert Tressell
48 Posted 02/02/2022 at 09:03:40
There are only a few managers who really ever make a difference and get players playing above themselves.

The main thing is the quality of the playing staff - and everyone pulling together behind the scenes. Hence Bruno Lage's relative success at Wolves.

Some really good points in this good article though which should make us feel encouraged.

After an initial bounce, Lampard has a lot to do to hang on to this job more than about 12 months. If he sees out his 2.5 year contract he'll have done extraordinarily well.

But we don't even need to worry about that just yet - we just need to see out this grim season with a few wins.

Jerome Shields
49 Posted 02/02/2022 at 09:23:01
Changes to the articles of association to stop ordinary meetings of Shareholders have been submitted according to Paul the Esk, so the Straegic review findings may not be submitted to the AGM as I claimed in a earlier post or be able to be questioned.We probably will have to put two and two together from the Chief Executives press releases.
Danny O’Neill
50 Posted 02/02/2022 at 10:02:17
Football is often best when dealt with as it is. A simple game. Keep it simple and get the basics right. See it, play it. Don't think about it. That's what the good coaches and players do in my opinion. The first pass available is usually the best one, even if it's 2 yards away.

On Duncan, if he's there because the Manager wants him in some capacity, that's fine by me, even though I'm all for uprooting this club from top to bottom. As long as it's the new manager's choice.

Jay, what you say; it's like marking your own homework right? Human instinct and nature is that you will generally never be to self-critical. Independent and external analysis is the most accurate way to critique and improve.

We're feeling more positive right now, but let's not let the momentum of change and pressure on the owner go, even though he seems to be listening and taking ownership. Hopefully his latest installation to manage on the pitch matters can match his great ambitions with the stadium. But for me, there is still a glaring gap in terms of those who run the club on his behalf.

The current incumbents belong and will keep us in the 1960s and 1980s at Woodison.

Sorry. It's only midweek. Can't wait for Saturday. One step closer to Wembley.

Brian Harrison
51 Posted 02/02/2022 at 10:33:41
I see some posters are suggesting that rather than the present owner and board overlook a strategic review, we should employ somebody independent to carry out such a review. Perfectly reasonable suggestion until you come to nominating this individual, and who would make that choice. Also the owner or lets call him Usmanov,s goffer doesnt want any day to day running of the club, so is quite happy to keep the status quo.

On the football side of things I think this is the best appointment this club have made since we appointed Howard Kendall, and Lampard is far more experienced than Howard was. I am not interested whether Duncan stays or not but its quite clear our present owners have no intention of ever giving him the job permanently, now if Frank is happy for him to be around finch Farm then there is no issue. When Ashley Cole joins as seems likely Lampard will have the best backroom staff he could wish for, the players will be able to relate to him and Cole as players and in Clement they have the experienced old head.

Yes there will be bumps along the road but we have someone who has a definite idea of how he wants to play, which is a positive front foot approach but has also surrounded himself with coaches who understand and appreciate the defensive side of the game. Frank will need time but I am convinced he will turn this failing club around and again make it a pleasure instead of a chore to go to Goodison.

Jay Wood

52 Posted 02/02/2022 at 10:47:20
Brian, there are near countless options as to who could do a professional, neutral, naked eye independent audit. They would absolutely report back on the true state of affairs on the management and infrastructure of every aspect of the club.

If Farhad Moshiri is sincere in wishing to see NSNO established throughout the club, that is the path he should take.

Unless and until he does (AND take on board and implement the changes such an audit would inevitably reveal), the current set-up will continue to underachieve to the degree it has in Moshiri's six year ownership of the club.

And that alone will continue to impact negatively on the core purpose of our existence.


Brian Harrison
53 Posted 02/02/2022 at 10:56:39

Would you like to name one of the countless options you reckon there are to carry out an independent review. Also the biggest problem we have is first who does own Everton and 2nd just for arguments sake lets pretend its Moshiri he is as big a problem as is Kenwright. So would he really want someone to carry out a strategic review which may show him to be the first person that needs replacing, and given his track record after 6 years he has to be top of the list. Look we cant change owners or chairmen just like Mike Ashley proved at Newcastle he was hated by the majority of fans but didnt leave till his asking price was met.

Jay Wood

54 Posted 02/02/2022 at 11:07:20
Don't be so disingenuous, Brain. Well-established businesses and well-respected individuals do such audits every day of the week.

I personally know one Evertonian who has 40 years experience of doing just that who would be more than capable. I won't embarrass him by revealing his name.

Who is asking for change of ownership? The call is for greater professionalsim and accountability which is evidently absent within the club's management structure.

And you CAN change your chairman and directors, as Moshiri has regularly done.

Danny O’Neill
55 Posted 02/02/2022 at 11:13:59
Despite my previous calls not to mix football and politics, I guess it is a bit like politics.

The Prime Minister is the owner; the custodian. If things go wrong, it's rarely the PM who goes.

But they can reshuffle the cabinet. And do.

Our owner isn't going anywhere soon. But he needs a reshuffle of his cabinet.

Robert Tressell
56 Posted 02/02/2022 at 11:28:24
Jay, I agree that there are plenty of third party organisations who are qualified to advise on better governance / management structure etc. Football is nothing so unusual / special in this respect. It wouldn't be with a view to toppling Moshiri - it would be with a view to improving his investment
Bill Watson
57 Posted 02/02/2022 at 11:57:38
Hopefully, Lampard will have the team playing on the front foot instead of sitting back and being overrun in midfield. I'll be going to the game with a feeling of optimism rather than the gloom of the last six months..... at least for the first few matches!!

Did anyone notice the terse statement the club posted in the early hours, to the effect that the women's manager, Jean-Luc Vasseur and his two coaches, have left the club with immediate effect?
I wonder what's going on here? Very strange.

Jerome Shields
58 Posted 02/02/2022 at 12:08:32
I agree that the Strategic Review should be done by Independent parties. That is what constitutes good practice for properly run organisations.
Peter Neilson
59 Posted 02/02/2022 at 13:15:19
Bill (57) one league win in ten, more ruthless than with Benitez. Moving onto third manager of the season. Must be something in the water.
Barry Hesketh
60 Posted 02/02/2022 at 13:48:54
I welcome Lampard to Goodison, not that he was on my personal radar to become the new boss, until he was linked to the job. It's just a pity that the club didn't recruit him as the boss last summer, because, Everton are in a pickle as regards league placing and have relatively little time fo get things right on the pitch.

We can only hope that Frank's apparent natural enthusiasm is reflected out on the pitch by his players and that the current squad don't give him any doubts about their committment, like they have done so often to previous bosses

It's going to be an interesting couple of weeks, and the team need to start winning league games as soon as possible. The good thing is that the Goodison faithul can show full support to Frank Lampard and his team and that might be enough to save this season from becoming a major disaster, which is where we were heading a couple of weeks ago.

Tony Abrahams
61 Posted 02/02/2022 at 13:55:25
This thread has got me thinking and like Danny says, if Ferguson is here because the manager wants him, then that’s also fine by me as well!

I heard on Sunday night, that Ferguson was leaving, “that’s good I thought”, because my biggest wish is for Everton to move away from the old boys club, that appears to exist right throughout our club.

I heard from the same man on Monday morning, that Lampard had personally phoned Ferguson, asking him to stay on and help him, and even though I can be a bit sceptical, I actually believed this is true, otherwise I genuinely wouldn’t be going back to Goodison Pk. (I’m aware I wouldn’t be missed)

That wouldn’t have been nothing against Duncan Ferguson, because I went last Saturday, and would have continued to go and watch Everton, if Duncan had became our new manager, but it was more to do with what I deem to be complete professionalism, something I personally think that by continuing to keep Ferguson on board, throughout every single managerial change, has shown that this is something Everton have been badly lacking.

We still lack it now, a club review should definitely be made from people outside our club, and I think this is something that needs to be rammed home to Farhad Moshiri.

It was great that Moshiri spoke, but if he wants to go away and continue to devote as little time as possible to Everton, he’s got to employ a top CEO, and let them work without influence, imo.

Jerome Shields
62 Posted 02/02/2022 at 14:48:40

That's fair enough teary eyed Bill got to Frank.Really Duncan does not want to go anywhere else.Having went bankrupt 6 years ago he is probably trying still to put one foot in front of the other.He will toe the line for what ever boss he is under.Not one boss has complained.It is the lack of governance and accountability within the organisation alot of us are very uncomfortable about.

IMO the Permanent Strategy Plan and it's Review are nothing to do with the professional conduct of business, but are devices like Denise new titles for doing the same job and performing the same as before,with better renumeration. Brands was part of this Strategic Plan where he reorganised, promoted, and placed people with titles and no accountability.The Strategic Review materialised after he was sacked as a device to regain control.
Even the ESSG which is part off it is a attempt to control the Fan lead Review and damping fan opposition groups.Steal their thunder in otherworld.

It really is all about self preservation of certain parties, and trying to make their position permanent.I know the lengths they are going to do so are unbelievable., even ending AGMs so they are not asked questions and held accountable. Millions of loses every year and their narrative is continuous progress and future success, never being accountable.

I have never come across a Permanent Strategic Plan in Business and can't find a reference to it on the Internet or business literature .No one in business that I know has heard of such a thing.Yet Everton's Chief Executive has named it so, without one iota of explanation.I can therefore assume Permanent means Permanent and relates to it's objectives.

Tony Abrahams
63 Posted 02/02/2022 at 15:05:39
Sadly a lot of points made, that seem to make sense Jerome, so hopefully things don’t go back to normal, (unless we don’t stop winning now!) with regards our owner and his board, just because we have now appointed Lampard.
Dave Abrahams
64 Posted 02/02/2022 at 15:09:55
With regards to Frank Lampard asking Ferguson to stay on reminds me that Walter Smith kept Dave Watson on for twelve months after he came in as Everton’s manager, maybe just to pick his brains about the players he was taking over and how the club had been run. I think Dave only lasted for one season.
Tony Abrahams
65 Posted 02/02/2022 at 15:22:30
That might be the problem Dave, because if it only lasts twelve months before something has got to give, then maybe Archie Knox, came in handy for Walter, but with nobody prepared to take Duncan Ferguson on, out the door they fuckin go!
Jerome Shields
66 Posted 02/02/2022 at 16:05:57

I am hopeful that Lampard will.get the team to play good football and as you say we can concentrate on that up to the opening of the new Stadium.Time hopefully will change things and this is the last hooray of Kenwright &Co.But there will have to be changes at Club Management level if progress is to beyond midtable mediocrity.

I am concerned about Cahill's role and possible remit.Lampard's staff are on the training field types and not in the technical areas.

Jerome Shields
67 Posted 02/02/2022 at 16:16:47

Duncan will retire from Everton with a pension long after Frank is gone.

Dale Self
68 Posted 02/02/2022 at 16:50:25
Perhaps Frank got here and realized Dunc was one of the few who truly love Everton and one of the best placed for inside info on how to get things done. He is close enough in age to relate at a level that only club legends can share. And if we could, while we're in a good place, let's heal up on the deep perspective on stuff we don't know (his bankruptcy, why he didn't want it, etc.). I had some concerns and disappointment as well but we simply don't know how things played out.
Raymond Fox
69 Posted 02/02/2022 at 19:12:27
Good article, Lyndon.

I think the manager and his team under him look excellent, if results don't work out I'd be looking at the players as the guilty party more than them.

I know all Everton supporters are desperate to win a trophy but where we are in the league at the moment I don't think we can risk playing many of our best players in the cup competitions.

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