A week ago today when I was asked on Radio5Live about the future of our then Manager, I made the point that there was both a business and a footballing decision to be made. Later that day a decision was made, thankfully, to dispense with Koeman, and, since then, quite rightly, all attention has been on the search for a successor.
I wrote in Three Lessons from the Reign of Ronald about the need to do our due diligence with this next critical appointment and for any candidate to do theirs too. Over the course of this week the PR “machine” that is EFC let it be known that Bill favoured giving David Unsworth an extended run, whilst Farhad preferred an “established name”.
I ran a 24hr Twitter poll over Sunday and today, taking in the Leicester defeat, (unclear whether expected or not) and 71% were with Moshiri, whilst 29% were behind Bill.
As always, I want to try and analyse from a business perspective and leave on pitch affairs to the so-called professionals. Nevertheless, I, of course, acknowledge that football is an emotional business and, in that regard, I am a Rhino lover. As a player he was great, a swashbuckling left-back, who took a mean penalty. Always gave his all and, as a coach, has achieved great things with the u23s. He’s a Blue, through and through, and should one day get an opportunity to be more than a “stand-in” manager (dreadful phrase coined by the Club itself) at Everton.
Now let’s put the business hat firmly back on. This is the most important job in a business that turns over £170m. The job description (if there were one) would include the words “first team”. It is not unreasonable to expect the shortlisted candidates to have managed at this first team level. You can debate other factors; whether you want Premier League experience, European competition experience, how many trophies they have won, style of play, cultural fit, age etc.
When Phil Neville made a plea for Unsworth to get the job on the BBC Sport website this morning I could not believe what I was reading. “It riles me when I see him described as not having enough experience” wrote Fizzer18, former captain of Everton. Well, Phil, it riles me a bit that you as a “football pundit” can even make that case. Unfortunately, added to brief catetaker duties at Preston North End, David Unsworth has managed the first team on just 3 (three) occasions, every time as a “stand in”. That should simply rule him out on experience at this stage.
He can and will buy the Club a little time, for that the Club should be respectfully grateful, but the Club need to realise time is of the essence.
Whilst Neville’s emotional angle was misguided, there can be absolutely no place for the crass comments of Joey Barton. I have no wish to dignify them with further reference here.
Now a plan, and a very sensible one at that, could see a new managerial appointment involving Unsworth as a number 2. Indeed that could be compulsory, which may rule out Ancelotti and one or two others. Craig Shakespeare got the Leicester job after Ranieri, with no first team management experience, but he had been his Number 2 for two years, as we’ve seen, though, he only lasted 8 months.
The only first team virgin manager that has worked in recent times is Zidane, and whilst Rhino was a player, he was no Zinedine Zidane.
Where does this leave us then? A business needs a plan and clarity. That involves leadership and a common purpose. It is worrying that the Chairman and the largest shareholder seem to have such different views as to the way forward. If one wanted Silva and the other Tuchel it would be less of a concern.
Rumours are that Moshiri is unhappy about many aspects of the Club he’s invested so heavily in. From the TV pictures at the King Power yesterday there would seem to have been a three-line whip on attendance from the Board and other senior figures, including Steve “Teflon” Walsh.
For six months on EvertonBusinessMatters we have been saying that the new largest shareholder needs to address the off pitch failings and, until he does that, there will be no meaningful progress on the pitch. Let us hope that this crisis, for it is a real crisis, sees Farhad Moshiri finally asserting his authority at Everton. For too long the Directors and senior team have had a free ride and got away with poor planning & decision making.
Throughout this trophy-barren 22 year (and counting) spell the likes of Moyes, Cahill, and even Lukaku, have aided and abetted the “plucky little Everton” mantra, keeping the light from shining too brightly on the abject performance of the business off the pitch. It is wholly wrong to expect Unsworth to get them off the hook once more.
You sense now that a whole coop full of chickens with no structure, no responsibility and no accountability are coming home to roost. If Farhad doesn’t address these problems he will be complicit with them, he will be part of them.
Moshiri needs to lead and complete the search for a new Manager with professionalism and clinical diligence, removing all emotion and simply hiring the best man available to do the job. That appointment must be integrated into a clear long term on-pitch plan which I really hope involves Unsworth, and ideally gives him the experience he clearly lacks today; so that, next time there is a vacancy, Rhino is very much the man to fill it.
Succession planning is the cornerstone of many a successful business. Once the new Manager is appointed, Farhad must begin building a world-class team to lead Everton off the pitch so that his investment yields the dividends he must surely demand.
Whether on the pitch or off the pitch the same standard must apply: