It’s not enough to say you are a special club and a great club, we don’t want to be a museum
Farhad Moshiri speaking at Everton’s general meeting on January 5, 2017. Fast forward almost five years and you’ve barely laid the foundations, let alone something as worthwhile as a museum. It is gross mismanagement that has led Everton down this path and the blame sits firmly at the door of Farhad Moshiri.
It was February 27, 2016, when Bill Kenwright finally unveiled the Iranian billionaire as the “perfect partner” Moshiri had acquired a 49.9% share in Everton, making him the club’s major shareholder. There was promise of new investment, a brighter future and it seemed likely Everton could flex some financial muscle after decades of working off a shoestring budget. Yet here we are almost at the end of 2021 and Everton Football Club is quite simply a mess. The disconnection between the club and fans is at its worst, the squad is bloated with mediocrity and to top it all off Rafael Benitez is now entrusted with steering the ship.
One of Moshiri’s first acts was to remove the beleaguered Roberto Martinez from his position, ol’ brown shoes himself, was massively out of his depth and the club was dropping at an alarming rate – ironically this theme has continued throughout Moshiri’s tenure. Vast sums of money have been spent hiring and firing managers – Ronald Koeman, Marco Silva and Sam Allardyce all followed Martinez into and out of the managerial hotseat. Koeman was the name factor, the Dutchman had done a reasonable job at Southampton, but Moshiri fluttered his chequebook on South Coast and Koeman was signed. “For our club to compete in the northwest of England, which is the new Hollywood of football with Guardiola, Mourinho and Klopp, we needed a star to stand on the touchline, so we got Koeman, gloated Moshiri. The comparison with the other three is almost as baffling as the appointment itself, Koeman was never a star manager, the others are world class coaches and tacticians, Koeman was just a name – the alarm bells should have been ringing at this point Moshiri was searching for names and status rather than who was the right man for the job.
Once the axe inevitably fell Moshiri then courted Watford’s Marco Silva, again, it wasn’t long before Everton’s majority shareholder was wielding his axe again and the search was underway, but this time was different because this time Moshiri, somehow, manged to appoint Carlo Ancelotti. One of only three men to have won the European Cup three times a former manager of Real Madrid and here he was being unveiled as Everton manager. Remarkable for a club languishing closer to the Championship than the Champions League but Moshiri’s money was finally talking, and it was making sense.
Ancelotti’s first job was to bring some stability and ensure any relegation fears were eased but the anticipation was naturally growing; even more so when James Rodriguez followed Ancelotti through the doors at Finch Farm. A manager with this pedigree rightly had Evertonians dreaming of the bright future once promised with Morhiri’s billions, yes there had been a few lean years for the Italian and a short stop in Naples hadn’t been profitable but this was finally the ‘star’ that Moshiri had talked of a huge name throughout the game but with a bulging CV to back up his coaching credentials. The players followed – as well as Rodriguez – Allan joined from Napoli, Doucoure and Godfrey signed from Watford and Norwich respectively.
This was meant to be it; supposed to be the rebirth of our great football club. A man whose CV was comparable with very few in the game was prowling the dugout at Goodison. Yet despite dubious home form and questionable tactics, a tenth-place finish was on one hand massively disappointing, but Ancelotti took a squad of – mainly – average players into second at Christmas time and sat within the top four for long parts of the season. There was anticipation Carlo was going to improve this squad over the summer until Real Madrid came calling, the Spanish giants lost Zinedine Zidane, and Carlo was top of their wanted list and Everton simply couldn’t compete.
Once again it was back to square one and the managerial search began again, this time though the hope was Brands would appoint the new manager, his role as Director of Football would appoint a young hungry manager with fresh ideas and a refreshing style of play but the structure – or lack of – that Moshiri has put in place meant not of that happened, the hands of the man who should be making these critical decisions were tied. Despite the protestations from the fans, the banners and the clear fury at the idea of Rafael Benitez taking over at Everton Football Club fell on deaf ears and Moshiri, again, made his own decision and decided he knew best. He didn’t. It was quite simply the worst decision made at this football club in decades, even Mike Walker’s record sails close to Benitez. Tactically inept – when he was appointed, we heard he was tactically astute, a boring and defensive manager who will grind out results – in reality it couldn’t be further from the truth. Tactically inept, no plan, no shape, no identity as a football club and not a hint defensive solidarity.
When Sam Allardyce was sacked as Everton manager the pundits and the press came out in their droves with the question ‘what do Evertonians want?’ as if we should be in some way grateful Fat Sam took us from midtable to errr midtable. Well, Evertonians now want what Evertonians wanted then – we want our identity on and off the pitch, we want Farhad Moshiri to stop making massively important footballing decisions, we want our club to have a proper structure from the boardroom right down to the staff who serve the warm Carling at half time, for any DoF to be allowed to run the football side. We want results and we want to compete – what do we really want? we want our football club back and back where it belongs.