By Doug Wood
Whether the process for delivering our next manager is nearly complete, reasonably underway or yet to commence in earnest, it will be one of the most important decisions ever taken by our great club. It should not be a rushed process and panic should play no part of it. It is my view that Farhad Moshiri should be leading and driving the whole process for securing a long-term successor for Ronald Koeman. It is Moshiri who possesses the vision for Everton’s future and with having invested his time, effort and money to help kickstart achieving that vision it is now the right time for his real leadership to emerge in the running of our club. It is fair enough that he should listen and consult with trusted colleagues and those who hold Everton dear to their hearts, but the next manager decision must reflect his will in shaping Everton’s future, not just in the short-term but more importantly, for the long-term.
We should be looking at managerial candidates with a pedigree, with a proven reputation and transferable experience and with a burning desire to push the club to much higher levels. Sadly, sentiment should not feature strongly within this process and a candidate such as the admirable David Unsworth lacks the experience to be offered the role at such a crucial time. There is, of course, a scenario whereby Unsworth is appointed as Assistant Manager, thus gaining the relevant experience required for future consideration, but whether an any prospective incoming manager would agree to such an appointment thrust upon them remains to be seen.
If we are being told that the team is already mired in a relegation dogfight and, according to our gloomier fans, playing the worst standard of football this side of god knows when, then the decision is, of course, of crucial importance. A lot is at stake here! Personally, I think the reaction to our current malaise is a tad melodramatic and just two wins lift us to mid-table security with decent momentum to build further upon. For comparison, think back to the 2005/06 season, 10 games in, just 7 points to our name and only three goals scored (and the 10th game was a win, so the position had been even more parlous). We stayed up comfortably. This season, the new manager whoever he is, will be well supported in the January transfer window, hopefully addressing our priorities at centre forward, centre half and left back. The squad has quality within it and is not relegation fodder.
Many fans will disagree with me for reasons I understand and respect, but I don’t think we should be hitching our next manager to the relegation dogfight bandwagon. Moshiri has commenced a massive project within a short timeframe for the rejuvenation and future growth of Everton. It is important that this project is not derailed by a poor start to the season with the club panicking into the appointment of a relegation dogfight specialist who might not offer much longer-term once the staying up objective had been achieved. Even if such a renowned scrapper was given a contract just till the end of May 2018, the club would be revisiting the new manager selection process next summer, with the short-term appointee having spent valuable funds in January on players and/or types of players that the new manager may not want.
Moshiri has stated his ambitious aims for Everton, we are not to be a museum but instead a successful and thriving club capable of genuinely competing for the top honours in the game. The project to achieve these lofty aims is underway and we envisage that meaning for Moshiri a highly impressive new stadium, ready for the start of the 2021/22 season and packed to the rafters with Everton fans high on playing in the Champions League and having already celebrated recent silverware success.
The next manager must drive us remorselessly towards the achievement of those objectives and by extension it is entirely logical that Moshiri must ruthlessly and effectively drive the recruitment process to appoint that manager. The project must not be derailed by appointing an inexperienced manager because of sentiment or appointing a manager with purely short-term objectives in his remit. Is it a risky approach, of course it is, and every managerial appointment carries degrees of risk, but the trick is to mitigate those risks by not panicking and adhering to the longer-term vision for the club. It is time for our leader to show his true qualities and impose his will upon the immediate direction of the club. Everton by virtue of starting many years later than the ‘top 6 clubs’, face a massive task in catching up and overtaking them and every season we do not make significant progress in achieving that aim then the harder it becomes. The project must not be derailed!