Who next for Everton? Analysis of the likely managerial candidates

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The Current Situation

Like anyone I was surprised with the timing of this week’s events and we now find ourselves at a crossroads in terms of how the club moves forwards.

The club is amidst the change curve; Moyes was ace but football is massive and change happens, often for the better and there is no reason we can’t kick on. With the foundations he has left we are in good shape to move forward given the right appointment.

The conundrum for the board is do we go for someone who can provide ‘like for like’ continuity,  Scottish pragmatism i.e. a Malay Mackay type (essentially Moyes-lite) or look for a more dynamic solution that could provide more short term gain like, say a Laudrup.

Unless Kenwrong is a great poker player we need to assume that the search for a successor only started this week. This leads us to ask the question of what exactly have the club done to mitigate the risk of DM leaving?   Was there a contingency ‘Plan B’ on the team shared drive ready to be implemented on Wednesday morning? Or is the more likely option that we have adopted a wait and see, eyes closed, hide under the table approach? Sadly, the answer is obvious. This excellent article by footballing head-hunter Tor Karlsen shows what properly organised clubs do in recruiting future managers.

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 ‘The Everton change curve’

The Transition that lies ahead…

Given that continuity has been one of our key strengths in recent times it’s a real worry that short term we could struggle to compete if the post- Moyes transition of any potential appointment isn’t well managed.

Clearly, given the far reaching autonomy DM enjoyed there will be a significant period of transition to endure. Some transitions have been handled better than others in the top flight in recent years. If we look at the worst, Villa’s replacement of long ball tramp Martin O’Neill with the contrasting strategist Gerard Houllier springs to mind. In that case, not replacing like for like led to the creation of haphazard recruitment and a playing squad that still to this date resembles a detritus.

Swansea’s transition from Martinez>Sousa>Brenny > Laudrup has been seamless given that they have a defined strategy and thus didn’t need to chop and change too much. Yes, Laudrup added better players but wholesale changes were not necessary. This continuity has also bagged them over £5m in compensation. Often though, what people disliked most of the previous regime will lead to the polar opposite being brought in. The England job is a good example with Sven -for being foreign-  leading to englishman McLaren coming in, before he was denounced as not clever enough hence the need for tactican Capello to come in,  who was also too foreign and a loose canon, which led to ‘safe hands’ englishman Roy coming in.

I certainly don’t subscribe to the belief that Moyes departure will somehow lead to implosion, although this is very much in the hands of the board.

What are we looking for?

The key capabilities required for the job is evidently different from when the Scot took the helm. Back then, the basic premise was survival and to reduce the average age of the squad which then stood at 56 (although it’s still quite old now)

We are now challenging at the top end of the table with an expectation of a top six placing and cup glory. With no cash and FFP now ‘in play’ the candidate will need experience in bringing players through, and given how we can’t compete like for like in the transfer market with the sides above us (and some below us), a tactical edge to find another way of winning will be crucial. So essentially it’s likely any successor will be more pragmatic than idealistic.

Given the broadness of the role and working on the assumption the board are not going to carve the duties up with additional costs (e.g create a director of football role), any future boss will need to be able to turn his hand to more functions than most bosses in the top flight including responsibilities for the academy and scouting as well as day to day coaching duties.

Key Criteria

1. Long term role to re-build the second oldest side in the division

2. Tactical edge to find a way to win ‘by any means necessary’

3. Pragmatist

4. Willing to accept a minimal transfer budget

5. Getting the best out of average players (e.g Naismith, Anichebe)

6. A willingness to be subservient to the board

7. A degree of arrogance and flair to move us forward from current position

8. Capability to effectively trade and make a profit on transfers

9. Available with no/minimal compensation

10. Hard worker with a steely desire to win

What’s in it for them? 

1. A very good first X1 good enough to win a trophy

2. Quality youth setup and ‘state of the art’ training complex & fanbase

3. Opportunity to build something long term

4. Free reign on transfers, full autonomy on first team affairs and academy

5. One of the top 15 best paid jobs in world football

6. With the new tv deal a club no longer dependent on selling to survive

The Unlikely Options

Based on the criteria listed lets dismiss some of the names linked so far…

Personally I rate Paul Lambert as the closest like for like fit for Moyes in the top flight but given the way Villa have finished the campaign (and the compensation involved)  this looks a non starter. Michael Laudrup would appear a complete long shot given the reported £5m release clause in his new deal-  a clause he signed in recent months as our board watched Moyes contract wind down. He’s also something of a journeyman though with 5 jobs in 7 years – I don’t see him being anyway very long. Mark ‘project’ Hughes is not good enough to work in the club shop. Steve McLaren hasn’t really been mooted but I rate him; he’s one of the few English managers with the get up and go to try his hand abroad and whilst his spell at Wolfsburg was not great his time in Holland was excellent. He also bagged a trophy for Boro and had them settled in mid table – something which seems a million miles away now. Neil Lennon is Michael Douglas in Falling Down waiting to happen. Pip Neville – doesn’t like the sopranos, also no experience and is predominantly disliked (a tad unfairly) by a large section of the fan base so his appointment would be divisive.  Duncan Ferguson and Alan Stubbs are well liked but have no real experience. I also think Freedman at Bolton is a more credible option that McKay at Cardiff, although neither fits the bill for me.

x4 more serious contenders to consider….

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1. Roberto Martinez (Wigan Athletic)

Age 39 / Best Odds: 3/1 (Stan James) / CareerTrophies: 1 / Career Win Rate; 37%

Martinez role at Wigan in recent seasons has been to provide sustainable longevity following the early years of heavy spend prior to his appointment. Based in the North West and accustomed to the division, there would be minimal ‘setting’ issues associated with relocation and he would be able to hit the ground running. His salary is also a fraction of what Moyes was on. He’s also a fully qualified physiotherapist (boring fact)

RM’s transfer approach has been to bring in three cheap players for every big name player that he moves on and the money banked on players like N’Zogbia and Moses has been plentiful. He also has a good scouting network of previously untapped markets in South America. The way RM has recruited for minimal spend and developed players like McCarthy and Maloney is admirable and this will be something the board will look at for sure, as will be his subservience to Whelan. Tactically he is also adventurous with his three at the back system quite edgy for the vanilla tactics of the premier league.

I like his approach although I’m not sure his style wholly fits our club mantra. For example, could you see Martinez coming out after a 0-4 defeat and saying ‘yeah, but we played great football’… the fans would hound him out within 3 months. His win % is also the lowest of all the candidates and it’s even worse when you focus on top flight games only (29%). RM has never taken Wigan higher than 15th which is worse than two of the complete numbskulls who occupied the hot seat before him – the Aberdeen Angus headed Steve Bruce for instance got them to 11th while Burberry enthusiast Paul Jewell also got them in the top half, albeit both had more cash than RM.

Then there is the issue of compensation and the senile coffin dodger Dave ‘I broke my leg in the cup final’ Whelan who would be looking at £4m to fund his Thatcher memorial statue, the tit. Despite this, I think he’s the most likely option.

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2. Vitor Pereira (Porto)

Age 44 / Best Odds 12/1 (Ladbrokes) / Trophies Won: 3 / Career Win Rate 54%

Similarly to Martinez and ‘Rafa’ Benitez, Pereira comes from a background of a not so great career as a player but one that excelled through the education system and who has a sports science accreditation under his belt. Prior to becoming assistant at Porto to ‘AVB’ , Pereira enjoyed moderate success in the lower leagues with Santa Clara where he developed a reputation as a progressive manager. His core skill is a work ethic and as a proficient fitness coach with a track record of getting the best out of what is available to him.

He isn’t the most charismatic figure though, and he certainly isn’t the next Mourinho, or even the next ‘AVB’. He’s something of a ‘yes man’ to the Porto president and has a willingness to be subservient so the Board which would give him a tick in the box for our role.

He has achieved the Portuguese title though – although some Porto fans perceived it as Benfica throwing it away rather than Porto winning it – however you can’t question the home form with the Dragons currently unbeaten in 44 home league games which is not to be sniffed at. They are also still in the hunt for back to back titles this season although the division is essentially a two horse race.

With his contract expiring in the summer (Porto haven’t offered him a new deal) Pereira would be free to move clubs, but it would be a surprise for me if his destination was L4 given our ‘traditional’ approach.

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3, Rafa Benitez  (Chelsea)

Age; 53 / Best Odds; 45/1 (Betfair)  / Career Trophies; 11 / Career Win Rate; 50%

An outside bet given his connections across the park, ‘clown kecks’ is the best qualified candidate by some distance and would be able to hit the ground running. Yes, his affiliation with the other lot is hard to shake and his comments in the past will have done little to endear him to the L4 faithful. However for me the positives outweigh the negatives by some distance.

His time at Valencia was impressive, as was his feet in taking a rank average Liverpool side containing Djimi Traore and Djibrill Cisse to the Champions League crown. His ability to get the most out of such players and the tactical edge to get the better of teams possessing better players is crucial to the Everton role. His critics will argue he was a reckless spender at Liverpool where he came in for criticism for spending £40m on calamity duo Robbie Keane and Alberto Aquilani, however the club did recoup almost half this outlay in moving them on –  a figure dwarfed by the £50m he banked the club from the Torres/Alonso deals.

What would his motivation be for taking the job then? Well, his desire to stay in the English top flight is clear, and his ego  will dictate that he wants to operate at the top end. We are the only conceivable option for him to be able to compete here, plus he would get the autonomy on playing affairs and recruitment which has led to him leaving previous jobs. It’s a long shot though; his appointment could be divisive within the fan base and it would take a gutsy board who wanted success at all costs to appoint him – something we don’t have.

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4. Thomas Tuchel (Mainz)

Age: 39 / Best Odds; 142/1 (Betfair) / Career Trophies: 0 / Career win rate 40%

A big outsider, the Mainz boss has won a lot of friends in Germany for turning the fortunes of an unfashionable side that in recent history have rarely been above Bundesliga2. As a sign of the progress he has brought, the club has finished 5th and 13th in the German top flight in recent seasons.  Initially he was brought in as the successor to the now much coveted Jurgen Klopp at Dortmund, and there are many similarities that can be drawn between the duo. Both are passionate, animated characters and both excel at rearing young players into the first team such as Marcel Risse, Shawn Parker and notably Jan Kirchhoff who is joining Bayern this summer.

They currently lie in 10th position in the league but have struggled a bit this season, drawing 9 of 15 games in 2013. Overall they have scored 38 and conceded 38 from as many games this season, giving them a 0 goal difference and one of the best defensive records in the league. Sound familiar?

Their style also has a cross over with ours, playing an energetic, pressure game in the opposition half, again an approach similar to Moyes – Everton spend a higher proportion of time in the opposing half than anyone in the top flight.

Tuchel is paid in the region of 1 million euro’s per year, a drop in the ocean to Moyes £2.9m per year wedge. The hat wearing tactician’s progress hasn’t gone unnoticed with the top clubs in Germany with Schalke – a club who also supposedly looked at Moyes – holding an interest in the manager. He fits the bill but again would the board spread their net this wide?

In Conclusion

The fear is the board will choose the easy option which guarantees no kick back and allow them to continue doing nothing, i.e Martinez.  It’s also the reason that Benitez probably won’t be considered. If it is Martinez then it will be interesting to see how things develop. He’s has had moderate success at Wigan, but would need to change his approach to adapt to a much bigger football operation with great expectation at Goodison Park. It all makes for an interesting few months ahead.

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28 thoughts on “Who next for Everton? Analysis of the likely managerial candidates

  1. The point on Swansea’s series of managers is a very strong, convincing argument. Hadn’t thought of Tuchel as a possible either if I’m honest.

    I think Martinez will be the one Kenwright will go for although the compo is high. I think it kinda makes sense and is a safe Kenwright type of option. From interviews Martinez seems bright and ambitious and maybe the step up in player quality with the extra TV money would see him raise his game too.

    Personally I’m torn. 40% of me wants to roll the dice and take a risk on someone without PL experience but… I’m a realist and a bit risk averse. I hate saying it but it’s Martinez for me. uninspiring but maybe sensible.

    Enjoyed the article. Thanks.

  2. Lambert and McClaren would be my top 2.

    If it means going down the cheap route then they’ll go for the one who costs the cheapest with no compensation involved.

    If Moyes was ever staying why didn’t he sign the contract and put us at ease! Because that Ferr saga was the final straw for him.

    He’s known something might be happening since early February so held out for that reason.

    Our board are an absolute disgrace, patting him on the back because they know he’s been there shit deflector for years.

    For all those who moaned about Moyes, I hope your proved correct over the next few years but somehow I doubt it. He was a miracle worker for the gang of charlatans on our board.

    COYB

  3. An excellent article and I agree with nearly all of it. I think you have dismissed Neil Lennon far too easily. A great man motivator, got moderate players playing above themselves (eg Commons) and has certainly out-performed Moyes in European competitions.

  4. Maybe have a bit of research into Lucien Favre of Monchengladbach fits the bill perfectly and that is who I wish us to appoint.

  5. Excellent article but what about Zola? Will we always use a Fischer curve and default to a Scot. I do think they make good leaders but we may want to take the opportunity to reinvent ourselves.

  6. I think Rene Girard from Montpellier is worth a look considering the budget he had to work on with them he took them to the ligue 1 title. He has already expressed a desire to manage in England even saying he’d take a top championship team if it means he can manage here and his contracts up this summer so no compensation.

  7. Pingback: Everton's new manager - Page 98

  8. Thought provoking article. I would be interested to know your thoughts on Bilic as you seem well informed on the European coaches. I think as a personality he has sufficient edge to move the team on. As per the previous comment, I think if nothing else we would win at Analfield with Lennon at the helm….

  9. Bill Kenwright says Everton fans voices will be heard, he does care about what the fans think, Keeping things just as they are without making whole changes then Phil Nevile who has worked alongside David Moyes for 8 years would qualify as a sensible choice, a common sense choice but the only man who can pick us up after this, we are heartbroken David Moyes has left, The heart has been ripped out of our club and we are all left distraught, There is only one man on this planet who can fix this now, I hope common sense prevails with Bill Kenwright and I hope he is bold and brave anough to risk it just as he did in 2002 when David Moyes stepped in and I hope that man is ready to step up to the plate.
    I hope you are listening Duncan Ferguson!!!! We need you now, you need to seriously step forward and save our club! We never ever got over Big Duncan first leaving us then retiring after he eventually come back, David Moyes leaving has knocked us all for 6, Big Duncan dont sherk responsibilty, step forward we need you more now than we did back then when we had constantly poor sides and we only looked up to you!

  10. We are proud of David Moyes, he got the biggest Job on the planet and so everyone around the world can now see officially what we have seen for over a decade, we are very proud of David Moyes and we will never forget you Dave! David Moyes has already stablised the club and set the foundations for someone to breaze in build on things and reap the rewards! The hardest parts have well been done, Duncan Ferguson now has to step up to the plate! If Everton and Bill Kenwright cannot see this is a natural progression something that was always going to happen and that the time is now then losing David Moyes will always be a sad matter, The Buzz about the place and the passion and excitement of Big Duncan Ferguson leading our club is just something special, The thought of it makes me cry with emotion! But then Big Duncan is my hero ive loved him a long time! Id sooner have the fun excitement and the romance of Big Duncan even if its not successful rather than some up and coming Manager with only potential coming and failing and even if it fails we would applaud Bill for his bravory, Vision and we could see what he was trying to do and what he saw and we will follow, and we would appreciate the big fella for once again coming to his clubs rescue, But if either man fail in the duty to everton then everything David Moyes has done over the last 1 years will have meant nothing!
    Duncan sort yourself out and come out and say you want it, lets atleast drum up a bit of excitement and lift the spirirts about the place just now! Get everyone going, just say you want it and we will be on the journey with you just like we always was!! Bill do what is right for all our sakes!

  11. Thomas Tuchel is the right candidate for me.

    Fits everything i’d like our next manager to have.

    Experience at a top division.
    Knows how to get the best out of his players.
    Likes to play the same system we’ve been playing for years, but not afraid to mix it up when needed.
    Keeps his teams well organised.
    Works on a shoe string budget.
    From what I’ve read about him, he’s similar to Moyes, in that he just lives and breathes football and is constantly looking at ways to improve.

    • … and Germany is where the better football is being played; more than just similar to Moyes – it was where Moyes had ambitions to move to as a manager.

      We will inevitably have to polish rough diamonds and my money suugests better VFM from Germany – a marketplace less tapped into than their playing credentials deserve.

      Tuchel will know those up and coming “next big things”

      EB – Excellent …. Thanks for bothering

      Finally – Good Luck to DM – “you never know what you’ve got ’till its gone”

  12. According to the Fink Tank, only three Prem managers have been consistently “outperforming the money” over the past decade. One of them’s about to retire, one of them’s about to replace him, and the other is Allardyce…

  13. Will be interesting to see if the transfer autonomy rings true – wouldn’t be surprised if Kenwright (or whomever holds the purse strings) tries to reign the next manager in a little.

  14. I agree with Peter smith about lucien favre of monchengladbach he’s turned their fortunes around on a shoestring budget and gives young players a chance. It’s not a one of as he’s finished in a European spot for the last two years.

  15. I’m surprised no-one is mentioning Steve Clarke.
    I think he’d be a great fit.
    He had a pretty successful playing career, worked as an assistant with some quality managers and had a pretty decent 1st full season @ WBA.
    I’d forgive him for his year or so with our loveable neighbours.

  16. Good Article mate. Martinez looks nailed on. If it does not work out in a year or so I still believe he will set an a attacking system from top to bottom into the club that we have not had for quite some time.And in turn this will give us a bigger pool of coaches to attract the next coach to pick up the baton without having to start from scratch this could also attract investors which no one as mentioned. Why would you invest in a team that constantly sticks it best central midfielders up front every-week. We have no entered the managerial merry go round!

  17. I havent thought much about the replacement, havent stopped celebrating that moyes is going, the biggest bottler in our proud history. wil never forgive him for the defeat against the red shite in the semi, totally his fault,

  18. I’d like someone who’s approach centred around ball retention over solidity of formation. There are some useful ball players in the team now and with Moyes Tenure drilling that mindset in a change may bring impressive results. Bit like Wenger after George Graham.

    Excellent article, like the tactical analysis always detailed and insightful. As a regular reader (do you do request? :)) i’d appreciate a bong style appraisal of the boards performance in relation to comparative chair people. The off the cuff comments don’t do the blog, or its esteemed author, justice.

  19. Once the initial and natural reaction is overcome, I agree that Rafa Benitez, as the outstanding possible candidate, makes perfect sense. He would bring experience and a high international profile to the club. He is local, free and clearly loves our city. I doubt if this option will be seriously considered. Pity!

  20. Pingback: Roberto Martinez – Strengths and Weaknesses |

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