TIME TO SHINE

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The new era at Everton under Marco Silva and Marcel Brands has begun. As this is being written it is two weeks into pre-season. A week at Finch Farm has been followed by a weeks training camp in the Austrian Alps finishing with a bizarre 22-0 win against Austrian 5th tier outfit ATV Irdning. But more importantly this pre-season represents a massive opportunity or turning point for many of the young players who were part of the Title winning Under 23’s team of 2016-17 (Dowell, Robinson, Williams, Connolly). This opportunity is also there for the young players such as Adeloma Lookman, Nicola Vlasic and Dominic Calvert-Lewin who have been brought into the club over the last couple of seasons.

Marco Silva as First Team Coach/Manager, is a person not afraid to blood young talent. Marcel Brands as Sporting Director has a track record of spotting young talent and has made it clear that the Club aim is to promote youth. A golden opportunity is in front of Everton’s young talent to really impress during the pre season and so cement a place in the first team squad for the up and coming 2018-19 campaign.

With Everton seemingly in the market for a left sided winger and short up front Lookman, Vlasic and Calvert-Lewin can help alleviate this part of the equation. Ademola Lookman had fleeting first team opportunities last season before taking his career into his own hands by rejecting Everton’s, (or was that Allardyce’s), preferred option of a loan move to Derby County Instead he chose to move in January to RB Leipzig for six months. Goals and assists followed his six month Bundesliga adventure, with Leipzig making it known they would like to sign Lookman permanently.

Similarly Nicola Vlasic was given some early season games showing promising form before being bombed out of the first team squad as the chaos of the season ensued. Both Lookman and Vlasic have the chance to claim a wide berth this season especially on the left wing were Bolasie and the returning Mirallas are very vulnerable (and should be moved on in my view). Both have the versatility to also put pressure on Walcott for the right wing spot. Interestingly Vlasic has shown he can play further inside in his fleeting appearances for the Blues, while Lookman has played behind the striker at times for England’s Under 21’s and also fulfilled this role a few times for Leipzig, very impressively in a game at Mainz which Leipzig actually lost. Silva as a coach likes to play with wingers who can also play inside when the fullbacks push high up the pitch, Richarlison is an example of this in Siva’s tenure at Watford. Both Lookman and Vlasic can fulfill this role and both showed glimpses of this in the ATV Irdning kick about. An opportunity for both players is clearly in grasping reach and it is hoped, and I expect, both will take it in pre season.

Calvert-Lewin is in a different position in as far he was a first team player throughout the whole of last season with an ankle injury curtailing the final few weeks of what was a full season for the young striker. At 21 Calvert-Lewin ploughed a furrow by himself up front for long periods last season as well as being played out on the right and even on the left at Brighton away, not to mention the unfathomable right wing back position in the opening game of last season against Stoke City. This pre season is the chance for Calvert-Lewin to kick on, and show the experience he gained from last season. If he can add goals to his game maybe a viable 2nd striker option for the forthcoming season can be achieved.

When we come to midfield three of Everton’s loan rangers have a chance to make a mark this season. The name which all Evertonians know best in this department is the talented left footer Kieran Dowell. Dowell made his first team debut for the blues in the last game of the 2015-16 season aged 18. A prodigious talent with a fantastic left foot Dowell has scored great goals both at under 23 level, playing in friendlies for Everton, and for Nottingham Forest in the first half of last season while on a season long loan. Dowell’s form fell away in the 2nd half of the season but this can partly be put down to the upheavals at Forest with the sacking of Manager Mark Warburton and the more conservative style of new Manager Aitor Karanka under whom Dowell found himself mainly on the bench. The season long loan at Forest will have been a good learning curve for Dowell who looked good for England in the Summer Toulon Tournament. He has goals in him and can be a creative player for the Blues in midfield this season. It is now down to Dowell to grasp the opportunity.

Calumn Connolly stood out for a very average Ipswich Town team playing in a defensive midfield role and ended up with 35 apperances in his season long loan. He also performed well for the England at this Summers Toulon Tournement, scoring in the semi final win over Scotland. Connolly has even made one substitute apperance for the first team replaceing Seamus Coleman against Southampton in April 2016. Although now playing in midfield Connolly is a very versitile player who can play anywhere along the back line.

Like Conolly and Dowell, Joe Williams was part of the 2016-17 Under 21’s title team. Last year he had a good season on loan at relegated Barnsley in the Championship playing 34 games with Barnsley actually trying to sign him permanantley. According to the Liverpool Echo Williams has impressed in the first week of pre-season although an injury prevented him travelling for the week in Austria.

Finally in defence we have the ever improving Antonee Robinson who I consider was just as good at left back as Jonjo Kenny was at right back in the Under 23’s title winning season. Robinson was in the Championship at Bolton Wanders on loan for the whole of last season making 34 appearances and also becoming a USA international to boot, he now has three caps to his name including a good showing in the Usa’s friendly against world cup Winners France in June. It is clear that the blues want to recriut a left back in this transfer window but Robinson is an option in this position and has a great opportunity to impress this pre season.

Three more players can be mentioned here Jonjo Kenny and Tom Davies who were stalwarts of the Under 23’s title winning team and Benni Baningimme who has come through the Under 18’s and the Under 23’s last season. Davis and Kenny have clearly broken through to become members of the first team squad while the even younger Baningimme broke through last season and will also proabably be around the first team this season. These three along with Calvert-Lewin are examples for the other discuused players to look up to and emulate. The opportuntity is there for some of the crop of young players whose names have been on Evertonian lips for the last 18-24 months to shine this pre season and crasp the opportunity to become first team squad members in the new Silva/Brands era. The question now is will any of them grasp it ?

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ARGENTINA: THE TROUBLE WITH A ONE TRICK PONY

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As Argentina hover on the brink of elimination at the 2018 World Cup following the shambolic 3-0 defeat to Croatia what are the problems with this team?

For a number of years now Argentina have relied on the firepower of Messi, Aguero, Higuain and Di Maria up front. It was this front line, which they relied on to get them out of all troubles, especially Messi when quite often the other three weren’t scoring. Argentina have been in the last two Copa America finals and the last World Cup final so who could argue anything was wrong? Although one can point out that all these finals were lost. What has been overlooked during this period of losing finals is that with all this firepower other areas of the team have been ignored. Argentina have lacked any real world class Centre Backs for a number of years as well as a good goalkeeper and creative midfielder. Instead they opt for players such as Mascherano an aging destroyer. The closest they have to a creative midfielder is Eva Banaga (good on his day) who never seems to get a run of games. The production line of creative midfielders and especially good defenders seems to have dried up as all the focus switched to the top end of the pitch. So as the years have gone by Argentina has relied on a now aging forward line. A dereliction of duty has occurred concerning other parts of the team. Sooner or later the deficiencies and imbalances in the team were bound to catch them out. By the time the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign came around these problems had certainly caught up with them.

The 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign was a shambles with the much vaunted front line misfiring. Argentina actually only scored 19 goals in their 18 South American qualifying games. When one considers that three of these goals came with a Messi hat trick in the last game of the qualifiers away in Ecuador, when Argentina needed to win just to make it to Russia, the fiasco of the qualifying campaign stands out more clearly. Argentina actually went through three Managers during the campaign, ending up with the Bielsa acolyte Jorge Sampoali.

Sampaoli is a disciple of the high press. His teams press the opposition high up the pitch causing overloads in the oppositions half. When this works it produces exciting fast attacking play. Sampoali’s Chile side were a great advocate of this style of play. His Sevilla side on occasions could also play some wonderful attacking football. Which brings us back to the point of this article. Sampaoli is a One Trick Pony, as many followers of the high priest of the high press Bielsa are (Maurizio Sarri anyone). Sampoali has one idea and one way of playing. When his way of playing does not work, or he does not have the personnel, as with this current Argentina team, to make it work he is clueless. He has no answers or other way of playing. Clearly this Argentina team is not equipped to play the Sampoali way. There is no creativity in midfield, so even if the ball is won back they lack anyone to make an incisive pass. The Centre Backs and midfield all in general are not good enough and all lack pace. When they are further up the field they are caught out by pace every time. Meanwhile when all is said and done Di Maria, Higuain etc are not the greatest at chasing back and pressing high. For Sampoali’s model to work he needs a certain type of player who can play his one route system. He also needs enough time to drill his team in his way of playing, and to get them to the peak of fitness to play his high pressing game for 90 minuets.

Since he took over as Argentina Manager Sampoali has neither had the time, (he had to get them to Russia in the final games of the qualifying campaign), or the personnel to carry out his way of playing. He has thus been in a quandary on how to play. Mainly he has gone with three at the back, with wing backs pressing high up the pitch. But following the disastrous warm up games against Nigeria and especially Spain he switched to a back four for the opening game in Russia against Iceland. Following the 1-1 draw he went back to the three at the back system for the debacle, which was Croatia. In these games without the personnel to play the Sampaoli way, Argentina were a team that lacked any structure, direction or plan. They were a shambles with the only outlet being give it to Messi and hope something will happen, an option that failed miserably.

Argentina may still qualify for the knockout stage of Russia 2018 by beating Nigeria in their final group game but the team is clearly not fit for purpose. The question has to be posed “What now for Argentina once the World Cup campaign has come to an end?” Do they stick with a Manager who is A One Trick Pony and can only play one way, I would suggest not, although given time maybe Sampaoli can get his ideas and system imprinted on the Argentine team. But it will clearly need a mass turnaround of personnel. Argentina needs to look to the future. The generation of Higuain, Aguero, Di Maria and Messi is coming to its logical conclusion. Up front the future is still bright with players such as Dybala and Icardi (If only the stubborn Sampoali had taken him to Russia). But it is in other areas of the pitch were work needs to be done. Argentina needs to start producing creative midfielders and good Centre Backs (never thought I’d ever say that), for to long they have relied on the top end of the team and Messi in particular bailing them out. A whole rethink on the way Argentina produces players is needed. They need to concentrate more on producing top class defenders and creative midfielders. Without this the malaise in the Argentinian team may continue for a while yet.

 

BENEATH THE BOARDROOM

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 New Chief Executive Denise Barrett-Baxendale has announced what is called A Leadership Team. The team, comprises nine Executive Director-level positions and will be responsible for the day-to-day operations across the Club, supporting the Club’s Board of Directors – and new Director of Football, Marcel Brands. The team will be based from July 2018 at the Club’s new Head Office at the Royal Liver Building. A full list of the new Leadership team can be found at http://www.evertonfc.com/news/2018/06/13/executive-team

The Club now has a new Manager/Head Coach, new Director of Football, new Chief Executive and a Board with two Directors having defined responsibilities. Added to this is now a group of Executive Directors working below the Boardroom and supporting the Boardroom and Director of Football.

Some of the new positions of the Leadership Team seem clear in what the incumbent will be responsible for. For example Grant Ingles (Finance Director) and Alan McTavish (Commercial Director). These two, will according to the Club statement

“Form part of the new Commercial and Finance team structure headed by Board Member Sasha Ryazantsev, who recently took on the role of Chief Finance and Commercial Officer.”

Thus we now have a team now working on Commercial and Finance under Board Member Sasha Ryazantsev.

The Club statement also says

“Joel Waldron becomes the Club’s Academy Director. He has been with Everton in a full-time capacity since 2011. Joel will oversee the Academy operations at USM Finch Farm in an expanded role from his current position of Academy Manager.”

 

Clearly Joel Waldron will be working under Marcel Brands, with his objective of building up and restructuring the Academy to promote more youth for the first team. Also working alongside Marcel Brands and Joel Waldron and supporting this new Leadership Team will be Richard Battle who has moved up from Head of Academy Performance to the role of Head of Football Strategy. The statement says that his role will be supporting Marcel Brands in

“Embedding the Director of Football’s philosophy across all aspects of the Club’s football activities. “.

The Club statement also says there is still one position to be filled that of Stadium Development Manager and recruitment to this position is underway. From the title of this position this sounds a very important position concerning Bramley Moore. Presumably the person who gets this post will be working closely with Keith Harris the Board Member with responsibility for progressing the Bramley Moore project.

In the coming weeks we may get more of an insight in how this Leadership Team will actually function and a bit more meat on the bone about what each member will actually be doing. But one thing seems obvious, a new wind is not just blowing through the football side of the Club but also the off field side. A new Chief Executive, Board Members with specific responsibilities and a team working and supporting them. After two years of dragging our feet the Club seems to be setting up a better Boardroom and off field structure to compliment the great strides, which we have made, on the footballing side over the last few weeks with the appointment of Marco Silva and Marcel Brands

In my own opinion the next step would be to make Marcel Brands as Director of Football a Board Member. But it does seem the Club, (hopefully more information on the Leadership team will follow in the coming weeks), has taken another step in the right direction.

THE CULL

 

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The day after the joint press conference of Manager Marco Silva and Director of Football Marcel Brands, our new Director of Football confirmed that Everton were looking to move on 12 players. The new management duo wanted to cut down the bloated squad of 38 first team players. This was music to my ears as the squad we have at the moment is imbalanced, to big and not fit for purpose. In my opinion more than 12 players need to go and the sooner this process begins the better. Below in alphabetical order I give my take on who should be part of this cull. It contains more than 12 players, as we need a total fresh start at the Club. While it would be a hard task to get all the players I have listed out of the club in one Summer, I think that if it was possible all the below need to be shipped out.

Mo Besic

Loaned out to Championship side Middlesborough in January were he proved a success. With Gana and the emergence of Baningimme there is no place for him at the Club. Hopefully a deal can be done with Boro to sign him permanently.

Yannick Bolasie

Bought from Crystal Palace for an extortionate £25 million rising to £28 million, a mistake from day one and a player I would never have touched. A hit and miss winger whose scoring record was appalling. A bad injury in December 2016 saw him out for a whole year and he has come back a shadow of the average player he was. Time to get shut.

Tyias Browning

Browning played well in a few first team games in Martinez’s 2nd season, including a 1-1 draw at Anfield. But injury has blighted his career both at everton and even when out on loan. Spent last season on loan at Sunderland, who were relegated to League One. Clearly not good enougth for Everton he should be moved on as he can make a good career for himself proably at championship level.

Callum Connolly

Like Antonee Robinson at Boloton Wanderers he went under the radar while on loan at Ipswich Town in the Championship, due to all the hype around the talented Kieran Dowell at Nottingham Forest. Connolly stood out for a very average Ipswich team playing in a defensive midfield role and ended up with 35 apperances. He was part of the Everton crop of young talent that won the Under 21 World cup with England. He has also performed well for the England Under 21’s at this years Toulon Tournement, scoring in the semi final win over Scotland. Connolly has even made one substitute apperance for the first team replaceing Seamus Coleman against Southampton in April 2016. Connolly can play anywhere along the back line, but I think he has missed his chance at Everton. He has been overtaken at both full back spots in my eyes by Jonjo Kenney and Antonee Robison. The emergence of Benni Baningimme means there is no spot for him as a defensive midfielder. Although not averse to Silva and Brands running the rule over him, I think the best option for both Connolly and the Club is to move him on.

Ramiro Funes Mori

Goes on walk about to often and throws himself rashly into challenges. Maybe Silva could get something out of him, but he is making noises about moving to the Mexican League. If we get a good offer for him then it would make sense to cash in.

Brendan Galloway

It all seemed so bright for Galloway when he got the nod over Luke Garbutt playing for us in the last game of the 2014-15 season at West Ham. He played a number of games the following season and seemed to be progressing well. Then came the disaster of a season long loan to West Brom were he could not get into the team. Since then Galloway’s career has spiralled downwards. Shipped out last term on a season long loan to Sunderland, who were relegated to League one, he could not even make the match day squad for most of his time at the Stadium of Light. Clearly he has no future at the Club.

Luke Garbutt

Now 24 years old, left back Garbutt could not get into the first team even when Cuco Martina was holding down the spot last season. With the evident emergence of Antonee Robinson, (back from a season on loan at Bolton Wanderers and three caps for the USA), his chance of first team football has fallen even futher down the pecking order. It is never going to happen for Garbutt and time for him to move on.

 Davy Klasson

£23.6 million paid for a player whom the Premier League just seems to physical and fast for. Even in the debacle of the Europa League campaign, were one would think he would be more suited, when he played he was still invisible. Yet many Evertonians have this non sensical view that he should be persevered with. No one doubts his great attitUde but the Premier League is not for him. A massive transfer mistake we should just admit it, take the hit and sell him for what we can get.

Cuco Martina

A right back who was nowhere near the Southampton team when he signed on a free as a Koeman crony. Martina is a not very good right back, Championship level at best, who to give him his due did sterling work as a stand in left back for most of last season. Clearly not up to Premier League standards.

Kevin Mirallas

Throughout his Everton career for every great game there were then 5 or 6 were he would go missing. Then there is the question of his attitude. The alleged training ground bust up along with Morgan Schneiderlin was the last straw, along with Olympiacos shin pads, taking the ball away from Baines and missing the penalty against West Brom to name just some. Loaned to Olympiacos in January his time there was a total flop with Olympiacos washing their hands of him. The new contract he got at the end of last season was ludicrous. The quicker we can move him on the better, but with the money he is on who will take him?

Oumar Niasse

With what he had to put up with under Koeman and the way he has knuckled down and become a bit of a cult hero at Goodison it pains me to say it but Niasse is just not good enougth. Sometimes my mind boggles at how bad his first touch is. At best he can be good as an impact sub. Marco Silva actually got a tune out of him when he signed him on loan at Hull City. So maybe he will have a reprieve and some sort of future at Goodison Park. But the ultimate question is, is he good enougth? The answer is a big fat no. There would be a number of Clubs definitely interested in taking him, so lets get a deal done and say bye bye Oumar and thanks for the memories.

Matthew Penington

Sent out on loan to Leeds United last season. Penington had some first team apperances the year before but can any one say he impressed when he has played for the first team? Morgan Feeney in my opinion looks a better prospect for first team opportunities in the future . Penington can make a good career for himself at Championship level and should be sold

Sandro Ramirez

Like Davy Klaason it has just never happened for Sandro and he found it hard to get to grips with the pace and physicality of the Premier Legue, but at under £6 million he was worth a punt. Shipped out to Seviile on loan in Janauary, he said he would like to stay there. But Seville have said they will not be taking up an option to buy. His wages and not stellar form probably making up Seville’s mind. Can Silva get a tune out of him, I doubt it, he just can’t hack it in the Ptremier League.

Wayne Rooney

Silva and Brands had the opportunity to say at their joint press conference that he still had a future at the Club. Thankfully both swiftly dodged that bullet. He may have come on a free but with wages of £150,000 a week, not so free. Rooney at 32 was essentially a United cast off which the club took in. When we look at his season, what did we get? An initial bounce from rejoining his hometown club with goals against Stoke City and Manchester City. But apart from this what else did he provide? One admittedly man of the match performance against a dreadful West Ham United and a penalty at Anfield. Post Christmas his form was awful, slow paced and on many occasions giving the ball away with a ridiculous “Hollywood pass.” Basically we paid £150,000 just to sell a few shirts. A disaster from start to finish. The quicker his move to DC United happens the better.

Morgan Schneiderlin

Schneiderlin came in from Manchester United in the 2017 January window for what I consider a very over priced £27 million. Initially a hit, his form tailed off drastically at the end of the season. For the whole of last season his form was dreadful to put it lightly. The alleged incident along with Kevin Mirallas at Finch Farm also did him no favours with the fan base. His form picked up markedly in the final few weeks of the season, mainly as his latest utterances show because he wants to get out of the Club. A player who is over rated and with a bad attitude.

Maarten Stekelenburg

Stekelenburg is 35 years old and was out for most of last season with injury. Nowhere near good enough as a back up goalkeeper and a relic of the failed Koeman experiment.

Shani Tarshaj

Most evertonians will have forgot all about this little gem. Signed under Martinez as a supposed hot young prospect his move has been a total failure. Contracted until 2020 but should be moved on as quickly as possible

Theo Walcott

This may raise eyebrows, as most Evertonians seem to think he had a good season after being signed in January. Yes he had a few good games and scored some goals. He also went missing on other occasions. At 28 his game will never get any better. In essence he really has not kicked on from when he first burst onto the scene as a teenager. His game intelligence is lacking and if he stays we will see him regress to his norm, just as Schneiderlin did after his bright start at the Club. He is not the future for Everton and should be sold.

Ashley Williams

Williams was bought for around £11million from Swansea City in the summer of 2016. Williams was a player beginning the twilight part of his career and was in decline, even with his good performances for Wales at Euro 2016. Since joining the Club he had an average, at best, first season and was an absolute disgrace last season in both performances and attitude. Now 33 time to get rid as quickly as possible.

Joe Williams

Part of the title winning Under 21’s team in 2016-17. Last year had a good season on loan at relegated Barnsley in the Championship playing 34 games. But ultimatley I don’t think he has enougth to make the grade at Everton. Hopefully a deal can be done for a permanent move to Barnsley.

Three other players who would have been on this list are Connor Grant but he has moved to Plymouth Argyle at the time of writing plus Joel Robles and David Henan. Robles and Henan’s contracts are up at the end of June and both are being released by the Club.

The Maybe

Michael Keane

To think we were considering making a bid for either Harry Maguire or Michael Keane last summer. In the end Leicester City paid Hull City £17 million for Maguire while we bought Keane from Burnley for £25 rising to £30 million. Easy to see who got the bargain there. England international Keane, (well out of the international picture now, Maguire has that spot), had a very indifferent season and has not looked anywhere near the player he was at Burnley, and nowhere near a £25-£30 million player. Incredibly slow on the turn, Lukaku showed that at Goodison before we signed him. It was best shown up again ironically away at Burnley last season. Without the well drilled structure of the Burnley defence he was a fish out of water in the appalling car crash which was our defence last season. At 24 there is time for him and I am not averse to giving him another season under Silva, but if we sell him I don’t think it would be a great loss.

With a few new additions, and if all the above are released from the Club we would have a much leaner and manageable squad. All this of course won’t happen especially in one Summer but the overwhelming cry must be:

                                                 “LET THE CULL BEGIN.”

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A GAME OF PATIENCE

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The new era at Goodison Park has well and truly started with the joint press conference held at Finch Farm on 4 June by Manager/Head Coach Marco Silva and Director of Football Marcel Brands. As this shiny new future starts to come into view all Evertonians must be ready for some pitfalls on the way, some stormy seas and rocky moments. When we hit those choppy waters (in a perfect world I hope it never happens), then it will be time for all Evertonians to stand firm together.

Lets look at what our new Management duo have to do.

The First Team Squad

First thing is to assess the totally bloated and imbalanced first team squad, which is not fit for purpose. Marco Silva made it plain at the press conference that he will be sitting down with Brands in the coming days to do this. We don’t just have some dead wood in the squad we have a whole dead forest. There are so many players who are past there best, not good enough or simply been caught up by father time. The list is a long one Rooney, Mirallas, Williams, Besic, Bolasie, Robles, Stekelenburg, Martina, Schneiderlin Niasse etc, it goes on and on. How many of these players have a future at the club, I doubt many will. But until they have been assessed by Silva and Brands then who knows? Marco Silva is known as a man manager who gets players to buy into his ideas and structure. You only have to look at his time at Hull City to see he can get a tune out of some very average players, Niasse obviously springs to mind. So will any of our dead wood have a future at Goodison, I doubt it, but we will have to wait and see.

Signings

Next comes signings. Besides outgoings we all know that the squad needs strengthening and fresh blood brought in. One and possibly two centre backs, another striker and a creative midfielder. left back also (although there are high hopes for Antonee Robinson). But again this is a wait and see. As Silva and Brands plot the way forward they may see some positions more important to strengthen than others in the way they want the team to set up and play.

 

Loanees

We have a number of loanees who will be coming back to the club and will also need to be assessed and given a chance in pre season. Antonee Robinson I certainly think has a great chance of being around the first team in the new season. We also have the enigma of Kieran Dowell, will he kick on with a new Manager at the Club?

Academy

As we set out on this new road part of the plan is to promote and bring through youth from the Academy, (something which we have quite a good record in, as it is). Marcel Brands will be taking the lead in totally restructuring the whole playing style of the club from youth up to first team. This is no quick fix and will take some time before the whole structure is working properly. As above the Under 23’s most certainly will need to be assessed to see if any of the current crop of players may have a role in the first tem in the coming season.

When we add the Boardroom changes to the mix, a new Chief Executive in Denise Barrett-Baxendale and new responsibilities for Keith Harris and Sasha Ryazantsev, this is a momentous summer of change at the Club.

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We now have the European Continental structure at the Club with a Director of Football responsible for the vision and playing style of not just the first team but all ages at the club from the youngest up to first team. A Director of Football responsible for identifying transfer targets in conjunction with the Manager, who can fit into the playing style and structure at the club. Besides this we have Marco Silva a progressive Manager/Head Coach who will work with the players to produce what we all hope will be a winning team. As Marcel Brands said when joining the Club “It will take more than one summer” for the whole new structure at the club to be consolidated into a fully functioning machine.

 

So Evertonians will have to be patient as the new era dawns. It will take a while for Silva to get his ideas, playing strategy and tactics embedded into what will be a changing team. It will also take time for the new structures at the Club to fully start operating smoothly. So if we have a bad run of results in the early part of this new era all Evertonians will need to stick together and continue to give full support to the manger and the team. The future is looking bright, it just may take some time to get there and there may be a few bumps in the road. So if we don’t hit the ground running don’t panic a bit of patience will see us reap the rewards.

SEVEN MONTHS DOWN THE LINE

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It has taken seven months for Everton to finally get their man. Following the failed approach to Watford for Marco Silva in November and the dreadful hiatus of the nightmare of Sam Allardyce, Silva has finally been appointed Club Manager/Head Coach on a three year contract. With the ditching of Steve Walsh and the appointment of Marcel Brands as Director of Football the Club now has a proper Director of Football and Manager/Head Coach duo in place after two disastrous wasted years of unsuited people in the posts.

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Brands on being unveiled as the new Director of Football said that what was needed was a “young progressive Manager who could work with young players”. Step up Marco Silva a man who has worked under Directors of Football with success. First at Sporting Lisbon wining the Portuguese Cup and coming third in the League in his one season at the Club before being sacked to make way for Jorge Jesus. (Not because he would not wear the club suit at the cup final !!!!!). Second at Olympiacos were he won the league in his one season at the club. Before Sporting and Olympiacos in his first coaching role, Silva brought the Portuguese club Estoril up into the Primeira Liga and then took them into the Europa League.

Critics who bring up Silva’s record in the Premier League at Hull City and Watford, claiming it is not very good and he has not done anything, except get a team relegated, are totally missing the point. At Hull City Silva took over a basket case of a club half way through a season in January, a club who were doomed and heading for the Championship. In half a season with a team of misfits he turned the season round and very nearly kept Hull up with them only being relegated on the last day of the season.

At Watford we saw a real style of play, which Silva can get out of a team. Watford played some exhilarating football at the start of last season. It fell apart once Everton came calling, and Silva, without stating it outright, was making it clear he was interested in joining Everton. As Watford’s’ form collapsed, they blamed Everton for turning his head and he got the bullet. Although I agree this loss of form at Watford could be seen as worrying, it was under very special circumstances with rumours that a number of players downed tools once they had learnt he was interested in at least talking to Everton. With the club owned by the hire them and fire them Pozzi family, once a bad run of results ensued it is always likely that the Manager at Watford, whoever they may be, will get the sack. So in real terms Silva’s time at Hull City was a relative success and there were very special conditions concerning his short tenure at Watford

What we have in Marco Silva is a Manager who knows he now has to stick at the next club he is at. A Manager who is progressive and forward thinking and who can work with a Director of Football. Moreover Silva quite often uses the 4-2-3-1 formation, which has been Everton’s staple diet for a number of seasons. But under Silva the 4-2-3-1 quickly morphs into a 4-1-4-1 with one of the defensive midfielders pushing further up field when they see the opportunity, as he teams are built on quick counter attacking. Silva has also employed a three at the back system with the full/wing backs pushing up and overlapping the wingers, or with the wingers pushing further in field swiftly forming a 3-4-3 formation, leaving room for the full/wing backs to be effectively wingers. All the above shows that he is a very tactically adept Manager.

Many people say that Silva likes to play a pressing game, which as we all know Everton are not use to. But this is not the whole picture. Silva in effect plays a half pressing game. He is no acolyte of Guardiola, or the other one across the park. His teams do not go out to win the ball back as quickly as possible when you are not in possession of it. Yes Silva likes to press and have lots of energy in the team, but his teams employ a more half press, picking there time for when they press. Silva is about structure and shape were the team never loses its shape and only presses when it feels the time is right, but always with the idea of keeping its shape for the quick counter attack

So we have a flexible innovative Manager/Coach who has a point to prove and who has been on our radar in reality since he left Hull City. A man who is a training pitch Manager/Coach ready to ensure that his team is tactically ready for every game. A Man who can use a number of different formations depending on the opposition. A man who is not afraid to play young players as can be seen from his use of Richarlison, Chalobah and Will Hughes at Watford. A Manager/Coach who is ready to work to improve players. As new director of football Marcel Brands put it on Silva’s appointment

“One of the most important things is that he’s a guy who wants to play attractive, attacking football and also wants to work in the structure we have at Everton. He’s a guy who has proved already that he wants to work with young players, make them better and he has performed very well with the teams he’s worked with. He will be a very good manager for Everton”.

In the same interview Brands goes on to say that Silva is a deep thinker on the game(See the Liverpool Echo 31 May 2018 https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/sport/football/transfer-news/key-reasons-marco-silva-identified-14729037 )

In essence with have a very modern progressive and deep thinking Manager/Head Coach now working in tandem with a successful Director of Football.

It maybe seven months later than it should have been, but we have now got our man. It may be two years late but we now have got the management structure we want at the Club. Finally things are starting to look up. As they say every cloud has a Silva lining.

Marcooo

SETTING OUT HIS BRAND (And Fixing The Structure After Two Wasted Years)

BRANDING

 

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New Director of Football Marcel Brands officially takes up his post on 1 June, the same day as the Board Room changes come into effect. (See The Boardroom Shuffle.   https://wordpress.com/post/bagfulloftoffees737918539.wordpress.com/88 )

But even before he officially takes up his post at Everton he has given an interview to the Club were he says that he is involved in quickly identifying the right candidate for the vacant Manager post. As the new Director of Football at the Club this is imperative and good to hear. The new Manager’s working relationship with the Director of Football will be key going forward. Some of the other things, which he said in the interview, point to the Club now at last going in the right direction. His comments also highlight were the Club has been going wrong since the sacking of Roberto Martinez.

(The interview can be heard by following the link below).

http://www.evertonfc.com/news/2018/05/23/brands

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In the interview Brands talks about getting “The structure right at the Club”. This will include developing young players from the Academy. He also says the new Manager will have to be a “progressive Manager who can work with Young Players”. Another stand out statement from the interview is when he says that the Club should not only do things for the “Short Term” but should put in place the right structure at the Club for “The Long Term,” and he will be leading on this. This sounds exactly what the club needs and steers it onto the right footballing path. But it has to be said that this structure, policy and direction, should have taken place two seasons ago when Roberto Martinez was given the bullet. It implies that in reality the Club has over the last two seasons been doing things more for the short term rather than the long term.

Following the sacking of Roberto Martinez the Club said it was moving in a new direction with a Manager and a Director of Football. But when this was first announced there seemed to have been no thought how this would new managerial model at the Club would work. It was widely reported that the Club wanted to recruit Sevilla guru Monchi but he rocked up at Roma. Instead we ended up with Ronald Koeman and Steve Walsh, two men just thrown together, who it seemed, would magically produce results. This was never likely to happen.

Walsh was out of his depth as Director of Football, he also was not given any direction or brief about what he was supposed to do in the role. In effect he was just a glorified scout. Koeman on the other hand was a Manager in a hurry. He saw Everton as a three year stepping stone in his deluded idea that he would become Barcelona Manager. So working with young players and building up the Academy was never going to be on his radar. The working relationship between Koeman and Walsh was a frosty one with each man identifying players separately and the Club signing them. There was no set policy of how the team should play from Walsh (it is questionable if he was ever given this brief as part of his role as Director of Football). Walsh and Koeman in essence were operating independently.

Following Koeman’s sacking we got the panic appointment of the old percentage football dinosaur Sam Allardyce, a man who only wants players of a certain age and experience. Again this is a million miles away from the Director of Football and Manager model, and light years away from what Brands has set out in his first interview for the Club.

In conclusion we have had two wasted years were the plan for a Manager and Director of Football was hatched without any clear idea of who to bring in to carry this new dawn to fruition. Hence the disasters of Koeman, Walsh and Allardyce. We are in essence at year zero and starting again. We now have a man in place who has a track record as a Director of Football and whose aim is to restructure the whole Club, academy, scouting and playing style. He will be involved in bringing in a Manager who can work in this system. Marcel Brands has certainly put is brand out for all to see, and it looks positive. After an abortive two years we finally seem to be going in the right direction and getting the proper structure in place at the Club for the Director of Football and Manager model to work.