It was just another normal day in Everton’s recent history. The front-runner to become their third manager in eight months saw the graffiti on Goodison Park calling for him to go before he had even been appointed, rang up a television channel and gave a car-crash interview.
Hundreds of supporters gathered outside the statue of Dixie Dean at the ground, chorusing “sack the board.” Which, after a sit-in protest following Saturday’s home defeat to Aston Villa and banners being displayed at both Goodison Park and the Liver Building earlier in the week, added to the picture of a club in crisis.
It is a crisis of Farhad Moshiri’s making. Blaming the board can overlook the reality that the last managerial appointment chairman Bill Kenwright really made was Roberto Martinez in 2013. That many Evertonians were vociferous in their opposition when Everton — and perhaps Kenwright in particular — wanted the Spaniard back can lend itself to the suggestion that there is no appointment that could satisfy them.
If Carlo Ancelotti did, and his decision to walk out 18 months later precipitated their descent into civil war, Moshiri’s habit of alighting on unsuitable candidates seemed underlined by Vitor Pereira’s appearance on Sky Sports News.
The 53-year-old pointed out he had won titles in Portugal and Greece, which he did with Porto and Olympiakos. He said the opposition hurt but still wanted the job. Yet one lesson from Rafa Benitez’s ill-fated reign ought to be that unpopular appointments have less leeway. And when Pereira said “this criticism is not to me,” he was only half-right.
He won the Chinese Super League with Shanghai SIPG. Otherwise, his recent record is unimpressive. He was relegated from the Bundesliga with 1860 Munich and sacked by Fenerbahce. He was twice overlooked by Everton before when his reputation felt higher. He nevertheless seems to figure on every Everton shortlist.
Still more, it reflected a lack of trust in Moshiri. His judgment has proved wretched. His capacity to ignore good advice and accept bad has led Everton on a perilous journey which may end in the Championship. He listens to certain agents and has a strange fascination with Portuguese managers who often have all-powerful representatives.
He had targeted Marco Silva even before he appointed him. He is thought to like Jose Mourinho, ignoring all evidence of his decline. He wanted another Jorge Mendes client, Nuno Espirito Santo, last summer, before instead opting for Benitez. Nuno duly proved a misfit at Tottenham. Pereira’s candidature always seems to be supported by Kia Joorabchian.
One of the banners outside the Liver Building read “Kia not welcome here”. If Moshiri wants to regain credibility with Everton fans, he could do with listening and abandoning all contact with Joorabchian: deals involving the super-agent always tend to benefit him more than the club.
He was involved in the signing of Alex Iwobi, one of the worst transfers in Everton’s history, which no one else at Goodison Park had seemed to want. He appears to have pushed the case of Fabio Cannavaro, the strangest name in contention.
Pereira would not start with the benefit of the doubt. His repeated mentions of Kenwright in his Sky interview seemed an unconvincing attempt to deflect attention from Moshiri and he would be Moshiri’s choice.
While the owner, having parted company with director of football Marcel Brands when Benitez increased his power base, lacks the kind of figure who ought to make an appointment, it should be clear the next manager has to be untainted. That could mean Frank Lampard — the graffiti read “Pereira out, Lampard in” — because it should be evident many Evertonians have already delivered a vote of no confidence in both Pereira and Moshiri.