If there was any intention to keep David Moyes on the list of managerial options for next season (as suggested by David Gold) then it was handled in a typically ham-fisted way by his partner in crime, David Sullivan. Perhaps tact and sensibilities do not come into play when you are casting for Saturday Night Beaver but trying to attract high calibre football managers is a totally different proposition. It is no surprise that Moyes opted not to throw his hat into the ring.
Whether it is right to have parted company with Moyes will only become apparent in the longer term with the hindsight of ‘what happened next?’ He is not a particular exciting or progressive manager but then he was dropped into a less than exciting or progressive club; one that was already in crisis. He inherited a lopsided, ageing, unfit and unmotivated squad (assembled with no thought as to how they might play together) and got them successfully, if stutteringly, across the finishing line. Whether or not he was complicit in the stupidity of the January transfer window is difficult to know. What is certain is that it was an awful season but he achieved the task he was set to do.
If anyone believes that by changing manager all of the problems at the club will disappear then there glass is not merely half full it is close to overflowing. I have heard people argue that we have the nucleus of a good squad but the only way that can be said to be true is if a nucleus can be as small as three or four players. With well below average training facilities, an under-performing academy, an amateur meddler as director of football and no discernible long term strategy the club requires major surgery. What would a Guardiola or a Klopp make of it all?
Like it or not survival will continue to be the over-riding priority for the foreseeable future. The holy grail of expansive football, cup runs and exciting youth prospects looks a long way off from where we now sit. A knowledgeable and visionary manager can certainly be part of the solution but not in isolation. Investment in the squad and facilities and keeping the Chairmen locked up in the Boardroom and away from the day to day action is a must,
The leading contenders at time of writing, at least according to the bookmakers, are Fonseca, Pellegrini, Benitez, Emery and Silva. There is some debate as to whether Fonseca has already ruled himself out and there is also the fact that the same names are likely to feature on Everton’s shopping list as well. Given a straight choice I wonder which employer most would choose? Of the five names mentioned three (Pellegrini, Benitez and Silva) have the Premier League experience which, depending on which way the wind is blowing, is inexplicably raised as an essential criteria by our Board.
The problem is that any veteran of previous player transfer windows will immediately start to smell bullshit. As Crosby, Stills and Nash (and Young?) might have put it “we have all been here before”. It is a path much travelled in Gold and Sullivan’s tenure, promising high and delivering low. Stories will emerge of burning the midnight oil, working twenty four hours a day, leaving no stone unturned only to find that Newcastle won’t allow us to take Benitez on loan.
Experience suggests that one by one the targets will either sign new contracts at existing clubs or be tempted elsewhere by decisive boards with wads of cash. By then it will be the World Cup and everything is put on hold while attention is focused on the violence in Russia. Come July it will be back to pre-season training with the same squad (apart from those that have been sold) and with no new manager until the club reveal the return of Alan Pardew. Even then there will be some mug on twitter explaining that he would take him back in a heartbeat because he has passion and a nice line in T shirts. It would be miserable to go through all this and end up with another from the pragmatic manager’s stable that has given us Allardyce, Dyche, Hughes, Bruce, Pulis & Co in the past.
Perhaps cynicism is getting the better of me and that the turmoil of the past season will have been a ‘road to Damascus moment’ (without the chemical weapons) for our leadership. Maybe they have listened to the gripes of supporters and are finally prepared to act.
Personally, I would be happy with any of the above mentioned names. Whoever gets the nod deserves to be given a chance. I just hope that there is a quick resolution and not a repeat of the long drawn out transfer fiascoes that we have become so used to.