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Sam Allardyce has done his job at Everton, he’s steered the club away from relegation with most of his early positive results contributing to that. The Toffees sit 9th in the table, albeit short of the 40 point mark which is usually required to avoid the drop officially.
Allardyce’s time at Goodison Park has been a complete juxtaposition to his recent triumphs at the foot of the table, usually he takes over a club in disarray, makes a slow start whilst he organises the defence and then turns things around just in time to save the team from the drop.
With his fine start to life on Merseyside, the club have already reached their aim, he has steadied the ship and now the quality of the players in his squad has managed to get themselves out of trouble. This is a problem for the former England national coach, with safety assured the lack of flair in his football is become evident and the fans aren’t happy.
When Everton have slipped to defeat under Allardyce it has often been ugly, their performance at the Emirates Stadium was one of the weakest in recent memory, Saturday’s defeat to Watford also highlighted a sheer lack of enjoyment and direction in Everton’s football.
Supporters don’t want Allardyce to stay past the end of this season, some even want him to leave now with safety all but secured. It was a strange appointment at the time because for all the trouble Everton were in, the individual quality in their squad was always likely to see them rise up the table.
Now, with Europa League qualification a possibility, the club has a decision to make ahead of the 2018/19 season. If the English coach is kept on there could be public outcry from supporters, furthermore two of the coaches Farhad Moshiri identified as potential candidates when Ronald Koeman was dismissed are now more gettable.
Marco Silva has since been sacked from his post at Watford, whilst Paulo Fonseca is likely to be looking to move on once Shakhtar Donetsk’s Champions League campaign comes to a close.
You always felt as if the Blues’ hierarchy were panicked into hiring the former Bolton Wanderers manager. It took them one month and six days after dismissing the Dutch coach to finally make an appointment, in the meantime David Unsworth struggled to get consistency as caretaker boss.
With approaches for both Silva and Fonseca unsuccessful, there is also a suggestion the Merseyside club made brief overtures to Thomas Tuchel, Allardyce arrived on an incredible contract due to run until the end of the 2018/19 season.
It’s difficult to imagine the direction Everton will go in if he remains in the job. They will be forced to give him money to spend in the summer, yet seldom do signings Allardyce makes then prove to be a fit for the next manager. Given Moshiri’s vast wealth, as well as the potential interest in the club from Alisher Usmanov, Everton don’t expect to be stuck in this mid-table rut for long.
They hope to be Champions League regulars, and this will not happen with the current brand of Allardyce football, it’s too risk averse and the players aren’t capable of dedicating themselves to it in the way his previous clubs have been willing to.
Bringing in players who are capable of playing in such a way will require another sizable turnover of personnel.
Now whether or not many of the signings of the Steve Walsh era deserve to stay at Everton is a different issue, but bringing in a whole raft of Allardyce signings could prove problematic a year down the line. You have to remember that the 63-year-old left Crystal Palace to retire in May 2017, he doesn’t see his managerial career lasting much longer.
Everton has the opportunity for a fresh start here, dispensing with the English coach will be a popular move amongst fans, it will be good PR, especially if it turns out there was always a break clause in Allardyce’s contract at the end of the season, perhaps this was agreed upon by all parties back in November.
Hiring a coach midway through a season is seldom an easy process, furthermore it’s rarely successful that campaign. Bringing in one of Silva or Fonseca at the end of the season and promising them funds to spend would be a major plus point, both coaches also have good records with improving the players they are working with.
Alternatively, an argument could be made that these two names specifically are merely in vogue, just as Koeman was following his spell with Southampton, and there could just as easily be another failure somewhere down the line. Silva’s collapse at Watford springs to mind.
The reality is that in a World Cup year, Everton need to make a decision and they need to do it quickly. If Allardyce is staying, it needs to be made clear so that supporters can get used to it. If the club are going to move in a different direction, start working behind the scenes on getting an appointment through the door as soon as the season ends.
Louis van Gaal arrived at Manchester United fresh from coaching the Netherlands at the World Cup in Brazil, the club’s summer transfer period was then scattergun, plans weren’t made in time and whilst good players were recruited, there wasn’t a pattern to the signings, it was disjointed.
Everton can’t afford to let that happen, there has been too much instability within the club in the last two years, the role of Walsh also needs to be looked at because recruitment has been poor. Moshiri has big plans for Everton, and you can’t help but feel it will be another season wasted if this matter isn’t sorted before June.
Written by Chris Winterburn
Follow Chris on Twitter @cmwinterburn
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