Koeman: Is the nomadic Dutchman ready to make his mark?

Despite being tipped as a future Barcelona or Arsenal boss, Ronald Koeman has been described as one of the most underrated managers in Europe. As he stands on the brink of replacing Roberto Martinez at Everton, is he finally ready to fulfil that rich promise at the top level?

Lyndon Lloyd 04/06/2016 89comments  |  Jump to last

It’s been more than three weeks since the curtain was mercifully brought down on Roberto Martinez’s tenure as Everton manager but while there has been plenty of fevered speculation in the media, the Goodison hotseat has remained unfilled as the club has taken stock of another miserable season and carefully assessed their options for the future.

According to increasingly well-placed reports in both the British and Dutch press, the interim period looks to have been a necessarily patient one as Farhad Moshiri and the Board have waited for Ronald Koeman to finish the season with Southampton, hold talks with the south coast club over an extension to his current contract, and take a post-season holiday to the Caribbean. Now he is on the verge of becoming Everton’s seventh “permanent” managerial appointment of the Premier League era.

In the immediate aftermath of Martinez’s sacking last month, Koeman was immediately installed as the favourite to replace the Catalan following simultaneous reports in almost all of the national newspapers that he was the man that Moshiri had pin-pointed as the man to lead Everton forward.

That’s not altogether surprising given that Koeman has been mentioned frequently as a potential successor to Arsene Wenger at Arsenal, the club in which Moshiri held a stake before he bought his 49.9% position in Everton. With suggestions that the club could finally be taking positive steps towards resolving its long-standing stadium issue, perhaps with an enticing waterfront location back on the table, and the likes of Koeman and Unai Emery in the frame for the manager’s role, the Iranian-born billionaire appears to be applying the Arsenal blueprint to his new project at Goodison Park.

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Indeed, if there is any truth to the speculation that the Gunners’ hierarchy had earmarked Koeman as a potential successor to Wenger, Moshiri could be effecting quite the coup if he has tempted the Dutchman to Merseyside by selling him on the ambitious plans he has for Everton.

That Koeman is talked about in those terms — he has been mentioned as a future Barcelona manager as well, despite his challenging spell at Valencia — is testament to his standing in the game, albeit one that is based as much on his potential at the top level as it is on his stellar playing career. The Zaandam-born coach, the son and brother of fellow Netherlands internationals Martin and Erwin Koeman respectively, has already helmed eight clubs in full-time roles since retiring as a player but while he has a significant trophy haul from the Eredivisie, he has yet to taste sustained success in one of Europe’s top leagues.

As part of Johan Cruyff's "Dream Team", Koeman became a playing legend at the Nou Camp

A versatile defender as a player who came to embody a powerful combination of sweeper, deep-lying playmaker and goalscorer, Koeman made his name in his native Holland, particularly after moving from Groningen to Ajax in the mid-1980s where he won the Eredivisie title in 1985 before moving on, somewhat controversially, to rivals PSV Eindhoven the following year. That brought him three successive championships between 1987 and 1989 and a European Cup.

It was the recognition he earned there and on the international stage for the Netherlands — he was an important member of the Dutch side that won the European Championships in 1988 — that earned him a career-defining transfer to Barcelona and a reunion with Johan Cruyff. Barça’s “Dream Team” of the early 1990s would win the Spanish title four years in succession between 1991 and 1994 and the European Cup in 1992 when Koeman famously scored the only goal in extra time.

A shining example on the field, Koeman’s leadership off it was recognised by Cruyff early in his time at the Nou Camp when the manager instructed Ronald to room with a raw 19-year-old Pep Guardiola on away trips. Manchester City’s now new manager would recall the influence of one of his early mentors, describing Koeman as “one of the best players to have passed through this club. He was one of the first central defenders who was more than just a defensive player, and he was capable of playing in finals as if they were friendly matches — without nerves. He was great at getting over pressure.”

It was no surprise that Koeman moved into management not long after hanging up his playing boots and undertaking assistant manager roles under Guus Hiddink for the Dutch national team and at Barcelona under Louis van Gaal. He took his first post at Vitesse Arnhem in 1999 and led them to Uefa Cup qualification under difficult conditions before moving on to his old club Ajax in 2001.

There, he steered de Godenzonen to the Dutch title twice in three seasons and helped bring through some of that club’s — and indeed Holland’s — most recognisable players from the past decade, including Rafael van der Vaart, Wesley Sneijder, Nigel de Jong, and ex-Blue Johnny Heitinga but he resigned in 2005 with Ajax well behind PSV in the race for the title and out of the Uefa Cup.

"Koeman was very nice to work with, could be very easy-going. But you could feel his ambition. That's one of the beautiful things about football, there isn't one law, one truth. Maybe Koeman has the capacity to achieve similar things to Van Gaal, but in a different way."

David Endt, journalist and former Ajax general manager

If Koeman has developed a reputation for being somewhat nomadic, it’s largely down to the fact that, due to ambition or circumstance, his managerial history shows he hasn’t stayed in one place for longer than three seasons. His three assignments following his departure from the Amsterdam Arena, however, were particularly short-lived.

He spent just one season at Portuguese giants Benfica, leaving after managing them to a third-place finish to take up an offer to manage his former club, PSV. He won the Eredivisie title in his only season in Eindhoven but it was a championship his team almost spurned after a collapse in form in the second half of the season and, facing criticism from the club’s owner, he moved on to succeed Quique Sanchez Flores at Valencia in the summer of 2007.

It’s his chastening experience in Spain that is one of the chief cautionary examples supporters cite about Koeman in the context of the Everton job, not least because he managed to take a team from near the top of the league to 15th and was sacked just days after winning the Copa del Rey following an awful run of league form. A win percentage of just 18% in La Liga and a poor showing in the Champions League were enough to have him dismissed with the locals declaring him a disaster.

Dressing room strife, a loss of respect by Los Che’s players for Koeman’s tactics — one player complained that the manager’s preferred 4-3-3 formation had the team "running round [like] headless chickens" — and Valencia’s general off-the-field chaos (The Guardian’s Sid Lowe described the conditions as being akin to walking into a viper’s nest, where the “president and shareholders are always at war, creating tension and instability”) left him in an almost impossible position. In retrospect, it feels like a poor fit all around; Koeman’s desire to oversee a fertile youth development system couldn’t be sated at the Mestalla and the club just wasn’t stable enough, particularly for an outsider managing in Spain in his own right for the first time.

Koeman wouldn’t work for another year until he took the reins from Van Gaal at AZ Alkmaar in 2008 when the elder manager was appointed as Bayern Munich’s head coach. He was gone from AZ Stadion by December that year, however, and would spend another 18 months out of the game before completing the same hat-trick of the three big Dutch clubs as he had as a player when he was hired by Feyenoord as replacement for Mario Been.

With words that will resonate with Evertonians, he described the Rotterdam club as “a real people’s club – there’s always something going on. But it’s a club with good organisation, a talented squad and ambition. The latter is very important: I am a no-nonsense figure and completely suited to the playing style and vision of the club.”

Initially hired on a one-year contract, he ended up staying for three seasons, turning Feyenoord’s fortunes around in impressive fashion by shoring up their defence, getting them back to playing attractive football and leading them back to the Champions League in his first season. He wasn’t able to bring the title back to the club, losing out each time to Frank de Boer’s Ajax, but he announced his intention to leave in 2014 to pursue his next challenge.

That was when he answered Southampton’s call following the departure of Mauricio Pochettino who had been lured away by Tottenham Hotspur and the bright lights of the Capital that summer. However, he would find himself in charge of a squad gutted of some of it’s best players — most of their stars left for big fees for Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal — and widely tipped for a relegation battle in 2014-15.

Defying those pessimistic predictions for the Saints that season, Koeman’s impact was as impressive as it was rapid. Quickly helping to bring in talented or hard-working players like Graziano Pellè, Dušan Tadić, Shane Long and Ryan Bertrand to plug the gaps and implementing a fresh 4-3-3 line-up involving two wide players and Pellè as the target man, he had Southampton up among the early pace-setters in the Premier League within weeks of his appointment.

It was a pace they were ultimately unable to sustain but Koeman still steered them to seventh place and Europa League qualification in his first season and, despite seeing midfield linchpin Morgan Schneiderlin and fullback Nathaniel Cyne sold last summer, has just gone one better by finishing sixth, just three points off the top four. In that time, he has taken his teams to places like the Emirates, Anfield, Old Trafford and won with the kind of fearlessness that Martinez could only inspire at Goodison for a brief spell in 2013-14, while recording handsome home wins over the biggest teams in the Premier League.

Ronald’s move to St Mary’s stadium has proved to be a very good mutual fit for many of the reasons why he struggled to make his mark in those two brief spells on the Iberian Peninsula but was so successful in Holland: the northern/western European playing style, perhaps being one; a productive youth academy being another. Saints are a club renowned for a youth system that had produced gems like Gareth Bale and Theo Walcott and while the likes of more recent graduates like James Ward-Prowse aren’t yet pulling up trees at the top level, it continues to be held up as a model for other “second-tier” clubs to follow.

Ironically, it is a dip in the quality of the current produce from Southampton’s farm of youngsters that is believed to be one of the factors behind Koeman hedging over signing a new contract with the south coast club. Indeed, he wrote a column for De Telegraaf this year that pondered whether he had taken the club as far as he could without significantly greater power in the transfer market. With the Saints on a sell-to-buy footing that has seen come of their most bankable stars sold over the past two summer transfer windows, they have had to rely on their academy and targeted signings but Koeman expressed his disappointment earlier this year at the level of talent waiting in the wings at the club.

Finch Farm, on the other hand, could prove to be a gold mine for the next Everton manager if David Unsworth’s confident recent claims are an indication. The likes of Tom Davies, Kieran Dowell, Callum Connolly and Jonjoe Kenny have all demonstrated their readiness for first-team action and there is yet more up-and-coming talent from the Under-21s and Under-18 setups that haven’t yet been given their opportunity to shine at senior level.

Koeman might well be handed a significant budget by Moshiri if he does indeed become the next Everton boss but there will be plenty for him to get his teeth into in terms of youth players if that is where he likes to put much of his energy. And yet he would arrive at Finch Farm facing a significant rebuilding job on a first-team squad that could see departures in the double figures this close season.

A number of ageing or fringe players like Darron Gibson, Leon Osman, Steven Pienaar and Tony Hibbert are reaching the end of their contracts and are unlikely to be retained while others, like Aiden McGeady, will almost certainly be moved on. Then there’s the issue of Romelu Lukaku, who appears to have made up his mind to go regardless of who replaces Martinez, and John Stones who could yet be lured away by one of the so-called big four from Manchester or London.

Much of the scouting and player acquisition at Southampton has been credited to Les Reed, the Saints’ director of development, his scouting network and recruitment team and it’s the stability and success of that setup that makes some observers of that club confident that it will be able to weather any storm created by Koeman’s potential departure.

Koeman will undoubtedly have played a significant role on that team, however, as the purchase of the likes of Virgil van Dijk (a Dutch international) and Tadić and Jordie Clasie (acquired from the Eredivisie) might suggest. And while Southampton have thrived under that model, Koeman has worked in the traditional sole manager role before and would be quite capable of building his own squad without a technical director in place if need be.

"He was an amazing player who played for big clubs, so he's got this experience inside him. He can read the game and can identify a good player. But what I like about him is that he's a calm person and good with human beings."

Morgan Schneiderlin

If reports that Moshiri is planning on restructuring the management team at Everton by bringing in a director of football for the first time are true, though, that could end up being a moot point. That hire would replace the outgoing Kevin Reeves, credited with leading the scouting of signings like Ramiro Funes Mori, Brendan Galloway, Mason Holgate and Matty Foulds, and become a more permanent appointment that would oversee the academy, recruitment and overall strategy and be more impervious to the comings and goings of the head coach beneath him.

With all of Koeman’s experience and know-how, he would be an integral part of all of those processes, however, even if his attention would be more on the day-to-day coaching, tactics and team selection. Martinez’s players looked like strangers at times this past season so the introduction of the Dutch style of coaching — four-a-side drills based on rehearsal and repetition, designed to increase the number of touches players receive, moving to eight-a-side and finally full 11-a-side games once the passing interactions have become instinctive — could only be a good thing to see focused on at Finch Farm.

If there’s a balance the club now needs between the defensive pragmatism of the David Moyes era and the more reckless, attack-minded Martinez experiment, the younger Koeman brother would seem to be the closest fit. While an Emery or Pellegrini would bring Latin or southern Continental flair to Goodison Park, Koeman’s more rounded approach is probably better suited to the Premier League and, as such, he represents a safe, reliable option who could almost guarantee progress on the last two seasons. And, again, he won't ever have had the kind of transfer war chest as he stands to receive under Moshiri.

Certainly, the kind of football on which he was raised and which was implemented by the successful teams in which he played — his pedigree is similar to that of another candidate for the Blues' job, Frank de Boer — would be welcome at Everton. Founded on solid defending, Koeman likes his teams to pass and move the ball quickly and attack at pace and, as Pellè’s success shows, he isn’t averse to using a typical English- or Dutch-style, muscular centre-forward as the focal point of his attack. It looks increasingly like he won’t get to work with Lukaku if he takes the job – you'd think he would be the ideal mentor for Stones, though – but if he is able to draft in exciting players of Sadio Mané’s ilk, then there will be less reliance one striker at Goodison going forward, which can only be a good thing.

It’s not all positives, of course — no managerial candidate is without his flaws.

His management style is not suited to all tastes — Tadić has reportedly become disillusioned with what can be an authoritarian and demanding approach — but after the collective lack of discipline and focus exhibited by the Blues’ players over the final quarter of the 2015-16 season as Martinez’s rein finally collapsed, a man who can restore order and inspire confidence is exactly what is needed. He may be “a calm person and good with human beings,” as Schneiderlin once described him but he can be no-nonsense as well.

Meanwhile, when you consider how well his team has done in the league, his record in cup competition since he arrived in England leaves a lot to be desired. He was unable to take Southampton past the fourth round of the FA Cup, losing to Crystal Palace in both seasons, while the Saints were eliminated at the fifth round stage of the League Cup in 2014 and 2015, with this season’s 6-1 home defeat to Liverpool particularly alarming. In Europe, they couldn’t get past the final playoff round, falling to Midtjylland.

Ultimately, however, while he has moved around a lot as a manager, it is Koeman’s vast experience gleaned from coaching in three different leagues and having played at the very top of his profession that Everton would be acquiring. When they look at the final Premier League table from this past season and as they look ahead to the Europa League, Saints fans might not agree but Everton could represent a massive opportunity for him to finally settle into a longer-term assignment, particularly as he will be getting in on the ground floor of Moshiri’s ambitious project.

That combination of Moshiri’s resources and Koeman’s steady hand and own drive has the potential to be the catalyst that Everton Football Club has been crying out for through the frustrations of 21 trophy-less years. A proven winner as a player and manager with a demonstrable record of progress made in England, the man from Zaandam could be just the man to help return the Blues to contention among the Premier League’s elite.

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Reader Comments (89)

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Rob Vera
1 Posted 04/06/2016 at 02:50:39
An absolutely essential read on Koeman. Great work, Lyndon! I plan to share liberally.
Jamie Sweet
2 Posted 04/06/2016 at 03:03:16
Another great read thanks Lyndon.

I am guessing that you thought there wasn't much chance in us getting him by the fact it has taken until now for an in-depth article on "Big Ron"?

If he can have the same impact with us as he did at Feyenoord then he'll do for me...

"turning Feyenoord’s fortunes around in impressive fashion by shoring up their defence, getting them back to playing attractive football and leading them back to the Champions League in his first season".

I liked that bit. It sounded very good!

William Cartwright
3 Posted 04/06/2016 at 04:20:51
Good read with some great insights. I have been interested in the shift to the director of football approach and the parallel workings of the scouting set up, the youth team policy and the split work load of the general club management duties. It has proven impossible for the whole mandate to be looked after responsibly and effectively by one man. Interestingly it has been one of Everton's basic principles that the manager is solely in charge. The you get the club reflecting the personality at all levels. Not necessarily a good thing thing as Moyes and Roberto have shown.

As long as the overall management policy creates a clear control of the team by the coach, that the scouting system is allied to the teams existing needs and future growth model, that the director of football is focussed on the future direction of the club in general overview areas and the youth system as currently structured remains then we should be in good shape.

All the names in the frame, Whether Koeman, Emery, De Boer, Monchi etc., work for me and I think that Moshiri is one extremely smart gentlemen who we are lucky to have at the Club. Well done BK in that regard at least.

Underlying all the above is the importance in building for results long term and the ground move. The funding structure for the the new stadium is a massive parallel project in itself. One where the balance of location, design, program, cost investment model, social context, all need to be carefully balanced.

Times are looking good!

Dennis Ng
4 Posted 04/06/2016 at 04:36:36
This is a good appointment regardless of all the suspicion surrounding his track record. Hopefully we'll see how he and the future DoF will be set up soon and how that improves our team on and off the field.
Oscar Huglin
5 Posted 04/06/2016 at 05:35:22
Fantastic piece.
Derek Thomas
6 Posted 04/06/2016 at 06:13:22
Well put. Short version; should be OK, but you never can tell, look at it again in 'X' months, windows, seasons. Interesting times ahead.
Michael Penley
7 Posted 04/06/2016 at 07:21:35
I find it difficult to see the ambition there. He seems a lot like Martinez, easygoing and not too concerned with failure.
Marty MacDonald
8 Posted 04/06/2016 at 08:18:14
Very comprehensive article. Thanks. I'm sure most of us hoped for Emery but, to me, Koeman is the next best choice of those available. Pellegrini being too close to retirement and De Boer too much of a gamble.
Tony Abrahams
9 Posted 04/06/2016 at 08:22:49
Lyndon, I should really read this again, before I comment on such a thorough and excellent piece, but let's hope Koeman, has really learned his trade now and he's ready to use all his experience to take Everton FC forward, and back to where we belong!
Paul Tran
10 Posted 04/06/2016 at 08:36:04
Not easy going at all, Michael. I look at a lot of the Dutch media (my other half is Dutch) and he has a reputation for being quite authoritarian with his players. Before our interest, he was talking to Dutch journalists about whether Southampton could match his ambition. Certainly wasn't a shrinking violet as a player, was he?

The Dutch have this reputation for being laid back and friendly, which is true, but if things aren't to their liking, they're very quick to tell it like it is.

I think we could do with some straight talking from the dugout right now!

Joe McMahon
11 Posted 04/06/2016 at 08:41:23
Fantastic article, thanks Lyndon.

At last - after years of stagnation it looks like Everton are going in the right direction. I would be very happy with Koeman as I would have been with FDB (who may well end up at Southampton). I have been impressed by the way Southampton have coped with the losses of some very good players.

I have faith in Fahad Moshiri, he seems to know what he is doing, this appointment is no Moyes or Martinez, this is serious.....so let the Good Times Roll!

Gareth Clark
12 Posted 04/06/2016 at 08:45:46
One of the things that impressed me immensely- especially in modern footy:

When Koeman dropped Pelle, who was in scoring form, because of lack of effort / poor attitude in training.

That's how it should be!

Jon Withey
13 Posted 04/06/2016 at 08:50:12
Excellent article. Every appointment is a gamble but he would be my first choice for where we are at right now.
Neil Pickering
14 Posted 04/06/2016 at 09:00:54
Koeman is the best that we can get. I don't understand this fascination with Emery. He has absolutely no experience of managing in our league and would be a massive risk. At this time our next appointment has to be a relatively big name in Europe, to instill discipline, make us defensively sound, have a track record of improving players, and also have premier league experience. He's an absolute no brainer for me. We allegedly went for Mourinho and didn't get him; this guy is the next in line who ticks those boxes and I would be ecstatic if we got him
Tony Draper
15 Posted 04/06/2016 at 09:27:34
That's a really comprehensive piece Lyndon, with stacks of info, some intriguing insights and astute observations.
I'll be rereading that a number of times, well done and thanks.
Andy Meighan
16 Posted 04/06/2016 at 09:55:16
Brilliant article, Lyndon, and very informative. Obviously every manager has his flaws – even the attention-seeking media babe rock-n-roll Klippety Klopp. What is it now... FIVE cup final defeats in a row?

But I'm certain we've appointed the right man. It looked like it was going to be him or De Boer all along.

So hopefully he ll be in it for the long haul and get us back playing the kind of football we deserve while being hard to beat. Something that's been sadly lacking for two seasons under the previous possession-ased dross we've had to endure. Onwards and upwards now!

Nick Armitage
17 Posted 04/06/2016 at 10:06:29
I remember him dragging down David Platt when he was the last man and remonstrating with the ref that it was not a pen. Think the ref was so flummoxed by his audacity that he only got a booking. He then went on to score a peach of a free kick that effectively ended England's chance of qualification for the World Cup.

He was a great defender but also a cynical cheat. I like that type of pragmatism and it has been sadly lacking in Everton where as a professional footballer you are paid to win, not to be a doormat. There's only Cahill I can think of in recent years who had a similar mentality.

Anyway it's a done deal, welcome to Everton, his first job will be convincing Lukaku to keep his gob shut and allow the club to extract the highest price for the useless lazy knob.

Mark Tanton
18 Posted 04/06/2016 at 10:15:46
Not only should he not have been on the pitch, he hit the wall the first time and was allowed to take it again for encroachment. England played well that night and Dorigo hit the inside of the post at 0-0. Another night of heroic failure, though at least it precipitated the end of Taylor's miserable reign.
Anthony Colton
19 Posted 04/06/2016 at 10:24:01
Excellent piece, Lyndon. I have to admit to being slightly underwhelmed by Koeman's potential appointment as he has a bit of a yo-yo managerial record thus far, though no doubting the excellent job he has done at Southampton under difficult circumstances.

Allied to that, there is no doubting his playing career was that of the highest calibre and he seems well thought of within the game. If indeed he becomes our new manager I for one will back him unconditionally.


Erik Dols
20 Posted 04/06/2016 at 10:26:13
Michael Penley (7), I live on the continent and can assure you of one thing: Koeman being "not too concerned with failure" is one of the strangest things I've ever read. The man is a winner through and through, and absolutely hates losing. There is a difference between being laid-back in general and not caring about losing. Paul Tran (10) hit the nail on the head.

Slightly related: here is a picture of a young Koeman wiping his ass with the shirt of his opponent, German Oliver Thon, after the Dutch defeated them in the semis of Euro 88.


Charlie Lloyd
21 Posted 04/06/2016 at 10:45:16
Excellent piece.

Koeman is a big forward in manager to what we have installed before. He has many attributes that will enamour himself to the fans. There are a couple of things, time at Valencia and PSV missing out on the title to Ajax, that may be considered black marks but the positives outweigh the negatives.

Plus if it is true and it was always Moshiri's main target that he may get what a statement of intent.

John Daley
22 Posted 04/06/2016 at 10:53:55
Michael @7,

I don't think you can really claim Koeman has no ambition when most of his recent statements to the press regarding his Southampton future have contained explicit references to that very same thing:

"It is all about ambition. I hate to stay in a situation where there is no ambition."

Nigel Gregson
23 Posted 04/06/2016 at 11:03:11
Why is this guy being seen as a great big step forward? What exactly has he achieved other than mid-table security here? Why are people seeing him as such an improvement? Isn't his record against us two losses, a draw, and one win?

Sorry, I just don't see him as an improvement and am still hoping it doesn't happen.

John Daley
24 Posted 04/06/2016 at 11:07:43

I've been in a foul mood this morning, giving the wife the full Wendy Torrance treatment for disturbing me when I'm trying to write (well, not full treatment. I draw the line at a fireman's axe being brought into play), and generally just stomping around in a right sulk.

Your arse wiping intro has cheered me up no end.

Paul Thompson
26 Posted 04/06/2016 at 11:21:55
Excellent (as ever) piece, Lyndon.

What strikes me is that this is very good fit at this time for both parties. Everton need someone to turn around their fortunes and rebuild the senior squad, whilst having an excellent youth set-up and plans for growth and a new ground. Koeman has experience in turnarounds, but wants a club where that can be balanced by greater ambition and bigger budgets.

In this sense, the appointment may be transitional for both. Koeman can prove himself with that bigger budget by getting us into the top 6 (and hopefully a cup win), making himself sellable to Arsenal or Barcelona.

Everton can demonstrate that they are a plausible vehicle for a really top manager to take us even further. This may strike some NSNO fetishists as too modest an ambition, but I think this is where we are and I'd be happy with that.

Sam Hoare
27 Posted 04/06/2016 at 11:53:47
Personally I wanted Emery as he has won things more regularly and failed less often than Big Ron. Koeman is a big name though and less of a risk given his last two years in the Premier League. Definitely a step up and a manager we can all get behind.
Dean Peamum
28 Posted 04/06/2016 at 12:10:08
Another great article Lyndon but you didn't address an important question:

Now that Everton are 'going Dutch', do we only have to pay half his wages?

Brian Williams
29 Posted 04/06/2016 at 12:17:44
Nigel (#23),

6th isn't really mid table security, is it? 3 points off a Champions League place?

And If you're going to use the "this seaon's Premier League was shite" argument, we finished 11th in a shite season.

Let's give him a chance and slag him when/if he fails... now there's a new concept for some contributors to ToffeeWeb.

Brian Williams
30 Posted 04/06/2016 at 12:18:59
....and another thing.

Who'd have gone wild over the appointment of Ranieri before last season?

Harry Wallace
31 Posted 04/06/2016 at 12:31:54
Really great read. An another example why this is the best site for Evertonians.
Ian Pilkington
32 Posted 04/06/2016 at 12:40:42
Excellent article, Lyndon.

The London sports journalists, Sam Wallace at the Telegraph in particular, will have to come to terms with fact that Mr Moshiri has turned us into a major force again after years of stagnation.

I'm confident Ronald Koeman will prove to be an excellent choice.

James Flynn
33 Posted 04/06/2016 at 13:25:03
He'll do.

Giant step up from the last guy.

Pete Cumberlidge
34 Posted 04/06/2016 at 14:08:55
Excellent piece, Lyndon. There's a surprising amount of negatives on other threads about Koeman. A lot of support for Emery still but the messages coming out of Spain was it was unlikely and no Premier League track record (and we've just experienced Spanish management).

We missed out on Bilic; Klopp would have been good; Mourinho was never going to happen and we could have ended up with Rafa. For what managers are out there, he totally fits the bill and his mouthwatering salary is not hugely more than Moyes was on so no issue there.

If he's half the manager he was as a player, then I'll be happy. Saw him play in the flesh once for Barca. He was awesome. Bottom line is whoever you get is a risk and whilst for some it may not seem an overly adventurous appointment the risk shouldn't be great. And he clearly has pedigree.

Dave Abrahams
35 Posted 04/06/2016 at 14:19:27
I'm pleased that Everton appear to have signed Koeman and the club, at last, looks like it is moving forward.

However, there is always a dark side to the good news; now I'm already worrying about how I am going to pay for my season ticket when we move to our new stadium on the banks of the Mersey. I'll get the money somehow!!!!!!

Raymond Fox
36 Posted 04/06/2016 at 14:57:25
All we can do is give him a chance if indeed he does become our manager.

The alarm bells rang when I read about his time at Valencia, sounds mighty like the criticism Roberto received on here and elsewhere last season! He's also flitted about somewhat, but there can be various reasons for that.

At the risk of boring everyone, I repeat any manager we appoint will have a very much greater chance of being a success if top quality players are bought, not just good players and hoping to get lucky.

Damian Wilde
37 Posted 04/06/2016 at 15:03:07
Excellent poece, Lyndon.

I'm not totally thrilled by the appointment, but let's face it anything is better than Martinez...those moaning about him, fancy Bobby back??

I feel much more enthusiastic and excited now; good youth, decent new manager, new owner, etc. Could be good times.

Those who are moaning about his appointment, who do you expect a club who have just finished 11th, not won a trophy in over 20 years and have a tired old ground to get as manager? Just intetested. And if the better managers said 'no', who do you want, Moyes? Howe?

Peter Howard
38 Posted 04/06/2016 at 15:03:24
That was a great article, Lyndon, thanks for the effort.


Thanks for that picture! A pity it wasn't Klopp's shirt. Unfortunately, he was only pub-player standard.

Phil Walling
39 Posted 04/06/2016 at 15:29:32
It's rare for a managerial candidate to present a 'totally clean' CV, and as Lyndon shows here, Koeman has had his ups and downs.

However, the flawed Ranieri has proved very recently that if the chemistry between manager and players is right, there is no barrier to what can be achieved.

Unlike his immediate predecessors, Koeman had a stellar playing career so he has 'done it' as well as supervised others in pursuit of honours.That must be a plus point for Moshiri's preferred candidate.

Forever the cynic, I would urge fellow TWers not to judge the new man on the basis of his first half season as with fans' early love affair with Martinez but the portents are encouraging this time and, at the very least, there is a feeling that Moshiri's due diligence has gone a little deeper that a quick call to Peg Leg Dave !

He'll do for me!

Brian Williams
40 Posted 04/06/2016 at 15:42:39
My forecast.
Next season-top six.
Following season-top four.
Jim Hardin
41 Posted 04/06/2016 at 15:44:19
Not my first choice and may not be a top manager, ever. But, he has to get a chance. At least in the EPL, he has shown himself to be more than competent. Besides, he uses a 4-3-3, and other formations, so he is automatically an improvement over RM.


6th isn't top of the table and isn't bottom either so by default isn't it middle of the table? We could divide the table into four zones so 6th is now top of the upper-middle table or top of the lower- upper table (take your pick). No matter what you call it, it isn't bottom three, so I am happy.

Brian Williams
42 Posted 04/06/2016 at 15:50:13
Yeh, Jim, you could do all that palava if you wanted to be really pedantic. Or you could just accept that 6th isn't generally accepted as mid-table.
Raymond Fox
43 Posted 04/06/2016 at 16:42:34
Nice easy start for him then Brian, what about the 3rd year?
Nicholas Ryan
44 Posted 04/06/2016 at 17:11:45
Two things:

1. There are very credible reports, that Arsenal were beginning to line him up as the replacement for Wenger ... you can't get a much higher recommendation than that!

2. It seems that Moshiri only ever really had one target; Koeman, and he's gone out and got him ..... now THAT is impressive!

Alan Bodell
45 Posted 04/06/2016 at 17:18:14
What a superb in-depth piece this is, I bet Koeman himself learnt some stuff here he never knew about himself.
Mark Tanton
46 Posted 04/06/2016 at 17:20:15
3. It seems Martinez was dead and buried from the moment Moshiri walked in the door. Koeman was on his mind before he had even unpacked his stuff.
Terry Riley
47 Posted 04/06/2016 at 17:28:22
My fellow blues, just please remember the Dutch are very business oriënted. So expect NO emotion towards the team except that which is expected.
Phil Walling
48 Posted 04/06/2016 at 17:33:33
Nicholas @ 44. Will you to allow me to turn back the clock three years and adapt your second point accordingly ;-

'It seems Kenwright only ever really had one target, Martinez. And he went out and got him. Then, THAT wasn't so impressive !

The proof of the pudding is ALWAYS in the eating .

Nigel Gregson
49 Posted 04/06/2016 at 17:41:28
Nicholas - why is it impressive that our new owner is hell bent on overpaying a so-far mid-table manager through the nose ? Will he sack him the moment we finish tenth or below ? and the cycle continues ? Lets seem them deliver something first. There were plenty of reports that Arsenal and Barca were after Roberto too.

Brian williams note the the OFM finished 5th his first season which was one place off the champions league and the manager before that actually finished 4th. I repeat again - there is nothing Koeman has achieved as a manager that gets me excited for the future. He's quite possibly a dutch version of David Moyes who, unlike ginger, had a great playing career.

Note: I'm not slagging him off - just reminding everyone that actual managerial achievement is hardly stellar. If 6th place finishes are a great yardstick then Moyes was already good at it. I just think this is two steps back in our so called ambition.

Martin Mason
50 Posted 04/06/2016 at 18:36:56
Whoever we take on is a massive risk but it isn't just the manager or his past performance but how he interacts with the football director, coaches and players. There is no guarantee of success more like the expectancy of failure that surely most management changes result in.

Exciting times though and he is I feel as likely to do well for us as any other candidate. He must be given time though to rebuild a side that didn't achieve its potential, which has a lot of players past their best and yet a crop of youngsters coming through who could be good enough to make us the best. 3 years at least, not to win silverware but to see the type of improvement that will have us competing at the very highest level.

I hope that Moshiri will find a good role for Unsy with a view to him being the next head coach.

John Pierce
51 Posted 04/06/2016 at 19:02:38
Lyndon I'm exhausted after reading all of that! The most important part of this is the continued presence of the professionalism we've seen to date under FM. I'm desperate for the amatuer hour antics we've seen at GP since the early '90s vanish.

This to me feels like the formation of the Premier league in 1992 with the newest and biggest TV deal in it nascant days. We thought we were big, had the trophies in the bank to say we were big and were left at the gate staring at the other clubs backsides We never acted big, suffered, trying to play catch up for 25 years. We are 'caught up and have never had a better chance to act like we are a player in the big league.

Should Koeman fail I would say he gets a second season, but only under clear targets, then I'm afraid move on. Spurs acted this way for years, and I like many scoffed at Levy for his short termist attitude. I idled away on my Everton morals feeling well smug, but my team were anything but. Ah'em Look at Spurs now?

I'm excited by the change in modus operandi more than the new man himself, because it if all goes tits up we won't hestitate to move on and that to this Evertonian is progress


Jamie Crowley
52 Posted 04/06/2016 at 19:08:10
Keep Sammy Lee home. ;0)

Keep Unsy with the kids. :0)

This preferred 4-3-3 seems a bit mythical to me. From all I've read Koeman will play a formation that suits his players and the situation.

That flexibility is fast becoming my number one factor on whether or not a man can actually coach.

Managers trotting our their 4-2-3-1s or their 4-1-4-1s every single stinking game - no matter what the landscape is - is brainless. And whereas that brainless trotting hasn't been 100% of the time the last decade, it sure as hell has been the majority of the time.

Coaches who adapt their philosophy and formation to the players they have and subsequently the opposition are "smart" coaches. Coaches who have their philosophy and formation and place the players inside of that system no matter if it's a good fit or not? No. And thank you very much Mr. Moyes and Mr. Martinez for teaching me that - as well as the hundreds of TW contributors screaming at me as I defended Roberto past his due date.

I'm looking forward to watching this man handle the team and tactics.

The future is bright.

John Pierce
53 Posted 04/06/2016 at 19:20:16
Love Managers whose surname starts with a K

Erm Katterick

Ged Simpson
54 Posted 04/06/2016 at 19:28:15
I reckon we have little idea how Koeman would pan out. Moshiri will want vision and a plan to use big cash. What any have said, we do not know and track record can be meaningless.

But in the mire of ignorance...this guy would be great to me and right for a mid table team with new money, plans and aspirations. This will not all happen by Xmas.

Eric Myles
55 Posted 04/06/2016 at 19:31:12
Jim #41, if you are going to divide the table to define top, mid and bottom, you only need 3 zones.
Clive Lewis
56 Posted 04/06/2016 at 19:46:46
A good thorough article, seems like a bit of Jekyll and Hyde, maybe could be described as a packet of Revels. A gamble on whether we see Valencia or Feyenoord.

I have never really liked orange ..... From the packet. It just is too sweet and does not really have a surprise element. A bit like Shane long.

Paul Mackie
57 Posted 04/06/2016 at 21:13:35
Well said Jamie (52), we need someone who will take a look at the squad, devise a system that suits and then purchase new players to fill any gaps.
Ian Burns
58 Posted 04/06/2016 at 21:16:01
Lyndon - yet another terrific piece - I am going to have to put you on the list of my favourite writers!!

Having read this article and following a lot of what Erik Dols has been saying on the Dutch contingent over recent weeks, I feel a lot more comfortable with this potential appointment. I feel properly informed and although I agree that any and every appointment is a gamble I get the feeling this is one gamble we are taking with a proverbial ace up our sleeve.

Ian Cowhig
59 Posted 04/06/2016 at 21:31:24
The manager is only one piece of the jigsaw. We could have employed any one of the six managers, we were linked with, and would fail if we continued with the same 'knife to a gun fight' mentality.

A lot of people on here said they would have any of 3 FdB, Emery or Koeman. So let's be happy that Moshiri wanted one of the 3, and has hopefully got him.

The exciting part for me is what will follow. Will it be Monchi, then the stadium announcement. And then the biggest part of the jigsaw. What calibre of player will be added to the squad and how many.

John Malone
60 Posted 04/06/2016 at 22:48:40
Talk is cheap just get him in get the deal done and let's start signing some quality players and building a team who can win trophies!
Bob Parrington
61 Posted 05/06/2016 at 00:40:31
Jamie #52 and Paul #57 - Spot on! No further clarity required at this point.
Alan J Thompson
62 Posted 05/06/2016 at 05:00:52
Let's have some patience. With the Euros on this will not be the best time to settle into a new team or possibly to bring in new talent so let's not expect too much in the first third of the season.

Eric (#55); I think the four divisions were top and bottom of the top half and top and bottom of the bottom half. And that's about the top and bottom of it!

Paul Tran
63 Posted 05/06/2016 at 08:13:01
Phil W post 39. Nail. Head. No manager has a flawless record and the process appears to have involved several plausible candidates. Presumably Phil, your wait and see advice also applies to him struggling early as well?

He'll also do for me.

Phil Walling
64 Posted 05/06/2016 at 09:03:18
Indeed it does, Paul. Martinez came here as relegation fodder but got off to a great start and won himself an extended contract from a misty eyed BK before he reverted to type.

Let's all hold our judgement on the new man until he is well into his second season - always assuming he's not a Mike Walker, of course.

As if !

Peter Roberts
65 Posted 05/06/2016 at 09:16:18
I expect to see the following leave for free:-


I expect lukaku to be sold... he had his best game of last season against Southampton but I don't think for one second koeman will tolerate his attitude. If as lyndon says - koeman likes a hardworking target man then lukaku is not that man. I think koeman will go for vincent jansenn who I think fits the bill perfectly.

I expect stones to be excited about working with one of the most expressive ball playing centre halves of the modern game. I recall him at Goodison in the ECWC in 1995 and he just pinged balls all over the place. Was a joy to watch.

Phil Walling
66 Posted 05/06/2016 at 09:22:46
Many a slip.......

Koeman's agent now saying his earlier remarks were exaggerated and NO agreement on compensation is yet in place.

Could we all have got carried away ?

Keith Harrison
67 Posted 05/06/2016 at 09:48:26
Where's the Lukaku money Bill, eh, eh?
Jim Lloyd
68 Posted 05/06/2016 at 09:50:50
I saw that piece but the report seems to be a duff write up on NNE.
The agent never said that there had been agreement between the clubs.

The quote from the agent was "We have reached agreement with with EFC and now itis between the clubs) I would see that as to a) if the club would hold him to his contract or b) could agree things like compensation and who else Koeman might want to take with him to EFC.

This feller on squaker Rah Mahil has just took part of a quote from the agent re the clubs discussions and a bit of lazy journalism followed.

I don't see Moshiri messing things up. It will always be up to Southampton to ok the deal or hang on to him until his contract runs out. I can't see that happening but you never know

Ray Roche
69 Posted 05/06/2016 at 10:14:25
Jim, if Soton tried to hang on to him, put him on gardening leave etc., then I thought that, under law, he could buy himself out of his contract. That would presumably be where the figure of £3m compensation fee due to Soton has come from, the £3m being his salary.

But I bet Saints, home or away, are our first game next season!!

Jim Potter
70 Posted 05/06/2016 at 10:31:25
I lived in Den Haag for five years. The Dutch can be refreshingly blunt. This appointment could be a fire under some soft, rich, spoilt arses. Bring it on Ronnie lad.
Jim Lloyd
71 Posted 05/06/2016 at 10:50:49
Ray :) That's a nap!...probably away.

Phil Walling
72 Posted 05/06/2016 at 10:51:41
I wonder what we will be saying when he's won the Prem for us and Arsenal come calling ?
Patrick Murphy
73 Posted 05/06/2016 at 11:17:51
I have never got this link with Arsenal, he never played for them, he has no direct links with them, in fact he has had as little to do with the Gunners as he has had with the Toffees. He might not become our manager anyway, so to worry about what he may or may not do after he leaves us is slightly premature.

My own take on the situation as it stands at the moment is that there will be some people at the Emirates who are probably fuming because Koeman was their intended target to succeed Wenger, they also have better links with Southampton than do Everton and if they are really intent on keeping Koeman as their number one target, they will do all in their power to scupper any deal with Everton.

I won't be at all surprised if Koeman does not take up the vacant managers position at Goodison in the coming weeks - it would be a blow to the Everton hierarchy, but they'll just have to move on to their next suitable target and I really hope that if it comes to pass that Koeman doesn't arrive, that it is somebody of equal standing to Koeman who takes up the reigns at Goodison Park.

Daniel A Johnson
74 Posted 05/06/2016 at 12:28:32
Brilliant again Lyndon!!!

You should be an FBI profiler lol.

It was the Moyes discipline which was sorely lacking during the Martinez reign. Looking forward to some quiet Dutch Authority.

Paul Andrews
75 Posted 05/06/2016 at 12:40:43
The ambition, professionalism and hard-headed business manner shown by Mr Moshiri is something I have waited a long time for as an Everton fan. As far as I am aware he hasn't made one comment to the press? Just gets it done.

We will remember the day Mr Moshiri came to the club as the day it all changed.

Lenny Kingman
76 Posted 06/06/2016 at 09:18:17
The job he has done with Southampton was carried out with least expectation. He will find the expectation levels here much more challenging thus exposing the real Ronald Koeman. A successful one or a flop only time will tell.
Dan Hollingworth
77 Posted 06/06/2016 at 09:50:34
Top draw again Lyndon. I wish you had written my dissertation. I would have got a first.

I am not too bothered the amount of clubs he has, I think he will have learned something for every experience and as a result getting a more well-rounded manager. He has a great emphasis on youth, and I am sure he will be looking to combine that with the resources he has now. Looking forward to the summer ahead, item number 1 is a goalie.

Nigel Gregson
78 Posted 07/06/2016 at 04:10:58
Lenny Kingman - bingo - So far Koeman = the David Moyes of Southampton.
Peter Murray
79 Posted 09/06/2016 at 19:06:56
Koeman's record as a player is irrelevant. We are prepared to offer him, according to reports, up to £6 million a year simply because he guided Southampton to 6th and 7th place. Moyes did better than that.

Koeman never wanted to come here in the first place. Moreover it continues to drag out. Scrap it and go for a manager with proven experience at both local level and, more importantly in terms of Everton's aspirations, European level,. i.e. Pellegrini.
Alan J Thompson
80 Posted 12/06/2016 at 14:01:41
Nothing seems to have come out of Everton regarding the manager's appointment but have Southampton said anything officially?
Jeff Armstrong
81 Posted 12/06/2016 at 22:23:11
Koeman is on holiday mulling it over, meanwhile Emery has jacked Sevilla, watch this space...
Mike Allen
82 Posted 14/06/2016 at 09:51:44
On Everton web site, confirmed.
Ian Smitham
83 Posted 14/06/2016 at 10:03:02
Daily Telegraph has just confirmed Everton have announced he is Manager on a three year contract to June 2019
Chris Williams
84 Posted 14/06/2016 at 10:15:23
Yes all announced on OS
Colin Metcalfe
85 Posted 14/06/2016 at 10:19:59
Just saw Emery has left Sevilla , bit gutted we didn,t get him !
Thomas Surgenor
88 Posted 14/06/2016 at 10:29:02
Emery has left Sevilla and the favourite to replace him is the man I wanted us to go for... Sampaoli.

Aww well, Koeman was who Moshiri wanted and I trust the man to do right by us.

Welcome Ronald. Good luck you have my full support.

Jon Bentley
89 Posted 14/06/2016 at 12:02:36
Thanks F... it's done and dusted. Not because I have any idea whether he will do as well as we all hope but more that we would look like complete incompetents if the club failed to deliver this appointment!!
Paul Burns
90 Posted 14/06/2016 at 14:58:23
Only one thing matters, silverware on the table.

I'm not interested if youngsters don't come through or the style of play, winning trophies is ALL that matters.
Bob Parrington
91 Posted 14/06/2016 at 00:16:16
Effective Job #1 done professionally. Looking forward to job #2 - setting up the team for next season. It will be interesting to watch the media behaviour during the next 50 days or so while this is executed.
Well done! Onward and upward. COYB
Tommy Webber
92 Posted 15/06/2016 at 04:20:28
I like the fact that Everton is Koeman's 1st BIG CLUB he's ever managed. Southampton must realise that all the others were just rehearsals for the main event. £100m plus whatever he might get for the 2 want aways must be burning a hole in his pocket by now!

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