Fireworks? … I sincerely hope so

Darren Hind 24/12/2019 63comments  |  Jump to last
Well, he's here. The reception may have been surprisingly "mixed" but Carlo Ancelotti— THE Carlo Ancelotti — is officially manager of our beloved club.

It no longer matters whether you are looking at his past through rose-tinted glasses, or you are one of those cynical 'arl bastards who struggles to trust the motives of anybody coming in to manage our club. He's here; Silva isn't. The king is dead, long live the king... So what can we expect?

Carlo hasn't even got his coat off yet, but I'm already hoping and worrying (in equal measure) at what he can achieve, how he may fail. My head's wrecked with ifs, buts and maybes.

For me, he has to take charge — and by that, I don't mean just on the pitch. I mean he has to exert his authority right through the club. Be the man

I've heard people making light of the cost of bringing in a man of Ancelotti's stature: "He cost less than Sigurdsson", they say; "Bargain!" But it's never quite that simple, is it? The £50M He will earn (whether he sees out his contract or not) will be dwarfed by the money he will want the club to spend.

Silva may have only cost what — £12-15M in wages? But, on his watch, the club spent north of £250M on player transfers and contracts — which kinda leads me to the point of the piece.

Marcel Brands has escaped the wrath of the majority of the fan base, while Silva took relentless flak for the position we found ourselves in. The Dutchman, in comparison, has not been held as accountable. He kept his job; Brands enjoys solid support from within the ranks, but does he deserve it? Has he given Moshiri enough bang for his buck?

Duncan Ferguson did enough to show that the players we have are nowhere near as bad as some made them out to be; but, by getting the best out of them, I think we also saw that most of them don't have what it takes to have the big boys worrying about European qualification. Would any of them get into a top-five team? Surely after spending £500M, Moshiri is entitled to see some top-draw players?

The relationship between Brands and Silva was clearly a strained one. While Brands didn't deliver the players Silva wanted, Silva did not use the players in a way Brands expected him to. The outcome was (in hindsight) inevitable.

Since his arrival, Moshiri has hired two Directors of Football; two individuals, who, between them and their respective managers, have somehow managed to squander around £500M in five years... Not only has this spending spree not brought success — we are actually worse off than we were before he got here!

The biggest positive I take from Ancelotti`s appointment (besides the fact that it has pissed the Kopites off no end) is the incontestable fact that he knows a player when he sees one. Lord knows, he's seen a few.

After being able to call on world-class players to change a game for him, he will get a shock when he turns around and sees a bench full of lightweights. Bernard shivering — again… Walcott laughing about something totally unrelated to the game. He will not see what he is used to seeing. The way he reacts to the change in his environment will determine his future.

Whether Brands is the real deal or not remains (for me at least) to be seen; he's been on easy street, that's for sure, but he is no longer working with a manager who is simply grateful to be here. He, more than anybody, will have to up his game. For too long, he has allowed Uncle Bill to sneak into his ear. Can you imagine Ancelotti's reaction if Brands goes out with £30M to spend and comes back with another Alex Iwobi?

There is, of course, another positive in the appointment of Carlo. He's been there, he's done it, he's worked with them all. He will see through Kenwright in a heartbeat. I would imagine the first conversation he has about football with Uncle Bill will be his last.

Last week, I said I believed Ancelotti would fail if he was appointed coach and if he is here to simply coach. I firmly believe he will... but Moshiri has gone big with his gamble this time. He's put his house, his shirt and his balls on the line. This, quite simply, has to work…

I would like to believe they will be handing the whole shebang over to Carlo. The final word on everything team related. The Italian's relationship with Brands will be important, but he must have the final say on every signing.

I will be the first to admit, I am still deeply suspicious of Ancelotti… but then I think: “We can't keep getting it wrong. Even if we are relying on the law of averages, we have to get the right man some time. Don't we?”

I hope he comes in looking for more than just one last big pay day. I hope he comes with a point to prove. To show skeptics like me that he is a true great. I pray he is the man we have been searching for. The guy with enough power, stature and influence to finally put a stop to the tail wagging the fucking dog at this club.

Merry Christmas to you and yours, Guys. On Boxing Day, we start all over again.

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Reader Comments (63)

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Steve Carse
1 Posted 24/12/2019 at 16:20:03
Something of a volte-face there, Darren, though I can understand why. These are exhilarating but worrying times in equal measure. And perspectives fluctuate accordingly.

We won't of course be witness to what's going on behind the scenes. But for the immediate term, I'm more interested in how things are going to change out on the pitch. And the challenge for Ancelotti is going to be how to harness the spirit and energy tapped by Ferguson and integrate it with what will surely be his personal preference for a more thoughtful, passing, game – including a return to trying to play out from the back.

Totally with you on the Brands issues, by the way.

Paul Tran
2 Posted 24/12/2019 at 16:29:52
Darren, I'm really sorry. Hope I don't shock you too much. I agree with pretty much all of that.

Ancelotti must be in charge. If the idiots try and push him around, he'll walk. For the first time in ages, we've got a manager – not a coach, a manager – who's forgotten more than any of the staff will know about football – and can communicate well in a few languages.

The league is as open as a barn door, with one unfortunate exception. This was too good an opportunity to pass up. It has to work and it will work, if he's allowed to do a thorough job.

It's an opportunity for Moshiri to use this appointment to get the whole of the club to shape up or be shipped out.

Mike Gaynes
3 Posted 24/12/2019 at 16:30:58
Darren, to your point about Ancelotti knowing a player when he sees one, I would add that top players know him too, and he may well prove an attraction to top-quality talent who wouldn't have given Everton a second glance last week.
Dave Williams
5 Posted 24/12/2019 at 16:31:26
Good article, Darren, and seasonal best to you and yours!

It's surely all in place now. Ordinary managers have been replaced by one of the very best. A poor director of football totally out of his depth has been replaced by one who is very highly regarded.

Half of the poorer players are gone albeit there's plenty left still. There are some good players in the squad and some good ones due back from injury including Gbamin next month?

Money is available and Duncan has found some desire in some players at least. It's all there for Carlo to show what he can do with a very difficult start against City and RS after Burnley. Let's get behind him and see what he can do.

Joe McMahon
7 Posted 24/12/2019 at 16:41:12
I agree with you, Darren. I also second what Mike says: (at last) we have a manager that will attract players. In the long run, we are much better off with Carlo.
Matt Traynor
8 Posted 24/12/2019 at 17:00:49
I shared some of the reservations of others, was actually thinking that we should try British, home-grown, and go for a Dunc and A N Other combo as we simply couldn't be worse than we had been under the previous few managers.

Then in hindsight, Dunc is late to the Managerial game due to his spell of retirement in Spain away from it all, and it represented a risk.

At least Carlo has already been sacked at Goodison before, so he already has some insight!

He'll either do well, and be feted like Howard Kendall eventually was, or he'll be the latest, and possibly final, expensive flop in Moshiri's project.

Either way, we'll continue to support. Enjoy your festivities Blues, and spare a thought for those of us working in dry countries that don't celebrate – although I'm told tomorrow there's a break in tradition and we're getting served a Christmas cake in the office!

Stan Schofield
9 Posted 24/12/2019 at 17:07:59
Duncan Ferguson did not show that the players are nowhere near as bad as some made them out to be, because that was already known. One of the things about ToffeeWeb is that when we're playing well most of the posts are saying that the players are good and we'll soon be pushing within the top-6, whilst when we're playing shite the players, manager, CEO, and Everton generally are suddenly shite.

Regarding players having what it takes to have the 'big boys' worrying about European qualification, again views on that fluctuate according to results, and fluctuate wildly as results vary.

My own view is that we have a squad of very good players, and quite a few of them would on form readily find their way into the likes of Liverpool. The trouble is, form is affected by how the team is organised. When well organised, players generally look better, and play with more confidence. When badly organised, they're liable to look shite.

Silva failed partly through factors within his control, such as team selection, tactics, and failure to motivate, and partly through factors beyond his control, such as injuries, terrible officiating, and losing Gana and Zouma.

Ancelotti can affect only the factors within his control, just as Silva could. We would hope and expect his tactics and motivation of players to be far superior to Silva's. Only time will tell.

Regarding factors beyond Ancelotti's control, he may well have the same problems that Silva faced. Unless of course, Everton's 'traditional' tendency to sell our best players without having adequate replacements is knocked firmly on the head, the injury crisis lessens considerably, and the officiating becomes fairer (and perhaps it might do given Ancelotti's status and influence in football). Again, only time will tell.

Tom Barton
10 Posted 24/12/2019 at 17:13:09
Evening gents,

It's all about opinions, I know. For me, though, the first real manager for many many years... you simply cannot knock Moshiri this time, he's gone for the best available manager in the world.

I was like a kid in a friggin sweetshop when I saw the news before the game. This is quality, no question.

Another delightful aspect is it's shown the redshite exactly as they are, the utter garbage dribbling out of their gobs is just fucking hilarious, you couldn't friggin' write it, Neanderthal pricks.

Anyway, best wishes and goodwill to all you Blues.

David Midgley
11 Posted 24/12/2019 at 17:21:51
Mike Haynes #6,

Like most Evertonians, your nerves have probably gone.

Mike Gaynes
12 Posted 24/12/2019 at 17:25:06
Stan #9, I wish I could agree, but even "on form" none of our players would be contenders for starting places at Liverpool or Man City, and none of our top remaining players from last season (Digne, Sigurdsson and Richarlison) have been anywhere near top form this season.

If you were to name a Best 11 and a Second 11 for the entire Premier League this season, and even a Third 11, none of our players would be named except Pickford. Not one. We have players who have shown the potential to get to that level -- Digne and Rich, plus Mina and Sidibe -- but the fact is our overall talent level is currently very far adrift from the top clubs.

What Ferguson showed is that our players were not playing with the fire and passion necessary, and he pumped the bellows to fire them up. But there is still no greatness in the side.

And I'll say it again, as I have ad nauseum -- we did not "lose" Zouma. He was a loan we never, ever had a chance to keep.

Paul Birmingham
13 Posted 24/12/2019 at 17:34:29
This appointment of Carlo Ancellotti, and his proven record, is a massive statement by Farhad and the board.

Genuinely I see the genuine chance to begin the resurrection of EFC, in football matters, though it will take time, I'm gut feeling confident he will succeed.

Plenty of bumps on the road to the success, we yearn for, but it must and will happen.

Patience time and he will no doubt already have a hit list of players he’d like to bring in.

Burnley is never easy and will be a good test of the new managers steel.

The Best of The Seasons Greetings to All Evertonians.

Paul Tran
14 Posted 24/12/2019 at 17:35:11
I'm somewhere between Stan and Mike regarding our current squad. For me, if organised and managed well, it's a squad that's at least in the top eight. There has been a general malaise throughout the squad all season. If you couple that with the team's poor organisation, no wonder some have a low opinion of the players.

I would expect Ancelotti to get more out of these players and bring better players in. The variable is how many we can get rid of and how much difference the expected improvements will actually make.

Stan Schofield
15 Posted 24/12/2019 at 17:41:34
Mike@12: As you say, on the form of this season our players would not get into top sides. But when organised, as Klopp has done with Liverpool, it's a totally different kettle of fish.

Of course you're right about Zouma, but from Silva's perspective we did lose him. This was of course beyond the control of Everton, but his loss was a real loss. But Gana, that was down to Everton, no matter what anyone says about Gana's wishes, because he was under contract. Everton have a clear track record of this kind of thing, and I hope it ends with Ancelotti, otherwise he will be another manager who can have the rug pulled from under his feet.

Jerome Shields
16 Posted 24/12/2019 at 17:41:55
I agree with you. It's death or glory. What a owner Moshiri has turned out to be, with Kenwright still haunting us and funding the equivalent of the Championship. It could only have happened to Evertonians, we really do deserve better. Ancelotti really has a challenge ahead, let's hope he is up to it.
Mike Gaynes
17 Posted 24/12/2019 at 18:09:19
Stan #15, you're absolutely right about organization. Leicester, Sheffield and Wolves are proving it, and the latter two have less talent than we have. Ten losses between the three of them, and we've lost 9. I think that's the big problem that Carlo will fix.

Re Gana, I disagree. He earned his chance to see what his career could be at age 30, away from putzes like Silva and Fat Sam. This isn't 1990, this is modern world football. When a player truly wants to leave and realize his dreams, you let him go. The solution isn't locking up a player who doesn't want to stay... it's making Everton a place where players do want to stay.

Stephen Brown
18 Posted 24/12/2019 at 18:12:29
I know I should know better but I’m feeling so optimistic!
Stan Schofield
19 Posted 24/12/2019 at 18:18:55
Mike @17: Your final sentence is a very good way of putting it. Trouble with Everton though, it started (in my memory) with selling players who wanted to stay (Ball, Lineker, for example), and now it's players who want to be somewhere else.

I don't think it's a question of 1990 versus present-day. It's more a question of the club keeping hold of a pivotal player until they have an adequate replacement. It's the failure to do this that has contributed to our current status.

Tom Bowers
20 Posted 24/12/2019 at 18:24:31
We were all anticipating a decent season back in August but injuries to some players and poor form by others soon began to hurt.

Added to this was an apparent lack of aggression by Silva who just didn't seem to worry about anything or he covered it up well and gave me the impression he was just winging it and pocketing a big salary.

The short-lived tenure was brought to an end with no surprise to anyone especially when your hovering around the bottom three in December.

Okay, now to part two of the season and Ferguson has shown that there is some life left in the squad with half decent results against teams we may have been expected to lose against with Silva at the helm.

I am sure Ancellotti has plans but he may wait a few games before wanting to bring anyone new into the fold.

Some players already here have not proved they are anymore than average so his job will be somewhat difficult unless he has a magic wand and can introduce new tactics that gets the best out of what he already has.

John Pierce
21 Posted 24/12/2019 at 18:33:44
The quality of player will always cause debate but the quality of the manager is by far the key ingredient.

No matter your group a good manager gets more from the sum of its parts.

In this case we have an extremely experienced and excellent manager. He will despite the lack of quality in areas get more from it as a team.

He will get results we are expected to, something even standard coaches have routinely failed to do at Everton. He will also get positive results we don’t expect too.

He won’t let the team slide, he will adjust and correct the team and tactics until he gets the players he wants.

I’m all in on Ancelotti, just need lessons from SF to defend the indefensible when it goes tits up. 😂

Happy bloo crimbo lads. 💙

Kevin Molloy
22 Posted 24/12/2019 at 18:40:06
Darren's position is I think that David Unsworth would have been a better appointment than Carlo. I'm not exaggerating there am I, that is the position.

If I was Carlo reading this with the old Three Champions League wins burning a hole in my tracksuit pocket I'd have to be a bit disappointed with that.

He is on ridiculous wages, but whoever was coming in was going to be on at least 6. so we are paying over the expected odds by let's say £5m a year. I reckon he'll earn that back year on year.

Brands now will do as he's told, he'll just make sure that he agrees with everything Carlo does, he'd be mad not to. The big issue as Darren points out, is how much he thinks is available to him to spend.

I've looked at his record, and it's absolutely superb. Following Pep after Munich was always a hospital pass. you can imagine the way had all the training set up. And he's beaten Klopp twice this year, with a moribund Italian team He's the real deal and I'm delighted we've got him.

Jorgen Forslund
23 Posted 24/12/2019 at 18:50:30
Well well... I have never written anything before and I doubt I will be writing anything more soon. I have been Everton supporter + 50 years, following the club and the team over these years,

Living in Sweden I am keen follower of football in all kind of sense and watch a lot of fotball both live and on telly.

Carlo Ancelotti is however you look at it the most succesful football manager active on the globe right now. In my world he is far better and far more succesful than Guardiola and Klopp taken together.

That is not a guarantee that he will be able to take Everton to the place where we all want BUT there is in my mind nobody else with better background for it..

This is also probably the most significant signing for Everton in the last 50 years, that is also probably why the british so called pundits, who most don’t have a clue of international football, question if he is right for the club.

Please give Carlo time, there is a fairly good chance that he together with right financial backing even will bring an EPL title to Everton within 4 years.

It is a funny and interesting old game...

Gerard McKean
25 Posted 24/12/2019 at 19:01:03
It’s Christmas Eve; I agree with everything everyone has said! Nothing but the best wishes to all TW’rs for a happy, healthy Christmas and a new start for our team!
Mike Benjamin
26 Posted 24/12/2019 at 19:02:07
Sorry but have to take issue with the criticism of Brands. I know it is a matter of opinion but look at the facts:

Silva was NOT his appointment; Moshiri had already chosen him well before Brands was appointed.

Quality signings in Richarlison, Digne, Mina with the last two arguably a snip and all worth far more than we paid.

Bernard on a free; although one of the highest-paid he is still quality.

Gomes first on loan and then a bargain fee. Class on 2 legs!

Sidibe on loan and, now that he is playing most games, is one of our most consistent performers.

Moise Kean and Iwobi, although not cheap, both have potential if not currently pulling up trees.

Criticism could be laid at his door for not signing a quality centre-half but had we done so would Holgate have been one of the most improved defenders in the Premier League?

It is not Brand's fault that Walsh was in post when the club spent extravagantly on Sigurdsson, Klaassen, Kean, Walcott, Tosun and, prior to that, the previous regime on an over-priced Bolasie. Poor signings who have either left or would NOT be in many of first 11s.

The quality of signings has improved significantly under Brands. We have the core of a quality team and better luck with injuries and a manager who picked better balanced teams, would undoubtedly be much further up the league. Oh and a manager who isn't tactically brain dead.

Tony Abrahams
27 Posted 24/12/2019 at 19:13:11
Really enjoyed this Darren, probably because it’s a little bit different, than what you wrote the other day. I’ve no doubt the message is the same, just less subtle, more intelligent imo, and I’m just hoping the law of average, favours us for once, or more importantly finally proves you wrong with regards to an Everton manager!

Merry Christmas to everyone, especially Lyndon and Michael, who provide me with the platform for the only addiction I’ve got left in my life!

Raymond Fox
28 Posted 24/12/2019 at 19:17:02
If this project fails, let's not just blame it on the manager, we know he's a winner he won't suddenly become a bad manager.

He needs the tools to get us and keep us in the promised land. Yes, we have good players but they are not quite at the level of the very best players in the Premier League.

If he doesn't get an improvement in personnel in the squad, he will fail like all the rest, as sure as night follows day.

We have three quick games, starting on Boxing Day, if the players were looking knackered against Arsenal they surely will be when we play the reds.

I just hope and pray he and we can get three points against Burnley, it won't be easy though we know exactly what they will throw at us up front.

Mike Gaynes
29 Posted 24/12/2019 at 19:19:22
Agree, Mike #26. I would add Delph as a good pickup -- a versatile piece at a bargain price.

And I think he has done a very good job of jettisoning a substantial portion of our deadwood in just 18 months on the job.

Darren has always been unconvinced by Brands. I've been impressed.

Mike Benjamin
30 Posted 24/12/2019 at 19:28:27
Good point, Mike, if only he could keep fit. I forgot to list Schneiderlin in my previous list of pre Brands buys. Most of his buys are quality at a reasonable price, even Kean an Iwobi for their ages.
John G Davies
31 Posted 24/12/2019 at 19:30:49
I just read Carlo's programme notes for Thursday. He speaks very well about the club while asking the fans for the patience that will be needed.

No "knives to gunfights" off this lad.

Bill Watson
32 Posted 24/12/2019 at 19:54:17
So far, Brands has done what his remit was. Clear out as much deadwood as possible, with most of the rest to go in the summer, and to bring in some quality signings. He's done both.

The fact he was lumbered with an incompetent manager/coach wasn't his fault and the crop of injuries was out of the control of them both. What probably was his fault was a failure to find a striker and cover at centre back but, as has been mentioned elsewhere, this has enable Holgate to emerge as a half decent player.

At the start of the season I thought we had the best squad in years and I still think so. The fact we are in the bottom and not the top six is solely down to injuries, poor referreeing/VAR but primarily because of inept management by Silva.

Duncan has shown that even a dispirited, tired and injury ravaged squad can pick up points when properly organised.

Ancelotti's immediate task is to try to rescue something from this train wreck of a season and then to, hopefully, kick on next season.

Lev Vellene
33 Posted 24/12/2019 at 19:55:42
Re. DoF vs Manager, as this piece was partly about. I hope we'll go the way of bringing in mostly youngish players for a certain way of playing, like the original intent was for Brands, and that Ancelotti will be able to take this long-term intent to heart.

If he makes it known just which sort of players he want, young or old, long or short term, then I really hope he and Brands can make a good partnership when it comes to building that future team. If we need some older hands onboard along the way to ensure that platform being stable, I won't be unhappy about it.

But we need to make sure that our U23 players (and below) learn to play the sort of game that will give them the best chances to merge into the senior team. I haven't particularly paid attention to the U23s, but it seems strange that after all their accomplishments, so few of those have been eligible for even try-outs with the main team. The U23s success is pointless in itself if they forget/fail to prepare future players for the senior team's needs!

Tony Hill
34 Posted 24/12/2019 at 20:35:32
Another honest article. We're all twisting and turning at the moment.

What Ancelotti does is immediately to invert the smallness of Everton over the last few decades. As Darren notes, he's not going to be detained by the input of board members on footballing matters.

What I think may be the measure of this man, of his natural grace and manners, is that he has effortlessly and straight away shown respect to both Ferguson and Brands. He has discreetly let it be known how he values them both, the two people who may have felt most exposed by his arrival. That may not be his actual opinion but that's not the point for present purposes.

Behind the style, I am sure there is steel. That is the Everton combination of our title-winning sides. With a fair wind and the acquisition of some good players (to be decided, I suspect, by Ancelotti), I believe we are in for a fulfilling few years.

Keith Harrison
35 Posted 24/12/2019 at 21:34:38
Contradicting your last article, Darren, but spot on this time. I put a post on an article over a week ago that Dunc and Arteta would be my choice, but of more import was that I believe Marcel Brands should be publicly endorsing this appointment – he is the Director of Football after all. Both he and Carlo need to stamp their authority on the club and keep the well-meaning but ignorant (Kenwright, Barrett-Baxendale and Moshirir) at arms length, and instil some business like professionalism throughout the whole shooting match. As you point out, time will tell on that.

Until then, all Blues should leave a slice of Panettone and a glass of Chianti out for Il Santa and Rudolfo, and repeat slowly and quietly "Koulibaly, Koulibaly, Koulibaly" until gently nodding off to dream of the January sales.

A merry, peaceful and family-filled Xmas to all Blues. The future begins on Boxing Day.

Don Alexander
36 Posted 24/12/2019 at 22:11:16
Well, if it's the right of a lady to change her mind, we must accept that the same rule applies to our Darren in these enlightened times. Nice to see him making out that he now wants to get on board with the Ancelotti reign though, like all true fans.

As I've said on recent threads, this appointment is going to be very costly indeed, no matter where Ancelotti takes us. I think, if Moshiri has deep enough pockets, that the January and summer windows will be enough for Ancelotti to sign the sort of top players his reputation and talent are built on, to get us top four next season — or else, what's the point in signing him up?

Has he got the money, though?

Ian Hollingworth
37 Posted 24/12/2019 at 22:31:29
The Ancelotti appointment is the highest-profile thing to happen to Everton FC in a long time (probably ever) and I for one am very excited by it.

If this doesn't work, then I am afraid that we should all be worried that the curse won't allow anything to work.

Brent Stephens
38 Posted 24/12/2019 at 22:43:49
“Well, if it's the right of a lady to change her mind, we must accept that the same rule applies to our Darren in these enlightened times. Nice to see him making out that he now wants to get on board with the Ancelotti reign though, like all true fans.”

Fair comment.

Paul Tran
39 Posted 24/12/2019 at 22:53:31
Don #36, it's not about whether he has the money, it's whether he can navigate FFP.

Bet/hope he does.

Merry Christmas, folks!

Tom Bowers
40 Posted 24/12/2019 at 23:22:22
I don't care what it cost to get this guy as long as he turns things around.

I am sure that the backers of RS are paying a fortune to Klopp and the squad of class players he has and that is why both they and also City are dominating the last few seasons.

I don't expect Leicester to maintain their form of the first half of the season and RS will see them off on Thursday. It's Christmas and we need some really nice gifts over the next few weeks. COYB.

Mike Gaynes
41 Posted 25/12/2019 at 02:43:52
Keith #35, it worked.


Paul Ward
42 Posted 25/12/2019 at 02:49:02
Darren's well written article is a veiled attempt to water down his "Any dream will do" piece last week. This time, he credits the players with being nowhere near as bad as some make out.

I tend to go along 100% with Mike Gaynes @12, on the value of the present squad. I also agree with Kevin Malloy @22 who feels Darren would have preferred David Unsworth for the job.

Si Cooper
43 Posted 25/12/2019 at 03:13:46
On paper, at least Ancelotti could be the missing piece of the puzzle. Someone whose pedigree suggests he should get the most from the squad we have and also be the big draw capable of turning more of Brands's targets into actual incoming assets.

I am assuming that the recruitment in the last window fell below lofty hopes because some players weren't persuaded by Marco Silva's ability, and that work has been proceeding behind the scenes especially following the decision of Chelsea to retain Zouma and the subsequent injuries to Gbamin and Gomes.

The January window is generally a tough one so, if a few players of real note can be signed, then that will indicate the worth of Brands and/or Ancelotti.

We have to have more / better options in defensive midfield and the centre of defence. Gbamin was mentioned earlier in this thread. Is there any concrete news on his recovery from injury?

Alan J Thompson
44 Posted 25/12/2019 at 06:40:36
I find it difficult to believe the DoF went out and bought half-a-dozen players without consulting the Manager cum Head Coach unless of course a good player at a bargain price became available on a Yes or No answer now but he'd left his phone in the hotel and he still had some of the nest egg/budget left that Mr Moshiri said he could spend without consultation.

Recently, I've seen a little bit of Lukaku playing in Italy and surprisingly he seems to have learnt to trap a ball. Now that we've appointed an Italian manager maybe we'll see some improvement in some of the players already here.

Teddy Draper
45 Posted 25/12/2019 at 07:53:55
Owner, Chairman, Director of Football or whatever else they call themselves nowadays, and that includes Manager. Nobody – but nobody – can succeed without players.

Let us be brutally honest: we do have some poor players, some reasonable players, and some abysmal players... but, apart from three, I can think of no quality players. This manager will be showing us how good he is if he starts with getting the dross out and builds from there.

I am 83 and as you can imagine have seen, like all clubs, highs and lows. Even my brother-in-law, who is a Kopite, admits at one time you had to look around the Kop to get a light off someone.

Let's get right behind this guy and hope he brings us another Bobby Collins or Alan Ball. Please Carlo soon, I haven't got that much time to waste. Happy and peaceful and Successful future to us all.

Darren Hind
46 Posted 25/12/2019 at 09:38:38
What a wonderful Christmas surprise!

My perceived change of heart has gained me admission into The Don and Brent`s club for "True fans"... Unfortunately, I will have to decline. I don't do unquestioning happy clapping.

I tend to mix in circles where people change their view in accordance to the circumstances. May be we are the UNtrue fans... It's just the way it is, I guess, I have always preferred the company and the conversation of people who question everything. Always have done. I'll leave the "pretending" to the Kelly Maloney's and the "true fan" club to the "true fans"...

I stand by both of my articles because they were submitted under very different circumstances. I said I didn't want Ancelotti and I meant it. The reasons I gave did not suddenly disappear because he has been handed the gig...

However! His appointment has been confirmed and I will support him in his task. It may be difficult for some to understand, but it would be in my interest for him to fulfill my dreams. So there we go. A fresh start. A blank canvas.

Only my love for the club is unconditional. My support/respect/love for its employees comes with a whole barrow load of conditions.

If Carlo shows a similar passion and respect for the club as the big fella. I won't only be on board at the beginning, I will stay on board... but if he sets up to play boring football – like Allardyce; disrespects the fans by talking to them as if they are 5 years old – like Koeman; or becomes obsessed with a system that clearly isn't working – like Martinez and Silva, you can be very assured I will be all over him like miner's lamp on chips.

"True fan"???? LOL. I have enough trouble coping with being an ordinary Evertonian!

Paul Tran
47 Posted 25/12/2019 at 09:46:47
And a Merry Christmas to you, Darren! Trump is 9/1 on the Betfair Sportsbook.
Darren Hind
48 Posted 25/12/2019 at 09:50:40
Good luck Paul. I'm already on.

Have a good one.

Paul Tran
49 Posted 25/12/2019 at 09:54:38
Hahaha, cheers, Darren!
Dave Williams
50 Posted 25/12/2019 at 10:07:34
I am similar, Darren, in that I preferred others to Carlo… but, now he's here, we get behind him and move forward positively.

Happy Christmas to everyone, be nice and looking forward to many more civilised arguments on this cracking site next year!

We will come again, and soon!!

Derek Knox
51 Posted 25/12/2019 at 10:54:59

Well we've had enough damp squibs in the last few years, what with players and Managers alike, about time our fortunes are due for change.

We have a few tricky fixtures coming up, let's see what they can do, Carlo will learn a lot bout what they are made of, and have an even better idea of what his shopping list is in the January Window.

Koulibaly, Zielinski and a striker would be a good start. It would certainly stiffen up the defence and the midfield, then hopefully the goals will start going in.

Jim Harrison
52 Posted 25/12/2019 at 11:31:09
Surely the dynamic between DOF and manager shifts depending on the incumbent In role??

So, with Silva, Brands held a higher level of responsibility for signings but under Carlo there will be a more equal standing. But Brands job doesn't stop at signing players, and his recruitment brief goes beyond this season and the next, but he is looking to build a structure that produces players/teams long term, so the club has a clear identity or style of play. If the manager changes the recruitment policy and type of player that comes in Will remain similar.

And his role goes well beyond that. There is still plenty of deadwood to move on. He needs to have an overview of the finances and admin, so the manager isn't burdened with such concerns.

So far he seems to have done a decent job. The fact that Kean is not a full first-team player is no surprise. He's 19. Iwobi started brightly and seems to have lost his way but has show. Promise and is at a good age. Richarlison is a qualified success, as is Digne and I would say Sibide. Gomes was signed at a good price. Mina has question marks, and Delph's injuries have regrettably been predictable, but in fairness he probably wasn't signed to play week in week out.

Silva didn't make the grade. Even with the players currently available Carlo has few excuses for not at least getting up to 10th. You pay top dollar for quality. Yes, he will want to bring in his own players but until he is able to there is enough quality should they be utilised better.

Don Alexander
53 Posted 25/12/2019 at 13:06:43
For the record, I've never doubted you're a true (but occasionally annoying!) fan, Darren. Have a Merry Christmas.
Dick Fearon
54 Posted 25/12/2019 at 14:05:46
I just don't get the support for Unsworth. We have suffered far too long with managers standing alone and aloof in the technical area and not showing a sign of emotional connection with the game. That is why Duncan was a breath of fresh air that blew away the cobwebs.

During his short tenure as manager, Unsworth showed even less animation than those who came before and after.

Bill Gall
55 Posted 25/12/2019 at 14:32:35
Good article that outlined some of the previous problems in the organization from the owner and board that has to be changed.

One question I would like to ask is: As you are first to admit, you are still deeply suspicious of Ancelotti, who do you think would have been a better choice that would have come?

Jamie Crowley
56 Posted 25/12/2019 at 14:35:58
I didn't see anywhere else…

Merry Christmas to all. Thank you, Lyndon and Michael.

Love me some TW. God bless and have a very merry Christmas.

Jim Bennings
57 Posted 25/12/2019 at 15:17:20
I have to agree that Carlo Ancelotti is the highest profile thing to happen at Everton Football Club since probably the signing of Andrei Kanchelskis in 1995 and winning the FA Cup the same year.

It’s about time we dared to dream and daring to dream that this football club can become great again but this time with a modern spin on it.

The club should have embraced the Premier League era of 1992 in the same ambition that the likes of Arsenal did, to be decisive, bold and forward thinking, after all Everton along with Arsenal, Spurs, Liverpool and Manchester United were the original “Big Five” long before the financial dominance of the Sky era came.

Ancelotti is the first real managerial appointment that makes me actually sit up and take a real notice that maybe this club believes it should be back up the top.

Time will tell but if you don’t try then you’ll never find out.

Merry Christmas Darren!

Paul Birmingham
58 Posted 25/12/2019 at 15:56:42
All, I've been given a tip on the horses for tomorrow: it's Eagle Hill in the 2:50 pm race at Market Rasen. It's around 2-1, but worth a bet on the head and in a win double with Everton to win, and start the new era on a positive note.
Andrew Laird
59 Posted 25/12/2019 at 17:15:09
As much as this article seems like opinionated spread betting especially following the other article by the same author, stating Ancelotti would fail, I personally don't doubt your love for the club, Darren, and that you absolutely want Everton to succeed. I believe that you have called this right (for all sides of the debate) and that everyone needs to now get on board with this regardless.

I'd also argue that our last lot of managers have all been literal “law of averages”; this guy is in a different league to them. The very least we will learn from our years of underachieving is if it could've all been solved with a simple solution of having a coach who knew his arse from his elbow, something that even Man City had to realise before they got to where the owners wanted them to be.

Merry Christmas all, onwards and upwards!

Martin Mason
60 Posted 25/12/2019 at 18:14:31
Darren, we have to accept it now it's done and, to be fair, it is massively better than we could ever have expected in taking on a manager from outside.

He comes across as a very nice guy and he could become a massive success although I believe he has inherited a dreadful squad and success will be difficult in a position he hasn't been in for decades.

As you say, it is critical that he takes control and excludes the rotten luvvy core of the club from having anything to do with team affairs. He must also be strong with Brands.

Steve Ferns
61 Posted 25/12/2019 at 19:31:52
I do think we have very good squad, it's just that the squad has massive holes and a lot of the players' profiles do not fit together. For example, Andre Gomes, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Bernard, Richarlison, Theo Walcott, Alex Iwobi and Moise Kean. They are not typical of the type of players for their respective positions. They have very specific attributes and do not mesh well into a team.

For example, Andre Gomes needs to play in a side where he has lots of pace, not just to sweep up behind him, but also to maximise his passing ability. For me, he will be much better in a 4-3-3.

Bernard is not quite a winger, but not a Number 10, not in the Premier League anyway. He lacks pace and strength. He's best when he is on the left of a 3 in a 4-2-3-1 with a pacey left-back and other technical players to play off.

Gylfi Sigurdsson is the best player in a journeyman team, typical of the lower half of the Premier League, where they can put 8 workers behind him and a big striker up top. Allowed to roam and pick up space and to do whatever he wants. If he has to play a more rigid role, then he struggles to get into the game. So many games go 20 minutes or so without him getting a touch, and the team needing someone like him to take charge.

If we are to play 4-3-3, as I am sure Silva wanted to, then the basis of a good side is there:

Richarlison Calvert-Lewin N
Gomes Gbamin D
Digne Z Mina Sidibe

N being someone like David Neres who we were in for, D being Doucoure and Z being Zouma. Of course, that's three massive signings that could cost anywhere between £100m-150m.

The point is that, with some careful additions, players to suit the best of what we have, the team can be transformed into a top side. Maybe not quite top 4 without a top 4 striker, but certainly one to close in on the top 6.

If Ancelotti goes down the 4-4-2 route, then there is the makings of a decent side as follows:

Richarlison Calvert-Lewin
L Gomes Gbamin R
Digne Holgate Mina Sidibe

L and R just being the wide midfielders. These are very different to wingers in a 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3, and Walcott might be able to switch on enough to go a half-decent impression of one at times, but he's much more of a forward. Richarlison cannot play that deep, he needs to be up the top end. Bernard also cannot play that deep, he is also better much higher up the pitch. Iwobi again is a forward and not a wide midfielder, having shown how much of a liability he can be when deep.

I think that, even though I think we need 3 players to play the 4-3-3, it will be much easier to put the side right in this formation and get us propelled up the table. I wouldn't be surprised to see Ancelotti go for the 4-4-2 double six using the same team as for the 4-4-2 but having two of Bernard, Sigurdsson and Iwobi in central positions ahead of Delph and Davies (deputising for Gomes and Gbamin):

Richarlison Calbvert-Lewin
Bernard Iwobi
Delph Davies
Digne Holgate Mina Sidibe

Jerome Shields
62 Posted 25/12/2019 at 22:55:29
Steven #62,

I agree that Ancelotti will go with 4-4-2, and select the players you predict. The worry will be Burnley setting up shop, and the fact that Arsenal, though a poor team, did successfully set up shop and gain a foothold in midfield with similar tactics to Leicester, restricting Everton to no shots on target.

Ancelotti will want better possession and want quality ball to forwards to lay off. He will also wants more speed /movement in midfield, with better quality possession. Minimising errors will be a priority.

His substitutions will be interesting. I expect Keane to play a part and would not be surprised if Niasse come on. He will want increased firepower.

Danny O'Neill
63 Posted 25/12/2019 at 23:08:44
Firstly, best wishes Darren and to all fellow blues.

On changing your view; no problem in this camp with that. I was fully behind Moyes in the first 2 thirds of his reign because I totally got that is what we needed at the time. I got frustrated towards the end with the lack of ambition & changed my view on him; surrendering in the semi final against Liverpool was the point that tipped me. Many of my generation participated in the "Kendall must go" leaflet campaign in late 1983 yet were worshiping him as an absolute God 12 months later. Changing your view is simply a sign of following the club with heart & passion, calling them out when it's not right & applauding them when it is, regardless of who the manager or players are. That's true support; like a marriage right??!!

A couple of thoughts on some of the themes discussed earlier. I believe we do have a group of talented players who could get into some top teams. As others have previously stated, it can come down to how they are coached, motivated, physically & mentally prepared as well as how the team is organised. Like I've said on other threads; ability alone won't win. But then passion & desire (Dunc style), will sadly only get you so far. It has to be a blend of all of the above; that's what winning teams do & possess.

With that in mind, the would or wouldn't get into Liverpool's team discussion; Digne or Milner? Gomez or Henderson? In terms of footballing ability, and genuinely without my blue tinted glasses on, I'm opting for our boys. It goes back to the manager. Let's be honest, 3 years ago who honestly would have touched Henderson with a barge pole? But, motivated, coached & inspired; surrounded by players in a winning system with a winning mentality, the guy now has now lifted the Champion's League above his head.

So, we have a very good squad of talented players when all fit. Yes we need an experienced striker & central defender for depth, but a squad that despite failings at managerial level has still managed to hit the 7th/8th glass ceiling the past few seasons.

Now we have a genuine top drawer manager. I hope that finally, we have someone who can inspire an underperforming squad in the short term to perform to his standards and then add that missing ingredient that breaks the 7th/8th glass ceiling that we keep bruising our heads on. Sorry to revert to the painfully obvious, but Klopp & Liverpool anyone??

Danny O'Neill
64 Posted 25/12/2019 at 23:13:43
I said a few months ago Steve, we need to play the formation to suit the players we have, not try to make the players we have fit the formation the manager wants to play. It sounds simple, but it's so true.

The much maligned 4-2-3-1 is actually one of the most complete systems in the modern game, IF you have the players to play it. The German national team mastered it and won the World Cup with it.

I agree with you, with the players we have now, 4-3-3 would be the best option.

As with anything in the modern game, it has to be fluid, and whilst not quite NFL, your formation needs to morph depending on whether you have possession & are in attack compared to when you lose the ball & go defensive.

I think that's where Carlo's adaptability will become apparent.

Bob Parrington
65 Posted 25/12/2019 at 03:28:10
Festive Season Greetings to all fellow TWebbers. Here's hoping you had a great Christmas Day!

Danny@64 I very much agree with you. Carlo's just taken over and has had little time to drill the players he has been handed. He should talk with Duncan and others about players' strengths and weaknesses as well as what he has picked up from watching recent games. Then play them accordingly to gain some quick points in the bag and then firm up on what he needs to add and delete to build the team formation he really wants.

I'm looking forward to today's game.

Eddie Dunn
66 Posted 29/12/2019 at 13:35:03
Darren, it's a good article and reflects your wish for the new guy to succeed. I felt the same way about Silva, never my choice but always wanted him to turn things around.
I think we have been lucky with the timing of this appointment and having just been home in merseyside for a week an those Koppites are pissed-off with him coming to little old us.
While they navel-gaze at their world championship medals, let's hope we can sneak up the league and surprise them in the cup.
I still think that we missed an opportunity this season with European places up for grabs but at least we seem to have settled down and now look much better.

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