When it comes to our teams and thinking ahead, so much is preconditioned by what’s gone on in the preceding years.
When teams sack a manager, often they’ll go for someone completely different to their predecessor, and you hear the same points from disgruntled fans all the time.
An attacking manager who leaves his team open at the back will be axed and supporters will be desperate to shore things up. “Not really fussed about the style, you know. Just want results at this point.”
And when a pragmatic defensive manager isn’t bringing the entertainment? “Not really fussed about the results, you know. Want to enjoy going the match again.”
The clubs that don’t adhere to a strict set of overarching principles in terms of style often lurch between those two different standpoints. It’s often a short-term appeasement before frustration and apathy kick in.
And then a clean break and the search for a new coach.
Everton have probably adhered to that back and forth more than any other side in the Premier League in recent years. From David Moyes, to Roberto Martinez, to Ronald Koeman, to Sam Allardyce, to Marco Silva. There’s no common thread running through those coaches.
And we’re at the point again. At that point where knives are out, fans are turning, and the club feels on the brink of another major decision.
Everton have lost four Premier League games in a row, five of their last six in the top flight and are in the bottom three. All after what was statistically the easiest start of any side in the division.
Silva is under pressure. He’s topping the odds charts when it comes to the next manager to get sacked. Deservedly so.
But he’s still here.
So, what now?
While it’s been discouraging to see Everton stumble from one strategy to the next in recent years, trying so hard to avoid the pitfalls of previous managers that they’ve gone too far the other way, there is a lesson to be learned from the last time they found themselves in this situation.
After sacking Koeman in October 2017, they didn’t appoint Allardyce until the last day of November. To remove the Dutchman was seemingly a decision made on impulse by a club without contingency in mind.
The subsequent sleepwalking that followed prompted them into getting a relegation-avoiding specialist and a grim march to May with a misfit at the helm followed.
This time, you’d like to think some cooler heads will prevail at Goodison Park.
Majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri is not as green in his role running the football club as he was when sacking Koeman, whereas director Marcel Brands—who has received some flak for doing some incomplete summer business—still feels like a steady sounding board.
Those factors are likely to give Silva some time to try and pull this around for Everton, something which he has done previously in fairness.
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— THE BLUE ROOM (@TheBlueRoomEFC) October 8, 2019
After a torrid winter, Everton needed an international break to regroup, refine some ideas and get back in form. Of course, Silva will hope the current domestic football hiatus can provide a similar springboard.
Going to that well and pulling this side back from the brink again will be a huge challenge for the Portuguese though, as will changing the perceptions of supporters.
West Ham next weekend is obviously a crucial game. But even if Everton win, it doesn’t feel as though the coach will accrue too much favour ahead of the Brighton fixture a week later.
Should the Toffees’ rotten away form extend to the Amex stadium, the pressure will be intense on the coach again.
At this point, result after result after result after result feels needed.
With that in mind, you can guarantee there will be some at the club keen to cut ties. After all, if Silva isn’t convincing the people at the top—and why would he be given current results? —then what’s the point in going further down the path with him?
Everton will be wary of putting the club in a similar place to what they were in two years ago though, a spell that gashed open some of the wounds they’re still trying to heal.
Some calmer thinking is likely to prevent the club from taking decisive action in the coming days and that’ll give Silva a change to galvanise this team again.
But with that same calmer thinking will come forward planning and names will no doubt be getting mentioned by key figures at the football club as possible successors to the current boss.
Should it come to that, it’s about time the Toffees got one of these calls right.
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