Everton is mired in a civil war that could end disastrously.
To call Everton a club in crisis would be too kind. The right individuals in control can resolve a situation. Everton is in the midst of a civil war with potentially disastrous results, and it is a reflection of the unrest that the probable outcome for a manager with the poorest win percentage outside of the unfortunate Mike Walker is not taking center stage before the trip to West Ham.
After overseeing Everton’s decline to joint-bottom of the Premier League and 10 losses in 13 games, Frank Lampard returns to his original club on Saturday. Before the league’s upcoming fortnight off, David Moyes, who has 15 points and hasn’t won a league game since late October, is waiting for him. His job is also in jeopardy. The idea that the Scot would reappear at Goodison Park should West Ham split ways is not fanciful.
The possibility of new managerial turmoil is not, however, all-consuming for Evertonians just now.
They have been accused of dictating managerial policy in less than a week by Farhad Moshiri, the capricious owner who felt hiring Sam Allardyce and Rafael Benitez was a good idea, and of acting in a misogynistic, abusive, and threatening manner toward board members by their own club. The grave accusations were leveled on the same day that thousands of Everton supporters participated in a nonviolent sit-in protest. On the advice of the club’s security staff, the chairman Bill Kenwright, chief executive Denise Barrett-Baxendale, chief financial officer Grant Ingles, and non-executive director Graeme Sharp, a club legend, missed the loss to last-place Southampton and the planned protest. They were also the main targets of the protest along with Moshiri.
Merseyside police confirmed that they were in contact with Everton regarding the allegations but noted that no threats or offenses had been submitted to them. The statement also includes a criticism of the team. In order to “guarantee that any future reports are received through existing means,” the police stated that they were in contact. A day after the police statement and an announcement by Everton that they would not comment on “particular prior occurrences,” a club insider reiterated claims that Barrett-Baxendale had been placed in a headlock during an unnamed game in an article published by the Athletic. Nearly a week has passed, and the assertion is still unproven. Nearly a week has passed, and the assertion is still unproven. The only recent proof of Everton supporters acting inappropriately is a video of Yerry Mina and Anthony Gordon being accosted as they left Goodison last Saturday.
The Everton death spiral keeps going. “We are shocked by the Everton board’s recent words and actions, particularly the use of unattributed leaks to the media, that have resulted in great damage to the good name of the club and especially the supporters,” said NSNOW, the protest organizers. The board cannot recover from this in any way. Relations between the owner, board, and supporters were “at an all-time low,” according to the Everton Shareholders’ Association, which hasn’t exactly been a hotbed of revolutionary fervor in the past. The abolition of AGMs has also incensed the organization, which has started an online petition to demand a vote of no confidence in the board. Within the first 24 hours, it received close to 11,000 signatures.
The result of this counterproductive disaster is that Everton has made it more challenging for their manager to do his or her job, and consequently, their own chances of escaping relegation. They have also revealed how Everton has managed and the reasons behind the widespread calls for Moshiri to sell out or enact the changes that were required at the top when he joined the team. Under the British-Iranian millionaire, Everton’s downfall has quickened, but it did not begin with him. When Kenwright, who owed Moyes for keeping Everton competitive on a budget for 11 years, finally located a crucial investor and called Moshiri on board in February 2016, the team was falling behind its Premier League rivals commercially and had three failed stadium bids to its name.
With work on a spectacular arena at Bramley-Moore Dock well underway, Moshiri has at least found a solution to Everton’s stadium dilemma. But he hasn’t yet found the additional funding he needs to finish the project, and it won’t be any simpler now that his team is competing in the Championship. Relegation would result in a fire sale of the team’s possessions and increase the possibility of administration for a club that had cumulative losses of £372.6 million over the previous three sets of accounts that were publicly available. During the Moshiri era, almost £700m has been spent on more than 50 players, with slightly over £400m being recovered through sales. Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, lucrative economic relations with organizations run by the oligarch Alisher Usmanov, a previous business partner of Moshiri, have been severed.
When Everton needed a fresh start, Moshiri maintained the existing quo by letting Kenwright continue to be a powerful chairman. Supporters of Kenwright contend that his influence has been crucial in taming the worst excesses of an impressionable owner who lacks a strategy or plan and regularly heeds bad advice from a select group of loyal agents.
Moshiri’s failure was not due to his own fault. The same is true of Lampard, a respectable man who has refrained from blaming the Everton circus for outcomes that he is aware would lead to disaster. Three league victories this season and nine league victories in the previous 12 months are atrocious records. But if he gets the boot after West Ham, how well can his work at Everton be assessed? When his reconstructed defense and midfield provided a platform earlier in the season, Lampard might have transformed draws into winners and tight defeats into draws. However, Lampard has spent the majority of the season without a proven goalscorer.
Since July 1st of last year, Everton has been aware that Richarlison’s goals needed to be replaced. There have been no signings after three weeks of the January signing period. Aston Villa, Southampton, West Ham, Bournemouth, Wolves, Leeds, Nottingham Forest, and Bournemouth have all improved in the meantime. Lampard wanted to sign Danny Ings, who is already playing for Saturday’s opponents, Kevin Schade, a new striker for Brentford, and Georginio Rutter, a record-breaking acquisition for Leeds.
To “push them over the line” in a passionate battle against relegation last season, Lampard’s support base and a faltering club were united thanks to Everton. By using his club, he booted the crutch away.