Everton are once again looking for a new manager.
After a run of eight Premier League games without a win Frank Lampard has been sacked on Monday, leaving the Toffees in search of a seventh permanent manager since the start of the 2016 season.
But who next? Are the problems deeper than the manager? And what next for Lampard?
“He should have made the most of this team”
When Lampard took over at Goodison Park on January 31 last year, Everton were 16th in the Premier League, six points clear of the relegation zone.
They lost 10 of their remaining 18 games but secured safety with a Return win 3-2 on Crystal Palace and finished 16th.
Brazilian striker Richarlison, who scored 10 league goals last season, has been sold to Tottenham for £60m, but the club have spent over £80m on players like the Belgian midfielder Amadou Onana from Lille for £33 million and Burnley’s Dwight McNeil for £20 million.
They started the season with two defeats then four draws, before a first victory against West Ham on September 18. Only two followed in the next 13, with Lampard sacked following a 2-0 loss in other West Ham wrestlers on Saturday, meaning the Toffees had taken just two points from the last 24.
That left them 19th, above bottom-placed Southampton on goal difference, and two points from safety.
Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Monday Night Club, former Blackburn striker Chris Sutton said: “They had to do something, didn’t they? The club is so toxic. Something thing had to change.
“I think he’s unfortunate in a lot of ways in what he’s taken. I think he did brilliantly last season to keep them going, they haven’t started and there are extenuating circumstances, but the question is, should there have been more of this current squad?I think there is an argument to say that he definitely should have been.
Speaking on Sky Sports, former Manchester United and England right-back Gary Neville said the Everton players “are a shambles” and some of the mistakes they made in the defeat at West Ham were “criminal”.
Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher said the team had “become so easy”, adding: “It’s not just for Frank, it’s also for the players. This group of players is not not good enough, that’s obvious., but they shouldn’t be bottom of the league.
“I always associated Everton, when I was a kid and when I played against them, as a tough place to go. They were uncompromising, aggressive, but they’re the easiest contact in the Premier League now. If you’re on a bad run, you want to play at Everton.”
This is proven by clubs around Everton with West Ham winning for the first time in eight, while Southampton’s only win in nine came at Goodison Park and Bournemouth’s only win in 11 was at home to Everton .
“No global vision” and “the worst club in the country”
There were widespread and vocal protests from fans against the board, and supporters staged a sit-in demonstration following Southampton’s defeat.
Everton Board missed this game due to what the club said was a “real and credible threat to his security”.
Merseyside Police said no threats or incidents were reported to officers ahead of the match before Everton announced “enhanced security procedures” would be put in place.
Everton owner Farhad Moshiri attended his first game in 14 months at West Ham and he suggested when asked by Sky Sports during the game that Lampard’s future was not for him to decide . This led to questions and confusion over who made the decisions and the structure in place at the club.
Rory Smith, New York Times Chief Football Correspondent, speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, said: “There doesn’t seem to be any coherent thoughts, no overall vision, there’s no plan.
“His [Moshiri’s] the dates are slightly, not weird, but they don’t add up. He gives them power but then he has a director of football. Recruitment is a mess. If you look at the money they’ve spent, and there’s been a lot since Moshiri took over, they’ve made some good signings, but they’ve made a lot that just doesn’t make sense. “
Ex-Chelsea player Pat Nevin agreed Moshiri’s managerial appointments are a problem, saying: “If you start looking a bit further, since 2016, the managers they’ve had, who has really been a success? You might say Carlo Ancelotti, but there’s something darker about it and it doesn’t work at Everton on a deeper level.”
Dominic King, Northern football correspondent for the Daily Mail, said Everton’s approach to managers, which hasn’t seen anyone in the past two seasons in the past seven years, was “one way crazy about doing things,” while Sutton added: “Everton are inventing as they go.”
Neville agreed, saying he struggled to understand why a club went from Sam Allardyce to Carlo Ancelotti to Rafael Benitez, pointing out the different playing styles of each.
“They are absolutely everywhere when it comes to football club identity,” Neville said. “They have no identity. They have passed from one spectrum to another, they have no coherence.”
Carragher said Everton contacted him after he called them “the worst club in the country” six to 12 months ago, but he said “I didn’t think I was wrong about that. time and I don’t think I’m wrong now.”
“He would have to be a genius” – who could take over?
Former Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa is on the shortlist to replace Lampard with Moshiri known to be a fan of the 67-year-old. However, it’s unclear if the Argentine would accept a move mid-season.
Sean Dyche, unemployed since he sacked by Burnley last April, is likely to be discussed.
Former Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl was discussed by the Everton board during Lampard’s appointment and is available after being ransacked by the saints in November.
They are all in the top five with the bookmakers, alongside former Everton players Wayne Rooney, who is in charge of MLS club DC United, and Duncan Ferguson, who had two brief stints as caretaker manager.
King told BBC Radio 5 Live: “Bielsa is the favourite. I would say he would be a genius if he could get them to play football the way he likes to play football.”
Former Everton captain Alan Stubbs told BBC Radio 5 Live he thought Rooney would like the job and “he is certainly a name that could unite the friction and animosity between the board and the fans”.
Former Toffees striker Kevin Campbell said he thought Dyche’s style of football would “suit Everton and the fans”, adding that “the next fixture will be really important”.
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‘He might need to go abroad’ – what next for Lampard?
Lampard had a 23.68 per cent win rate at Everton, taking three points in just nine of his 38 Premier League games in charge.
He sees the former England midfielder sacked from a second position in the Premier League after duration 18 months at former club Chelsea, where he had a 52.4% win rate.
Sutton said it was “really difficult” to see Lampard “enter into another Premier League job”.
“He may have to cut his teeth overseas or at a Championship club where he thinks he has a chance to grab them,” Sutton added. “He is a determined individual and he will want to succeed. It will have hurt him.”
Nevin agreed, saying: “He would have done absolutely anything he could. He had two of the biggest jobs in the Premier League – he won’t get a big one next time.
“Does he need to do a David Moyes and go overseas? Does he need to rebuild? I don’t know, he’s still kind of a rookie manager.”