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Direction and Identity are top of Everton’s Christmas list

Direction and Identity are top of Everton’s Christmas list

A month has passed since Ronald Koeman was relieved of his duties at Goodison Park, and yet we are still no closer to knowing who will take up the reins as his full-time replacement.

A lot of speculation has been made in the press over two men in particular who have both made storming starts to the season with their respective clubs. But who, if either will be unveiled as the next Everton manager.

Photo by Sandro Schuh on Unsplash

The men in question? Sean Dyche of Burnley & Marco Silva of Watford.

Two men with contrasting methods and approaches to coaching but both who have proven to be shrewd tacticians and have excelled at getting their teams to perform to the best of their abilities consistently this season.

Make no bones about it, one of Everton’s biggest problems with their pedestrian approach to this campaign is a major lack of identity. Mr Moshiri splashed the cash in the summer almost £150m of it, but for what?

By not adequately replacing hitman Romelu Lukuku and almost bulk buying No.10’s has left the Everton squad looking very thin in certain departments.

The toffees historically have been a club that has used its fullbacks well, with the crossing threat of Leighton Baines and the acceleration of Seamus Coleman as key figures.

The gamble to sign Wayne Rooney & Gylfi Sigurdsson hasn’t worked so far. Koeman hoped that they could dovetail off each other, instead, they have clashed, with both wanting to lead and dictate the tempo of games.

Photo by Brendan Church on Unsplash

Someone needs to decide what direction the club is going to go from here before relegation becomes a real prospect.

Let’s take a deeper look at the two men who have been made the bookies’ favourites.

Marco Silva

If Messrs Kenwright & Moshiri want a quick fix, Silva is your man. He has breathed new life into Watford. After a lacklustre season under Walter Mazzarri, Watford fans are now having the time of their life, what a contrast of emotions.

In a matter of months, Silva has taken a team who narrowly avoided relegation to arguably the most improved side in the league. He’s re-installed fight and passion to an uninspiring Watford and made smart signings like the impressive Richarlison and Will Hughes.

They play expansive football, it’s fast, dynamic and end-to-end action. It’s been all positive for Watford fans this season bar the 6-0 home defeat at the hands of Manchester City.

Watford FC Formation. Image courtesy of Fantasy Premier League

It’s clear to see that Silva is an ambitious man who has big plans for his future, so the opportunity to take over at Everton, a club with a glorious history, a fantastic fan base and an owner who backs his manager must be incredibly appealing. Only time will tell if he leaves the Hornets, but Watford fans must know that his time at Vicarage Road is numbered, as his stock continues to rise with each victory.

So far in his short managerial career at Watford, Silva has favoured flooding the midfield with a solid back three in defence which can allow the more creative players such as the aforementioned Richarlison to wreak havoc on the opposition. A big difference to Watford this season compared to last is the intensity which Marco Silva has installed, they are also getting many more touches on the ball.

Jose Holebas was the only Watford player to break into the Premier League top 50 for touches during last season’s campaign, and he came 40th in the list. This season Abdoulaye Doucoure is taking Watford to new levels, sitting 11th in the same listing.


Sean Dyche 

Man of the moment Dyche has certainly proved his doubters wrong. After a superb start to his coaching career with Watford and ensuring their best-placed finish in 4 years, Dyche found himself fall foul of Watford’s ‘manager a season’ approach.

Watford’s loss led to Burnley’s gain. It’s been refreshing to see a manager be given considerable time to set in place his philosophy and tactics and see them come to fruition. Even more impressive is that Burnley stuck with him even after relegation from the Premier League after 1 season, what a decision that has turned out to be.

Burnley currently sit 7th in the league on the same amount of points as Arsenal, quite the turn around from Championship football only a few years ago.

As much as Burnley fans like to dream, Everton would be a major step up for Dyche. He would bring with him a stability that Everton crave, but without the attacking gusto and intensity that Silva would install.

He’s made his Burnley sides hard to beat and often praised for their herculean effort in terms of distance covered in games. Although sometimes it’s fair to say style has been sacrificed for the result, something Everton supporters would relish to see now from their beloved Toffees.

Do the Everton board go down the pathway towards attacking flair or welcome the stability that Sean Dyche will undoubtedly bring with him.

If it was my decision I’d go for Silva, but make sure he signs a very long-term contract because it won’t be long until Europe’s elite will come calling for Marco.


She-FA: Why you should now invest in women’s football

As you’ve probably heard, FIFA is in a bit of a state. However, amid the corruption and scandals, there has been one gem of positive news to emerge in the past few days, women teams will be included in FIFA 16!

This autumn, gamers will be able to play as 12 international female teams. This is just the beginning too with a wide collection of player’s stats being collated as we speak. Domestic leagues are not far away.

Soon gamers will be able to play as Ellen White and Steph Houghton.

Soon gamers will be able to play as Ellen White and Steph Houghton.

The first question on many people’s lips is why has this taken so long? One simple answer would be to suggest the gross institutionalised misogynism at FIFA and other national governing bodies.  This would be fairly accurate, considering FIFA’s soon to be dethroned president Sepp Blatter has suggested women’s football would be more popular if they wore shorter skirts.

Even in the UK, it’s not been too long since Andy Gray’s dismissal for making offside jokes at the expense of a female official. At first glance, it would be easy to suggest the sport will only succeed once the sport is taken seriously and this isn’t untrue. The first step is to give women every opportunity that the male version has and that’s where the problem has arisen.

The sport at present fails to draw the crowds of men’s matches. This results in a lack of sponsorship, TV rights and funding. Without the funding, the majority of female footballers can only ever become semi-pro and thus cannot reach their potential. In perspective, most conference teams (5th Division) are fully professional. Without this funding, awareness of the sport cannot be raised and therefore women will continue to struggle to balance a full-time job with their footballing career.

Although it’s early stages, the FIFA inclusion has the potential to be one of the best things to happen to the women’s football. People have downplayed how significant the addition is, which is a mistake. At present, FIFA is one of biggest sport franchises on the planet, shifting 2.6 million copies in the UK last year alone. These gamers are ready-made football fans, no conversion from another sport needed. All they need is a push the right direction. With the introduction of just a few teams, each team will gain a colossal boost in awareness from the regular gamers. Once they find favourite players amongst the teams (and they will), the demand for television rights and match tickets are certain to rocket. The time is now to invest.

The sport has already gone a long way in the past few years. Since their impressive Olympic performances the women’s team, led by Manchester City’s captain Steph Houghton, the sport has never been more popular. With additional exposure, the brand of women’s football is set to increase phenomenally, with the potential to grow even more when the domestic leagues are introduced.