By John Dillon | | 6 mins
Will Everton Boss Marco Silva Be The Next EPL Manager To Go?
For Everton, the Promised Land is always just out of reach.
They have been planning a new ground for near enough two decades now, for one example. They were the team of the late Eighties until Liverpool took back that throne and won the Double in 1989, for another.
Now another project aimed at restoring this huge and historic club to the elite teeters on the brink.
Marco Silva, the manager who cost the club £4 million in compensation after they lured him from Watford only last year is facing a calamity after four straight defeats.
The team is in the relegation zone – a stray into which dangerous territory cost the previous permanent manager, Ronald Koeman, his job in 2017.
In another painful example of how the club’s grand plans so often fail to bear fruit, this was supposed to be the season when a big summer spending spree would catapult them into the top six.
It would make them serious rivals for the faltering big guns of Manchester United and Tottenham; members of a rising group of four which would challenge the status quo and also included Leicester City, Wolves and West Ham United.
Instead, they find themselves in 18th place with only two wins, seven points and six goals to their name.
Their visitors this weekend are a much-improved Hammers team – their best for years, in fact – who have the fourth-best away record in the Premier League after one win and three draws on the road this season.
Take all those factors into account and it is little wonder that Silva is the red-hot favourite to be the next Premier League manager to leave his post.
He is in some company from the more-established big outfits at the head of the running.
Latest Sack Race Betting Odds
|Marco Silva (Everton)||-125|
|Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (Man Utd)||+250|
|Mauricio Pochettino (Tottenham)||+400|
|Steve Bruce (Newcastle)||+2000|
Manchester United’s Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is next in line, according to the analysts, with Tottenham’s Mauricio Pochettino in third.
United’s troubles are considered so serious that they are now rated more likely to be relegated at 70/1 (+7000) than to win the Premier League – which is 500/1 (+50000).
Meanwhile, Tottenham’s slide since the Champions League final defeat by Liverpool in June is signalled by the fact that he began the season at very wide 50/1 (+5000) to move on and now has his future is being doubted in some quarters.
But it is Silva for whom the prospects look most bleak, with William Hill pricing him at Evens to go and Betfair pricing him at 5/6 (-120).
Solskjaer, reeling off a defeat at Newcastle last time out and facing a rampant Liverpool side on Sunday, is priced at 5/2 (+250) to depart first.
Meanwhile, Pochettino is being sized up for a change of scenery, too – with Betfair, Paddy Power and Betway all rating him at 4/1 (+400) to be on his way as Tottenham stumble through the Autumn.
Some Everton fans jeered Silva after the most recent defeat – a miserable 1-0 setback at Burnley.
It’s easy to understand the level of disappointment about what was supposed to be a promising season – a hope reflected in the fact that Silva was as long as 16/1 (+1600) for the chop before the campaign began.
Newcastle’s Steve Bruce was the favourite back then before his tenure had even begun competitively. But Watford beat the Toon to the punch and sacked Javi Gracia in September and recalled Quique Sanchez Flores.
Somewhere out there in the ether, however, there is a glorious alternative universe which Everton might have inhabited.
Everton: What Might Have Been
Division One champions under Howard Kendall in 1984-85, they won the European Cup Winners Cup in the same season.
The FA Cup final win of the previous season against Watford marked the start of a glittering period of success for the fabulous team of Graeme Sharpe, Adrian Heath, Kevin Sheedy, Peter Reid and Co.
They won the league again in 1986-87 having been runners-up in both Division One and the FA Cup the previous season.
But Kendall’s champions had been denied entry into the European Cup in 1985-86 because of the ban on English clubs instigated by UEFA following the tragedy at the Heysel Stadium involving Liverpool and Juventus supporters.
Who knows what such a stellar side might have achieved in the major continental competition?
? | Howard Kendall. Legend.— Everton (@Everton) October 17, 2019
We lost the great man four years ago today. His memory will live forever. ? pic.twitter.com/phSOaDJlPv
Who knows what success in the European Cup in that era might have done to establish Everton’s long-term power beyond England?
Kendall left in the summer of 1987 and headed for Athletic Bilbao – frustrated by the European ban.
There were no more trophies until Joe Royle won the FA Cup in 1995. And that is the last piece of silverware to enter the trophy room.
Even David Moyes’ impressive 11 years at the helm between 2002 and 2013 yielded only an FA Cup runners-up spot in 2009, a fourth-place finish in 2005 and consistent finishes between fifth and eighth there-after.
Now, Everton remain the sleeping giant of the North-West football hotbed.
Their size and stature is such that they can plan for an opulent new 52,000-starter at Bramley-Moore Dock which will come under a public consultation process soon.
Toffees in Trouble
But just now, it doesn’t look like there will be a stand named after Silva. Nor after his permanent predecessors Roberto Martinez and Ronald Koeman, who both failed to locate the glory the club’s importance warrants.
In this summer’s spending spree the exciting new attacking signings included the purchase of Alex Iwobi from Arsenal and Moise Kean from Juventus.
But it’s clear the team has suffered from the departure of brilliant defensive midfielder Idrissa Gueye to Paris St Germain and loanee defender Kurt Zouma’s return to Chelsea.
After Gracia’s sacking by Watford, the managerial odds were re-set.
Silva was a comfortably safe 25/1 (+2500) outsider for the exit door back then. Solskjaer and Pochettino, with their problems already taking shape, were 8/1 (+800) and 9/1 (+900) respectively.
However, Everton have lost twice at home since – against Sheffield United and Manchester City – and been beaten at Bournemouth and Burnley during this dismal four-defeat sequence.
Some speculated that Silva might be axed during the international break of the past fortnight – only 16 months after his appointment.
He gets another chance against West Ham on Saturday. But the major owner, Farhad Moshiri, does not have infinite patience.
It was only eight months after he bought into the club in 2017 that Dutchman Koeman was sacked.
A second successive week in 18th place following a 5-2 home defeat by Arsenal proved too much.
Defeat by West Ham would clock up a second week in the current bottom three. There is history lurking in the back-drop to this weekend at Goodison. It could repeat itself.