Premier League

Everton Cannot Let Sentimentality Rule Again This Summer

Sentimentality is something that runs through the heart of Everton Football Club. With a chairman like Bill Kenwright, a professed ‘boyhood Blue’, it is to be expected. Often that sentimentality is to the club’s benefit, the manner in which they often do things from the heart is to commended in a modern footballing world where football clubs are disconnected from the fans.

At the same time that sentimentality has often been to the club’s detriment.

Players have been retained long after they have served their purpose — think Tony Hibbert, Leon Osman or Tim Howard — while managers have been given more time than they deserved.

Roberto Martinez was one such man, with his time in charge lasting several months longer than it should have in the hope he could turn things around.

That optimism was born from sentimental minds remembering his excellent first season in charge when Everton came within touching distance of breaking the top four once again.

The sentimentality that runs through the club is why there is now a divide over how the club should proceed once this season comes to a close.

Sound bites that fans listen to with earnest

Sam Allardyce will be removed from the job and a new man will come in, while another overhaul of the squad appears to be necessary.

In replacing the veteran boss, the club’s head honchos appear to be divided. Bill Kenwright is believed to be advocating moving for one of ‘Everton’s own’ in the shape of David Unsworth or the current in-vogue coach, Mikel Arteta.

The former is a man who ‘gets the club’ having led the U23 side to the Premier League Two title last season and stepped up admirably to take temporary charge after Ronald Koeman was sacked earlier in the campaign.

During that period Unsworth spoke like a man who loves Everton, referring to the team as ‘we’ and declaring loud and proud the Blues should not be fighting relegation. It was these kinds of sound bites that the watching fans listened to with earnest.

Arteta, meanwhile, is a man whose stock is on the rise by association. Behind the scenes, he is highly rated, a coach who apparently scored the top of his class in every test imaginable.

That was why Pep Guardiola moved quickly to add him to his coaching staff last summer and why he is now being touted as a potential successor to Arsene Wenger at Arsenal despite the fact he has never actually been a manager.

Everton appointing either this summer would be the height of sentimental tomfoolery.

There is no denying both are good coaches in the making, Unsworth, in particular, has already proven himself in the youth setup but neither are ready to manage a Premier League side.

Nor are either ready to take charge and right a ship that is as drastically off course as Everton are.

What Everton need is a man who can clear the club out root and stem, systematically changing it from top to bottom to turn them into a club that is fit for what the owner wants to achieve. In truth, they need their own Mauricio Pochettino.

Upon his arrival at Spurs, Pochettino was given free reign by chairman Daniel Levy to reshape the club in his image.

It was a job he undertook gladly, turning around the playing squad, training regimes, recruitment, analysis and even the way everyone thinks to suit what he wanted to do.

All of this was done not with sentimentality but ruthless efficiency, a strategy that has transformed them into contenders both domestically and in Europe.

Shakhtar Donetsk manager Paulo Fonseca would be the clear choice

Everton need a manager who will show as little sentimentality as Pochettino did and must be similarly unsentimental in finding him. They cannot look back fondly and hand the job to the likes of Arteta or Unsworth simply because ‘they get Everton’.

Instead, they must look for the best option possible and in that regard, Shakhtar Donetsk manager Paulo Fonseca would be the clear choice for most.

His side has impressed many again this season, particularly Guardiola, and it is well known that Farhad Moshiri was eyeing him up after Koeman’s departure.

The Portuguese boss has a raft of experience to his name, has shown he has a tactical plan that works against the best sides in Europe and would be an exciting prospect.

Getting him may be difficult, though, Europe’s top sides will have been watching and taking note of Shakhtar’s successes this season.

Marco Silva will be on the list of candidates for Everton job

That could lead them to Marco Silva instead. Like Fonseca and Pochettino he is a man who has a distinct way of doing things on and off the pitch and would still be enjoying success with Watford because of it had Everton not made their move for him earlier in the season.

Now free of any commitments he is sure to be at least on the list of candidates, although his own ambition and the manner in which things fell apart with the Hornets could go against him.

Whoever it proves to be, there is one thing Everton cannot afford to be when hiring him and that is sentimental.

No longer can they look with a glistening eye to the past, remember the good times and making big decisions based on those emotions.

And that means neither David Unsworth nor Mikel Arteta are the men they should be looking at this summer. Everton simply cannot afford to let sentimentality rule their heads any longer.

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