Canaries in the coal mine portend the death of Silva's Everton tenure

By Lyndon Lloyd 23/11/2019 33comments  |  Jump to last
Everton 0 - 2 Norwich City

At the end of another dreary first half at Goodison Park, you were left with the feeling that we, as Evertonians, were just biding our time… for Theo Walcott to be substituted around the 70-minute mark; for Alex Iwobi to come on like a fortnight ago and make the kind of telling contribution that makes a mockery of his selection among the substitutes and Gylfi Sigurdsson’s deployment in the No 10 role; for Silva to throw on Dominic Calvert-Lewin either in place of or addition to Cenk Tosun, etc…

Mostly, though, it felt like the Everton fraternity is simply marking time until Marco Silva’s time is up and the Board put a merciful end to a failed tenure. By 5pm this evening, that timescale appeared to have compressed dramatically with the Portuguese’s future at Goodison Park now to be measured if not in hours then perhaps days after a 2-0 defeat that was shocking even by the dreadful standards already set this season.

Many Blues expected Silva to pick up three points against a Norwich side who came into the match rock bottom, eke out a few points from a daunting December programme and limp his way to May where, maybe, the Everton hierarchy would make a bold decision to replace him with someone more experienced and more qualified.

Now, there is an urgency about the managerial situation at Goodison with the team in danger of spiralling out of control in a manner evoking the death throes of Ronald Koeman and Roberto Martinez’s reigns. Indeed, there was a very “last days of Martinez” feel to this match after Norwich took a second-half lead and the dread set in that not only would Everton not recover but, just like Sheffield United did in September, the Canaries would complete the job with a late second.

That they, of course, did and it triggered a chorus of loud boos and a rapid emptying of the stands as disgusted fans poured out into the streets around Goodison amid a crushing sense of collective deja-vu while many of those who remained to the bitter end made no secret of their feelings.

That Everton always provide accommodating opposition for any team or player struggling through a poor run is the stuff of gallows humour and social media meme but after two wins and a draw since the frustrating events at Brighton last month, there can’t have been many Blues who foresaw what unfolded today.

Norwich arrived on Merseyside without an away win, just a single goal on their travels since they regained promotion and a stench of the doomed about them. But they matched Everton in a dull first half and should really have gone into the interval a goal to the good when Onel Hernandez was played in behind the centre-backs but was foiled by Jordan Pickford.

By full-time, they had run rings around a desperately poor Toffees outfit, carved them open to score their first in the 55th minute, added a somewhat fortunate but predictable second in stoppage time and were just a Teemu Pukki goal — after a flying start in the top flight, the Finn was seven games without a goal — from putting the cherry on top of the “Everton, That” cake.

In his post-match comments, Silva blamed a lack of intensity, mobility and pace in his team’s game but they were a direct consequence of a team selection that was, on its face, a safe one based on the win at Southampton but which had the pedestrian Sigurdsson as its attacking fulcrum. Frankly, the Iceland international isn’t worth a place in the side let alone the captaincy and yet not only was he handed the honour of leading the side out, he played the whole game. Never mind that it was Iwobi’s introduction that was the catalyst for the victory at St Mary’s Stadium or that the mercurial Nigerian has always played with an energy, purpose and directness about his game since arriving from Arsenal.

Shorn of options elsewhere by the injuries to André Gomes, Fabian Delph and Jean-Philippe Gbamin, Silva had to use another lead-footed midfielder in the form of Morgan Schneiderlin but he might have been regretting even that decision as the Frenchman ambled behind the play while Pukki managed to squirm away from Yerry Mina and Mason Holgate before prodding the ball to Todd Cantwell who had time and space to pick his spot past Pickford for the opening goal.

Up front, despite turning in a distinctly average display a fortnight ago, Tosun was the beneficiary of Silva’s reluctance to change his starting XI but was fortunate to stay on the pitch for the duration this afternoon after offering almost nothing up front. Instead, it was Djibril Sidibé, admittedly poor on the day but no worse than anyone else, who came off and Seamus Coleman was thrown on for reasons best known to the manager. The “present and future of Everton”, an Italian teenager who must be wondering where he went wrong in life, remained on the bench.

After all of his three subs were on the pitch, Silva had more or less the same 4-2-4 formation as against Sheffield United but despite Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s industry and some intermittent penetration from Iwobi, they looked just as likely to score as they did against the Blades.

Indeed, in the end, while the statistics will show that the hosts had seven shots on target, with a further handful charged down, only one of them, a Tosun effort across Tim Krul from a lovely Iwobi pass, was the only one that forced a meaningful save from the opposition keeper.

Tosun had lashed a shot wide in the first period and Walcott’s ball across the face of goal had fizzed just beyond Richarlison’s out-stretched boot while at the other end, Schneiderlin’s vital deflection of a Cantwell half-volley perhaps saved Everton from going into the break a goal down.

There was a strong sense that Silva needed to make a change at the break, something the manager himself alluded to in his post-match interview, but despite Pukki getting in behind the defence and being shut down by Lucas Digne’s covering challenge, he delayed because the Blues had a brief flurry of increased tempo and pressure on the Canaries’ goal early in the second half.

A trio of shots were blocked by Norwich’s dogged defence but the pendulum swung dramatically the other way moments later when Cantwell was put in to make it 1-0. And were it not for Sam Byram making a hash of a glaringly free header five minutes after that, it would have been 2-0.

Sigurdsson had a couple of shots from the edge of the box that were aimed more or less straight at Krul and Davies had a dipping shot from distance but that didn’t unduly trouble the Dutch keeper either and there was a general lack of authority, belief and effectiveness about Everton’s attacking play.

It was that bad, so disorganised, passionless, lethargic and lacking in leadership that even if they had managed to rescue a point, it wouldn’t have been enough to dampen the growing sense that Silva’s week-to-week case for remaining in the post now needs to come to a definitive end.

The Board should now act — it must — and perhaps only the lack of immediately viable and available candidates has prevented them from doing so thus far. And further delay is surely just postponing the inevitable.

Follow @EFCLyndon

Reader Comments (33)

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Anthony Newell
1 Posted 23/11/2019 at 22:45:45
Everton's managerial tragicomedy rolls on whilst the anguish of those bastards cementing their Premier League title hardens

Dark, dark days indeed for any Evertonian. Moshiri once said he didn't want Everton fans to be looking back nostalgically, rather looking forward.

Well let's look forward and get rid of this utter numb nuts.

Tony Hill
2 Posted 23/11/2019 at 22:54:13
The farcical Board is a large part of the problem, so nothing they can do will be the solution.
Andy Crooks
4 Posted 23/11/2019 at 23:22:36
Very fine article, Lyndon. I have always taken the view that you are the most patient of Evertonians. Therefore, when you say it is over, it just is. Silva must go. He is dejected, defeated, demoralised and done.
Ken Kneale
5 Posted 23/11/2019 at 23:26:37
Tony I take a similar view. We appear to have an owner with money but little acumen, a chairman whose whole tenure is one of self agrandisation and self serving actions, and a CEO who to date has rarely expressed any comment that offers a clue as to how the appointment was made. Add in a Director of Football whose recruitment is rapidly resembling his bumbling predecessor and you have relegation -relegation - relegation staring you in the face. Sadly, our board are part of the problem which is some statement when you look at the state of the footballing side of the operation.
John Kavanagh
6 Posted 23/11/2019 at 23:33:15
Tony @2. Agree completely. The Board's managerial appointments have been dire with each one worse than the one before. And now they are leaking that they favour the return of Moyes and admire?!!! Mark Legohead Hughes - now mysteriously a firm bookies favourite for the job.

On this basis I can only conclude that the three year plan is to make Everton fold as part of a monster tax/money laundering scam.

Derek Thomas
7 Posted 23/11/2019 at 23:54:07
A new Nadir? no it's the same old one, the same one that used to see the cushions rain down; and it's spelt Shite.

They took the cushions away, but nothing else has changed...oh, maybe the names, but we're still shite...and getting shite-er.

Rob Halligan
8 Posted 23/11/2019 at 00:05:44
Probably one of the most depressing and abject performances I've seen from Everton, and believe me, I've seen a fair few. However, us, as fans, need to keep the faith in the team, maybe not so much the manager, whoever he is. Managers, and players, come and go, but fans don't. We need to stick with the team. It's no good if fans start drifting away in their thousands.

There is one fan who sits not far from me in the upper gwladys, who every week screams his anger and frustration at the team. Nothing wrong with that, except his language is a bit choice, but he's never been spoken too by the stewards. Today though, he was up to his usual, but all he's doing is directing his anger and frustration at the team on the pitch. Some behind him finally snapped and had a go at him. It got so out of hand that the stewards and even police were in attendance. I think this person may have been ejected from the stadium at half time as I couldn't see him in the second half. I certainly didn't hear him. I kind of felt sorry for him if he was ejected, because, as I say, he is only directing his anger and frustration at the team, not any supporters around him.

My point being here, is that us as fans need to stick together and support the team. Once we start falling out with each other and start drifting away from the club, then we will be in serious trouble.

I know loads will say we are already in serious trouble, with or without fans having a go at each other, and I fully understand that, but, as I say, stick with team, keep the faith, and we can come through this.

Joe McMahon
9 Posted 24/11/2019 at 00:10:46
Rob H, have you heard of the phrase Blindfaith?
Paul Columb
10 Posted 24/11/2019 at 00:14:10
Rob...solid words through the angry ether...and from a true blue who's been through thick and thin with your club.
Andrew James
11 Posted 23/11/2019 at 00:19:31
Recent history shows, under Koeman and Allardyce, that if you name Schneiderlin in the side, our midfield is ponderous and abject.

Yet Silva named him. I'd rather have had Davies being the launch pad with Gylfi playing deeper so the former could go through the middle or supply the wings.

Yes, that meant no out and out defensive midfielder but if you are at home against the bottom side, do you really need one?

I am sympathetic about the terrible VAR's that have stitched us up and Gomes being out but today there were no excuses.

The line up was asking for trouble, the subs came too late and our players have lost belief. Why he's brought back Tosun when DCL was gradually progressing is beyond me.

It's sad but he has to go now. Big shame because when I wished the end of our previous 3 coaches, the football had become turgid yet when I watched us at Goodison during the last 3 months of last season, we were lovely to see.

Rob Halligan
12 Posted 24/11/2019 at 00:20:36
I have Joe, and maybe I'm one of the "glass half full" type. I attend every match home and away, as do a good few thousand others, and I always go with the belief that we can get a result, otherwise what is the point in going, spending hundreds, sometimes even thousands of pounds each season, if you can't think, believe, that the team can produce something and get a result?

If fans want to drift away and stop supporting the club, then that's their choice.

Michael Lynch
13 Posted 24/11/2019 at 00:23:31
From the Upper Bullens I didn't appreciate just how fucking pathetic Mina's challenge was for their first goal. Marco Silva is a poor manager in my opinion, and has to shoulder the blame for the abject performances by the team as a whole, but the players should be docked a month's wages for today's performance. Gutless, couldn't give a fuck, miserable showing from every one of them.
Mark Guglielmo
14 Posted 24/11/2019 at 00:26:39
I don't get the "Brands recruitment has been poor" sentiment in the least, but...opinions and all.

Joe @9, great band :)

Andrew @11, I'd prefer if Sigurdsson never played another game as a Blue. I can't think of more than 10 minutes this year he was worthy of being on the pitch. Fond memories of last year are distant indeed.

Anyway, I'm nitpicking. First Silva goes, then all the Koeman/Walsh signings. Let's start there.

Paul Jones
16 Posted 23/11/2019 at 00:44:29
I chose to miss this game so certain was I that ignominious defeat was inevitable that decided would rather go and watch City of Liverpool. Watched it on MOTD and the keystone kop defending reminded me of the final games of the Mike Walker era. It puzzles me why our board were so desperate to appoint Silva given his abysmal points haul at Hull and Watford.

Moyes and Mark Hughes allegedly being touted from within the board is grim reading and would not be surprised to see Phil Neville added to some nightmare ticket.

It strikes me what we now need is someone with a good proven track record of being able to manage a football club with a dysfunctional board . Therefore sadly Rafa Benitez would seem to be the outstanding candidate in the circumstances.
Dick Fearon
17 Posted 23/11/2019 at 00:49:27
Lyndon, what a concise brilliant summary of what went wrong and what to do about it.

I would just add that to suggest we do not deserve this kind of soul destroying rubbish is wrong. Look no further than across Stanley Park to see how an angry motivated crowd can force changes. Is it the case that we are not as passionate about our club as they are about theirs?

The mere mention of Benitez elicits an out pouring of small minded argument.
Jay Harris
18 Posted 24/11/2019 at 04:49:23
Having spent the last 12 hours in a state of numb depression I still cant bring myself around to how we let a team that have only scored 1 goal away all season beat us 2-0.

Then I saw the light Kenwright gets locked up for fraud, Moshiri gets locked up for money laundering and Silva gets arrested for falsely taking over somebody else's identity(I.e. a premier league manager). They are all forced to pay massive compensation to the club and the supporters for years of deceit. DBB gets a job in the soup kitchens and Brands joins the Dutch diplomatic corps.

The club brings in an English speaking manager who runs the whole club with no interference from the board. and the players respond because they now understand what is expected of them instead of pretending to understand the gobbleydook that was put to them before.

Then I woke up and started reliving the nightmare.

Phil Sammon
19 Posted 24/11/2019 at 05:17:34
Dick 17

‘The mere mention of Benitez elicits an out pouring of small minded argument.’

Why is it ‘small minded’ to object to a man who went out of his way to denigrate our club?

I find it quite depressing that so many people would willingly appoint someone who obviously has no respect for the club.

Moyes, Hughes, Benitez...if these are the options then I am not holding out much hope for the future.

Mark Andersson
20 Posted 24/11/2019 at 06:47:07
So the cowboy with no gun is being touted to be the sheriff again. Only in this crazy blue town were the citizens live in hope and fear that the shriff with no gun can run the baddies out if town and bring back the good old days.

Fear not citizen's sheriff Moyes is older wiser and harder... The towns myher will give him the gold to buy the best possy to help rid our selves from the bad neighbours in red...

Paul Kelly
21 Posted 24/11/2019 at 07:08:17
It's sad Rob, what you say, in regards to fans arguing with each other and being ejected (possibly), just expressing views but they all have Everton at heart,but it's what having a shit manager does to people!!!!
Paul Tran
22 Posted 24/11/2019 at 07:29:09
Nail on head from Lyndon. Like a good songwriter, the bigger the upset the better you write!

He must go after that. Can't believe I've woken up and they haven't binned him. Or are they finalising his replacement?

Tony Everan
23 Posted 24/11/2019 at 07:43:45
Lyndon, a few weeks ago it was '' Marco Silva enters the death spiral''

He has now gone through the event horizon and has entered the black hole.

There is no escape now for him, it's over.

I hope they are promising the earth to Pochettino as we speak , Nil Satis and all that.

Frank Sheppard
24 Posted 24/11/2019 at 08:54:37
As a manager he can quickly convert good players into bad, and a club associated with passion and pride, into a club associated with relegation.
Tommy Coleman
25 Posted 24/11/2019 at 09:42:55
What are the Board waiting for? We're going to be in the bottom 3 by Xmas.
Dick Fearon
26 Posted 24/11/2019 at 10:19:45
Phil @ 19,
Rather than querying Benitaz's words and demonstrating where he was wrong you label him as an enemy. Could you please provide examples of our claim to not being a small club. I will start you off with our magnificent history and our er', er' sorry Phil now you are on your own.
Don't mention the Hamper man or Boys pen Bill and his shonky tax dodging mates. Nor should you remind us of Kings Dock fiasco nor the even bigger farce of an off the shelf stadium as part of Tesco'sKirkby shopping centre nor knives to a gun fight and the list of phony managers and their signing of expensive misfits. After musing over that list of soul destroying failures rather than shooting the messenger I challenge you to state why and where Benitez was wrong when he used those words.
What this club desperately needs is a proven succesful manager who speaks the truth and knows how to fix problems.
The very last thing we need is another chancer.
Bill Fairfield
27 Posted 24/11/2019 at 10:36:17
What a shambles our club has become an absolute laughingstock with the prospect of limping along with this fraud
Steve Carse
28 Posted 24/11/2019 at 19:47:11
I can't understand all this backing for Benitez. Personally I don't care that he's an ex-RS manager or that he seems to have made a negative comment on our standing in the game. Rather the reason I wouldn't want him at Everton is because he's a poor manager.
His type of football is excruciating -- ask the Geordies. He's playing an outdated mode of football. I'm at a loss as to where all this 'great manager' stuff comes from. He's took teams down a Division in both Spain and England. Basically his reputation in England stems from the once in a lifetime fluke in Istanbul in 2005. Even there he was saved by an injury to one of his favourite selections that forced him to introduce a more tactically suitable player. And, according to RS legend, it was Gerard and not Benitez who gave the morale raising HT talk to the side.

I accept the trophies he has won elsewhere over his career but I just don't see him as suitable to our needs.

Dick Fearon
29 Posted 24/11/2019 at 21:45:58
According to Wickipaedia here are some of Rafa's achievements:

He is the only manager in history to have won the UEFA Europa League, UEFA Super Cup, UEFA Champions League, and the FIFA Club World Cup. His Teams may have earned other trophies but any unbiased person would have to agree that the above alone is more than enough to earn a place among the worlds best managers.

He may have led Newcastle to relegation but that fate was expected long before he took over. He did, however, lead them back to the Premier League the following season. As for the Gerard legend, until it is verified by independent witnesses, it will be no more than a legend.

He left Liverpool and Barcodes after disputes with the two cancers and Mike Ashley. What is clear is the majority of Liverpool and Barcode fans did not want him to leave.

Since age 10, and for the following 70 years, I have been a passionate Everton supporter. It is for that reason I want only the best for the club and Rafa by any football standard is in that category. I sincerely ask you and others of a similar mind to not let his time at Anfield, successful though it was, cloud your judgement.

Rob Young
30 Posted 24/11/2019 at 22:07:19
Benitez letsz his teams play horrible, defensive football. Even across the park, they may have had success but were a terrible team to watch.

And if you think Moyes was scared of the top teams, Benitez at Newcastle didn't even want to play them at all. 11 men back deep in his own half for 90 minutes against Man City. How often did he have to defend his negative tactics. We'll be terrible to watch, again.

Maybe the Toon Army liked him mostly because he seemed to dislike Ashley, like them?

Paul Jones
31 Posted 24/11/2019 at 22:15:22
I mentioned Benitez as an example of someone who achieved relative success despite having dysfunctional owners at Valencia, Liverpool, and Newcastle United. It would appear if he was appointed at Everton, then his reception would be similar to that he had at Chelsea or George Graham at Spurs.

However do need someone who can work with difficult/naïve owners and a fan base that will need a lot of boxes ticked. Joe Royle and Howard Kendall found they could not match all expectations all of the time. Messiahs don't come that often but the owners and board should be competent enough to see when something is failing, unlikely to be fixed and source a suitable appointment.

For me Eddie Howe and Nuno Espirito have experience of managing in the division and being competitive with less resources than available to Silva. A move to a club with our ambition but dealing with immediate danger would probably work for both parties.

Ray Roche
32 Posted 24/11/2019 at 22:25:00
I mentioned on the other Moyes thread that Everton approached Benitez when he was at Newcastle. So did Leicester. He chose to stay – out of “emotion” – or loyalty. This was in an interview with the Sunday Times.

He will eventually come back to the Premier League because his wife wants him to. She is still in the family home on the Wirral.

Stephen Davies
33 Posted 24/11/2019 at 22:27:43
Paul #31,

We looked at Nuno...

It was reported he turned us down.

Dick Fearon
34 Posted 24/11/2019 at 23:56:07
Ray @32,
If as you say, Rafa's wife wants him to return to the PL and his family is happy living in the Wirral
It would be a really good draw card for him to sign for us.
Those reasons could be the only way we could get a manager of his calibre.
Neville Jones
35 Posted 25/11/2019 at 17:40:27
It looks as if it’s only when he goes. You should not keep a manager hanging on. He should have been sacked after the game. It is only fair on him and the supporters.

Moshiri is almost entirely responsible for getting him at great cost in the 1st place, Silva has had some nice moments but to me this was a self fulfilling prophecy and was the wrong appointment from the start.

Moshiri’s dilatoriness has meant that Mourinho is not available so yet another sign Moshiri lacks a footballing brain.

What should worry us are some of the names on the list, mainly Mark Hughes and Benitez. The idea that Mark Hughes could be considered as a manager of our club fills me with dread and a sense of doom. If you want relegation, then he is your man.

Benitez, better than Hughes but you could say that about any randomer walking down the street. His days of success have gone and not someone with vision for the future. Whilst he was at Liverpool, he seemed to have a scattergun method of buying players. He would bring players in with a great fanfare only for them to be never seen again and then sold. He is not the man for us.

Eddie Howe, manages a club that has no ambition but does a job but has he got it in him to take us on to the top 5/6? Clearly, if mid table is what you want for the club, (after keeping the team safe in the short term) great.

Arteta, possibly a good long term appointment but he has not managed anybody so he would be a real gamble. We don’t know what his underlying philosophy is and he is completely untried. Actually, you would probably better giving the job to Dunc or even Rhino who know the club.

Finally, David Moyes, has he had previous management experience, yes. Most of all, with Everton. Does he have vision, yes but has not been able to bring in players because of a lack of resources to fulfil that. Is he recognisant of the need to build a team on a sound defence, yes. Can he motivate the squad, yes. Is he strong and firm if needed, yes. Does he have a strong and good record on transfers, yes. I will only mention one name, Tim Cahill. Seems to me the obvious choice.

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