Euro 2020 Special
 

Lampard Sacked – Who’s Next for the Everton Hot Seat?

To the surprise of almost nobody involved in football, not least himself, Frank Lampard has been sacked as manager of Everton football club. Defeat to West Ham United at the weekend took them to 19th in the Premier League table, just kept off the bottom by Southampton on goal difference.

They are now four points off safety and, with the fans in open revolt, the decision has been made to make the change with the hope that a new face can help steer the club away from relegation.

 

Lampard’s spell at Goodison Park

Lampard lasted just under a year in the job. He was appointed at the end of January last year, tasked with steering them away from relegation last season, which he just managed to do. They finished 16th in the table in the end, four points better off than Burnley, who were the highest-placed team to go down.

This campaign saw him win only three games and draw six in the Premier League, with the team struggling for goals. They have managed 15 in the League, ten less than Erling Haaland has scored by himself for Manchester City.

Lampard’s record at Goodison Park ranks him among the least successful that the club have had in the Premier League. He took charge of 38 Premier League games and won just 9 and drew 8 of them, finishing up with a  points per game ratio of 0.92. Only Mike Walker had a worse record.

 

Lampard has failed to replicate his success as a player

Lampard had a spectacular career as a player, both with England and Chelsea, for whom he remains their all-time top scorer. He won virtually every domestic trophy available during his time at Stamford Bridge, but, like many before him, has found the step up to management bigger than he might have imagined.

His first managerial appointment was with Derby County and he took them to the play-off final at Wembley, where they lost to Aston Villa.

Then he was given the chance to manage his old club Chelsea, but was sacked there after 18 months in charge.

His latest failure will do nothing to enhance his CV.

 

An impossible job?

There are many who will have some sympathy with Lampard, because some regard managing Everton as an impossible job. Despite owner Farhad Moshiri having poured over £500 million into the club in 2016, much of that money has been wasted.

The club are unable to make major acquisitions in the transfer market because they are struggling with Financial Fair Play (FFP) issues, and they have had to sell some of their biggest stars, like striker Richarlison last summer.

They have failed to buy anybody in the January transfer market so far, despite the patent need to add somebody who can score goals to the team.

And the fans are not happy. There have been protests both at home games at Goodison Park and at away fixtures.

Chief Executive Denise Barrett-Baxendale was put in a headlock by one fan after a recent game, and she and fellow directors were subject to torrents of abuse on social media. The entire board missed the recent home game against Southampton after they were advised to stay away on safety grounds.

Everton used to be regarded as one of the biggest clubs in England, but it has been many years since they have had a team capable of challenging at the top end of the table.

Only Arsenal have enjoyed a longer continuous run in the top flight of English football, but, unless something is done to eradicate the slide, this may be the year they finally go down.

 

Who might succeed Lampard?

The current favourite to succeed Lampard is Marcelo Bielsa, the 67-year-old Argentine, who was responsible for ending Leeds United’s long sojourn outside the Premier League before he was relieved of his duties towards the end of the Premier League.

Others believe that Sean Dyche should be given the job, because he kept Burnley in the Premier League for a number of years, despite having a fraction of the money an Everton boss would normally have at his disposal.

Whoever takes the job, though, could find that it is something of a poisoned chalice, and need to prepare themselves for a long and protracted relegation battle in the coming months.

 

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