Sean Dyche has been appointed as the new manager of Everton. The 51 year old Englishman had been out of work since being sacked by Burnley last April, but the Merseyside club have identified him as the man who can keep the Merseyside club in the Premier League, their number one priority this season.
It is also hoped that he can heal some of the rifts that have opened up at the club, with the fans deeply unhappy at the majority owner Farhad Moshiri, and his fellow directors.
There have been protests before, during and after games, the directors and their families have been subject to widespread abuse on social media and Chief Executive Denise Barrett-Baxendale was put in a headlock by one irate fan after a recent game.
Dyche takes over after Frank Lampard was sacked following their last Premier League defeat away at West Ham. That left the Merseyside club 19th in the table, only kept off the bottom on goal difference.
He is the seventh manager since Moshiri acquired majority ownership of the club in 2016, and has been given a two and a half year contract.
Dyche had a long professional career as a player, making more than 450 appearances as a centre-half for a variety of clubs in the lower leagues of English football, including Chesterfield Town, Millwall, Watford, and Northampton Town.
He began his managerial career with Watford, before moving to Burnley, where he was to remain for the next decade.
During his time there, he guided the Lancashire club to two promotions form the Championship, and two top half finishes in the Premier League, including a first European qualification for 51 years.
He also consistently helped keep them in the Premier League, despite having a much smaller budget at his disposal than most of his rivals.
He was dismissed towards the end of last season, with the club in the relegation zone, although the decision was highly criticised at the time, with many believing that he as the best man to keep them up. They subsequently went down.
The style of play that he employed at Burnley was not one for the purists It was based on a physical approach with the midfield often by=passed in favour of lumping the ball forward to two target men up front.
Some have argued that this style has prevented him being offered another job until now, although Dyche apologists would argue that this was the most effective way of playing with the resources at his disposal at Burnley.
Give him better players and a bigger budget, and he could play a more expansive brand of football.
The next few months could decide the argument one way or the other.
Goals a big issue
One of Everton’s major failings this season has been their inability to score goals. They have just 15 in the Premier League so far, and only Wolves have a worse record.
They sold Brazilian forward Richarlison to Tottenham for £60 million, but have never adequately replaced him, and whilst Dominic Calvert-Lewin is one of the best forwards in the league on his day, he is continually having fitness problems.
They thought they had a loan deal worked out for Villarreal forward Arnaut Danjuma, only for Spurs to hijack the deal at the last minute.
Appointing Dyche so close to the transfer window means that he does not have time to put his stamp on any incoming transfer business.
Unless they can find somebody to find the net for them on a consistent basis until the end of the season, they will continue to struggle.
A tough start
Dyche could have wished for an easier start in the Goodison Park hot seat. His reign begins with a visit by the league leaders, Arsenal on Saturday, and the following week it is the derby against Liverpool.
Anything he can get out of either of those two games will be a bonus, and it may be the run of fixtures after that, against teams in the bottom half of the season, that may have a more direct impact on their fate.
By then, Dyche will have had time to get his ideas across and also may have built some rapport with the fans, not all of whom are supportive of his appointment.
It will not be pretty – relegation fights rarely are. However, if there is one man who knows how to conduct them, it is Dyche.
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