- Club hoping for permanent manager ‘as swiftly as possible’
• David Moyes strongly linked with return to Goodison Park
Duncan Ferguson has been placed in temporary charge of Everton after Farhad Moshiri, the club’s majority shareholder, made Marco Silva his fourth managerial sacking in under four years.
Silva was dismissed midway through a three-year contract with Everton languishing in the relegation zone after eight defeats in their past 11 Premier League matches.
Moshiri had been reluctant to part company with the Portuguese, an appointment he instigated and ultimately had to pay Watford around £4m in compensation for, but the manner of Wednesday’s shambolic 5-2 defeat at Liverpool proved the breaking point.
David Moyes is the leading candidate to succeed Silva with Tim Cahill under consideration to become the former Everton manager’s assistant. Other possible contenders include Vítor Pereira who was overlooked for the Everton job in 2013. The Portuguese is currently in charge of Shanghai SIPG.
Moyes has been championed for some time by the chairman, Bill Kenwright, despite his poor track record since leaving for Manchester United after his Everton contract expired in 2013. The 56-year-old is available having been out of work since leaving West Ham in May 2018, although he will not be installed before Saturday’s home game against Chelsea. His first game could be away at United on Sunday week.
Ferguson, a first-team coach under several Everton managers, was asked to take temporary charge following a chaotic day that had Moshiri visit Silva in person at the club’s training complex. Neither Moshiri nor Kenwright attended the derby defeat at Anfield but Moshiri travelled from London to visit Finch Farm with fellow board members and the director of football, Marcel Brands.
Silva took training as usual on Thursday before Brands instructed the first-team squad to remain behind for a meeting with Moshiri. The players were not criticised for their part in Silva’s sacking – it is understood the 42-year-old was not mentioned during the meeting – but were asked what the board could do to help improve their performances. The directors reconvened and, six days after Brands gave an in-house interview calling for stability and unity at Goodison Park, Silva was informed his time as the Everton manager was over after 18 months.
He follows Roberto Martínez, Ronald Koeman and Sam Allardyce as managers sacked in Moshiri’s reign – the under-23s’ manager David Unsworth has also taken temporary charge in that time – and leaves with the lowest points-per-game average (1.28) of any Everton manager since Walter Smith, Moyes’s predecessor. Silva won 19 of his 53 league matches at Everton.
In a statement the club said: “Majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri, chairman Bill Kenwright and the board of directors would like to thank Marco for his service over the last 18 months and wish him well for the future. Duncan Ferguson has taken temporary charge of the first team and will manage the side for the game against Chelsea on Saturday. The club aims to confirm a new permanent manager as swiftly as possible.”
Silva paid an inevitable price for bad results and was left a lame-duck manager after Everton fans turned on him following the 2-0 home defeat by Norwich, who were bottom of the table at kick-off, on 23 November. However, there was also recognition within the Everton hierarchy of his misfortune with injuries and VAR decisions, plus a flawed transfer strategy last summer.
Everton spent approximately £117m on players in that time but also recouped £84m from clearing out dead wood inherited from previous managers, plus the reluctant sale of Idrissa Gueye to Paris Saint-Germain. Gueye’s replacement, Jean-Philippe Gbamin, made only two appearances before rupturing a thigh muscle and has yet to resume full training. Another central midfielder, André Gomes, suffered a fracture dislocation to an ankle last month, while Fabian Delph, the summer signing from Manchester City, has been hindered by several injuries.
The failure to replace the on-loan Kurt Zouma in central defence also hindered Silva, who had wanted the Chelsea player’s signing to be a priority, while Brands led the £29m signing of 19-year-old striker Moise Kean from Juventus when the manager wanted a more experienced forward. Kean has started only twice in the league and has not scored in 13 appearances in total for the club.
Everton’s board, of which Brands is a part, has been divided on sacking Silva, and his potential replacements, for several weeks. The club has spent around £450m on players since Moshiri’s arrival in February 2016, recouping just under half of that, but a string of poor purchases and bad appointments have resulted in another fight for survival.