IF there is one consolation for Frank Lampard, as he desperately clings to his job, it is that nobody could reasonably claim Everton’s omnishambles is down to him.
A quick glance at the managers who have tried and failed under Farhad Moshiri’s disastrous Goodison ownership confirms as much.
Toffees’ keeper Jordan Pickford looks dejected as Brighton romp to a 4-1 Prem win at Goodison Park on TuesdayCredit: Reuters
Frank Lampard appears to be going the same way as other big managerial names in recent years at EvertonCredit: Getty
Carlo Ancelotti, the most successful boss in European Cup history.
Rafa Benitez, another Champions League winner.
Marco Silva, the greatest over-achiever in the Premier League this season.
And Ronald Koeman, who would go on to manage Barcelona.
All of them have failed to turn around a club which has become a byword for wasteful mismanagement since Moshiri became Everton’s majority shareholder seven years ago.
More than £600million was wasted on transfers before Lampard’s appointment almost 12 months ago — and yet now Everton’s only realistic aim is to avoid relegation.
With Moshiri bruised from years spent chucking money down the gurgler, and now seeking to get out of the club, Lampard’s net spend last summer was a relatively modest £32m after the sale of star man Richarlison to Tottenham.
The former Chelsea and England midfielder certainly isn’t the root cause of Everton’s deep malaise, yet that doesn’t mean he is the right man to dig them out of another hole.
Tuesday’s shocking 4-1 home thrashing by Brighton was a result, and performance, which smacked of an imminent sacking.
The Seagulls, pound-for-pound the best-run club in the Premier League, dumped all over its worst-run club, with three goals in six minutes representing a new low.
Brighton’s fourth goal — when Everton wasted an attacking free-kick and Idrissa Gueye attempted a lamentable back-pass to let in Pascal Gross — was one of the worst sequences of football you are ever likely to see from a Premier League team.
Everton have won one and lost seven of their last ten league matches and are deep in relegation danger for a second successive season.
Lampard, once schooled by Jose Mourinho, is capable of setting up a team to defend and frustrate the bigger clubs — as exemplified by Everton’s dogged 1-1 draw at Manchester City on New Year’s Eve.
The summer signings of James Tarkowski and Conor Coady appeared to have shored up Everton’s defence in the early part of the season — yet even that has changed, with 16 goals conceded in six winless games either side of the World Cup break.
But other than that, there are severe limitations. Going forward, Everton often look devoid of ideas and identity.
Managers should look for the best owner to work for, rather than the club with the best ‘name’. Lampard didn’t do that.
The real question is why Lampard ever chose to accept this basket case of a club in the first place.
Everton may have been as ‘big’ a job as he was likely to get after being sacked by his beloved Chelsea a year earlier — especially as he was interviewed by Aston Villa only to lose out to his old England team-mate and rival Steven Gerrard.
But managers should always be looking for the best owner to work for, rather than the club with the best ‘name’. Lampard didn’t do that.
And it is an open secret in football that Everton’s dressing room has been riven by internal disputes for years. Did Lampard not do his homework?
Brighton, Brentford and Silva’s Fulham are all embarrassing Everton by proving that a place in the top half of the table is achievable on a fraction of the Toffees’ recent transfer budget when recruitment is imaginative and a manager has a clear vision.
Lampard is unlikely to last long after Tuesday’s humiliation — and who knows where one of English football’s Golden Generation may end up next?
But until there is a regime change at Goodison Park, it is unlikely that an eighth manager in seven years would make the blindest bit of difference.