When Farhad Moshiri bought into Everton two years ago, it was the expected start of a ‘new era’ for the Blues.
The Iranian-born British businessman, then only known as a former minority shareholder at Arsenal, was described as the “perfect partner to take the club forward” by chairman Bill Kenwright.
The ‘Mersey Millionaires’ tag that had been used to describe Everton in the 50's and 60's was given a modern-day update. The ‘Mersey Billionaires’ had turned up to the party after years of living on a shoestring budget.
Two years on and it’s not been quite the smooth sailing for Moshiri that he probably had hoped for.
As the leading man, he’s walked into the trap that belies many clubs making their first real steps into the cutthroat game of ‘modern football,’ you can’t just throw money at a problem and hope it, somehow, finds a way to work.
It’s been a turbulent 24 months, yet that has both its pros and cons for the 62-year-old majority shareholder.
Moshiri still hasn’t taken full control of the club, for whatever reason, and that should be well noted. It gives context as to how to judge his brief tenure.
Glimpses of 'what if?'
The past two years haven’t been all gloom and doom, it’s not been all negative no, but the past campaign has rubbed many fans the wrong way and reduced plenty of early optimism and goodwill.
There have been some fine results in the past two years, a few glimpses of what could come in the future and even an FA Cup Semi-Final appearance to boot but for the outlay, Moshiri would probably expect more.
Yet, none of that will cut it going forward. Soon enough, flashes of potential and glimpses of 'what if?' won't cut it with fans or Moshiri.
Expectations have been risen due to the arrival of transfer funds in the form of the 62-year-old majority shareholder.
Finishing last season in the European places was expected but the following brief fling with Europe that came and went quicker than you’ll be able to pass through European customs post-Brexit wasn’t.
Dismal Europa League exits are not the standard that must be matched by any future boss, they will have to be surpassed. For such an extensive initial outlay, that bar should be and will be higher - likely trophies and Champions League football.
Things that ‘big clubs’ achieve on a regular basis.
The next manager and possibly the ones after that, like many issues, are something Moshiri has to get right.
That’s why there’s still some semblance of positivity around Goodison Park. There could still be a fresh-faced and bright new manager incoming this summer.
Another managerial search on the horizon?
Moshiri has conducted two managerial searches following the sackings of Roberto Martinez and more recently Ronald Koeman and he’s likely to be conducting another this summer.
Sam Allardyce is under pressure and has been since the moment he took the role back in December. As too is Steve Walsh, Everton’s Director of Football, for failing to deliver somewhat similar success in the transfer market that he was credited for in Leicester City’s recent Premier League title success.
There have been 20 signings totalling just a little over a quarter of a billion pounds. All of varying degrees of success - some maybe not so successful too.
Not all of the blame lays at the feet of Walsh, some of it likely falls to Koeman too, but the overwhelming majority does hang over the Director of Football.
The continuing mention of Cuco Martina playing regularly, out of position at left-back, should be viewed as an indictment of the current Everton transfer policy and the inability to address glaring issues.
“We have looked at many left-backs and obviously we can’t find the right left-back that we’re looking for,” Allardyce said at the end of the January transfer window when questions grew over Martina’s new role.
For a "much-coveted super-scout" with a Premier League winners medal under his belt, Walsh’s perceived 'lack of imagination' in the transfer market has made him a continuing target of anger for the Goodison Park faithful.
It's also possible that similar to Allardyce, he is reportedly being be earmarked as a possible summer outgoing with PSV’s Marcel Brands being eyed up for the role.
With many businesses, as Moshiri may well know, the first 12 months are the most crucial but football is a different beast.
Mistakes have been made, both on and off the pitch, and they’ll be viewed as learning points for the future for Moshiri because that’s what he has more than anyone at the club - a future.
The future could be bright yet the future is unclear
Yes, positive steps have been made towards a new stadium on the Bramley-Moore Dock site but a slow pace and a lack of communication has left some fans dismayed as to whether the Blues will finally leave their Goodison Park home or not in the next five years.
There have been false dawns before with both the Kings Dock and Kirkby projects, however, this one, to many, feels a bit more real.
Whilst the team he has put in place on the pitch and behind closed doors at Finch Farm is failing to deliver on its early promise, the one in place running the show from afar has to deliver off it.
Delivering a new stadium would ultimately be Moshiri’s lasting legacy on the club and that’s why after two years, solely as the majority shareholder without full power, it’s too early to judge on whether or not he’s been a success.
He could be a success. He could be a failure but right now that’s all relative.
It's all in the future.