Marcel Brands' departure only adds to sense of Everton unrest
Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

Only in April Everton chairman Bill Kenwright concluded contract talks with Marcel Brands on a new three-year deal as the club’s director of football. “It took us around one play of ‘Z Cars’ to reach an agreement,” Kenwright said at the time. Now, Brands has faced the music and is to depart Everton.

The final details of Brands’ departure are being confirmed before an official announcement is made but the decision for the Dutchman to leave comes after Everton have spent close to £300 million during his time at the club with little to show for such an outlay.

Brands joined from PSV Eindhoven in May 2018, with a reputation of working with and developing younger players, and created such a positive early impression that he was appointed to the club’s board six months later, giving him a greater remit.

The new three-year contract agreed in April appeared to show that Brands was fulfilling his role in line with expectations but his exit, which has been mutually agreed, comes with Everton struggling for form in the current Premier League season: without a win in eight games and currently sitting in 16th place, five points above the relegation zone.

At the end of Wednesday’s Merseyside derby defeat to Liverpool furious supporters rounded on Brands and Kenwright. One angry fan who demanded: “Did you recruit them?” got a response from Brands of: “Is it only the players?

Brands’ departure only adds to the sense of unrest at Everton currently. Club owner Farhad Moshiri delivered a vote of confidence in manager Rafael Benitez last week but the majority of the fanbase remain ill at ease with the appointment of the former Liverpool manager, however, realise that he is a symptom of the club’s current issues.

Everton resemble a dysfunctional club

Questions have been raised as to Everton’s direction under the current board and a supporters group are organising a 27th-minute walk-out during Monday’s game against Arsenal at Goodison Park in protest against the hierarchy. It is almost 27 years since Everton last won a trophy.

Brands’ exit leaves only Kenwright and chief executive Denise Barrett-Baxendale on the club’s board and much to answer. Moshiri must now decide whether to continue with a director of football model after it has faltered with Steve Walsh and now Brands. However, Brands could be viewed as an easy and convenient scapegoat at a time when perhaps a move had to be made within the hierarchy.

Brands has received flak from supporters, with one questioning ‘what he does?’ in the fall-out of Wednesday’s game, but there was also a measure of understanding as to whether he has ever had the level of control a director of football requires when working with powerful figures such as Carlo Ancelotti and Benitez, both appointments very much driven by Moshiri. The signing of James Rodriguez, for instance, was never one that fitted Brands’ plan.

In the short term Moshiri and the board must ensure that the club stay within financial fair play regulations, such have been the funds spent in recent years, whilst also backing manager Benitez in what is starting to look like a season to write off.

With the exit of the director of football, Everton continue to resemble a dysfunctional club with plans being ripped up and rewritten in quick succession. Where the blame lies for Everton’s current predicaments can be debated but it’s Brands who has been made to face the music.