The Duncan Ferguson merry-go-round at Everton may never end, Brighton are a well-run club – The Warm-Up
Everton are a poorly-run club with no direction. Brighton are a well-run club with direction. Tottenham and Antonio Conte should thank their lucky stars that Arsenal pulled a fast one to get the north London derby called off. Gareth Southgate has called in the lawyers and Nick Kyrgios is here with a tennis-football crossover.
Everton Assistant Manager Duncan Ferguson during the Premier League match between Norwich City and Everton
The year is 2055. Everton are still based at Goodison Park. They have used the last bit of financing they secured to build Bramley-Moore Dock stadium to pay off Roberto Martinez after his eighth sacking at the club. Duncan Ferguson's Wikipedia page is longer than War and Peace after a 45th entry is added to his 'clubs managed' section. They all read 'Everton (caretaker manager)'.
The above may be far-fetched but it is just a hyperbolic, extrapolated version of the current state of affairs, and it underlines a point: Everton are a shambles. They have just promoted Duncan Ferguson to the position of caretaker - again - after sacking Rafael Benitez in acrimonious circumstances. 'Big Dunc' will be their ninth manager - including caretakers - since they sacked Roberto Martínez in acrimonious circumstances in 2016. The club are reportedly still interested in bringing Martínez back despite the Belgian FA's reluctance to release him.
They seem to have no overarching plan, as evidenced by appointing Carlo Ancelotti and then Rafael Benitez; these two managers operate at opposite ends of the coaching spectrum. Logic dictates that going from Ancelotti to Benitez was always going to lead to problems - their philosophies are so opposed that it was always going to be a huge ask for the players to adapt quickly. Were Everton's travails merely teething issues? Or is Benitez yesterday's man? Who knows. The board didn’t know and didn’t wait to see if Benitez could get a tune out of a side that were patently not of the profile he requires.
This brings up a wider point. New, shinier and potentially better-financed ownership does not always bring success. It can, in fact, muddy the waters. Everton have appointed managers liberally and spent heavily in recent years but have they done either wisely? None of their coaching appointments have produced any consistent success. Which of their signings since Farhad Moshiri bought into the club in 2016 would be deemed a success? It is difficult to think of one. And a trip over to Transfermarkt offers little evidence of any. Richarlison, maybe?
The demand for clubs to spend big has become a theme of modern football but to spend big well, a club needs at first a modicum of direction. Everton have none, so have retreated to the comfort of nostalgia and Duncan Ferguson. Again.
Brighton, in stark contrast, are a club with a plan. Their plan - prudent but ambitious - may not, given the inflated financial disparity in the league, bear all of the fruits it deserves. It is, however, bearing some substantial fruit. Their latest match - a dominant performance in a 1-1 draw against the European champions, Chelsea - was illustrative of a team on the up. A club, who through careful, targeted planning, have created a team structured to accentuate the strengths of its personnel and mask, where possible, their weaknesses.
Romelu Lukaku und der FC Chelsea gewinnen auch gegen Brighton and Hove Albion nicht
Image credit: Getty Images
The profile of the playing squad is suited to the brand of football their manager aims to play. It is not perfect - how can it be when their biggest outlay was £20-odd million on Enock Mwepu. And Graham Potter has thus far been unable to mask the lack of a genuine goal threat. That inability to score undermined their superiority over Chelsea elsewhere on the pitch on Tuesday.
However, should Brighton extend themselves financially and buy a goal threat, or, whether by luck or judgement, happen across one at a bargain price, then they already have the other pieces in place to service that goal threat consistently. A scorer turns Brighton easily into European-chasing side.
Brighton and Everton are illustrative of the importance and benefit of planning for the long-term. Brighton are one player away from genuine excellence; it is hard to think of a player of excellence within the Toffees' ranks.
"The club [Tottenham] made a statement and I think that the club expressed our disappointment about the [Arsenal] decision," Conte said.
"It was for sure a strange decision but I think the club made an important statement to tell about our disappointment for the decision.
This is the first time in my life that there is a league that postpone the game for injuries. This is very strange and I'm very surprised for this.
The Tottenham boss goes on to direct further criticism at the Premier League, adding that if they wish to actually protect the welfare of players then they should consider a less packed schedule.
However, the repeated references to injuries was – to this observer’s eye – a broadside at his local rivals. And if, as he intimates, the Premier League and, by extension, Arsenal called the game off due to run-of-the-mill injuries, then it is indeed strange.
And Conte’s ire, one would imagine, would be that more ireful when he found out that the club without enough players to fulfil said fixture have enough players to send another out on loan – Pablo Mari to Udinese.
However, The Warm-Up would suggest that Conte is yet to be fully acquainted – to quote Giorgio Chiellini – with the history of Tottenham. If there is one team in world football who could contrive to lose a local derby when their rivals were fully there for the taking then it is Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.
So, it may well be strange Antonio, but ultimately Arsenal probably did your tenure a favour - losing to a bunch of kids would do nothing for those elite credentials.
Southgate seeks legal action over crypto scam
Gareth Southgate is looking into legal action after his name was used to flaunt a crypto scam.
A mass email said that the England manager had acquired great wealth using a spurious trading platform.
The depth of the scam went as far as to say that the England manager went on Ellen DeGeneres' TV show to discuss the matter. The Warm-Up has googled Ellen DeGeneres and Gareth Southgate and can confirm that the England manager has never been on said chat show.
Anyhow, the England manager's spokesperson has said the following:
"The details about Mr Southgate in this story are completely untrue. His name has been used without permission. As such, his management team are taking legal advice on the matter."
The matter of football - and its clubs -cosying up to unregulated crypto platforms looks all the more concerning when contextualised by the above.
A special non-football hat-tip this here Wednesday. There is a tenuous link, mind. Nick Kyrgios - among other things, like an underarm-tweener serve - dropped the Cristiano Ronaldo siiiiuu celebration.
Kyrgios copies Ronaldo celebration after beating Britain's Broady