It is now nearly a month since Everton sacked Ronald Koeman. The Dutchman dreamt of managing Barcelona one day. Now though, he may be lucky to manage in the Premier League again after the awful end to his Merseyside tenure. However, the club is apparently no nearer to appointing his replacement. This is despite officials expressing a desire to have a new manager in place by the end of the international break.
As is always the case with top-flight jobs, Everton have been linked with many managers. It was even reported this week that they had made an official request to Watford to talk to Marco Silva. The approach was rebuffed, though. They have also been strongly linked with Sean Dyche, the Burnley boss.
The irony is that Everton are ignoring the outstanding candidate to be their manager. A man who is not only reportedly an Everton fan himself but who has achieved, relatively easily, what both Silva and Dyche have failed to do, namely keeping a club in the Premier League for more than one season.
Why aren’t Everton moving for Eddie Howe?
Silva eventually failed to keep Hull in the top flight last season, despite a remarkable attempt to do so. Dyche may have kept Burnley up at the second time of asking, but that was only after being immediately relegated following Burnley’s first promotion to the Premier League in 2014.
By contrast, Eddie Howe has kept Bournemouth in the Premier League for two successive seasons already. Bournemouth have experienced a difficult start to this campaign. They slipped into the relegation zone early on. However, hard-fought away wins at Stoke and Newcastle seem to have arrested the slide.
Surely Howe’s achievement in keeping Bournemouth up for two successive seasons (and hopefully for at least three in a row) is more impressive than the recent achievements of either Silva or Dyche? And that is just his recent achievement. What really marks Howe out as a potential managerial great is his overall record as a manager.
The Incredible Journey
Howe has taken Bournemouth from the bottom of English league football all the way to the top. He has led the club from League Two, where they even faced relegation to non-league football at one point, to the promised land of the Premier League.
In the entire history of English professional football, only a few managers have achieved that feat. The last two to do so – John Toshack with Swansea and Graham Taylor with Watford – did so more than thirty years ago. It had been thought impossible to do it again until Howe did it.
It is true that, in the last couple of seasons, Bournemouth have been backed by a Russian billionaire, Maxim Demin. However, Howe had already taken the club most of the way to the Premier League before the Roubles rolled in.
Moreover, Bournemouth are not only the smallest club (as measured by average attendance) to win promotion to the Premier League in its 25-year history, they are arguably the smallest club in the whole of English football history to climb from the lowest division in the league to the highest.
Perhaps the main reason why Everton have not moved for Howe is the suspicion that he is a homebody. He played for Bournemouth before managing them and has already moved away once. He went to Burnley briefly in 2011, but allegedly grew homesick soon after and returned to the south coast. It was left to Sean Dyche, who replaced him at Burnley, to complete the job that Howe had begun and win promotion to the Premier League.
However, that was more than six years ago now and the likelihood is that things have changed for Howe. Most importantly, he may feel that he has now taken Bournemouth as far as he can. If he can keep them in the Premier League for a third season, he may be ready to move to a bigger club next summer to realise his managerial ambition of competing for major trophies.
Ultimately, he may be ready to move to a club that is bigger than Everton. The top six jobs in England look sewn up for now. However, things change quickly in football and by definition, not all of those six clubs can succeed this season. Consequently, managerial vacancies might open up in the near future at Arsenal, Spurs or even Liverpool.
That is why Everton would be wise to reconsider their managerial targets and move for Howe rather than Silva or Dyche. If they do not, there is every chance that Howe will end up elsewhere before too long. Everton could end up regretting their failure to try and hire him.