Everton must get David Moyes successor correct

David Moyes’ defection from Everton to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson at Man United has set off a game of musical chairs that the world of football has been waiting for. Amidst all the hyperbole surrounding Fergie’s retirement and succession, it is easy to forget that another long era, albeit one not even half his length, is at an end. So who will end up at Everton when the music stops?

Two strong favourites to take over at Goodison Park are Roberto Martinez of Wigan, and Michael Laudrup at Swansea. Their situation however, is one that greatly concerns me. He has built the club up from a team struggling against relegation to one that is always competitive against the top teams. Unfortunately, they always fell just short.

History is littered with examples where the succession of great managers has been botched. The Man United board is lucky that they had such a ready-made replacement handy in David Moyes, to carry on Fergie’s legacy. With Everton it is not so simple, as simply put, any new manager has less to work with, and less money to spend.

Alan Curbishley’s departure from Charlton signalled the start of a downward slide that took them as far as League One. Newcastle saw a similarly steep decline after the retirement of Sir Bobby Robson. Even Leicester and Aston Villa have somewhat suffered in recent years from Martin O’Neill deserting them.

This is why it is so important to handle the situation correctly, and that Bill Kenwright makes the right choice. He has not had to make a managerial appointment in 11 years. While chairmen often get pilloried for sacking managers, it is usually who they appoint next that seals their fate among fanbases.

The Everton job is no job for a rookie, yet a ‘safe’ option from the raft of out-of-work managers (they are usually unemployed for a reason) would also be ill-advised. Unfortunately, from a footballing point-of-view, the best option would be laughed out of town – Rafa Benitez. In a way it makes sense. The Spaniard has lately been developing the persona of the unwanted guest who ends up the life and soul of the party, but surely Goodison would be a cheeky step too far. Still, his European experience would be ideal at a club who have been struggling to reach that next level.

Whoever succeeds Moyes, this is undoubtedly a crossroads in the history of Everton Football Club.