Marcel Brands has left his role as director of football at Everton with immediate effect, with the club now set to undertake a strategic review after suffering a collapse in form and subsequent slide into relegation trouble.
The Dutchman joined the club in May 2018 following a successful spell as sporting director at PSV Eindhoven and with a reputation as a shrewd talent-spotter and purchaser of players. But despite over £300m being spent in the transfer market under his watch, Everton’s squad has, if anything, got worse, reflected in the team sitting 16th, five points above the relegation following a run of eight games without victory.
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“The owner and directors would like to thank Marcel for the service he has given to the club over the past three and a half years and wish him well for his future,” read a statement from Everton on Monday.
“A strategic review of the football structure will now take place which will inform the best model for the club to proceed with in the long-term. In the meantime, the owner and board of directors will continue to provide our manager, Rafa Benítez, with their full support.”
Brands added: “On Friday, following a personal conversation with the chairman and my fellow board members, we agreed that I would step down from my post as director of football and as a member of the Everton board. This decision has taken some time and some consideration and was one of the most difficult I have faced in my career.
“The board and I agreed that there is a clear difference in the vision and direction for this beautiful club and, with that in mind, the decision was taken. I want to thank everyone in the club who I have worked closely with over the last three and a half years. I want to wish all of the squad every success, and I am convinced that there is enough quality to improve the current situation quickly.”
The 59-year-old is unlikely to be missed by many, if any, supporters and his departure only sharpens the focus on Moshiri, under whom Everton have hired five permanent managers in five years, with Benítez the latest. The Spaniard was a controversial arrival to the club given his links with Liverpool and, following the heavy defeat to his former side in midweek, it was thought he could be sacked after a little more than five months in charge. Instead, however, Moshiri stood by Benítez in a text exchange with TalkSport presenter Jim White the day after the Merseyside derby, insisting he needed time and would be backed with funds in January.
Not surprisingly, that has done little to quell unrest among Evertonians. Many of those who remained inside Goodison Park after the final whistle on Wednesday could be heard chanting “sack the board” and all those attending Monday night’s visit of Arsenal have been encouraged to take part in a protest organised by various fan groups and entitled #27minutesfor27years, referencing the number of years Everton will have gone without a trophy come the end of this season and with the plan being for supporters to walk out of the ground in the 27th minute as a show of their displeasure with the “governance and management of the club” under Moshiri.