When Everton were searching for a replacement for David Moyes back in May 2013, they interviewed Vitor Pereira.
He was coming off the back of a Portuguese title winning season with Porto and like many Portuguese managers before and a handful after, his stock was at an all-time high and the likelihood of managing in the Premier League or another top tier division in Europe seemed probable.
Instead, Everton went for Roberto Martinez. Although he led them to a 5th place finish in his first season, a height they haven’t matched since, two consecutive 11th place tallies saw him sacked and replaced by Ronald Koeman.
The Dutchman lasted just a year and a bit before being replaced by Sam Allardyce, who was quickly followed by the forgetful Marco Silva period and then onto Carlo Ancelotti, Everton’s most successful manager from a win percentage point of view until his head was turned by a return to the Bernabeu.
In there somewhere, Pereira interviewed for the job a second time, six years on from his initial flirtation with Goodison Park. He had become somewhat of a journeyman himself in that intervening time, coaching in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Germany and China.
Following his latest stint in charge of Fenerbache, where he lasted just 25 games before getting sacked in December as the club rambled outside the top four, Pereira once again saw his phone blowing up with a call from Merseyside.
The fact that Pereira continues to be a target for Everton’s big spending owner Farhad Moshiri, interviewing last week for the third time in nine years, exemplifies the long term dysfunction that reigns around the football club.
Not to disparage the Portuguese’s quality as a coach, but there is little evidence in his recent career to suggest that he should continue being linked with the role. His CV should have been quietly deleted from the folder in favour of younger coaches who have a point to prove or those that have shown a better grasp of things a little bit more recently. Although Everton may seem like a poisoned chalice, it is still a large enough club to attract one of the many managers on the merry-go-round that have, at the very least, managed in the top flights of European football in the not-so-distant past.
Although there are plenty of question marks over Frank Lampard following his spell at Chelsea, he does “know the league” and the development of some of the young talent at his disposal was impressive, which is far more to go off of than Pereira’s spells in China and the Turkish league. After all, his predecessor had also come from the Chinese Super League and ultimately failed.
To side with another journeyman manager who has struggled to tie down a post for any significant amount of time will only extend Everton’s troubles, digging the hole even deeper as Moshiri tries to fill it with cash in the hope that someone might be able to float to the top.
Rafa Benitez, a controversial appointment from day one, has had much success in his career but that’s now in a bygone era. The fact that Pereira’s mooted appointment drew ire on day minus one shows exactly the frustration that Everton fans are dealing with.
Although fare hasn’t been great on the field, the continuous pinballing from one disaster to another off the pitch is a fine case of a dysfunctional organisation staying dysfunctional. In most cases, this is not something a manager can change, despite Benitez’s best efforts to try and control areas of the club that are nowadays best left to the experts in better operational football clubs.
With former Director of Football Marcel Brands now on the scrap heap, the club don’t have a football mind at executive level to try and steer the club’s football ambitions. Sure, his record was patchy, but it’s altogether more dangerous to leave Moshiri to his own devices, especially with the likes of super-agent Kia Joorabchian whispering in his ear and leaving his greasy fingerprints on deals involving the club.
The odds are against the next appointment at Goodison Park, as long as the dysfunction above his head continues to fester. A conveyor belt of poorly thought-out transfers won’t help their situation either.
Until that is sorted out, Everton will continue to spiral through questionable decision making and a reluctant list of manager contenders, especially if Vitor Pereira keeps getting a voicemail from Moshiri whenever the job is available.