Everton’s decline, the first sacrificial lamb and a 27th-minute walkout

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  • Everton
  • Marcel Brands
    Dutch football player
<span>Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA</span>
Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA

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“It costs a lot of money to look this cheap,” Dolly Parton once said, and it is a quotation that may resonate with Everton fans as they click through the Goodison Park turnstiles tonight before their team’s match against Arsenal. Since Farhad Moshiri took control of the club five years ago, the thick end of £500m has been spent on players, who between them have somehow combined to make the grand old team demonstrably worse.

Despite the best attempts of five different managers, two of them highly decorated and among the best in the business, the seventh-place Premier League finish Everton once considered their birthright in the pre-Moshiri era is currently little more than a pipe dream. As for delusions of Big Cup or Euro Vase grandeur? Well, they’ve been quietly shelved as Rafa Benítez’s side try to arrest their inexorable slide towards the drop. Yes siree, as Dolly might say, it has cost Everton an eye-watering sum of money to become the fifth-worst team in the league and last night the first lamb was sacrificed at the metaphorical altar as their director of football, Marcel Brands, left the club.

Related: Everton’s director of football Marcel Brands departs amid fans unrest

“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,” said Brands, who had inked a new three-year deal just seven months ago. “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.”

Everton fans are unconvinced and some supporter groups are planning a protest at tonight’s game, although it remains to be seen how many will take part or what exactly it is about their free-spending owners, proven trophy-winner of a manager and array of very expensive players they are protesting. Entitled #27minutesfor27years, the planned protest references the number of years Everton will have gone without a trophy come the end of this season and fans are encouraged to walk out of Goodison Park in the 27th minute, a full eight minutes later than it took many of them to abandon ship during their recent drubbing at the hands of Liverpool.

Tired of the chaotic behind-the-scenes activities they believe to be to blame for the current on-field shambles, those behind #27minutesfor27years want Moshiri to keep spending money but instigate a boardroom cull, stop communicating club business through favoured Scottish talk radio presenters and give them some face time so they can voice their concerns in the hope all concerned can get more bang for their emotional and financial buck. Fan reaction to the planned protest has been predictably mixed and if the current squabbling on various social media websites is anything to go by, those behind the #27minutesfor27years show of dissent may discover their fans are no better at singing from the same hymn sheet than the very people they are railing against.


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