Five birthday wishes for Sean Dyche as Everton manager needs presents from his board and players

Many happy returns to Sean Dyche who is 52 today but other than tickets for next year’s Glastonbury festival, just what might the Everton manager’s birthday wishes be?

Here’s a look at what the Blues boss could ask for on this landmark occasion.

Birthday goals

The sad fact is that with just 34 goals in 38 games, Everton’s paltry firepower might not have been strong enough to light all the candles on Dyche’s cake. The three recognised centre-forwards within the squad, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Neal Maupay and Ellis Simms each contributed just one goal apiece from open play and that’s just not good enough.

The Blues can scrape some crumbs of encouragement from the fact that Dyche holds the record for the highest-placed Premier League finish with a team averaging less than a goal a game – when he steered Burnley to seventh in 2017/18 – but it’s patently obvious that after the lowest equivalent points total in Everton’s 135-year history in the Football League/Premier League, they require more attacking options if they’re to avoid a third consecutive relegation battle. Their manager could well be eager to find out just how much ‘birthday money’ he’s being given then as forward-thinking players often command the highest price tags but while funds are understood to be tight, the club have already raked in almost £70million this year from the sales of Anthony Gordon and Moise Kean.

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Left field options

If the bulk of whatever Everton’s transfer budget ends up being ends up going on attackers – and ideally they look like they need at least a centre-forward and a winger – then the rest has to be ploughed into a left-back. The Blues started last season with two of the best left-backs in Premier League history on their books… the trouble was they were first team coach Ashley Cole and Under-18s coach Leighton Baines, now aged 42 and 38 respectively.

Ukrainian international Vitalii Mykolenko, playing in his first full campaign in England, usually occupied the berth and you’d have hoped that he’d have benefitted by having two of the all-time greats in his position to learn from at Finch Farm but in truth he struggled at times and remains very much a work in progress. On-loan Ruben Vinagre must have been off the pace given that he didn’t get a look-in for Premier League matches after August while both Ben Godfrey and Mason Holgate endured some chastening experiences when shunted over there.

Keeping fit

It would be of great assistance to Dyche if he had his best players fit and available for action. Everton went into their survival showdown against Bournemouth without the first choice striker Calvert-Lewin – whose goal secured their top flight status a year earlier – or a recognised full-back. All of this despite the manager’s attempts to get his number nine “properly fit” after he limped out of his first game in charge, the 1-0 home victory over Arsenal.

At the time, Dyche vowed to leave no stone unturned in trying to solve the England international’s injury woes – he’s played in half the Blues’ matches in both of the last two seasons now – declaring: “What’s his diet like, what’s his lifestyle like, what car does he drive, what mattress does he use, how many hours does he sleep at night?” Everton’s players might be helped in their pursuit of reached Dyche’s desired level of fitness by one annual training routine that reached legendary status during his time at Burnley.

Everton start their pre-season by the shores of Lake Geneva, where Dyche also took his Clarets squad in 2015. At the time, The Lancashire Telegraph painted a vivid picture of what the players faced, stating: “There will be one day in particular when beads will inevitably drip from every pore. It has become known among the players as ‘The Gaffer’s Day’ – a gruelling test of fitness, stamina and team spirit.”


Birthdays and the sands of time go hand in hand and Dyche will just be hoping as he celebrates his first one as Everton manager, that there will be many more in the role. While David Moyes enjoyed 12 birthdays as Blues boss – including his 40th and 50th – under Farhad Moshiri, nobody has remained in the home dugout at Goodison Park for longer than 18 months.

Dyche is now the eighth manager to serve the current majority shareholder and after masterminding Everton’s escape from what would have been their first relegation in 72 years last season after taking over the team at the end of January when they were joint bottom of the table, he must be given – along with the funds to do the job properly – the patience required to implement his methods. He has already proven his ability to produce a team that can punch above its weight over a sustained period despite a relative shoestring budget at Turf Moor and while he’s now operating at a much bigger club with far greater expectations, he needs to be backed by his employers after the downward spiral of managerial churn since 2016.


It might also be nice for Dyche to have members of the Everton board room actually attending matches at Goodison Park to offer him some visible support, something that has been so far absent since he took charge. Owner Farhad Moshiri, who has now put himself on to the board after the exits of Denise Barrett-Baxendale, Grant Ingles and Graeme Sharp, hasn’t been to a home game since the 5-2 capitulation against Watford on October 23, 2021, some 20 months ago.

He did turn up at West Ham United on January 21 – an ominous appearance akin to the fan dressed as the scythe-wielding Grim Reaper who stalked Moyes on his Goodison return in what proved to be his final game as Manchester United manager – as the axe subsequently fell on Frank Lampard’s tenure. Alongside the majority shareholder that day was Bill Kenwright, who is staying on as chairman – for the time being at least – and used to be a Goodison regular while also a frequent attendee of away matches.

Along with the rest of the Blues’ previous board, who stayed away after what was cited as the threat to “their safety and security” when Southampton came to Goodison back on January 14, Kenwright hasn’t been seen there since. Writing in the foreword notes accompanying Everton’s annual accounts, the 77-year-old admitted that his absence has “hurt deeply” but he did manage to get to the Merseyside Derby at Anfield on February 13 so it’s a curious look that he can be among 50,000 Liverpool fans less than a mile from Goodison but hasn’t yet been back to Everton’s home ground.