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Everton are at a crossroads as they look for Rafael Benitez’s successor amid a backdrop of fan anger and discontent at the way the club is being run.
Here, the PA news agency look at the current situation at Goodison Park.
How are things going at Everton?
Not well. The Toffees are 16th in the Premier League having secured 19 points from 20 matches, with the side starting 2022 with three Premier League defeats.
A 2-1 loss to embattled Norwich was the final nail in the coffin of long disliked manager Benitez and came just days after the club allowed France international Lucas Digne to join Aston Villa.
Fan favourite Duncan Ferguson took temporary charge but failed to steer Everton to a much-needed victory, with Aston Villa winning 1-0 at Goodison Park on Saturday with Digne providing the assist.
What is the current mood in the fanbase?
Fury fuelled by a need for change. Before Saturday’s match a plane flew over Goodison Park calling for long-standing chairman Bill Kenwright’s departure, with the trailing banner reading “22 years of failure, Bill. Time to go”.
There was more anger on display after the final whistle as around 150 fans stayed behind to protest, chanting “Sack the board”, “Bill Kenwright, get out of our club” and “We want our club back”.
Frustration has continued to be expressed since then, with a number of supporters congregating outside the Liver Building – where Everton’s commercial offices are based – before another protest took place on Wednesday night outside Goodison Park.
What issues are there at the club?
Everton have no manager, director of football, head of recruitment or scouting chief, with few trusting those at the top of the club to make the right decisions and improve things.
The club have been owned by Farhad Moshiri since 2016 and the Iranian businessman certainly cannot be faulted for his financial backing, having already spent over half-a-billion pounds on transfers since his £200million takeover in 2016.
Last week he committed another £100million to the club after increasing his stake to 94 per cent but he has consistently made poor decisions. On Wednesday, fans voiced their objections to potential new manager Vitor Pereira, agent Kia Joorabchian – reportedly advising Moshiri – and Kenwright.
What’s next for Everton?
There is a lot to fix but appointing the right successor to Benitez is key.
Ex-Porto and Fenerbahce boss Pereira looked to be the frontrunner and said he was hurt by fan opposition to his potential appointment, with graffiti sprayed on to Goodison Park saying ‘Pereira out, Lampard in’.
But that has not put the Portuguese off wanting the job – something he explained having taken the rather extraordinary step of speaking mid-process to Sky Sports News.
Who else is in the running for the job?
Pereira has already had two interviews with Moshiri, who is reportedly set to do the same with former Chelsea boss Frank Lampard.
Other names mentioned along the process have been Wayne Rooney, Roberto Martinez and Fabio Cannavaro as Everton look for their seventh permanent manager in six years.