Painful truth of Carlo Ancelotti's Everton tenure made clear by Farhad Moshiri's latest move

Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti takes a training session with his squad at Wembley on the ever of the 2024 Champions League final
-Credit: (Image: Grzegorz Wajda/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Three years to the day since he completed his rapid defection from Everton back to Real Madrid, the painful truth that Carlo Ancelotti was just another of Farhad Moshiri’s extravagant flights of fancy is clearer than ever.

It’s June 1, the start of meteorological summer in the northern hemisphere and things are hotting up for both the legendary Italian and the Blues. But while Don Carlo, who has already won the Champions League a record-breaking four times as a manager, is looking to steer Real Madrid to a 15th European Cup success, Moshiri, the man who brought him to Goodison Park, is looking to “assess all options for the club’s future ownership” after his Share Purchase Agreement with 777 Partners expired.

Back on September 15, when it was first announced that Moshiri had signed an agreement with the Miami-based private investment firm to acquire his entire 94.1% stake in Everton, he boldly proclaimed: “It is through my lengthy discussions with 777 that I believe they are the best partners to take our great club forward,” adding: “Today is an important next step in the successful development of Everton and I look forward to closely following as our club goes from strength to strength.”

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The lesser-spotted Mr Moshiri – whose only attendance for a game at Goodison over the past three calendar years came against Burnley on November 1, 2023, when Bill Kenwright’s partner Jenny Seagrove and his daughter Lucy laid floral wreaths alongside former Everton player and manager Joe Royle in memory of the late club chairman who had died the previous week – is a man of few words publicly, certainly when his pal Jim White isn’t asking the questions. Unfortunately, loyal but long-suffering Evertonians have had to get used to such sporadic platitudes interspersed by the inevitable required apologies when things go wrong, like Moshiri’s admission in June 2022 that “we have not always spent large amounts of money wisely” as the consequences of the Blues’ PSR troubles that would ultimately result in two separate points deductions this season, galloped towards the club like the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

As ECHO columnist Michael Ball damningly put it: “Only Everton could have a billionaire account own them and get done on financial breaches” but with Moshiri’s dalliance with 777 that ran through the bulk of the 2023/24 season now over and the Monaco-based businessman back to taking the reins himself as looks for suitable alternatives, hopes that he can finally get something right on fiscal matters, his supposed area of expertise, are juxtapositioned against his chaotic handling of the football side of the club, which has produced a damaging cycle of churn with eight managers in as many years.

Moshiri’s penchant for star names was evident from the start, from the moment he made his first appointment, Ronald Koeman – a man whose opinion of an Everton outfit handing him a lucrative contract was such that he was unveiled from his villa in the Algarve rather than cut short his holiday – with the big beast from the Netherlands deemed to offer significant box office pulling power in a region the Blues owner dubbed: “The new Hollywood of football” alongside Jurgen Klopp across Stanley Park plus Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho in Manchester.

In truth, Koeman’s stellar reputation stems mostly from his playing days when he was the game’s pre-eminent goalscoring defender but throughout his career he’s often been a wanderer – he was the first man to both turn out for and then coach all of Dutch football’s ‘Big Three’ of Ajax, PSV and Feyenoord – and Ancelotti, is in many ways just a more-avuncular representation of the same character with itchy feet but with the polished veneer of manners you’d expect from an Italian gentleman.

Other than a near-eight-year stint coaching Milan, the club where he enjoyed the most-successful spell of his playing career (incredibly, generation gaps are such that it’s understood Richarlison didn’t initially realise his Goodison gaffer turned out in back-to-back European Cup successes as a midfielder), over almost a quarter of a century across continental dugouts, Ancelotti had never stayed in any other coaching post longer than two years. Yet hopes were high as Everton gave him a bumper four-and-a-half year deal.

In retrospect, with the bulk of his 18-month stint on Merseyside played behind closed doors in empty grounds, Ancelotti’s Blues tenure, which included the club’s first-ever win at the Emirates Stadium, the only success at Anfield since 1999 but also a collapse from being second in the table on Boxing Day to finishing his only full season in 10th, feels like a bizarre coronavirus-induced dream. Ironically, now back in his natural habitat of massaging the egos of galacticos rather than having coach lesser-talented individuals at Finch Farm, the veteran coach who turns 65 this month, has enjoyed his lengthiest tenure outside the San Siro with a stint that is so far twice as long as his fleeting stay with Everton.

And there’s the rub. While in some respects, Moshiri could not be blamed for hiring the best in the business when Ancelotti became available following his sacking at Napoli, for all the fans’ enthusiasm with their chants of “Carlo Fantastico, Carlo Magnifico” (along with Frank Lampard, he’s the only Blues boss appointed by Moshiri to have his name sang by the supporters), it was perhaps always destined to end in tears.

Everton’s official statistician Gavin Buckland has described it on the ECHO’s Royal Blue podcast as being an arrangement in which “both parties found themselves out of their depth.” In contrast, at a time of crisis, Goodison has been fortunate to have a fighting man like Sean Dyche at the helm this season, steering the team through choppy waters, often combining his managerial duties with also being the club’s leader and de facto mouthpiece.