Marcel Brands set to leave director of football role at Everton


Marcel Brands joined Everton in 2018 after working at PSV EindhovenEverton’s director of football Marcel Brands is set to leave the club as owner Farhad Moshiri attempts to tackle the crisis surrounding the club.

Brands, 59, joined Everton from PSV Eindhoven in May 2018 after earning a reputation as one of European football’s shrewdest operators.

He has worked alongside managers Marco Silva, Carlo Ancelotti and latterly Rafael Benitez.

Brands has been criticised for his part in the club’s flawed transfer policy.

Everton have spent £300m during his reign and furious supporters rounded on him and chairman Bill Kenwright at the end of Wednesday’s 4-1 Merseyside derby defeat to Liverpool at Goodison Park.

The final details of Brands’ departure are now being confirmed before an official announcement is made.

Brands created such a positive early impression that he was appointed to the board in January 2019 with Everton chief executive Denise Barrett-Baxendale saying the promotion gave him “a broader remit, responsible for the whole footballing strategy at the club, rather than just player recruitment”.

He signed a new three-year contract in April, but it was never clear how much power Brands wielded over the choice of managers or signings when he was at the club.

James Rodriguez, who came with a hugely expensive personal package, was clearly the choice of Ancelotti and not in line with the Dutchman’s long-held strategy of younger players who would have good sell-on value.

Brands has also worked with powerful, experienced managers such as Ancelotti and Benitez, leading to suspicions his influence was greatly reduced.

The frustration with the Dutchman boiled over at the conclusion of the Liverpool loss when he was confronted by one angry Everton fan who demanded: “Did you recruit them?”

Brands engaged briefly with the supporter, responding: “Is it only the players?”

After owner Moshiri declared public support for Benitez, Brands was always going to be in the firing line and it adds to the sense of unrest surrounding Everton’s home meeting with Arsenal on Monday, where they are trying to stop a run of eight games without a victory.

A group of Everton fans have issued a demand to a 27th-minute walk-out during the game as a show of protest to the current board – highlighting almost 27 years without a trophy stretching back to the 1995 FA Cup final win.

Analysis – ‘Moshiri’s next moves will shape their immediate future’The expected departure of Brands only increases the sense of unrest around the club and the need for owner Farhad Moshiri to grasp control of a situation in danger of spiralling out of control.

Moshiri, so often the observer of events from afar and not even on Everton’s board, delivered a vote of confidence in manager Benitez after the Merseyside derby thrashing by Liverpool at Goodison Park.

It has done little to ease the anger among fans, many unhappy with the appointment of former Liverpool manager Benitez and questioning Everton’s direction under the current board.

Indeed, supporters groups are organising a 27th-minute walk-out during Monday’s game against Arsenal in protest against the hierarchy, the number underscoring it is almost 27 years since Everton last won a trophy, the 1995 FA Cup.

With Brands’ departure, that board now only consists of chairman Bill Kenwright and chief executive Denise Barrett-Baxendale, who both also felt the fury of fans and have been heavily criticised after the Liverpool game, plus finance director Grant Ingles, who was only appointed in July.

It is not yet known whether Moshiri will continue with his beloved director of football model. It has failed with Steve Walsh and now Brands, but he must act to strengthen a lightweight board with more footballing acumen to prevent the 59-year-old Dutchman being seen as a convenient scapegoat in an attempt to answer calls for change.

While Brands has faced growing criticism from fans, there was also a measure of understanding as to whether he has ever had the level of control a director of football requires when working with powerful figures such as Carlo Ancelotti and Benitez, both appointments very much driven by Everton’s owner.

Moshiri’s track record shows, despite his willingness to bankroll the club to such an extent that they are now working to ensure they remain within financial fair play regulations, that he can be volatile and reactive when it comes to decision making.

Everton currently resemble a dysfunctional football club, for which Moshiri must take his share of responsibility, and his next moves will shape their immediate future – irrespective of whether he gets them right or wrong.

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