There is a lot to be said for employing someone who is familiar with the inner workings of the club. As David Moyes has recently alluded to, the shaky financial situation Everton still finds itself in places unique restrictions on the manager ; restrictions a new man may not be comfortable dealing with. A promoted manager will also be familiar with the players, their assets and weaknesses, as well as where the squad needs strengthening – knowledge that will save crucial time in the summer transfer market. Stability has been a key factor in Everton’s success during the Moyes era, an internal appointment would ensure that continues.
With finances again tight this summer, it is likely some of the club’s youngsters will be promoted to first-team duty next season. Someone like Stubbs, who has been working with the Under-21s for the past five years, will know who is ready and who is not. A lot is made of the potential found in the Everton Academy. Is someone like Stubbs the man to help them realise it?
There is also the romantic idea of having an Evertonian in the top job at Goodison Park. Indeed the last two former Everton players to take charge of the club – Howard Kendall and Joe Royle – lifted silverware (though admittedly Kendall endured two difficult spells in charge after his trophy-laden spell in the 1980s).
Stubbs, Weir and Neville have amassed more than 500 Everton appearances between them. If any managerial combination is going to ‘get’ Everton, they will.
We also can’t hide from the fact that an internal appointment will be the cheapest option. No compensation will be shelled out for the new manager and his coaching team, while the new man would be on significantly less than his predecessor. With funds tight, the money saved on appointing an external manager could be put towards new players.
Appointing an inexperienced manager, no matter how much they love the club, is a massive, massive risk. Stepping up from the Under-21s to the first team would be a huge jump for Stubbs, while the gap would be larger for someone like Weir, who is still wet behind the ears in coaching terms. Phil Neville will almost certainly become a decent manager one day, but is Goodison Park the ideal ground for him to learn his trade?
Being a solid number two is also no guarantee of success as a manager either – look at the hapless Terry Connor at Wolves last season. Or even consider an example even closer to home - Colin Harvey. He was a fantastic player, wonderful coach and is, by all accounts, a top bloke. But he failed as a manager despite inheriting a wonderful team from Kendall in 1987. The bootroom worked for Liverpool in the 1960s and 1970s, but football is now a very different beast.
It is true to say that David Moyes was a risk when he was pitched into the middle of a relegation battle in 2002 ahead of more experienced, ‘safer’ candidates. But at that stage he was a risk worth taking. Eleven years on the club is almost unrecognisable. The Scot has laid solid foundations for a skilled manager to build upon and the right appointment could see Everton push on. The new TV deal means the club – for the first time in many a year – do not have to sell key players in the summer to survive. While the proceeds of those that do go will all go back to the manager. This is a critical summer, make no question.
An internal appointment would smack of a lack of ambition and penny pinching from a board who lack foresight and vision, exacerbating the decline we all fear may happen now that Moyes has upped sticks across to Manchester.
The fans would obviously get behind the likes of Stubbs and Weir, should they be promoted. And as mentioned earlier, there is an attraction to having an Everton fan or former player as manager. But there would also be a nagging doubt that the appointment is a step backwards and could risk wasting much of Moyes’ good work.