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Farhad Moshiri’s time at Everton leaves as many questions as answers

The Toffees majority shareholder celebrates two years as Goodison’s powerbroker today, but does so knowing the side has regressed this season despite his sizeable investment

Everton v West Ham United - Premier League Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Farhad Moshiri celebrates two years in charge of Everton today, but I doubt there will be much celebrating going on in the corridors of power at Goodison Park.

Moshiri’s arrival and much needed financial injection was supposed to signal the start of a new era and propel Everton into top six contention.

Instead, the Toffees have been sucked back into the chasing pack, having endured one of their worst seasons since the Walter Smith era at the turn of the century.

Moshiri could be forgiven for feeling as though he has come full circle in his time at Goodison Park.

When he first arrived on February 27, 2016 the Toffees were 11th in the Premier League with 35 points from 26 games.

This was against a backdrop of growing discontent amongst a fanbase frustrated at both the manager the underperforming players.

Exactly two years later, despite close to £280m investment, Everton have 34 points from 28 games to sit ninth.

Arsenal v Everton - Premier League Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

The situation off the pitch is arguably worse. Rarely has there been such a disconnect between the club and its fans as well as open animosity towards the manager.

The worst reaction to Saturday’s defeat at Watford was not one of anger or frustration, but indifference. Plenty of fans I know just don’t care anymore.

Some are refusing to go until things change, while others are finding different things to do with their Saturday afternoon rather than tune in to the latest disappointment.

Deep down they still care, we all do. But – and I’m fairly sure I can speak for all the fanbase here – we’ve had enough of being let down.

Supporting Everton just isn’t fun anymore and isn’t even a pleasant experience. The last season I truly enjoyed was Roberto Martinez’s first campaign in 2013-14.

Plenty of brave souls will continue to follow the club regardless, they always will. But plenty are taking time out until things change, and who can blame then?

It would be unfair to paint Moshiri’s reign as a complete disaster. The 62-year-old has put his money where his mouth is to stabilise the club’s finances and genuine progress has been made off the pitch.

Gone have those costly loans and restrictive charges on Goodison Park, giving the club financial freedom rarely seen since the 1960s.

Goodison herself had been given a much-needed makeover while Finch Farm’s facilities have also been improved.

Barnsley v Everton: Pre-Season Friendly

Then there are the tentative – if significant – steps towards a new stadium at Bramley Moore Dock.

Everton’s academy side lifted the title last season while the work done by Everton in the Community continues to astound.

There was also an encouraging first season under Ronald Koeman as the Toffees comfortably finished best of the rest.

Unfortunately, the first-team’s performances this season have been nothing short of shambolic.

The club, for so long astute in the transfer market, appear punch drunk with Moshiri’s cash and have lashed out some astonishing sums for players who have flattered to deceive.

For that, former manager Koeman and current director of Steve Walsh have to shoulder a lot of the blame.

There appeared no clear strategy in the transfer market, with Koeman and Walsh seemingly taking turns in picking players to sign, inevitably resulting in a lopsided, imbalanced squad.

Then there was the glaring failure to recruit a left-back as cover for Leighton Baines and a replacement for Romelu Lukaku.

Everton v Arsenal - Premier League Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images

Koeman paid for those failures with his job but Walsh remains, even if his position is still in sharp focus.

Both men were recruited, at considerable expense, by Moshiri in the summer of 2016.

We all could understand his thinking at the time, Koeman remains a huge name in European football and had achieved moderate success at Southampton while Walsh had helped to mastermind Leicester’s miracle title win.

But was due diligence completed on both men before their recruitment? Or did the lack of strategy, vision and joined up thinking contribute to their failure?

The man ultimately responsibly for both questions is Moshiri.

Now, it would be amiss to not mention the rest of the Goodison board and their role in the club’s current predicament.

Sasha Ryazantsev and Keith Harris have been added to the board and they, along with Bill Kenwright and Jon Wood, also have to take responsibility for the mistakes that have led the club into this mess.

There needs to be leadership from the top but when Everton needed it most, during the search for new manager, the club lacked it more than ever and appeared rudderless.

That slow, painful drift towards the relegation zone (with poor David Unsworth hung out to dry) led to the panicky appointment of Sam Allardyce.

Allardyce’s arrival, according to the Guardian’s Andy Hunter, split the board and it was Moshiri who pushed for his appointment.

He was clearly concerned for his investment and what relegation would do to the stadium plans so felt he had no choice.

Watford v Everton - Premier League Photo by Alex Broadway/Getty Images

Allardyce did, to be fair, steady the ship and relegation now looks to be an outside bet. However, plumping for the former England boss means dealing with some rather unpleasant caveats.

His negative style of football is not befitting for a club of Everton’s size and ambition while his arrogant post-match comments absolves himself of any blame for poor performances, further antagonising the fans.

Moshiri may feel that is a price to pay for avoiding relegation and affording him another chance to put things right. But he is also gambling the continued loyalty of a fanbase who are being tested to their limit.

Despite this disastrous season I still feel that hidden inside this bloated, over-paid, underperforming hulk of a squad is the basis of a half-decent team.

With the right manager and right vision, the rebuilding process can begin in earnest at the end of the season.

That will then help to re-engage the supporters who have felt let down and alienated throughout this tortuous campaign.

To do that though Moshiri will need to make the right appointment, he simply cannot afford another botched summer recruitment drive. The consequences could be disastrous.

So, happy anniversary Mr Moshiri. We’ve come a long way. But there’s plenty of work still to be done.