Everton have sacked Marcel Brands as Director of Football, according to numerous reliable sources.
Publications including the BBC and the Liverpool Echo report that the Dutchman has stepped down after three-and-a-half years at the club, just months after being handed a new three-year contract.
His departure is part of the fallout from last week’s disastrous Merseyside derby defeat, the latest dismal result on a woeful run of form stretching back two months that has seen the club slide towards the Premier League relegation zone.
The club held an emergency board meeting on Friday in wake of that defeat, which saw the fans turn on the board, with some verbally abusing Brands and Bill Kenwright after the game.
This move looks to be an effort to placate a seething fanbase, though whether it removes the deep-rooted issues that have held the club remains to be seen.
The Mirror reports that Rafa Benitez will now be given full control of recruitment after being assured of Farhad Moshiri’s full backing a few days ago. El Bobble - a reliable Twitter source - also reports that chief executive Denis Barrett-Baxendale will also be allowed to move on.
Everton board member Denise Barrett-Baxendale is actively looking for alternative employment. Baxendale has been looking at other career options, with the boards blessing for a number of months and will now continue to do so— The Bobble (@ElBobble) December 5, 2021
And with Brands leaving, Everton's board of directors consists of chairman Bill Kenwright, CEO Denise Barrett-Baxendale & Finance Director Grant Ingles. That has a very, very lightweight appearance & Moshiri (yes we've been here before) must now show he can get something right.— Phil McNulty (@philmcnulty) December 5, 2021
It is a show of power by Moshiri, reminding everyone that he is in charge and his decisions go - good or bad. It is also a significant victory for Benitez, who now looks to have his feet well and truly under the table at Finch Farm.
Bill Kenwright remains, the great survivor. Though his presence also contributed to the muddled thinking that got Everton into this mess.
Brands was brought in to be in charge of recruitment, but he has never looked to have full control as he, Moshiri, Kenwright, Carlo Ancelotti and now Benitez have all had their say in who to bring in.
These changes could be a step in the right direction as it will streamline the recruitment process. Though I’m not so sure putting all the responsibility on the shoulders of a deeply unpopular manager who has overseen such a terrible run of form is such a wise move.
The whole point of having a director of football model was to ensure there is an overarching strategy and continuity whenever there is a change of manager.
There remains a feeling that Brands has been made a scapegoat for the failings of the club, which are more numerous and deep-rooted than just disastrous player recruitment.