IS IT TIME FOR MARCO SIL VA TO LAY DOWN ROOTS AND BUILD A TEAM?
The Premier League’s second-most controversial Portuguese boss has qualities that are immediately evident: he’s whip-smart, highly driven and sets up sides to operate with maximum attacking flair.
Marco Silva’s record of improving teams is almost impeccable. At his first job, with Portugal’s second-tier Estoril, he took bottom-half strugglers straight into the top flight and then into Europe two years running, like an Iberian Brian Clough. With a buccaneering Sporting, he lost just two league games and pocketed their first silverware in seven years. Flitting over to Olympiacos, he set a European record by winning their opening 17 league matches, dropping five points all season and claiming the Greek title with a fifth of the campaign to spare. In 2017, Silva re-animated Hull’s corpse despite his two best players being sold, before they succumbed to relegation; then at Watford he did some magic until his head was turned by Everton, and things descended into mayhem and squabbling.
Alarm bells should ring, however, when a boss has six jobs in seven years. And those years have had their difficult spells: while good at home, Hull collected two points from a possible 30 on the road, and his Watford reign ended with five points from 33. Dig into Silva’s behind-the-scenes behaviour and the picture isn’t always complimentary.
At Sporting he was sacked supposedly for not wearing a club suit, but officials were apparently agitated with his use of press conferences to constantly publicise the club’s issues – something he also did at Watford when unimpressed with summer signings. The fallout from Everton’s wooing last autumn did nobody any favours, either. In short, the 41-year-old could really benefit from a settled spell in order to shake off a reputation as someone whose eye is always on the next gig, or who is too hot-headed to rub along with the suits. Literally.
Everton could also use some stable progress. Since David Moyes’ departure in 2013 they’ve employed four different managers with radically different playing styles, and – despite the injection of the new owner’s money – have struggled to formulate a path towards competing with the league’s other cashed-up clubs. If Silva is backed financially and the Everton board doesn’t interfere too much, something special could happen at Goodison Park over the next few years, in terms of both results and highly watchable football. But, as ever, that is one hefty ‘if’.