But what happens after Sam Allardyce has gone?
When, after eighteen months or two years, he decides that he’s too long in the tooth for management – what happens to Everton then?
Presumably chastened by what they saw at St Mary’s, Farhad Moshiri and Bill Kenwright have evidently panicked. The side currently being managed by David Unsworth look so unstable that the thought of Allardyce’s reassuring discipline must be very seductive. Everton have all sorts of ailments and he is the cure for many of them. When it was reported on Monday that talks have recommenced between the two parties, eyes may have rolled but nobody could have been surprised.
It’s too obvious, too easy.
Allardyce will make demands – most pertinently, he’ll reject any overarching ambitions about how the game should be played and install his own familiar system. Secondly, he’ll likely insist that the club’s coaching structure is redesigned around him. He likes to be surrounded by his own people and will presumably make that a conditon of employment.
Which, in itself, is fine – or would be if this was an appointment with the long-term in mind.
The trouble, obviously, is that it’s not. Allardyce will stabilise Everton, will make them harder to beat and will almost certainly vanquish those faint concerns about relegation. Already 63 years-old, though, it’s safe to assume that he won’t still be in charge in five or three years time, or even at the beginning of the 2019/20 season.
There are similiraties here to the situation which occured at Crystal Palace earlier in the season. Unnerved by a poor run of form, they too abandoned their long-term direction for a short, sharp dose of security and they too, as and when Roy Hodgson returns to semi-retirement, will find that the legacy of that appointment is little more than their Premier League existence. When that point arrives, they will have to start again – they will have to re-begin their ‘next phase’.
And, as they discovered over the summer, the transition between a fixer and an idealogue is rarely without complications.
Everton are better than Palace. Their squad is more talented and the prospect of relegation isn’t nearly as real. However, their willingness to even consider this most obvious and short-sighted of appointments is an indication of how irrelevent they deem sustainability to be. Any Allardyce successor (on the presumption that this will actually happen) wouldn’t be tasked with carrying on his work or building on foundations which he has meticulously prepared, but with rebuilding a culture which is surely about to be napalmed.
This is not a bridge. Neither is it a necessary step towards the future. The only way of framing an Allardyce appointment is as voluntary entry into a tedious holding pattern.
And that is what this would be, too. In the first act he is successful, collecting points and moving his new team into mid-table. In the second, though, it rapidly becomes apparent that nothing exists beyond that quick provision of security and that, for a club’s with Everton’s aspirations, he should only ever have been considered as a last resort.
True, they are a bad team who can’t compete and have lost the ability to defend. However, the greatest PR trick Allardyce ever performed was convincing almost half the teams in the Premier League that only he is capable of curing those kind of problems.
Everton are apparently the latest to fall for it. Yes, it seems like a good idea now but – again – what happens when he’s gone and how much will have been sacrificed?