Frank Lampard has become the latest managerial casualty at Everton after being sacked following a dreadful run of 11 defeats in 14 games.
Everton fans again protested against the owner Farhad Moshiri, chairman Bill Kenwright and the board after Saturday’s 2-0 loss at West Ham but it is Lampard, appointed just under a year ago, who has paid with his job for the club’s alarming descent into the relegation zone.
Moshiri left the London Stadium, where he made a rare visit to watch the team, bizarrely claiming that a decision on Lampard’s future was not his to make. Everton’s board met to discuss the team’s plight on Sunday and the former England international was informed his reign was over on Monday.
Lampard had overseen just one win in his last 12 Premier League matches and had been in a precarious position since the Boxing Day home defeat by Wolves, who were bottom at the time. Everton have since slipped to joint bottom of the league with the club’s lowest points tally at this stage of any Premier League season following a calamitous defeat by Brighton and another home loss to last-placed Southampton.
The 44-year-old replaced the divisive Rafael Benítez on 31 January last year but, despite preserving Everton’s top-flight status in the penultimate game of the season against Crystal Palace, his win ratio was worse than any permanent Everton manager with the exception of Mike Walker.
Lampard’s departure means the Everton owner, Farhad Moshiri, has sacked six managers in almost seven years and is seeking the eighth permanent manager of his chaotic tenure. The former Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhüttl, who was considered after Benítez was sacked, and former Burnley manager Sean Dyche could be among the candidates to succeed Lampard. Everton may also consider a temporary appointment until the end of the season.
The latest turmoil comes at a precarious moment for Moshiri and Everton. A new stadium costing £550m is under construction at Bramley-Moore Dock, the club’s last three available set of accounts show combined losses of £372.6m and lucrative commercial ties were cut with companies owned by the oligarch Alisher Usmanov after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Relegation from the Premier League, therefore, would have dire consequences for Everton.
Lampard had expected to be backed in the January transfer market given there is a recognition throughout the club that the team’s striking options must improve. He had identified several potential targets working alongside Kevin Thelwell, the third director of football in the Moshiri era, and believed additional firepower would help pull the team away from danger. A loan deal for the Villarreal winger Arnaut Danjuma is close to completion, although Everton missed out on their striking targets Kevin Schade, Georginio Rutter and Danny Ings to Brentford, Leeds and West Ham respectively.
Everton sold last season’s leading goalscorer, Richarlison in July to help them comply with Premier League profit and sustainability rules. Lampard’s subsequent recruits for the final third, Neal Maupay and Dwight McNeil, have been poor and the first choice striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin has been plagued by injuries for two seasons.
Lampard helped reconnect a disillusioned Everton fanbase with the team during last season’s fight against relegation and, while he was not the direct target of supporters’ anger against Brighton, backing for the former Derby and Chelsea manager began to fade after two woeful defeats at Bournemouth in the week before the break for the World Cup.
Everton chose to stand by their latest manager with Moshiri claiming he had faith in Lampard’s work and that stability was required only 13 days before sacking him. There were chants of “You’re not fit to wear the shirt” towards Lampard’s players as well as renewed calls to sack the board following the loss to Southampton, when directors stayed away on the advice of the club’s security staff. They were present at West Ham, however, to see former Everton manager David Moyes strengthen his position at the expense of the ex-West Ham midfielder.