Everton deserve better than more former Manchester United stars
SUPPORTERS are supposed to revel in the misfortunes of their rivals, but it would be laughable in a different way if Everton appointed one or two of the big names being linked as their new boss.
Evertonians of my acquaintance may have denied it, but they secretly enjoy most Manchester United success (except against the Toffees themselves, obviously) because they know how it annoys Liverpool fans.
The jibe that went in the other direction was that Goodison Park was a safety net for players who couldn't reach the high standards demanded at Old Trafford, or were no longer required there.
Examples included Andrei Kanchelskis, Jesper Blomqvist, Phil Neville, Tim Howard, Louis Saha, Darron Gibson, Tom Cleverley, Morgan Schneiderlin, and, most recently, Wayne Rooney.
Yet having Ryan Giggs and that lesser Neville brother linked with the top job is frankly insulting to Everton.
They're better than that. Everton, that is. Giggs and Phil Neville are nowhere near good enough.
Giggs was a great player, Phil Neville a good one, but neither has done anything to prove that they deserve to be put in charge of a club that is in Europe this season and is basically the seventh best in England.
Credit to Giggs and Phil Neville that they are putting themselves forward.
I have a theory that fewer and fewer footballers will become managers or coaches because why would they bother? Why would they want the hassle, the aggravation, the criticism, when they have already made many millions?
The lure of involvement in the game, the knowing nothing else outside the sport, the dream of glory, are all enticing factors.
The inevitable sizeable pay-off when they get the sack can't hurt either.
Perhaps both realise that they have little positive to offer the punditry sphere, apart from droning platitudes on Giggs's part and puppy dog enthusiasm from Neville.
Yet surely both need to cut their coaching teeth and learn more about management before taking on a big job.
They may well both be different on a training pitch or inside a changing room, but it's hard to imagine either inspiring the current Everton squad which is clearly low on confidence and direction.
Everton are manifestly under-achieving at present, especially given the level of their transfer investment over the summer.
The Toffees don't even have their usual excuse/ complaint that their arch-rivals Liverpool have spent more than them; the Blues have laid out more, in terms of gross spending, than the Reds over the past season and this summer. Everton have also spent more nett than Liverpool over the past five seasons.
Despite that, they utterly failed to bring in anyone even half capable of replacing striker Romelu Lukaku, who went to their old pals Manchester United.
Yet the blame for this season's troubles cannot lie solely with sacked boss Ronald Koeman. The Dutchman seems like a good man and is certainly a good manager.
No doubt he has an input to the club's transfer dealings but the finger should also be pointed at Director of Football Steve Walsh, who came to the blue quarter of Liverpool having been the highly-lauded chief scout with then Premier League champions Leicester City.
The Foxes too have moved quickly to change their manager, although there's less sympathy for Craig Shakespeare after the manner in which he succeeded title-winning boss Claudio Ranieri.
Incredibly, Giggs has been linked with that post too.
That's not his fault, he's hardly likely to say he's not interested, but if either club is seriously considering appointing him then they would be taking a great gamble.
Given the financial drop between the Premier League and the Championship, even with 'parachute payments', there's a massive cost associated with relegation.
Some people may point to the success of Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid but – without in any way disparaging his achievements there – the Frenchman was taking over one of the most expensive squads in the world, full of top talent.
That's not the case at either Everton or Leicester.
Both need bosses capable of running big clubs, not merely big names.
* Lovely image of Cristiano Ronaldo introducing his son to Lionel Messi at the Fifa 'Best' Awards. Who says those two top players are rivals, eh?
Then you look at their respective votes for the best men's player. CR, as Portugal captain, picked Luka Modric, Sergio Ramos, and Marcelo. All fine players. All happen to play for his club Real Madrid, but hey ho.
Messi, as Argentina skipper, selected Luis Suarez, Andres Iniesta, and Neymar. Again, all tremendous talents. Probably just a coincidence that all three played for Messi's side Barcelona. To be fair to Leo, voting seems to have taken place after Neymar jumped ship to PSG.
So no bitterness or bias involved at all then.
None in the best coach voting either.
Well, after such successful 2016-17 seasons for Barcelona and Manchester City, Messi obviously went for Luis Enrique, followed by Pep Guardiola, then the boss of Madrid – Atletico Madrid that is, Diego Simeone.
You couldn't blame Cristiano for voting for his own manager, Zinedine Zidane, given that Real Madrid did actually win the big trophies, while it's also just good fortune for him that a fellow Portuguese was successful, with his second choice, Jose Mourinho, winning the Europa League and League Cup for Manchester United.
Credit to him, though, that his third choice was actually born in Barcelona. Albeit the Venezuela version. Leonardo Jardim took Monaco to the French title and the Champions League semi-finals.
What's this? Jardim has Portugeuese parents and was brought up, from a young age, in Madeira, the home island of CR7?
Astonishing. Who knew?