Where did Silva’s reputation come from?
With Marco Silva reportedly close to losing his job at Everton due to poor results, one wonders where his reputation came from?
The Portuguese boss first arrived onto the English football scene in January 2017 at Hull City, and he was walking into a bleak setting.
Having just been promoted to the Premier League, Steve Bruce left the Tigers following a disagreement with chairman Assem Allam, and what should have been a joyous summer turned into a nightmare.
Beyond the £13million capture of Ryan Mason, precious little money was made available to Bruce’s successor – Sir Alex Ferguson’s former right hand man at Manchester United Mike Phelan – and despite the fact he achieved the impressive feat of defeating champions Leicester City on the opening day of the season, Phelan was unable to keep them out of the bottom three for the majority of the campaign.
A changed seemed inevitable, and alas Phelan was given the boot on January 3.
It only took a couple of days for his replacement to be announced and the general feeling was one of confusion.
Silva, a former aide to Jose Mourinho, who had just led Olympiakos to their sixth-straight Greek title was handed the job. Many were baffled by how left-field the appointment was, and certain TV pundits expressed their feelings very clearly at the time.
However, a dream start followed with a 3-1 win against Bournemouth as he looked to rail against the sceptics.
Yet, ultimately, they did not have enough and despite winning six home games, Hull went down.
It was no disgrace, but the seeds were planted – ‘Silva is a great coach who can work well with limited resources’, they said – Paul Clement took over Swansea in a similar situation and was given nowhere near the adulation.
Perennial manager-eaters Watford took note and duly hired him – and again the 42-year-old did a decent, if unspectacular, job in his time there.
Then, just eight months in, they unceremoniously gave Silva his P45 after the Hornets’ form dramatically plunged following interest from Everton – perhaps showcasing some mental fragility in the ex-Sporting Lisbon man.
When the Toffees job became available following Sam Allardyce’s reign on Merseyside, it finally seemed like a tailor-made role for Silva to prove how good he is.
But 17 months on, has it really worked? Probably not. A vast amount of money has been spent on evidently talented players, but fans are still confused as to what they see and are still searching for answers, despite Silva’s confidence. What truly is the ‘Silva way?’
A defeat for Everton at home to West Ham on Saturday lunchtime will see the dissenters become even louder, and might convince the Everton board to look elsewhere.
If so, that would be Silva’s third Premier League job in just under three years – none of which resulted in any discernible success.
So why is he so highly rated? and what makes him stand out from the crowd?
Is it because he won the Greek Superleague with a team that could have done it in their sleep? Is it because he is close to Mourinho? Or is it because there is still a lack of real trust in what’s available closer to home?
Only those who have hired him can answer that question, but it does seem like Silva’s reputation has in part come from a media construct – a young, suavely- dressed Portuguese boss who has worked under one of the most successful managers of all time clearly must be the right answer.
If Silva does end up losing his job, it could serve as a lesson to all club chiefs when on the lookout for a new manager – it’s advisable to scratch beneath the surface before making a decision.
Dan McCarthy is a reporter who is very knowledgeable about football at all levels, and a keen Leeds United fan. He also follows darts, snooker, motorsport, and rugby league.