Everton chairman Bill Kenwright is facing the dilemma he wished he’d never have to; choosing the successor to David Moyes. With Moyes having stalled on signing a new contract as the old one rapidly ran down, Kenwright should have been planning for the likely scenario that his long-serving manager was going to seek pastures new, as had been expected by the majority of Everton fans. After all, Manchester United had a contingency plan for when Sir Alex Ferguson dropped the retirement bomb, so why didn’t Everton when his departure was far more likely?

Kenwright and his outgoing boss have been each other’s firmest friends and confidants since Moyes was appointed in March 2002, since when he has gradually improved the Everton side from being perennial strugglers to regular top six challengers in the Premier League.

The widely accepted view is that the man Manchester United have carefully selected to take on the daunting task of following Fergie as the man in charge at Old Trafford has taken the Toffees as far as he can, given the finances, or lack thereof, at Goodison Park. There will be a large percentage of Evertonians who would dispute this however, believing that the Scotsman could, and should have done better.

So, as Moyes prepares to depart Merseyside, who is the best man to fit one the highest profile but most difficult jobs in English football and what are the skills they need to bring to not only maintain, but improve on what has gone before? Here are the contenders:

Malky Mackay


The Cardiff boss has allegedly already been approached by Everton, and if, as reported, Moyes will have a hand in choosing his successor, Mackay could very well be the man most like Moyes himself; an ex-Celtic centre back who has worked his way impressively through the lower divisions with a solid, if unglamorous team. With an experienced Premier League assistant by his side, Mackay could be the smoothest transition. Whether he would bring anything new to the table remains to be seen.

Roberto Martinez

For the last few seasons, Roberto Martinez has been touted around as a possible new manager at bigger clubs than Wigan. Having passed up the opportunity to take the top jobs at Aston Villa and Liverpool, now that the Latics have been relegated, the jovial Spaniard could finally be tempted away from the DW Stadium. Their shock FA Cup win will only heighten the clamour for his signature and he can rightly be considered the favourite for the Everton job, given the geographical proximity to his current post and the Goodison role would be an obvious step up the ladder for someone so highly rated within the game.

Neil Lennon

There’s already been anti-Lennon campaigns on social media such as Twitter and seemingly he is a very disliked character. If, as promised, Kenwright listens to the fans before appointing anyone, the only Lennon based in Liverpool will be the airport.

Phil Neville/Alan Stubbs/Duncan Ferguson

Any of these three have a faint hope of managing Everton based on the fact they have all captained the club, are all popular with the fans and would come on the cheap as they would be promoted through the ranks. The downside for all of them is that none have them have ever managed before and are all inexperienced on the coaching side too. Don’t be surprised if one of them becomes number two to the eventual selection.

Mark Hughes

Having seen the mess he made at QPR and the lack of progress made with Manchester City’s millions, the Welsh man and ex-Everton player, is an outside bet for the job. Only a lack of serious other credible options would see Hughes installed, especially as he is likely to come at a high price regarding wages, and expect something other than the usual meagre Everton transfer fund.

Martin O’Neill

A safe pair of hands with years of experience at big clubs, but what is he likely to bring Everton that would really appeal or make headlines? More of the same? A possible choice on a short term basis but difficult to see him being the choice based on his spat his dummy out over lack of transfer funds at Aston Villa, and when he did spend big at Sunderland, it failed big time.

Vitor Pereira

The Porto manager comes with a good reputation, but should they win the Portuguese league as now looks likely, he is likely to stay at the Estadio Dragao, or move to one of Europe’s elite clubs, which Everton cannot claim to be.

Stuart McCall

An unlikely chance he may be, but McCall continues to impress at Motherwell with zero budget. Another ex-Everton warrior who would be popular with fans and players. However, the jump from second best in the SPL to top six in the Premier League is likely to be considered too steep.

Rafa Benitez

The interim Chelsea and former Liverpool manager has a successful record, particularly in European competition where he has just guided the Stamford Bridge club to Europa League glory. If he thinks he’s unpopular in West London, that would be nothing compared to how he would be received by the blue half of Merseyside. Despite the potential upsides, Benitez is a total non-starter.

Gus Poyet

A popular man as a player and manager, the Uruguayan has built a successful coaching career with stints at Leeds United, Swindon Town and Brighton. Following the Seagulls elimination from the championship play-offs, it seems increasingly likely that Poyet will cash in on his rising stock and make the move to the Premier League. The Everton vacancy could provide an interesting progression for both parties. This could be a live possibility.