The worst thing about Rafael Benitez's sacking at Everton is how predictable the whole thing was.
It seemed that everybody outside the club could see this was heading for disaster before he was even appointed, although that didn't stop Everton from pressing ahead with the deal. Benitez's mix of dour football and past links with Liverpool meant this was always going to end in disaster.
A run of one win in 13 league fixtures meant the move was probably overdue, but the Spaniard will still go down as the shortest serving manager in club history despite hanging on for longer than he possibly should have.
His appointment was a firm reminder of how poorly Everton has been run in recent years, although Benitez will have to shoulder some of the blame for their recent run of form. Richard Keys, someone who has been vocal in his criticism of the manager's Goodison Park tenure, seems to be rather enjoying the news.
Writing in his ever insightful blog, the Qatar-based presenter questioned Benitez's integrity for not walking away from the job sooner.
What was there about the eventual, inevitable, predictable outcome that Farhad Moshiri (Everton owner) wasn’t warned about - or didn’t expect? What he should be grateful for is that it came to a head quickly enough for limited damage to have been caused to the club - just as it did at Real Madrid, Inter and Chelsea.
I’m not going to make this personal. The above statement is a ‘fact’. So is this - Rafa Benitez should never, ever have been anywhere near the manager’s job at Everton.
If he had an ounce of decency or integrity he’d have felt that way himself and turned Moshiri’s offer down in the summer - not wanting to tarnish his reputation at Anfield.
I’m told he wasn’t going to walk - that he wanted his money before he left Goodison. Ok. He was contractually due - but morally? When Ruud Gullit realised he couldn’t win his battle with Alan Shearer at Newcastle he told Freddie Shepherd (the owner) that he was leaving - and didn’t want a penny piece in compensation. He just walked away.
Especially for my friends at the Liverpool Echo - the following is true. Fact. He turned down the chance to take Philippe Coutinho to Goodison. Coutinho would’ve been a bigger attraction than Benitez. (Damn, I’m trying hard to keep this to ‘facts’).
So Coutinho went to Villa - along with Everton’s best player, whose reputation Benitez tried to trash. And do you know who Everton were putting a deal together to sign instead of Coutinho? Sean Longstaff. Fact. Sean Longstaff - who can’t even hold down at place at Newcastle.
It’s been the darkest period in Everton’s history. It’s been torturous for Evertonians - desperate for their team to win but not with Benitez at the helm.
Everton are now on the lookout for his successor, with the club believed to be keen on a reunion with Belgium boss Roberto Martinez.
While his previous stint at the club did not end well, at least he hasn't previously managed their biggest rivals...