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Fans Comment
Peter Laing

Talent spotting from a portakabin in Netherton
18 May 2006

It is clearly evident that Everton have fallen from grace and are quite rightly regarded as a provincial club with little ambition, business acumen (other than selling home grown players), and little in the way of a long-term strategy other than Premiership survival and making up the numbers as also-rans.

Over the past ten years, the Youth Academy has probably been the main-stay of this continued plan of survival with notable products such as Ball, Jeffers, McCann, and Rooney all sold to keep the Club afloat during continued lack of investment from the boardroom. Without going into detail on the transfers, I would hazzard a guess that the combined total for these products would be circa 45M. It has been well documented that David Moyes has been given money to spend during his tenure; however, by and large this has been financed by TV revenue, season ticket sales, better marketing(?), and surplus Rooney cash once the banks had taken their chunk.

It doesn't suprise me that even an average player like Tony Hibbert can generate albeit a rumour linking him with Manchester United; if Osman was a little stronger then add him to this equation along with Victor Anichebe and James Vaughan, John-Paul Kissock or Bjarni Vidarsson. The harsh reality is that, with a clear strategy and vision, Everton could and should now be building a team around Wayne Rooney. Liverpool have proven time and time again the value and importance of Steven Gerrard to their progress and success...

With the academy products, add a simple strategy of a reliable overseas scouting system akin to Arsenal and we could also be hand-picking the emerging talents of Africa, South America and Asia. The problem is the Club that is Everton FC is all about soundbites, PR spin and empty promises, "We aren't a selling club, we wouldn't even sell him for 50M" Bill Kenwright, June 2004.

As an Evertonian, I can see the muddy waters that was the Wayne Rooney transfer; many factors contributing except one lack of vision and lack of ambition. Wayne Rooney and his family are as much Everton as Steven Gerrard is Liverpool. Yet it would be churlish to think that if we had seen the emergence of Rooney in another five years then things might be different because they won't.

What we are promised is a new kit every season to extract the extra 50-100 from gullible Evertonians Bully Wyness projecting that we need to see an average of 60 spending per supporter on merchandise. I would much prefer to pay that through the turnstiles on a good cup run or European qualification. On the left breast of that new shirt is a script that reads "Nil satis nisi optimum" roughly translated in modern times as a sad relic of the past.
Peter Laing


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