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Champions League - We're Having A Laugh?

By Lee Kidd :  28/07/2007 :  Comments (11) :
Leaving aside the increasingly tedious stadium debate, my attention ? alongside many Evertonians I'm sure ? has turned back to the immediate future in regards to the team that will be gracing Goodison Park for the upcoming season.

Interestingly enough, the summer has been dogged by supporter unease and agitation at the lack of activity in the transfer market as we approach August. With the Pienaar and Jagielka deals done (putting to one side the minor youth deals or trials), it has been commonly accepted by most fans that we haven't done enough to strengthen the side in almost "all" departments as we prepare for a tough and arduous season of three cups and a league campaign that threatens to be one of the toughest in the past few decades for every club.

Progression, as far as Everton Football Club are concerned, is reasonable improvement based on the performance of the year previous. The worry of the fans, however, is that whilst the sides who finished below us have spent dangerous amounts of money on various players, we've stood still, meaning that, logically, the likes of Aston Villa, Newcastle, West Ham, Manchester City and Tottenham are likely to usurp us in the top six before we're going to push on and break the top four.

The surprising thing, in my opinion, is that Everton still have a stronger chance than ANY of those sides in breaking the dominant top four next year and a very good chance of bringing home a trophy this year!

My reasoning is simple. The Everton side we field next season will not be weakened from the one that finished in a Uefa Cup spot last campaign. Consider that we've let Naysmith, Wright and Davies go from our first-team squad since January, none of those players were actively involved regularly in the first-team set-up ? or at least, didn't make any sizeable contribution.

Therefore, we've bolstered, bringing in a versatile, undoubtedly talented Englishman in Jagielka and a foreign winger ? hailed once as a world-beater ? with something to prove (sure, we heard that about Van der Meyde, but let's give the new lad a chance before making comparisons with Shandy).

With that in mind, we're also looking to bolster with quality, not quantity, before the season starts. This is a welcome reprieve from the days of Claus Thomsen, David Ginola and Brett Angell - being brought in to "give options".

Other clubs have spent ridiculous amounts of money on players, I feel, will go the "way of Beattie". Kamara for £6M is simply daft money. Chopra is a stupid signing given the fee. Teams have spent money, in some cases definitely improving the squad, but for the most... the real quality has gone to the top four. Nothing startling has arrived below us ? the only thing startling is the amount of money spent. The likes of Nani, Pizarro, Anderson, Torres etc are all world-class and, suitably, have joined the elite sides. The likes of Petrov ? whilst a "good" player ? isn't in the same league.

In short, the amount of improvement in teams below and around us is not equivalent to the money spent. The fear as fans is understandable, but the main concern is not that we're not spending money, but where on earth is the guaranteed revenue we have recieved this season and last season ? and from the Rooney sale ? gone? Even as an optimist, these questions must be satisfactorily answered by the Board of Directors if the purse strings are kept drawn by September.

The team, however, in terms of quality, is not as great a concern as it first seems!

Reader Comments

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Gavin Ramejkis
1   Posted 29/07/2007 at 08:06:36

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Read Joe’s financial revue and you’ll not be surprised unless you believe BK’s lies, we are skint and running at a loss. Why and how can anyone believe BK’s serial lies?
Ajamu Mutumwa
2   Posted 29/07/2007 at 13:46:17

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To all intents all clubs run at a loss. The issue is how they can manage that loss. We haven’t managed our loss as well as we could, but continued high placings will assist us. If our team finish in the top ten - even forgetting about a good cup run - that will be a considerable help to lessening our debt.
3   Posted 29/07/2007 at 14:57:40

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just seen wenger on sky saying HIS squad isnt big enough for 4 comps! Lee i agree with alot of your points but the signings he wants smith, baines, should be snapped up now, if beattie goes we have made £1m from this window!!??? if we dont spend between now and end of window its a really bad joke.
Bill Green
4   Posted 29/07/2007 at 14:26:34

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Everton is a business, if we spend 50 million on players this summer will we break into the top 4? the answer is proberbly not,if we spend nothing on players will we be relegated?, proberbly not, the likleyhood is that the small amount we have spent will keep us mediocre and mid table. A mid table position this of all years will guarantee a massive payout from the league/sky etc. Kenwright and Co know this, they also know we Evertonians are emotional fools, who will support the club no matter what is spent, as Arthur Daly might say Everton are "a nice little earner" but I’m sure the shareholders will raise their glasses of bubbly to us at the end of the season.
5   Posted 29/07/2007 at 15:50:31

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Lee nice analysis but totally wrong.THe following players all played some part in our games since January and have not been replaced:- Naysmith ,Simon Davies, Fernandes,Weir (?),Wright not to mention the Sale of Kilbane , Pistone going etc.
We only have Jagielka (another Naysmith in my opinion)and Pienaar.That is a huge reduction in numbers never mind quality for a squad that was already painfully thin.If Vaughan and Anichebe dont contribute to the level of last season we will be lucky to finish mid table with the current squad.
David Barks
6   Posted 29/07/2007 at 16:40:56

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J. Harris,

My sources say that Weir made a total of 6 appearances for us last season, starting only 3 with 2 of those starts ending in being substituted at half time. In his 3 appearances as a sub he came on in the 84, 82, 90 minute. He was sold in January, making his last appearance for us on Dec. 9.

Wright made a total of 2 appearances, one in the Carling Cup and one against United in the league, his last appearance being on Nov. 29.

Pistone did not play a single game for us last year.
Kilbane made a total of 4 appearances for us, being red carded in one of those. He was also sold in January, so didn’t play a part in our second half either.

How could you say that getting rid of these players who hardly contributed at all could be a huge reduction in quality. The only player on that list that really played for us that second half was Fernandes, and he was a loan, not here any more and we need to get over it. Jagielka is much better than Naysmith, as he captained his side, is much more versatile, and if you want to go by valuation, he was worth 4X what Naysmith was and that was on a release clause. If not for this clause in his contract he probably would have been sold for around 6 Million instead of 4, which is much more valuable than Naysmith at 1 Million.
Lee Kidd
7   Posted 29/07/2007 at 18:27:16

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I can understand how my point was misinterpreted, but what I meant has been summed up by David above. I meant only the periphery of the squad has been "cut away" with no real damage done to the first team.

I agree that the loss of Fernandes is a heavy blow but he is really the only big loss we’ve suffered. If we bring in one or two quality players in the next week or so (even if Beattie goes - £4m would be a miracle!), then I think alot of us will be feeling alot more confident going into the season. Baines, Vogel, Smith and another probably will come in - I agree that if we don’t sign anyone it’d be horrifying but I don’t believe for an instant that we’ve stopped for the summer and that the squad is as bad as is being depicted.

Oh, and on another note, seen Carragher’s comments today? "The biggest obstacle in front of the title coming to Anfield this year is Chelsea"!!!! Hahahaha... You haven’t ever won the Premiership you soft idiots - get a grip on reality!
Dan Masters
8   Posted 29/07/2007 at 19:29:55

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Reading what the players say, they seem confident ahead of the new season.... and that’s the most important thing.

Lee is right in that it’s only minor contributors who have gone. You could argue that Fernandes has been replaced by Pienaar as well. A fired up Alan Smith would be an improvement on Beattie, Vogel would provide cover for Carsley and Baines would provide more options down the left.

If that transpires we will have lost 5 players ( Wright, Naysmith, Beattie, Davies and Fernandes - not counting Pistone who hasn’t played for 2 years or Weir who only played about 100 minutes last season or Kilbane who left last August ) and replaced them with Baines, Jagielka, Smith, Vogel and Pienaar. Roughly the same wages, and at a net cost of £7.5m. That is a big overall improvement in quality for not a lot of money. I presume Moyes will use youngsters to bolster numbers although another loan deal or two might make sense to cover the extra ( we hope!! ) games.
9   Posted 29/07/2007 at 20:01:28

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I can see why there’s a chasm between evertonians.

I.WE will only get smith if beattie goes and apparently havent really made an enquiry for him yet anyway.
2.Baines we apparently have offered$2m + a squad player (Carsley or McFadden have been mentioned).
3. Vogel is desperate to come but we have made no further approaches.
$.if we say Pienaar is a poor substitute for Fernandes and Jagielka is a quality substitute for Naysmith that still leaves the sqad numbers way down on last season when we just about got over the finishing line.
And David Barks if we get beat 2-0 by Real Saly Lake as you well know are one of the poorest sides in the MLS then all you delusionined Bullshit Billyites are in for a severe awakening in the new season.
David Barks
10   Posted 30/07/2007 at 05:10:54

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J. Harris,

Come on now, are you really implying that a preseason game against Real Salt Lake is indicative of what type of team we are. Because if it does, that means Chelsea must be pretty poor, since they only beat the Galaxy, who are also at the bottom of the league, by a score of 1-0 and didn’t they just lose to Rangers 2-0 as well? Are Rangers really better than Chelsea, honestly. It’s preseason man, it’s only purpose is practice and fitness. Urawa Red Diamonds drew with Man United 2-2, are they equal teams? Hell, Port Vale beat them, is Port Vale a better side? Carlisle drew Newcastle, are they equal?
Lee Kidd
11   Posted 30/07/2007 at 17:44:27

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Quite clearly altitude, fitness and climate played a part in that score, and to base our chances for the entire season around that one result would be utterly stupid.

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