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Johnson, Kenwright, Deja Vu?

By Paul Tran :  29/07/2007 :  Comments (5) :
I've been reading & posting on this site for a couple of years now. One thing I've noticed that from the time when the likes of me were criticised for daring to mention the odd period when we won trophies, played good football, etc, things have moved on. It's now being suggested that those of us unhappy with mediocrity should be grateful that things are better than under Smith and Johnson.

That got me thinking about the similarities between 'Agent' Johnson and Kenwright. Remember the original, populist, Johnson desperate to counteract his red past? He brought in that 'promising young manager' (familiar?) Mike Walker. Poor Walker, out of his depth, became the only manager in my lifetime who came genuinely close to relegating us. Give Johnson credit, when Walker tried to repeat this he was duly sacked.

Johnson went populist again, bringing back Big Joe. Some of us wondered whether Joe was only good with ordinary players (familiar?). This was a masterstroke ? the only genius I've seen at EFC in the last 20 years. Not only did Joe keep us up, a minor miracle in itself, he won us the Cup.

Johnson went all Ken Bates, claiming credit for everything, we bought Kanchelskis and everything was rosy. Great following season, when we just missed out on Europe (familiar?). Behind the scences it wasn't so good. We needed to strengthen, Johnson padlocked his wallet (familiar?). Joe got fed up and without resigning or being sacked, left the club.

Johnson went all populist again, bringing back Howard Kendall, without considering the great man's 'issues'. He then brought in Walter Smith, which appeared a good move. Can you remember how good it felt when Collins, Dacourt and Materazzi came to the club? The FourFourTwo interview with Collins summed it all up ? those three players were the starting point to making EFC great again and were to be followed with more signings... that never materialised.

Johnson decided that there was no more money, talking about 'blend blend, rather than spend, spend'. At which point Johnson decided to cash in his chips, with Kenwright leading the cavalry charge. "Great," we thought, "a 'true Blue' at the helm." A horrible period of inertia ensued with Smith spending his meagre budget on a desperate array of no-marks and has-beens, the rest of us waiting for Bill to sack him.

The circle was completed when Bill sacked Smith, replaced him with a 'promising young manager', we just missed out on Europe, flirted with relegation, stormed back to fourth and then criminally, failed to strengthen.

I'm perfectly happy with chairmen making money out of the club. After all, they take the risks. What strikes me is that both Johnson and Kenwright loved the idea of running a successful football club, but were reluctant or unable to find the cash to make it happen. I was perfectly happy with Johnson when we paraded the FA Cup around Wembley. He than basked in genuine success, without doing anything to sustain it. I am pleased that Kenwright has 'stabilised' the club, if that's what he has done and outraged at the way he has portrayed this as 'success'.

I just wish we could break the cycle and find a chairman who has the money, will and nous to make us great again.

I'm sure if Bill really wants genuine success rather than the mediocrity desperately passed off glory, he will do something about it. There I go, being an old Evertonian dreamer again!

Reader Comments

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Lee Kidd
1   Posted 30/07/2007 at 18:01:03

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Comparing Johnson and Kenwright in such a way is just plain wrong, i’m afraid. You’re making them sound as if they had exactly the same agenda and personality. They’re as different as chalk and cheese.

Firstly, Walker was here for a very short amount of time. Moyes has already had the backing of Kenwright for a long period of time.

Under Kenwright we have repeatedly broken transfer records and enjoyed stability not seen at the club under the stewardship of Johnson.

Kenwright has also only had two managers during his time as chairman - one inherited (I think). Under Johnson the club was a yoyo in terms of personnel and management.

On another note, I don’t believe the Everton of the last few years have been mediocre - I really don’t. If you look at the sides around us that have benefited from an unexpected boom in the last decades of TV money and new owners (basically being in the right place at the right time), then Everton have not done badly to break the top four and finish in a UEFA Cup slot in recent years.

I am going to say what i’m sure has been said to you before, going by your initial paragraph. It’s not the 80’s, there are better equipped clubs around us, we’re not going to win the league overnight and for clubs in our position stability and sound investment in our future is the right way forward.

It’s nice to romanticize about the 80’s and maybe even 1995, but let’s support the club of today as they bid to grab new silverware which we have a genuine chance of doing in the cup competitions.
Marc R
2   Posted 30/07/2007 at 18:34:22

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’ they bid to grab new silverware which we have a genuine chance of doing in the cup competitions.’

Ha! like we’ve come close to a quarter final in the last 5 years!
Tim Lloyd
3   Posted 30/07/2007 at 18:53:26

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Good old Marc R. Really an inspiring young man
David Barks
4   Posted 30/07/2007 at 19:15:21

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I don’t understand people who call themselves Evertonians and do nothing but write off any chance of us winning anything. Why do you waste your time supporting a club when you hate everybody involved with it and don’t give the team a chance?
Paul Tran
5   Posted 31/07/2007 at 09:20:26

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Lee, point taken about manager stability under Kenwright, though I wonder if anyone else would work on the basis Moyes has to put up with.

David, I don’t hate anybody involved with Everton and I’m expecting UEFA qualification this season, which to me is giving them ’every chance’.

My simple point is that both Johnson and Kenwright both talked about bringing the great times back to Everton, while being unable/unwilling to secure the finanace to sustain the relative success they have undoubtedly brought to the club.

Businesses don’t get investment by accident, they get it by going to the market,selling their product effectively and developing relationships with potential investors. I’d like to see more evidence of us doing this, as we surely have more to offer than Wigan, Sunderland, Birmingham, Villa and Man City?

What I say is nothing to do with ’romanticising about the 80’s’. At a time when we are improving the team and we are in touching distance of the top four, I’m frustrated by our chairman’s inability to find the funds to help Moyes take things further. I’m also sick of this view that all these clubs find investment by ’being in the right place at the right time’.

Why aren’t we in that ’place’?

As I’ve said elsewhere, I think our first choice team is as strong as those around us, so I’m optimistic about this season. I’d have more optimism if our squad gets strengthened, which I trust it will in the next couple of weeks.

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