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Home Sweet Home

By Jon  Livesey :  15/05/2008 :  Comments (10) :

In the not so distant past, it used to be that whenever we unearthed a hidden gem or brought a potential world beater through from the academy, we didn't have time to get excited before their departure to a bigger club became inevitable. So at a time when Arsenal fans are waking up each morning to reports of yet another of their star players wanting to jump ship, it is refreshing to feel safe in the knowledge that ours are going nowhere.

Arsenal have played some outstanding football this season, scored some amazing goals and mounted a serious challenge in the title race up until a couple of months ago. But still, the likes of Hleb and Adebayor, who are integral to their slick forward play, look likely to follow the influential, Flamini out of the exit door in the summer.

Hleb has spouted the biggest cop-out of an excuse since Alex Ferguson blamed United's loss to Southampton on the team's grey away shirt, saying London is too noisy for him. And Adebayor has made no bones about the fact that he would like to play for Barcelona. To add insult to injury, the vultures are now attempting to capitalise on the unrest, with it being reported that Barcelona will try to tempt the Gunners with an offer for talismanic midfielder, Cesc Fabregas.

Remember the dark days when no sooner had our best players settled in to life on Merseyside than they were being cherry picked by bigger clubs? Olivier Dacourt and Marco Matterazzi stayed for one season before departing for bigger and better things. Skipper, Gary Speed deserted the sinking ship and Don Hutchison thought Sunderland was a more attractive prospect than the tutelage of Smith and Knox (and it probably was at the time). Nick Barmby went over to the dark side, Jeffers came, saw, conquered and then did one before Rooney followed suit a few years later.

We're obviously a lot better organised now, both as a club and a team, for which Moyes should take a lot of the plaudits. And we have the attraction of playing in Europe again. But then, so do Arsenal and their players still want to leave. So what else is it that makes players want to stay and be a part of the Moyes revolution?

I remember when Ashley Cole, who came through the youth ranks at Arsenal, and had known nothing other than success at the club, decided to leave for Chelsea. He said that one of the main reasons he was unhappy was that the chief language in the dressing room was French and that there was a notable lack of banter. But who cares about that as long as the team is wining, people may say?

Well footballers are human beings and while they are paid ridiculous amounts of money for doing something they love, football is their job and their club is their place of work. So if they're unhappy in that environment, despite their success, there is every chance that they'll cut their losses and leave.

Now I don't claim to have ever been around Everton Football Club any more than occupying my seat on match days and it is dangerous to accept what the players say in interviews as the gospel truth ? of course they're going to say morale is high and that the camaraderie amongst the lads is top notch ? but I'm confident that life as an Everton player is enjoyable.

The first obvious sign is that our players seem more than happy to stay and sign new long term contracts. Mikel Arteta, arguably our star player, arrived as a 23-year-old, who had never stayed at a club longer than a couple of years and yet he insists he wants to remain at Everton because he is settled and feels like he is at home. Steven Pienaar made it clear that he wanted to sign a permanent deal, despite interest from other suitors, again saying he felt at home. And Joleon Lescott, one of the most impressive, young and versatile defenders in the country, has reiterated his desire to remain an Everton player for the long term.

Then there is what we see on the pitch. When we score, every player celebrates together and I can't recall any tiffs between players to rival those of Adebayor and Bendtner or N'Zogbia and Faye.

Phil Neville must be an absolute nightmare to play with on account of his bossiness and constant mithering. But when he scored the other week, the payers' reaction was brilliant. They looked even happier than usual and not just because the game had such great importance. I'm sure they all realise that he works harder than anyone for the team and deserves his moment of glory.

Even Neville, who was at Manchester United for a decade says he is an Evertonian now. What we keep hearing is that the club feels like home for the players and I salute Moyes for creating such an environment. I love reading the tales of foreign players singing English pop songs in karaoke bars on pre-season tours as part of their initiation into the squad because it points towards a togetherness that is extended to the pitch.

If Arsenal lose their key players this summer because they aren?t happy with life at the club, then their loss is our gain and we?ll have every opportunity of dislodging them from the top four next season.

At the risk of tempting fate, I'm confident that on the opening day of the season, none of our key players will have left, the deadwood will be long gone and we will have improved our squad further.

In Moyes we trust.

Reader Comments

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Jay Harris
1   Posted 15/05/2008 at 17:02:14

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Good post Jon and illustrates the point its not all about money.
In fact a famous psychologist called Maslov came up with a "theory of hiearchy of motivation"
which basically stated that once people had enough to live on their main motivation was their work surroundings and conditions of working and I agree DM should be complimented in getting us there.
Tony Senter
2   Posted 15/05/2008 at 18:12:12

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What utter drivel. How you can say ?ours are going nowhere? is beyond me. If one of the Big Boys took a shine to ANY of our players ? although that?s only likely to be Lescott or Yakubu ? they would be off like a shot. Don?t confuse the tripe they talk in the Echo for loyalty, they are all mercenaries and like us wouldn?t hesitate to change employers for double the money. Of course the less exposure they get at international level the less they are likely to get tapped up but don?t hold your breath!
Louis Huglin
3   Posted 15/05/2008 at 18:14:52

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Maslow’s heirarchy of needs, Jay, and it’s not the best example because the pinnacle of his heirarchy of motivation states self-actualisation as the ultimate goal. GCSE Business Studies. The potetential to achieve the most recognition of one’s talents is therefore the highest form of motivation; in football terms, this means playing for the top clubs to win the top trophies.

Great article Jon, I like what you are saying. It definitely seems, whether accurate or just clever PR, that Everton have a real culture of togetherness, and that can only be good for future successes. Thank you Davey Moyes.
Lewis Abbott
4   Posted 15/05/2008 at 19:05:06

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Thats utter rubbish

Our players would leave if the offer was right...
Sid Fuller
5   Posted 15/05/2008 at 19:38:42

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The real question is whether Davey Boy has enough to live on or whether a ?double your money ?offer from Celtic will be enough to see him ?go native?. Watch this space!
Jonathan Wright
6   Posted 16/05/2008 at 01:58:09

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He wants to stay. He knows we want him to stay. The players are with him. Are the board?
Steve Ryan
7   Posted 16/05/2008 at 05:27:06

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Forgive me mate but dont Chelsea have more foreign players than Arsenal. Don’t kid yourself; Cole left for the money.
Sandy Brown
8   Posted 16/05/2008 at 11:21:27

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Yes, Cashley Cole was so incensed by the lack of banter that he immediately offered to take a pay cut so he could join a team with a majority of English players.....

The only reason our players haven’t jumped ship is that none of the Sky Four has made them an offer. I’d say we have an excellent balance of players who are good enough collectively to bring us consistent top six finishes, but not good enough individually to attract the Money Clubs.

Having said that, another season like this one and Lescott will be joining Man Utd.
Andy Hudson
9   Posted 16/05/2008 at 11:26:42

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I agree that if a player is happy in his surroundings he is more likely to stay. A lot of the players have families and wouldn’t want to uproot them and are settled in the area. However if Man U, Arsenal or Barcelona came knocking it would be hard for them to say no, at the end of the day as a player you’d want to win trophies and playing for these clubs is the best way to do that. I do think though that we are no longer in danger of losing players to those clubs around us. 5 Years ago it would be quite conceivable for us to lose a player to spurs or newcastle, however now its not. In fact we managed to get Baines despite Newcastle’s interest... even a few seasons ago that wouldn’t have happened. I also dont think we’d lose our best players to the top teams if they were just going to be squad players. How much this is based on our own relative sucess though as opposed to the team morale is debatable... I think if we finished in the bottom half 2 seasons running we’d lose players again. I think morale and sucess go hand in hand though, and the happier the players are in their surroundings the more sucess we will have on the pitch. I think players are more likely to join us now then leave, that I think is down to Moyes and he desrves praise for that, as it shows the improvements he has made on and off the pitch
Peter Hall
10   Posted 17/05/2008 at 20:36:04

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Well Mr Senter, you’ve shown how much you think of loyalty so it doesn’t seem right for you to claim these players as ’ours’.

For sure, though you may not be able to see it, there is more to life - and football - than money.

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