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The Value of Star Power: Meat in the Seat

By Peter  Fearon :  13/07/2007 :  Comments (1) :

So let’s just think about this for a second. If I understand David Moyes correctly, it’s irresponsible when mighty free-spending Wigan pays 5.3M for Jason Koumas, and Portsmouth pays 6M for Nugent, but it’s perfectly responsible for Everton to pay the kind of money we have paid for Beattie, Davies, Van de Meyde, Kroldrup, Neville and other such wastes of royal blue shirt dye.

What is really happening here? David Moyes is doing a classic change of subject. Everton is struggling to find the money to begin the stadium project in Kirkby and his budget for spending on players has been reduced, so that even the usual January Sales efforts are out of reach.

We have our priorities all wrong. The stadium has been touted as a means of increasing revenue, but nothing puts meat in the seat better than marquee names. I don’t think we’ve bought a marquee name — someone whose presence alone can pull in more fans — since Andrei Kanchelskis. I am not counting the superannuated and totally ineffective music hall acts Walter Smith signed — Gascoigne, Ginola, and Marky-Sparky Has-Been Hughes. I mean players with charisma and talent who people are willing to pay to watch.

Wouldn’t you think that someone of Bill Kenwright’s entertainment industry background would know the value of putting some star power over the title credits? The man is a theater impresario but he’s bent on producing a show composed almost entirely of extras and bit part actors.

The fact is that one player costing 20 million pounds is more likely to repay the investment in merchandise sales and gate receipts — and of course victories — than three or four bargain basement clowns from David Moyes' shopping list of pliable mediocrities

Who wouldn’t swap 6M Beattie and 8.6M AJ for one $15M player of skill, moment and grace who regularly recalls where the goal is? So whose spending is really irresponsible? A club whose investment gets them into Europe — and performs there — or one whose parsimony drops them closer to relegation?

We are breaking the bank — and risking all the progress made during David Moyes’ tenure — to start building a stadium instead of finishing building a team that can win trophies.

Each year that we fail to strengthen the squad with players of excellence we risk losing ground to the teams that are. I am not saying we can match the spending of Chelsea and Manchester United, but surely we must guard against losing ground to teams below us in the table who are focused on strengthening their squad and not focused on leaving town.

It has been clear since the start that David Moyes tragic flaw was his dithering in the transfer market. Nothing we have seen since May has indicated any improvement.

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Rupert Sullivan
1   Posted 15/07/2007 at 07:04:30

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Peter - I couldn’t agree more with the ’risk losing ground’ to the teams which are spending money. I would also like to see a ’marquee’ name in the squad, or even a lad of class like Fernandes.

I am seriously concerned that EFC have a risk averse approach to the team hence not building on the squad we have.

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