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With all the transfer speculation doing the rounds at the moment, and the talk of Michael Johnson "returning" to the Blues, it got me thinking about other ways of getting hold of players, and making sure potentially valuable assests (see Baines and Jags) don't slip through our fingers.

A bit of Wikipedia hunting tells you that Everton have associations with three foreign clubs ? an Irish academy called Ballyoulster United, the Ontario Soccer Association and the Football Association of Thailand, where we just got our pop idol winner from! With Wyness always going on about the commercial aspects of the Prem abroad, I was thinking how far would linking up with another club or two across the globe would improve us. Setting up ties with say and African or South American club could potentially unearth a few hidden gems, and at least improve our image away from home. I don't have a great deal of insight in this area, but I know that Arsenal did have a link with a Belgian club who produced Toure's brother (who we were linked with a while back) as well as Emmanuel Eboué.

(I do however realise this Belgian link-up got investigated by police for money issues so you never know, bit of money laundering for big Keith!)
Adam McCulloch, Chesterfield     Posted 02/06/2008 at 09:19:07

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Neil Quinn
1   Posted 02/06/2008 at 14:05:28

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I seem to remember we tried it many years ago with an Irish team, Home Farm.

Any of you other oldies remember Martin Murray? He was supposed to be the next George Best but I don’t think he ever got further than our reserves & returned to Ireland, homesick.
Steve Ashton
2   Posted 02/06/2008 at 14:05:27

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Better be careful what you say about big Keith. His lawyers are constantly on the prowl for unsuspecting fans to sue.
Andy Flanagan
3   Posted 02/06/2008 at 14:34:48

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This is a good point Adam but I think the Michael Johnson scenario is a little bit different compared to those players who have been at our academy, were let go and then went on to be successful and cost us money when we could have had them for free. E.g. Jags, Bains etc. According to his dad on BBC Radio, he spent time with 4 youth academy’s including Everton’s before he decided Man City was right for him. In this instance it was more a case of him not wishing to stay with us than us letting him go. I think this situation has been addressed with the outstanding youth set-up at Finch Farm.
Ciaran Duff
4   Posted 02/06/2008 at 15:00:15

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I think that pop idol winner was actually a "soccer prince" and from China - slightly bigger market than Thailand which is nice:-

Everton also hooked up with the Indian FA a few months back which I think is a great move :-

I agree that Africa is definitely a region we should be exploring, given the amount of talent coming from there & our pool of African players at the club.
A link to Australia would also be great. Soccer has the largest participation rate of any sport in Oz and although it has struggled against the other football codes for media coverage etc it is really get its act together now. Through its participation in Asian competitions, I’ve also realised that there is a lot of talent in Asia, in particular in the middle east.
All the above may be academic if they bring in the 6+5 rule!
Nick Toye
5   Posted 02/06/2008 at 16:14:05

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Sorry, just don’t see the point in linking up with a nation who’s 2 major sports are Cricket and that tick game, Kabaddi is it?

But then what else should we expect from the clowns who are currently at the controls.
Andy Mack
6   Posted 02/06/2008 at 16:31:29

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I’m sure we signed up some sort of relationship with someone like Watford or Oldham about four seasons ago but can’t find any trace of it now, we were going to loan out our promising youngsters and in return cherrypick any talent they might have. Probably just a loose headline to divert away from the Kings Dock bluster of the time.
Jay Harris
7   Posted 02/06/2008 at 16:47:21

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Adam needn?t worry... KW will probably sue his cousin in Turkey.
Albert Dock
8   Posted 02/06/2008 at 17:16:19

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Didn?t know of a tie in with Watford but do remember being at Vicarage Road a couple of years ago and they played Z Cars.

Apparently they do it every week. Don?t know why.
Ray Roche
9   Posted 02/06/2008 at 17:30:01

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Neil, I remember him, I also remember all the fuss that surrounded his arrival. He WAS talked of as being the next Best but we saw bugger all of the lad. I?m always sceptical about "the next best [anyone]" in football these days...
10   Posted 02/06/2008 at 20:58:51

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martin murray had a serious heart condition and wasn’t able for the rigours of full time football
Michael Brien
11   Posted 03/06/2008 at 07:20:56

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Andy Mack - you may be thinking of Lincoln City - we established a link(sorry about the pun !) with them in 2001-02 - our younger players being loaned to them- any promising young players at Lincoln coming to Goodison. However i don’t think it lasted long - Lincoln had a promising young centre back a couple of years ago - jack Hobbs and he went to Anfield!!

I live in Branston, near Lincoln so I remember in the local press here there was a bit about the link between the Everton and Lincoln City.However, as I say I think it was very short lived and may not have gone beyond that season.

I am disappointed that we didn’t explore further links in Ireland to follow up the Home Farm thing. Traditionally Everton have had strong links with Ireland, in the past many great Evertonians have been Irish e.g. Peter Farrell,Tommy Eglington, Jimmy O’Neil and Mick Meagan to name but 4. When I see the likes of Doyle and Hunt at Reading ( is Shane Long Irish ?) - I wonder why we have missed out on them given our stronh historic links to Ireland.
Ciaran Duff
12   Posted 03/06/2008 at 14:31:09

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Here’s one point for linking up with India - 1 Billion people and a huge middle class (300M+) thats as big as the whole US population. From what I can tell from my Indian mates, you’re right cricket is definitely no. 1 especially with the recent success of IPL. Still, EPL is very popular on cable TV and as we all know a lot of the money in football these days is overseas TV, shirts, sponsorship etc. Definitely worth having a foot in that market.
Also, along with the China Soccer Prince scheme I mentioned earlier, it seems that Everton have just hooked up with a similar scheme in North America (another important market):-
Good to see the club moving forward on all fronts :-)

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