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Mid-Summer Mayhem

By Stan Sheppard :  01/08/2008 :  Comments (23) :
Having had to lie low this summer due to an extended spell in hospital and recovery at home, I have watched open mouthed as Everton Football Club have stumbled through a pre-season which promised so much and as of yet, has delivered nothing but mayhem and negative speculation.

There have been many issues close to the hearts of supporters that have continued to annoy and frustrate on a daily basis. Some have called for calm while others have demanded answers, resignations and a changing of ownership.

The whole stadium debate, which has served to divide the supporters, probably more than any issue in the history of the club, continues unabated. Indeed, instead of resolution and answers, it, like almost everything Everton, rumbles on with no end in sight.

Only a few days ago, the chief architect of Destination Kirkby, Keith Wyness, the much maligned CEO of EFC, suddenly resigned with no explanation or statement apart from a short line from the club that this will not affect the planned stadium move. Rumour has is that Messer?s Earl and Green had become too influential, reducing the CEO to a bit part at the club. Indeed there has also been a rumour that Philip Green has called in his loans and closed the cheque book and there has been a row or fallout between Robert Earl and Bill Kenright.

Alarmingly, there have been no new signings, although, as usual, there has been plenty of speculation. We have bid £5m for Ramsey, we bid a club record for Joao Moutinho, who has apparently been on the verge of signing several times. There has been the protracted sale of Andy Johnson (Sky Sports sources still say that the deal will happen once AJ sees Al Fayed's personal physician) to Fulham, the release of Stefan Wessels and Lee Carsely and the loan return of Manual Fernandes, none of whom have been replaced.

Our manager, who (as the club have repeatedly told us) has been on the verge of signing a new deal for months, has still not signed on. Rumblings and rumour would have us believe that he has had enough and our current US tour will in fact be his swan-song. I really hope this is not the case. Yet, when I listen to him speak and observe his demeanour, I get the feeling that he is not happy and not comfortable with many things Everton. Then again he is a temperamental guy!

Taking all of this into consideration, it is understandable why fans are concerned. We want to improve and progress and we wanted evidence that this was going to happen well before August 1st. However, looking at the teams immediately above us, which of them has substantially improved their team? Chelsea have signed two quality players, United have signed no-one, Liverpool have signed Keane, Arsenal have signed Nasri and Ramsey but lost Flamini, Silva and Lehman.

What about the teams below us? Who apart from Fulham, Hull and Sunderland, which others have really improved their squad? Villa have lost Mellberg, maybe Barry and Bouma to injury. Spurs have signed four or five and sold just as many. Yes they look like they have brought in quality but don?t forget Rebrov and Postigia. What about the rest? Even Man City who are apparently loaded are progressing very slowly in the transfer market.

The point I am trying to make is that we still have Yakubu, Arteta, Cahill, Pienaar, Lescott, Yobo, Howard, Neville? and (although we do need to add) there is no doubt that Moyes has started the season previously with a hell of a lot less quality than this and still produced the goods.

However, have we not paid our dues? We?ve been in the relegation zone and finished season after season with no prospect of improvement or European football. This pre-season was meant to be so much more than it has been. We were meant to be in the market for ?a better quality of player? and, with European football on the menu for the second season in a row, we were supposed to be a very inviting proposition for many quality players in Europe.

As supporters I feel we deserve better and with expectations being so high at the end of last season the current goings on have only served to enhance my feeling of injustice and disappointment.

Reader Comments

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Connor Rohrer
1   Posted 01/08/2008 at 21:07:39

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I say judge at the start of the season, I’m definatly worried but I’m willing to let it roll and see what happens. We still have time, some transfer windows develop early and some develop late, that’s just the way it is I’m afraid.

I’m confident we’ll get alteast two players in by the Blackburn game, Moutinho and M’Bia maybe. With M’Bia being at the Olympics someone like Neville or Rodwell might have to fill in for one or two games but we did that last season and won our first two games.

Even without signings we have the makings of a good side. Players like Arteta, Lescott, Yobo, Howard, Baines, Yakubu, Osman and Pienaar will still be there come Blackburn and we have enough quality to beat them.

By the end of the transfer window I expect 5 players in, in Moyes we trust. It’s frustrating yes, Evertonians have Every right to moan but I have no doubts things will brighten up. Moyes will get the players he needs.
Ray Robinson
2   Posted 01/08/2008 at 19:04:19

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I know I?m going to get panned for being pessimistic but I?m starting to feel like I would imagine I?d feel if Everton were about to start next season in the Championship. Why, when we finished 5th in the Premier last season with arguably the best (albeit small) squad since the mid 1980?s?

To answer my own question, because I can see hopes and ambitions being dashed, opportunities missed and possibly no way back from this situation. Like so many times in the past, we have been at the crossroads only to stall or even jam the gear into reverse instead of moving forward. This time it feels worse because I really could see us motoring this season with an ambitious manager becoming more experienced and astute with each successive season.

I?m just a fan, so although I read the press and the forums, I really do not have a clue of what is going on inside Goodison.. Do we have money to spend? If so, how much? If not, are we really as broke as I suspect we are?

Now I know that Bill Kenwright is not everyone?s cup of tea but I can?t believe that he would deliberately hold onto his train-set if it meant holding back his beloved club. Nor do I believe has he proposed the move to Kirkby just so that he can sell up at a profit.

So where is the money, where is the investment ? where are the players?

If the true situation were explained to us ? for instance, if Robert Earl really has called his loans back in, if some of our transfer gains have had to be diverted into servicing the existing debt, if there really are no potential investors out there either because we are not a sufficiently strong brand or we?re considered the second club in Liverpool, then maybe I?d accept the situation and lower my expectations.

Meanwhile I?m still scouring the websites each day looking for evidence that we?re about to sign the likes of Moutinho. It?s cruel being strung along. Sometimes the truth, however unpalatable, is the best medicine. I need to understand the situation that we?re in and I will adjust my expectations accordingly.

At this moment, I?m not looking forward to this coming season ? a challenge that we all should have been relishing. I?m questioning whether all this emotional investment is actually worthwhile and whether I should take up something less stressful ? like fishing for example.

Then again, the optimistic side of me suddenly re-surfaces ? Moyes will not resign, we?ll suddenly sign five great players next week who will all gel instantly and we?ll knock Liverpool out of fourth place as we did three seasons ago.

You?ll have to excuse me now. I?ve just seen some enormous pigs flying past the window. I think it?s time for my medicine.

Andy Fredson
3   Posted 01/08/2008 at 21:26:53

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What a great article i have been gutted as to what has not happened at our club and i read your article and makes me think there is light at the end of the tunnel. The most important thing you say is WE DO DESERVE BETTER!
Gavin Ramejkis
4   Posted 01/08/2008 at 21:37:20

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Where did this second club bullshit come from? How did Birmingham or Man City or any London club get investors? The club stinks like a rotting corpse and the smell is coming from the top down, all this bullshit about holding out for players? Surely to christ any manager will come up with ideas of who he wants to bring in next season during the season he is playing in as he sees weaknesses and areas he can improve his squad in. As such he goes to his board at the end of the season with his shopping list and away they go to find the money and the management do the negotiating and business like every other club. Not at Everton, we are potless, the excuses of waiting is pure unaldulterated bollocks and the latest soundbite from Billy Liar is as believable as anything else he ever says - I’ll believe it when I see the player wearing the top and holding up the scarf. The whole demeanour of DM pre-season shows he is one mighty pissed off manager and I for one won’t begrudge him if he gives BK the finger and walks.
Ray Robinson
5   Posted 01/08/2008 at 21:58:17

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Gavin, much though i HATE to say it, we are the second club in Liverpool in terms of attracting investment. Don’t make comparisons with Birmingham who only have Villa to contend with. We have a club that has won the European Cup/Champions League 5 times to contend with (yes, I nearly throw up having to say that!). Comparisons with Man City are also pointless - they had a world class stadium made vailable to them virtually for nothing. And London is a different kettle of fish altogether.

Let’s face it you hate Kenwright but for all his duplicity, maybe he is not lying when he states that he is finding it impossible to attract investment.

We have no benefactors!
Andrew James
6   Posted 01/08/2008 at 22:05:34

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The one thing that made me believe it would be okay and that our budget hasn’t been reduced to a ridiculously low amount was DM’s statement.

DM has integrity and would not spin things if all was not well. Remember him four summers ago during the Rooney saga? He told it like it was or said nothing. It was what everyone else said that was misleading or utter rubbish.

He will sign as long as the club deliver. He has more than kept his side of the bargain now it’s up to the board to keep up with him. I think they will...just.

Everton without DM is unthinkable. We will go back to the dark days of mediocrity. If BK cannot deliver then he must step aside. If we don’t have a quality creative midfielder, a defensive midfielder, two strikers (one a punt and the other a recognised forward) and a half decent reserve goalkeeper by transfer window close then he has failed and (if he’s a good Evertonian) put his club first.

Our first eleven : Howard, Baines, Lescott, Yobo, Neville, Rodwell, Arteta, Pienaar, Osman, Cahill, Yakubu- is one of the best line ups going and will really destroy a few teams in the Prem and Europe. But outside this with injuries and if they’re struggling for form, we are in big trouble.
Gavin Ramejkis
7   Posted 01/08/2008 at 23:01:28

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Ray and how many trophies have Man Utd won over Man City who for the larger proportion of recent years where in lower leagues? It doesn’t wash, we all know the hordes have been successful they have the for majority of the decades I’ve followed Everton but the premier league was the golden goose and getting fatter, god knows what the credit crunch effect will have with less disposable income given to watching the game.
Ray Robinson
8   Posted 01/08/2008 at 23:21:53

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Gavin, maybe it’s the effect of the 4 pints that I’ve drunk but I don’t get your response. I’m saying maybe we really are broke, have no immediate prospect of attracting an investor - and maybe- just maybe it’s not actually all Kenwright’s fault. I would just appreciate an honest response from the club!
Gavin Ramejkis
9   Posted 01/08/2008 at 23:37:13

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Sorry Ray didn’t read your reply fully, agree City got given a stadium for free but still doesn’t fully explain how they got investment under a bigger shadow of Man Utd. I can’t see BK saying anything to be honest, he’ll be desperately planning how he can cover his arse about KW and whatever way the DK call in goes.
Jonny Voodoo
10   Posted 01/08/2008 at 23:39:35

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I can understand that it is difficult to find investors. I don't necessarily think it is because we are seen as the second club in the city. I think that it is because investors are looking at our club and wondering how they will make profit.

We finished fifth last year, reached a cup semi and had a decent run in Europe, yet we are massively in debt still and not making profits each season despite being our most successful season for 20 years. The only way this club is going to start making serious money is by qualifying for the Champions League and investors will know what an expensive and risky objective that is to achieve as we would need need to have millions provided for transfer funds in order to give us a real chance on being there year-in, year-out.

Another option would be for an investor to spend millions on a new stadium or redeveloping our old one to increase revenue and that would take years and years to pay for itself and put us in the black

To increase the everton brand worldwide to give us the revenue streams that the top four receive from merchandising overseas would take a generation and would be dependent on us achieving Champions League football on a regular basis during that time anyway

Basically we need a benefactor, somebody with more money than sense who is prepared to blow a few hundred million in order to take us to the top. But being the fans we are the benefactor would have to bleed blue blood and be doing it for his/her love of Everton. where the funk are we going to find someone like that

i think we screwed up by having a low period during the time english football went global and the Champions League started haemorrhaging cash. we haven't recovered financially since and havent had the years are being able to appeal on such a wide basis to the rest of the worlds obsession with the premier league as other clubs have and thus tap into that lucrative market.

So, we are never going to have £30 or £40 million to spend because this is a club that doesnt make any money. even though sky money is so high we keep making a loss each year

however, while theres moyes there is hope. i am confident with the £15 mil reported budget and the 50 quid we get upfront for AJ he will again push us into the top 7 and give us dreams of keeping pace with the top four and the reason we haven't signed anyone yet is that £15 million has to be spent very wisely indeed to improve on what standards moyes has set for our team over recent seasons.

Stan Sheppard
11   Posted 02/08/2008 at 00:02:32

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I agree Connor, it is probably best to judge things come the start of the season. What I was trying to do was provide a synopsis of the bad while concluding with the fact that at least we have the nucleus of the team from last season and David Moyes.

However, as Gavin rightly said, something just isn’t right at Goodison Park. It feels to me as if something has come undone.

Mr Romanov of Hearts has shown that a rich benefactor isn’t always a knight in shining armour, although when you consider; Man City, Liverpool, Aston Villa, QPR, Chelsea, Fulham, amongst others all of whom have benefited from recent investment you wonder why we can attract similar interest but fall short of concrete investment.

All we can do is speculate, get our hopes up and read between the lines. The only ones who really know what?s going on remain, as always, tight lipped.
Paul OHanlon
12   Posted 02/08/2008 at 00:18:23

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One of the better articles of recent times Stan. Your penultimate paragraph sums up the hurt this summer for me...

"This pre-season was meant to be so much more than it has been. We were meant to be in the market for ?a better quality of player? and, with European football on the menu for the second season in a row, we were supposed to be a very inviting proposition for many quality players in Europe."

You’re spot on, we were told by Moyes, Wyness and others that this summer we’d be in pole position to buy top quality players who couldn’t quite make the top 4. Whilst we know better than to believe all the tripe that comes from within the club, these assumptions rang true, afterall we’d just finished 5th in the most rewarding league in the world hadn’t we?

And as for’s been over 2 and half months since the season ended...Moyes still hasn’t signed his contract, no new players have been signed, Kirkby decision is still pending and we’ve lost our CEO...what else do us Evertonians have right now???
Stan Sheppard
13   Posted 02/08/2008 at 00:30:36

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I know Paul. I didn’t expect miracles this summer but I did expect to have a bit of good news by now. The US trip is usually the high point of the pre-season when the players go away play a few games and generally bond as a team. Yet listening to Moyes on the interview after the Chicago game he just seemed pissed off. He talked of the players he needed and the need for competition for places. He even mentioned how the players knew we needed new players yet the outlook on transfers wasn’t good. To me he seemed exasperated.
Stan Sheppard
14   Posted 02/08/2008 at 00:48:20

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Light at the end of the tunnel?

Bill Kenright:

He said in a statement on the club’s official website: "Whilst I can fully understand the sense of frustration being felt by our supporters in the wake of what some perceive to be a moratorium with regard to the signing of new players, I feel it is important to make a few points.

"Our attempts to complete the signings of players we believe will improve the quality of our first-team squad continues on an hourly basis.

"We have had a budget for incoming transfers since the start of the summer - and that budget is in no way reliant or dependent upon either the proposed relocation of the Club to Kirkby or the sale of current players.

"Indeed, any proceeds from outgoing transfers will - you can rest assured - be added to the existing budget to strengthen our manager’s hand as he seeks to enter the transfer market."

Kenwright is eager to help Moyes in his pursuit of new players and has assured fans that there will be signings before the transfer window closes.

He continued: "David and myself have been trying throughout the close season to sign those players whom he believes will help to improve the squad which achieved so much during the last campaign.

"Like everyone connected with Everton Football Club I am desperately keen to see the arrival at Goodison Park of those players our manager would like to see in a blue shirt come next season.

"I appreciate that waiting can be hard and that patience is invariably in short supply but we do expect to make signings before the opening of the new Premier League season."
John Hall
15   Posted 02/08/2008 at 04:04:04

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The article mentions that DM is a tempremental type of person.

He has red hair and is quick to blow a fuse when things go wrong granted.

The talk about him being totally pissed off with the situation abounds with some even suggesting that he may walk away when the US trip is over.

I ask myself where will he go after walking away from Everton.

Aston Villa, Portsmouth, Man City, Newcastle, Blackburn,West Ham, Spurs.

Would he be given unlimited funds to make one of these a top four side.

No way and don’t let anyone try to tell you otherwise. Man City and Spurs have both appointed accomplished managers with the rest of the clubs mentioned having wasted most of their sky cash on poor signings over the past few years.

Newcastle - broke, West Ham - broke,
West Ham - broke so eliminate these three.

Aston Villa - would they want to get rid of Martin O Neil for DM- dont think so

Happy Harry shunted out at Pompey for DM - dont think so

Understudy to SAF at MU-dont think so

The rest are all relegation fodder and so I dont think he will consider walking away from the blues at any point in time.

Maybe one of the big four are waiting in the wings to sign him up to add to their silverware collection - dont think so

DM is an astute minded and clever negotiator. 60 K per week and walk away from it. - dont think so

Let the season begin with DM at the helm and we can all relax knowing that he aint gonna walk anywhere cos he aint got nowhere to walk to.

Not unless he goes to Mallorca with Bully Boy.

Neil Scott
16   Posted 02/08/2008 at 05:11:56

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John Hall you are way off track mate.

DM is not a man driven by money he is a man driven by principle and achievement and it is for those reason that I can see him leaving.

He is also a man confident in his own abilities - as well he should be - and so what would stop him testing his skills abroad? He’s clearly got the taste for European competition, and it would be a good test for him in unchartered waters.

I truly hope none of this happens but this is a guy that lives and breathes his work on our behalf being let down by a part time impresario fronting a business with a £51M turnover!!

FFS would you want to be in DM’s job where every summer no matter what you’ve achieved all year you end up being let down by publically by a bunch of clowns?

David Jones
17   Posted 02/08/2008 at 07:57:16

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"I have watched open mouthed as Everton Football Club have stumbled through a pre-season which promised so much and as of yet, has delivered nothing but mayhem and negative speculation."

That sums it up perfectly... maybe I?m not opened mouthed but there is an arch of the eyebrow for sure.

I don?t want us to have the air of resignation that we hit brick walls as soon as we are getting anywhere. It seems like it it is getting to be the same every year now. I can understand how Moyes is frustrated. I can understand that it is hard for Kenwright to find more cash... I would love to find another grand each summer, let alone £15-40 million that would get 1-3 potentially top class players.

I just wrote and deleted a whole load of paragraphs, more or less stating the bleeding obvious about our current situation. No one here needs to read another description of a pissed off Evertonian.

But I will say that I trust Moyes as a man of integrity. (Is that the right spelling? It seems like such an uncommon quality today especially in football that I have forgotten how to spell it!) If he leaves, then it reflects abysmally on EFC and the upper echelons of power therein. He is one of the few things that ?Nil Satis Nisi Optimum? is true about. The board needs to back him.

C?mon you Blues.
Colin Grierson
18   Posted 02/08/2008 at 08:48:29

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I agree with a lot of what you say Stan, however, I think that you are maybe a bit optimistic about the new players at Tottenham not doing the business. I for one think that they will be the team challenging the SKY 4 this year as our squad is too small and we will be playing 60 games this season.We wont be challenging the top 4 unless we pull some bodies in quick!
Rob Burns
19   Posted 02/08/2008 at 10:31:28

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Something that nobody has mentioned during this pre-season Kenwright farce is the effect it will have on our current players. They pulled their tripe out last season for the club playing through injury because there was no cover and eventually we looked exhausted once we?d exited the Uefa Cup. How are they going to feel when all their hard work is not backed up by our useless board? They must be getting the "I?m fucking sick of this" vibes from DM and I have no doubt at all that there will already be players having quiet words with their agents and keeping their options open.

One more thing: DM is not blameless in this; when he first came to the Club he became far too close to Kenwright and now, being the honourable and loyal man he is, won't expose the shambles that is our Boardroom. He must feel very let down and extremely frustrated; even if he were to walk out, I doubt he would spill the beans. What a fucking mess... let's hope Kirkby gets the call in or I fear for our future existence.

Jay Harris
20   Posted 02/08/2008 at 16:36:07

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David Jones
Absolutely spot on.
Moyes is the only person at EFC that I trust right now so we can only hope that Bullshit Billy for once matches his promises with conning some more millions from somebody to make it happen.
Jay Harris
21   Posted 02/08/2008 at 19:21:28

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I wish you were right but reports coming out of Spain say the new coach is impressed with him.

Maybe they are trying to get rid of old stock.

On the other hand...........
Tony Part
22   Posted 03/08/2008 at 09:12:57

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How can you say David Moyes is not a man driven by money? How do you know this exactly? Do you know Moyes personally? I doubt it.

It's absolute bullshit to say that Moyes is not wanting money to make Everton progress into the team he wants them too, he must have been over the moon when he got the first lot of the Rooney money to splash out three years ago and for the first time in his Everton managerial career he didn't have to work on a shitty shoestring, what manager doesn't want... or, more to the point, need money to succeed?

The modern game is all about money and financial muscle. It's not like the 80s where you can sign a a few players from lesser clubs and make them into Championship material, that just wont happen anymore.

And, like it or not, playing all these unproven reserves and lightweight kids is not going to keep us in fifth spot next season and give us a crack at silverwear. It's going to be a struggle because we will be down to the bare bones and temperaments will be on a short fuse within the squad if we start struggling and nobody will be enjoying their football, it was like the in Rooney's second (and last) season at Goodison, they played football with a scowl on their face, (doesn't Rooney always anyway) but they were not playing well. That is not the time to throw unproven kids into the team.

Already there are big question marks over the way Vaughan channels his frustrations and I don't know about you but I think it would be careless to go with three strikers only one of which is a regular starter and goalscorer.

Then look at our midfield... What would happen if two from Arteta, Cahill or Pienaar got a lengthy injury? Who will replace Carsley? Neville doesn't have the football ability to play there and he will play right back most of the season if we hold onto injury-prone Hibbert. Jagielka played in midfield but was so far a fish out of water we could have had him fried for our tea.

There is nobody else who you can say would do a great job there in defensive midfield and then of course where does our width come from? Are we expecting Yakubu to do the running onto the wings that AJ did? Pointless... we don't have any natural width. I always thought Pienaar may be but even he doesn't seem to be the type to take on a fullback and get to the byline.

I bet Moyes really wished now he had bucketloads of money to spend. He must sit back and be envious of Liverpool paying for Robbie Keane or maybe there is a forward he wants but is out of our price range. Moyes has spoken about Everton not having money on many occasions... I don't care what people say, yes he wants to achieve ? that's his main aim ? but he damn well must be wishing Everton Football Club could deliver the big players that he said himself he wants to bring here.

Stan Sheppard
23   Posted 03/08/2008 at 15:06:27

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Hi Tony, I don’t know if it was me you were directing your post at but if it was then I can only say that I never said that Moyes was or was not motivated by money. The only person who knows this for sure is the man himself. He is however a manager who has thrived on what he has been given so far, albeit with one or two mistakes along the way.

He has recently made a clear statement that he has no intentions of leaving the club, stating that he wishes to see out his job to the end.

I am sure he would love to have as much money as some of our rival managers, enabling him to go out and sign the best footballers around. However when looking towards money as a motivator you only have to look at Jose Mourinho, the manager who had it all at Chelsea but still walked away when he felt he was being undermined.

I agree with your passion Tony, and I understand your frustrations. I just hope Moyes stays and gets some players in before the end of the window.

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