Sometimes, you just have a moment of clarity. It?s a moment of realisation. Mine came as Portmouth scored the third goal in our drubbing. My season ticket is in the Lower Gwladys. I watched this happen and what I felt immediately afterwards was a world away from what I would have felt last season or the season before, or the season before that for that matter.
It was a sort of indifference. Recognition of what has happened, not just to Everton but to all of English football. Yes, we lost the match (admittedly we deserved to) but that is just a drop in the ocean. I really wasn?t that bothered. Whether you like it or not, football has never been further away from a fair playing field than now.
Up until deadline day, only four teams could buy the league. Now there are five. In six months there could be six, then seven etc. In theory, by some sort of miracle, Everton could be number six or number seven. To many, that is their dream scenario. But take a step back and think of it like this.
There is no glory in the team you support buying trophies. I?m sorry, but it means nothing to anyone when you actually break it down. I?m sat on deadline day watching SSN. Manchester City fans are going wild with excitement at the prospect of buying a dream team and becoming the ?biggest club? in the world. When in reality everything they win is tarnished by the fact that they don?t deserve any of it. In the back of their minds they know that for every trophy they might win, fans across the land are going to be thinking ?yeah well done, you bought that.? And it?s not just Man City. Whatever trophy the Sky 4 wins is treated in exactly the same way.
Now you are probably thinking, why has the Portsmouth game brought all this about? And the reason is that it was sort of the culmination of all the summers? events and the Blackburn game put together. I have never felt such a feeling of apathy at Goodison. Fans couldn?t even be bothered to boo! Portsmouth had brought 300 fans and they weren?t too excited either. The Park End was empty at full time.
The next day, Sky are pitchside at 10am for the Super Sunday game at Villa, trying to hype the game up. 10am? Are you having a laugh? The game doesn?t kick off until 4pm! It?s too much exposure. I don?t care what the pitch looks like at 10am!
My point is that although I?m going to continue to go the game and support the club home and away, gone are the days of me losing any sleep or getting angry when we lose. Look around other clubs, even some fans of the top four (Five?!) are feeling the same way. There are empty seats at grounds everywhere. The rot has set in because now you can?t win either way.
- Have money and win things. Pointless and criticised by everyone.
- Don?t have money and don?t win things. Not good either.
Hmmmm, anyone else losing their appetite? Or am I just being massively cynical?
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1 Posted 04/09/2008 at 05:52:19
My initial gut reaction to the City takeover was similar to when Abramovich bought Chelsea and is echoed in your piece above: what?s the point if you can just buy the title? Where?s the satisfaction if you can have almost instant success just because you can throw a few hundred million at something to achieve it?
Maybe it comes down to personalities ? one person cheats at Monopoly to feed his ego, the other finds the idea a total anathema to what sportsmanship and the thrill of competition is all about. I know I?m very much in the latter camp ? Everton?s achievements in recent years have been so damned satisfying because they?ve been gained by sheer graft, (mostly) superb management and team spirit.
Now, of course, we know that money is no guarantee of anything. Chelsea would have won the title last season and Andrei Schevchenko would have fired them there if it was. So there is no guarantee that City will be able to even persuade all of their Fantasy Football-esque targets to sign for them... although, like Robinho, money will surely talk to many of them.
Then there?s the task of actually gelling a squad of overpaid egos into a title-winning side, something that only Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho have been able to do, and Ferguson proved his superb management credentials long ago ? he didn?t need the millions he now has it his disposal to prove it. You can only play 11 men at one time and they?re human after all.
Having said all that, it does seem as though having the far superior resources that the Sky 4 have is enough to secure a monopoly on the Champions League places and I do expect that if things continue in the current vein for Man City they will end up breaking that monopoly within the next two to three seasons purely because of the kinds of quality they can afford.
Now, would I want Everton to be in City?s position? My immediate reaction, in the same way I didn?t want us to be like Chelsea is, no. But you have to ask yourself that if the "big four" has now apparently become the "big five" and could potentially become the big six or seven in short order (once other oil-rich investors cotton on to the new game in town), is the competition in the Premier League increasing in a perverse way, albeit it only at the top and at the expense of the rest and the pyramid system of the domestic game.
Or are we at risk of being left behind forever and truly becoming a mid-table, also-ran club?
And if so, would you want to jump onto the gravy train or do your purist instincts tell you that for the good of the game and Everton?s part in it, it?s best to let the moneybags go off and form the European Super League that, to these eyes, took a massive step closer this week and for the rest of us to start over? Or does the traditional fan just walk away from football altogether?
2 Posted 04/09/2008 at 06:45:46
Getting back to the grass roots so to speak can be equally as enjoyable and combative as anything put on at great expence by the Pros.
3 Posted 04/09/2008 at 06:45:03
I do have a few additional thoughts such as if the big five becomes 10 will their greed lead them to want a break-away league taking most of the TV money with them and leaving the rest behind?
TV money was supposed to be good for our game - has it been? If it has why are all EPL clubs running such huge defiicts?
How long will it be allowed for clubs to run at such huge deficits? Platini has already said he is not happy with the way things are at the moment - not only in England but across Europe. Will Football adopt the rugby league model of restrictions to try to even out the financial playing field?
How long will TV money continue to be at a level to support the deficits?
Why are the new owners making investments in football clubs, what are their objectives, it cannot surely be solely to buy trophies?
What if the new owners do lose their entuisiasm for their latest toys?
Is football teetering on the brink of disaster? Probably not but there may be some casualties along the way.
4 Posted 04/09/2008 at 07:09:23
You might want to read that again.
A European Super League with breakaway clubs across Europe (G14, rich and famous VIP clubs only) will have the same effect to those less fortunate not to be invited. Domestic leagues will surely become ’domestic’. If you look at clubs such as Sheffield Wednesday and Nottingham Forest (twice European Cup Champions), they’ve almost disappeared off the global football radar. They are probably surviving purely on ’local’ support, which sometimes when reading posts on TW it’s what the fans want. Their own local team in Liverpool City. Nothing else matters. We do not want change cos it hurts.
Does NSNO still apply today? Or only in the vicinity of Liverpool City (where incidently another club has 5 European big uns). What’s the meaning of having NSNO emblazed on our jersey? To embarass ourselves whenever we play a top4/5 team?
Another way to look at our situation today is something your average mum taught you as a child: just do the best you can. That’s all that matters.
We are dealt different hands, and in terms of Everton today, honestly speaking, we really are punching above our weight the past few seasons. If money is the measuring yardstick, then we have overachieved, performing admireablely over and above the likes of Spurs and Newcastle. To ’win’ 5th last season was as close to winning the old 1st Division in my book. Similar when we came 4th (truely unbelieveable). DM was LMA Manager of the Year (twice) which speaks for itself. Conversely clubs like Liverpool FC have ’failed’, having not even come close to 2nd in the Premier League.
It wouldn’t be fair to compare ourselves against the megarich, as our expectations are entirely different. To think otherwise is unrealistic and would only subject oneself to disappointment.
We just need to perform to the best of our ability in the current climate. That’s all we can ask for from David Moyes and the lads. COYB
5 Posted 04/09/2008 at 07:25:33
But it will allow your to rent it out season by season and in loves case session by session.
Deep down does it really matter if the success or bosoms for that matter are plastic...well yes it does, some how. Except for the odd saint though, we will over look it.
Were the titles of 62-63 and 69-70, the FA Cup win of ’66 one iota any the less satisfying... Bollocks.
I didn’t hear anybody when Temples Goal went in complaining that Sir John Moores had bankrolled the team / Club and we really didn’t deserve it.
6 Posted 04/09/2008 at 07:22:58
Then John Moores bought us the title with far superior riches in his day - that was OK?
But now there are 8 richer clubs (at least) the fact that they have richer owners or stadia that support investment in their teams is somehow the death of football??
Mourning the death of sport or sour grapes?
This is the logical conclusion of what we started dozens of years ago and voted for when the premiership started.
What is to be done about it? - EU-wide salary capping and/or a Champions League/UEFA funding revision?
What is fair? Having success attainable in pure footballing terms such as brilliant management or bringing through talented players is the logical answer, but that would destroy the premiership model of the best players bought in from anywhere. Is it worth killing the golden goose when it provides the best for us to watch and is actually increasing competition at the top level gradually? Ending it now would surely send those clubs into their own league and massive funding reduction for the rest of us.
We are left with trying to control the beast and praying for rich investors - Kirkby (or groundshare) here we must go!
7 Posted 04/09/2008 at 08:32:40
Everton are a team who do it the hard way, with honest players and no cheats. If we could vomit £32m on one player I would be disgusted.
These billionaires will make a world league within ten years that’s for sure... I would hope we’re not in it.
Would I want a billionaire? No, just someone who can rebuild Goodison and give Davey what he wants... it is 11 against 11 after all.
But with football selling out, the champions league has brought more and more games to the bigger clubs. Where as each team once needed 17 or 18 talented players, now the top teams have 30.
Like in society, football is becoming a place for the Haves to take advantage of the Have Nots.
The only way this could be sorted is if the CL reverted to the EC. One nation, one team. But bang goes the money... so it will never happen.
Just how does football in general bridge this G A P ?
8 Posted 04/09/2008 at 08:25:24
The Premier League, the other three major leagues, consist of PROFESSIONAL football clubs. That even extends to many non-league clubs. As in the corporate world, each and every club strives to be the best - to climb as many rungs of the ladder as they can.
It is only in very, VERY recent years that an elite in the PL has effectively claimed a monopoly at the very top of the league. How did they achieve that? Chelsea, I would argue, just lucked out. In the very season Abramovich jumped on board, the Leeds collapse commenced. It could - maybe even SHOULD - have been Chelsea.
The other three, like it or not, had history, success and - perhaps more importantly - were very well managed and run. It was a natural progression that such well-run organizations were in prime position to take full advantage of outside investment (Manure and the ’poo), or build on their existing solid structure (Arsenal).
Everybody else since has been playing catch up. And lest we forget, Everton was one of the main instigators of the breakaway Premier League at the time. Philip Carter was Chairman of the old Football League at the time and when it was discovered what he was secretly negotiating, the bulk of the league clubs turned against him and he lost his post.
Part of me takes pleasure in the bloody noses that David Moyes and his shoestring teams have induced against all the odds. Another part of me strongly desires to see Silverware at the club again. Increasingly - all the more so with the City takeover - the latter can only be achieved if the club can generate greater income streams than it currently does.
That means the stadium issue has to be resolved asap. That means we don’t need a new investor as such, but we do need a rich benefactor (a lá Abramovich or at City...) who isn’t concerned with ROI, but simply wants to come along for the ride for the Kudos. I would suggest there ain’t that many such people in this world...
From what I’ve read this morning from last night’s EGM, Robert Elstone makes a compelling argument which has been lacking from the club for many months.
I will follow Everton to my dying day, whatever league they play in, however successful or dire they are. But I am also ambitious for my club. As I mentioned at the top of my piece, Everton FC is a PROFESSIONAL football club. There are countless posts on here decrying the poor management and lack of professionalism and client care the club offers. You can’t have it both ways. Either you want to turn up and enjoy your football in some quaint 1950s idealised fug every Saturday, or you genuinely want the club to compete at the very, very top.
As Elstone argued last night, we are potentially at a very, very dangerous crossroads in the history of the club. It’s very existence and future success or failure may depend on it.
9 Posted 04/09/2008 at 09:45:23
Spain Italy and... I’ve never figured that one. France or Germany?
10 Posted 04/09/2008 at 09:41:25
Does anyone feel that Robert Elstone may not be the man to lead us through this crucial time ? To quote the official website "In his time at Everton Robert has introduced a number of key organisational and structural developments that have led to improved financial performance, greater stability in the business and a strong, empowered Management team. Robert?s also been responsible for substantial commercial progress in retail, sponsorship ? the Club?s record Chang deal, and ticketing and is now leading the Club?s search for a Stadium Naming partner".
So if he’s been so successful then why are we struggling with our finances ? Perhaps someone in charge can explain how "improved financial performance, greater stability in the business and a strong, empowered Management team" has helped us recently ?
11 Posted 04/09/2008 at 10:09:09
12 Posted 04/09/2008 at 10:19:45
I just feel cheated, sold down the river - NOT by Bill, who I honestly believe is as frustrated as the rest of us and not by our manager.
We HAVE punched above our weight and I’m proud of that. I would hate to be a Chelsea or Man City - they are just toys for rich men. Anyone who thinks that a billionaire would do us any good in the long run, is deluded.
Good article. It’s sad but it’s also good to know that not every football fan is a loony who thinks a pile of money will fix everything. Was it the ’Godfather’ where the guy said something like..."He pulls a knife, you pull a gun, he puts one of yours in the hospital, you put two of his in the morgue..." There will always be a bigger fish and from that point of view I hope we keep scrapping and taking points from the have it all clubs.
I don’t want to be like them.
13 Posted 04/09/2008 at 09:18:57
Success in the eighties,unexpected,exciting, emotional. Again decline and a long period of stagnation before the Moyes era.
Now the anticipation has gone. Great teams have dominated football before,Spurs in the early sixties for instance, but they didn’t win year after year.There was always the possibility,however remote, that your team could do something. Saturday was something to look forward to.
I think that has gone, unless you support one of the Sky4.
I have enjoyed the tension and excitement of a league and cup double by former "also rans" -watching my son’s youth team. It’s cheaper too.
14 Posted 04/09/2008 at 10:36:37
15 Posted 04/09/2008 at 10:44:50
16 Posted 04/09/2008 at 11:18:45
Not The God Father but ironically ’The Untouchables’.
17 Posted 04/09/2008 at 12:42:38
We know we can’t win the premiership without a big investor, because all the clubs around us can outbid us and buy the best in the world, while we are left to pick up the scraps. Thats something we cant avoid right now, and after the EGM, i have to admit, i feel sorry for Kenwright inr espect to him not being able to keep up, frustratingly for me though, i want success, but i dont want big money spent, i want acheivement. And in the hayday of the 80’s, that was possible, but now, if we want trophys, we need to sell our arse just like city. Its a shame, the word "sport" in football doesnt mean anything any more, how can sport be all about spending, if thats the case, my Mrs is a damn good sports person.
18 Posted 04/09/2008 at 12:47:38
19 Posted 04/09/2008 at 12:08:22
20 Posted 04/09/2008 at 12:05:55
I would like to throw a few points regarding the reasons why the ADUG bought Citeh and not EFC and the importance of investment for our club that we all know we desperately need; if we got a huge investor tomorrow you can bet most blues would be thrilled; I don’t believe anyone who supports EFC wouldn’t. But it’s is risky business and the whole issue needs to be scrutinized carefully.
What the Man City fans don’t realise is that in less than three years time they will be playing their football in Abu Dhabi and Dubai full time in front of crowds of expats and locals who will be watching probably the best players in the world! Lets face it, you can attract all the Robinho’s you want (Â£160K a week?) but they won’t be that tempted to play in rainy Manchester, but offer them Dubai and thats a different issue.
Man City don’t own Eastlands they just rent it from the council so for the sake of a lease they have no real home or ties in Manchester; besides a fan base. The ABUG own Etihad Airlines, the state owned airline of Abu Dhabi; they fly from Manchester Airport daily to Abu Dhabi. Also one of the best run Airlines in the world. Their new owner Dr Al Fahim is a property developer with investments of over Â£1B in the UAE; so to build a nice new stadium wouldn’t be no trouble to him. He has also told close associates that Man City will play friendlies in the UAE and possibly Prem games. Imagine the amount of SKY money that will generate!
So although we want to see investment we have to be very careful who with; because as it stands and until the Kirkby debate is over; and if it goes to the wall we could be the next club on our to the sunny shores of the ME if we don’t have a ground option to exercise.
21 Posted 04/09/2008 at 13:16:14
And when we finish 4th , they change the rules to allow the 5th club to get back in the CL.The attendances are starting to decline and will continue to do so. Supporters are realising they are being fed a lie.
These days, I watch lower league football. At least the results are not arranged in advance.
22 Posted 04/09/2008 at 13:46:11
23 Posted 04/09/2008 at 13:49:56
24 Posted 04/09/2008 at 13:02:31
I echo John Orford’s sentiments. Football is not the same because it’s become so bloody predictable where it really counts - The Premier League.
Do any of you remember getting those cardboard league tables in the likes of ’Shoot’ and ’Goal’? Every week I’d love moving the teams up and down the four divisions and it never ceased to amaze me how much the league positions would change as certain teams hit a run of form or went into an unexpected slump. Look at the league tables of yesteryear and look how often so called ’lesser’ teams clearly had a good run at the title whilst the Sky 4 and even us were left in their wake. Whilst the big city clubs on average had the most success, it wasn’t guaranteed (remember the Manure in the 70s/80s). Every team at the start of the season had real hope of getting to the top (even if it would fade after the first month or two).
I’m sick to death of knowing the Sky 4 are practically shoe-ins for the CL spots. If you bust your gut and over-achieve to get a UEFA cup spot, you hardly get any credit for it - and definitely no national kudos - other than the patronising ’best of the rest’ label.
It does a sport no good if one team dominates it for too long. During the RS-domination of Division 1 and the European Cup it was pretty monotonous (and rather drepressing for us!), but they didn’t necessarily buy that success and you still felt at the start of most seasons you might have a chance to wipe the smirks off their faces (as we finally did in the 80s). Having 2 or 3 teams doing the same isn’t much better.
As an exiled Widnes fan, Wigan’s dominance of Rugby League in the 80s/90s made that game much less enjoyable for all supporters of the game, but I wasn’t expecting the isolation my club has suffered in the wake of creation of the Sky Money-driven Super League, and the dominance of a few teams (now led to the Saints) - no matter how hard the play-off system attempts to spread the excitement at the end.
Look, I’ll support Everton whichever league they play in, but I’ve at least tasted enough past success to cherish memories of my club into my dotage. But what about my young son? Have I condemned him to a lifetime of no trophies, glorious failure and probably ultimate isolation following the creation of a true European League, by putting on him that royal blue shirt - while all his mates jump on the success bandwagons of the Sky 4 (or 5?)
I know things will never be the same, and I do think the loadsamoney culture in our game is starting to create an apathy towards it amongst many. Part of me wants us to stay the hard grafting, frugal team of the last few years and take pride in what we are achieving (although just a little more moderate investment would be nice!). However, another part of me is realistic enough to know mega-money is the future and I want Everton to be a part of that change in future decades with some arab shiek(regardless of how removed from my ’jumpers for goalposts’ view of true football it will be).
Don’t know where all that takes the thread - probably nowhere - but I needed to join in with some of the good posts I’ve already read.
One last point, though - and perhaps worthy of a separate thread at some point. Is this fixation with Europe the real problem with our game? At what point did real success for your club change to depend on European rather than domestic glory. When did our domestic league and cups before merely qualifying tournaments? I know these are rather rhetorical questions - as it’s down to bloody TV rights and money again - but am I a luddite in wishing the media’s obsession with Europe would end?
Anyway, back to my Bovril, meat pie, Blue Peter rattle and striped bobble hat...I’ll leave you young whippersnappers to come up with the solution!
25 Posted 04/09/2008 at 14:20:14
Anybody remember the Italian league which was put forward as "The best league in the world" with overpaid prima donnas.
However in any scenario you have to compete.Even though some will claim it is not a level playing field it never is.How can kids with no education become Millionaires.How can a snotty nosed kid become World boxing champion.How often do we hear the best pound for pound fighter expression.So we should not rsign ourselves to being also rans.
Determination and good planning.
In any sucessful operation whether it be business or football you have to look at "Best in class" and see what is making them successful to see what you can learn.
As an earlier poster said the team that really ticks all the boxes for me is not Man U is not Chelsea is certainly not Citteeh or the RS it is Arsenal.
I could watch them every week and not care about winning a trophy although they’ve also succeeded in that.
They remind me so much of the Everton of the sixties and seventies who played beautiful football and knew somewhere along the line they would win a trophy or 2.
So what makes Arsenal so good.
The manager? No doubt about it he is very skilled and no one can doubt his ability but Moyes IMO could be almost as effective with the right backing.
The scouting/development system? There is no doubt in my mind about this contribution to Arsenal success.They have consistently picked players up for relative peanuts and significantly increased their value often selling them for far more than they cost.
I think EFC are doing the right things with development(Finch Farm and several "youth" initiatives)but I feel we are significantly lacking in the scouting network and could do with setting up some networking in foreign leagues.
The board? I also have no doubt that the board of Arsenal are light years above our board and I know many of you will know I am one of the biggest critics of this board not because they dont have any money far from it.
It is because I cansider then to be Lying,deceitful,incompetent dreamers and but for Moyes realtive success on the pitch would have been found out years ago.
That is the one area I would seek immediate change and I disagree we need a billionare owner we just need someone with commercial savvy who tells it how it is.
Now that wont turn us into an all conquering premiership side immediately but it will turn the tide of mismanagement that has been so symbolic of Kenwright’s reign.
26 Posted 04/09/2008 at 23:05:49
But there is infinately more glory in that, than not winning anything at all.
27 Posted 05/09/2008 at 04:17:53
Thanks, Nick for the ?Untouchables? correction. If the name of that film doesn?t say it all, then nothing does.