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EDITORS BLOG

Much ado about nothing

"Pienaar blasts 'failed' season" screams the headline from Sky Sports, as if Everton's player of the season is somehow twisting the knife on what was a frustrating season that has now given way to an uncertain summer as key players in the squad mull contract extensions.

If you read what the man the South Africans call "Schillo" actually said, as presented in a more balanced way on his personal website, he's merely putting the 2009-10 season in its proper context.

Our objectives for the campaign were probably as simple as to emulate or surpass the two preceding 5th-place finishes, qualify for Europe and make another cup final.

Whatever the reasons — and we all know what they were (the Lescott drama, late transfer business and crippling injuries) — no one can deny that when couched within those parameters, the season just passed was a failure.

You can question the wisdom of making the comments — though I'm willing to bet they were made in the course of a normal interview looking back on the season and he was guided to them by his questioner — but I don't think you can argue with them.


Lyndon Lloyd     Posted 29/05/2010 at

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Chris Wilson
1   Posted 29/05/2010 at 08:44:00

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I tend to agree with this, Lyndon. I read the article and there wasn't anything he said that wasn't true. The PC police might have prefered him to say "last season was a disappointment" rather than a "failure" ; ) but it WAS a failure. I don't think that slips past any Evertonian.

Plus, Pienaar's contract squabble is something that Sky and all media sources are watching and they're looking for any signs for potential drama because, quite frankly, it's boring for them right now. The media needs some sort of sensationalism — why do you think two of the more printed pre-World Cup stories has been that the Argentinan squad has been cleared to have sex and Maradona says he will run naked if they win?

Or was it the Argentinan squad will run naked if they win and Maradona has been cleared to have sex? I can't remember...

But the point is, all of those stories stir the pot and get people to read at a real slow news time.

Charlie Percival
2   Posted 29/05/2010 at 09:02:50

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Last season WAS a failure. What's the question that needs answering?
Ciarán McGlone
3   Posted 29/05/2010 at 09:18:38

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In complete agreement with Lyndon. We can all see the agent's negotiating for what it is... but this is simply a comment on our season, and an accurate one at that.
Kevin Hudson
4   Posted 29/05/2010 at 09:21:54

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I disagree. I'm not buying the "perfectly innocent question," arguement. He's talking his way out of the club, guys. Clearly, it's a fair, no-shit Sherlock assessment of our season, and I have no problem with that.

I just wonder though if his agent fed the question to the journo, so that Pienaar could cite "a club going backwards" as reason for his inevitable departure, to try and dispel supporter angst of the Lescott variety...
Ajay Gopal
5   Posted 29/05/2010 at 10:14:12

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Another headline on Sky screamed "Toffees line up Becks", and the article turns out to be the Jermaine Beckford story. Oh, THAT Becks....

As you rightly say, Lyndon, this is the boring season for the media, and they will pounce on anything even remotely interesting, and try sensationalising it.

Yawn ......
Brendan McLaughlin
6   Posted 29/05/2010 at 10:16:05

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Shock, horror - Everton player accurately sums up season in two lines. Obviously angling for a move!
Andy Morden
7   Posted 29/05/2010 at 10:44:19

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Indeed. And you can also interpret it as a player having ambition for the club - i.e. it should do better. Indications of a forward thinking midset at Goodison these days?
Kunal Desai
8   Posted 29/05/2010 at 11:12:30

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We should put this saga to bed before the WC and get shot of him before he starts becoming even more of a disruptive nuisance!
Anthony Millington
9   Posted 29/05/2010 at 11:50:37

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I'm not condoning Pienaar for saying this in public, but he's right. At the end of the day, Dithering Dave's "leave everything until the last minute" approach cost us a place in Europe and maybe even one of our top players. I hope it was worth it, Moyesy — am I the only one who remembers Moyes promising it wouldn't happen again... and it did!
Phil Bellis
10   Posted 29/05/2010 at 12:09:32

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An apologist (as some on here are labelled) would call it a `disappointing' ((c) W Smith) season. Pienaar has joined us in the Nil Satis camp by calling it like it was — a failure.

However, in view of the injuries and our lack of even adequate replacements, I feel the sea-change in our attitude to Chelsea/Man U etc, and, especially, the gratifying improvement in our playing style make it a season where we DID progress. Next season's the crunch.

Alan Kirwin
11   Posted 29/05/2010 at 12:33:53

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Perfect analysis Lyndon and perfect title. We really have entered dancing on a pin-head territory with the Pienaar situation.

Everton should offer him what we can afford. if a basic salary of £2.5m a year is considered by Pienaar to be insufficient remuneration for his role then it's simple, we get rid. If what I hear is true, we can get Moutinho for about same price as Pienaar would fetch.

I think he's a fabulous player for us. He has been reborn and instrumental in Everton's new expansive, ball retaining style of play. He has skill, pace, strength and spunk. I love him. But we can only afford what we can afford.

In the unlikely event that he does stay I suggest his negotiating position has not done him any favours with the fans. He and his agent have strung it out and continue to do so. I think it's now inevitable that he leaves. Although noises within the club are suggesting that he will be held to the last year of his contract.

Whilst that principle can be admired in some respects, in other respects it is utterly absurd. We do not have the financial headroom to wave away £15m+ for a player. Keeping an unhappy player, even a very good one, is pointless. I suspect this is another example of Moyes digging his heels in. But, like Lescott, we end up in a mess.

IMHO it is now Everton's turn to ramp up the heat. Fuck the idea of retaining him for his final year. We lodge a bid for Moutinho for say £15m and advise Pienaar and his increasingly vocal agent that we want a decision by 11th June (day before the WC starts). If Pienaar goes, we go all out for Moutinho.

If we really do keep Pienaar for his last year then that will be further proof that Moyes cannot lose the stubborn streak that clouds his judgement on such occasions. He's the COO of an £80m business and we do not look £15m gift horses in the mouth.

Get it sorted.
Ciarán McGlone
12   Posted 29/05/2010 at 12:50:25

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Indeed Alan... This is not only a test of our resolve — it's also a seminal moment in Moyes's growth as a manager. Either he's learnt his lesson from last year... or he has not.

If he hasn't then we're in trouble... We'll effectively have a decent manager who is limited by his innability to learn from previous mistakes.

A lot more turns on this situation than simply retaining a good wide player.
Brendan McLaughlin
13   Posted 29/05/2010 at 12:42:28

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Phil, anyone who tries to suggest that our injury problems were the reason why we didn't finish higher than eigth last season is automatically lambasted on this site as an "apologist". However, this is effectively what Pienaar is saying and yet somehow this makes him a fully paid up, card-carrying member of the "Roy of the Rovers", sorry I mean, NSNO brigade.
Can you clarify, just in case I ever to decide to fill the application form in?
Brendan McLaughlin
14   Posted 29/05/2010 at 12:58:13

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Yeah right... we got £20-odd million for Lescott — a player who has looked distinctly average since leaving us — and Moyes still has lessons to learn. Of course, I suppose he forgot to ask Hughes to "bend over" as well!
Phil Bellis
15   Posted 29/05/2010 at 13:02:14

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Dunno, Brendan; Pienaar, like me, thinks last season was a failure, but that doesn't mean we can't acknowledge the effect of the dreadful run of injuries, while highlighting the successful aspects of the season. However, good to read that David Moyes has joined us in Nil Satis (c'mon — less of the 'brigade')...

""We've come close a few times and done well in the league, but for me, it's not enough.

"Tottenham got to the Champions League this season, but there's only been one other team in the last few years to have done that outside the big four. That was us.

"That's seen as success, but I have a problem with that. It's saying that it's okay to finish fourth.

"I grew up at Celtic where you HAD to win every game. With the boys' club, the reserves and the first team. You were expected to win every week.

"So to have that mentality that finishing fourth is success is strange, yet that's the perception.

"I just don't understand how can you expect to be happy with fourth"

QED
Gavin Ramejkis
16   Posted 29/05/2010 at 13:03:27

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So he admits the season was a failure, big fat hairy deal — guess what, it was. Did we improve on last season's league position? Did we get to Wembley even for a semi-final? Did we get any further in Europe than we have before? Did we actually win anything besides a few memorable league games? All answers a resounding No.

It's a journo's job to sell shite so don't be surprised when they stir up a hornet's nest from meaningless non-stories — after all, who wants to read boring drivel?
Ciarán McGlone
17   Posted 29/05/2010 at 13:10:18

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So, Brendan... You clearly think that the Lescott saga had no effect on our preparations for the beginning of last season... and the beginning of the season.

Personally, I think that's a ridiculous suggestion... Moyes has lots to learn.
Chris Butler
18   Posted 29/05/2010 at 13:45:59

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Do we really need to talk about this? He's going, end of. If he wanted to stay, he would've signed. Another Lescott incident could end with the same results as last season.
Alasdair Mackay
19   Posted 29/05/2010 at 13:46:30

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Piennar is off.

I don't think these comments were an attempt to force his way out, however. Given the choice, I think he would stay at the club.

His agent, though, has pointed out to him that this WC will be his best chance to force himself on to the top table in terms of earnings. As the star of the host nation, he has a chance to elevate his status. It is no coincidence that he signed a three-year contract, rather than a four or a five. This was planned by his representatives when he was joining the club.

I hope he has a great WC, sparks a bidding war and we end up with £18m + for him. I don't think we are far off that figure now, but, with just one year left on his contract, we can't expect to push the price much higher. I also hope we can sell him to a foreign team and not have to face him next season in the PL.
James Stewart
20   Posted 29/05/2010 at 13:54:49

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Moyes does need to nip the Pienaar thing in the bud as soon as he returns. Either sign him up or get rid — simple as that. Do not let it drag on till 1 September again, for god's sake!

I do find it quite interesting the launch of Pienaar's own website and twitter page, well the timing of it. His PR people are obviously trying to make him more of a marketable brand on the back of the World Cup. No mention of his drink-driving or domestic violence on there though... surprise, surprise.

Ciarán McGlone
21   Posted 29/05/2010 at 14:14:26

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"What are your footballing dreams for the future?

Steven: “I want to win the League again with my team and, obviously, to be involved in the Champions League atmosphere one more time.“
------------------------

Rules us out then.
Brendan O'Doherty
22   Posted 29/05/2010 at 13:58:44

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"Moyes cannot lose the stubborn streak that clouds his judgement on such occasions."

The stubborn streak that meant we got way over the odds for Lescott by holding firm? I suppose Moyes is just supposed to accede to any bid by Man City that they make for any of our players, or any transfer request submitted by a player? The same stubborn streak shown by Spurs when they held out for £30m for Berbatov until the last minute of the transfer window? The same stubborn streak shown by Real Madrid when they held out for £32m for Robinho? And numerous other examples. It was Lescott and Man City that wrecked our start to the season, not David Moyes.

And are these figures for Pienaar realistic? £15-18m sounds a lot for a player in the last year of his contract. I would say more like £5-10m. Moyes and the club are exerting their right to state that they can hold him to his contract — it's just a bargaining position, that's all. People shouldn't jump to conclusions that this will necessarily happen.
Gavin Ramejkis
23   Posted 29/05/2010 at 14:26:02

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Brendan, there is a line of argument that old Worf wanted out by the time of the FA Cup Final and DM should have put his price on his head back then. if Man Shitty met it then away he goes and time to buy replacements. Villa did it with their mercenary Barry when the shite came sniffing.

I can't see Pienaar raising anywhere near £15m unless he has a blinder in the WC; even then, a shrewd manager would just wait until he was available for nothing but the signing-on fee.

Brendan O'Doherty
24   Posted 29/05/2010 at 14:32:23

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Fair point, Gavin... but, if my memory serves me correctly, Barry put in a transfer request at the end of the season, and of course had put one in the previous summer only to be talked out of it. Also Man City didn't actually make any sort of bid until the beginning of August — it was all paper talk before that.

If Lescott had submitted a transfer request after the Cup Final, I would agree that, in that instance, Moyes would have had to act sooner. Anyway, water under the bridge; this is a totally different scenario. Pienaar is as good as already gone — it's just a matter of how much and when.

Dave Wilson
25   Posted 29/05/2010 at 13:44:50

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Lyndon makes a good point... but, even after agreeing with him, people still want Everton to make threats/ demands to Pienaar. You guys are so desperate to drive a wedge, you dont need the press to do it .

FFS. Try to understand the situation: if Pienaar is the greedy bastard you guys are making him out to be, Everton lose out, big time. HE will call the shots... all of them. Without his co-operation, we don't have a bargaining position. Why cant you guys understand that?

It's not Moyes who needs to learn from the past. If you guys think Everton will spend every penny they raised by selling Pienaar on a replacement, you have not only learned nothing from the Lescott saga, you have learned nothing about transfers involving Everton during Kenwright`s entire reign.

Slice any amount raised by about 50% — that`ll give you an idea of how much Everton will spend... and the quality of any replacement.
Steve Pugh
26   Posted 29/05/2010 at 15:14:44

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Why do people think that it is Moyes who makes the final decisions on when deals are done? When it comes to buying players, he says who he wants and then the money men sort it (or not, as is more often the case).

As far as selling players goes, he says he doesn't want to sell, then a "too good resist" offer comes in and the money men say 'sorry Dave, we've get to let him go."

If he does want to sell then it is still the money men who decide what is an acceptable figure and negotiate, it is not the manager.

Dave Wilson
27   Posted 29/05/2010 at 15:26:13

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Steve Pugh; In this situation, it's the player who decides.

If Pienaar doesn't want to go to a club, he doesn't have to, not even if Everton were offered £50 million quid.
Phil Bellis
28   Posted 29/05/2010 at 15:26:34

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Steve,
As it's laughable to suggest Everton have professional negotiators on the payroll, by "money men" are you referring to certain retail figures, acting, perhaps, as undeclared directors/owners of EFC?
Chris Butler
29   Posted 29/05/2010 at 16:59:06

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A simple option: go to London and play for Spurs, get paid more, have a great nightlife, which would be great for him. I don't rate Pienaar actually — he's not that good. I'd prefer Petrov, he can beat a man unlike Pienaar, cross, and would be brilliant with Baines.
Alan Kirwin
30   Posted 29/05/2010 at 17:48:26

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Brendan - No. The stubborn streak that consumed our manager, and thereby our team, for many weeks leading into last season. It resulted in (yet another) shit start to a season for reasons that are unacceptable.

We ended up a mere 2 points from Europe and 9 from the CL. All of which could quite conceivably have been bridged if we had, just for once, hit the fucking ground running.

The money for Lescott is not the issue. We could have told City in June that unless they come up with £20m+ they can go fuck themselves. Instead we fought a pointless losing battle and wasted time we don;t have in buying and assimilating players and actually preparing for the season.

Dave W - I see your point and I'm not suggesting we sink to the level of agents with veiled threats. It's simple Dave. We have a business to run. That business depends on a number of factors, one of which is preparing for the next season and knowing who you will & won't have AND not getting distracted on things we can't control.

It's perfectly reasonable, having been in negotiations for a year now, to explain to Pienaar & his agent that the offer made is as far as we can go. If we are as far apart as this agent suggests, why waste time trying to bridge an unbridgeable gap? Pienaar is a vital player for us. We need to know if he will or will not be here next season. if not, we need to find a replacement. Time does not stand still.

It is entirely possible to be firm, even occasionally angry, in business without causing offence or stirring things up. Sometimes it even earns you more respect. If Pienaar is still holding out for £500k more p.a. than we can afford then it's simple, we sell him. He is easily worth £15m.
Alan Kirwin
31   Posted 29/05/2010 at 18:00:49

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Chris B - I'd take Petrov in a heartbeat. Free transfer? snatch their hand off. Sheedy-esque left boot, tricky, fast, good vision. Bring him in.

Final word on Pienaar: It's all well & good making someone feel wanted and going the extra extra extra mile etc. But there comes a time when decisions have to be made. No emotion, for simple sporting and business reasons.

I think Pienaar has been made to feel as welcome and wanted as anybody could. He even admits that himself. But an £80m enterprise cannot be held to ransom or dangled by one individual. It's irrational nonsense.

This club cannot afford YET ANOTHER sumer fuck-about that disrupts the whole basis of our existence. We have to hit the ground running in 2010-11. That is the single overriding priority that should be consuming Kenwright & Moyes. if we do that, just for once, then with this squad, and possibly an addition or three, this season could be very interesting. if we don't we're fucked. Simple as that.

Arteta & Pienaar, along with Fellaini, are the heartbeat of this team. We can't compromise in this area. Pienaar has to sign or he has to go & be replaced - quickly.
Alan Kirwin
32   Posted 29/05/2010 at 18:14:25

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Dave W - re money from Lescott etc; unless I'm mistaken, the combined cost of Bilyaletdinov, Heitinga and Distin, coupled with their non-trivial wages, more than consumes the headline figure we got for Lescott. No?
Brendan O'Doherty
33   Posted 29/05/2010 at 18:10:05

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Alan

You say "we could have told City in June that unless they come up with £20m+ they can go fuck themselves."

Do you really think they would have? The same scenario would have panned out - maybe worse. They would not have offered the £20m+ until the last day of the transfer window, and then we would have got NO replacements, as what happened when Rooney went. That is exactly what Man Utd did with Spurs over Berbatov; Spurs named their price early, but Utd didn't cough up until the last day of the window. At least we did get to spend the money this time before the window closed.

Yes Pienaar is easily worth £15m, but not with 1 year of his contract left, come on. But I agree with you we should now sell him. And sell him early. He would be greatly missed but not so much if we could use the money to at least part-fund a replacement such as Moutinho. I think Moyes is making enquiries about left-sided players at the moment, so this scenario could well pan out.
Ciarán McGlone
34   Posted 29/05/2010 at 18:28:22

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I'll assume from the editing that Pienaar has been done to death.
Dave Wilson
35   Posted 29/05/2010 at 19:10:37

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Depends on how you look at it Alan.

We were told there was money to spend to begin with.
If the bid for Kyle naughton hadnt been trumped by Arry, We`d have spent 6 million, should`nt the fact that we got 24 million for Lescot have meant we had 30 million to spend ?

By my reckoning, even after signing the players you name We should still have had 10 million to spend.



Brendan McLaughlin
36   Posted 29/05/2010 at 20:54:41

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Ciarán
Didn’t say that & if I had, I agree, it would have been ridiculous. Obviously we all have a lot to learn.
Brendan McLaughlin
37   Posted 29/05/2010 at 22:26:55

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Phil, we of faith, never douted.
Ciarán McGlone
38   Posted 29/05/2010 at 23:48:23

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I can certainly agree with that Brendan.


Colin Potter
39   Posted 30/05/2010 at 08:39:03

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Chris Butler has come in with a good one. Petrov with Baines, Mouth watering that.
Tommy Gourlay
40   Posted 31/05/2010 at 14:17:54

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I would have understood everyone's £15 million valuation of Pienaar (with everyone taking into account the 1 year left on his contract) until last year when Alonso went for £25 million with 1 year left on his contract, this was after the previous year being set for a £15 million move away (until they didn't manage to get Barry).....

Now no valuations make sense to me!
Michael Kenrick
41   Posted 31/05/2010 at 17:22:06

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It's not the Pienaar discussion that's been done to death, Cairan, it's the stupid point-scoring nonsense promoted from thread to thread by the likes of primarily one Dave Wilson that I'm heartily sick of.
Brendan McLaughlin
42   Posted 31/05/2010 at 23:05:56

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@ Alan Kirwin, here's the rub, why was the start to our season so bad, the Lescott saga or the absence of Arteta, Jagielka. Yakuba et al.....good god I think you're still gonna get this wrong!
Brendan McLaughlin
43   Posted 31/05/2010 at 23:29:09

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That's a no then, Phil!
Alan Kirwin
44   Posted 01/06/2010 at 17:48:07

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Brenadan, please don't make the arrogant mistake of believing your own simple answer is the only one. if you really can't see the distraction & destructive impact of Moyes's behaviour and demeanour on our season preparations then the penny clearly still hasn't dropped.

Of course the absence of key players is a challenge. But 75% of sport is played in the head and, not for the first time, Moyes's head wasn't focused. You presumably missed the identical episode one year earlier. That time, it was him dragging out his contract talks for months and casting uncertainty & gloom within the squad.

Of course, you might be right. The focus and energy of our manager, and a focused & motivated pre-season, might have nothing whatsoever to do with how we start the season.

And you might be invited to take over when Moyes leaves. I mean, equally plausible/ridiculous.
Trevor Lynes
45   Posted 01/06/2010 at 22:29:03

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We have let lots of injury-prone so-called players stay and the fans have not given them half the stick that Pienaar is getting...

This lad has never shirked or hid in any game he has started for us. he has been the 'heartbeat' when Arteta and Co were injured; he rightfully got Player of the Season and he is now being castigated by some fans without all the facts being known. How can any fair-minded people give the Player of the Season such a shellacking without knowing ALL the facts?

EFC have said nowt... and they seem to be basking in the background as an employee takes all the flak. He was reported not so long ago as asking for parity with our top earners and, if that is the case, then I do not blame him. In my estimation, he is worth it!!

If, on the other hand, he wants more than we can afford, then that's another story... BUT until we know then it's not worth commenting on. I cannot understand how supposedly intelligent people can deface this column with vitriolic and spiteful comments without knowing the facts.

For my money, Peanuts is an integral part of our team and has performed far better than most. His workrate is very high and hasn't flagged at all unlike some others in the side!!! Give the man a fucking break!!

By the way, a few others are also 'negotiating' at the moment!!

Matt Traynor
46   Posted 02/06/2010 at 04:12:31

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I hope I'm wrong, but if Pienaar does go, with 12 months left on his contract, we will get nothing like the amounts some are spouting on here. The market has changed with the current financial climate — Man City excepted. He's a very good player, but he's not that good!!

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