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Time to Swallow the Bitter Pill, Davey

By Lyndon Lloyd :  16/08/2009 :  Comments (34) :

When you have precious few resources, both financial and in terms of personnel, you're naturally inclined to do everything you can to keep hold of them.

When you've assembled such a tight-knit squad and achieved so much with that small unit of players against such tall odds and in the face of enormous scepticism in the media, you can be forgiven for wanting to fiercely protect what you have built.

So, I can whole-heartedly empathise with the stance taken by David Moyes over the Joleon Lescott saga, both his position regarding the player himself and his reaction to the predatory manouevres by Manchester City. I respect his resistance to their overtures and genuinely believe that if he were to have his way, Lescott would not be sold, no matter how many "petro-dollars" were waved in his direction from Middle Eastlands.

I even understand him effectively staking his job on the outcome of the current impasse between Everton, the player, and City — even if I find it more than a little troubling the more inevitable it seems to become that a player whom Moyes helped elevate to full England international and a £20m-plus star will indeed follow the money and end up playing in a lighter shade of blue by the time the transfer window slams shut at the end of the month.

Whether Moyes chooses to publicly admit it or not, the playing field tilted decisively away from him with Lescott's confirmation of his desire to take City up on their exhorbitant salary offer and promise of imminent entry to the Champions League by submitting a formal transfer request. Yes, he can register his indignation and disgust at the manner in which they "twisted his head" and effectively "tapped him up", but the fact that the player now wants to leave puts a whole new complexion on matters. It's no longer about loyalty and common purpose; Joleon Lescott has broken the spiritual bounds of the house that Davey built.

It should be infuriating that a player can turn around so soon after signing a new, improved contract at Goodison and slap his pay-masters in the face but it's become such a part of modern football that it barely even engenders surprise anymore. Yes, footballers' careers are short and can be ended in an instant — and Lescott knows this better than anyone, having sat out a year with knee injuries in his time at Wolves — but when you're earning £40k a week, just how much difference to your life would another £40k make? Is it worth turning your back on the club and the manager who turned you into an England international?

Giving Lescott the benefit of the doubt, though, perhaps it is all about ambition. When you look at Everton Football Club, the glass ceiling on which Moyes and his side keep bashing their heads, and the near absence of any team-building this summer, can you really blame him for wanting a shot at the big time with a team seemingly poised to seriously challenge the hegemony of the Sky Four? Chelsea bought their way into the Champions League and, even given Mark Hughes's questionable credentials for management at the the very top level, you've got to think that City are now close to following suit.

Everton may have those aspirations but, for all the spirit and endeavour of Moyes's boys, they're simply not equipped to make that breakthrough any time soon. If anything confirmed that, it was the 6-1 hammering they suffered against Arsenal on their own turf this weekend — and that result will surely only intensify Lescott's realisation of the inertia that is becoming increasingly pervasive at Everton the longer Bill Kenwright limps along without additional investment or the "billionaire" buyer he'd have you believe he wants so badly for the Club.

Indeed, you have to ask yourself how long players of the calibre of Lescott, Pienaar, Arteta, Yobo, Yakubu and Cahill can be expected to wait through this constant battle of punching above the team's weight as their careers progress without any real shot at major honours. Lescott could become the first Jenga piece removed from Moyes's painstakingly-built tower; unless something drastic happens at Boardroom level, "pieces" are going to be removed from that pile more quickly through ambition, or simple ageing, than will be added.

All of which leads me to the belief that Moyes should swallow the bitter pill — not to mention a large dose of pride — and let Lescott go. I can't imagine, with him having decided he wants to leave, that full reconciliation would be possible — even if he were to be persuaded to stay; we need 110% commitment to keep this gravity-defying era under Moyes going.

Certainly, any insistence by Moyes that he will stay, irrespective of what Lescott wants, would be counter-productive — he's been known to have wobbles in his consistency at the best of times and no one could argue that he was fully focused in the Arsenal game judging by that performance.

For me, there comes a point where you have to look at the bigger picture, the one painted by a chronic lack of financial resources and few signs, if any, of that changing any time soon. Moyes is no doubt proud that Everton are no longer a selling club under his tenure but he must recognise that if he can get around £22m for a player he paid around £5m, hand Wolves their cut, and still have enough cash to add numbers to his squad, it's got to be worth swallowing one's pride for.

In that sense, I agree with Paul Wilson in The Observer today, though I disagree with his assertion that £20m-plus is more than enough for a player of Lescott's quality. On his day, he is one of the best defenders in the Premier League; add to that his versatility, and his goalscoring record and you have a player who would be full value at more than £20m.

I'd be as gutted as any Evertonian to see Lescott leave. He is one of the rocks on which the relative success of this Everton team has been built over the last couple of seasons and I'm not sure we would be able to adequately replace him even we allocated most of the proceeds from his sale trying to do it. But hasn't a part of him already been lost? By asking to leave, hasn't he already got one foot out the door?

As hard as it is to admit defeat to the malignant force of money in the modern game, particularly the obscene amounts that have been ushered in by the Middle Eastern takeover at Eastlands, it's time to draw a line under this one and agree to let Lescott go.

Play it right — in other words, invest the resultant funds wisely — and you can keep the rest of the squad intact and satisfied that the Club will keep moving in the right direction. It's got to be preferable to having a discontented and distracted player in the a part of the team where you need 100% focus.

What a sad indictment of the modern game and another painful reminder of Everton's current place in it.

Reader Comments

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Christopher Brierley
1   Posted 16/08/2009 at 08:36:08

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Selling Lescott or not aint gonna improve that bollux of a defence. Can we buy a back four for £20M or less?
Steve Savident
2   Posted 16/08/2009 at 08:44:01

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Wholeheartedy agree. This has gone on far too long now. Lescott quite clearly does not want to be here and ignoring that fact along with his current indignance will make Moyes look stupid when the deal is eventuallty done in the next few weeks.

He should accept the inevitability of the situation, get what he can and leave himself enough time to get some bodies in before it’s too late.

Even the FSW over the road eventually realised he was not going to be able to keep Alonso, arguably a bigger miss to them than Lescott to us. Having accepted that fact he then exhorted the maximum fee off Real and had a replacement lined up and unveiled to the public in 48 hours.

Alan Clarke
3   Posted 16/08/2009 at 09:00:40

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Christopher, that defence was water tight last year.

For all the criticism Kenwright gets, it amazes me how blameless Moyes seems to remain in all of this. Moyes has known for a long time now that our right hand side needs strengthening. He can moan all he likes about his lack of resources but when you’ve got a club offering silly money for a centre half then it’s ridiculous to keep playing the ’woe is me, I’m so poor’ card all the time.

Most other managers accept that they have to wheel and deal to address the problems in a side, especially when you’re not blessed with massive financial resources. In my mind, it is absolutely criminal now to have started the season with that same inept right hand side to our team. I don’t hold anyone except Moyes responsible for that.
Gavin Ramejkis
4   Posted 16/08/2009 at 09:13:30

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The right hand side is atrocious, squad players at best and that is being generous. It was as if DM hadn’t watched Hibbert and Osman being torn new arseholes at Wembley. I said in a different post yesterday that Pienaar looks like he is fighting a losing battle and looked way too good for that team yesterday, it wouldn’t surprise me if he is next through the exit door. I also heard yesterday that one of the new signings Cody Arnoux is one of the worst players one of our coaches has ever seen in his entire life, pure genius.
Greg Murphy
5   Posted 16/08/2009 at 08:52:57

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Regrettably fine piece, Lyndon. Nail on head, sadly.

About Chelsea, though, they didn’t buy their way into the Champions League. Chelsea were playing CL football long before Abramovich arrived in 2003. In fact, Chelsea were playing CL football from 1999 onwards (and reached the Quarter Final in their first season), indeed well before our red brethren were (they first qualified in 2001).

There’s no doubt, of course, that the Russian money enabled Chelsea to go higher from 2003 onwards but they were already collecting trophies, getting to finals regularly and playing CL football well before he came and indeed finished 4th in the final season under Bates to secure CL football again.

That’s the unpalatable thing about the City scenario (and I have no wish to cast myself as Chelsea defender in chief — it’s an odd position to be in, believe me) for you could make a very strong case to say that Chelsea put in some very hard and risky graft prior to the arrival of the Russian. Unlike City.

Chelsea — rather Bates and the late Matthew Harding — took the ultimate gamble of borrowing very heavily and risking the club’s entire future by redeveloping the ground (it was either that or end up ground-sharing with QPR, that’s how perilous a position they were in) and steadily shoring up the club’s infrastructure.

FA Cup winners in 1997, Cup Winners Cup Winners in 1998, League Cup Winners in 1998, FA Cup Winners in 2000, FA Cup Finalists in 2002, fairly regular CL qualifiers from 1999 onwards, a smart new 44,000 seater stadium which they organically developed... yep, Chelsea were a very, very marketable football commodity prior to the Russian’s arrival. In west London, to boot, just to put the raspberry on the pavlova!

But they were riddled with debt. Basically Chelsea twisted and succeeded where Leeds twisted and went utterly bust. But only just; because — had Abramovich not arrived when he did (they needed to pay back a £70m Eurobond in 2003) — then Chelsea v Leeds could very easily be a League 2 fixture now.

Sure, what Chelsea then did under the Russian has forever changed the face of the Premier League and has ultimately ushered in the type of hideous era we now witness with the likes of City.

But, at the same time, Chelsea went ahead and executed the type of high-risk strategy — in the mid 90s — that many other clubs have been reluctant to replicate (for a variety of reasons). Abramovich just ensured it didn’t all go to waste.
Steve Carter
6   Posted 16/08/2009 at 10:07:33

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Lot of words there, Lyndon (no disrespect), but isn’t all summed up in two sentences? First, yes, sell Lescott (not as good as you believe IMHO or otherwise vital to us). Secondly, what Alan Clarke observes in the first sentence of his post.
Gavin Ramejkis
7   Posted 16/08/2009 at 10:05:48

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A gradual redevelopment at St James Park has given them a great stadium, pity their on-field wasn’t managed as well. The loans we took out to buy shite like Ginola could have developed a stand and we could well be in a GP now with no obstructed views but instead we got shite players that won us nothing and fuck all return when they left. Yes, under Johnson’s watch but who was on the board? — Bill Kenwright.
Chris Halliday
8   Posted 16/08/2009 at 10:34:23

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After 7 years with a settled team under Moyes, we continue to play one-dimensional football when we are under pressure, and inevitably loose possession and the game. It was the same in the FA Cup Final and any other time we play the top 4, albeit the odd exception to the norm.

Only Pienaar looked like a modern-day footballer, the rest were shocking.
Peter Corcoran
9   Posted 16/08/2009 at 10:32:03

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I put yesterday’s exasperatingly awful performance squarely down to David Moyes. That was probably the worst performance I have ever seen from an Everton team since I started watching the Blues as a young lad more than 40 years ago.

That was the same team that did ever so well towards the end of last season but there was no conviction whatsoever in our play. So what has changed in a few months?

It was not the Lescott affair but Moyes’s usual sulking when he does not get his own way or someone rubs him up the wrong way.

Look back at our history since he has been our manager and whenever things don’t go according to plan he sulks and this rubs off on the players or even worse — he does not do his utmost for the team, which is totally unforgiveable!! Think back to Villarreal, his own contract talks, lack of transfer funds = DM super sulk = EFC performances and results getting even worse on the pitch.

Moyes has to get a grip of himself and quick. His body language has been really poor throughout the summer and his press conferences have been cringeworthy with his constant snipes about everyone and everything, except of course the EFC board (not just Kenwright) who are the real villains of the peace.

Get it sorted before Thursday.

On a positive note, I though our fans were brilliant yesterday with their support given to Lescott (even if it may well turn out to be misplaced) and the respect of Sir Bobby Robson.
Spencer Ramsay
10   Posted 16/08/2009 at 10:05:16

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A very well articulated article Lyndon which sadly I agree with. I don’t think there is a single fan that wants to see Lescott go but go I think he must through fear of our season imploding again before its even started.

Alan - it wasn’t that precise defence that was watertight, it's missing a vital piece which won’t be replaced until November... and how far away does that feel right now!!

Hibbert is a major weak link and his crossing is atrocious! I don’t like knocking players and he’s a great honest lad and a Moyesy-type player but we really do need to sort it out there. Osman as well, I'm afraid... although again I like the lad. They would both be very good cover.

I think we should sit down with City and say "Right you fuckers, £22 mill (all upfront?) and Richards for Lescott?" Let's see how badly they want him. Lescott's the best CB there is available at the moment (CB that covers LB and gets forward and scores 10 goals a season) and they know it! Richards is a young prospective talent who is better than Hibbert and can cover the centre as well.

Am I being unrealistic? Maybe... but, as commented above, we must get the maximum deal for us. We’re in the driving seat on this one.

John Crawley
11   Posted 16/08/2009 at 10:37:38

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Lyndon, great piece as usual. I completely agree about the lack of ambition displayed by the Board. However, if you listened to all of the comments made by David Moyes on Friday, there were some very interesting statements that were different than previous ones.

He actually said that most players have a price but that City haven’t come anywhere near meeting that price. Hearing this comment, and also his remark about Real Madrid and Ronaldo, I think it is pretty clear that he would have sold Lescott if City had made a realistic bid for him. Instead, City have tried to get him on the cheap and used underhand tactics to try and engineer the move.

So where do we go from here? I think Moyes needs to do what Benitez did with Alonso — name his price, tell City and give them 48 hours to pay it. After that, if it's not been agreed, then we simply don’t sell him in this transfer window.

John Martin
12   Posted 16/08/2009 at 10:55:31

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Moyes’s comments confused me also over Lescott. As for yesterday Moyes is to blame for me. There isn't an Everton fan around who all summer long talked about our need for a new RB & RM and a CM. We can only talk about this while Moyes can do something about it. He hasn't.

The Lescott debacle is clearly gotten to the team and we should say to City £25 million up front or no deal. Take the money and buy 2 new centre half’s a RM & RB.

I like Lescott but £25 million for England's 4th choice CB is brilliant and if we can't get a suitable replacement for around £8 million or so, we are doing something wrong.

James Boden
13   Posted 16/08/2009 at 11:21:09

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I don’t care what anyone says we are nowhere near as skint as anyone claims. All this money is being ringfenced for DK. Surely since Moyes has took over we have been making profits more years than most.

As for Moyes for someone who supposedly has given us our pride back we have sure as hell been humiliated several times during his reign. Yesterday, Bucharest, Oldham and Shrewsbury all spring to mind. I cannot argue with him improving us alot but at the end of the day he is still the same stubborn manager who has not figured out his weak links and who dithers on transfers and substitutions.

A fanatastic man-manager but clueless in terms of tactics.

Steve Edwards
14   Posted 16/08/2009 at 11:29:47

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Good article Lyndon and one that I agree with whole hearterly. Also some very sensensible comment from other posters above. What struck me from yestersdays performance was that it was completely lackluster. It was like a knock about in the park. I know Arsenal are a good team and are probably capable of doing that to most teams but it was so bloody easy for them.

I think Davey has painted himself into a corner by digging his heels in over this Lescott business. I think that Lescott is a good centre half and yes he also gives us cover a right back but he wants to go. I think £22 million would be a good price for him. I agree with Spencer that we should have named a price and stuck by it . This dogard refusal by our manager has clearly had a depremental effect on the team. This business should have been done and dustered and the money spent by now recruiting players that would improve the team.

If Lescott ends up going and we havn’t got time to bring in an adequate replacement then the blame will sit firmly with David Moyes.
John Brennan
15   Posted 16/08/2009 at 11:50:07

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I agree with you Lyndon. When Lescott submitted that transfer request it changed everything. Get the best price and let him go.

I also agree that Moyes is not being realistic about this. It's on occasions like this when his stubbornness gets in the way of thinking more pragmatically. He lacks imagination and appears to be painting himself into a corner on this one, or is it that he has been told that if Lescott is sold, Moyes wont get the full amount received (less the Wolves payment) to spend on new players? There really doesnt seem to be any point hanging on to a player who obviously wants to go.

Even if we keep Lescott, I dont see any way in which we will finish 4th, we are a million miles of achieving that. And I have thought that long before they kicked off last night. If or until there is major investment in the club we are not going to be serious challengers.

We are going to have to settle for finishing somewhere no lower than 10th and hope to do well in the cups. There is no way we will get a better offer for Lescott than now (possibly/hopefully £20m). Thats life these as far as we are concerned. Its going to be a hell of a slog with the Europa League this season, so lets take the money, get some new players in and move on.

Alan Kirwin
16   Posted 16/08/2009 at 12:08:41

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Excellent article Lyndon. Right conclusions for the right reasons.

Yesterday was shocking. There’s often a sense with Moyes’ Everton that we’re never quite ready for the start of the season. It’s rare indeed that we actually enjoy a good pre-season, then there’s always injuries in a small squad, and this year we’ve had to endure the Lescott saga.

One could even mitigate further with the fact that it’s often only Arsenal who are capable of hurting teams that much away from home. They’ve been doing it for a while now and, whilst we would have lost to quite a few teams yesterday, Arsenal have a way that amplifies deficiencies in their opponents.

But, we were shockingly poor. Worst home result in my lifetime. As clinical as the 5-0 to Liverpool. The 6-2 Boxing Day massacre to ManU was only an aberration.

Thing is, as has been pointed out, Moyes has pretty much staked his job on winning the Lescott battle. Unless his cryptic allusions to Lescott’s true worth are actually intended to inspire City to stop pissing about and make an offer that we can’t refuse. At this point I deserately hope so.

But that then puts us where City are. Our 2 best alternatives are Gary Cahill and Michael Turner, in that order. The former is likely to cost £15m. That’s £5m more than we should be paying, even assuming Bolton have the slightest interest in selling, which I don’t think they do.

So, the early season air has changed from jasmine to sulphur. It don’t look good. Seems ridiculous to be deeply worried after 1 game. But, as has been shown in previous years, when things go wrong under DM they occasionally go REALLY wrong.

Let’s all hope for a rapid sensible conclusion to the Lescott saga and a miraculously quick resolution to his replacement, 2 right sided players and the return of Arteta (who Hughes apparently also covets) and Yakubu.

Double bollocks.
Danny Jones
17   Posted 16/08/2009 at 12:40:35

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Could this Lescott thing really have affected the team that much? I mean is Lescotts actions having a direct effect on say, how Phil Neville makes a tackle or Baines gets turned inside out? I understand that team spirit is one of our strongest points, but surely the rest of the team/squad still have the same spirit, it’s not like a line has been drawn down the centre of the dressing room. My opinion is that yesterday was an aberration, and nothing to do with keeping or selling Lescott.

I do believe though that now is the time to sell, we just need to squeeze as much out if the new rich kid as possible. Like others have said, we want X amount and the deal done in 48 hours or forget about it. This way, we can go about our own business of getting players in to replace and add to the squad (please let them be a rightback, and right winger).

One other thing that really annoyed me about yesterday was a team that’s getting beat 3-0 at half time then quickly goes to 4-0, not one of our players gets booked! Not one thought fuck this, I’m having him now. How the fuck did that happen?

David Hallwood
18   Posted 16/08/2009 at 12:32:36

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Good article Lyndon apart from the swipe at BK, no I’m not a Bill apologist but for all the posters on here saying Kenwright Out I’d like to ask who’s in? Like everyone else I’d love more investment but tell me which investors have come forward to take our great club forward.

To reply to Greg Murphy, yes they were in the CL pre-Ruski what you didn’t mention that they were about to do a Leeds and go tits up (must be something to do with that wonderful man Ken ’Master’ Bates) and to Gavin Ramejkis, the only way we could rebuild GP without obstructed views is to have a cantilever stand and that would means the footings would be stuck in Walton Lane.

What yesterday’s game taught us was that the midfield is set up wrong and DM will have to work out a way to accommodate Fellini and Cahill, and fuck the hoofball off — it didn’t work when we had Ferguson, who was probably the best CF to play a hoofball to, so how does DM expect Brazilians and or French CFs to play it?

What else was wrong with yesterday’s performance? Oh yes... everything! 2 free headers from set pieces, midfielders waltzing 50 yards unchallenged to score, and to think I put my holiday off so I wouldn’t miss the first game of the season.

Gerry Western
19   Posted 16/08/2009 at 12:52:08

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Lyndon, a well considered piece which takes account of the wider context. I followed your link to the Guardian article though I’d have to disagree on a number of its points. It considers our valuation of Lescott to be extreme citing the transfer of Barry £12m, but conveniently ignoring the fact Barry had 1 year of his contract remaining whilst Lescott has 3-4 years depending on which source you choose to believe.

Additionally, it appears to suggest their ages are fairly comparable which is a complete fallacy. It also ignores the fact that should we sell Lescott his replacement will automatically cost us an additional £5-8m on top of our perceived valuation. Most importantly all such transfer valuations are relative and a players worth can only be gleaned from what another club is prepared to pay. Equally to the selling club the gains must outweigh the losses in order to entice them sell.

This perhaps is where I differ with your conclusion. Contrary to general assumptions around I actually believe Moyes will sell if a ridiculous offer is forthcoming. Yes, he has said he’s not for sale but he’s also said City’s valuation doesn’t come anywhere close to how much EFC value him. That for me is the get out clause.

This is a game of cat and mouse and Moyes I believe has managed to handle it extremely well I only hope he holds his nerve. As for the outcome I’d say Moyes would probably settle for 25m or perhaps the original offer plus Richards thrown in.

Following the debacle yesterday many of the tabloids and indeed some fans have begun to lean on Moyes but what many have ignored is the fact that although City won their first game but for some poor finishing by a very average Blackburn side they could well have conceded a few. It was very apparent to me that this is their Achilles heel and Hughes knows this better than anyone, Lescott represents the final piece in their jigsaw.

For me Moyes has got to continue to play hard ball here and hope the fans continue to support him difficult as that might be. I do however believe this will ultimately be concluded on Moyes terms but only if the fans and the board are prepared to trust him.

Bob Carlton
20   Posted 16/08/2009 at 13:59:50

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I posted this on another thread yesterday morning, and it’s even more true today.

We need to bring this debate to an end. I’m fed up with us portraying ourselves as the poor relations being bullied by the rich boys from the other end of the East Lancs Road. Every player ’has his price’. Tell City that we want £20m plus Jo, or £26m, or £35m, or whatever figure we think fit. Inform City that the deal is non-negotiable and they have 48 hours to accept or decline. Tell Lescott we are willing to let him go if the price is right. Tell the media (without figures) that we have contacted City with a non-negotiable proposal that they have 48 hours to reply to.

City wil then either tell us we’re taking the piss, in which case we inform Lescott that when ’push came to shove’ City were not prepared to meet our offer, or City accept our offer. This would then leave us to find another Centre Back for under £10m (Senderos £5m?, Taylor £7m?, Cahill £8m? etc, etc.) with another £12m - £20m to strengthen our squad with one or two quality players.

I know which option I would want City to take, but at least this ’standoff’ would come to an end.

Greg Murphy
21   Posted 16/08/2009 at 14:42:20

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David Hallwood, you said I failed to say that Chelsea "were about to do a Leeds and go tits up".

I refer you back to the part where I said:

"Basically Chelsea twisted and succeeded where Leeds twisted and went utterly bust. But only just; because had Abramovich not arrived when he did - they needed to pay back a £70m Eurobond in 2003 - then Chelsea v Leeds could very easily be a League 2 fixture now."
Ciarán McGlone
22   Posted 16/08/2009 at 14:55:54

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The Lescott affair is not about Everton anymore - it’s about Moyes and his stubborn attempt at saving face.

He’ll not go... and we’ll continue to suffer. Lescott didn’t want to be there yesterday — any fool could see that. What’s the point in keeping him here against his will?
Dave McCarten
23   Posted 16/08/2009 at 15:21:44

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Spot on, Mr McGlone (don’t know how to get the thingywhatyacallit over your a...). Sell him now get the money in and sort that right hand side sorted, and as for Jo he seems to be turning into the worst Brazillian since David Blunket shaved his birds minge.
Alan Noon
24   Posted 16/08/2009 at 16:01:26

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Moyes is simply out of his depth in transfers. It’s not so much about choosing the appropriate players but who the hell does the negotiations?

The Lescott saga is a good case in point; what right does Moyes have to criticise City about their behaviour? They are simply tracking a player they want and are prepared to pay over the odds for. Moyes should shut it, and simply put a £30M target on him. Now, Moyes will find it hard to back down over this saga but ultimately the best thing for the club is to get rid.

And, as usual, any players brought in on 31 August will take a few months to fit in... why doesn’t Dithering Dave ever learn? It’s not BK’s fault — it’s Moyes inept handling over transfers.

Why didn’t he raid Tuncay from 'Boro' for some pace, Cattermole for some midfield bite — all could be picked up for buttons. Moyes has his qualities but transfer dealings aren’t one of them; this is where the Blues fell down badly yesterday — new faces need to be brought in just to keep everyone on their toes.

Kevy Quinn
25   Posted 16/08/2009 at 16:31:00

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Agree with Ciaran and Daves last points and Dave that Blunkett comment has been the first thing to make me laugh since yesterday's disaster. Quality!!
Nick Armitage
26   Posted 16/08/2009 at 16:23:51

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Bob Carlton, you are dead right but we should have done this two months ago, not now.

Wenger has hit the nail on the head.

Benitez did the same with Alonso and United did the same with Ronaldo. Like it or not players hold all the aces, look at United and Ronaldo. Due to whatever factors you believe (and I lay the blame at Kenwright’s feet) we have no income streams, we needed to sell Lescott three months ago.

I was informed Lescott was leaving in June and wrote an article about it, yet plenty of people here pooh-poohed it. City have been after him since the last transfer window, the only person in the game who thinks Lescott is staying is Moyes. Notice how even Kenwright has shut his gob on this one.

Moyes has cocked up here and his stubbornness is fucking us over not for the first time. When Moyes spits his dummy out us fans suffer. This is a common theme at Everton, and has been since Moyes arrived. It is long overdue that he learnt from these fuck ups – a monkey would have learnt by now. If Moyes had taken his head out of the sand and sold Lescott then signed some players two fucking months ago, do you think we would be in this disarray now?
Lyndon Lloyd
Editorial Team
27   Posted 16/08/2009 at 17:02:56

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Greg Murphy: About Chelsea, though, they didn’t buy their way into the Champions League. Chelsea were playing CL football long before Abramovich arrived in 2003.

You’re right, Greg. I was writing too quickly, trying to take advantage of a rare opportunity to pen an article at all. I meant to say they bought the title, which is something City may prove able to do in the next couple of years.
David Hallwood
28   Posted 16/08/2009 at 23:51:03

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Greg, my apologies but I might ask what’s your point are you saying that we should follow the pre-Abramovich model and go for glory?
Greg Murphy
29   Posted 17/08/2009 at 06:47:21

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That makes sense, Lyndon, (i.e. Chelsea buying the title as opposed to mere CL entry). Thought it was most unlike you.

I feel much more comfortable now being able to resume my default position of pouring scorn on the generally negative effects of Chelsea on the Premier League these last six seasons.

For you’re quite right. Because there is no doubt in my mind that Chelsea — or rather Abramovich — did indeed buy the title despite the admirably hard graft (as mentioned in my earlier post) they undoubtedly had already put in of their own to make themselves a totally different, trophy winning, top end of the Premier League, regular CL qualifying team, with a smartly updated ground rather than the shambolic yo-yo relegation fodder outfit with an utterly decrepit stadium which fittingly always seemed to have Del and Rodney style Reliant Robins parked behind the cinder-strewn wasteland expanses behind the goal.

Whilst I’ll always agree with any Chelsea fan — especially now in the "Man City era" ‘— that Chelsea had indeed pulled themselves up by their own bootlaces and were an established Premier League force in their own right prior to Abramovich (and further, that was why he bought them, I wouldn’t even argue there), I totally depart company from them when they say that their eventual title wins were an inevitable part of their evolutionary process.

In the seasons just prior to Abramovich, good as Chelsea were, they were already showing signs of having reached the limit of their capabilities. The ceiling in other words.

Yes, they had started winning silverware again and were regularly high in the Premier League and didn’t look at all out of place in the CL (though it has to be remembered that they flew out of the Uefa play-off round in 2002 to a bunch of part-time butchers and firemen) but they were never going to win the Premiership in a million years. Man United and Arsenal were just passing it back between themselves.

Chelsea were just about to go backwards and all the good work would have been undone. Especially by having to somehow pay back that £70m Eurobond. But then Abramovich arrived. His money not only saved the club and ensured that the years of effort under Bates and (to an extent) Harding (despite what I think of Bates as a man, he was undoubtedly totally focused on restoring Chelsea’s pride and he succeeded, imho) didn’t go to waste; but crucially it also ensured that the carefully assembled squad (the Lampards, Terrys etc) didn’t suddenly crumble and start to disintegrate and remained intact. Leeds had to sell Ferdinand et al. Chelsea kept their jewels.

They’d done well to finish 4th in the last season pre-Abramovich. But it was clear they needed to spend big if they wanted to finish higher than that. Then Ranieri did a good job in Abramovich’s first season by finishing 2nd but it was obvious that in order to go a step further they’d need to spend even more. Which Mourinho did aplenty.

Any Chelsea fan who disputes that they bought the title need only look at one bare statistic: prior to Abramovich they had only ever won one title. Within three years of his arrival they’d tripled that number. Coincidence? It reminds me in the late 80s and early 90s when I used to hear Oldham fans saying their relative success had nothing to do with the plassy pitch. Right.

Chelsea, though, did take the gamble pre-Abramovich — no arguments — and for them it paid off because it then put them in a position to be able to buy the title(s).

City is a different story.

David Hallwood, no worries Blue.

Really, there was/is no wider point other than to directly address Lyndon’s (originally mistaken) assertion that Chelsea bought their way into the Champions League. They didn’t. The facts are there.

However, there are many Chelsea fans who will trade disingenuously on the other facts that I’ve pointed out, underlining that they were, undoubtedly, already a completely different proposition from the Chelsea we all used to know and laugh at long prior to Abramovich’s arrival (those were the days! we even battered them with Mike Walker as manager with Brett Angell on the scoresheet!) in order to conveniently fog-up the exponential effects of the Russian’s financial muscle post-2003.

The "yeah but we were already good and we were gonna win the league anyway" that you hear from many Chelsea fans is a half-truth.

I suppose, though, as a by-product of my original post (tying all things to the original subject of Lescott) that I was making a not-so-subtle distinction between the Chelsea model and the truly hideous Denim County (copyright Banjo on WSAG) project at Eastlands (for which I’ve developed a truly irrational — and possibly immature — hatred of already).

As to your question: should Everton have done what Chelsea did pre-Abramovich? Well, that’s a whole different question and one I really couldn’t answer one way or the other (there would be no way of not letting hindsight distort our thinking). But as I’m a cautious pragmatist at heart I’d have been uncomfortable witnessing Everton trying to "live the dream".

But there were clearly — in the mid-to-late 90s — three ways of trying to make yourself felt in the Sky era. The failed Leeds way, the successful but only by the seat-of-their-pants pre-Abramovich Chelsea way, and those stuck in the middle wondering which way to turn (like Everton and, indeed, Liverpool... for, make no mistake, their hatred of Chelsea didn’t just start when Mourinho shushed them; no, there was a feeling amongst them that Abramovich, or load monkeys like him, should have first started ploughing their millions into established old order clubs like Liverpool and that they’d somehow been denied their birthright).

As a last line, thought to leave: which way do you think things would have panned out had Everton decided, in the late 90s, to take a Chelsea or Leeds style ultimate stakes gamble? Would we now be mixing it with Chelsea in Champions League final stages or trying to pretend that a League Two clash between Everton and Leeds is really a meeting between two sleeping giants just waiting to rise again?

Knowing Everton, I suspect we both know the answer.
Matthew Mackey
30   Posted 17/08/2009 at 09:20:53

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Alan Clarke's comment.... "it is absolutely criminal now to have started the season with that same inept right hand side to our team. I don’t hold anyone except Moyes responsible for that. "

Alan, can I just remind you that Moyes did actually try and do something about the right back situation very early in the transfer window when he did a deal with Sheff Utd for Kyle Naughton, only to be shit on by that bunch of cowboys.

Is it any wonder the guy feels pretty pissed off and “demented” at the moment.
Matthew Mackey
31   Posted 17/08/2009 at 09:27:31

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As you all know Moyes is a man of principle and strong belief who is guided by a moral compass that comes straight out of the Glaswegian Presbyterian type of upbringing. Regardless of your religious beliefs we should celebrate that as something good rather than something bad. He has used this strong principled approach to stabilize this club over the last seven years of his tenure and that is why the majority of Evertonians love him so much. He isn’t just a manager, he is OUR moral compass. He creates an image for this club of hard work, sincerity and honesty which makes us stand out from the rest of the PL. “The People's Club” and all that. (Would you rather have a Harry “bullshit” Rednapp or a David “principled” Moyes?)

This strong, principles approach he has to everything basically translates to “I won’t shit on you and so I don’t expect you to shit on me” So we have to accept that there are going to be aspects of his character that seem a little out of touch with the modern day game where greed, disloyalty (to ones club and ones colleagues) and media shit stirring are unfortunately part of the course.

Many of you are right, he has now backed himself into a corner where it seems the world is against him over this Lescott saga. But I for one applaud the man and applaud his stance. Whatever he decides now in terms of selling Lescott or keeping him, I for one will support him because I for one have confidence in the man to get the best for Everton Football Club and not just the best for David Moyes.

Personally speaking, If I had my way I would drop Lescott into the reserves and then gauge the reaction. If the reaction is positive then bring him back at the appropriate time. If the reaction is not positive then try and sell him in the January transfer window. The latter allowing Moyes the “saving face” option.

In truth I really don’t know where this is going to end. All I know is that I’m starting to feel a little tired and weary and depressed about it (especially after Saturday’s result) and very angry over Mark Hughes arrogance and attempts to de-stabilize our club.
Ryan Sloan
32   Posted 17/08/2009 at 07:40:09

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After what has been an absoulute farce over the last 3 months, we are an absolute joke (without including Saturday). City will be laughing their heads off regarding JL, especially as the whole world could see he didn't want to be there — did anyone see his face as he walked out the tunnel? He looked disintrested to say the least. Now we will go cap in hand to City and the hard ball game that Moyes has played will make us even more of a laughing stock, we'll end up with egg on our face yet again!!!
June Brennan
33   Posted 19/08/2009 at 12:57:19

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What would you all be saying if Moyes sold Lescott last week???? The bottom line is City made a bid just before the season started and Moyes could not sell as he had no replacements. Maybe if the bid would have been made earlier on Moyes might have just considered. I agree Lescott’s body language says he is throwing his dummy out but have to agree with Moyes on this occasion. The WHOLE team were crap at the weekend.
Jason Broome
34   Posted 21/08/2009 at 12:07:32

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Hughes has called time on the Lescott deal. Looks like Joleon will have a bitter pill to swallow now himself!

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