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The Gospel According to Joleon

By Michael Kenrick :  17/10/2009 :  Comments (39) :
A rather remarkable account of the infamous Lescott Saga caught my attention this evening... not really what I wanted to be reading, to be honest, but it was unusual for one of the protagonists in such a recent and painful episode to come forward and spill the beans in quite this way.

Best you read the so-called Matt Lawton Interview, in the Daily Mail.

As I read with increasing surprise at how much Lescott told of his ostracism, suffering isolation at the hand of David Moyes following the lame 6-1 home defeat to Arsenal on the opening day of the season, it reads as if David Moyes was deliberately and unfairly going out of his way to make Lescott the scapegoat for that humbling loss.

But crucial to this story, I believe, is not only the timing of the transfer request, which Lescott hints at, but Lescott's state of mind, which David Moyes had probably sussed out well before the events relayed here that followed the first match of the season.

Although Lescott says a lot — more than most Evertonians will really want to hear — more important, I suspect, is what he doesn't say:

"I won’t go into what was said between us in those private meetings because that’s not right."
Sure... yet it was undoubtedly what was said in those private meetings that crystalised Moyes's attitude, which we know demands the highest level of commitment from his players.

All through this depressing interview, and indeed for much of the saga itself, it was increasing obvious to a growing number of Evertonians that Lescott had no intention of resisting the temptation and staying at Everton. And it is there were, it seems to me, Lescott is being somewhat less than honest in this kiss-and-tell piece.

If I cared enough, I'd reconstruct the timeline of the saga and compare it to exactly what was being reported and hypothesized (invented?) in the media, both the week before and the week after that opening game. But to be honest, Lescott is the past and I don't really care that much.

Yes, we have made a tradition of respecting our past players and at the time, we fretted over the thought of losing one of our better ones in his prime. But, as many have rationalised, it's happened before and it will no doubt happen again.

This interview confirms the fear that Lescott wanted a faster path to glory. I sincerely hope it does not happen for him.

Reader Comments

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Tommy Gibbons
1   Posted 17/10/2009 at 03:57:45

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Nothing remarkable at all about the article, just the espousings of a rat who knew City where after him all summer but chose not to hand in a transfer request therefore making his manager believe that he wanted to stay at the club.

So Moyes then makes a cunt out of him when he realises that the man he made into an England centre half (until the Jags gets fit of course) hands in the transfer request therefore fucking his plans up for the coming season!

Don’t fuck with the Moyessiah!!

John Sreet
2   Posted 17/10/2009 at 04:16:22

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There’s two sides in every story; Lescott is simply telling his in a way that makes him look better... can’t blame him for that but please Joleon don’t expect us to believe it as gospel.

No player came to his defence, he pretty much admitted his attitude was poor by telling Moyes he wasn’t in a fit mental state to play... condemmed by his own words.

As for not letting him onto the dressing room, well perhaps Moyes thought it was a distraction that he didn’t want.

Was Moyes being vindictive or protective by making him train alone?... we’ll never really know, but my guess is that Moyes felt Lescott was gone from an early stage in the game.

Lescott loved it at Everton, loved his team mates, respected everyone... or so he says, then tells us that he didn’t leave for the money but because he would win things at City quicker than he would at Everton... by inference, telling all those that he so called ’respected’ that City had better players and staff...

Joleon, better to have said that you left for the money... I can handle that just fine!

Steven Pendleton
3   Posted 17/10/2009 at 04:36:55

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I’m afraid the truth hurts John. Realistically Joleon has more of a chance of silverware and Champions League glory than he has with us. That is, in the short term. You can’t begrudge him that opportunity.

It seems that once Moyes has made his mind up on someone or something, then it’s set in concrete. One only has to look at our formation for last bloody 7 years.

I hope he throws a spanner in my theory by playing an attacking formation tonight. Somehow I just don’t see it.
David Chait
4   Posted 17/10/2009 at 06:12:02

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I’m sure we could pull apart some of the statements... but for me I had no issue with how Lescott handled it... very respectable to in person speak to the manager first....the fact that he eventually handed in a transfer request .. well that was inevitable .. Moyes is the only one who did come out and critisise the other party... but anyway... Lescott owes us nothing and we got a lot more than we bargained for.
Gareth Humphreys
5   Posted 17/10/2009 at 07:39:04

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To be honest I’m not arsed about Joleon Lescott.
He was a good player who we got a whopping fee for. He has looked decidedly ropey for City so far and his replacement at our club has looekd very good.
Rooney I was gutted about because of how good he was, how good everyone knew he was going to be and the piss poor fee we got. Lescott on the other hand is easily replaced and thats why no one is really arsed.
Sorry Joleon but your’e just not that good for anyone to care
Kevin Sparke
6   Posted 17/10/2009 at 08:13:12

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Let’s not fall into the trap of believing that Lescott’s sale was all at his behest and was merely a greedy footballer chasing the dosh and disguising lust for coin by expressing a wish for trophies and ’moving on with his career’.

It suited Everton’s ’selling-talent-to-pay-for-debt/Kirkby’ business plan, to offload Lescott at a huge profit and I’m quite sure if Lescott would have written in big bold capitals ’I’m desparate to stay at Everton’ - he’d still have been sold. As would Jagielka and/or Arteta had they been fit - It’s well known that Jagielka was Citeh’s first choice anyway and they only turned their attention to Lescott when the Jag got crocked.

To be quite honest - I think Lescott is a very good player, good defender, dangerous from set peices... but ’Sparky’ Hughes was done up like a kipper by Moyes as the real strength of Lescott’s defending came from working to a rigid game plan of Moyes’ defensive solidarity. Playing for Moyes turned Lescott from a decent defender to a very good one - Moyes made him - lack of Moyes (Or another defense minded coach) will break him.

As to Lescott training alone. Another of David Moyes strengths is his ability to build team cohesion and solidarity - Lescott threatened that - he was cut out the loop before he could threaten the team ethic... rightly so.
Stephen Kenny
7   Posted 17/10/2009 at 08:51:29

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To be honest I’ve got a lot of time for Lescott, I think he handled the situation as well as could be expected as it was blatantly obvious we were going to sell.

On the other hand the way the club handled the situation was a joke. If we were serious about not selling Joley would still be in an Everton kit, and we wouldn’t have had a summer long saga that disrupted the whole team and cost us points. I dont believe for a minute that we never encouraged City until we got the right price. Which is fine but why the need for the "not even for £30m" rubbish?
Karl Jones
8   Posted 17/10/2009 at 08:54:39

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40000 people at the Arsenal game saw a player who didnt want to be playing for Everton, and who had just handed in a transfer request..
Joleon should realise it was HIS attitude more than anything else that changed opinions...I wont be booing him though..For three years he was mostly brilliant for us. A modern defender who is quick, stays on his feet and scored some great winning goals.
Thats just the way football goes nowadays..
Steve Pugh
9   Posted 17/10/2009 at 09:07:29

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Stephen Kenny, it is called bartering, haggling, dealing. It is the same as selling a house when you add £20k onto the real value of your house and then say you won’t accept anything less than £10k more than the value before selling your house for exactly what it is worth. If you started at the real worth value you would probably end up with less than it was worth.

The club probably got more more than Lescott is really worth by playing it the way they did, and for that I am grateful. As for what JLo says, if he is so blameless why did Hibbo have a go at him?
Richard Dodd
10   Posted 17/10/2009 at 09:34:23

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You might not expect ME to pose the question, but I will: Just where do you think the the money would have come from for summer signings if Joleon had stayed? His leaving was in every way an arrangement of convenience, orchestrated to show the Club in the best possible light. Fact.
Dick Fearon
11   Posted 17/10/2009 at 09:43:50

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As I was reading the Joleon saga I wondered how soon it would be before someone would turn it into another BK is a bastard diatribe.
Thank you Kevin Sparke for renewing my faith in human nature.

John Brennan
12   Posted 17/10/2009 at 09:54:59

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I havent read the article yet, but can make a reasonable guess as to the contents.
I have wondered what we would have done in the transfer window this summer if Lescott had insisted he was staying with us. If we had little cash to splash, would we have sold Saha and Vaughan? There would certainly be no Distin and possibly no Bily. Looks like we are stronger now than before, but I hold no grudge against Lescott, as we virtually all agree, thats the nature of football, and if Moyes had not been offered £60000 pw or whatever it is, would he still be here?
Be bold today David, and beat Joleans old team by playing more than one up front!!
Steve Guy
13   Posted 17/10/2009 at 10:00:29

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Thanks for this one Michael. I wouldn’t normally read the Daily Mail and so would have missed this one.

I agree with both yourself and other posters. It wasn’t handled well by either party, but in the end Everton got a massive fee for a good (but not great) player. The player got his move. Transfers in and out of clubs happen all the time, this one was more high profile because of the protracted nature of it (which actually started this time last year when Sparky Hughes tried to buy Lescott in the January window), combined with a media campaign to keep it in the forefront on behalf of the new media darlings at Sitteh.

This article falls into that latter category; a benign interview with Lescott because he’s a Sitteh player. Would he have got that kind of extensive coverage if he had gone to (say) Hull under similar circumstances? I doubt it.

The "top" clubs are now defined as five to include Sitteh. It’s unbelievable to me but true nonetheless. Without winning diddly squat they are being lauded as potential rivals to Manure and Chelski on the basis of financial muscle alone. Given the news yesterday from Brum’s new owner on investment for January alone, will they start to be included in this category too. Don’t get me wrong, money obviously counts, but my own personal wedge is on Everton to continue to defy the odds.

I think the context of Lescott’s article is better defined by his comments over the Emre incident. Unfortunately,smart lawyers got Emre off and what does an incensed Lescott do ? Lead from the front with a call to arms to renew efforts to keep this vile attitude out of the game and out of society ? Not let it rest and demand an appeal ? Not quite. Instead he refuses to visibly support the anti rascim campaign and remain unsmiling on photos taken for it. That showed ’em Jo !
Stephen Kenny
14   Posted 17/10/2009 at 10:17:42

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The club obviously had a price they were willing to accept. Joleon also says he was in constant contact with David Moyes throughout the summer so it’s fair to say the club had an idea he wanted to go.

If thats the case why didnt we name our price and tell City take it or leave it, which is exactly what Aston Villa done when the R/S were sniffing round Gareth Barry. This could have been sorted out in june when the first bid came in and we wouldnt have had a disruptive saga running, got our players in at a good time and made a decdent start to the season instead of fielding players who dont ant to play for us AND DROPPING WHAT COULD TURN OUT TO BE VERY IMPORTANT POINTS.
Kevin Mitchell
15   Posted 17/10/2009 at 10:16:44

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Dick, what the fuck! he’s the chairman Isn’t he, why should he be immune to any criticision over club afairs?
I believed DM when he said none of his players are going anywhere, but lets face it once Kenright, Earle and Green got wind of a 20 mill offer It was all over.
Selling Lescott saved them the embarasment of leaving DM in the shit once again.
Look what you’ve done now Dick, another Kenright bashing artical.
Phil Bellis
16   Posted 17/10/2009 at 10:58:41

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despite SKY money, coming 5th 2 years in a row in the richest league in the world, an FA Cup Final appearance, on TV more times than the adverts, , Everton Football Club spent f’ all until we sold Lescott.
Coincidence, my arse!
All Premier clubs have expenses but all seem to be able to invest any winnings
Where does Everton’s money go, do you think?
David S Shaw
17   Posted 17/10/2009 at 11:09:00

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I don’t have a problem with Lescott. I wish him well.

City’s future is brighter than Everton’s. I would have questioned Lescott’s ambition if he didn’t want to move.

A lot of the abuse he’s been receiving is so predictable, even hypocritical. Get over it. We’re not an ambitious club, and many of us fans aren’t ambitious either. So stop all this pathetic sulking.
Phil Bellis
18   Posted 17/10/2009 at 11:20:41

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David S Shaw
Dont tell me to ’get over it’ you patronising, unambitious sod
Speak for yourself, not ’many of us fans’
Dick Fearon
19   Posted 17/10/2009 at 11:23:45

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If people choose to believe supposition, guesswork or even tea leaves that is their choice.
Not being a mind reader nor privy to BKs most secret thoughts I prefer to I am one of those poor souls that rely on factual evidence.
I find it strange that BK gets no kudos for our clubs relative success while the slightest mistep is all down to him.
I cannot respond further because
I’m off to the fridge for a few coldies before watching Villa beat Chelsea then hopefully, Sunderland beat the other lot.
Gareth Atkinson
20   Posted 17/10/2009 at 11:35:03

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Right, we’ve had our say, now money bags has had his can we draw a line under this now for fucks sake.

Just one more point though, if your so dignified and innocent as you make out Joleon, why come out and do this interview?
Danny Burke
21   Posted 17/10/2009 at 12:11:45

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How a person being paid £40000 ish a week can come out and say "my head is not right to play" ? Thats the shocker for me, everyone can accept the temptation of mega money and reluctantly accept City may well have a better chance of success (only due to money though).

He should still have given his all every training session and every game, as I would happily do for free!

He was made to train away from the squad for a reason, Moyes may be stubborn and at times hard headed but he does not make knee jerk over reactions.

I don’t know why we needed to see this interview, if he had true respect for the club the keep your mouth shut, just like Gary Speed did.
Richard Jones
22   Posted 17/10/2009 at 12:14:39

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Come on Dick smell the coffee, we all know what happened with Lescott, the same as what happened with Johnson, Beatie and Rooney, all sold for financial house-keeping reasons.
Dennis Stevens
23   Posted 17/10/2009 at 12:47:18

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As has happened so often before, it suited the club to paint Lescott as the vilain of the piece as they seem to think Evertonians are too stupid to realise that the buying & selling of players is all part of the business of football. Unfortunately, many Evertonians seem intent on proving them right!
Phil Bellis
24   Posted 17/10/2009 at 13:00:14

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If you ever meet Tony Hibbert, ask HIM what he thinks of St Joleon
(although I think you’re right to be cynical about the Board being unwilling sellers

And Dick, I know your distance from Goodison colours your feelings about BK and the Kirkby slush fund but so does mine...I’m off to a vibrant, thriving city centre on a 5 minute bus ride for a couple of pints in some of the best boozers in the world, then, about 1430, a shared cab for £2 with total strangers to the match
I’ll enjoy it while I can
Kevin Sparke
25   Posted 17/10/2009 at 17:15:35

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Dick Fearon - I wasn’t launching a diatribe against Bill Kenwright; I was actually highlighting a canny bit of business by Moyes. If you find one anti Bill Kenwright statement in my response to Michael I’ll pay your air fare to the next home match...

But now you come to mention it - it’s quite obvious if you follow the money, or lack of it that we need to sell players to keep our heads above water; we need to sell players because we can no longer pay the going rate regarding wages to attract the best; we need to sell players because if we didn’t we’d be really broke; we need to sell players to balance the books - who’s fault is that?

I’ll make it easy for you by giving you a multiple choice

A, The toffee lady?
B, The ball boys?
C, Those who control the finances at Everton FC?

Hint - it’s not A or B
David S Shaw
26   Posted 17/10/2009 at 17:25:28

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Phil Bellis. So you think that Everton and the majority of Evertonians are ambitious do you? Do you think we genuinely all striving to be the best club in the world do you?? Hilarious.

Lescott has ambition. I genuinely believe that if Everton were ambitious he would have stayed. He’s not daft.
Dennis Stevens
27   Posted 17/10/2009 at 17:55:18

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Thanks, Phil, but I can’t say I’m arsed what Tony Hibbert thinks of Joleon Lescott & in the unlikely event I’m ever in conversation with him there are, tbh, other topics that would interest me more.

As far as I’m concerned it’s just the businessof football. I don’t think it was very well handled by the Moyes & the Board, but we got a decent deal in the end.

Phil Bellis
28   Posted 17/10/2009 at 18:01:24

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As the majority of Evertonians are over 30 and can remember when the club’s ambition matched its motto - yes, son, I do think most FANS are ambitious and, indeed, the manager and some players

The lack of ambition is at Board level and has been for 20 years or more - do not confuse the Everton Board with the Everton Family
You, as a fan, are symptomatic of this malaise
I firmly believe our day will come - otherwise, what’s the point - we’re betraying our heritage and limiting our future - that is, if you think we have one
Will Leaf
29   Posted 17/10/2009 at 18:09:34

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Nice one, Mr. Fearon...hope you had a punt on your predictions!
Keith Glazzard
30   Posted 17/10/2009 at 17:56:49

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Trying to avoid the txt-speak this time, I reckon -

1. Lescott is a good player, taken on by a good club who took a calculated risk about his season-long injury.

2. He rose to England player status with that club.

3. A massive amount of money was injected into a struggling PL club. The new owners told the manager to buy the Kakas of this world. They will have never heard of Joleon Lescott. In the end ManCity paid about £20m for Lescott — they offered about £80m for Kaka as I recall. He declined their offer. But Lescott didn’t.

4. Lescott, of course, did it for the silverware, not the money. This is recorded, and is simply a matter of fact.

5. Anyone who reads the Daily Mail, correction, pays to read the Daily Mail, deserves the world they get.

ps:- They describe Lescott as an England player. That is a matter of fact, but ex-England player might be closer to the mark for now.
Gerard May
31   Posted 17/10/2009 at 19:06:57

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In reality, who gives a fuck what he has to say? Let him have his little moan, so he can feel better about himself as he buys another solid gold yacht.

He was a good player for one season and then went to bollocks; good riddance, let's not waste any more column inches on a man who will eventually end up playing for Dagenham and Redbridge.
David S Shaw
32   Posted 17/10/2009 at 19:09:49

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Phil, so you agree that Everton's Board of Directors are unambitious? That is no doubt what Lescott saw and agreed with.

So the argument is now whether Evertonians are ambitious. All I hear is apathy and excuses from our fans.

Where is the fight to demand that Everton’s stadium, wherever it may be, shall one day be able to be greater in size than the ultimate capacity of Liverpool’s proposed stadium in Stanley Park, and bigger than Old Trafford?

Shouldn’t we all be striving for that? Shouldn’t we be saying to ourselves that if lose the battle for Kirkby then at least we’ll fight to do everything to challenge the board’s ambition over that dreadful and unambitious stadium they’ve offered us?

Shouldn’t we say to ourselves, even if we move to Kirkby we should still strive to be the best in the world and look to overcome the obstacles that Kirkby has that are making this ultimate goal harder?

Phil Bellis
33   Posted 17/10/2009 at 19:27:00

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Couldn’t agree more, David.

Mr John and Will Cuff must be turning in their graves at what recent Boards have brought us to. After the Arsenal debacle, it was the arl arses who were angriest, younger ones seemed to accept it — ’well, it WAS Arsenal’, ’we’re missing Arteta’ etc.

As I said at the time, 40 years ago there’d have been a riot and an angry mob in front of the Directors Box.

David S Shaw
34   Posted 17/10/2009 at 19:43:22

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Thanks Phil.

Lescott was made into an all too convenient scapegoat for Arsenal and our poor summer. A deflection of the real truth.
Chris Butler
35   Posted 17/10/2009 at 23:18:09

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Everyone in Gwaldys Street bring beachballs to the derby in November — that will get revege on the reds for the socks incident.

Also, while playing City, just try and get some paper to make an Argentina-type confetti display to signify Lescott's greed. But send this to everyone, just get as many beachballs in the Gwaldys or anywhere else for that matter, to wind up the reds.

ps: Distin was Man of the Match today. Against Joleon's former club, we showed what a real defender is like. Yobo should have done much better for the goal.

Dennis Stevens
36   Posted 18/10/2009 at 00:27:08

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I have to disagree with you, Chris. I’m sure Distin will be kicking himself for his part in letting Wolves score today.
Chad Schofield
37   Posted 18/10/2009 at 03:49:17

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Interesting article and responses about what I also see as a less than honest "sensational" interview.

Joleon seems to be taking lessons on how to win back the people from Jordan and as Michael wrote, it seems to be what he didn’t say which seems most interesting.

Now Dick’s probably not going to like the next bit as it’s purely speculative, but if in those private conversations, David Moyes had made it clear in no uncertain terms that he wanted to keep him no matter what, he could see the board would sell but that he’d fight them himself to keep him.

If Lescott agreed before going back (which, given all the crap at the time being spouted by Hughes, Citeh, and fed out from somewhere within Everton, Moyes may have deemed "head’s not right") on his word, then I can see the manager acting as he supposedly did.

Moyes’s focus has to be the squad and backroom staff working as a unit. He is clearly ambitious in his career (if not sadly at home to Wolves) but then so is the unit he’s assembled. To manage all of their expectations, he has to be seen to meet at least their level of ambition.

Lescott seems to be pleading that Moyes acted churlishly, but perhaps Moyes also wanted to test the board’s ambition (well further than providing him personally with last year’s bumper contract). Given that he did not seem to have any cash 'til the deal was done, maybe he was right, or perhaps he simply got too involved and could think of nothing else... Perhaps even 24/7.

Moyes had publicly made it clear that he makes the decisions in regards to who stayed and went after Hughes said that they’d talk to the people who’d ultimately make the decision.

But all of this feels like arguing about who did what in a divorce. Frankly it was more Citeh’s attitude more than anything else that I found offensive.
At the end of it, we got 20-odd million quid for a player who plays better out of his natural position and Citeh got Harvey and made for what they are. Cunts.

Ernie Baywood
38   Posted 19/10/2009 at 03:06:56

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I’ve no problem with Lescott — he had a great time with us and always put in.

But he’s basically said that he was going to move — it was just a matter of time before he upped the ante to get what he wanted. Again, no problem with that but, once he had decided to leave us, I’ve no interest in what Moyes did to him. Why should the club pay to train a player who will not represent the club again?

I criticise Moyes on many things but this all looks positive to me. Those that do not understand, don’t matter. And Lescott matters no more.
Steve Flaherty
39   Posted 20/10/2009 at 01:14:19

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I thought Lescott made a pretty valid point about "it working both ways in football". We sometimes forget how ruthless clubs can be (our own included) when they release young players or honest pros, yet they paint themselves as victims when the big money clubs come calling. I don’t bear a grudge against Joleon, I don’t necessarily wish him success either; he served us well during his time with us... he’s gone now. Let's move on.

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