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Everton not 'attractive' enough?

By Zaid Omar :  12/08/2009 :  Comments (17) :
I am from South Africa and have been an Everton supporter ever since I was a little kid. I have followed the fortunes of the club through thick and thin. Growing up in a South African environment where clubs like Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal have huge followings, I was often mocked as a kid for supporting such a ‘small’ club.

Even though we all know the proud traditions of the club and the huge history that goes with it, what is alarming is that this negative perception of Everton being a ‘small’ club seems to be catching on at an alarming rate, not withstanding the ‘relative success’ that Everton have enjoyed over the last couple of years. This is clearly demonstrated by Everton’s efforts in the transfer market over the last few years. Now, I do understand our restrictions in terms of money, but let us look at a few instances where Everton have failed to woo players to Goodison Park.

Kyle Naughton — Fees agreed between Sheffield United and Everton and eventually the player joins Spurs. I guarantee that if the tables were turned and Spurs had made the first bid and Everton had come in thereafter with an improved offer, the player would still have ended up with Spurs.

Albert Riera — Everton made a higher bid than Liverpool for the player and we all know where he ended up.

Mohammed Sissoko — On the verge of joining Everton only to be beaten to the line by Liverpool again.

Others who have turned down potential moves to Everton include Wagner Love, Michael Owen, Jao Moutinho and Stephen M'Bia to mention a few. Now you might argue that Everton didn’t have bids accepted for some of the players that I have mentioned. However, if the players that I have mentioned (and others) had a real desire to join the club, they would have made themselves heard and eventually a deal would have been struck. (You can add Rasmus Elm to that list, as even though he has been to visit Everton and has been impressed with the set up, we don’t have a chance of getting him as some of the ‘bigger’ clubs are after him as well.)

You might also argue about the merits or not of signing the players that I have mentioned, but that is not the point of my argument. What I am trying to say is that it is becoming increasingly evident that Everton only sign players when they are the only club in the running for these players. Let there be a hint of interest from any of the Big 4 (or even more alarmingly in recent times, any of the Top 10), Everton are brushed aside and inevitably lose out on the player. David Moyes going out and making public comments like “We don’t have money" or that "We don’t have money to pay the wages of ‘quality’ players and that we are looking for players on the ‘cheap’" — even though evidently true — only add to the negative perception of the club being ‘small’.

Now in past times, our history and the traditions of the club would have stood for something, but unfortunately in today’s times the riches of the Middle East have created an environment where history and traditions are confined to the history books. Now, one problem is attracting players, but a far greater problem that Everton will face very shortly is retaining some of the talent that has grown within the team over the last couple of years.

Being a South African, I am thrilled to see how well Steven Pienaar is fitting into the set-up. And I really hope that this is the season in which he really makes his mark. But what happens then? City, or another club with riches, will come in putting overwhelming pressure on him by offering to double or treble his wages and I can guarantee you that he will be gone. This would equally apply to the likes of Cahill, Arteta and Jagielka.

On this point, I don’t think that we should be too harsh on Joleon Lescott if he does end up leaving the club for the following reasons:

1) His wages will be doubled; No-one in the current Everton squad would have turned down the chance to double their wages!! The only reason no-one has left is because there is NO such offer for any of our other players from City.

2) Even though we have a top manager and great team spirit, the fact that we haven’t significantly enhanced our squad this summer, means that it is highly unlikely that Everton would have any chance of breaking into the Top 4 this season. Undoubtedly City have a better chance than us of cracking the Top 4 and bringing Champions League football to the club, which will be another point Lescott would have considered in making his decision.

3) Oh, and did I say, his wages will be doubled!!!

I sincerely hope that I am proved wrong and that we do end up with some decent (decent does not include Philippe Senderos and Gary O'Neil) signings before the transfer deadline closes. Otherwise it is more than likely that this season is the season where the bubble well and truly bursts for Everton Football Club.

Reader Comments

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Rupert Sullivan
1   Posted 12/08/2009 at 16:13:55

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Zaid - a great article. I too am bemused that players would rather warm the bench at other clubs than play regular first team football for Everton - and I would put Kyle Naughton in that bracket.

I suspect however, that the answer comes down to one thing - wages. The agents are clearly thinking about their cut, and so are likely to try to convince the player to go for the higher wages.

Personally, I don’t really understand that, I would have thought that most players at a young age would rather try to make a name for themselves first....

Anyway, the impression I have is that EFC do not go in for high wages or signing on fees; (I have nothing other than my gut to support this mind you) so are not being pushed by the agents. Maybe this is why that wide boy Redknapp is so fortunate with trahsfers...

So basically, until money is taken out of the game (quick chuckle) or EFC are supported by a billionaire who has nothing better to do with his money than throw it at football players the situation will continue.
Brian Baker
2   Posted 12/08/2009 at 16:31:15

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I will be interested to see the finances of Spurs, after a couple of years with Honest ’Arry at the helm, coupled with a nil success rate. His previous three clubs are suffering or have suffered, from his over spending, and paying players wages with bank loans, rather than from the clubs true income.

Everton are one of the few clubs who have tried to live within their means and have suffered short term as a consequence.

Arsenal are also starting to feel the effects of strict wage control and steering clear of silly transfer fees.

Clubs who continue to spend beyond their means, will eventually have to pay the consequneces.

Watch this space.
Dennis Stevens
3   Posted 12/08/2009 at 16:48:25

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If Everton have been trying to live within their means, I think they’ve failed.
Brian Baker
4   Posted 12/08/2009 at 17:00:18

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Dennis Stevens. I did say that Everton were TRYING to live within their means. I think they made a small loss last year, but they weren’t far off breaking even. But at least they are trying.
Phil Martin
5   Posted 12/08/2009 at 17:27:23

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We are already punching way above our weight. Without adequate finance we won't move forward OR even maintain our current position as "Best of the Rest". I really worry when people say "When the Bubble burts" etc... - that isn't a viable strategy for a business or a Football Club.

We need investment. Hopefully a final setback for DK will encourage some of the board to move on and maybe we will become more ’attractive’ to invest in.

ps: I see the Brummies are the latest to be subject to a takeover. A club that needs a new stadium, lives in the shadow of a bigger rival. Needs money to strengthen their squad... Sound familiar?

Ray Robinson
6   Posted 12/08/2009 at 17:29:53

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Brian, I think Dennis was referring to the cumulative situation over many seasons - i.e. the reason that we can’t invest now being that we’re repaying so much in interest on previous debts
John Carter
7   Posted 12/08/2009 at 17:32:32

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It’s well written and you make your points well. However whilst I agree that when it comes to wages Everton are not attractive at the top end of the market I have to disagree about many of your points, because they do not tally with what we know,

All reports suggest Kyle Naughton was only interested in joining Everton, and we couldn’t buy him because Spurs had a higher bid accepted and we wouldn’t matyc it.

Comparing us to any "big 4" club is just spurious in the extreme as even without the disparity in wages any ambitious player is likely to choose a champion’s league club over another club.

Also your list of players who turned us down is mostly made up of players we weren’t in the process of trying to buy and you shoot your own argument down by using M’Bia who , when we WERE trying to buy him , last seasn made any number of embarassing attempts to get his club to let him join us. this season his laughable CHOICE to join Marseile when we hadn’t tried to buy him made for more comedy than pain for Everton.

Yes we are unnatractive in many ways, but moaning about it all over the net doesn’t make us more attractive does it?

We have no money in modern premier league terms, we know this and should just get on with it untill we do get some money.
Ray Robinson
8   Posted 12/08/2009 at 17:32:03

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Zaid, congratulations on your choice of club! Your knowledge should put to rest the argument that you have to be born on Merseyside to be passionate about the club.

I agree with your point on Lescott. I will only boo him if it becomes clear that he sulks and puts less than a 100% effort in. However, he is a professional and I don’t believe that that will be the case. I think his considering leaving is as much down to the lack of ambition of the club as for financial gain - although if it was just for the latter reason, I couldn’t really blame him there either. He doesn’t share my love of EFC, he’s a paid employee.

The second point is that I’m actually starting to think that the Spanish Waiter was half right when he accused us of being a small club. Now the manner in which he said it was deliberately provocative and worthy of the response it got from our fans, but tradition and history aside, we’re not a huge club anymore. Two things highlighted that to me this week (apart from the lack of transfer activity). Firstly our red neighbours get 44,000 for friendly whereas we get 21,000 despite virtually giving tickets away. Secondly, we are still desperately trying to sell out the opening match against Arsenal for God’s sake!

Now it can’t be for the lack of passion from our truly wonderful supporters. After all, 26,500 season ticket sales in a recession is a wonderful achievement and our away following is second to none. It’s not that we’re not passionate, it’s just, seemingly, that there’s fewer of us. Maybe we’re not as big as we think we are?

But don’t let that put you off Zaid. It’s till a great team to support!
Kunal Desai
9   Posted 12/08/2009 at 17:58:03

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Spot on mate. Your title says it all. There are those who think we should still be able to attract quality players to Everton because of our history and the success we had in the 80’s etc etc.... blah blah. Times have changed, history and tradition doesn’t count for anything in modern day football. It ’s now all about the wedge on offer to a player and the transfer fees involved.

We have an outdated stadium, a chairman who is a ’fan’ and not a businessmen. Football is big business,it’s entertainment but Everton seem to still be operating as though their still operating in the 80’s.

It says it all ready when an unknown Championship player chooses to go elsewhere, we are no one!!

Watch each season go by as more and more ’average’ teams finish us on and off the field! Reality hurts.

Andy Crooks
10   Posted 12/08/2009 at 19:22:44

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Zaid, there is actually some comfort to be found in the players who did not sign for Everton. Sissoko, Riera, Forsell, Alan Smith, Nicky Butt... Quite a few of them are shit.
John Carter
11   Posted 12/08/2009 at 22:10:14

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Kunal Desai

"It says it all ready when an unknown championship player chooses to go elsewhere"

Who was this player?
Rob Hollis
12   Posted 12/08/2009 at 23:47:21

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Why do people talk about Everton requiring investment? It is clear from Chelsea and we will also see City that the kind of money people are talking about is not investment, it is a gift. Abramovich converted a lot of his loans to shares as will the owners of City. They will never be repaid!

The Premier League is a world league of world players for world TV consumption which has attracted world billionaires who want to feed their world-size ego. The game is no longer English. When it was, we were fortunate enough to have a wealthy backer who could loan us money.

These days loans will not suffice. It is not impossible for Everton to win something with sound youth development and good transfer dealings, who knows where a great team can spring from? But it is far from easy when some Premier League clubs can just buy anything they want.

Our game is lost to Murdoch and all Sky subscribers are complicit. Ditch the dish if you want to retrieve English football. By the way, I wonder if City will be allowing Amnesty International free sponsorship of the shirts now?

Kristian Boyce
13   Posted 13/08/2009 at 07:28:24

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Rob Hollis- you mention that we don’t need investment, but an oil rich Russian or Arab to ’gift us’ huge amounts of money. I have to disagree with this one with you. The last couple of years we have been 2-3 quality players short of breaking the fabled ’big4’. 30-40 million would of brought those players in. Chelsea, whilst they were title challengers before hand, went on stupid spending spree’s and paid far too much for players eg. 21mil+ for SWP and 30mil+ for Shevchenko, who never play for them, just because they could spend the money. City have pretty much bought or are in the process of buying a new team. Like Chelsea, before hand they are paying above and beyond a players true value- 17mil for Santa Cruz, and if he goes 20+mil for Lescott.

If we had investment at the start of last summer and had brought in players early and bedded them in ready for the start of the season. We probably could of pipped Arsenal for that 4th place, which would of taken us to the fairytale land that is the Champions League, that flows with milk & honey (supposedly).
Rob Hollis
14   Posted 13/08/2009 at 09:32:06

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I agree with you but the article (and many posts on Toffeeweb) refer to the riches of the East, Wealthy Arab investors etc.

We need some cash, we don’t need that much in my opinion to get into the top four. When we get some money I hope it is clean and not gathered from a nation with a poor justice system and sickening treatment of women.

There are limits to who you should take money from and the EPL has none.
Brian Baker
15   Posted 12/08/2009 at 17:00:18

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Dennis Stevens. I did say that Everton were TRYING live within their means. I think they made a small loss last year, but they weren’t far off breaking even. But at least they are trying.

Neil Vaughan
16   Posted 13/08/2009 at 10:26:35

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Kunai Desai....the main culprit for thinking this way being our very own Chairman....

Would just love to see that list of transfer targets that made him go "..WOW.." all saw and heard him...Well where the fuck are they ??...lies, lies and more fucking lies...

Elstone is just another yes man..."...we know we need to strengthen....we have a decent transfer fund....we’ll do our transfer busineess sooner rather than later...etc"....lies, lies and more lies

Now the manager is telling us we dont have enough players and we are not ready for the start of the season....well fuck me isnt it his job to ensure we DO have enough players and that we ARE ready for the season.

To fail to capitalise (both on and off the pitch) on our improvement once (2005) could be explained as do it twice (2008) is stupidity but to do it three times is down right NEGLECT..!!

I just find it totally ironic that the manager refused to sign a new contract until he got the wages HE felt he deserved (£60k p/wk) but refuses to pay that to any player...’..Dont worry Bill pay me what I want and I’ll stick by long as I say you’re great you’ll be safe...most of em trust me’

Best of the rest is fuck all to me because it doesnt mean anything. We’ve finished four of the last five seasons in the top seven and the last THREE seasons in the top six but we appear to be in a bigger financial mess now then when we were down the bottom....we cant even sign an Arsenal reserve without it taking six months,

Why is it that Everton are always ’interested in’ or ’monitoring’ players but never actually siging any...must have mislaid the ’..WOW...’ list eh

I notice that since the cup final our ’passionate fan’ of a Chairman has vanished into thin air....well where are you Bill...stand up and be counted !!
Dan Slater
17   Posted 13/08/2009 at 12:44:44

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I’m not so concerned with whether we're attractive to players; after all, that can be turned around in short time if the money ever arrives (look at Man City). And besides, as long as Moyes stays, we are relatively attractive: by all accounts, Naughton wanted to come to Goodison and was pressganged onto the good ship BrownPaperBag by the ‘advice’ (read ‘avarice’) of agent and Sheffield United, both of whom would make more money from a deal with Spurs.

And in the matter of Lescott, I don’t think his agent has yet got the ‘credit’ he deserves for turning the player’s head: remember Stretford and that lad called ‘Rooney’? As for Elm, he was never going to come. He’s clearly looking for a stage big enough for his ego to unfold on and Everton don’t do egos. A shame really, as the boy seems to have all the technical bits and pieces to do an Alex Young, but if he can’t see it, no one can tell him.

Put it this way: if you think we’re unattractive now, you ain’t seen nothing yet. What concerns me more is why we’re so unattractive to investors. If Blue Bill is to be believed, he’s been out there touting for investment for years now, with practically no success. Aside from the Planet Hollywood man whose name momentarily escapes me, nada, unless you count Fortress Sports Fund as a success.

Yet even the likes of Notts County can by all accounts attract major investment in this day and age; doubly disturbing because, like us, Notts County have an better-off evil red twin who gets all the media exposure, so it’s not even a ‘Newcastle’ situation of ‘no competition’.

Which kinda makes me wonder what Blue Bill’s criteria are when he talks about ‘the right kind of investor’. Is it an investor who’s good for the club’s interests, or one who’s good for Bill’s own?

It must be clear even to a financial half-wit that, given what he’s achieved to date, if Moyes is supported in the transfer market he is likely to be able to secure an adequate return on investment, especially since this would close the virtuous circle of making us more attractive still, to better players, and thus to the Sky-led media, which in turn would feed the overseas fan base. At least, it’s worth a punt; I’ve had a few riskier investments myself.

So what is it about us that investors find so unpalatable if it’s not the terms that BK is seeking to impose? Worse, there doesn’t seem to be any way to fix it. Moving to Kirkby for a miniscule additional yield looks increasingly unlikely to help and, as I’ve noted, even Moyes’s relative success hasn’t brought him any real funds.

The problem is that, if Moyes is expected to run a lonely marathon in the ‘dementia’ vest every summer without any prospect of relief, he’s going to eventually decide — despite himself, as I believe he’d rather stay and achieve what he set out to achieve — it simply isn’t worth it, and move on. And without his stabilising influence and his reputation for making silk purses out of sow's appendages, where will we be? If BK can’t capitalise on the relative success Moyes has managed without money, where will we be without Moyes, or the success?

So what is it, Bill? You’ve got the team, the fans, the situation, the history. Why can’t we give Moyes even the basic tools he needs? I think we should be told.

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