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Stop the bitterness!

By Tom Quinn :  12/08/2009 :  Comments (27) :
I am disturbed by what I am reading and hearing right now.

I have never in my recollection heard Everton supporters talking so greedily about selling players for big money and now there is an epidemic of it. On the one hand, fans complain we have “bought no-one!” and on the other they want millions upfront for Pienaar, Saha, Vaughan, Lescott… why not Timmy? Arteta? Howard? Why are we suddenly up for sale?

But there is worse than this.

Manchester City have been using their newfound wealth to unsettle the teams likeliest to do best around them in the Premier League. They have taken players from Villa and Arsenal among others and are now trying to prise Lescott away from us.

I understand City would want to buy Lescott. He is a good player and they have the money. They have so much money they could put him sitting on ice for a season if they wanted. Sure he would not play for them but he would not play for Everton either. The ultimate objective of City is to weaken and undermine Everton, one way or another.

I can understand Lescott wanting to play with City. He would earn more money, lots more (in career which could in theory end in injury at any time). He would play with Tevez, Barry, Ronaldhino (excuse spelling), Toure, Adebayor, and other stars in a team aiming for the top.

Lescott has asked to leave, and yes, the timing could have been better. But he is under contract to us. Contracts protect teams. They allow them to plan over a season and they stop richer clubs stealing players to gain an unfair advantage. Contracts are good for the game. We should respect them.

This is not a new situation. There are recent precedents. Last season, Villa insisted on keeping wantaway Barry and who wouldn’t? United insisted on keeping wantaway Ronaldo and who wouldn’t? Ok, you can’t keep someone who wants to leave forever, but we can also keep Lescott, and who wouldn’t?

So let’s be dispassionate about this. We must protect our team and our aspirations by holding Lescott to his contract. We need Lescott. We keep Lescott. End of story. There is no need to beat chests, tear out hair, no need for argument or apology. Let’s keep Lescott and get on with our season.

But there is a lot more to this right now. And it needs to be addressed. The pre-season was uneventful but we seemed in better shape to face into this season than we were 12 months ago. All that has been undone by City’s persistent, insidious and nasty pursuit of Lescott.

City have unsettled and undermined us. They have sown disarray at the heart of Everton. Whether or not they get Lescott, they have divided us, player and manager now have a contentious relationship, and the fans are angry. And it is getting out of hand.

I have seen pictures of Lescott with the caption “Judas”. I have heard insults directed at one of our best players that a Liverpool supporter on derby day would be proud of. I have heard there is a campaign to “boo” Lescott at our opening game on Saturday. Who does this serve? Whose interests? City have triumphed! They, and our neighbours, will be rubbing their hands with delight! We have to come back from the brink, Blues!

First of all, we have to despise City and what they represent, and we must understand what they are trying to do to us. We must not let them. We keep Lescott. We appreciate his wonderful qualities and we remind him that we want him and that Goodison will remain a good home to him.

Together with Jags, Lescott provides the best central partnership we have had at Everton in many long seasons. Together, they could potentially be the best partnership in the Premier League and the bedrock of ultimate success for Everton. This is not just about our ambitions, it is about our future.

The supporters at the Malaga game got it right. Players need affirmation from fans. Lescott needs respect, appreciation, even love… If he is reviled, and no-one has any business reviling him, he will hate playing for us, and probably hate us too.

Now is the time to get behind Moyes, Lescott, and the team… What we need Saturday is a win, and a statement that Everton who finished 5th two seasons in a row are ready to step up a level. The rest of the Premier League beware! That should be our only response to City’s offers. We are not going to be a club in disarray for anyone...

If Lescott is sold, it will be a financial decision made by a Board desperate to cash in. The beating of chests, tearing of hair, the argument and acrimony can begin then — but directed where it belongs, at a Board who will have sold out our ambitions. Keep it 'til then.

Until then, let’s gather our disarray into a passionate focus on doing well in our matches. As fans, we are not in the business of hurting or insulting or selling our players. Let's stop the bitterness. Let’s support Everton. Let’s support Joleon Lescott.

Reader Comments

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Rupert Sullivan
1   Posted 12/08/2009 at 16:24:45

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Tom - the shame of it is is that you are right. I personally hold no grudge against Lescott, by not making it plain he wanted to stay he made it plain he wanted to leave. For the lure of the filthy lucre, why not? He could have handled it better, but he probably handled it in the way that was best for him.

Sadly however, if he plays he probably will hear the vitriol and bile, and yes it undoubtedly will affect his attitude if not his performance - however I think your chances of convincing the Goodison faithful to cheer instead of boo are slim in the extreme.

Maybe the fans should go for an ironic cheer instead?
Karl Jones
2   Posted 12/08/2009 at 16:27:27

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Tom, Everton have to sell Lescott ASAP in order to replace him... especially considering the pace we move at when signing players.

It's all very well rejecting his transfer request, but what next when he does a "Craig Bellamy" and refuses to play? You can bet your life City and the agents are plotting the next move to cause more disruption. The trouble is the FA are quite happy penalising small clubs but do FA when it comes to the big money clubs/top four.

How could any of us ever support this player again?... Get rid now!

Howard Don
3   Posted 12/08/2009 at 16:35:13

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Couldn’t agree more Tom. There is probably not a player in the Club or indeed the whole PL who wouldn’t have his head turned by City offering him double wages, that’s life. Whichever way he’d played it Lescott would have got criticism.

There is absolutely no point in giving Lescott "stick" on Saturday if he’s still here and plays, show a bit of class and don’t boo, barrack or whatever. If what you want is Everton to beat Arsenal, then it would be totally counter-productive both for Lescott and the Team as a whole to create a sour atmosphere. If he’s in a blue shirt for the next game, the next season or whatever, he’s playing for Everton.

Surely the class thing to do would be to ignore the situation otherwise the City mischief makers will be laughing their socks off, having unsettled one of their rivals for a top six finish.
Ciarán McGlone
4   Posted 12/08/2009 at 16:44:54

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’Lescott needs respect, appreciation, even love’

Talking about despising City (a very dangerous word) and loving Lescott in the same article?

I understand the sentiment about not booing - as I’d never do that anyway — but if this is supposed to be a call to arms to achieve this end — then I’d suggest it’s aimed at the wrong people.

Unfortunately it’s inevitable!
Paul Gladwell
5   Posted 12/08/2009 at 16:46:39

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Tom, last Friday we gave Lescott support he would not have got anywhere else when everyone in the country was expecting us to slaughter him and what thanks did we get? he pissed off with the gang of arrogant fuckers leaving a letter for us.
Get rid,he is not that good and as I have said before we need money more than Lescott, if his departure means we get a good replacement and a some flair in midfield then I will be more than happy.
Good reliable central defenders are not hard to come by if you are willing to spend £8M on one.
Its only my opinion but is not as good as Weir and Gough to name but two .
Dennis Stevens
6   Posted 12/08/2009 at 16:57:16

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Yeah! Oh, & Tony Hibbert, too!
Robert Davis
7   Posted 12/08/2009 at 17:03:54

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Good article.I would like to ask those angry at Lescott ,where did he come from? We got him because we offered him things wolves could’nt.
Robert Davis
8   Posted 12/08/2009 at 17:07:09

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Paul Gladwell. Yes, we’re great — not like other supporters who would moan at Hibbo and Ossie.
Matthew Tait
9   Posted 12/08/2009 at 16:55:50

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In general, wise words Tom.

It’s very childish and totally counter-productive for the fans to boo any of their own players, but particularly a very good player that is unsettled. I don’t believe that a single one of those booing fans would turn down a 150% pay rise to move to Manchester - Lescott isn’t an Everton fan and shouldn’t be expected to behave like one.

One point that I would challenge though - there’s no reason why selling Lescott is a defeat for the club, a loss of ambition or an act of desperation.

If we force City to pay over the odds and bring in good replacements, there’s no reason we can’t benefit as a club. Lescott is a good player, but he is not in my humble opinion integral to the team and he is certainly not irreplacable. Jags and Yobo is a very comparable quality combination, for one thing, and Rodwell will likely develop into a fine CB.

In any case, I think a stony silence is the appropriate response to Lescott on Saturday - give him the silent treatment and show him how he’s hurt our feelings ;o)
Paul Gladwell
10   Posted 12/08/2009 at 17:10:31

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I agree Robert, but there is a big difference to having a go at a player (like every football fan in the land does) to having their named booed when announced and booed throughout the game which many supporters from other clubs would have done to him last Friday and we never, this Saturday if he plays may well be different.

Osman and Hibbert get stick, but no worse than many other players have done in the past and certainly not as bad as our captain the season before last.

Gavin Cahill
11   Posted 12/08/2009 at 17:14:09

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Divide and Conquer.

If the Club decide to sell Lescott without the approval of Moyes then Moyes will walk. We will be rightly knackered if that happens.

Contracts mean nothing. Players hold the cards and if they want out, they get out.

I am not worried about a lack of signings. Buying players who will improve us and tow the Moyes line will be difficult. How many players can we pick up for 6 or 7 million with the commitment and attitude of Tony Hibbert and the technical ability of Arteta? Not too many. We have good players at the club, they will come through for us. As for booing Lescott, each to their own. Lets see how many boos he gets if he sticks the ball in the net on Saturday.

On a final note, the World Cup is less than a year away. If he wants to be there, he will play well for his club. In a perverse kind of way, all this could actually work in our favour.
Alan Postlethwaite
12   Posted 12/08/2009 at 17:16:19

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Matt - spot on. Don’t boo him, just give him the silent treatment. Would I move for a 100% + pay rise - damn right I would. Lets face facts we need the money. Just don’t sell him until we have a suitable replacement. We can then use the remaining monies to strengthen the team.
Utd could afford to hang on to Ronaldo as they didn’t need the money. Villa could & should have sold Barry & used the money to strengthen their team.
Dave Lynch
13   Posted 12/08/2009 at 18:20:54

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I may be wrong here.
But when did Ronhaldino sign for City ?
Chris Jones
14   Posted 12/08/2009 at 18:37:12

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Tom sagely points to a fact spotted by a few people on this site. Citeh have so much money that not only can they go after whomsoever they fancy, but they can also deliberately set out to acquire players from clubs they perceive as a threat to them, unsettling those clubs in the process. This is only one step away from literally buying success. It is an appalling and frightening state of affairs.

Why stop at buying players? Why not offer clubs money to give them an easy ride in matches? Don Revie, for example, once offered Bob Stokoe, then player manager at Bury, £400 to "go easy" on Leeds in an FA Cup tie.

Sad days for the sport of fotball.
Ajay Gopal
15   Posted 12/08/2009 at 18:45:05

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Nice one, Tom Quinn. My thoughts exactly (that I wrote about on another thread). As long as Lescott (or any other player) wears the Royal Blue jersey, he should get the full support of the fans. As soon as he changes colours, I don’t mind our fans giving him all the stick he deserves (a la Rooney) ! I think the Toffee fans were wonderful last week, let us see how it turns out this Saturday. A win over Arsenal would potentially calm a lot of nerves !
Steve Edwards
16   Posted 12/08/2009 at 18:53:58

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Tom Quinn you wrote - First of all we have to despise what City represent.

Eh, isn’t that what we want for our club? Loads of money so we can do the same and buy all the best players from other clubs. You’ve got to laugh at the tripe some people spout, eh but its different when its Everton. Actually Everton are doing the same to smaller clubs with less money that us. We tried to do it to Sheffield Utd a few weeks ago for instance. Double standards in operation here and also with many other Evertonians. Its about time people saw this game for what its become, dog eat dog and we are just one of the dogs about to be eaten by a bigger more richer one.
Gerry Western
17   Posted 12/08/2009 at 19:17:13

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I fully agree, emotions are running high but in the cold light of day the fans will need to respect the decision of the manager. I trust Moyes implicitly on this. I’ve no doubt he’ll do whats best for EFC. If an opportunity presents I’ve no doubt he’ll bring in a a suitable replacement equally if he believes that it’s not possible he’ll stick to his guns and the fans need to get behind him as you can be sure the media pundits will be queuing up to criticize him. It will be pretty much open season on Moyes. The last thing he needs is for his own fans to show dissent as this will become yet another stick with which the beat up a manager who deserves our support.

The issue is no longer about Lescott but our managers judgment and credibility if either is undermined by the actions of the fans the team as a whole will ultimately suffer. So lets put this nonsense of boos and jeers to bed and get behind the manager who in my opinion has gone up in leaps and bounds with his handling of this situation. I’ve been critical of aspects of his management in the past but his handling of this entire episode has won me over. If the fans feel the need to get vocal then lets send a message to City and their cronies in the media and the best possible way for the fans to do this is voice their support for a manager who’s behaved impeccably. So lets not waste our efforts and energies on boos and jeers, lets make it cheers for a manager who deserves everyone’s support.
Andy Crooks
18   Posted 12/08/2009 at 19:18:55

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Tom, "the ultimate objective of City is to weaken and undermine Everton". Frankly, to Man City, Everton, by the end of this season, will be totally irrelevant.
Steve Edwards
19   Posted 12/08/2009 at 19:12:24

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On another note all this taking our players because they see us as a big threat. Yeh, we over achieved and managed to somehow finish fifth again. By the way, everybody in football believed we over achieved not just me. I doubt if City see us as such a big threat, I’m sure their eyes are firmly set a lot higher than fifth place, which is the best we can hope for once again.
Bill Reilly
20   Posted 12/08/2009 at 19:36:08

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Interesting to note that some people here are saying that you can’t blame Lescott for wanting to double his wages etc ... surely that’s the point ... here. Man City have had EVERY bid rejected and Lescott should have no clue as to what he is likely to be offered by them. Now obviously we all realise that he’s been given all kinds of info behind the scenes and through the Manchester controlled press, but it would be nice if the FA asked him what prompted his transfer request.

I think you’re missing the point, if we had their money I would not want Everton to behave in the way City are. I firmly believe that at the moment we do not, we make a bid and wait to see if it’s accepted.

Other people are right in saying we shouldn’t boo Lescott on Saturday. We all know the great support the fans give when the team is announced, so I would suggest pure silence for Joleon’s name would deliver the message.
Dave Wilson
21   Posted 12/08/2009 at 19:41:21

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You write a good article Tom - although I think you meant Robinho as opposed to Ronaldinho. There’ll be about 35,000 People at GP on Saturday, an awful lot of them will be angry at Lescot, if just 1 in 35 decide to direct abuse at Lescot they’ll make a fair amount of noise, If your really hoping that in every 35 people at GP, there will not be a single idiot you have more faith than me. Sorry but I believe Lescot will be taking dogs abuse on Saturday, God help him if he makes a costly error
Jay Harris
22   Posted 12/08/2009 at 23:24:31

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Tom, very good post. I wrote something similar but not nearly as eloquent or verbose which obviously wasnt posted.

I believe we should try some scouse wit on Saturday to emphasise City’s POOR history and Everton’s superiority.

Let the players who want to stay and play see what a great set of supporters and genuine support can mean and ridicule the crazy money that’s ruining the game.

I have no ideas for lyrics but I’m sure some posters with real talent for this sort of thing could invent something like "Joleon, show us your wallet" and "City, City, this is the way to Europe".

If nothing else it would give the other lads a good laugh and it would turn GP back into the empire of scouse ingenuity rather than a "BOO Boy's Paradise".
David Clark
23   Posted 12/08/2009 at 23:58:27

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Tom, good post.

COYB. Let’s cheer the Toffees on one and all on Saturday and bollocks to the dissenters.
Rob Heib
24   Posted 12/08/2009 at 18:11:21

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I was very proud of Evertonians giving Lescott some warm support this past week. Forget sentimentality; it's the right thing to do from a pure business standpoint. Why embolden his desire to move by casting him out? However, Villa fans didn't take this direction last year and many other fans haven't in similar situations. So "yay for us."

Now Lescott has put in his request. How much does this change your outlook? If you're going to the game, do you boo him, or do you cheer him in an attempt to show him that this is a great club?

I get the impression the transfer request has (rightfully) pissed a lot of people off and he may get booed against Arsenal. I'm not sure what that will accomplish although the mind of crowd is rarely logical.

So what say you? IF you're a booer — is your attitude that his mind is made up so fuck him? Here is my attitude: to a certain degree, I say fuck him as well. But I'd still cheer him (even though I might want to boo him).

Because, if we boo him then in his mind it just makes him right. We've turned on him so why should he be loyal to us when we aren't loyal to him? (Granted he turned on us first — I'm just saying what would likely happen in his mind... not that it would be right.)

If we cheer him, then even, if he leaves at some point, a few years from now when City fans are booing him because he's in a poor run of form, maybe he'll think back to how we treated him.

Ultimately, booing means fuck all. What good does booing him do? It's lose/lose. Cheering him probably won't matter either, but at least we'll look good (to the media and to other fans and to the remaining Everton players). Ultimately, cheering him makes Lescott look like an even bigger cunt than booing him would.

I can imagine the commentator saying, "Even after all he's put them through, even after wanting away, even after putting in a transfer request — after all of that, the Everton crowd is still chanting Lescott's name. And yet he still wants to leave? What a cunt!"

... maybe not in those precise terms but you catch my drift. If you want to hurt Lescott ... cheer him. If you want to convince him to stay ... cheer him. Choice is clear for me but what do you all think? Maybe I'm the cunt.

Ciarán McGlone
25   Posted 13/08/2009 at 08:21:40

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Oh my god, did you people not learn your lesson when you singled him out for special treatment last week?

Are you that fond of unrequited love that you want to make yourselves look silly again? BY singling him out for special treatment - yet again!

Why don’t you send him a dozen red roses as well.

Chant his name? never heard the like of it. By all means don’t boo the lad...but my god, have a bit of dignity!
Matthew Tait
26   Posted 13/08/2009 at 09:23:05

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Tommy -

I see what you’re saying, and in many ways I agree. £2m quid a year is phenominally good money which should satisfy anyone. Certainly I’m sure when Lescott signed that long term contract he was very satisfied.

However, put yourself in his shoes. A super-rich, ambitious club that has just signed a lot of good players is offering to pay you an extra £3m per year. You’re not a lifelong fan of the club you’re at, and you’ve only been there a few years. You’re a footballer who could get injured or dropped at any moment, who has a history of dodgy knees.

Are you seriously suggseting you wouldn’t try to move clubs. Why on earth not?? To please a few fans who will boo you the moment you slip up? To show ’loyalty’ to a club that will certainly sell you the minute they get an attractive enough offer? Come on...

For me, I can’t possibly blame Lescott for trying to leave, and hold no ill-will against him (though the timing isn’t good). The big demonstration of his character will be how he reacts if the club follows through on its statements of not selling him. Will he sulk, lose concentration and motivation? Or will he knuckle down, accept a few boos, mend some strained relationships, and do his best for the club paying his wages? That is when we’ll see who Joleon Lescott really is.
Matthew Mackey
27   Posted 13/08/2009 at 10:15:31

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The most important thing on Saturday is getting off to a good start and getting 3pts off the Gunners.

Any anger or resentment towards Lescott should be saved until a move to the Trash with Cash actually happens if at all.

If JLo pops up at the far post in the 87th minute to nod home the winner will anyone who is angry with him boo then? (I think you know what the answer is)

I for one am personally sick and tired of this soap opera now. It has overtaken everything else in this pre-season and has probably had more of an impact behind the scenes than any of of really know. I want Lescott to stay. he’s worth more to us than he is to them, but I am emotionally exhausted now and so am starting to think "what the hell".

Still, that 87th minute winner would be interesting wouldn’t it!

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