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From a Distance the Earth is Blue

by   |   02/08/2014  Comments (9)  jump

As an impressionable 15-year-old lad in 1962, I watched my first game at Goodison Park. Converted soul. Since then, my love affair with Everton FC has continued unabated. Long gone are Dunlop, Harris, Young and the unsung hero, Roy Vernon (Welsh and a 60-a-day smoker), but now to the present day.

Roberto Martinez has a vision and from a distance it becomes clear: The team from last season has been re-assembled almost to the letter. Barkley confirmed; Stones a regular; Barry re-signed; Lukaku a full-blooded regular; Atsu a possible replacement for the erratic Deulofeu. In essence, the team that finished 5th (just) but Roberto has added the steel of Besic to counteract the tired last half-dozen games from last season's finish.

So, from a distance the ageing Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Osman, Pienaar axis are being replaced by the wily Catalan's vision – hence the prospective purchase/actual acquisition of Atsu, Galloway and Henen to fill in the gaps as the old soldiers gradually disappear.

Add in the promotion of Garbutt, Browning, Ledson and Lundstram to the Senior ranks over the next couple of years and we have an Everton side that is young and experienced and the fiscal cost is limited to wages.

I am a Catalan through my father (born in Barcelona) and I see clearly Roberto's vision. Visca Everton y los Boixes Noys... Nos Vamos sin miedo con confianca. NSOP.

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Reader Comments (9)

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Danny Kewley
1 Posted 03/08/2014 at 09:59:19
That’s easy for you to say Francis! Nicely put mate, the difference between the outlook at Everton now and the lack of vision just over a year ago are miles apart.
John Hazlewood
2 Posted 03/08/2014 at 10:03:04
Francis, I hope you are right about Roberto and his vision. Glad you got to see a game at Goodison in 1962!

What does your last line of the article in Spanish translate as?

David Hallwood
3 Posted 03/08/2014 at 12:31:02
Good article Francis and I love your optimism, but Oh for a young Scholes, or a 25yo Arteta or Lampard, thatÂ’s the type of player that will kick us on.
Wayne Smyth
4 Posted 03/08/2014 at 13:21:13
Roberto is very wily in terms of getting players in on loan, selling the club and his vision to them, then reuniting the best ones the following season as permanent transfers.

We may not spend like the RS, Spurs etc, but we have stability, with only a couple of new permanent first team faces in each season. Slowly we seem to be adding real quality to our reserves too.

I think Phil Walling posted in another article at how some fans would turn on Martinez should we finish mid-table or lower. Not me.

As Moyes proved last season, inheriting the championship winning squad and then spending 㿲M on top is no guarantee of finishing near the top. Why would Martinez and our meagre resources be immune to a poor season?

I think some of us can look beyond our noses at what Martinez is doing. Success this season would be great, but I think Martinez is primarily planning for the mid to long term future.

Of course, long term planning is no guarantee of success either, especially as we will always have one arm tied behind our backs financially, but I think its the intelligent way to try to compete with the 6 or 7 teams who are on a different financial planet to us.

Whatever happens, I'm enjoying watching Martinez bring in proper footballers, young players with desire, something to prove, quality and technical ability.

Importantly, it's nice to go into a season with the aim that we finish as high as we can, rather than to avoid relegation. And it's also reassuring that regardless of the result, when we play the rich teams, we go out there mentally unburdened by the financial gulf and prepared to give it a real go.

Matt Traynor
5 Posted 03/08/2014 at 13:46:55
I can see the point that Malcolm In The Middle is making, but there is one big difference in the game today compared with the game you first watched in 1962 - and that is the wages you refer to. Back then players were paid a modest amount, hence why testimonial matches provided that retirement fund, and many ended up going to work in regular jobs once their playing days had ended.

So the "fiscal cost is limited to wages" you refer to is still astronomical, and for a club that is lagging in commercial deals and secondary revenue, one which needs to be managed carefully. From a balance sheet perspective, players can be viewed as liabilities - on the books, as well as in some cases, on the pitch.

The monied clubs now use wages as a means of leverage to get the players they want, and the agents use this to their advantage. Whilst there are players who are millionaires without kicking a ball for the first team, there's the other end of the spectrum - the likes of David Bentley retiring before 30. No desire to prove he still had the talent that saw clubs splashing 㾻m on him. He's already loaded, will never have to work again unless he monumentally screws up, so fuck it.

I wonder what Dunlop, Harris, Young and Vernon would make of that today?

Tom Bowers
6 Posted 03/08/2014 at 13:25:53
There is plenty of reason for an optimistic slant more than ever after last season. The previous gaffer had more than his fair share of negativity shown by his team selections and tactics but RM is a different animal.

Scoring goals is the key and getting a bunch from midfield can be a big bonus. Perhaps Barklay can be he one to assume a Â’Â’LampardÂ’Â’ type role this year.

Jay Harris
7 Posted 03/08/2014 at 18:46:48

It translates as Everton and the "Boixes Noys" (not sure about that one) and we play with confidence without fear.

Dave Abrahams
8 Posted 05/08/2014 at 20:38:57
A good article Francis. My first Everton team in 1948 was:

Sagar Saunders Dugdale Farrell TG Jones Lello
Corr Wainwright McIntosh Fielding Eglington.

Apart from a very welcome promotion in 1954, I had to wait until 1963 to see the blues win their first honour as a fan. It was well worth the wait under the best manager Everton have ever had in my opinion. However, Roberto can be another brilliant leader of Everton, although money, or the shortage of, will be a huge obstacle but it will not stop Everton from being very, very good to watch.

Jamie Crowley
9 Posted 06/08/2014 at 04:21:51
Francis -

I completely agree on a macro level with your analysis. Roberto has a very big plan - a long term plan - and he's beginning to execute it.

The future is very bright.

You and I are seeing Everton through the same prism.


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