I’ve been struck of late by the amount of vitriol directed at some of our players; it’s not that a few of them don’t deserve it but does it serve any practical or positive purpose? Pinning my own colours to the mast, I have no time for shirkers or scheisters who merely go through the motions but I am conflicted when it comes to booing a player in the blue shirt.
Recent posts from Phil Lewis and others have highlighted what Phil called the “mindless negativity” of singling out individuals, and I would add that it becomes even more mindless when it is often the same, often young and homegrown, individuals game after game. Jay’s analysis in the same thread following Lyndon’s article on “self-sabotage” clearly demonstrated that the overall performance against Newcastle was actually good and what went wrong was a collective inability to manage the game out successfully.
This in itself is maddeningly frustrating and indicates a need for some team sessions in sports psychology. It is a moot point though that many ToffeeWebbers will have played the game at various levels and will have understood instinctively and without the aid of a shrink that the opponents can’t score in the dying minutes if you keep possession or even just boot the ball toward their corner flag and get the fat lad up front to chase after it — something known as 'Gegenpressing' these days, apparently
Thus far I will have alienated only overweight ToffeeWebbers who play(ed) up front. Now it’s time to ruffle the feathers of the ususal suspects who think EFC is a well-run club: look, all clubs make mistakes in the transfer market but why have we become serial offenders? Everton have paid ridiculous amounts of money to purchase and then award obscene contracts to too many players in our recent past who were themselves past it, never had it in the first place, or were not interested in fighting for the blue jersey.
The answer lies not in criticising those players — they didn’t determine their transfer fees and none of us would turn down the huge wages offered to them – but rather in focussing once again at the dysfunctional way the club is run. I’ll keep on saying this: there is an absolute connection between how a club operates as a business and success on the pitch; until Moshiri understands this, and replaces the deadwood in the boardroom we shall be complaining about the deadwood on the pitch until Dick docks.
Is it a peculiarly Evertonian thing, that we prefer to criticise players rather than the people who sanction the signings and salaries of those players?
I think it’s important that we answer this honestly. I can’t believe that we have people still prepared to write in and defend the likes of Bill Kenwright who has become a very rich man out of presiding over the most fallow period in the club’s history. And don’t even get me started on that living embodiment of the Peter Principle, the CEO. Too many Evertonians accept mediocrity in the places where real change is needed urgently.
I understand, too, that Chairmen/women and CEOs don’t make the signings, but are the people we have in in these positions even capable of asking the right questions of those who are?
Financial Fair Play (FFP) should not have crept up as the big surprise it seems to have suddenly become. The lack of quality business acumen at board level means that there are nowhere near the right amount of checks and balances in place to prevent, or at least interrogate the wisdom of, the throwing of ludicrous amounts of money at vastly overrated players just because ludicrous amounts of money suddenly became available when Moshiri arrived.
In an earlier ToffeeWeb article, I welcomed bringing Marcel Brands onto the board because at least now there was someone there with some knowledge of the game itself... but, in and of itself, the role of the Director of Football is not to provide those checks and balances from a business perspective; and so, from that angle, nothing has changed.
In answering the question above, might one honest but difficult-to-swallow response be that we could learn something from Liverpool FC? Seriously, could you see them putting up with Kenwright and Li’l Miss Dynamite? Under their previous owners, the atmosphere over there was every bit as toxic as it has been at Goodison Park off and on for some time now. The difference is that their toxicity was not so much aimed at players as at the suits and they turned that toxicity into actions that got results and that continues to get results (eg, blocking the present owners’ plans to raise ticket prices).
Liverpool supporters are galvanised by the group of activists known as Spirit of Shankly; you may loathe them but they get people onside. They have chosen a clever name for themselves, which all kopites can identify with and support.
In contrast, our version, The Blue Union, does not enjoy the love of all Blues. Why is this? Certainly the name has something to do with it; they chose something evocative of their shared history and nostalgia, we have something that smacks to many as some kind of political caucus not representative of all Evertonians.
Personally, I have some sympathy for the Blue Union; they have set their sights on the right people but they failed to capture the hearts and minds of the majority and, as a result, our collective dissatisfactions become dissipated which in turn results in some fans turning on players, others then turning on them in argument, and some people criticising Kenwright and others then vilifying them for criticising him “because at least he’s a true Blue”.
It’s a tough time to be a Blue but we have no choice; it’s who we are. We live in the hope that Carlo Ancelotti is the man to restore the club to its former glories, but, as they say, it’s the hope that kills you. Ancelotti cannot do this on his own. It’s time for us to demand the recruitment of experienced business people who know how to run a 21st Century Premier League football club and who are able to plan for and provide Carlo Ancelotti with the resources to bring the success on the pitch that we Evertonians deserve.
** I wrote this article yesterday evening and left it to read over again this morning (29 January 2020) before submitting. Two things have happened in that time that I’d like to draw attention to:
i) I saw the pictures today of the cowardly and disgraceful attack on Ed Woodward’s home. We are Evertonians, not Man Utd thugs, and in advocating action in my article, I am emphatically not meaning violent action against anyone, individually or collectively.
ii) Paul the Esk has submitted another excellent piece and, while there are some overlaps with his article, I have decided to leave mine as it was last night as I don’t think there is any verbatim rehash of Paul’s words.
Reader Comments (59)
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1 Posted 29/01/2020 at 13:51:07
I wrote this article yesterday evening and left it to read over again this morning (29 January 2020) before submitting. Two things have happened in that time that Id like to draw attention to:
i) I saw the pictures today of the cowardly and disgraceful attack on Ed Woodwards home. We are Evertonians, not Man Utd thugs, and in advocating action in my article, I am emphatically not meaning violent action against anyone, individually or collectively.
ii) Paul the Esk has submitted another excellent piece and, while there are some overlaps with his article, I have decided to leave mine as it was last night as I dont think there is any verbatim rehash of Pauls words.
2 Posted 29/01/2020 at 14:02:45
3 Posted 29/01/2020 at 14:08:02
Can you comment of the structure of the club on the inside. Not the boardroom and executive level, but the administrators and middle-management. I hear, rumours and hearsay of course, that the club is infused with cliques that prohibit it running smoothly. Also, despite being a private company, it has a lot of flaws of local government with people designing fiefdoms to rule over, that do not actually do anything, and lots of people getting well paid (by everyday standards) to do a job that is not necessary to the running of a football club. I hear the (non-football) staff is bloated and needs streamlining. I hear that if you wish to progress up the chain at Everton (on the non-football side) then you will find it difficult unless you have connections to the key members of these cliques, and anyone questioning whether roles are actually necessary within the club quickly find themselves moved on. I also hear that rules and regulations you would associate with an office (ie shouting at a work colleague would be a disciplinary matter) are creeping into the football side and certain prominent coaches have found themselves being reported for being too aggressive with young players they feel are not pulling their weight.
Care to (carefully) comment?
4 Posted 29/01/2020 at 14:13:00
5 Posted 29/01/2020 at 14:14:25
6 Posted 29/01/2020 at 14:16:16
Financial mis-management of the highest order.
Paul 'The Esk' has been writing about the state the club's finances are in for a couple of years, and is often dubbed 'Mr Misery' for simply telling the truth.
I'm afraid the chickens have well and truly come home to roost.
Meanwhile, 'little Miss Dynamite' is planning the next charity slalom from the roof of the Main Stand...breathtaking developments at senior level.
You couldn't make it up.
7 Posted 29/01/2020 at 14:16:45
8 Posted 29/01/2020 at 14:20:13
9 Posted 29/01/2020 at 14:22:13
Maybe that should be the title for this article, its certainly applies to the Everton board!
10 Posted 29/01/2020 at 14:25:43
This stems from the Moyes era, where the belief was fostered that we were a well-run club that only needed 'money'. Wrong. We were an unambituous club congratulating itself for being vaguely competitive.
Like most good managers, Moshiri cleatly recruits and lets them get on with it. Unfortunately he hasn't recruited very well and is too tolerant of the board he inherited. The most interesting thing he said was recently when he let slip that he was spending more time on EFC than he'd like. I hope that means he knows we need more heavy-duty business presence on the board.
I'm regularly being asked by fans of other clubs for my thoughts on Ancelotti. My reply is always the same. He'll do a great job if the club let's him.
The club must change, unless 'The Everton Way' is nothing more than an unachieving, unambiguous old person's network.
Keep up your good work, Gerard.
11 Posted 29/01/2020 at 14:27:01
12 Posted 29/01/2020 at 14:36:46
Instead we get appointments like Prof DBB, that screams of kenwrights touchy feely sentimentality and misty eyed theatrics.
We need some killer hardnosed people in that boardroom, not bullshitters and story tellers. In all big companies the culture of the workplace is set by those at the top,
13 Posted 29/01/2020 at 14:38:57
Im sorry but my opinion is that we actually were a well run club that needed money when we had Moyes. What other team finished as high as we did with such low investment? The answer is none.
When we finally got the investment we had no captain to steer the ship, sorry l mean driver to drive the bus.
We go from Martinez to Koeman, and get Walsh in... after that weve been chasing our tail. Different tactics and strategys and l can only point the finger at Moshiri. We should count our lucky stars he has a big round rich friend. Otherwise wed be up shits creek. Im not purposely rolling out cliches but they all seem to fit.
Anyway, it could be worse. We could be Leeds or QPR.
We have seen also seen an excess of injuries l have not known of before covering the last few years. We have to let these younger players mature and they are thankful now showing signs of what they are capable of. We get rid of a few that arent firing, if we can, get a couple in... anyway we are not as far away as it looked like a few weeks ago.
Oh, and l do like the work weve seen on BMD.
I forgot, we also have Ancelotti now, l think things are looking up.
14 Posted 29/01/2020 at 14:50:10
The clubs spending more than us were Newcastle (who had got into Europe after Pardew's decent season), Aston Villa (who were actually joint level with us and were in full Randy Lerner meltdown mode) and Sunderland (who were sowing the seeds of their own subsequent meltdown).
Everton's wage bill was in line with were they finished. Occasionally clubs overstretched themselves and spent more, and note the three that did all went down with financial issues shortly afterwards. Are you really sure that we were a well run club? It always seemed to me that we were a less badly run club than others.
15 Posted 29/01/2020 at 14:50:56
Just two examples of Kenwright talking, one from a couple of years ago at an Everton AGM, talking about Moshiri “Hes the man who keeps giving, whatever I ask him for he provides” Was Kenwright giving or providing any sensible advice in return, doesnt look like it, going by the books.
The second one was more recent, talking about Graeme Sharp on his appointment as ambassador for the club he said as part of the speech “ You cant kid Evertonians” without a trace of irony or modesty, for once in your life Billy you dont know how good you are,You cant kid Evertonians? Speaking for myself, you cant kid some of us thats for sure.
Even “ little miss dynamite” cringed when you called her that, a couple of weeks ago, she nearly blew herself up.
16 Posted 29/01/2020 at 14:52:57
We were once upon a time considered a very well run stable club in the Moyes era.
It only seems to have gone to pot since Moshiri came in and we started firing managers after 1.5 seasons. You cant argue Moshiris investment and the work towards the new stadium.
But a more cohesive pragmatic slow building process on the playing side is what's been needed. If anything you can argue Moshiri has tried to rush things a bit too much. Which is why we have a bloated disjointed squad full of mercenaries. Ancelotti has been handed the keys to a squad mishandled by two previous managers and DOF's.
17 Posted 29/01/2020 at 14:55:03
Since Moshiri took over, we have been ambitious, we have tried and like all the big clubs, we've got plenty wrong. Now we have a proven manager and BMD coming, the club has to snap out of its sleep and function like a truly ambitious, winning business. And I don't think we'll do that with Teary Bill & Miss Dynamite at the helm.
18 Posted 29/01/2020 at 14:55:50
#6 Steve, #10 Paul #12 Daniel - agree totally also.
The question that admittedly I don't have an answer to is how do we turn fan opinion around when many believe we are progressing?
19 Posted 29/01/2020 at 15:48:28
Paul T, when Moshiri, said he was spending too much time on Everton, I was hoping it was a call to his master, telling him he needs more help!
The thing that stood out most was when Gerard says, FFP, should not have just crept up on us, and been a big surprise, although even having all these top people on board, probably wouldnt have made much difference, the way Walsh and Koeman acted, but it will definitely make a difference in the future, and now we have got a genuine world class manager, hopefully we will now see similar changes, with better qualified people being brought in to help, off the pitch as well?
20 Posted 29/01/2020 at 15:56:21
What's the bottom line?
There is only one final authority at the club now, isn't there? What are you advocating that the fan base should do to convince a multibillionare businessman that this organization (on which he wants to spend less time) needs wholesale changes? Write letters? Emails? March around Goodison with banners and chant?
I'm not trying to be disrespectful here -- I genuinely want to know. When I read a sentence like "Its time for us to demand the recruitment of experienced business people..." my first thought is, fine. How?
And what makes Moshiri pay attention to "demands"? As Paul #18 points out, it's not like he's facing an uprising from a unanimously outraged fan base, because "many believe we are progressing."
I look forward to educated responses to an uneducated question.
21 Posted 29/01/2020 at 15:56:38
When there are truly mitigating circumstances for failures out on the pitch, Evertonians are generally more patient than many other similar sized or larger clubs supporters perhaps moreso than can be reasonably expected.
Only certain clubs are able to successfully remove unwanted owners or regimes because the media are willing to aid and abet them because those working in the media also believe that those certain clubs have a god given right to success. We don't have that level of support outside of the club and I'm uncertain that Evertonians in general, are that way inclined, and they certainly don't believe that they have a god given right to win trophies.
Mostly we realise and probably always have realised that it's all about the players in the team at any given time, as it is they, and probably they alone, who will either bring smiles or grimaces to our faces depending upon their levels of performances and results. Which, possibly explains why the players get it in the neck more at Everton, when things are going badly, but are made gods when things are going well.
Evertonians are very able to recognise good players and good teams and Blues also know when a player or a team either isn't good enough or aren't giving of their best for the cause.
Whether, Everton teams are restricted by the perceived failures of the board, management or structure of the club is open to debate - we really don't have enough evidence either way to make a judgement call. That's not to say that mistakes haven't been made of course they have, but is it really down to the unsuitability of those in charge or is it merely due to bad fortune?
Very few people know how any club is run, which employees are worth their salary or whether the board members are of the quality required to push the club forward. As much as Everton is our club, we have very little say in how it is run or who runs it - the only evidence we see and which we can comment on with any confidence, is out there on the pitch.
What I will say, is that Mr Moshiri, stated right at the beginning of his reign that there was a small window of opportunity to propel the club forward, he and the board along with others gambled and failed to make it work - we are now paying the price for that wasted wager - where we are in twelve to eighteen months time will tell us more about the people in charge and whether they are capable or not. We have to hope that they are more than capable, because if they aren't, we could be in a rather larger hole in the future. Like on any bus, we can always get off at any point that suits us, or we can stay on board and try to enjoy the ride.
22 Posted 29/01/2020 at 16:06:23
No matter what Business you are in you have to be ruthless at the top, as the saying, nice guys finish last is used often on failure.
So as you say, until Moshiri understands the problem is at board level nothing will change, and as it seems he is confident in the people on the board,he must see something in the personnel you mention that we don't
I am not endorsing all of the people on the Board as I have wanted B.K.out since the Kings Dock fiasco but in saying that I don't now anything about the other board members and what their responsibilities are. I am sure Moshiri didn't become a billionaire by not being ruthless in business and I don't think he will allow anyone to waste his money by being unable to do their job.
I am in no way disagreeing in your assessment of some board members, but endorsing your statement that Moshiri is the one who has to realize were the problems are and rectify it.
23 Posted 29/01/2020 at 16:09:14
24 Posted 29/01/2020 at 16:21:16
I had to get new tyres on my car this morning, and as I drove past Goodison, I looked across Stanley Pk, and remembered how we used to sing shitty ground, to the other crowd, and my thoughts instantly went to our saviour.
Our saviour who kidded us with his ring-fenced money, our saviour who tried to take us to Kirkby, (GOD BLESS KEIOC) and then said he was delighted that it was overturned? And our saviour, who has ran Goodison to the ground, robbed Peter to pay Paul, has made a fortune out of the club he never took a penny from, and hangs around like a very bad smell.
Its not Kenwright‘s fault hes still here though, its Moshiris, who only wanted to buy Everton, and spend as little time as possible on the project, because he must have felt it was in capable hands, which it was, especially when he brought Koeman and Walsh to the club!
“Incapable” Is more like it, and I agree with Gerard, that the time for change is now.
25 Posted 29/01/2020 at 16:34:48
He may have listened when he got rid of Martinez.
‘What a manager!
26 Posted 29/01/2020 at 16:38:52
Suffice it to say the sooner he has no part in running the club the better.
27 Posted 29/01/2020 at 16:38:52
Suffice it to say the sooner he has no part in running the club the better.
28 Posted 29/01/2020 at 16:39:17
29 Posted 29/01/2020 at 16:43:04
30 Posted 29/01/2020 at 16:43:31
31 Posted 29/01/2020 at 17:04:40
32 Posted 29/01/2020 at 17:05:38
Unfortunately, there will be many more articles to come, so long as we have the one person who has overseen all the chaos for many years.
Nothing will change while he oversees the club.
33 Posted 29/01/2020 at 17:07:26
34 Posted 29/01/2020 at 17:20:30
35 Posted 29/01/2020 at 17:42:28
I dont think FFP “crept up” I think the board made poorly calculated decisions that backfired. They thought a big spend would bring immediate success and income that would balance the books but it didnt happen. Similar to West Ham where Pelligrini was told “no big signings” but he publicly claimed two or three big ones would make all the difference. Sullivan bought it, Pelligrini was wrong and now Sullivan says relegation could cause financial ruin.
Second point is on the fans. I know a lot of fans of all clubs who are passionate but not concerned with the minutiae. ToffeeWeb as a forum attracts analytical, big picture, dare I say intellectuals or perhaps worriers who want to discuss and analyze everything. I dont think we can convince the other 80 percent who are avid on match days but have little interest in analyzing KPIs. Its like global warming, most people when pressed are alarmed about it but its a relative few analyzing data, raising alarm bells. Most want to bury their heads in the sand. If things go totally pair shaped eg like Bury then suddenly everyone is on board with the dissent but by that time its too late.
36 Posted 29/01/2020 at 19:55:40
All is not well at our club and I absolutely trust the man I have heard this from.
37 Posted 29/01/2020 at 21:03:38
38 Posted 29/01/2020 at 21:53:45
We do have pressing issues, though, you are right.
By the way, Dave, I like your stuff and think you have some good stories to tell. Put up an article about your experiences. I'd like to read it.
39 Posted 29/01/2020 at 22:27:32
However, sleaze and downright corruption isn't acceptable at any level of the club and whomever has proof of this needs to gather the evidence and give it to the relevant authorities. Obviously not an easy task for anyone at any level, particularly if they are an employee of the club and rely upon that wage to make ends meet.
I don't expect the club to be much different to many other Premier League clubs, when dealing with agents et al, but I would hope, that having adopted itself as a champion of the ordinary and needy people of the city via it's charitable arm, it tries to do it's best to maintain an acceptable level of behaviour. If it was proven that the club is indeed sleaze ridden and corrupt then Evertonians who may adhere to a higher moral compass will be unable to support it.
That's the trouble with articles such as this, without proof, it's mostly rumour, opinion and second-hand information that fuels suspicion and even if proven untrue those rumours and suspicions could have a detrimental effect upon the club at what is a pivotal time in the club's history.
40 Posted 29/01/2020 at 22:41:31
41 Posted 29/01/2020 at 22:42:57
42 Posted 29/01/2020 at 22:52:01
I guess I get hacked off with people who cast aspersions at the expense of others, do damage to their reputation and yet never actually say anything to support what they say. Recent example being those who slagged off Duncan as a cone carrier whilst not having a clue about his abilities and then most kept their heads down when he did so well.
People can have all sorts of reasons for doing so. A natural dislike, a clash of personalities, a disgruntled ex employee- it can be all sorts of reasons and social media allows them to do it without any foundation.
Its just not my bag Im afraid but its a free country with free speech and the answer is if I dont like it then I neednt read it!
You keep posting though- you talk sense!
43 Posted 30/01/2020 at 00:48:37
Short version; Do they finally know wtf, they're doing.
Or will £100M for Richarleson (or less, this is The Ev after all) in the next 6 mths. torpedo us before we've lost sight of the harbour lights.
Keep it coming Gerard, keep hold their feet to the fire, keep asking the awkward questions.
As always, more, many more, questions than answers.
44 Posted 30/01/2020 at 03:33:13
Do you really think the club will listen to what they perceive as a minority of fans that think they know better than them?
It's hard enough to get the "majority" of fans to see through what Kenwright has done to us over the past years, his lies and failings are either ignored or passed off as "He's one of us, he knows what he's doing".
The vast majority of fans Gerard analyse one thing only on a weekly basis and that's the result, they either don't want to know or don't have the time and energy to start analysing the clubs failings.
As for the "success we deserve". Unfortunately we are getting what we deserve, because the vast majority of the fan base do their weekly analysis and then put it to bed until the next game.
45 Posted 30/01/2020 at 04:16:15
Didn't have the qualifications to but there you go. Another inspired move from BK.
Gerard might know what I am referring to. The only reassuring aspect is that Brands is in charge of signings. I know many are dismissive but he's clearing up the mess of Walsh and Koeman that went on two years and was expensive.
46 Posted 30/01/2020 at 06:21:24
Two fantastic parallel articles by both Gerard and Paul demonstrate the need for our DOF to be a hit. If he succeeds, Ancelotti has a fighting chance (something he doesnt have now)
I always make meself a really strong coffee before I sit down and read Gerard's stuff. He has this habit of lifting the carpet and revealing much of stuff which has been swept under it
47 Posted 30/01/2020 at 09:25:15
Put a beggar on horseback and he will ride to hell.
48 Posted 30/01/2020 at 10:00:23
Andy @36. Ive heard lots of stories...most from my Dad - a massive blue who sadly passed away last November after a battle with cancer - who had a few friends inside the club (and interestingly one at EiTC). None of them were good. And when you hear these things you can see why were in such a mess despite the investment from Moshiri (Usmanov).
49 Posted 30/01/2020 at 12:20:25
There is a common denominator in Kenwright, and I believe most stems from him, or under his auspices. Although I don't believe all is doom and gloom, and as David Pearl suggested the immediate future is looking up.
Lastly I would like to endorse what both Steve Ferns and Andy Crooks have advocated regarding the next TW Get Together. In the Spring when Mike Gaynes is coming over (again).
I would thoroughly recommend to all those who have never been to one before, and are geographically able to attend, as they are a great chance to 'air views on Everton' that may not be appropriate on TW. Plus a chance to meet a good group of genuine Evertonians and to be able to put a face to familiar names.
50 Posted 30/01/2020 at 13:08:30
51 Posted 30/01/2020 at 14:47:15
52 Posted 30/01/2020 at 22:41:47
For many fans, this frustration is often directed to the Team in general and to the players on an individual basis. Players often improve with sensible criticism and, as professionals, they should expect it. On many occasions, they will be given constructive and very direct criticism from the coaches.
Personally, I draw the line at uncalled-for verbal abuse laced with anger, vitriol and obscenities. This type of abuse can be the ruination of some younger players who may have never heard venom directed to them. Usually this is because before they turned pro they were stars of their junior teams and received many compliments about their ability.
It is often difficult to keep the most aggressive comments to yourself. I know because I have been guilty. When watching a game on TV, it is easy because I can rant and rave along with my Evertonian sons and nobody hears what I have to say. Except for my wife who long ago realised that I was irrational when it came to Everton. She also blames me for making our kids the same. I try to be different when going to Goodison or even when posting on TW. Hopefully all eleven players in Blue shirts are "Evertonians" and I very rarely abuse fellow Blues.
One final point. Whatever hardshps, I have NEVER regretted being an Everton supporter – even when we give up two stupid goals in the last two minutes of a game. Hard to take but we manage to do such idiocies quite often.
53 Posted 31/01/2020 at 14:43:16
But in the interests of balance, we should remember that in the past two months those in charge of the club have appointed one of the greatest names in football management, and submitted a planning application for a potentially fabulous new stadium.
54 Posted 31/01/2020 at 14:55:37
But overnight Lyndon posted a superb piece:
'Ancelotti - Can the Quiet Leader Bring Order To Everton's Chaos?'
Well worth a read on Moshiri's time at the club and the hope for the future moving forward.
55 Posted 31/01/2020 at 15:53:02
56 Posted 31/01/2020 at 16:12:52
57 Posted 31/01/2020 at 16:16:11
58 Posted 31/01/2020 at 16:27:52
59 Posted 01/02/2020 at 05:32:17
Thanks for your correction. I was probably too lazy to do a check. However it obviously wasn't long enough. I wish it had been 68. No let's use a nice round number and make it 70.
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