NICK ARMITAGE COLUMN

The Everton Way

By Nick Armitage :  16/08/2009 :  Comments (7) :
I have witnessed some really bad Everton performances in the past but that one today was down there with the worst. Our ineptness was embarrassing but that is what happens when you spend all summer trying to deal in players ‘The Everton Way.’

Why, year after year, do we find the club in this exact same position? Why do we start every season improperly prepared with no new names on the team sheet and having to play catch up? Why do we leave all deals until the last 24 hours of every transfer window? This kind of pissing about publicly cost us the signature of Manuel Fernandes, incidentally, the last Everton player to excel against Arsenal. Who knows how many others have slipped through the net.

The Lescott "will he, won’t he" saga only has one logical conclusion. I watched him at the Malaga game and, no matter how many times the Lower Gwladys Street chanted his name, he simply wasn’t interested. It is obvious now that he thought the Cup Final was his last game in an Everton shirt, I was very close to pitch side at Wembley and believe me, he didn’t look interested on that day either.

Everton rely on players straining sinews and busting guts but there has been precious little evidence of this of late. Lescott’s lethargy and discontent has spread like wildfire but Moyes has backed himself into a corner, the very same corner that Kenwright occupied when Wayne Rooney wanted out.

Despite having worked “tirelessly 24-7 to secure investment” Bill Kenwright has delivered his customary fuck all into the club’s coffers and Everton are as destitute as ever. But, and there is a but, we have been offered a huge fee for our third best defender of last season. Our third best defender has wanted to leave for months — now is this starting to sound like a no-brainer? But what did we do? We pissed about and did things ‘The Everton Way.’ This dogmatic stance has benefited nobody except our opponents.

To Everton, Lescott is worth more in the bank than he is on the pitch. £20M could have replaced Lescott, and the soft underbelly that is our entire right flank — but it won’t now. As a result of all this pissing about, the team is a three-legged one-trick pony.

Today once more, we didn’t have the keys to unlock a door. All the same shortcomings that cost us the Cup were apparent against an Arsenal team that hardly broke sweat. We were out-thought, out-passed, out-moved, out-run and out of contention... but nothing had been done to avert any of this.

Our only current route to goal is via Cahill and Fellaini so Arsenal cut the supply line by kicking the shit out of Pienaar – game over. What followed was woeful, but the typical pre-season that preceded this game was unforgivable.

Reader Comments

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Jon Gorman
1   Posted 16/08/2009 at 10:18:56

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I think some people need a reality check. Whilst I agree with your last statement, it will no longer be the case when Arteta and Yakubu return. We can't sell Lescott because we have no experienced cover. Yobo contributed heavily to the defeat by being two yards off the pace, imagine how inept Rodwell would be?

The fact of the matter is Kenwright is willing to sell but nobody’s going to buy Everton at GP, at least not the Randy Lerner type required. We are not signing players because those of sufficient quality to replace the Osmans and Hibberts of this world will invariably demand more than £40k/wk in wages. We need to bring in players from the lower leagues on long contracts at reasonable wages.

We are all shocked at the magnitude of yesterday's defeat but some perspective is required. Last year's opening day defeat to Blackburn was far more humiliating in my opinion. If we can hold on to Lescott and make some bargain basement last minute transfers, we could be on for a solid season.

Nick Armitage
2   Posted 16/08/2009 at 11:13:02

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Jon

We will have to hold onto Lescott now and as a consequence the only transfers we will make will be the bargain basement last minute type that we make every year, but what is the point of keeping a player who doesn’t want to play for you? Lescott could have given Moyes his biggest war chest since arriving at the club, a real chance to improve and kick on – but no. Wenger had no problems cashing in his chips and moving on, why couldn’t Moyes?

If Kenwright is willing to sell, and Everton must be a more attractive proposition than most other teams, based upon current league standing, attendances, squad and manager, then why hasn’t the club hasn’t attracted any inward investment since the start of Kenwright’s tenure when every similar Premiership club has? For fucks sake, people are now sniffing around Newcastle. And saying a Lerner type wouldn’t look at Everton because of Goodison Park is bollocks; Lerner bought Villa at Villa Park.

Our top earners, current internationals, are on £40K a week so it wouldn’t take that to improve Osman and Hibbert. Pienaar was brought on a loan deal earning around £15K a week and I would be flabbergasted if there isn’t a better full back than Hibbert out there earning less than £40K a week.

I do agree that we will be a far better team with Arteta, Yakubu and Jagielka in but they aren’t in and won’t be for some considerable time – where is Plan B? We have known about their injuries for months.

And saying some people need a reality check, all the above is reality. The reality is, is that Everton has squandered yet another Golden Opportunity.
Andy Codling
3   Posted 16/08/2009 at 11:51:16

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Jon, I find is astonishing that fans can come on here and try and defend or see the positives out of that shite yesterday. For years now the Board have had the chance to kick on from the previous years finish and every year they fuck it up.

Moyes in my eyes sold out when he took his bumper contract as he signed it in the full knowledge that his darling friend Billy Bullshit would be providing no money and you cant go banging the drum when he was complicit in this.

Osman and Hibbert are woeful but are guaranteed there starting roles which is criminal after the Fa Cup Final.

Fuck Lescott off to City and buy some fucking quality or will our arsehole chairman pocket the cash for his Kirkby venture.

This club shows no ambition to progress, so is it any wonder Lescot wants out, and how long before others follow suit?

Gavin Ramejkis
4   Posted 16/08/2009 at 12:06:44

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He probably already spent the transfer pot to kill the Kirkby voles.

Joking aside, unless things change from the very top and the cancer at the club, BK, is removed, it will continue to grow, no matter how hard the chemo of DM over-achieves... it just sits there and comes back every summer.
Jon Gorman
5   Posted 16/08/2009 at 12:33:14

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Nick, some fair points there. But DM did identify a potential Hibbert replacement and he was lured by the promise of greater wages. If the right players are not available then DM’s hands are tied.

And yes, Lerner bought Villa at Villa Park. But Villa Park is in a different league to GP thanks to investment over the years. Not to mention it has a bigger capacity, more executive boxes and is in the second city.
Matt Compton
6   Posted 16/08/2009 at 14:47:35

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I think Moyes should bite the bullet and sell Lescott. At present we are a team with no cash but we do have a talented and ambitious squad. Only through developing potential and then selling on will we have any chance of breaking the top 4. Lescott has now hit the peak of his value, time to sell and re-invest in the next player leaving cash aside to add another body or two.

It’s going to kick off over these next two weeks in the transfer market, I just hope the outcome is positive for us!
John Martin
7   Posted 16/08/2009 at 18:49:14

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We missed out on Naughton a few weeks back. Are we being led to believe there isn't another right back available than Hibbert? It's now 48 hours since Moyes said "within 48 hours, I hope to have 1 or 2 in". The need for new players was paramount this summer if we were to push on. We stood still. Moyes is a major part of that standing still.

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