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Is that the fat lady singing?

By Barry Thompson :  11/08/2009 :  Comments (16) :
Having been a regular visitor to the Kipper website for quite a while now, I stumbled across the ToffeeWeb site a couple of months ago. Fair to say I have found it to be inhabited by some very passionate contributors (nothing wrong with that by the way; that is what supporting a club is all about) voicing opinions and venting spleens on all sorts of emotive topics.

The one thing I do believe, however, is that, whichever side of the fence you fall on where some of these topics are concerned (DK for example), every Evertonian loves the club and is, at the end of day, entitled to their own opinion of what is right or wrong with everything that is Everton FC. It is this very fact and the debate, disagreement and passion it generates that make this forum what it is.

Anyway, what is the title of this article all about then? Well, I have to say that I am more than a little concerned for the future success of our club. "Why would that be, then?" — you may ask, as we are now consistently vying for a 5th place finish and regular European football, FA Cup Final and all last season — can't be that bad... can it?

Anyway, remember the dark days when we fought relegation year after year? Shut the fuck up and carry on eating your pie. This, I feel is the problem, in that what we are experiencing now is the best it is going to be... because, given the Championship-level finances of the club, there is inevitably only one direction from here and that is downwards.

The problem as I see it is that, like in any business, you get a new manager in and — with investment in more capable staff combined with better coaching and training etc — results start to improve; as success breeds success, onwards and upwards we go. This can only go on for so long, however, and results will then start to plateau, and this I feel is where we currently are.

Something different then needs to happen to kick-start the growth period again or the inevitable decline begins. Unfortunately for Everton, as every single one of us is aware, the kick-start needed is investment and, without it, decline is inevitable. We are starting to see it happen now with Lescott. How long before more of the few star players that we currently have decide that it's time for a change and a pay rise to boot?

The reason why Moyes is struggling in the transfer market was patently obvious even before he came out and said it; the type of players we need to add to this squad to enable us to maintain a realistic and regular challenge to the top 4 don't come cheap or sign for £40k max per week, even if you can do a deal on the transfer fee - HP style. We are Netto shoppers hoping that at best we may stumble across some out-of-date M & S goodies now and then from the bins round the back.

Other teams, written off too quickly in my opinion, are not that far behind us; they are investing in their squads and will eventually overtake us, even faster if we start to lose what we already have... never mind the fact that we are not adding to them.

Can the current squad mount a realistic challenge to the top 4? Well, they haven't for the last 3 years so what is going to be different this year? Oh, I forgot... we will have the Yak, Arteta and Jags back. Well, by the time they are all back, the points gap may be too wide anyway...

Having spent years watching them dodge relegation, year after year, along comes Moyes, who builds a team we can actually be proud of, with a chance to actually do something special, raising the standards (as well as the hopes and aspirations of the faithful) to a point where we can almost smell success... only now to find the door leading to the next level continually being slammed in our face, is the most frustrating and deflating aspect of everything that is Everton under the present regime.

If Moyes does decide one day that his ambitions take him elsewhere and the team he built starts to fall apart, how long will we all be saying, "Didn't we almost have it all"? And I think that, in allowing this opportunity to evaporate into the ether will be one of, if not the biggest crime of this current regime... and will be BK's Everton epitaph.

Reader Comments

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Matt Traynor
1   Posted 12/08/2009 at 06:31:42

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Barry, by far the most balanced reaction I’ve seen.

I know some people "get it", but for a lot, I have to ask, "What did you expect?"

Our top players would only have wanted to leave if they were going to move to a top 4 side. And none of them, arguably, would be 1st choice in one of those teams.

Then City come along and really start splashing the cash - not just in fees, but wages. Seriously, they are buying decent / good players. A couple of years ago they had the likes of Benjani and Mills in their team. What Hughes has done in 1 close season is what it would take Moyes 3-4 close seasons to achieve.

If I was Lescott, I’d look at that (yes, the money is a big part, of course), look at Everton, and think the last 2 seasons were as good as it’s gonna get.

So he makes a transfer request. Probably last week, and now the club is doing the same hatchet job they did on Rooney, and Speed before him. He can’t stay now because a sizeable proportion of fans will barrack him.

Now all we wait for is the haggling on the price, so the deal is completed too late for us to bring in decent players (better than Senderos!) and hey presto, there’s another chunk of the money towards the 80 million needed for Kirkby.
Derek Thomas
2   Posted 12/08/2009 at 06:57:24

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22 MILL 25 MILL 30 MILL all these figures bandied about.

The Club getting say 25mill does not automatically mean Moyes will get 25 mill.
John Maxwell
3   Posted 12/08/2009 at 07:15:37

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Barry, nice to read a refreshing article from someone new on the website, this is sadly pretty much how things are at the moment.

So where are we heading ?

I like to appreciate what we do have, rather than what we may not have in the future and like to look forward to what I believe is to be another season of progression.

But is chasing 4th again enough ? I cant see us winning the league again in my lifetime at the moment.. I’m 37 ! I grew up watching our great sides in the 80s and remember a league where most teams could win the championship.

Football these days is all about money and has become predictable and almost boring. The standard of football though in the EPL is world class and has improved greatly in the past 20 years and is a pleasure to watch..

Maybe I’m just getting old and cynical ?
Rupert Sullivan
4   Posted 12/08/2009 at 09:05:21

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Barry, well said - couldn’t agree with you more. Sadly, I can’t see it changing either, and if BK thinks that Kirkby will change things I think he’ll find out that it won’t.
Ciarán McGlone
5   Posted 12/08/2009 at 09:45:27

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Spot on.

A simple analysis that is the reality.

Our future is dependent upon either Moyes or Kenwright leaving...because oen of them will have to go eventually.

Knowing our luck we’ll be left with pantomine Bill and his chesire cat grin. Pity there’ll be fuck all to grin about.
Tom Mallows
6   Posted 12/08/2009 at 10:03:53

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Top article,
I wonder what the players are thinking, Cahill has already spoken of his desire to win things but if we never have any money to spend we will do as you say, plateau and then decline..
if Lescott goes how long will it be before Peanuts, Arteta, the yak et al, decide they need to move on to progress? Footballers only wait so long.
Mike Oates
7   Posted 12/08/2009 at 10:28:30

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Barry excellent article , you have eloquently written what I’ve replied to some of the latest Mails that I cant see a progressive way forward at all due to our current financial situation.

Our lack of capital and our poor salary scale by Premiership standards. I can only see a mass player exit in the next few years accompanied by Moyes or Moyes starting the exit at the end of this season if we go backwards.
Richard Dodd
8   Posted 12/08/2009 at 13:38:59

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The future is simple to predict really. If we go up the table, Davey is a genius; if we go down, it’s all Bill’s fault! I just so wish people would set their ambition for the club at a sensible level and understand that Everton have not been ’a top club’ in more than 20 years — and then only briefly. Another top 6 finish will be seen as unqualified success by all but the ToffeeWeb Whingers!
Phil Martin
9   Posted 12/08/2009 at 15:07:43

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Richard Dodd,

You really don't get it. Most of us realise that 4th, 5th and 6th place finishes are superb for a Club of our resources. What you seem to fail to grasp is that relying on other teams to not live up to expectations (a la, Spurs, Villa and City) is not a viable long-term strategy and will lead us into a decline. Once a couple of our bigger players (or even Moyes) ask to leave we will be in serious trouble.

Moyes and the Board are the key people who run and essentially run the club. Consider this;

8 years ago "On the field"; we had an ageing squad, who regularly flirted with relegation, who played crap football.

NOW: We have a young (largely British) team, we regularly qualify for Europe and have decent cup runs and high league finishes. Plus our standard of football is ok too.

8 years ago "Off the field"; we were broke, had nonexistent commercial operations, a massive need to improve GP or find a new home, and were unable to provide even moderate transfer funds to the manager.

NOW: We are in even more debt, we still need to move grounds or renovate GP and IMO have not found a viable long term solution yet to this. We still can't offer our manager any transfer funds. Unless we sell players first.
Our commercial performance still lags behind roughly 40% of the Premier League.

So Richard who do you think is largely responsible for improving our "On the pitch" performance? And who do you think is largely responsible for NOT improving our "Off the pitch" performance?
Rupert Sullivan
10   Posted 12/08/2009 at 15:20:48

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Richard - I’m sorry mate, but your argument smacks a little bit like "don’t bother trying, let’s keep within our limits" to me.

Everton have not been a ’top club’ in terms of success and trophies in the last 20 years I would agree, but unlike you, I don’t think that this is the factor which limits them - that factor for me is the way the club is run!!
Phil Martin
11   Posted 12/08/2009 at 15:22:35

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EDIT: last point should read;

And who do you think is largely responsible for NOT improving our "Off the pitch" performance?
Dennis Stevens
12   Posted 12/08/2009 at 16:09:13

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"Shut the fuck up and carry on eating your pie." - Eh??
Barry Thompson
13   Posted 12/08/2009 at 16:00:48

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Richard, this is the point I was trying to make. Of course a 6th place finish this season would be looked upon as a success (in Everton terms) that is, but what will be classed as a successful season next year or the year after that 7th, 8th or maybe even 10th. No European football qualification, dwindling support and of course the lost revenue that goes with it. If we haven’t got a pot to piss in after finishing 5th and reaching an FA Cup final, god help us if we do start to go into a decline. Will the masses still shrug and say " well at least we have re-evaluated our position and set our ambition accordingly and mid table obscurity is the best we can hope for". God help us if this is the future and all we have got to look forward to.
Phil Martin
14   Posted 12/08/2009 at 17:18:58

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Exactly right Barry,

We are already punching weigh above our weight. Without adequate finance we wont 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 isnt 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?
Dave Lynch
15   Posted 12/08/2009 at 18:47:48

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She may not be singing yet.
But she’s gargling and ready to take the stage.
Richard Dodd
16   Posted 12/08/2009 at 18:47:51

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Know I’m wasting my time but can’t you lot see that however many clubs get taken over there will still only be four in the Sky Four! So we shall soon have a takeover league table showing ’Our takeover is better than yours!’
Just be careful what you wish for!

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