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The Slow but Steady Destruction of Everton FC

by Michael Kenrick
22 July 2001

Walter SmithWalter Smith is destroying Everton FC.  The eyes of the fans may be diverted while Bill Kenwright basks in the reflected glory of achieving a tremendous step in the right direction for Everton's future, with the Kings Dock project.  But beware: Walter Smith is being allowed to perpetrate an ever-lengthening series of crimes that run counter to the very spirit and essence of Everton Football Club.

The latest heinous act is the serious attempt to sign that despicable footballing thug, Paul Ince.  Ince is a dirty cynical player; a nasty piece of work who befits the red shirts of the teams he has recently played for.  Ince is a persistent whinger, the type of player who moans and bitches at everything that goes against him in the same way Olivier Dacourt pouts and sulks when refereeing decisions don't go his way.  We used to love it when the likes of Ferguson and Unsworth bested him during Derby games because he's a whinge-bag who can play dirty with the best of them.

Ince is a miserable, self-centred monster who has a negative influence on the dressing room if, again, things don't go his way.  If Everton sign him (and there are strong indications that this is much more than the usual mid-summer transfer speculation) it will mark a new low in a deepening spiral of despair enveloping the Club.  

Our famous and hallowed Club motto has slipped into the dirt in recent years, as Smith has wrought his peculiarly unsuccessful 'magic' on the name of Everton.  This is the man who signed Mark Hughes, Alex Nyarko, Peter Degn.... Add to this the recent defection of another promising young England U-17 International Sean Doherty.  Why is he leaving Everton?  Well, it appears to be a personal choice based on the need to escape the scallies and hangers-on, so perhaps that one cannot be dumped at Smith's door.

While the Ince rumours rumble on, Everton appear to be approaching another unforgivable nadir: the imminent sale of Michael Ball.  Walter Smith appears to have worked tirelessly to make Michael Ball's Everton future untenable, refusing to sanction a reasonable pay rise for the Club's brightest young prospect, all the while continuing his alternate strategy of signing up a seemingly endless plethora of left-sided defenders Unsworth, Pistone, Naysmith, Stubbs, Prodan.  He then persuaded a reluctant Board to put up for sale the best, the very best footballing progeny Everton's beleaguered but remarkably successful Youth Academy has produced in over a decade.  How can this be allowed to happen?

And many fans still want to believe this man has Everton's best interests at heart?

The current atrocities follow hard on the heels of Smith's indubitable negative role in the departure of another great potential player of the future Francis Jeffers.  Why was Jeffers waiting for the summer before finally deciding to leave?  Was he hoping (like many of us) that Walter Smith would finally be shown the door after another dismally poor season of mismanagement?  Instead, Bill Kenwright stood behind Walter Smith, defending a boring litany of injuries that are a poor excuse for the dire negativity and sheer dross that Smith cannot escape responsibility for on the field.  School of Science?  Borstal, more like!

Last summer, it was the loss of Don Hutchison and Nick Barmby arguably our two best players.  One driven out by Smith's refusal to sanction a modestly improved deal.  And recent rumours suggest that the club actually pushed Nick Barmby out as one of Everton's most saleable assets.  Other key losses include Gavin McCann, who has gone on to prove himself at Sunderland.  

Not to mention the utter footballing travesty of narrowing the Goodison pitch...  What could be more tragically symbolic of Everton's continuing decline under Smith's dubious stewardship than this?

Walter Smith is taking the piss.  He has built on the power that flowed from his confrontation with Peter Johnson back in 1998, and now he appears to have become untouchable as he drags the Club and its long-suffering fans through one embarrassing episode after another.

And let's not even consider the disturbing rumours about how much he personally stands to make from yet another sale of the family jewels...


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