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ToffeeWeb Viewpoint
Thoughts from the Editor

Los Desaparecidos
25 July 2004

16 Everton players.  Gone.  That's enough for a teamsheet with five subs.  How could Everton possibly survive if they had allowed 16 players to leave?  As the club sinks deeper into crisis this summer, that's the subliminal question every journo hack utters as he repeats this now widely accepted mantra.

Let's be iconoclastic for a moment and actually look at the facts, rather than simply believe this nonsense.  Who has actually departed?

Tomasz Radzinski 30 (8) 8 goals
David Unsworth 26 (5) 3 goals
Alex Nyarko 10 (4) 0 goals
Francis Jeffers 6 (15) 2 goals
Steve Simonsen 1 (0) 0 goals
Paul Gerrard 0 (0) 0 goals
Scott Gemmill 0 (0) 0 goals

err... who else?  Come on, now.... That's only seven including two goalies, neither of whom have impressed.  Who are the other nine?  Sixteen Everton players have left, remember!

Some might be tempted to include Niclas Alexandersson since he also ran out his contract until the end of the season but he actually left the Club back in February; hardly current news, I would say, so we're not counting him.

That's it.  No other Everton first team players have left.  Just for reference, the numbers represent senior appearances starts and subs for each of these players last season; league and cup combined.  Certainly two key players in that group... the rest?

So exactly how do our loveable friends the journo hacks for whom factual information is their daily bread get to this remarkable and indeed frightening number of sixteen?

Well, let's throw some names out that you might have heard of; they were after all given squad numbers last season:

  • Michael Symes.  He scored for Bradford yesterday in a friendly... he must be good? 
    Never played for Everton first team; released 17 May 2004
  • Stephen Schumacher.  Highly rated youngster; England captain... he must be good? 
    Never played for Everton first team; released 17 May 2004
  • Brian Moogan.  Played a few games in the reserves... was he any good? 
    Never played for Everton first team; released 17 May 2004

Okay, that makes ten.  We're getting there... but they hardly count, do they?  Name one young Everton reserve player who never made it as a senior player at Goodison, but has come back to haunt us?  Alan Moogan and Peter Clarke were also released from their contracts but strangely they are still around, playing their respective parts in Everton's pre-season games, so I have not counted them.

What about the rest?  We need six more names.  Six Everton players whose departure at the end of the 2003-04 season somehow epitomizes the dreadful implosion that will leave Everton's squad threadbare and lacking in depth for the next Premiership onslaught.  Who are they?

Well, after a little bit of research, I came up with six more names:

  • Scott Brown
  • Craig Garside
  • Joey Jones
  • Gavin Lynch
  • Anthony Barry *
  • James Harris *

What do they have in common?  Other than the fact that no-one outside of Everton's Youth Academy has ever heard of them?  (Okay, diligent readers of ToffeeWeb and followers of Everton Reserves excepted...)  Yes, at some time or another after working their way through the Youth Academy Under-17s and Under-19s, they played for Everton Reserves last season, but were then released in May 2004.  [* In fact, I cannot actually confirm these two were released, but they do not appear among Everton's Academy Players on the official website.  It could be that the press are counting Peter Clarke and Alan Moogan instead...]

Just think of the many, many players who have come up through the Everton ranks and have then been released because they did not make the grade.  It happens every season; the loss of talent is depressing but it is a fact of football.  David Moyes said, when asked 15 months ago if there were any other youngsters (ie, Rooneys) coming through the Youth Academy, he said "No."

So these make up the rest of 16 Disappeared Ones?  Let's summarize:

  • Less than half of the sixteen have ever played for the Everton first team. 
  • Less than one third of them played any part in last season's admittedly dismal senior performances
  • Only three of them scored any goals for Everton last season
  • Two of them are goalies who are simply not good enough (cf Martyn, Wright & Turner)
  • Only two of the 16 could even be considered as key players

Let's try to adopt a sense of proportion here, shall we?  In real terms, we have lost Tomasz Radzinski and David Unsworth.  And we have brought in Marcus Bent and Tim Cahill.  The rest were deadwood that really needed trimming, or youngsters who will not make the Premiership grade.  So, dear jurno hacks, please let's hear no more about the 16 desaparecidos of Everton 2004.


Michael Kenrick

2004 ToffeeWeb


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