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Season 2011-12
The Mail Bag

Dining at the heartbreak hotel

 34 Comments: First  |  Last

I, like so many other Evertonians, awoke to news that would shock us. One of our own, our beloved son Mikel Arteta had sought pastures new.

Personally, I remember his debut. I had seen him before he graced our colours, playing for Rangers (and indeed had signed him on Football Manager!) and was excited about the prospect. What I didn't know and couldn't predict that he would play his way into our hearts, and us, it seemed, were taken to his.

In brief, we loved him. We supported him throughout any time he struggled ? I recall us singing his song when he first mustered the strength to sit in the stands at Goodison after what could have been a career threatening injury ? and always wanted the best for him. To my mind, even when he struggled, there were few outcries against him.

He was good to us, too. There are plenty of memories ? too many to list here and I'm sure you all have your own personal favourites -? associated with the Best Little Spaniard We Know.

But now, as he leaves, I cannot help but feel like a jilted lover. I understand the footballer is a fickle creature, and I understand he's grasping an opportunity which we simply cannot offer him ? I don't begrudge him that. But he was one of Us and we thought he felt the same.

I see a lot of people on messageboards wishing him the best and I wonder how much of that is through gritted teeth. I wonder if I'm alone when pictures of him incite similar wrenching feelings to an ex-girlfriend enjoying herself in a new life without you. No doubt he will get an excellent reception when he plays against us, but I for one will not be applauding with my heart in it.

He leaves as a star of a struggling club, a stagnating club, which fought tooth and nail for his services. He must have realised that he was our only true creative attacking outlet, and the manner of leaving ? demanding a transfer at what was it, 10pm on deadline day? ? has left us with a void that we simply cannot fill. It feels to me that the manner of his leaving is ? bizarre as it is to say this about a professional footballer ? selfish, especially considering all the club, the fans and his friends at the team have done for him.

To me, then, Arteta's hero status has greatly diminished. Arsenal would have still had their £10m, their Champions League football and their Fabregas shaped hole in January. Idealistic as it sounds, but the deal could have deen done, say, today, with a mindset of him leaving in the next window officially, and although that will have undoubtedly left us with a player with his mind elsewhere, it would have allowed us to (banks notwithstanding) draft in a replacement to fill the creative void he's leaving.

In other words, Arsenal get their man, Arteta gets his ambitions fulfiled and Everton ? at the very least ? keep the bank at bay, but have an opportunity to replace him. All parties pleased... and because the deal was hammered through almost as the door was slamming shut, I fully expect the Arsenal camp was preparing for life without getting their man and the fact they did so at the eleventh hour will seem much more of a coup.

There will, of course, be anti-Kenwright conspiracists saying that Arteta played the martyr so we could raise a quoted £10m conveniently, but one thing is for certain; it will feel lonely in the centre of the park without the Best Little Spaniard We Know.
Mike Dillon, Liverpool     Posted 02/09/2011 at 14:48:14

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Michael Kenrick
1   Posted 02/09/2011 at 16:39:20

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I echo the sentiments, Mike; it's really sad to see him go... and an indictment of what we have become as a club under the Kenwright regieme...

But what's this nonsense you then get into? "The deal could have been done, say, today, with a mindset of him leaving in the next window officially" ? completely bizarre!! The transfer window is now closed!

But that doesn't seem to stop you: "it would have allowed us to draft in a replacement" ? No it wouldn't! For fear of repeating myself, the transfer window is now closed!
Andrew Rimmer
2   Posted 02/09/2011 at 16:42:17

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Looking at Arteta with rose tinted spectacles? Be honest, I hope in his new contract there is a clause that states, "Whenever Arsenal play against Everton, Arteta MUST take all free-kicks and corners"! Good luck Mikel, I hope Spain notices you now!
Ray Robinson
3   Posted 02/09/2011 at 16:47:27

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I'd prefer to thank Arteta for not leaving earlier. He could have done several times but chose to stay. For that he has my gratitude. When you were as good as him, why would you play with some of the dross that we've seen over the years?
Marc Williams
4   Posted 02/09/2011 at 16:51:03

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Mike - I really think this "demanding a transfer at the last minute has left a void" is a red herring.

Does anyone (other than maybe Doddy) actually beleive we'd have spent any of the fee, if he'd gone sooner?

If you do, then fair play to you but I'm guessing you'll have a long wait "Watching this space".

Ian Bennett
5   Posted 02/09/2011 at 16:41:58

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Football players are not fans, no matter how much they pretend. £10k per week more here, 2 year longer contract here. Kiss the badge and then move to the next club willing to pay more.

Until fans wake up to this, the Sky money will continue. One day fans will wake up, outside of the top four will say, "Do you know where you can stick your 40 quid a month Sky, 500 quid season ticket and 50 quid replica kit?"

One day it will come, and those clubs with players earning £50-80k per week on 5 year deals will be screwed big style. I predict the end of the Premier League in 5 years time ? it's a bubble just like any other, and it will crash one day.

Michael Kenrick
6   Posted 02/09/2011 at 17:11:07

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If only we'd had £1 for every person who's posted over the years with his wisdom that "the Premier League bubble will burst within 5 years"... Ho hum.
Peter Laing
7   Posted 02/09/2011 at 17:20:40

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Best wishes to Mikel is all I can say, he could have left last season but decided to sign on again for a blockbuster contract - who could blame him ? This contract allowed us to recoup £10 million for him rather than letting his contract run down and leaving on a free with a guaranteed massive signing on bonus elsewhere. He has also taken what is being reported as a £10-20 k wage drop. The reasons cited for leaving or all football / personal related, given his age and the lure of champions league and a transfer to a Club that plays his style of football - again who can blame him. The people to blame are those running our Club for not sharing this ambition and continually treading water and making do. Adios Mikel, thanks for the memories and best wishes for the future.
Dennis Stevens
8   Posted 02/09/2011 at 17:32:47

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The indications that Everton were paying Arteta about £10K per week more than a much more successful & affluent club are willing to pay him seems yet another example of the incompetence of those running/ruining the club.
Tony Cheek
9   Posted 02/09/2011 at 17:28:41

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We will all miss Mikel, but like others feel he was a much better player before the injury. It would have broke my heart to lose him at that time.
Lately, he has been the biggest source of irritation, as we all know he could do better. His passes were not as telling and more of them were sideways. He insistence to take free kicks instead of Baines was also driving me mad. I think that Moyes negativity was ruining his game.
But he was a tough little nut. I will always remember the game when he recieved a nasty head injury and was down for a few minutes, then played on. About 15 mins later he got another one and was down again and it seemed he had to go off. But no, he was up again, and played the whole game.
When he was good , he was brilliant, when he was disapointing, we probably noticed it more than we would have with the rest of the players.
He has set standards, and it might be a while before we see his like at Goodison.
Best of luck Mikel, for a while its not going to be so boring to watch Arsenal play. It will be interesting to see if you get that magic back. Now that will really piss me off!
Mike Oates
10   Posted 02/09/2011 at 18:13:05

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If Everton had want to keep him then the price would have reflected that - more like £15m as per Jagielka - ie he's not for sale tag. Once he realised that Everton were contemplating him leaving then the lad quite rightly said I'll go and for football resaons alone.
He hasn't done a Pinnear which he quite rightly could have done that last season.

Good luck to the lad at least he's joined a team based on similar principle to us - ie you build a team you dont buy it - but as we all know that Philosophy doesn't work in today's football - shame
Karl Masters
11   Posted 02/09/2011 at 18:15:38

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I think we should look at it this way:

He's 30 in March and we probably got the best 6 and a half years out of him that anybody will get. £10m is a decent fee. His value would have dropped sharply soon due to age.

He has never been quite the same since the year out and his set-pieces were actually by and large awful in recent times.

He gave us some wonderful memories, some cracking goals and was always a good ambassador for the Club,. Let him have a crack at the CL and getting in the Spain team. I think we were good for each other. His career was going nowhere and we helped resurrect it. He cost us £2.5m and we got £10m back as well as all the memories.

I'm sure EFC will always be 'his English club'. Good Luck to the best little Spaniard we know.
Luke Dunn
12   Posted 02/09/2011 at 18:22:38

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Can't see what all the fuss is about, he is a mercenary just like all the other overpaid wankers in the Premier League. Let's be honest, you can count on one hand how many good games he has had in the last 3 seasons.

Yes, it could have been more but that is just the way it is. We have plenty of cover for him I and I read a stat that we won more games last season without him, so I think people really need to get a grip of themselves and stop moping.

He probably held the club to ransom before he signed his £75k a week deal a while back.
Mike Dillon
13   Posted 02/09/2011 at 18:22:28

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Michael, from what I've read it's possible for clubs to agree transfers (mostly labelled "tapping up" in the press) outside of the window; deals which would go through over the official channels as the window opens. Little more than a gentleman's agreement, as it were.

I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure I've seen a few deals go this way. The highest profile example is Ronaldo to Madrid - an unofficially done deal long before the end of the season with the player moving on in the summer.
Ray Said
14   Posted 02/09/2011 at 18:25:25

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The most maudlin piece i have read on here. I thought Mike was having Artetas love child the way he went on.
Arteta-he played for us, he got very well paid and usually did a fair days work for his pay.

He was just a decent player while he was here, no more, no less. In the pantheon of Goodison greats he is about number 250.
My response is now 'Mickel who?'-dead to me once you go from Goodison.
Andy Crooks
15   Posted 02/09/2011 at 19:35:50

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Ray, I kind of agree with you about the tone Of Mike's post. I think it was good business for us but that doesn't diminish my view of Arteta. If he;d gone to Arsenal 3 years ago he'd have done well, in fact he may have been a star. He offered a bit of inspiration in what was too often dour stuff. Roll on the next game till we get a look at the new lads, provided, of course they get a chance.
Ray Said
16   Posted 02/09/2011 at 19:43:58

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Andy, I respect your view of Arteta and I have nothing in particular against him but its just my view of most players. I remember Ball going and I was upset-but even he was dead to me when he left the blues. They are all transient to me, they come in one door and go out another.
Rob Murphy
17   Posted 02/09/2011 at 20:46:51

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£10m in the bank,highest earner off the wage bill.In my opinion we should've told Arsenal £25m & we'll throw in Jagielka as well.It's all gone a bit stale,some new blood might've freshened up the squad a bit.
John Daley
18   Posted 02/09/2011 at 20:54:35

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Ahh, the warm, fuzzy glow of idealised memories.

I was welling up reading about "one of our own, our beloved son" who found his "way into our hearts", and summoned forth Herculean "strength to sit in the stands at Goodison" thanks solely to the power of fan song. Beautiful. Straight from the heart.

How could the little Spanish man touch you so deeply, yet spurn you so coldly? The agony of it all must be almost unbearable for you. Oh, Mikel, how sharper than a serpents tooth is your betrayal.

Good job you had the foresight to get that big photo of Mikel laminated all those years ago. Although I suspect it's not normally tears you're wiping off it.
Matt Traynor
19   Posted 02/09/2011 at 21:43:45

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Funny how people fall for the revisionism of the club PR machine.

Everton were in talks with Arsenal, fee agreed, before Arteta supposedly demanded to go, and dropped his wage demands.

So, er, that suggests Everton were already planning to sell him? The last day timing was our decision - same as Rooney, just so the "no time to sign anyone" excuse is rolled out, and then come January, for any of the deluded idiots who think the money is sitting there gathering interest (!), "January is never a good time to buy" (c) D Moyes 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 etc.
Sean Patton
20   Posted 02/09/2011 at 21:35:56

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Haha a bit harsh there John.

I agree with Ray once they are gone then thats it Arteta wont enter my thoughts until we play Arsenal thats football eh Mikel.

Players do come and go though mostly go at Goodison these days and I am not just posting this because he has gone but he was never that great in the first place.

For me he went missing everytime Everton played one of the top 4 it was always Cahill who shone against the big boys he was the one who scored at Old Trafford and Anfield and stood up to the challenge.

He will get a good reception when he returns and desrves it for his time at Everton but as Ste Blundell points out on another thread Ross Barkley will make Arteta look like Carlton Palmer!
Mike Jones
21   Posted 02/09/2011 at 21:50:09

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I haven't read any of these comments, but i'm sure the same wording as presented in the opening post appears on Mike D, am I right ?
Andy Crooks
22   Posted 02/09/2011 at 23:31:27

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Cruel stuff, John Daley.
Ray Roche
23   Posted 02/09/2011 at 23:21:26

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Ray Said @16
" I remember Ball going and I was upset-but even he was dead to me when he left the blues. They are all transient to me, they come in one door and go out another. "

Ray, I'm astonished that anyone who witnessed Alan Ball in the blue of Everton could dismiss his time at this club in such an indifferent way. Ball was one of world football's greatest players, a man who loved this club and was sold against his will. His regard for Everton was not diminished by his sale to another club,ironically also Arsenal. Do you have a similar contempt for Brian Labone as well?
Ray Said
24   Posted 03/09/2011 at 00:21:14

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Ray Roche 23

Alan Ball was great but when he played for someone other than the blues then he was the opponent. I didnt 'dismiss his time with the club in an indifferent way' ? I dismissed him once he left the club.

I have expressed no contempt for Alan Ball ? you do seem to like to put words in people's mouths don't you ? and agree that he was one of the greats and I have no contempt for Brian Labone. You seem to miss the point, when they are no longer with us then they are the opposition and are dead to me.

Steve Green
25   Posted 03/09/2011 at 00:32:20

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I really remember his debut, Mike, being based now down near Southampton as I am. I recall him coming on as a second-half sub at St Mary's and from minute one he looked class. By that I mean possessing the ability to take the ball in his stride without falter and play his stuff, accept poseession easily and not be lost with the ball at his feet. It stood out a million miles on day one.

Not too much to ask of a professional footballer I agree, not less someone earning decent bucks (as was then, not mega bucks as now), but he bloody stood out as a ball player that afternoon like no-one had done since Gary Stanley circa '79/80-ish. I knew there and then over the course of approx 25 mins that he was a class act, the likes of which we don't see often.

Steve Green
26   Posted 03/09/2011 at 00:44:55

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Ray Said @ #24, you did express contempt fot the late, eternally great Alan Ball in your comment @ # 16.

Past players can remain greats when they move on, not just be considered dead. Whether you like it or not, whether you accept it or not, your comment condemned the great man.

Shame on you.

Eric Myles
27   Posted 03/09/2011 at 02:46:04

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When LCAB left us I used to go to Anfield every time Arsenal visited just to see him again.

I wish Mikel much sucess with Arsenal and will maybe even watch them on the telly ocassionally to see how he's doing.

Ray Roche
28   Posted 03/09/2011 at 06:56:53

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Ray Said@24

I like to put words in peoples mouths? I don't think so. I do, however, like to point out someone who makes disrespectfull remarks about a true Everton legend. As Steve Green correctly points out, a player does not lose his "greatness" once he leaves this club. Alex Young, Alan Ball, Brian Labone and others, are still great players to me (and others) regardless of whether they left Everton for other clubs or not. What do you do when they return to Goodison and are paraded on the pitch as a "Goodison Great"? Boo them?

You sound like a fool.
Lee Courtliff
29   Posted 03/09/2011 at 08:42:56

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Good luck Mikel.

One of my all-time favourite players. Right up there with Big Dunc and Andrei.

A top player and a gentleman(even though i've never met him in person he always came across well when interviewed).
Ray Said
30   Posted 03/09/2011 at 09:43:27

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Steve Green-
that's my opinion freely expressed so no shame on me at all. You have your opinion and i have mine.

Ray Roche-
No, i don't boo greats when they return. I have an opinion and you have yours. Exchange of views is what the site is about. You sound like a man who only hears his side of a debate so no point in responding to you any further.
Ray Roche
31   Posted 03/09/2011 at 10:06:19

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Ray Said

Of course I have an opinion. And I enjoy a debate.
But "dead to me once you go from Goodison". and "They are all transient to me, they come in one door and go out another. "
And you say that I sound like a man who only hears his own side of a debate.
Like I said , you sound like a fool and one with a high opinion of himself..
Ed Fitzgerald
32   Posted 03/09/2011 at 11:43:37

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Lets be honest there have been few players of Artetas quality over the past few decades at Goodison. He is a player of genuine class. You cant blame him for wanting CL football and we cant call him a money grabber either he took a pay cut.

The club (not Moyes) wanted him to go otherwise why talk to Arsenal. I wish him well at the emirates and he should get a good reception when he returns.
Dan McKie
33   Posted 03/09/2011 at 12:23:28

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Im sorry that Arteta has gone, but he was right, it was best for all parties, and there are very few deals in football where you can say that. He took a pay cut and his move was for pure football reasons. Not like a Tevez, who is 'desperate' to go home to be with his kids, but wont even consider dropping his monster 200k+ a week pay. Good luck Mikel, and I now hope we get the chance (if Moyes has the balls) to see an exciting young midfield 5 of Coleman, Barkley, Rodwell, Fellaini & Drenthe on the same pitch together some time soon. COYB!
Danny Biddle
34   Posted 05/09/2011 at 08:46:39

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The thing I find annoying is that he was gracious enough to take a pay cut going to Arsenal. What about taking a pay cut when he was playing for us... we were the club he loved and were struggling finacially. They could afford his £75k a week, we couldn't!

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