Well it’s confirmed. Another transfer window opens and Everton, yet again, appear to have no money to spend.
When Mikel Arteta was sold late in the day back in August, it was widely reported that a chunk of the transfer fee would be made available for David Moyes to spend in January. It was open to debate whether that “chunk” represented anything substantial but all the same, it was expected that Moyes could go shopping.
That was until yesterday, when Moyes confirmed that the Arteta money wouldn’t be made available to him and had indeed gone to service the debt at the bank. To quote Moyes "I think everybody knows that the bank wanted the money. I think you all knew that” In fairness to Moyes and the club, the reports in the autumn that money would be made available was unconfirmed assumptions in the media rather than direct quotes from the Club but all the same, it represents a worrying time for Moyes and the board.
Since last January, Everton have sold Steven Pienaar, Jermaine Beckford, Yakubu and Mikel Arteta for approximately £20m. This doesn’t include the substantial saving on wages with Yakubu and Arteta amongst the highest earners at the club. In that time, they've brought in on loan or short term deals Royston Drenthe, Denis Stracqualursi, James McFadden and Landon Donovan. The outlay for those loans and short terms deals, has been minimal. The old saying in football was you stand still you go backwards. Unfortunately, we’re can’t even stand still.
I’ve argued previously on here that those demanding change must be careful with what they wish for and I maintain that air of caution. But things can’t go on as they are for much longer. They simply can’t. We are often told that football is no longer a sport, it’s a business but whether business or sport the basics are the same. Put simply, if a product isn’t working, the business behind it will fail. What is of massive concern is that this decline comes on the back of perhaps our most consistent spell as a football club, since the halcyon days of the mid to late eighties.
Since Moyes’ arrival, the club has fought for European Football more than battling against relegation and even enjoyed that rarity of a good cup run, only to be beaten by Chelsea in the final. If we can’t keep our heads above water whilst things are going relatively well, how on earth are we going to achieve it when we begin to struggle? Because make no mistake, that’s what we’re in now – a struggle.
With loans coming to an end and contracts up, a small squad is likely to get an awful lot smaller in the coming months and with nothing in the coffers to replace players, it’s difficult to contemplate next season. The annual interest in Baines, Jagielka and Rodwell will no doubt re-appear in the summer if not before and this may very well be the year that at least one, if not more, moves on. However, if Arteta is the blueprint, we all know who’ll be the recipient of the money and it won’t be Moyes’ transfer kitty. Tension at Goodison Park is palpable at present and the weekend’s “meeting” with Kenwright which has appeared on Youtube has done little to quell the ill-feeling. The Blue Union has gone into overdrive since, utilising social network sites such as Twitter to give their stance. But can you blame them? Kenwright was ill-advised in his reaction to what were reasonable, constructive, honest questions that were asked in a civilized and peaceful manner.
These fans weren’t baying for blood, spouting the vile abuse suffered by say Steve Kean at Blackburn. No these were ordinary fans, asking important questions and seeking answers with regard to the Club that they love. If Kenwright loves the club as much as he says he does, surely he understands why fans are becoming fraught? To label any fan, or group of fans as betraying the club is beyond belief and will only serve to add to their support.
Fans are beginning to stay away, with attendances on the slide and whilst the current economic climate and time of year may be the official reason given by the club, the performances on and off the field will also be a consideration for any fan looking to spend what spare cash they may have.
I don’t know what the next 12 months will hold for Everton but like most, I’m struggling to be optimistic. It may very well be more of the same but if that’s the case, what money would you place on one of the best managers we have had in a very long time, still being in situ come August? And who’d blame him if he wasn’t?
Nil Satis Nisi Optimum anyone?
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