A Window of Opportunity
The ups and downs of being an Evertonian in the transfer window eh?? At 10pm on transfer deadline night we were all raging bulls, fuming at the embarrassing news of a ‘ridiculous’ bid to Wigan and learning how Lukaku was heading down the M6 to the wrong training ground. An hour later, we were all thankful that Everton had saved themselves from a night of embarrassment and a potential backlash with some really clever business.
Now that the dust has settled on an extraordinary night, we offer our views on the summer activity and what the future holds. Since we started as a group 2 years ago, we have always maintained that the current board needs challenging for its past performance, and needs questioning about the direction we are going in, and rightly so. We will continue to challenge and believe that it is actually healthy that the top people at the club are not allowed to rest on their laurels.
We also believe that healthy debate is necessary between all Evertonians to share views and opinions. Twitter is great for this. You get trolls who like to abuse; idiots who like winding people up and fraudsters who would have you believe Messi was seen at the West Derby cash machine before heading to Finch Farm. But you get to meet and talk to some cracking blues with lots of different views. That’s the fun of it all.
Our opinions have always been consistent and are there for all to see. We support the team and manager, but oppose the board. It’s that simple. There are all types of fans with different views that we talk to every day. We have some eternal optimists, but we have some real doom and gloom merchants too. Our view is that everything is not always rosy, but it is by no means disastrous either. We are a bit of an ‘inbetweener’ if you like. Some people accuse us of always being negative about everything, but that is just wrong. There are always positives and negatives to take out of every situation. It gives a sense of realism and perspective, and that is what we aim to do with a look at this summer’s transfer activity.
Early business was vital to boost squad numbers, and although the 4 early arrivals had a touch of Wigan about them, they have filled the squad nicely. An under 21 Spanish goalkeeper arrived from Atletico Madrid. We signed a Paraguay international defender on a free who will provide really good cover at the back. The signing of ‘that kid from Barca’ Gerard Deulofeu has got all our imaginations running wild, and in a few weeks time this lad will be giving fullbacks up and down the country nightmares. What a talent. The best of him is yet to be seen. Kone arrived for £6m, and offered another threat up front.
At this stage Everton actually had a net spend. With the arrival of the new extra TV money, we went all crazy and spent £6-8m without selling anyone. YES, WITHOUT SELLING ANYONE! A Royal Hospital spokesman informed us they had a lot of Evertonians in that week with ‘shock like’ symptoms.
Transfer Deadline Day
The summer was largely quiet in terms of transfer activity, apart from the persistent Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini to Manchester United rumours. There were derisory bids aplenty, but come transfer deadline day, both players were still on Everton’s books.
Evertonians felt that keeping Baines in particular, was vital. Far too often in the past we have been bullied into selling our best players and offering poor excuses for the player being sold. However this was an excellent piece of work to fend off United and keep Baines. Credit to Baines too, for not kicking up a fuss and getting on with his work. An absolute diamond of a player.
Evertonians always felt that Fellaini was going to go. We just knew. Everton haggled away, and a player that United could have had for £23.5m a month ago, went for £27.5m very late on. Victor Anichebe was subject to a late bid from West Bromwich Albion, and we managed to rob £6m off them. Good luck to both.
We knew after the first three games that if we had a striker worth his salt, we could be top of the league right now. In fact we have been desperate for a top striker for years. So, to get Romelu Lukaku is an absolute coup for the club. This lad could get 20 plus goals this season. Super signing.
Finally, we had to replace Fellaini, and at 11pm last night, in to Finch Farm strolled two quality midfielders. The very experienced Gareth Barry and another quality young player with bags of potential in James McCarthy for £13m.
So, a satisfactory summer’s work? Let’s look at the positives and negatives.
· The squad is stronger without a doubt. We have players all over the pitch now competing for a starting place and the first eleven is going to be a quality side.
· Getting £33.5m for Fellaini and Anichebe is really good business. We cannot argue with that so it’s well done to Everton.
· Keeping Baines is a massive highlight and was vital to the team’s chances this season. Another well done.
· Getting midfielders and a striker in has strengthened areas we needed to. Lukaku is an excellent signing for the club.
· And finally, Roberto Martinez. The guy oozes class and is trying to implement a style of play that in years to come will hopefully have us return to the old ‘school of science’ way. Let’s give the man a chance and get behind him. We owe him that at least.
· Despite the largest influx of cash into the Premier League ever, and a promise from the chairman that Roberto would get every penny of any sale, we had the lowest net spend out of all 20 clubs. £33.5M came in yesterday, and we spent £13-16m. Hopefully Roberto will see this cash in January 2014, but judging by past windows, it is doubtful. We will not forget this.
· Leaving it so late. Haven’t we learnt our lesson after missing out on Ofoe, Fer, and nearly losing out on Pienaar? If the story was true that the McCarthy transfer was not dependant on Fellaini leaving, why did we sign him at 11pm on transfer deadline day for an over inflated price, the same time that Fellaini was sold?
· Let’s not forget, transfer deadline day was sell to buy. It may not be sell to survive anymore, but sell to buy is still a dangerous game to play so late on in the transfer window.
· Kone – not the signing, but the reaction to him. It isn’t fair that after three league games (he hasn’t even started yet!) he is the target of the boo boys. Give the lad a chance and judge him after a season. To call £6m a waste of money already is not doing anyone any good. Get behind the lad. He is a confidence player and needs fans with him, not all over him.
All in all, a decent summer in terms of on the pitch acquisitions, as long as the profit made on the transfers does not go missing, which unfortunately often has done in the past.
Martinez should have a decent transfer kitty next year (coughs). We will be keeping an eye on that one, and there will be some gentle reminders between now and January. The board has to be kept on its toes about the sale of the club and be challenged about what it is doing to attract investment. That issue does not go away. To make it big, we need investment.
We continue to ask why the self proclaimed ‘best Evertonian in the world’ cannot sell the club after fourteen years, and why other clubs continue to attract investment. Fulham recently got a billionaire owner out of nowhere, despite Bill’s insistence ‘no one is buying football clubs’.
Let us also not forget the continued lies from this board. Even this summer with the farce of the badge, the CEO was on record as saying ‘there was an extensive consultation process with fans and fan groups’. He later admitted there wasn’t. We will hopefully be liaising through our new excellent Director of Communications about our issues with the club.
Finally, its credit to Martinez. He said we will end the window stronger than we started it, and we have done. We have a cracking starting 11 and some really good cover now. To see the likes of Deulofeu, Mirallas, Barkley and Lukaku strutting their stuff at Goodison Park is an exciting prospect. So it is up to us as fans now to get behind Roberto and the boys. They deserve a chance and they deserve our support, and that is exactly what we at The Peoples Group will be doing.
Here’s to a good season!
The People’s Group