Summer Lovin’

moyes and mourinho

It’s that time of year when everyone is scraping around for something to say, and ‘Leroy Fer still keen on Everton switch’ is viewed as news worth repeating on a daily basis.

Still, we’ll soldier on and sift through the journalistic silt to look for some shiny nuggets of red hot soccer info.

First up then, it was interesting to see Jose Mourinho rather unsubtly declare that he knew months ago that Alex Ferguson was hanging his chewy up and calling time on his career as manager of Manchester United. They had a conversation a while ago where Ferguson revealed his plan but swore the Portuguese to secrecy, presumably ending their chat with something along the lines of: ‘Whatever you do, don’t tell David, I want to see his face when it is announced at the end of the season. He’ll shit!’

It’s going to be so weird watching David Moyes this season, especially early on, as the press analyses his every gesture and compares him to Mourinho and, of course, Ferguson himself. And while he’s almost certainly not stood in front of a mirror like Travis Bickle, he must be conscious of, say, the first time that United are chasing a goal late on in a match. If he starts pointing at an imaginary watch he could end up looking like a right phoney – the press will talk about ‘Moyesy minutes’ – but if he doesn’t then questions will be asked about whether he appreciates the nuances of the dark arts required to win at the highest level.

His old fall back at Everton when he disliked something a reporter said was to adopt his hard-dad-shopping-with-the-family-on-a-sunny-day stare. The one that says ‘Eyes front, knobhead. She’s only 14.’ If he tries that at United will he give the impression that he just can’t cope with the pressure?

And speaking of people being unhappy with the press, you have to wonder what’s going on with Everton’s PR at the moment. First there was ‘shit badge-gate’, which they eventually sorted out kind of satisfactorily, but now Robert Elstone has released that ambiguous statement on the official site stating his displeasure with the manner in which the Echo reported the sale of Finch Farm by some company or other to Liverpool City Council.

There’s a touch of the Gillian Taylforth’s in all this insomuch as no one really noticed the original event – in this case the Echo’s article, in her’s noshing her fella off in the car – until the supposedly injured party – Elstone/Cathy Beale – made a fuss about it. Reading around, no one seems to have the faintest idea whether the whole ownership of the Everton training ground being in the hands of someone other than the club is a good thing or not. Owning your premises is certainly no prerequisite of being a successful enterprise, although there is always the suspicion that it is a one-off fix to paper over financial cracks – something that the present owners think they might as cash in on rather than just let someone else do it in the future. As we say, no one really seems to know.

It did seem odd though that Elstone never sorted his gripe out with the Echo in a more informal manner, and that once he decided to air his views publicly elected against specifying which bits of the article were inaccurate or spun too negatively.

And while we’re on the subject of the press and opinion formers on the local football scene, we must make a belated comment on the infamous list of Anfield agitators compiled by one-time Everton communications cat Paul Tyrell. Amid all the talk of freedom of information, data protection and just general outrage, no one really seemed to spare a thought for the real injured parties, i.e. all the fanzine and internet types who didn’t feature on the list. There must have been bloggers in Melton Mowbray fucking incandescent that they never made the cut, because apart from Peter Hooton getting labelled ‘rent a quote on anything to do with the city of Liverpool’ everyone else was made up thinking that club considered them that important.

A bit of computer hacking has revealed that Tyrell also compiled a similar dossier for Everton’s board, detailing the most influential thinkers and subversive elements among the club’s support. They are:

1. Elvis the steward.

2. The weirdo Ryan Air employee who chained himself to the post during the game against Manchester City.

3. Them Brazilian dancers who had their arses hanging out in front of the Family Enclosure.

4. Satis? fanzine.

5. Stephen Price.

6. The arl fella with the Jesus guff placard.

7. Mrs Butler’s eldest.

8. The queue for the Goodison Supper Bar.

9. Jonny Goggles.

10. The Guardian’s Andy Hunter. Of limited influence.

More random bollocks about stuff that was current about a fortnight ago to come in the weeks ahead. No really, you’re welcome.

Yet More Managers And Badge Caper


Hey you, the rock steady crew.

Get on Everton, lurching from their slumber and gittin’ they house in order.

First up, as predicted, Robert Elstone has chosen, to use a favourite Max Clifford phrase ‘GET IN THE FUCKING VAN OR I’LL CUT YOU!’, no, hang on, a different one, and that is ‘to get in front’ of a situation. The whole badge thing was snowballing – well, the petition was getting loads of signatures and the papers were all running gleeful, teasing stories – and the club had the choice of hunkering down and waiting for everyone to get bored, which they would have eventually, or getting on the ‘front foot’. To their credit they chose the latter option, held their hands up and said they will put things right.

You can’t say any fairer than that.

Before anyone gets too carried away with what happened though, don’t get drunk on power like the Moonies over the park who still think they kicked ‘Dem Yanks’ out. This was a relatively easy thing for Everton to turn around and make some PR capital out of and so they did. Don’t think that you will ever influence anything genuinely significant via the medium of the outraged tweet.

Just for the record, it’s been slightly irritating seeing people like the Guardian’s Paul Wilson and the Creative Review cover the situation in some depth and yet manage to miss the main gripe that Evertonians seem to have with the new badge, i.e. that judged purely on aesthetics it looks silly and cheap and lacks any of the inherent gravitas that characterises the venerable institution that is Everton Football Club. Regardless of the motto or any other single element, whoever designed that thing just didn’t ‘get it’.

Similarly Elstone over-emphasised the whole lack of supporter consultation. It just needed to be a decent design and there would have been very little fuss. Obviously you can’t please everyone, but anything that obeyed any sort of basic design principles for a start would have certainly avoided the outcry that has so embarrassed the club over the last few days.

And speaking of shitty branding, Dave Whelan, whose DW Sports shops’ signage looks as if it’s based on the theme of ‘Soho tourist trap sex club’, reckons that now Roberto Martinez has quit Wigan he should join Everton.

For some reason Bill Kenwright is trying to be all coy, but surely he must know already if the Spaniard is the man he wants. Acting as if he‘s going to have him and Alan Stubbs back in for an ‘assessment centre’ in a mid-priced hotel followed by a final panel interview just seems a bit wishy-washy. Manchester United have already started booting people out and plotting who they are going to nab from Everton while it seems on the surface at least that we are still getting Malky Mackay to sit an in-tray test and asking Phil Neville to give us an example of a time when he did something really shit that let loads of people down and how did he handle it.

‘By pointing, hmmm. No, that’s fine.’

Will Martinez – let’s just say it’s going to be him – be the best choice? There’s really no way of knowing, is there? You just have to look at the positives, and they are ostensibly that his teams play attacking football, everyone within the game seems to really rate him, and perhaps one thing that doesn’t really get mentioned is that his players work their plums off for him. That was one of Moyes’s great strengths, getting the players to graft, and Martin O’Neill once said that Brian Clough told him it was one of the most important things about management; if you get players who will run for you then you are halfway there.

Martinez is also, reportedly, a control freak workaholic, and that is something Everton definitely need in the wake of Moyes – someone to lead, make decisions and provide a sense of purpose. A ‘vision’ is straying into Brendan Rodgers territory, but you get the gist. We need someone who can try and make a team that is greater than the sum of its parts, and given the work he did at Wigan – where you could at least see what he was trying to achieve – then Martinez is certainly in that mold.

We don’t have the squad or the money to have some slightly distant ‘head coach’ figure, we need a manager whose whole reputation hinges on doing the best for Everton, and that’s why the board seem willing to take a chance – which it obviously is – on someone who has just been relegated.

This is all dependent on him taking the job, obviously. If he goes to Malaga instead then he’s shite and we’ve dodged a crafty-combed, weird-staring-over-the-interviewer’s-shoulder, ill-fitting-overcoat-wearing bullet. The twat.