GrandOldTeam´s newest signing, Ian Benbow, has presented his thoughts on the notable increase in discontent amongst Evertonians.
“The eternal silence of these infinite spaces fills me with dread”
Blaise Pascal (1623-1662)
For the last few years, the summer transfer window has been an infinite space for Evertonians. Whilst it lasts only a matter of weeks from May to the end of August, the days are often long and are spent endlessly scouring the sports pages seeking transfer news without success; an all-consuming vacuum.
I am often reminded of the quote from Blaise Pascal in these times. The thunderous silence from Goodison casts a pall over the Club and each and every follower of it. In seasons past, those black clouds have held firm for one reason or another. The last gasp signing of Marouane Fellaini was a case in point; a ray of sunshine that pushed the storm a little further away.
However, it did not disappear and the first drops are beginning to be felt.
Even the most hermit-like of Blues cannot help but have noticed the first rumblings in the media about our plight. Chris Bascombe in the News of the World and Brian Reade in the Mirror have both broken cover and laid bare the ills of the Club and the frustrations of its’ supporters. Talksport has dedicated significant time to the issue. Even Dave Prentice was forced into a retreat over an article he wrote in the Echo following a deluge of criticism from disgruntled supporters.
But why now? Everton’s financial plight has been known for some time. This is not the first summer when the Club has been impervious to the raucous posturing of the transfer window. There would appear to be no-one coming in and, despite the efforts to move out the now grounded Super Eagles of Yobo and Yakubu, no-one is going out.
The lightning rod appears to have been a small band of Evertonians who have dubbed themselves “The People’s Group”. They have bombarded the media via email and Twitter with a lengthy letter setting out the questions that they want answered. Those questions concern the Blue’s finances and lay bare their opposition to the Club’s beleaguered Chairman.
It is not my intention to regurgitate those issues here, but they cover a multitude of sins including the Fortress Fund and the Kirkby debacle. They question how a club of Everton’s stature can be so becalmed in the transfer market whilst other, “lesser” teams splash the cash on new players. They want answers and they want action.
Let me be clear here: I am not against Kenwright nor am I for everything that “The People’s Group” stand for. Nor am I against a frugal and prudent approach to the running of the Club. In fact, I am all for the sensible management that involves the Club living within its’ means. If the consequence of such a policy is that Everton cannot compete with other teams in the transfer market then so be it. Everton has been here for over a hundred years and I would like it to be here for another hundred.
It is easy to yearn for the expansive transfer policy of a club like Manchester City and our near neighbours but for every one of those clubs there is a Leeds and a Portsmouth. We all love the Club and we would sooner it be here than not. There are countless examples of clubs who spent beyond their means and lie languishing in the lower divisions. This is not a fate that I would wish to see befall Everton.
Both City and the reds now have new owners and it is their millions that are funding the sprees. Kenwright does not have significant money and he cannot be criticised for that. He has always maintained that the Club is for sale and he is willing to sell. It is not known how much it is for sale for, though, nor is it known what has been done to find a buyer and inject some much needed capital. And that is precisely the problem.
The real problem is silence.
There has been nothing from Moyes.
There has been nothing from Kenwright.
It is that silence that is breeding discontent; that is filling me with dread.
This is not the first transfer window in which the club have covered their mouths and said nothing. Whenever Everton are on a high, there is Kenwright. When we reached the Cup Final two years ago, the radio and television were choc-a-bloc with Kenwright praising Moyes to the heavens and recounting his memories of the Boys’ Pen and Dave Hickson; a wall of sound.
Whenever things are not going well, there is silence.
And there is silence now.
I am a firm believer that if there is nothing to say then you should say so. People feel better when they are aware of what is going on and why. I do not agree with everything that “The People’s Group” say but I understand their desire for answers and welcome their efforts to get them.
What would be Evertonians’ reactions if Kenwright were to break cover and tell us, openly and honestly, that the Club have no transfer funds but that we are living within our means; that we need to sell players before we buy new ones? I am of the view that we would understand. Yet, nothing is said and we draw our own conclusions.
However, the Club’s only response was to allow Robert Elstone, its’ Chief Executive, to write a blog that was as damaging to the Club as it was ill-timed. Whilst it was refreshing to hear someone from the Club finally speak, it achieved little more than to give credence to the Club’s critics and “The People’s Group”. Elstone juxtaposed his view that the Club communication was excellent, with a refusal to meet with or listen to “The People’s Group”.
One can only hope that the sudden flurry of activity of the last 48 hours regarding a bid for N’Zogbia and the sale of the Yak are true. Yet, it will only serve to push the thunderclouds a little further away until next summer, when they will return over Goodison and the whole charade will begin again, unless the Club discards its’ policy of silence.
Until then the thunderclouds remain and their dark silence casts a shadow over this transfer window and the infinite time beyond.
George Bernard Shaw once said that “silence is the most perfect expression of scorn”. I think that sums the present perfectly.