Monday, 22 August 2011

Everton's plight is a warning the Premier League need to heed


There is no shame in Bill Kenwright pleading poverty.
No disgrace in coughing up the fact Everton have the begging bowl out.
No dishonour in accepting the club's fate is now in the banks' hands rather than their own.
Rather Kenwright should be applauded for letting the cat out of the bag, for pointing out the elephant in the room.
The grandly title music impresario deserves a round of applause for coming clean.
For at last, someone in the madhouse has woken up to the realities of football's precarious position and spoken out.
At last, someone has pointed out the emperor is wearing no clothes.
Kenwright revealed Everton are making £80m and spending £85m a year. The club has maxed out their bank overdraft and the men in suits want their money back.
So the shutters have been pulled down atGoodison Park and David Moyes' cheque book has been locked in his top drawer.
What's more amazing is that this has happened at a club you could hardly call the most extravagant of spenders.
The last time they spent big was in the summer of 2009 when Sylvain Distin, Diniyar Bilyaletdinov and Johnny Heitinga joined the club.
And that little spending spree was paid for by securing an inflated £24m fee from Manchester City for Joleon Lescott.
So if the Toffees are in a sticky patch, what are the rest of the overstretched Premier League clubs like?
Well Newcastle owner Mike Ashley's u-turn on the reinvesting the £35m they received for Andy Carroll is suddenly becoming understandable in this context.
The retail millionaire is known to like a gamble but even he feels the odds are stacked against him at St James' Park.
Despite a huge income from television money, making the Premier League pay is proving almost impossible.
It seems only the cash machine that is Manchester United is producing a profit and the funds raised at Old Trafford are increasingly being used to pay off the debts in America of the Glazer family.
So, have we reached the tipping point? It seems so. The rush of clubs determined to spend themselves to death has been halted by the arrival of bank managers no longer seduced by the glamour of the game but instead preaching prudence.
Those colossal overdrafts are being dragged back to realistic levels and teams are working out how to cut their cloth accordingly.
The losers in all this? Well for a while it looked like it might be the fans. The loyal supporters who would have had to watch on as their beloved institution crumbled under the weight of the egos of vainglorious owners dreaming of success and borrowing too heavily to achieve it.
But now with sense being knocked into the heads of football's bean counters, there is going to be a different victim.
The overpaid and over pampered football player is going to take the brunt of a backlash as chips are called in and contracts are either renewed at lower rates or torn up altogether.
The fool's paradise is likely to turn into a dystopia for a while. But supporters should catch their tongues before they lambast boards for a lack of ambition.
Football needs to sort itself out and the austerity measures will be painful as Everton are finding.
But it's better if we are watching the Toffees turn out in ten years time rather than visiting their grave.
ends

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