My immediate response to Martin Samuel’s Daily Mail article (typical of their whiny, scaremongering, elitist, blah, blah, blah) on Wednesday was to change my Twitter name from ‘Angry Statto’ to ‘Very Angry Statto’.
But having letting the dust settle on the matter, I was expecting to feel a little better and take the moral high ground. However, such is the way that Samuel goes to great lengths to undermine a perfectly legal way of achieving progress and relative success, it has pierced my rhino-esque skin and begun eating away at the democratic point of view in me, exposing a visceral anger (very angry, as previously mentioned) and threatening to see me overload and discombobulate.
Why does a talented manager such as Arsene Wenger need to be defended by an excuse of a man, in Samuel – who is at the same time, trying to demonstrate that he knows more about football than the everyday person; except there’s more than a few bloggers who could buy and sell him and a few of his colleagues both for his paper and his Fleet Street cohorts?
Simple answer: He doesn’t. Samuel feels that he needs to demonise an innocent club like Everton to demonstrate why the elite are struggling this season. Is he really stooping to the level of Talksport where he is trying to get the readers who can (hopefully) think for themselves and make their own minds up whether or not Roberto Martinez has done a good job and operated strictly within the rules (which he and Everton Football Club, have).
Now, the naysayers towards me might raise the point that I am taking this personally just because Samuel is attacking the club that I love. But no, he is ACTUALLY attacking football and the idea of fair competition. In effect, it could be ANY club in England that he is writing his completely slanted diatribe against. Watford must have come in for a pasting last season, if his views are completely balance. But I’ll be honest, that isn’t my job to scroll through his past work to find out.
My whole moan is that this season has been the most open in the Premier League for a long, long time and it’s brought some real competition back to the English top-flight which had previously been missing. Everton have taken advantage of the drop in form from Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester United to leapfrog two of them and challenge a third in the race for the higher echelons of competition. Namely, qualification for the Champions League…qualification fixtures.
I am very certain that if Everton do indeed beat Arsenal in the race for fourth place this season, Samuel will be writing that this is England’s weakest representatives in the tournament for a long time. But, you know what Martin, your words mean nothing at all. They do not stop Romelu Lukaku’s shots, they do not force Tim Howard into a save and they do not prevent Everton Football Club from doing any LEGAL activity which helps them progress in the seedy and heavily-weighted events of modern day football.
Heavily-weighted in the favour of the global conglomerates and the oligarchs who buy up football clubs. If Samuel is seizing upon Everton’s valiant efforts, why doesn’t he complain to the Premier League and make sure that no elite club can be usurped by plucky underdogs, just in case it happens again? Why not give the elite clubs a headstart before a ball is even kicked at the beginning of a season?
No, because the real problem is clubs buying up all the players to stop others purchasing them and making sure that they cannot challenge in any of the competitions for more than one season at a time. Stockpiling players is like tying the arms of a child and then kicking him in the face. What is the point of a competition if it isn’t played on a level playing field? Imagine if in the World Cup or European Championships, you could only select players who had represented you before or played a part on the field in the qualifying section. What if your players got injured or suspended? Would you have to forfeit your place in the tournament, because you didn’t have enough bodies to make a team?
Clubs who have the money should not be allowed to buy players simply to stop others using them as an option. Look at Scott Sinclair at Manchester City. He left Swansea City thinking he would have a chance at winning trophies and medals. He won nothing and the very next season, Swansea won the League Cup. Diddums. He has played 11 games in two seasons at the Etihad and is currently on-loan (ironically) at West Bromwich Albion.
In effect, his career has gone backwards. A clearly talented individual, Sinclair wouldn’t look out of place in the Everton squad given time and games, but at the end of this season he may well find himself on the transfer list – if he already isn’t.
I didn’t see or hear Mr Samuel having a go at Everton when they had Tim Howard originally on loan, Denis Stracqualursi two seasons ago, Landon Donovan on two separate occasions and so on and so forth. Why? Because they weren’t helping Everton cause danger at the top of the tree and upsetting the applecart.
So, Samuel’s moan is NOT that you shouldn’t be able to have the players on loan. It’s that you shouldn’t be able to have top quality players on loan, who may jeopardise the fortunes of clubs who have enough money to buy the players but simply didn’t want them or pursued other options available.
Let me remind him also, that Arsenal’s troubles have not just appeared this season. It’s been a number of years since the Gunners lifted a trophy aloft and with the riches they have at their disposal, it’s amazing that Wenger is even actually here to be defended.
I will end this by saying that Roberto Martinez was discounted by pundits and so-called experts (who get a lot of money for their views and demonstrate week-in, week-out that they are better off in a pub talking rubbish with what they think the rest of football fans do, naming no names…cough, cough…David James, Robbie Savage, Garth Crooks etc.) He has merely ignored them, got on with his job and done very nicely, thank you.
If it is to end on the glorious trail of the Champions League qualification, then Mr Samuel will have to get his poison quill at the ready…BEACUSE EVERTON FOOTBALL CLUB ARE BACK, SUNSHINE.