lukakuIt’s quite frustrating that a lot of football fans now seem to be aversive to give even begrudging credit to those who are achieving more than their side.

Casting an eye on Thursday morning’s news drew my attention to an article in the Metro, by a Newcastle fan angry and bitter at the success Everton manager Roberto Martinez has had with his astute loan signings.

The reason being that the incoming temps have helped the Goodison club still be in the running for Champions League qualification via the league, with just six weeks of the season remaining.

This supporter’s main gripe was the potential for loan signings from the ‘biggest clubs in the world’ to have a positive impact on a side who should not be allowed to garner such individuals, because they wouldn’t normally be able to afford them on a permanent basis.

Well, correct me if I am wrong, but is the opportunity not open to everyone to attract such talents? Is there a ruling which states Newcastle cannot approach the most affluent outfits in football and ask to borrow an underused player?

Should credit not be given to the Blues boss for going out and plugging the gaps in the side, even on a temporary basis, where he sees fit and certainly within the rules and regulations? To be fair, I don’t care – and I’m sure Roberto Martinez doesn’t either – whether credit is given or not. The main focus is on progressing the club forward to get to a level where these types of players can be purchase on a long-term basis.

Should Everton make it into the group stages of the Champions League, then one or two of these individuals could decide to extend their stays at the club. But nevertheless, the money brought in from making it into the elite competition can be used to buy other players of such ilk.

The idea of being a manager is to keep the club moving forward by whatever legal means necessary; it is not always obligatory to win silverware to do so. A club in Everton’s position has to cling onto the upper echelons and compete in relative terms. If it is possible to break through that ‘glass ceiling’ – which for the Toffees has been a long time coming – then it would be a realisation that change was a good thing.

There was a worry in some fan quarters that Martinez might not be the man to take the club forward; those fears and reservations enhanced when chairman Bill Kenwright announced in the unveiling of the Spaniard as the person who would take over from the departing David Moyes (a whole story in itself), that: “Roberto has promised me Champions League.”

This was seen as typical theatre from the impresario, who has a parallel career in the arts and entertainment industry. But Martinez has used his links with the biggest names in the game, to augment a real challenge in his inaugural campaign at Everton.

He knew that a statement like that would not be taking lightly, would be ridiculed if he fell short and would be used against him in a court of…


But you get the picture.

Martinez had to find a way to make Everton competitive again and also to get his career back on track after four years at Wigan Athletic ended in relegation to England’s second tier, albeit alongside guiding the Latics to the first major trophy in their pottered history.

The only thing is, it is a risk worth taking because the club looks a different outfit under his leadership and when they play without the handbrake on, they could give any club in the world a tough game. If the unthinkable was to happen and Everton were to leapfrog Arsenal when May 11 arrives, they would be able to really move forward.

Preparations would be the same next season as they were when entering this, should they finish outside the Premier League top four, this term. Yes, there would be heightened positivity for next season, but they may not have those loan players available, nor the resources to buy similar figures.

This is why the Goodison chief had to make a statement in his first term, to start as he meant to go on. To give the Blues faithful the chance to dream, the chance to gloat and the chance to compete. He does need this to pay off, big time, but he knows how to go about it if he feels he did something wrong the first time around.

With echoes of Everton campaigns gone by though, my fears are that this would be a missed opportunity if they weren’t to grasp this one first time around. Who’s to say that another club wouldn’t use this blueprint to make a challenge of their own?

Newcastle United, for example. Why wouldn’t they be able to attract the players of Gerard Deulofeu, Romelu Lukaku and Gareth Barry’s class?

Oh, because they have Alan Pardew. Sorry. As you were.

Paul Dargan


  1. Fran Kearney says:

    Brilliant summing up, envy is a poor substitute for ambition, how anyone could not be impressed with Everton as a whole, players management, and officials baffles me COYB

  2. Great blog, absolutely spot on.

  3. Kevin Ruscoe says:

    The funniest thing about the whole article was the glaring contradiction. “Everton shouldn’t be allowed to loan people! However we have Remy and Luuk De Jong”.

    Also the lack of math skills was cute (3 loans out of 11 players isn’t a third. It’s closer to a quarter).

    Another striking mistake was the passage about how Martinez has apparently we’ve built our team around these loans players. Wasn’t Lukaku and Barry both deadline day signings? Was Martinez plotting with Moyes years before he took over getting Moyes to make Howard, Distin, Jags, Coleman, Baines, Osman our priority signing? Just so Martinez can come in and add the final touches?

    Then they mention without Lukaku we wouldn’t be near a CL spot. Hasn’t Remy scored just as much as Lukaku? By that logic Newcastle shouldn’t be anywhere near that impressive 8th spot.

  4. An excellent read, balanced and justified. Enjoyed very much

  5. I read the blog too. Sour grapes. Interesting he suggests everton are gaining some unfair advantage via loans which as you point out is open to every team yet mentions nothing of rich owners spending 100’s of millions. Fair play? I don’t think so

  6. Trevor Edwards says:

    Excellent piece, Paul. I am sure many Newcastle fans are embarrassed by the guys article. I would argue that the loan system shows the ability of the manager more than the buying market. It’s a level playing field in comparison. Martinez, and Moyes before him, have used it well. Pardew used it well with Remy, but not De Joong.

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