Browsing some of the Everton fan sites on the internet, you can easily see how adamant Evertonians are that they are still fans of a big club. In terms of honours, history and support, this is undoubtedly true. However, money now dictates the beautiful game and with chairman Bill Kenwright tipping the sofa every summer, it is easy for outsiders to treat Everton with the same respect as Bolton, Wigan and Hull. Even the most optimistic of blues have been pushed to breaking point lately, with Fellaini Snr’s comments regarding his son’s future.
“The big clubs see that he is doing well. So he is very closely followed by Chelsea,” his father said, before adding, “I hope that I will see him work at a big club. Marouane belongs at a really top club and he will only get better.”
With Lescott leaving in the summer to “further his career” and constant speculation over young Jack Rodwell’s future, this truly is the straw that broke the camel’s back. Foreign footballers, rightly or wrongly, are not expected to learn about the history of the club they represent which renders Everton’s illustrious tradition obsolete. If Everton are to hang on to their star players, they need investment.
There was a time when fans trawled the internet for rumours on who would be coming to Goodison, not who would be leaving. However, this January has already seen speculation regarding the futures of Saha, Pienaar, Rodwell, Neill and Fellaini. It seems Evertonians are saying the Hail Marys so their players stay, as opposed to the usual hopes of Manuel Fernandes coming around the mountain to revive his Goodison career.
A year ago, things would have been different. The only thing to divide the fans more than Belgian powerhouse Fellaini in recent times was Kirkby, so many would have been filling their cars up with petrol to drop the 22-year-old off at the Bridge themselves. However, having been reverted back to his natural position in the last few months, Fellaini has flourished and has swayed popular opinion. The timing of the comments of Fellaini Snr could not have been worse, given that many fans believe his son to be the man to build the Everton team of the future around.
Furthermore, many Evertonians would have dismissed these comments last year, believing that their players are cut from a different cloth to the modern-day mercenaries that are so often talked about; after all, Fellaini celebrates very passionately and kisses the badge, doesn’t he? Evertonians do not need to be reminded of a centre-half who played for Everton, celebrated with passion and said he would play for the Merseyside club for the rest of his career given the chance, only to leave in the summer having handed in a transfer request and alienated himself from the rest of the squad.
Would Fellaini leave? Probably. His father is clearly an important figure in his life and his comments will no doubt have an important impact on the holding midfielder. It seems that blues all across the land will now be biting their nails because of their star players leaving, as opposed to scouring the web for news of any incoming players, and hoping that the players whose futures are in doubt show more loyalty than that showed by Everton’s last departure.
Written By Craig Rimmer