The talk about Romelu Lukaku’s Everton future is a constant subject of debate and discussion amongst supporters and the media alike and this summer that will be no different. Speculation is rife, it’s become a bit of a circus, fans are getting wound up, pointing the finger, venting their fume, and you get the feeling that this is just the start. It isn’t just Lukaku that is the subject of reports suggesting he wants away from Goodison Park, Ross Barkley’s failure to sign a new deal at the Club is also fuelling the gossip column content too. Rumours that both Lukaku and Barkley will move on from Everton are on the daily agenda, with the Club potentially receiving £100+ in combined sales figures if that becomes the truth.
I’ll admit I don’t pay much attention to all of it, I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, I’ve become quite numb to this type of media frenzy and ‘want away’ attitude from players – and also the somewhat hyena mentality of a large proportion of fans who seem to spend each and every day wasting countless hours and arguments about whether they want a player to stay, leave, or speculating about what might actually happen. I don’t know whether it has come with age or the fact that I’ve seen Everton lose many top players in the past but I’ll be honest with you, I’m not losing any sleep about both Romelu Lukaku or Ross Barkley’s situation at Everton, or any other Everton player for that matter, and I haven’t done for a while. Of course as a supporter of this Club I want to see us keep our best players, but in total honesty I don’t really care too much if the likes Barkley and Lukaku want to leave, I wouldn’t take it personally. Because I know in the blink of an eye another player or two will come along and then be classed as ‘one or our best players’ – it’s a fact of football now, in these modern times. Maybe in years gone by I would have been more concerned about Everton’s potential to fill the voids left by players of this ilk, and I said a similar sort of thing when John Stones left, but now with a lot more financial muscle, shrewder business and recruitment acumen, added to the fact that in this day and age players come and go on the transfer window conveyor belt every few months, I’m a lot more relaxed and look at players as just another number these days.
Yes it will be extremely difficult to replace Lukaku, strikers of such quality don’t come along often, his goal ratio is superb and I’m actually a big fan of the player, however if he leaves I’m not going to start getting upset about it, nor would I if Ross Barkley departed too. Ultimately my main concern is Everton Football Club, my focus is their success, their results, their league position, my focus is not how much someone wants to be paid, my focus isn’t who wants to ‘give it one more year’ or ‘wants Champions League football’ as an individual, I, like many of you, are in it for the long haul, as a supporter of the Club the overall success is vital to me, the collective mentality, the togetherness to win and be successful, all as one. If certain people don’t want to be part of that then move them on, we’ve got the money now, we’ve been there seen it and done it, it’s nothing we don’t expect so don’t act surprised. We could all do without the protracted circus that surrounds players nowadays. If the aforementioned duo have plans to exit Everton then I’d rather it is done sooner rather than later, we don’t want unwanted distractions disrupting our preparations for next season – plus we would have more time to reinvest any potential incoming funds.
Lukaku and Barkley may stay at Everton and if they do then they’ll always get my applause and support. However if they leave then I’m not going to waste any time worrying about it, or having a go at them, because my priority is Everton FC. I’ll quickly look to see who we are targeting to replace them or to play alongside them if they actually stay, it’s a quick market, a ruthless industry, there’s no time for ties or allegiances, you have to move on. This mentality isn’t acceptance of the fact Everton may be a selling Club – I’ve had my say numerous times about the way Club operates previously to what it does now – this is just a realistic mentality, call it a modern day football fan’s way of thinking. Costa may leave Chelsea, Sanchez may leave Arsenal, Aguero’s time at City is coming to an end, there’s interest in Deli Alli from abroad and Coutinho may be off to Barca too – so who are we labelling as selling Clubs nowadays, all of us? Ultimately we are and the sooner fans realise this, and not get bogged down with the hype, the talk, the speculation, then sooner we will all realise that there isn’t much loyalty left in football nowadays, it is driven by money, media, and men in suits, agents, image rights, ownership, the times have changed and my mentality towards the players that play for my Club have too. I don’t have an affinity towards any of them anymore. Younger kids grow up idolising these players, just as I did, spending countless hours searching for autographs and having shirts with players’ names on the back, posters on the wall, but as cut-throat as it sounds you grow up, you move on, football has moved on, it’s a business and players are assets, and we have to lose some assets to satisfy them and us, and then bring in assets to replace them, then so be it.
I’m getting too old and too hardened to flap about any of it anymore and even though I’ve taken the time to write this here it’s not a rant, nor is it me having a go at Lukaku or Barkley or anyone else who does maybe get wound up by it all, I’m just explaining my mentality and thinking when it comes to footballers, Everton and transfer windows these days. Our main focus should be Everton FC, with or without Barkley, Lukaku, and those who have gone before, we focus on bringing in quality players who want to be at the Club, want to make a difference and eventually get Everton back to the top. If that means moving players on and bringing new ones in until we finally get to a point where we are ambitious and successful enough to keep everyone here, appreciating what it means to play for our Club, then so be it. In an ideal world both would stay at Everton and we continue to build around them, but this is 2017 and this is modern-day football, you must have a sense of realism and that’s the point I am trying to make.
The old saying goes ‘there’s no bigger player than the Club’ and it is true, but there’s also no player who is bigger than the supporters who are the constant force behind this Club and the ones who have been there and will continue to be there throughout everything. Keep calm and carry on. Here’s to next season and beyond, no matter who is in that squad.
Up the Toffees