John Stones is boss. Who would you swap him for? Exactly. Others covet him, and rightly so: he is boss after all. What isn’t boss is; the countless column inches, endless Sky Sports News updates (that aren’t even updates 95% of the time), radio ‘personalities’, jarg ITK know it alls and the rest, that have all been telling us John Stones’ future, and in some cases- what Everton should be doing about it. The cheek of them.
I’m going to try and keep this as short as possible, though. Focusing on the rhetoric of just a couple of them over the last couple of days- which is a tiny portion of what they and others have had to say over the last few weeks.
Ollie Holt (formerly of the Liverpool Echo) mocked Everton and Roberto Martinez after claiming they would keep John Stones at the club, despite the concerted efforts of our press to sell him.
Martinez: 'what we stand for at Everton is more important values'. Did club also stand for those values when they took Stones from Barnsley?
— Oliver Holt (@OllieHolt22) August 29, 2015
‘Did the club also stand for those values when they took Stones from Barnsley?’…. Presumably in that case, you don’t think any footballer should ever be transferred anywhere then, Ollie? Everton matched a bid Wigan had accepted, in private, before completing a transfer of a player whose club were willing to sell. Is it really so difficult to comprehend the difference between that and the Chelsea approach?
Let’s take a look at the Chelsea chase… From way back when Chelsea started making their opening gambits in the middle of July (which- although I understand in negotiations you open with an offer of below what you’d like to pay- were nowhere near the market value for John Stones. The best young centre half in England, a full England international) Roberto Martinez was clear to say Stones was not for sale, even sending Chelsea a letter to inform them of this. Everton kept their counsel, though were reputed to be dismayed in private at having told Chelsea Stones wasn’t for sale only for Chelsea to continue to publicly court our player:
- Mourinho here: http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/transfers/john-stones-to-chelsea-jose-mourinho–we-will-keep-trying-to-sign-everton-defender-10399236.html
- Gary Cahill here: http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/transfer-news/gary-cahill-claims-john-stones-6116217
- John Terry here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/33815676 (with some reaction from Roberto Martinez)
Now I am confused… Maybe I’ve got my rose-blue tinted spectacles on- how are either of these two pursuits for John Stones are in any way comparable?
Maybe Ollie would rather Chelsea had bought Stones a couple of years ago and saved us all from this messy affair. The unfortunate truth for Ollie Holt is: Everton signed Stones in 2013, and agreed a new long term deal in 2014 on improved terms, as a reward for his play. Would Stones’ development to this point have been so stratospheric had he signed for Chelsea in 2013? Let’s be generous and say ‘who knows’, but we do know Chelsea’s website has 30 professionals listed in their ‘out on loan’ section of the official club website (http://www.chelseafc.com/teams/on-loan-players.html).
Of course, there are likely to be Barnsley fans who wished he could have stayed a year or two longer with them. The reality of any transfer around the world is that if they’re a good player, you’re going to want them to stay at your club- regardless of level. But Barnsley wanted a sale in 2013, whereas Everton, do not. Nobody outside of Everton knew we were in for Stones until the deal was virtually done, not the case with Chelsea’s open pursuit of Stones, facilitated by their friendly media.
It should be noted that just a couple of days after Holt posted the tweet I’ve taken issue with, he worked at Stamford Bridge covering Chelsea’s home defeat to Crystal Palace…. Wonder if he managed to manipulate his take on Everton’s stance into conversation whilst in the presence of Chelsea’s PR and press staff? Hopefully it was a Partridge-esque clunking change of gears as he went off topic to mention Stones, his voice eagerly raised to be heard as he offered his popularist take in safe surroundings.
Or maybe it really is that Holt thinks any club buying, regardless of the stance of the selling club is showing themselves up for having questionable morals? No transfer should ever happen anywhere in that case, if little old Everton turned big bad wolf when ‘poaching’ Stones from Barnsley? For a deal done in private. With Barnsley happy to sell.
Imagine Holt’s world, which presumably would’ve had the likes of Ian Rush having only ever snotted goals in for Chester in the lower leagues (if only), George Weah banging them in for ‘Mighty Barolle Sports Association’ in Liberia (his first ever club) for fifteen years, or Brett Angell stuck at Portsmouth while we wistfully look on needing a striker? Actually, scrap that last one, but you get my point.
Matt Law had something similar to say, telling us there are “no morality lessons from Martinez” this from a man who has gleefully pranced along with Chelsea from the sordid beginnings of this affair, gratefully scoffing up any kibbles fed to him by his Chelsea contacts and churning out article after article about John Stones in the Telegraph
11 of @Matt_Law_DT 's last 12 tweets are about selling John Stones.
— Jock (@_bluejock) August 18, 2015
This irksome half-wit tells us Everton (PRIVATELY) tried to buy out Barnsley’s sell-on clause for less than it’s true value so we “should be careful when attempting to paint himself (Martinez) and the club as holier than thou and Chelsea as bullies”…. Well, Matt, (I really should get rid of these royal blue tinted spectacles) but Everton are entitled to ask, and Barnsley are entitled to say no. And as for the pathetic cheap shot he’s trying to score for Everton having offered less than the buy out clause is worth…. What would he expect?
*phone rings at Barnsley* “Hello, Barnsley Football Club?”
“Hello, I’ve got a Robert Elstone on from Everton Football Club, will you accept the reverse charges?”
“Urgh… They really are skint this lot, aren’t they? Yeah, go on though, I’ll patch him through”
“Hello, Robert Elstone here…. You know that sell-on clause in John Stones’ contract? Yeah, well we think it’s worth about six million quid…. Listen anyway, can we buy it off you? Don’t worry about having to wait for the money when we do sell him, we’ll give it to you now- call it six? No, actually, you know what- call it seven… will you accept a post dated cheque? *mutters ‘for the year 2030’ under his breath*”
What a pointless exercise that would be, Matt? Save for in your world, apparently. Of course we’re going to offer less than what it’s worth otherwise why bother? And if it doesn’t suit Barnsley to get that money a bit earlier than they would, for a bit less than they might get if they hang on for it, they’re well within their rights to say ‘thanks but no thanks’, as I’m guessing they have. But again, note the fact it was all done in private. Like our purchase of Stones, done with respect to the other clubs involved. There’s the difference.
I suspect like Mr. Holt, you don’t actually need this spelling out to you, but the reality of the situation didn’t suit your take (agenda), but you’ve each said your bits now- and probably influenced dozens of opinions with it- whilst Everton has kept quiet in the face of efforts to unsettle one of its best players, and once those proved unsuccessful: childish smears. Hopefully both of you will suffer the mild inconvenience of not being welcomed back to Goodison or access to any of our players of staff for some time. And they’ve already started on the January talk…