Southall and Moyes add to ongoing saga

Posted by Luke O'Farrell

On the back of verbal jousting earlier in the week, which mostly consisted of Everton responding to the £28 million bid for Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini, this ongoing saga has revved up in the past 24 hours.

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Never one to shy away from an opinion, club legend Neville Southall offered his thoughts while the man at the centre of the episode, David Moyes, further antagonised his former supporters via a series of bewildering statements on Friday.

Southall regularly speaks his mind, a fact noted in his recent appearance at the Blue Union public meeting, and quickly cut to the chase in his latest Paddy Power column. "The joint bid stinks. The way David Moyes has gone about it stinks".

Southall, quite rightly, addresses the 'disrespect' Moyes is showing his former employers. "There's a real danger he will lose all his credibility with the Everton fans … When he comes back to Goodison he is going to get slaughtered".

Revered by supporters, Southall is the most decorated player in Everton history. When he speaks people listen - and the club should do likewise, especially on the subject of Baines. At this late stage, the sale of key players is a recipe for disaster.

As Southall succinctly puts it, "If Baines goes, our chairman will be lynched. It's the equivalent of telling the Everton fans 'stuff you, we're not interested in what you think, we want the money'."

In terms of the former manager, having spectacularly reneged on his now infamous 'Everton don't sell cheap' line, Moyes has again incensed his one-time faithful by suggesting the desire to retain these prized assets is holding the players back.

After admitting sympathy for Martinez, Moyes said, "If I'd been Everton manager, I'd have found it very difficult to keep them [Baines and Fellaini] because I always felt the right thing to do was what was right for the players".

This, from the man who forced Joleon Lescott to train on his own when he announced his wish to join Manchester City, smacks as the emptiest of statements. Closer to home, few could argue Moyes' determination to hold onto Wayne Rooney is 'right for the player'.

Adding other comments coated in an unfamiliar sense of self-importance, the short trip along the M62 has seemingly created a changed man. Acting in a fashion that would have angered him during his Everton tenure, the former Blues boss is eroding his Goodison standing with each passing day.

Not content with trampling over his 'selling cheaply' rhetoric, Moyes has turned another mantra into a fallacy. Although the bid is public knowledge, the Old Trafford boss has always resisted discussing players tied to other clubs.

Given the unabashed views on Baines and Fellaini mentioned above, Moyes has seemingly disregarded many of the admirable principles that helped turn Everton from relegation fodder to European pretenders.

Laughably, Moyes claims disrespect not intended and bids not designed to affect Everton. Ah, the potential unsettling of players, scandalous bids and lack of time to sign replacements is meant in good taste. Phew, what a relief, I was worried for a second there.

Unaware of the views of Southall, which is probably a good thing, Moyes may have done irreparable damage to his reputation with this brazen transfer policy, as United are sure to return accompanied by an improved offer.

Preparing for West Brom and beyond, Everton need to marry the hard faced stance of Southall to their current resolve. Doing so keeps the vultures at bay, restores supporters' faith in the club, and allows Evertonians to begin September with a spring in their step.

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