THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

Saturday 6 September ~

Joey Barton never looks less than thoroughly pleased with himself so it’s unlikely that his habitual smirk will have disappeared at the news of his latest punishment. On Friday an FA tribunal banned him for six matches for assaulting former Man City team-mate Ousmane Dabo with another six suspended. This ought to mean that Newcastle will have a new manager by the time he is free to play again. Surprisingly, a couple of Premier League clubs appear to have made approaches to sign Barton before the transfer window closed – Harry Redknapp has denied being one of the interested parties – with Newcastle’s willingness to let him go being one of issues that brought about the departure of Kevin Keegan.

You can currently get odds of 20-1 on Keegan replacing himself as Newcastle manager. Shorter odds are available on several European coaches, notably Didier Deschamps and Dennis Wise’s former colleague Gus Poyet, currently assistant at Spurs, with David Moyes is at 6-1. It is difficult to to imagine Moyes being prepared to have Dennis Wise selecting his club’s transfer targets, but the short price is a reflection of the fact that he is yet to extend his Everton contract which expires at the end of this season.

Amid all the mayhem at Man City, Newcastle and West Ham, Everton staged an EGM last Wednesday called by fans group KEIOC (Keep Everton In Our City) which is co-ordinating opposition to the proposed move to Kirkby, to be considered at a public enquiry in December. One of the facts that club chairman Bill Kenwright presented in favour of a relocation was that Everton currently generate around £800,000 on a typical matchday while Arsenal bring in over four times as much, £3.3 million, at the Emirates Stadium.

He also conceded that the club had borrowed the £15m required to acquire Belgian midfielder Marouane Fellaini from Standard Liege on the last day of the transfer window, this despite the fact that Everton sold James McFadden and Andy Johnson for roughly that sum this year. Even a bigger ground with more corporate facilities won’t be enough, Kenwright suggested, for the club to be able to compete with the game’s plutocrats whose exclusive club has just expanded from four to five with the addition of Man City.

Kenwright’s former school-mate Paul McCartney is the only known Everton-supporting billionaire and he has resisted appeals to get involved in the past, so the club are instead hoping to generate interest from the same circles that provided the buyers of Man City. Kenwright has clearly enjoyed his role as a TV talent show judge alongside his theatrical colleague Andrew Lloyd-Webber, so you wonder if he should consider launching Who’s Got The Blues? in which various entrepreneurs from the US, South-east Asia, various parts of the former USSR and, of course, Essex are invited to make a case for taking over his club. Another noted Evertonian, Joey Barton, might have enough spare time to put together a consortium.

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