Michael Farrow's sports blog

A collection of new and old writings

…on Dan Gosling

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Dan Gosling applauds the fans

"Thanks lads, I'll be off now"

I have long felt it is not a contradictory position to argue that footballers are overpaid whilst siding with them in disputes with their club.  In general, I feel that English clubs can be inherently duplicitous when it comes to player disputes.  Pierre van Hooijdonk went on strike at Nottingham Forest back in early 1998 after he returned from the World Cup to find the club captain and his strike partner had been sold, despite boardroom promises to the contrary.  Having scored 34 goals to win Forest the First Division championship the previous season, he then went to the board citing a gentleman’s agreement he had that he’d be able to leave that summer and the board reneged.  Now, his methods were extreme and he lost the PR battle.  Forest fans can hate him but van Hooijdonk was lied to and his reaction to it nearly wrecked his career.

There’s another “greedy” player doing the rounds now.  Dan Gosling, the Everton midfielder, has won a PFFC tribunal against the club allowing him to leave for free.  Everton are the kings of the heartstrings.  Last summer it seemed that Joleon Lescott’s transfer to Man City was a done deal but they needed to wait for Everton to play the press, blame the player and drag it out to manufacture sympathy for “poor little Everton”, a game they play so they can sell whomever they like and not suffer negative backlash.  Undoubtedly this will undergo the same spin in the coming weeks.

Gosling, originally from Brixham in Devon, broke the Plymouth first team at 16, starting at right midfield before slotting into a right back spot due to injuries.  Everton signed him in the 2008 winter transfer window on a 2 ½ year deal, a month before his 18th birthday.  To their credit, David Moyes has skilfully brought him on, earning him the tag of the “new Leon Osman”, scoring 6 goals in 34 appearances in all competitions.  Contract negotiations have been going on for a year, with the verbal agreement seeing his wages nearly double from £400,000 pa to £800,000 pa.   While they were smart with the signing, it’s a stretch to suggest that the player is an Evertonian through and through.

However, in March, he suffered a cruciate ligament injury, ruling him out for 9 months.   He may be back by mid-season but given that he is injured with a serious injury and Everton did not lodge a written contract before the deadline, Gosling is well within his rights to walk and more power to him for having the balls to actually do it.  While the spin is that Gosling is a greedy mercenary, I look at it two ways; either Everton made a mistake or they deliberately didn’t offer the contract.  The verbal offer remained on the table even throughout the tribunal but Gosling wants to play in central midfield, currently a crowded area in the Everton first team.

If Everton didn’t make a written offer to one of their top prospects because he ruptured a cruciate ligament, that is reprehensible and would be more reprehensible still if they play the PR game to blame him.  However, right now, it just looks like a complete cock-up, compounded by a breakdown in communication.

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Written by Michael Farrow

July 8, 2010 at 12:54 pm

Posted in Football

Tagged with ,

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