David Prentice: A tale of two Everton FC centre-backs

By David Prentice on Aug 28, 09 09:02 AM in Columnists

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JOLEON LESCOTT stopped short of saying he'd joined a bigger club - after all, his new manager had already done that for him.

But the inference was clear at Wednesday's press conference.

"Everyone outside the top four is aiming for the same thing, but I think City are better equipped to get there faster than Everton," said Lescott.

For better equipped, read richer. And that, sadly, appears to be the currency which motivates Joleon Lescott.

City have spent wildly and impressively this summer, but does that make them a bigger club than Everton?

If you were talking about the size and loyalty of their admirable fanbase, you could have an argument.

But ultimately a losing one. Because despite the increasingly persuasive argument about the size of your wad, the length of your honours list is still the most impressive statistic for membership of football's 'Big list.'

And City have failed to win a trophy in Joleon Lescott's lifetime.

Actually Huddersfield have won more league titles than City. So have Derby, Burnley, Portsmouth and Preston.

Which brings us back to money, surely the primary motivation for Lescott's move.

He said he was "over the moon" at a move worth £94,000 a week to him - surely a contender for the John Cleese "stating the bleedin obvious" award.

But the argument that we'd all jump at the opportunity of doubling our wages doesn't hold.

Of course we would. But if you're elevating a nurse's wages, a taxi driver's take home or even a journalist's monthly to a bank manager's salary, we're talking serious life-changing sums.

But how much can Lescott's already luxurious life change?

When you already earn in the region of £40,000 a week, how much more can you do with £94k?

Have diamond studs on your Louis Vuitton washbag?

Apply gold plating to the monogrammed gates at your mock Tudor pile?

Leave another Lamborghini in the stately home sized garage to gather dust?

Joleon Lescott can talk about City's ambition, his international prospects and the "project" City have embarked upon.

But he's just left the club which has twice finished best of the rest in the Premier League.

His penultimate appearance for the club was in a Cup final, and he was confident enough in Everton's prospects to sign a new contract barely 12 months ago.

Money, once again, appears to have won the day. But before you get too down-hearted at the cynicism and greed of modern footballers, let me remind you of the experience of another Everton centre-half from not so long ago.

In 2001 a newspaper carried the following news item.

"Alan Stubbs will take a pay cut to complete his dream move to Everton after turning down a three-year deal to stay at Celtic.

"The central defender, 29, could have earned around £20,000 a week at Parkhead but has agreed to write off £1m over three years to play for his home club."

Celtic a bigger club than Everton?

You'd have to concede defeat on that one, but Stubbs still let his heart rule his wallet.

Sadly that kind of story is disappearing from football.

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