Everton Charged again & Werner Returns

17th January 2024

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Everton and Nottingham Forest have both been charged by the FA for FFP rules, and yes that is no mistake Everton are being charged once again. The latest charges relate for finances up until June 2023, although for Everton this looks likely to be one charge. No one yet knows if the club are found guilty if the penalty will be financial or points but if the FA want to keep consistent then it could well be the latter. Fans will be wondering how many points their club could be further punished? These charges don't seem anywhere as gross as the previous laid out but it may not be a stretch to think that Everton could be deducted a further two points. To be clear the Toffees have appealed over their first charge citing a new stadium as a huge factor. 

In charging Nottingham Forest the FA are at least making it more transparent that Everton are not the only side who will be facing charges this season and perhaps in the future. However Forest's hearing has been set for April and this should worry the game that we love. If they are charged they could lose vital points right towards the end of the season and that could well be the difference between staying up or being relegated. Do we really want to see football fall that low like Formula 1 where the merits of a season are not decided on the pitch but in an administration office? For F1 you would need all day to see how many races have been decided either in the pits or by the stewards. This doesn't take away of course from Forest's charge and if they are found to have broken FFP rules then they should be punished, but the timing looks off. Look at Manchester City for example who are again going for the Premier League and every other conceivable trophy and looking strong to do so. Do you suddenly come to a conclusion a month before the end of the season and hand the title to some other club? This would feel like a huge anti-climax for the best league in world football. That doesn't mean that Forest and City shouldn't be penalised but having a charge over the summer or near the beginning of the season would make more sense just for the sole basis that is gamesmanship even if said clubs did break rules. Finally imagine Everton were struggling this season (which isn't hard to do) but only got their 10 point deduction handed out to them in April, there would be no fighting chance. So please FA hand out all the charges you have to make under the laws of the game but get your timing right for the soul of it.

Timo Werner is one player in the Premier League who has to explode if he doesn't want his career to fritter away. The forward was famously underwhelming for Chelsea and adding to the theory that the club have had a graveyard for strikers over the years, barring Didier Drogba. Werner joined Chelsea and debuted in the Premier League in 2020 on a 5 year contract and came for almost £50m, it looked like good business. German forwards are legendary and he had just bagged 28 goals for RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga, what could go wrong? But go wrong it did, and he ended up with just six goals from 35 games in his first season. Werner did win the Champions League which would have felt like offsetting any disappointment but in truth you had to focus on the individual and once you did that the numbers did not add up. In all Werner scored 23 goals in 89 games and only 10 in two league seasons. Forget the five year contract, Werner was returned to his former club after just two seasons. 

The problem for Werner is that once he returned to Leipzig his goal scoring touch did not magically return and in his first season he managed just 9 league goals. Falling out of favour this season Leipzig have been happy to see him on loan to Tottenham for the remainder of the season. This is a huge chance for Werner to prove his doubters wrong. In his first game for Tottenham the club drew 2-2 away to Manchester United after trailing twice and Werner did assist for Tottenham's equaliser. However he also missed three very good chances. This loan move should not be seen as a trip or adventure back to the Premier League for Werner it should be seen as his last chance to prove himself in the most competitive league in the world. His first game for Spurs was not terrible but it was a shadow reminder of his failings in front of goal for Chelsea. Only time will time and he has very little of it to see if he can change his career around which frankly looks lost at sea and muddled.

West Ham fans have been vocal about their manager David Moyes this season and last and yet he may well end up being their greatest ever manager. Moyes delivered the Europa Conference League the clubs first major silverware in 43 years last season, you would have thought that would have given him plenty of credit in the bank. Think again. This season the club are in 6th place after 20 games played and despite the Hammers traditionally struggling in the bottom half of the table and frequently over the past 30 years suffering relegation this hasn't calmed down the fans. You see, Moyes isn't playing the West Ham way, which has always been attractive football, that same football has still seen the club lose plenty of games. So Moyes football is more dogged and sometimes does not come with a plan b, but overall it has been effective. What do the fans want? Beautiful football and the Championship or tactical play, 1-0 wins and a European finish? The fans are not getting great football and it isn't always easy on the eye but maybe they don't know just how good they have it and are getting beyond themselves…. This week of course they did have a right to moan as the Hammers were knocked out of the FA Cup against Bristol City. Shocks can happen but such is the gap now from the Premier League to any other in England that West Ham should have been able to win this one. The result means that for a few days at least the fans wrath at Moyes will feel justified, but their anger seems to be more deep than is being let on. Are they angry because Moyes was a former manager who had already lost his job? Is the anger because they see Moyes as a Scottish Steve Bruce, a dinosaur type of manager? Do they long instead for a continental manager who may get more out of their attacking players? Perhaps another manager would be more suited to the current squad but it remains ultimately puzzling given the Hammers successes over the past 18 months why some fans seem adamant that they would be better off without him. This train looks like it is heading in the right direction and you have to be with your team because you can't be neutral on a moving train.

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