Royston Drenthe, Everton's new Dutch winger, is one of the few people to feel a comfortable glow about his new club, where the supporters' group Blue Union are planning to march before tomorrow's home match with Aston Villa in protest at what they claim is stagnation under Bill Kenwright's chairmanship.
The "confidence" that Drenthe, on loan from Real Madrid, says he has found in David Moyes may not be something the Everton manager exudes at his pre-match press conference this lunchtime, though after Drenthe's grim experience of life on the wrong side of Jose Mourinho, any new boss would seem like a comfort.
Mourinho deemed Drenthe persona non grata at the Bernabeu, where he had moved from Feyenoord, and sent him to the Alicante-based Spanish club Hercules, prompting a disastrous period in which the club struggled financially and allegedly did not pay the midfielder's wages, prompting him to go on strike.
At his presentation as an Everton player, Drenthe described Mourinho's fury with his actions. "He [Mourinho] said that because I was a Real Madrid player I should have decided differently," the 24-year-old said. "He said I had been in his plans for the team, and told me if I hadn't [protested] at Hercules then he would have got me into the team. I didn't go to training [at Hercules] because they weren't paying me. Also, a new coach [Miroslav Djukic] arrived and he was very direct with me. With all respect I told him, 'You can't just come in and talk to me like that. It's not good'.
"Some players at Hercules had to eat at my home, because they weren't getting enough money to eat. [In the end,] I had to fight to get my money back [from Real]. Real said, 'If you want your money, go to Benfica or some other club and you'll get your money'. But I don't need the money. It was my money and that's why I fought for it, but they can't tell me they'd only give it to me when I moved."
Drenthe also claims that Mourinho tried to force him into a permanent move to Portugal – to clubs the manager knew, where he believed Real would get a good return on him. "Mourinho didn't want me to come to England," he said. "He was telling me to go to Portugal, and was telling me about good teams there. But I said, 'I don't want to' – so he said, 'What do you expect that Bayern Munich or Arsenal will come for you?'
"I said, 'I don't expect that but I want to go somewhere where I feel good – not where you want me to go.' I don't know why Mourinho wanted me to go to Portugal. It doesn't suit my style and I don't like it."
The Hercules experience is not Drenthe's only controversy. When Bernd Schuster began dropping him from Real squads, he stormed out of the club's training ground.
The 24-year-old, whose lack of pre-season football means he is unlikely to feature until Everton face Wigan a week tomorrow, certainly looks like a player who will require some of Moyes' astute man-management. But there is a happy precedent. Steven Pienaar arrived at Goodison on loan in 2007 after a high-profile move from Ajax to Borussia Dortmund had ended in rancour, only for Moyes to reinvigorate him.
"The football divide in Merseyside is similar to Rotterdam," Drenthe reflected. "In Rotterdam, we have three clubs; Excelsior, Feyenoord and Sparta. If Feyenoord lose a game they should have won, you can't go back to the stadium after the game to get your car. The supporters are waiting for you there."Reuse content