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Philip McNULTY: Don't deal with Stretford again.

Byline: Philip McNULTY

EVERTON should never be encouraged to kick a man when he's down -- but in agent Paul Stretford's case let's make an exception.

Stretford may be down after his rather public humiliation in court, but he is hardly out thanks to Wayne Rooney, his family and the generous deal he cut to act for arguably the greatest home-grown talent Everton have ever produced.

But come summer, there is every chance Stretford (right) may want to discuss new contracts for some Blues players who still use his services.

He may even have the cheek to suggest Everton buy some of his clients -- with a financial benefit for himself, presumably.

Everton, in polite terms of course, should tell the discredited and diminutive former vacuum cleaner salesman to sling his hook.

If Bill Kenwright ever feels like taking another call from Stretford again, it is a temptation he should resist, no matter how attractive the offer.

It beggars belief that Everton would actually give the time of day to Stretford after the way Rooney was prised out of the club he loved and directed into the welcoming arms of Manchester United.

They must now be strong enough to ensure Stretford never has a sliver of influence over their affairs again.

Kenwright and David Moyes must never forget what happened to them this summer, nor should they forget the courtroom events that shredded Stretford's reputation.

If any of his players wish to negotiate a new contract at Everton they should be told they do not come armed with Stretford -- and any interference or demands from him means no deal. If they want a new deal, get a new agent. If they think he can get them somewhere better to play than Everton Football Club, let them get on with it.

Stretford's machinations were exposed in a court of law. He has been shamed -- although I suspect he feels little or no shame.

But Everton can do their bit and save themselves the bother of ever dealing with him again.

Call it a Stretford enema if you will. Flush him right out of the club's system and never let him back again.

Everton will feel all the better for it.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Oct 21, 2004
Words:367
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