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Hayles (36', 49')
Boa Morte sent off (77')
(1-0)  
Weir sent off (77')
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Fulham v Everton:
Prior League Games
 Overall  
 Fulham 6
 Everton 3
 Draws 4
 Premiership
 Fulham 0
 Everton 0
 Draws 0
 Last Time:
 Fulham 2-1 Everton
(9 September 1967)

 
A very fit-looking Paul Gascoigne took the field for his first start since Bolton over a month ago.  Alexandersson is the one to make room and Xavier cries off with the flu(!).  Few other surprises as the Watson experiment continues, but forgotten man Idan Tal finally makes the bench.

The game started fairly quietly and evenly as each side felt each other out.  There were some attempts on goal, mostly from Fulham, but none of them particularly convincing....  Fulham gradually exerted more pressure with Everton incapable of really penetrating the Fulham defence.  Then, on 38 mins, a free-kick, cross from Brevitt, header form Hales: 1-0.  Simple as that.

A few corners ensued for Everton, but they were poorly taken and Everton trudged off at half-time.

Shortly after half-time, it was 2-0.  A good attack by Fulham resulted in a great Simonsen save, but but just waltzed through the transfixed 11 men of Everton, back defending corners in the true Walter Smith style, and tapped it home.  Game, set, and Match? 

Gascoigne's response was to foul players even more strongly, getting a very lenient last warning from the ref.  Smith wisely substituted him with Alexandersson.  Pistone did get booked — unfairly, as he won the ball in the tackle on Legwinski — and will now serve a one-match suspension because that was his 5th of the season.

Joe-Max Moore finally got a chance — 18 mins with Everton 2-0 down away from home, playing poorly and chasing the game...  At least it did precede some excitement when Boa Morte went in on Weir with a dreadful challenge and it all kicked off!  Hayles divided in and kicked Weir.  Simonsen and Saha were squaring up, 16 players having a good brawl.  Weir got a second yellow and a red.  Boa Morte got a straight red for his part.  

Five yellow cards?  Is that another lovely fine from the FA???

You can't help wondering that, with the pressure of last week (a critical home match before the AGM) now relieved, Walter Smith can relax again, sure in the knowledge that most fans are quite satisfied with mid-table mediocrity.

Nil Satis Nisi Optimum...



M A T C H    F A C T S
 Sports Match Info  
  FA Premiership 2001-02, Game 15
3:00pm  Saturday 8 December 2001
Craven Cottage, Fulham
Referee: P Dowd (Stoke-on-Trent)
Att: 19,338
Position: 11th
Line-ups Subs not used
Fulham Van der Sar, Finnan, Brevett, Melville, Goma, Collins, Malbranque, Legwinski, Boa Morte, Saha (83' Davis), Hayles.  Taylor, Clark, Ouaddou, Stolcers.  
Everton: Simonsen, Watson, Pistone, Stubbs, Weir, Gascoigne (61' Alexandersson), Gemmill, Naysmith, Pembridge, Gravesen (72' Moore), Radzinski.   Gerrard, Unsworth, Tal. 
Unavailable:  Xavier (ill); Campbell, Ferguson (injured); Nyarko (loan)
Playing Strips Formations
Fulham: White shirts; black shorts; white socks 4-4-2
Everton: Royal Blue shirts; white shorts; blue socks. 5-3-2
  Yellow Cards Red Cards
Fulham: Mellville (19'), Legwinski (26') Boa Morte (77')
Everton: [Weir (55', 77')], Pistone (64'), Stubbs (69'), Simonsen (84') Weir (77')


Premiership Scores
Wednesday
Chelsea 0-1 Charlton
West Ham 1-1 Aston Villa
Saturday
Charlton 3-1 Tottenham
Derby 1-0 Bolton
Fulham 2-0 Everton
Leicester 0-4 Sotton
Liverpool 2-0 Middlesbro
Man Utd 0-1 West Ham
Sunday
Blackburn 1-2 Leeds
Sunderland 0-0 Chelsea
Ipswich 0-1 Newcastle
Arsenal 3-2 Aston Villa
 


Premiership Table
Pos Team Pts
1 Liverpool 32
2 Arsenal 29
3 Leeds 28
4 Newcastle 27
5 Chelsea 24
6 Aston Villa 24
7 Tottenham 24
8 Fulham 22
9 Man Utd 21
10 Charlton 21
11 Everton 20
12 Bolton 20
13 Sunderland 20
14 Blackburn 19
15 Middlesbrough 19
16 West Ham 19
17 Southampton 13
18 Derby 13
19 Leicester 13
20 Ipswich 9
 As of 9 December 2001
M A T C H     R E P O R T S
Everton Web Sites
ToffeeWeb Match Summary
EvertonFC.com Match Report
Everton-Mad Match Report
When Skies Are Grey Match Report
From The Terrace Match Report
Blue Kipper Match Report
Everton Fans' Reports
Squire of Beckenham Death by 1,000 cunts
Links to Other Media Reports
Electronic Telegraph Match Report
BBC Sport Match Report
FA Premier Match Report
Sky Sports Match Report
Sporting Life Match Report
SoccerNet Match Report
The Sunday Times Match Report
The Observer Match Report
The Guardian Match Report
The Independent Match Report
The Times Match Report
Liverpool Echo Match Report
Daily Post Match Report


Match Preview

How on earth do you preview a team that performed so unrecognisably in two sequences during its last 90 minutes?  A midfield I described as "having nothing" ran rings around a game but ultimately isolated Gravesen and an irrelevant and invisible Scott Gemmill.  Alexandersson?  Maybe he was still getting over the shock of being drawn with Nigeria, Argentina and England.  If so he'd better hope Sweden's coach wasn't watching the match as there is no way he could hope to "grace" a world cup pitch with that performance.

BUT I am an optimist - Yes Blue optimists do still exist even if we are in danger of extinction - so I shall preview based upon the 2nd Everton - the one that cared, the "hungry" Everton, the one that had an amazingly animated Walter Smith (does he read ToffeeWeb previews?) urging, screaming and eventually applauding them on.

Fulham.  Joan Collins.  Oh how lovely it will be to see him again.  Signed in a wave of glory and publicity, misses a penalty on his debut and then it goes downhill.  Just how much of a signing on fee and wages did he pick up in his first year while he sat with his foot up, toe nicely bandaged?  Never mind eh?  As he watched us struggle against relegation, you just knew that he accepted that he owed us.  He would come back stronger and more committed to the Blue cause...  

Yeah right!  More likely he would come back ready to play in 1 of every 3 games, run himself stupid playing for Scotland against The Auld Enemy and then bugger off to Fulham - after declaring unconditionally that he wasn't going anywhere - to join his old French mucker in the bloody 1st division!  Gravesen, just kick the bugger up in the air; and Stubbs, make sure your boot breaks his fall.

Fulham, unlike Southampton, most definitely do have something in midfield.  Collins, Malbranque (a under 21 French international and a Fantasy Football Managers dream) and Legwinski.  A trio of exceptionally technical and potentially devastating midfielders.  All able to see openings and good enough to harness Saha's ability to explode in to them.  The guy is fast.  And so is Hayles, if not quite with Saha's balance. 

18 months ago Walter was linked with Hayles, we all moaned - just as we did when Stewart (then at Huddersfield, £1.5m !!) was linked.  Now he would be perfect to cover our obvious deficiencies up front.  Strong and powerful, quick and able to finish.  With Saha and Hayles on the end of that midfield they possess the ability to destroy disorganised teams - look at last years 1st division scoring charts and Old Trafford on the opening day of the season.

BUT Everton are not a disorganised team.  Over 300 mins of Premiership football without conceding a goal strongly supports this view.  Also Saha and Hayles are not bubbling with confidence.  Since Old Trafford, Saha has not been the force that many "experts" predicted; Tigana dropped him for 4 games and he probably wouldn't be playing now if Fulham's record signing Marlet hadn't fractured his leg - which is good for me 'cause I don't know anything about Marlet!  Fulham as a team have also failed to score in their last 2 games.

It is that matchup that will decide the game - Fulham's undoubted but slightly misfiring attacking threat against our strong, disciplined, resolute back line.  Our midfield cannot allow Fulham's time on the ball; our defence cannot allow gaps between centrebacks or centrebacks and fullbacks.  Leeds showed exactly how to defend against Fulham.  A tight neat back four, and an aggressive midfield.

We will score.  What?  Yes, I strongly believe it. 

Fulham's defence is not that strong. Goma was awful when at Newcastle and the rest of the back four (Finnan, Brevett, Melville) still look at Coleman to return and "shore them up".  Come on lads?  The guy was a 2nd division player 3 years ago (admittedly for the one season) but he ain't great.  

Rufus Brevett?  I still mistake him for Andy Impey.  Van de Saar has also showed that he is a very good keeper but he's not that outstanding.  He's conceded 13 goals in 14 games whilst keeping 6 clean sheets - One clean sheet every two games and he kept a clean sheet in the last game....

Rads can get behind them.  With that one burst, on Sunday he showed he can get behind any team.  How do we give him that chance?  I think Walter would love to play a 5-man midfield.  Swamp the middle, give Gazza a start and see if we can't release Rads just a couple of times and see what he can do. 

Stay in the fancy midfield's face, let them play in front of us - which they will do all day long - and then look to catch them.  Unfortunately Rads has a physical presence resembling that of dear old Jigsaw (Barlow).  You cannot ask him to play with his back to the goal - the ball won't stick.  So 4-4-2 must be the way that Walter will go, asking the midfield to harry 'til they drop.  Gazza a 2nd half sub again when the game is just that little bit slower - and Collins is carrying a knock !

Rumours that an Argentinean striker, or even Booby Zamora - now THAT would be a signing with promise - may arrive to replace Watson could give a very interesting selection dilemma to Walter at the back.  Does Watson revert to right-back, Pistone back to left-back?  If so, does Naysmith stay in left mid or does Pembo get a start after an excellent 2nd half on Saturday?  

Can you believe it the Toffees may have to drop someone who is playing well!  If Watson does drop back, I reckon we'll see Pembo on the bench; if Watson stays up front then expect Naysmith to replace Unsworth at left-back and Pembo to play in front of him.

Be prepared for Fulham to have at least 60% of the possession, if not more.  Expect us to score...  and expect them to score.  I'm praying for a 1-1 and that's possible, but realistically 2-1 to Fulham would be my best guess.  Mind you I got the score right on Sunday — I NEVER get two games right on the bounce.  But here's hoping .....

BlueForEver



Reports Headline

by the Squire of Beckenham

“Severity breedeth fear, but roughness breedeth hate.  Even reproofs from authority should be grave, and not taunting.” (Francis Bacon, “Of Great Place”, 1625) 

“Few people can be happy unless they hate some other person, nation or creed” (Bertrand Russell)

I’ll begin by getting the football (such as it was) out of the way.  We started with the same side that finished the Southampton game with so much finesse only six short days ago, with Gascoigne and Pembridge on from the beginning.  

Fulham, however, are a far different proposition to Strachan’s side, with much more emphasis on culture than agriculture.  Tigana has built an attractive footballing side, with a mouth-watering mix of pace, skill and movement balanced by a physical presence and aggression that is more than a match for virtually anybody else in The Premiership.

If one can take anything positive from this game, one could examine the first 20 minutes and say that we produced some nice, flowing passing coupled with some intelligent movement from Radzinski.  The real problem was the lack of a fully-fledged striker to partner him; often the moves would end in a pass which would have been meat and drink to a quality forward, but these were wasted, finding the space with nobody moving into it. 

Gradually, the lack of ideas upfront ate into the confidence of our midfield; one could almost feel the hesitation in their minds when they approached the final third of the pitch and looked for some movement, with the horizon vacant for miles around.

Fulham were producing more of the same at our end, with an important difference; the power, pace and guile of their forwards, particularly Saha.  Even then, we found some solace in the fact that — despite the lad’s awesome talent, allied to the not inconsiderable contribution of Hayles, Boa Morte, Malbranque and our very own Johnny Collins (booed at every turn – more of which later) — our defence was holding steady and looking fairly comfortable in doing so.

Thus, it was all the more galling for us when we were undone by the most uncomplicated of moves: from a contentious free kick 20 yards outside the box, the ball was simply knocked wide left and, as the cross came in, Hayles just rose unattended on the 6-yd line to head past a stranded Simonsen.  No fault of the keeper’s; it seemed just as if a collective narcolepsy had afflicted the defence when the ball was delivered.

The hesitation in our game became even more apparent at one down; the mind’s eye envisioned Walter’s pre-match postulations urging his side to be ‘cautious’, and them taking him at his word no matter what.  With this, Fulham became ever more threatening and one sensed that the game had already escaped us.

The second half saw no immediate changes, either with our line up or with our inability to compete.  Sadly, the aspirations of Gascoigne to compete for a place in the England World Cup squad were betrayed as a pure pipe-dream — he became an ever more peripheral figure as the minutes went on.  The simple fact is that he cannot complete 90 minutes at the highest level any more; Walter Smith’s decision to leave it until the second half to bring him on against Southampton shows that he’s rather more tactically astute than we give him credit for.

Having said that, he was no worse than any of our other midfielders; Gemmill was invisible, Pembridge seemed destined to give the ball away at every opportunity (a shame that) and Gravesen seemed intent of having himself sent off.  We were two down by then; a corner from our left was treated like a live hand-grenade by all four defenders in front of Simo.  Hayles said ‘thank you very much’ and toe-poked it home.

And that was more or less it, save for two irrelevant substitutions (Gascoigne for Alexandersson with 20 minutes left, and Moore for Gravesen 10 minutes later)…  Oh, and a 22-man brawl precipitated by Wier being fouled by Boa Morte.

As Wier got up, Boa Morte grabbed his foot which unbalanced Wier and made him appear to knee Boa Morte’s head; over went Wier, Hayles stamped all over him and everybody else piled in.  A special mention here to Van Der Sar, who ditched his reluctance to come off his line and ran a full 70 yards to join in.  Wier got a second yellow and went; Boa Morte got a straight red; Hayles got away with it.  One for the FA panel to watch, I think.

Anybody who is concerned purely with matters on the pitch should now leave and go to ToffeeWeb’s news links to check the latest news on the mooted Bobby Zamora transfer.  However, I would urge anybody that cares about the well-being of our club to read on and realise why if Zamora’s got half a brain he won’t go near us with a shitty stick.

Before the match, I joined up with a few of the lads at the King’s Head on the Fulham High Street.  I had suggested the venue, and it didn’t take me long to regret my decision as, when I arrived, I found that we were hemmed in by a mass of inebriate boneheads intent of inebriating themselves still further, to the point of near collapse.  It seemed that the only thing reviving their rapidly-flagging ‘spirits’ was the opportunity to spout orchestrated vitriol about Houllier’s heart attack, Emile Heskey being a ‘nigger’, killing ‘Pakis’, ’39 Italians down below’ and other such fulsome behaviour.

Sickened as I was by the torrent of filth that assailed my ears in the pub, I was still totally unprepared for the extent of what went on at the game itself.  Our supporters kept up non-stop renditions of the ‘Heskey will you be my slave’ song, added a song about Markus Babbel having Aids to the mix, and then excelled themselves with a stream of racial abuse directed at Fulham’s coterie of black players.

In the first half, especially, Rufus Brevitt (unfortunate enough to be playing at left back and therefore directly in front of our section) was the recipient of an unprecedented level of chants and monkey noises.  He responded by giving the crowd a ‘Nescafe Handshake’ on the linesman’s blind side, which (and I fear with no sense of irony) brought howls of self-righteous hurt and angst from the boneheads.  I hope the FA don’t decide to punish him simply for telling the truth.

At half-time, a collection took place for the Variety Club of Great Britain, and as the mascots and the Fulham girls toured the pitch one of our ‘supporters’ took the opportunity to throw a whisky bottle at them.  Two more bottles followed in the first half to my knowledge, one of them aimed at Steed Malbranque as he took a corner.  Malbranque then slammed the ensuing kick straight into the advertising hoardings, which the knobheads probably saw as a validation of their actions.

The chants continued throughout the game: Collins was booed every time he got the ball for the crime of having once played for Everton; one Boa Morte run was greeted with “get back on the ####in’ jam jar!” by a bloke behind me; the ‘nigger’ chants grew ever more vehement... and so it continued. 

When the brawl broke out, I even saw and heard one of the nobs going up to a policeman and saying that he wished to report ‘that man, with the white hair and the black body’, for assault on Wier.  Yes, the knobchops had mistaken Saha for Hayles...  Still, I suppose he’d justify the mistake by saying “ah well, dey all luke de ####in’ same t' me”.

What saddens and angers me is this: firstly, this behaviour is increasingly prevalent at every away match that I attend, and I shudder to think of what will happen by the time we play Tottenham; and secondly, it’s increasingly common to see kids spouting this shite having been brainwashed by their parents.  I actually heard one girl of about 16 or 17 shout out “trigger trigger, shoot that nigger”; I hadn’t heard that for about 10 years, and she’s far too young to have picked up that one herself (her father’s look of satisfaction, turning around and grinning to all, spoke volumes).

What do we do?  The club have printed statements in the programmes at home games threatening sanctions against anyone involved, and making announcements at half time (when most of the arseholes will be emptying their straining bladders into the sinks at Goodison anyway).  While this is welcome, I do feel that the club now need to make a more concerted effort to rid the club of this poison, before it’s too late.  Many of these people will be season ticket holders, and they need to be identified and told that their support (and more painfully for the club perhaps, their money) are no longer welcome.  The club can’t hide behind the bland “it’s a small minority” statement any more, because it’s becoming a ####ing big minority.

In order to take action, the club needs help to identify and isolate the perpetrators, and to do that they need the help of the genuine supporters — the ones that attend away games to watch football — not as an excuse to get pissed up and taunt black players.  

I will be writing to both Everton FC and Fulham FC to report what I saw and heard; while I can’t identify individuals at this game, I will do all I can to help.  We are witnessing a cancer, a hatred that feeds on itself, and if we don’t do something NOW then I promise you that it wont be long before we're back to organised violence, and possibly even deaths.

Dominic Lawson, a very passionate and clever Blue whose opinion I respect highly, described this behaviour as dealing the club a “death by a thousand cuts”.  Perhaps, Dom.  But maybe a “death by a thousand cunts” would be more appropriate…

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