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COLM'S CORNER, #77


Colm Kavanagh reacts with mounting frustration
 to Everton's loss at Aston Villa

 

 FRUSTRATION

 

Nil Satis...

I think the events of the weekend have given us an opportunity to see the immediate future for Everton through an open window.

I see nothing but frustration ahead and with a capital F.

Some have viewed the appointment of David Moyes as the Arrival of the Messiah unfair, I know, to place such pressure on the new manager but, hey, that's football for yer.

He's now six months at Everton; though visible signs of improvement can be catalogued, it must also be acknowledged by one and all that there have been moments in games when you could see we needed some of that wily old Walter Smith nous when placed under the cosh.  We've dropped some foolish points against relatively poor opposition so far this season and it hurts.  If we continue as we are then batten down the hatches!

Personally speaking, I believe no manager to be perfect: such a person does not exist.  I will say one thing though David Moyes has been a breath of fresh air at a very stagnant club.  Sadly, the stench lingers and it'll be a while yet before we get to dream of seeing a class Everton side managed by a promising and ambitious young manager.  Dream on, the lot of you, if you think Everton are capable of rattling a few cages this season we're just not good enough.

Our first port of call this season must be survival.  What worries me most about Everton reaching this target is our general reliance on a kid just out of school.  Everton FC participates in a multi-million pound business and have all their eggs in one basket marked Rooney?  Nah, I don't think so either but at the same time we are all as guilty of heaping an unwanted burden on such young shoulders.  We all want him to do well; we all know he can as he has shown so far willingness and a swagger that's been bloody great to watch.

There's a touch of Andy Gray in that young scouser, I'm certain.  I love a kid who doesn't give a shit about reputations.  Let's hope his progress continues in an injury-free manner and the faith being placed in the lad's play rewarded.  We sure as hell, we could do with a little cheer around Goodison.  But can you imagine, long term, what it might do to young Rooney if we're drawn once again into a relegation scramble?  I don't even want to consider it an option this season!

I thought we were extremely lacklustre in the opening half against Aston Villa yesterday.  There were times I had to ask myself, "Is this Premiership football?"  Talk about hyping a product!  If that was an example of top-flight football, then the future's anything but bright.  English Premiership football a gathering of overpaid, fortunate "professional" footballers? 

I see too many players unable to control a ball, use a 'weaker ' leg or possess the simple ability of passing to a team-mate.  We had an opening 45 minutes of it against Aston Villa yesterday a poor Aston Villa side where we continually handed the ball back to our grateful hosts.  We looked like a side without leadership.  We needed someone anyone to get riled and grab that game by the scruff to raise our game (collectively) above the mediocrity.

Young Rooney appeared most likely to be the man (sic) to do so as he put himself about all over the place.  His aggression earned his a foolish yellow card.  Worryingly though, his desire and frustration didn't really inspire any of his teammates.  We plodded on 'til half-time, half hoping for a fortuitous break going our way. 

With Thomas Gravesen we get consummate inconsistency brilliant one minute, shite for the next 60 and anonymous for the remainder.  This guy is supposed to be the engine in midfield, the hub of our team.  Were we conned into taking a replacement engine at the factory when purchasing?  I think he's taking us all for a ride at Everton and wouldn't mind seeing him moved on at the end of the season.

Perhaps he could take with him the even more inconsistent Mr Alexandersson when he departs.  Niclas, similar to Thomas Gravesen, is a player you know to be talented but he just never seems to do it in Everton Blue.  If both are still at Everton this time next year (and God forbid, the year after) we'll STILL be having the same debate and, to be honest, that is a luxury we can ill afford.

We played much better in the second half we could only improve but yet again found ourselves exposed via poor defensive play: 2-0 and a mountain to climb.  Two down away from home, on one of Everton's ever growing number of bogey grounds, with a slower than slow defence, a three-man midfield stretched from one side to the other, and a three-pronged attack (albeit with Rooney dropping back to assist the midfield) didn't look good, did it?

To give credit where it is due, the sudden awakening of Everton in the second half was pleasing on the eye as we pushed Villa onto the back foot.  We took to playing Route One football with the odd spell of neat passing included.  It worked.  Villa were bricking it.  At 1-2 down, we knew Everton were far from dead in this game.  A wonderful save from the head of Campbell by the Villa keeper left us kicking the cat (next door's, may I add).  We had fleeting glimpses of Denmark's Gravesen as he chased back and reclaimed possession: nothing like an injection of confidence or self-belief a different player to the first half...

The equaliser was, whisper it, inevitable.  It had been coming.  Yet again, we found ourselves relying on the ageing frame of Kevin Campbell to play the 'get out of jail' card.  For a player who has received an unrelenting amount of criticism, I can only express how delighted I am to see an Everton player score four goals in his opening seven league fixtures. 

Clearly, without Kevin Campbell, this present Everton side would be doomed.  To a degree, that notion frightens me, as he's past that sell by date.  His sheer professionalism carries him through, though I'd imagine he's not as much in love with the Goodison public as he once was due to the continuing barracking he gets from the Knowledgeable Ones.  His goals have been invaluable so far this term.  Without them where would we be?

At the back, it's time to bring in Una Stubbs from Worzel Gummage.  She can't be any slower than cousin Alan, sad to say.  We are going to have problems all season long in defence, I fear a lack of pace is our worst nightmare.  Do we get all wobbly in the knee region and recall Peter Clarke and blood him alongside David Weir?  Switch David Unsworth to centre half once Naysmith or Pistone recovers from injury?  Whatever, the Weir-Stubbs axis spells trouble.

We could well do with a player like David Thompson in our midfield.  He is now playing superbly in Blackburn's midfield and having his manager suggesting he should be playing for England.  It still miffs me that we paid MORE for Lee Carsley than Blackburn did for Thompson. 

However, if it's lamenting over players who got away, remember when Kasey Keller was out in Spain and doing "come and get me" interviews with BBC Radio 5 live two seasons back?  Yet again he was superb for Tottenham at the weekend, genuinely one of the better keepers in the game and dare I say it but he cost precisely 3.5M less than our present number one.

That 3.5M (which is to rise I do believe?) could've been spent elsewhere.  Like midfield for example.

Frustration. Ffffffffffffffffffffff...

Colm Kavanagh
23 September 2002