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COLM'S CORNER, #90


Colm Kavanagh waxes lyrical...
Persevere to the end, and you shall reap your reward.

 

 IF

 

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream--and not make dreams your master,

If you can think--and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings--nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;

If all men count with you, but none too much,

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!

RUDYARD KIPLING
1865-1936

It begs one question: was Rudyard Kipling a prophetic Evertonian in disguise?

Just what the hell is happening at Everton Football Club these days?  I think most accepted, before a ball was kicked this season, that repeating the (magnificent?) seventh place of last season would be a hard act to follow.  Only fifteen games played so far but the heady height of a seventh place finish already looks a world away, despite being only eight points off fifth place!  Face it folks, those long winter nights when nervously surveying the various permutations surrounding the fixtures of the bottom clubs is looming large on the horizon once again.  Unless, of course, we turn our current form right around and become upwardly mobile once more.  Yeah, unlikely

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,

Applicable to both Mr. Moyes and the young chap, the boy who would / could be King?  The media are already sharpening their knives and were already tiring of reading the well, Everton would be better off selling Rooney now to buy in three players nonsense. 

No doubt about it, young Rooney is suffering in a team that has lost its way and its energy.  Mind you, he hasnt helped his cause one bit by celebrating high profile birthday parties in glossy celebrity magazines and swanning off to Madrid to earn a few dollars more for himself and those who really own his flesh, Pro-Active.

David Moyes, one presumes, is anything but impressed.  I read one tabloid sage from the back pages spout utter nonsense that it was David Moyes himself who was holding back Wayne Rooneys progress.  Rooney needs to quit Goodison Park in order to progress.  This from the same hack who wrote pre-season that David Moyes was handling Rooneys progress superbly, in the face of mounting pressure from the media!  Ouch, my sides

Allowing for the small matter of Wayne Rooney doing his growing up in public, hes going to have to accept the bad with the good.  Hes enjoyed a pretty good run up to now instant adoration from the terraces, sparkling performances leading to international recognition where he has taken to it like a duck to water.  That in itself has frustrated Evertonians with the reality being that Rooney has expressed himself better when surrounded by better players.

Many Blues see two different Rooneys the player who excites, for country, and the kid (just turned 18) who is patently struggling at club level.  What we tend to forget though that this is a kid younger than the likes of Michael Branch, Danny Cadamarteri and a host of other promising young Evertonians who were wrongly elevated before their time.  Poor old Rooneys not even allowed time to fart these days without criticism from some quarter!

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,

The snowball has already started to roll down the slope the whisper grows: is David Moyes really as good as we think he is?  Personally, I think hes the best thing thats happened to this ailing Club of ours for years.  He knows what hes inherited, on and off the field and patience is one thing we fans do not possess.  The fortunes of Everton Football Club will not come good overnight. 

Its a frustratingly long and winding road (with cul-de-sacs aplenty!) ahead, all in the name of progress.  Moyes has been forced to manage the team with little financial assistance from our part-time Board.  Hardly perfect, Im sure youll agree in this day and age.  Moyes has, and will, make mistakes.  Hes human!  Bottom line, though weve got the right man.  Back him!

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

I definitely think the prophetic Mr Kipling has sat in on previous meetings within that there Everton Boardroom!  Meanwhile, we still wait  Everton revival for 2004 anyone?

If you can dream and not make dreams your master,

If you can think and not make thoughts your aim;

The Club once had a motto, in Latin: Nil Satis Nisi Optimum.  There once was a time when we firmly believed it to be true.  Nowadays its more a case of Nil Satis Nisi Optimum Sin Dinero! We can but dream?  Nurse, the screens

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;

Was Rudyard Kipling the first to notice that a team who doth finish in seventh endeth relegated within twelve months?  Gadzooks!  Fear ye not, these myths are there to be broken.  Or are they?

If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools;

Ah, back to handling young Master Rooney!  The One Voice who has spoken most sense about Englands finest young prospect for many years has been David Moyes.  Yes, Rooney is good enough to play week in week out.  No questioning his talent or ability.  But if you want the chap to face burn out within a matter of years then fine, play him week in week out.  Hes only eighteen years of age! 

Thats the problem we have with our game place the promising kids on a ridiculous pedestal and then hammer them in time to come when their form naturally takes a dip.  We have enough experienced professionals on the books who are paid more than enough to cope with the pressures of leading the Everton frontline.  Its about time they accepted that responsibility rather than allowing the pressures to fall squarely on the broad shoulders of Croxteths finest.

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;

Oi, Kipling you telling us last seasons joy never happened and were back to square one?!

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

Keep the Faith, my fellow Evertonians.  Sadly, the reality of yet another relegation battle looms and for many it is a bitter taste and something we consider ourselves to be above.  Nothing like a few wins to quell fears of yet another long winter.  Wonder... has Moyesy written to Santa yet?!

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings--nor lose the common touch,

Yes, thats it WE ARE THE PEOPLES CLUB!  Kipling has decreed it thus!  One thing though can we sod the common touch and once again walk with the kings?

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;

If all men count with you, but none too much,

Again, Kiplings on the ball more than Lawrenson and Co ever could be!  Reference made to squad unrest perhaps?!

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!

Thats the spirit!  We live in doom and gloom times, refusing to believe we can rise above the utter shite of recent weeks.  Truth be known: we can.  The Premiership is one of the most over-rated leagues today, littered with poor inconsistent teams who, on their day, can conquer their betters.  Sadly, we are included amongst those also-rans. 

However, a reminder, and possibly a straw-clutcher, there are 38 games in a season, not 15.  We have been poor so far; no excuses offered.  With 23 games left this season, many Evertonians have already bottled it, fearing the worst.  Thats an awful long way from the finish line to be losing your nerve!

Aye, as 2003 draws to a close, we collectively as Evertonians have proved our fickleness once more.  Daring to dream we could go from seasoned relegation candidates to muscling in on a G14 carve up with a severe lack of financial clout... and then falling back into the dregs of the Premiership when most considered our elevation to the higher echelons a permanent return.  And all thisl within a matter of months.  T'was ever thus with Everton!

Can anyone boldly predict that 2004 will be any less of a rollercoaster?  Stability?!  Whats that, then?

Colm Kavanagh
11 December 2003