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Colm Kavanagh senses a lot more stress behind the Everton scenes...


 Shootout at the Not-So-OK Goodison Corral?


High Noon?

The season, thankfully ended, and Goodison now lies idle.  Gathering dust.  No obvious celebrations looming on the horizon bar the 20th anniversary of the last truly great Everton side.  Without fanfare, we have just finished with our worst ever points haul in living memory and now, more than ever before, we are looking like a Club in complete turmoil.  Is it too sensationalist to dare fear that we are now a mere 38 games away from dropping back into the lower divisions for the first time since 1951?

The saloons have all but emptied in the vicinity... but the difference this time around is that most patrons are thankful for the break from the match day routine.

There's tumbleweed aplenty blowin' down a quiet Goodison Road, as news of our financial salvation remains elusive no thanks to a dithering Board of Directors.  Bill Kenwright continues in vain, panning for gold behind the sofa.  I fear for Bill as there's no more gold in them there hills.  Maybe an extended re-run of Blood Brothers globally could buy us a little time.  I fear not though.  I would suggest buying scratch cards but that's a bit of a lottery!  Worrying times for anyone with a care for the once-proud Everton Football Club.

As we fell further and further away from the higher echelons in the game, we still retained the feeling that, no matter what, we'd have enough in reserve the following year.  That delusion wears thinner by the year.  Aside our own fortune in avoiding the drop on more than one occasion, we can only be thankful for the paucity of genuine strength in today's Premiership.  Competitive it may well be but the quality is an absent ingredient.  How on earth can a team winning only nine games in a season survive?

The wheel of fortune will turn, of that I have absolutely no doubt.  Every passing season, we identify at least three clubs worse than ourselves; more often than not, they duly oblige and we survive.  Hardly School of Science stuff but there you go... that's the Everton of today: playing in an old stadium, home to many great memories.  Time may have caught up on The Old Lady; time may have expired for the team that calls Goodison home.

The absolute spineless capitulation at Manchester City truly epitomised what an awful season we've endured.  Yet again, on our travels, we witnessed a leaderless Everton reaching for new levels of ineptness.  No heart, no leader, no points.... a soundtrack to the season.

What on earth has happened with the same group of players who, seemingly, were lifted to a "magnificent" seventh under the inspired management team of Moyes and Irvine only last season? 

What really happened this season between the management and players?  We've all heard the tales about a training-ground ruckus, players being sent home, award nights cancelled, golf days cancelled division growing ever wider between the playing staff and the management.  How far will this be allowed to go before drastic action is required? 

The vast majority of the paying Everton fan base will side unswervingly behind the manager right or wrong.  In David Moyes, we're hoping we have a manager who will not settle for shite.  He's raised the bar and some don't like that.  However, he's a young manager and young managers are not always right.  Young managers who are not always right but won't listen to people telling them that they're not always right are their own worst enemy. 

Ask David O'Leary, a relatively young manager himself when taking the Leeds job.  All was going well until Mr O'Leary became opinionated on every last matter concerning his club.  It ended in tears.  We most certainly do not want to see that happening at Everton.

I am most certain that David Moyes has, at times, stepped on the toes of some at the Club and he's not always been correct in doing so.  He must learn from his mistakes.  What I most certainly back him on is the stance he has taken against some of our playing staff who have shown nothing but disdain for the shirt, manager and team this year you petulant shower of under achieving twats!  They do their "profession" a great disservice.

So what if there's been a severe falling out between manager and player?  Surely it's a player's professional duty to don that shirt, when selected, and give their all.  Instead, we have a core of players taking the piss, dodging their responsibility to those who pay their wages and the fans who travel all over the country, witnessing inept performance time and time again.  These charlatans cannot continue to hide behind a dispute with their manager, feeling sorry for themselves.

How can this slide into obscurity be stopped without a significant financial investment?

Bill Kenwright alone cannot turn this Club around.  He hasn't got sufficient funding and cannot continue as is.  Perhaps the day nears where Bill will listen to offers TO BUY rather than touting for investors to pump money into a Club that's not far from being on its last legs in the Premiership. 

I think Bill gets a hard press sometimes from the fans, unknowing of his efforts to improve the Club.  His passion for Everton cannot be doubted but there's no denying that he's now boxed in his labour of love becoming anything but.  The love's long since gone, replaced by hard labour.  Expensive too.

He's very supportive of a manager who is very much at loggerheads with many of the playing staff.  How can he back his manager with the necessary funds so obviously needed to ship out those no longer in Moyes's plans when he's already pumped his every last pound into the Club?  How can he back the manager when the Club's Chairman is opposed to supporting the present manager and wants him removed from the position? 

Getting shut of Moyes now will cost Everton even more money that we haven't got!  Yet another new manager would require a hefty compensation to be paid somewhere more dead money heading out of the Club, eh?  Even better, would the new manager not require an instant kitty to promote us from being appallingly shite to simply shite? Even getting to that level costs a lot of money.

It all has the potential right now to go tits up before us.  The pot's brewing, slowly coming to the boil...   Frustration everywhere you look.  Blood is in the air at Goodison, I feel, but who's going to be scalped in the shootout at the Not So OK Goodison Coral in the coming weeks?

Who ever said this season had ended?!  Wrong: the fun's only starting...

Colm Kavanagh
18 May 2004