The preparations for the coming season have been far from ideal
up to this point, with some promising scorelines against Pachuca and
Sheffield Wednesday. But the paucity of Everton's aging
defence is there for all to see as Everton return at last to
Goodison Park for the final pre-season fixture before it all kicks
off in earnest next weekend.
The future of Everton has to be with youngsters like Tony
Hibbert, who really needs to learn how to cross the ball. Hopefully,
Moyes has focused on such ideals in the run-up... Joseph
Yobo, who has missed the last two games, returns to action,
hopefully to plug some of those gapping holes.
The Club will still be burdened by the likes of Duncan Ferguson
for one more season; he starts on the bench. *Although
named as a substitute, Osman was in fact being rested due to a groin
strain. Li Tie is still on the road to recovery after
sustaining a shin fracture last February. And Wayne Rooney has
at least a month of recovery and progressive training before he will
be ready to play.
Christ, that was a warm one in Liverpool. Sweating
cobs. Always nice to catch a "game" at Goodison
though this one resembled more of a lethargic kickabout in the heat
I most certainly would not have appreciated wearing black in
that heat! Ah well, breaking sweat will have been a novelty
for some of our lads over recent months do them no harm....
It's ridiculous forecasting that the end of the world is nigh
after a game like this or equally predicting we're Champions
League bound. Kilbane and Gravesen were central to what little
creativity we had on offer. McFadden still hasn't found what
he's looking for (a right leg) and Campbell huffed and puffed.
Carsley was Carsley, breaking up what play he could, the sort of
effort that generally goes unappreciated by the watching eye.
Defence? Oh God... must we? If the declaration last
week was "Houston We Have A Problem" then that problem
has now returned home to base: Alan Stubbs. The QE2 turns
quicker than Stubbsy. Holes aplenty in what we laughingly call
a defence. We have been warned. Emergency surgery
drastically required right across the back four allowing for
poor Yobo's class being a cut above. Oh dear.....
Oddly enough, was that Dicky Gough playing at the heart of
Sociedad's defence? Could've sworn it was him!
Their two goals were softer than a newborn's arse Moses
couldn't have done a better job parting our defence.
"HELLO - come on in, welcome to Goodison". Shit, one
down. Within a minute it could've been three one
stupendous save from Nigel Martyn (who looked like he'd got his hair
sheared at Crufts) and then a clearance off the line (from
Naysmith). We were ragged but, hey, it's only a kickabout in
Our visitors doubled their lead, with ease, before half-time and
you could see heads dropping. Some shouts of "Sack the
Board" from the Gwladys Street were amusing as there was hardly
anyone sitting over in the Director's Box! You could see Bill
Kenwright seated alone in his usual seat, but he looked lonely
there. No Phil Carter beside him to reminisce about days of
old and Dave Hickson. The deck of cards continues to
- The pitch Do you remember when Goodison Park was
THE finest playing surface in the land? Well, this pitch
we have now is already showing signs of wear and tear. It
was cutting up down on the touchline Bullens Road side. I
can only presume that the Ground staff have less of a budget
(what budget!) to prepare the pitch but it ain't a patch
(sic) on what it used to be. Those where the days....
- Thomas Gravesen's hot pants! Mother of Gawd (high pitch
voices please) how tight can they be? Straight from a
sleazy Copenhagen S&M den? He's gone from the baggy to
the ridiculously tight. Paulo di Canio eat yer heart out
mate. I'm on the case, as we speak, trying to get to the
bottom of this (sic). One theory is that Gravesen wearing
these ultra tight shorts means he no longer looks the spit of
Carsley. However, I think the real reason behind it all is
that if Gravesen even thinks about wellying it from 30 yards out
he'll end up splitting his kecks with the follow through!
Does this mean we'll get the benefit of a more focused Tommy for
the season and not the headless chicken? Hopefully!
Prediction for the start of the season up front:
It's Marcus Bent plus one. Hardly rocket science but there
yer go. Bent looked impressive when he came on early into the
second half. I'd possibly start with him alongside James
McFadden for Arsenal's visit next Sunday. Home debut goals on
the opening day of the season anyone? We've had a fair few of
those over the years... Bent just might hopefully get
off to a flyer next weekend when least expected.
Why, pray tell, are Everton so skint?
One possible reason occurred to me, in the MeagreStores
(thankfully no longer looking as meagre as they once were) both
in town and by the ground.
Firstly, why is it that most of these youngsters who work in
these businesses (vital to the Club) seem to have not a clue about
their job? I'll start with Ranelagh Street bright and early -
himself wanted the new Everton kit so in we went. Picked up
the shirt, socks and shorts and proceeded to queue for the name on
the back - Kilbane for those still interested. One hour later
and I think they're just about to lovingly place the name Kilbane on
the back of me kids new shirt. I'd already noticed a slight
panic amongst the staff at this stage - "We've got no O's
left... and there's hardly a Y left either" mutters one member
of staff to another.
Cue important looking geezer (ie, him with the keys and the
"look at me I've got it down as an art form doing nowt and
looking busy") scuttling off to some pokey wee hole out of
bounds to the prying eye. No joy; plan B comes into
effect. Out came a load of (already prepared?)
"Rooney" letter transfers (not selling as well this year
then or what young Wayne?) and they proceeded to nick an O here and
a Y there.
Ah, time for my kid's shirt! "We've got no L's..."
Cue important looking geezer (repeat above scenario)...
Again, no joy. Plan C comes into effect. One of the
girls takes out a load of (already prepared?) "Campbell"
letter transfers (not selling as well this year then Super Kev?) and
proceeds to nick a few L's.
After entering the store at 11.05am, we finally escaped at
Having said all that, great to see the number of new full kits on
so many kids. It looks ace and puts to bed the argument over
white or blue socks. White socks win the day by a landslide they
make the kit complete. Kudo's to whoever designed this kit.
We went to the main MeagreStore (looking not so meagre it has to
be said) after the game and had to bide our time in the queue
outside. Excellent, the tills must be ringing! Keep this
up and we might get the cash together to bid for a player on a free
Anyway, once we got in, like many other overseas Blues, I went
about the place with total disrespect for my credit card's
health. T-shirts, curtains, duvet, football, books, mugs,
Queued at the counter to pay the aisles that they've set up
are a good idea, very much along the lines of your supermarket
checkout. Plenty of small accessories around you as you shuffle
along the queue to the till and I've absolutely no doubt they'll
sell quite a bit of shite this way. It all adds up, turning
pennies into pounds and though it won't buy us a Zidane it all
helps! Anyway, to the till we eventually got. Young fella
scans everything and then says, "£26.98 please".....
The curtains alone cost £36.99 so I looked baffled and with
a DILEMMA on me hands!!!
Do I smile and then slip off into the night with the bargains of
bargains? Or do I pipe up, "sorry mate... think
you've made a big mistake there and yer doing yourself (or more to
the point, the Club)?"
Once the penny dropped, the colour drained from his cheeks.
Andy Hosie was only a matter of feet away, the place was packed and
rightly or wrongly I didn't want to get the kid in trouble there and
then. Second time lucky for our troubled assistant and I was
properly fleeced! However, it does leave you thinking how
often does this happen and that's without giving credit to some
of the famous scouse/scally savvy out there!
Out at the airport later on, a lady passed a comment to me young
fella about his new kit. We ended up chatting about the game
earlier as she was also a match-going Blue. Mentioned the
lark with the MeagreStore and she told me that a few months back she
went in to buy a shirt for herself. Ended up buying a
different one as the one she wanted was, surprise surprise,
"out of stock". After trying it on at home she
didn't like it so went back to the Store to exchange it.
Turns out she'd received a discount when buying the item and
after explaining all this she was given a total refund and the
preferred shirt she'd wanted initially (obviously then "back in
stock!"). Only when she got home did she notice that the
total refund exceeded to price she'd initially paid. So, she
rang the Store, explained (to deaf ears) what had happened
fearing someone at the Store would get into shit for having a
balance deficit on their till.
The response she received? The Berlin Wall re-emerged with
whoever supposedly listening not actually listening to what the
woman was saying. "You gave me more back than I paid for
it!" The message was eventually driven home. The
response? "Thank you for your honesty. Because of your
honesty we'd like you to keep the difference. Thanks for
highlighting this error."
Is it any wonder we're struggling for petty cash?