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Colm's Corner
Columnist: Colm Kavanagh

Far and Away
29 March 2006


Some years ago, far too many to be precise, I recall a dark, wet and windy day, stuck indoors, probably misery personified, looking out at a grey sky clouds that stubbornly refused to move away.  When skies remained grey, you could say

We didnt have Play Station 2 or PSPs in those days, or any other electrical gadget contraption thats now plentiful in most homes to focus the mind.  Television, to alleviate the boredom?  Four hundred and twenty channels to cater for all tastes?  In my dreams!  I remember schooldays when I was sick and facing the possibility of a day on the couch (Lucozade optional) channel hopping wasnt an option.  Crown Court (boring) on ITV, Pebble Mill over on the Beeb.  Test Card Girl on BBC2 with afternoon re-runs of The Open Universitys Guide to Nuclear Fusion.  Or something.  Enough, in fact, to almost stir any sickly school dodging chap off the couch and back into school!  Almost.

As the credits rolled, ending yet another riveting episode of Crown Court (a televisual cure for insomniacs), I remember one such day where I took out an old dilapidated second hand cheapo imitation version of Scalextric.  Scalextric was very much like dear old Subbuteo.  Ah yes, Subbuteo.  Again, your first Subbuteo was no doubt a hand-me-down, from a relation or a neighbour.  My first Subbuteo pitch was a beautiful green all over the shade of green that all keepers wore back in the 1970s.  Only problem with my beautiful green beize was the scorched markings down the left flank, serving as a reminder to whoever it was who committed the heinous offence that ironing clothes upon the cloth is not recommended!  As a result, my sellotaped together left winger forever struggled.  Bit like Preki

With Subbuteo you always wanted more.  Fine to have two teams in direct combat one team, donned in iconic Catterick-esque we dont need crests to tell the world were Everton Royal Blue; the other didnt really matter.  Flick football battle commenced, rules broken at will in order to ease your team through to the next round.  Picket fencing giving your arena an air of authenticity until you heard from a mate that the twat over the road in Number 6 had got two stadium grandstands, a TV tower AND the Jules Rimet Trophy!  The jammy bastard! 

It was the same with his scalextric also.  I had a figure 8 model track, with a hint of back straight for my two cars to splutter into life before flying off the track and onto the floor beneath.  He had Monza chicanes, overhead bridges, pit lanes, grandstands, the lot.  The guy across the road always had better.  On those wet days, off school sick, nowt to watch on television, I remember taking out the old racing track and setting off with the best of intentions to create my own Monza.  All I needed was the time, effort, the will to succeed and copious quantities of empty washing up liquid bottles, cardboard rolls, a pair of scissors, some tinsel and some sticky-back tape.  Simple.  Thats how they did it on television.  I knew, having spent endless hours watching all of these being transformed with wondrous ease into whatever on programmes such as Blue Peter, How, Vision On, and Why Dont You?  I was going to make my own Monza, my own top of the range grand prix track, with all the trimmings.  I was going to match him across the road on a shoestring budget.

Sound familiar?

Watching Saturdays Mersey derby at Anfield I couldnt help but draw comparison to those above childhood memories.  The Everton of 2006 that you and I know can only look on enviously at the neighbours across Stanley Park.  Did we really put one over them last season?  Successive managers over there have been in a position to spend millions of pounds on players.  Millions secured from investment the kind of money we simply havent got at our disposal.  As a result, its quite simple:  theyve got better players than us.  The Haves versus The Have Nots.  It aint rocket science. 

David Moyes, when he came to the Club, promised to build a young team, mindful no doubt that Walter Smiths ageing, struggling, retirement home eleven needed a firm push out of the door.  And yet, look at the current first team squad assembled by Moyes reliant on a goalkeeper rapidly nearing his 40th birthday to inspire some sort of confidence in the defence before him.  Unfortunately for all concerned, Martyns season has been cut short and we wonder:  Have we now seen the last of Nigel in an Everton shirt? 

It is quite obvious that our defenders have little or no true faith in Moyess 4.5M signing Richard Wright a player whose Everton career has lurched from embarrassment to farce and back.  Wright surely must go this summer, for his own sake as well as the sanity of all Evertonians! 

The return of Alan Stubbs to the Club has coincided with an upturn in fortunes on the pitch Stubbs solidifying a defence previously leaking goals, but the shock of his return was very much a short-term plugging of a hole, created with the sudden departure of Per Krldrup, another expensive Moyes signing.  I remain unconvinced with the Clubs official line, believing they were being VERY economical with the truth surrounding his transfer back to Italy for fee undisclosed.  Not suitable to the rigours of the Premiership?  Pull the other one, lads! 

Whether you view it as cynical or not, I fully expect to see Joseph Yobo also packing his bags for elsewhere this summer.  Plain and simple: well need the money from his sale to facilitate necessary wholesale replacements, so I expect our good friends at the Echo are already preparing the template for the Yobo Rejects New Contract story.  Nigel Martyn, Alan Stubbs and David Weir cannot go on forever (combined age 111 if theyre all still here at the beginning of next season).  David Moyes  youve got defensive problems, mate, this summer 

A great opportunity, unsurprisingly, was missed last summer in the aftermath of a monumental season where our fourth place finish earned us a peek at the G14s Champions League plaything.  The failure to secure the services of a striker to play alongside James Beattie has been well documented it remains Moyess biggest failing this season and it will remain a key talking point over the summer until that elusive new face arrives at Goodison Park. 

Weve scored a pitiful 29 goals so far this season (thank God for a decent run of late, eh?), which is a pathetic return for any club harbouring ambitions.  Thats LESS than one goal per game!  And some of you reckon we can make Europe?!  Fuck me!  Even during our best ever Premiership season we scored only 45 League goals a total matched, ironically, the previous season when Moyes and his senior players (are they now senior seniors?) fell out with each other and once Premiership safety was secured they stopped, literally, doing their job, taking the piss as Dave Prentice suggested. 

In Moyess first full season, the Magnificent Seventh, we hit the back of the net 48 times.  With seven games remaining this season well be doing well to even match last years paltry goal total.  David Moyes youve got goalscoring problems mate this summer

Back though to the depressing fallout from Saturdays derby game, and one question:  can the widening gap between the two Merseyside clubs ever be bridged?  Theyre possibly looking to bring Benfica star Simo to Anfield this summer for a reported 12M.  Everton?  Transfer kitty?  We are seemingly reduced to a hand-to-mouth existence, with a Board incapable of securing the kind of investment we crave, and forever having to sell our better players or those left who are saleable assets. 

Anyone who places any value in the now hollow motto of Everton Football Club should never ever accept how far we are behind them.  It was interesting to hear ex-player Kevin Sheedy the other week, talking on Irish radio directly after the home victory over Fulham, state that investment was out there, that there are people behind the scenes who I think want to invest money into Everton but the way its structured at the moment (the Club) if they could put the money in but theyre not really going to get a say how its used, so theyre not going to do that.  And as long as Everton dont invest money theyre going to do okay but the top clubs are going to move away. 

"The likes of Tottenham are getting stronger.  Liverpool are getting stronger.  Theyre going to invest in the summer, and David Moyes will need to bring in some better players to improve the squad and that we just dont sit on whats happened.  Earlier on in the season we were looking a poor team and certainly David Moyes has turned it around and were now going in the right direction.  But that can only happen for so long and if Arteta keeps performing like he is a top team is going to come in for him and once you start losing your top players then obviously youre only going to go one way and thats downwards.  So we need to improve and bring in better players to go with the players weve already got. 

When I heard Sheedy say as much, it brought a wry smile to my face here was an ex-Everton player practically saying that Everton today is the Chairmans trainset.  Sadly, for our Chairman, his counterpart across the road has a bigger and better one.  We continually hear that the Chairman is working literally 24/7 trying to secure investment for Everton Football Club.  Makes you wonder where hell find time for directing cowboy movies in Arizona this coming summer! 

Just as well Everton are in prime health just now, one of the 20 richest clubs in the world.  I wonder what title Bill will give his western epic?  Weve already witnessed The Magnificent Seventh.  Everton remain forever in search of A Fistful Of Dollars.  If Evertons frugal transfer policy involves taking some of the Ibrox misfits that Paul Le Guen will be offloading then perhaps itll be The Loan (sic) Star Ranger!  Or what about Red Canyon, a movie depicting the fall of Everton Football Club and rise of our neighbours, the canyon that now exists between Merseysides Haves and Merseysides Have Nots.  Im not even going to mention Billy The Kid

Dreaming the dream, the delusion down Goodison Road continues European football?  Someones havin a laugh


Colm Kavanagh


2005 ToffeeWeb


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