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Fans Comment
Duncan Lennard

Hit me Davey one more time
28 December 2005

My view of Milan Baross first goal was not as good as Mike Rileys. I was upstairs at the time, watching my 7-year-old niece perform a Britney Spears number on her brand new karaoke machine. A holler went up from the front room and I rushed down to see that greasy rat wheeling away, hand in the air. Still. I stayed to watch the replay, but someone had switched channels to a basketball game. Only they hadnt. I slunk back upstairs to my niece, who was in tears because Id run out on her performance. Great tidings of comfort and joy...

There were 12 relatives at my house on Boxing Day, and Id watched the first 25 minutes of the match like Ricky Hatton dodging his foe as they took it in turns to wander in front of the TV. The game seemed reasonably even and I felt safe to leave it for a while and head up for the Britney show. In any case, watching Everton in front of the rellies is a traumatic experience. They seem to enjoy my pain. And I get bombarded with questions like Whats happened since last season? and Why did you buy Beattie? Hes shit. You expect better from your Gran.

But there is one redeeming feature. You end up watching the team through their eyes, rather than your own blue-tinted ones. So I began to salvage what was obviously becoming a Very Depressing Match by taking the chance to watch the team objectively for once. By the final whistle for I stuck it out to the bitter end I had formed three conclusions:

  1. On two-thirds of the pitch we are okay
    No prizes for guessing which two. But I thought we looked reasonably solid and composed, tackled well and passed it tolerably until the third goal. Okay, bad error for goal two but generally I was not embarrassed by our midfield or defence, especially given we had a debut centre back. At any rate, there were no sarky comments from the in-laws.
  2. Up front: start again
    We worked the ball into some pretty decent areas and then nothing. Just nothing. My brother gleefully informed me he had lost count of the number of times we imploded from decent openings. McFaddens Disease is apparently contagious; the whole teams decision-making around the box is eerily awful, even defying the law of averages. If we had 15 decisions to make, we made 15 wrong ones.

    Full-backs are played in when they should have been used as decoys, ignored when they burst clear... defenders are taken on for no reason we shoot when we should pass and pass when we should shoot. My abiding memory of the match has become Beattie chasing down that lost cause throw into the corner, winning the ball magnificently then, with all the time in the world, rifling a truly awful cross to no one. Cue a howl of triumph from my dad, and a Told you he was shit from my gran. Goal kick to Villa.

    Confidence or ability? Bit of both no doubt. But I would sell Beattie, Bent, McFadden, Fergie if anyone will have him and just start again with a totally new strike force. Right now I dont see anything in any of them. Beats is a good lad, hes bought into the work ethic and all that I just dont think hes a good enough footballer.
  3. Give Dave the season
    I have very nearly lost it with Moyes but not quite. Under pressure, he is certainly making mistakes. Osman on the left is a stunner and he shouldnt have described us after the game as having a soft centre. Our midfield is simply trying to compensate for a misfiring front line. If you are a midfielder playing in front of forwards with no pace or movement, and your team is one or two-nil down with 25 minutes left, you try to push on, making something happen yourself. Thats when you get caught.

    Moyess one quality for me was embuing his team with passion and heart at our best we used to steamroller teams and now thats apparently departed. The players are far better than the team plays, and thats got to be the ultimate sign of a failing manager.

    Yet I cant quite bring myself to want him out. As I said, in many areas we look okay. Also, weve had a shocker with injuries this season. Teams like us and Birmingham have suffered while the Wigans with barely a man out have succeeded. When managers talk about injuries they get accused of making excuses. I totally disagree. Injuries are crucial to a teams progress, and Everton are as good an example as any. Even Arsenal struggle with a few players out.

Im writing this before tonights derby. Once again its all about hope and not expectation, and Im sick of feeling that. But whatever the score tonight, I think Dave deserves one last chance. We are never at our most objective after consecutive 4-0 defeats, and the man has done a lot for this club. But for Gods sake Dave, dont pussyfoot around in the window. Admit you made a mistake with Beattie, sort the front line out and give us a strike force that will stop the team giving up after some greasy rat palms the ball into the net.

Duncan Lennard


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