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Fans Comment
Lee Marman


Championship Here We Come
30 December 2005

Seven months ago, I wrote my first article for ToffeeWeb reviewing the season that had just seen an Everton team produce the best set of results in almost two decades.  Salivating at the prospect of Champions League Football, extra TV revenue, new players and more media attention, this could be at last the season where Everton set the agenda straight.

30 December  2005 and almost the same Everton team are now involved in a dog fight to stay alive in the Premiership.  In hindsight, this is no surprise.

The wake-up call to Everton fans all over the world happened one May night this year at Highbury.  The most embarrassing defeat we are likely to witness in a long time (well, Bucharest comes close) when 7 goals went past the luckless Richard Wright.  Then I think the penny should have dropped with all Evertonians that the 2004-05 season was a 'flash in the pan'.  Champions League? 'You're having a laugh' The Arsenal fans were right on the button.

The close season arrived and the much-heralded new signings awaited and exciting talent from foreign shores to wear the Royal Blue Jersey of our great club.  What happened? No-one wanted to touch Everton with a 'barge-pole' and we were left with crocks and has-beens.  The thought of playing for a club that 'punched above it's weight' was not enough to bring Bellamy, Parker and co to L4.  Is David Moyes to blame?  Only history will tell us the truth.

Lady luck has not always blessed Everton well and Wednesday's game with Liverpool summed up the season of frustration for our fans who are the best in the world.  Baros's 'goal' last Monday, Beattie's header from the ball that was supposed to have gone out for a goal kick... and to have two players sent off just about made Everton's woeful Christmas complete.

The display against Liverpool also showed the gap in class between ourselves and Liverpool in such a short space of time has widened to such an extent that it will take years to rebuild again after last season.  Liverpool are a great unit and have the potential to recapture the Champions League and give Chelsea a tussle.  Their passing was swift and they looked more likely to score than us.  We, on the other hand, are looking a team being made ready for longer journeys and more games next season in the Football League Championship.  If there is any consolation, my new Tom-tom sat nav will come in handy for some of the more obscure grounds in the Championship.

That is where I believe Everton will also meet their demise this year.  Our goal difference is the second worst in the Premiership and this could be the nail in the coffin for Everton; before, we have always had a superior goal differences in past relegation dogfights with other teams.  There is a total lack of confidence in the side and playing at Goodison is also becoming a hindrance as the fans are getting on the backs of players far too quickly although rightly deserved sometimes.

The next three games are absolutely critical at the start of the final half of the season.  Wins against Charlton Sunderland and Millwall in the Cup will somehow make the New Year more palatable for us Blue noses rather than looking down at the barrel or a Coca Cola tin at the moment.

As for David Moyes, he should stay for now but the crucial game for him now is Millwall in the FA Cup.  If they fall at the 1st hurdle, it will be the first time that Everton have entered four cup competitions in the same season and been knocked out of each at the first stage.  We cannot contemplate a change of manager now; who will want to come in?  And it will cost Uncle Bill an awful  lot of money...

Finally, there is some light at the end of the tunnel.  If you believe in superstitions, we are hopefully seeing an 11-year cycle of FA Cup wins and oh-so familiar patterns: 1983-84 - Bad start to season, Kendall out from the fans and ending up with the FA Cup. 1994-95, again another bad start to season; Walker Out, Royle in, and we ended up winning the FA Cup.  In 1966 England won the World Cup and who won the FA Cup.... Yes it could happen again in 2006 with both winning the prized titles.

Cannot wait to see the end of 2005; here's to 2006

Lee  Marman


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