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Fans Comment
Shaun Sparke

No more defeatism, Please!
14 May 06

So, they have done it again! Just when the footballing gods seemed to be finally deserting those unmentionables from across the park, that cruel and often unbalanced hand of fate once again intervened to conspire a victory that was undeserved but never the less expected.

My 7-year-old nephew, who up until now had proudly if not slightly against his will adorned the royal blue jersey on his young back in effort to please his uncle, has finally summoned up enough of his own will and has thrust a dagger of razor sharp proportions right through my heart by asking his mum if he could go and watch Liverpool parade the FA cup around the city. (Forgive him, Moyses for he knows not what he says!)

My vain attempts at counselling him have fallen on the proverbial stony ground; indeed, borrowing quotes from those of high cerebral magnitude such as Aristotle would seem most appropriate, but how do you tell a 7-year old that Dignity consists not in possessing honours, but in the consciousness that we deserve them. He just wouldnt get it; come to think of it, I am not sure that I do either.

The problem we have here has been one that has been manifesting itself in this city of ours for far too long now: the more successful they become, the more our spirit is being eroded away. I am not talking about the loyalty of us thirty- ... er, make that forty-somethings, who are lucky enough to possess memories of Everton that contain some glorious moments of footballing pleasure. I fear for the new generation of Evertonians who are being told by those who should know better that a top-ten finish is the best yes, I repeat:" the best that we can hope to achieve. We are told that the club has been stabilised and that we are finally living within our means; well... yippee doo! Didnt Oscar Wilde once say that, Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination? I am afraid that this is the impression the club is giving to both supporters and possible future players.

A rallying cry for fundamental change throughout the whole club is often advocated by disheartened but well-meaning supporters, who are sickened by the general malaise that this once-great club appears to be stricken. However, we are often ridiculed by those who we trust to run our club, and are spoken down to and categorized as people outside the game who dont have a proper understanding. Well, pardon me for having the audacity of expressing a football opinion, even though I have never played it professionally, but I think 30-odd years of watching and putting my emotional well-being on line entitles me to the odd opinion or two. After all, the power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it. (Ok, so I borrowed that from George Bernard Shaw... but I think it gets my point across.}

It would be so easy to jump on the after-season bandwagon and call for the head of Kenwright and Moyes after what was in all honesty a very ordinary season. What the hell am I saying, ordinary would imply acceptable and as long as I am an Evertonian there is no way on this earth that I will let anybody tell me (and that includes the current manager and chairman) that eleventh place is progress and that I should be grateful we were not involved in a relegation battle. I always thought that progress could be measured as setting a goal somewhat but not too much above our last achievement. In this way we steadily raise our level of aspiration. So how does finishing seven places below last season amount to progress? I would like to think that Kenwright and Moyes would secretly agree to this way of thinking, but sadly the soundbites of defeatism coming from these two recently, have really got me concerned.

So what is there to be done? It is so easy to offer criticisms of the current regime but a lot harder to actually come up with a few solutions. John Steinbeck once wrote that Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen. Well, I suggest that Kenwright dips into his Paul Daniels magic set and pulls out a couple of proverbial rabbits from the hat sooner rather than later otherwise we are going to be in for another summer of intense transfer speculation with the net outcome being that Big Dunc has been belatedly offered a further year's extension on his contract, and we will all be told that this is a major signing for the club and we should just shut up, rejoice at such a coup and accept it.

I used to be a Moyes fan when he first arrived; he used to do and say so many of the right things but, despite not wanting to, I fear he is turning into his own worst enemy. There have been far too many stories of bust-ups with players to convince me that he is the man for the job. The people have always some champion whom they set over them and nurse into greatness... This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears he is a protector. (Plato) I think those words could have been written for Moyes,

So, as I write this, my young nephew returns from his day's outing with a helium-filled replica of the FA Cup tethered to his wrist. At first, I think I have been betrayed when I see a red baseball cap on his head but to my relief I discover it has the words England written on the front. I ask him how his day went and he replies, It was brilliant, I saw the cup and all the players, and there were thousands of us along the road.

Did he really say us what did he mean? Was this just an innocent slip of a young tongue or could it be something more sinister. Whatever it was it is far to close for comfort. We must act now to stop this eroding away of our future fanbase but how is this to be done?

Well, for starters let us not have any more of this weak pathetic acceptance of mediocrity. If the people in whom we trust this great club want to go down that particular road, then it's time we got angry with them. As Malcolm X once said; Usually when people are sad, they don't do anything. They just cry over their condition. But when they get angry, they bring about a change. I think a little anger may be needed here...
Shaun Sparke


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