Materazzi and other assorted 'Everton Flops'
What I read was a critical analysis from Dave Watson, who if I’m being fair is probably a bit more qualified in judging the qualities of a centre-half than I am... The overall mood of the piece was that, while he showed glimpses of what he was capable of, he was overall a failure and no-one could have ever guessed he would someday play for Italy, citing one horrendous back-pass to allow Carbone to score as an example of his failings (I thought I remembered David Unsworth being at fault in some part for both goals, but maybe I am mistaken). "Oh, how we the Goodison faithful would laugh at such a thought," was the common conception.
I have been a season ticket holder since 96-97 (first game in my seat was the Newcastle game, Speed's debut) and I personally was more upset when we sold Maro Materazzi back to the club we signed him from for no more than the price we paid, than I was with Olivier Dacourt's departure, or anyone else’s since for that matter, with the exception of maybe Hutchinson, Ball, Jeffers (1st time) and of course, Rooney. I thought we lost a player who could only get better, and build on the skills he already possessed (excellent passer, free kick specialist, quick, strong, and good in the air).
Granted, had he stayed with us, plying his trade outside Serie A, he would probably never have played for the Azzuri, never mind scoring in the World Cup Final and lifting the most coveted prize in football, but I am just left to wonder what could have been had Marco stayed and continued the education he started under Watson, with Richard Gough the following year. Hypothetically, he would be even better than he is today, and maybe, the clumsy challenge for the penalty would not have happened, and his goal would have been enough to win the game outright.
Anyway, I'm starting to drift a little from my intended point so I will bring it back in a moment. The Matterazzi thing has led me to assess a number of opinions that both myself, and my brother have come across regarding some former players, two in particular. The different opinions on certain former players are always a decent topic of conversation, and overall it usually is just that: opinion. However, recently, two players' names in particular have come under some heavy criticism from certain fans and I just wanted some sensible opinions from other fans instead of the usual 'ee wuz she-ite'!! They are as follows:
- Mikael Madar — was he really as bad as some people say? I didn't think so. He scored some crucial, and quality goals and was simply not liked by Walter Smith. He had flair, was good in the air, and indeed, if either of his two memorable efforts in the derby (the stunning first-half, first-time, 40-yard volley, or the shambolic second-half miss-kick) had gone in, he probably would have a lounge named after him now, or a statue next to Dixie Dean.
- Carl Tiler — Was he really that bad? Again, I didn't think so, I thought he did reasonably well in a poor side. He was good in the air, used the ball well and, while not the quickest, he never made any glaring mistakes (not to my knowledge anyway.) I think once again, it is unfair to call him shite (he wasn't in the same league as Earl Barratt, Marc Hottiger, Mitch Ward, Tony Thomas... all right-backs I see, who again doesn't like Tony Hibbert?) but now, he is remembered with nothing but contempt.
I have to agree with you about Materazzi, Kevin. Granted I wasn't a Goodison regular during his one and only season at Everton, but I always regarded Marco as one of the most naturally gifted defenders ever to play for us. [I said as much in an article I wrote for Evertonia.com way back when but can't seem to lay hands on it at the moment.]
Like you, I was gutted when he left so soon after arriving but with the benefit of hindsight — not to mention that video currently doing the rounds on YouTube.com of his best on-field kung-fu kicks — it's probably for the best that he didn't prolong his stay in England. Let's just say that the wild side of him that earned 12 cards in one season at Everton never really left him if those video clips are anything to go by!
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