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The McFadd-end

By Greg Murphy :  26/08/2007 :  Comments (15) :
Never since Kevin Sheedy has a player had the ability to make a monkey of me as much as James McFadden, whose quality equaliser yesterday was an instinctive goal of the highest order.

I should qualify what I?m saying here. For firstly, McFadden didn?t actually make a monkey of me yesterday because I spent most of the game totally mute (for various reasons) and I didn?t air one single criticism of him (enough around me were doing that anyway). But when he scored, I felt as though he knew I?d been inwardly slagging him all game and, not for the first time, he made me feel guilty(ish) for even daring to question a player who, undoubtedly, has a sublime talent.

Further, when I mention Kevin Sheedy?s ability to make a monkey of me, I am actually only referring to the early-1982 to late-83 part of his Everton career.

Once everything started to click (and, for me, I first noticed a ?different? Everton in the heartbreaking ?Frank Stapleton Quarter Final? at Old Trafford in March '83, even though that was a side still featuring the likes of Arnold, McMahon and Irvine and even though we still had the dark days of winter '83 to endure), I wasn?t bothered by Sheedy?s monkey-making talents.

And there?s the difference with Faddy. For once it became obvious in early '84 that Everton were taking to the field with a goalie, nine outfield players and Kevin Sheedy, it didn?t bother any of us in the slightest... Because everyone knew Sheeds was the ultimate luxury. It was clear, though, that the side was collectively strong enough to accommodate him (note: Sheeds was accommodated, whereas Faddy is ?carried?). It didn?t bother us that we never saw Sheeds make a tackle in his whole Everton career because we knew what he was capable of and we knew that he generally delivered. Virtually every game. You could witness Sheeds having not so much a mare of a game as a totally anonymous one. And then: left-foot:? bang!

Witness the Luton semi-final at Villa Park for the ultimate masterclass of Kevin Sheedy doing Sweet Fernando Alonso for 89 minutes and then, as Motty said, ?he drove one? into the only spare inch of the Luton net in the 658th minute of injury time.

The last time I ?allowed? Kevin Sheedy to make a monkey of me was 6 December 1983 when he prima-donnaed his way around Goodison against a there-for-the-taking-from-the-off West Ham in the 4th Round replay (Mark Higgins?s last game?) of the League Cup run that would ultimately end in Souness-inspired misery at Maine Road. It?s fair to say that, as a hearty near 17-year-old, I ?issued forth? my strong feelings about Sheeds from the front step of the Paddock that night; only for him to simultaneously unlock the Irons? lumpen defence with a gem of pass to Andy King which duly saw His Majesty slot home. ?That?s shown you, lad ? watch and learn, kidda!?, said 50 or so bucolic fellas around me and I resolved there and then never to question Sheeds again. And I was glad I learned that lesson relatively early because, later in extra time, Sheeds slotted one in for himself anyway and it was beginning to be crystal clear that Kendall had spotted a Rolls Royce at the back of Bob Paisley?s dealer?s yard and bought it for a song and a bag of balloons.

From then on, with a Blue carpet rolled out in honour before him, Sheeds was afforded the whole sovereignty of Goodison and we just waited for him to deliver, even in those games where he?d obviously decided to pitch a deckchair out on the wing, open his newspaper and start smoking a big fat one. That was the deal with Sheeds. And it was beautiful.

And I truly hoped that we?d be able to enter into a similar contract with Faddy. It?s a peculiar feature of Evertonia that we?re only too willing to be so flexible with players who possess the finer gifts. But after yesterday, I?m afraid it?s clear that it?s never gonna happen with Fad. His performance yesterday, in many ways, was straight out of Kevin Sheedy?s top drawer. He stunk the gaff out and then produced a finish that very few players are capable of ? and without wishing to swear, it had a certain Mr Rush stamped all over it.

But, whereas Sheeds would deliver moments from the Gods 200 times a season, and then some, Faddy doesn?t even get into double figures. And it?s just not enough for him to even think about raising a proverbial two-fingered salute (and no-one ever did that better than Sheeds anyway!) to any critics in a ?that?s what I?m capable of? type of way.

Yep, we all know what?s in his locker. We can all see how he was obviously destined to become a professional football player. We can even see why David Moyes has persevered with him for so long. But it?s time to face up to it, after four years and countless chances to ?stake a claim?, Faddy is never gonna cut it consistently. And as for comparisons with Sheeds, well he?s not fit to lace his boots. But, of course, we?ll all cherish the beauty of Fad?s Charlton goal forever To be honest, I?ve even got serious doubts whether Fad?s a Premier League player ? but perhaps that?s being a bit harsh.

What isn?t harsh is that I reached the end of the road with Faddy yesterday. And the irony of it all was that it took him to score an absolute gem for me to finally realise it.

Reader Comments

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John Holmes
1   Posted 27/08/2007 at 01:45:11

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Completely agree with you. McFadden is a luxury player in the same way the Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference is luxury food. Too little luxury surrounded my too much meat and potatoes.
Jarrod Prosser
2   Posted 27/08/2007 at 02:34:04

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Love the guys skill set, but you?re right - we can?t afford his type in the starting 11 at the moment. We need all 11 contributing.

Having said that, i think he?s a fantastic game changer off the bench. Will be handy in Eurpoe, as well, where pure graft just won?t get it done.
Keith Harrison
3   Posted 27/08/2007 at 04:51:14

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Sainsburys John !!!! Are you agin all things Tesco ???? LOL

Faddy is a handy player to come off the bench, and thats about it I’m afraid, much the same as Ossie.
Dave Wilson
4   Posted 27/08/2007 at 06:39:57

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There’s a championship team or even an SPL team out there who would benefit enormously from Faddy’s talent

I for one would like DM to play him- consistantly - while we are having this seasons stiker crisis 2-3 months early

I believe the comments above to be true, but lets face it, he’s scored - AJ has’nt - and if he were to be sold now, I’m not sure he wouldnt make monkeys of us all in the future

once last long hard look please
Simon Jones
5   Posted 27/08/2007 at 11:33:57

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Remember he was tagged as the "Scottish Rooney." Any chance of selling him for $20M to that dour bunch down the M62. They could probably use him at the moment. Tossers.
John Holmes
6   Posted 27/08/2007 at 12:01:49

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I don’t necessarily think we should sell McFadden but he certainly should be classed as 4th choice striker, when (or given recent events should I say if) Yakubu arrives he’ll drop to fifth. I can’t see him tolerating that for any length of time.

Perhaps you’re right Keith. Surely every dutiful Evertonian should switch their supermarket allegiance to Tesco...Every Little Helps
Anthony Newell
7   Posted 27/08/2007 at 12:00:19

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When a player can’t do the simple things like release a ball to a player in a good position you have to worry that they will never learn. Why is he still doing the same stupid things - what’s going on the coaching side? Send him to Celtic in exchange for Kenny Miller. Err, maybe not I don’t think Celtic are that stupid..
Rupert Sullivan
8   Posted 27/08/2007 at 12:23:59

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I have always been an admirer of Faddy but I concluded at the weekend that he is destined to become a ’super’ sub - he does have talent, and the ability to change a match but he appears to be better in short bursts - stick with him I say and use him as a sub; after all, how many times have we seen him come on to play in an Everton side with no movement and guile and then to enliven the whole match and thus the team?
9   Posted 27/08/2007 at 13:16:46

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Not to sure how he fits in in the overall scheme of things. Don’t think you can compare him to Osman - a much better player in my opinion. A long loan somwhere else with some consistent first-team performances could establish his form. But, to be honest, with our current shortages we could do with holding on to everyone. Fingers crossed for Yak on Wednesday and fuck Manny the turncoat. Maybe we’ll see more of Da Silva when he comes back from loan?
10   Posted 27/08/2007 at 13:25:52

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The words McFadden and sublime talent do not belong anywhere near each other.
11   Posted 27/08/2007 at 21:36:55

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McFadden’s best flashes always seem to occur in games when he doesnt have time to think.
He is a purely instinctive player and (like most of our squad) lacks the pace that would give him an extra half yard of time/space to utilise his undoubted skills
12   Posted 27/08/2007 at 22:11:10

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The cliche "his second touch is a tackle" was coined for this bum. He is useless. I despair for anyone out there who rates him. To lump him with Osman is to flatter him, he’s not in the same league. I was praying all summer for him to leave and my only serious mis-givings about Moyes are that he gave him a second contract. Lunacy! Don’t even mention that Charlton goal either. Pure fluke.
Matt Willey
13   Posted 27/08/2007 at 22:23:23

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Matty, I disagree... I think McFadden has the talent; it is obvious he’s a confidence player and it is obvious he needs a run of games ... if he gets the games and doesn’t perform then ok, get rid.. if he bangs in a few goals even while looking lazy / ineffective then perhaps you should re-evaluate your opinion of him.

If the guy has started 5 games consecutively since being at Everton then I will be really surprised... what you can’t do with a confidence player is tell them they are 4th choice winger or 5th choice striker; this is effectively what has happened to McFadden in his Everton career.

I have seen the club get rid of numerous talented young players who, had the circumstances been different and their managers kept the faith, could have made a serious contribution and perhaps help turn us into a real force...

These are players who certainly had the talent but faded away into relative obscurity once discarded..simply because they didn’t fit into the style of play that the manager saw fit at the time... Tony Grant and John Oster are good examples...there have been plenty of others.
John Allcock
14   Posted 28/08/2007 at 00:39:23

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Matt, In the 05/06 season McFadden started 29 games and scored 7 goals. I feel fairly certain that having started that many games he may have strung five together.
It has been time to get rid of him for ages. He is not a Premiership player. But instead Moyes has given him a new contract !
He has not a drop of speed in him and whenever he receives the ball it is almost odds on that the move will break down.
He would probably be a superstar in Scotland so I respectfully suggest that is where he should go.
As far as the confidence thing goes then he must realise that he is/will be the 5th choice striker. He does not score enough goals to be anything else.
I cringe every time I see his name, even on the bench. I suspect he has had the games but for whatever reason he has not produced the goods. Time to go !!
Lee Kidd
15   Posted 28/08/2007 at 17:17:11

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I appreciate the excellently constructed article, but completely disagree with the subject matter.

Firstly, let’s look at McFadden’s career at Everton. He has never had a run in the team up front - if he’s had more than 4-5 games in a row, he certainly hasn’t had them up front. He’s been on the left wing more often than not - a position he just doesn’t like.

And thats the reason he can’t be compared with Sheedy. They don’t play the same position. So that comparison is out immediately.

So let’s look at the present day McFadden. He’s coming back from injury and hasn’t played 90 minutes before Blackburn. You’re saying he "stunk the place out" but with the exception of Arteta every single Everton player did for the vast majority of the game. To slate a player for putting the ball in the net - superbly I might add - is just ridiculous.

My point with McFadden is this - who do you expect to be dropped when Yakubu comes in?


The guy is treated unfairly because of the impatient nature of the Premier League. He’s a class act, and he deserves a better club than us - and I mean better in the way he’ll get a run, prove how thick we were to let him go, and move for mega bucks in a year or so.

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