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How are things?

By Joe Wightman :  08/10/2007 :  Comments (3) :
This is by far the strangest season I can remember and it still doesn?t feel as though it?s started. First, we win two in a row (one of which was live on Sky!!) and go top of the league. Things are going well... Then we ?do an Everton? and capitulate at Reading in the next match. In the meantime, we are linked with an audacious double swoop for fan?s favourite Manny Fernandes and Aiyegbeni ?second highest goalscorer behind Thierry Henry? Yakubu.

Again, we ?do an Everton? and Fernandes slips through our fingers. Despite the fact that he was clearly negotiating a deal with Valencia behind Kenwright?s back, it was gutting to miss out on him as he clearly has tremendous potential. But we sign Yakubu for a record fee and the bitter pill is sweetened. In fact, the Yak scores 10 minutes into his debut, and we score a last minute winner at the Reebok. Things are going very well.

Typically for us, when we?re in the middle of a good run, an International break ends our momentum. The next time we?re seen is against current champions Manchester United, themselves suffering from a stop-start season. In the end we lose out to a late goal from a set piece, which must have driven Moyes mad. I missed this game, and the away defeat at Villa, due to a prior engagement at the Altar and subsequent honeymoon. I actually found out the United scoreline whilst standing near the Shuttle launchpad at Kennedy Space Centre. Very surreal.

Between the Man Utd and Villa defeats came the match which defined Everton. The 1-1 draw with Metallist. An unknown team from the furthest reaches of Eastern Europe, who had surpassed even their own expectations to finish 3rd in their domestic league. So, against a team drawn from a mix of Premier League veterans and full Internationals, they would understandably be nervous and possibly freeze up in the noisy Goodison atmosphere... Not a bit of it, and the home team limped off the pitch wondering what had just happened. And now the fans are beginning to question Andy Johnson?s quality. Things aren?t going well.

And in the meantime, Yakubu is benched because he seems to lack the work-ethic Moyes demands of all his players. Perhaps a little pre-purchase research was required here... I tend to use the internet when laying out money on a new TV or Playstation, perhaps Moyes could have done similar?

To take our minds off the recent Villa defeat, Everton then travel to bottom-of-the-Championship Sheffield Wednesday in the Carling Cup. And we win! And we keep a clean sheet! And both Faddy and the Yak score, rather than relying on Lescott to nab one from a corner. Things are somewhere between well and not well. Mediocre?

But hey! Our next game is home to Middlesbrough (live on Sky!) and we win! And we keep a clean sheet! But even then, as Evertonians, we celebrate with the knowledge that actually that Middlesbrough team were poor, and if we were playing well we should have tonked them.

The return leg in Metallist was exhausting, and I didn?t even travel. Just watching it on Channel 5 was excruciating, not least because ?co-commentator? Kevin Ratcliffe seemed to be going for some ?worst pronunciation of an Everton players name? award. Jagielka became Ja-jelka, some kind of Star Wars reject. Anichebe became Anchibee which sounded like some sort of pizza topping. You expect better from an ex-Evertonian really.

Faddy (?the Daddy?, as Pat Nevin cringeworthily called him) scored a beauty to level the tie and put us through on away goals before that rarest of events happened ? a clinching goal. The goal which you celebrate more than any other because it confirms the result. Things are back to going very well.

Then Newcastle. Ugh. I hate Newcastle primarily because they never win anything (seriously, what have they won??) and yet still think of themselves as a big club. A big stadium does not mean a big club. The mere mention of Michael Owen?s miraculous return from surgery sent shivers down my spine. Of course he was going to score, of course it would be a late goal. But it was still good to see Johnson score, although there is much weirdness surrounding his injury. I mean, he?s been out for TWO weeks already, and if he needed an operation why not act sooner so that there was an outside chance of him playing in the derby?

So, we?re mid table, although only 3 points oFf 5th place. We?re into the group stages of the UEFA Cup, which is just where Moyes wanted to be. We?re into the next round of the Carling Cup, which is the one tournament where Moyes might risk playing Andy van der Meyde.

Johnson is out injured for a month, but Moyes may well have Gravesen, Cahill and Vaughan back for the Liverpool game. I have always liked Moyes, and to have him standing there on the touchline, scowling at Yakubu for not tracking back or dancing like a loon when Anichebe scored against Metallist, makes me proud. If only he had some idea of the best 11 to put out on the pitch. If only he could remember why he bought Jagielka. If only he could decide where to play Phil Neville. If only he had invoked the ?30-day money-back guarantee? on Yakubu.

I think things are going well. I may be in the minority.........

Reader Comments

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Wes Coles
1   Posted 09/10/2007 at 08:35:58

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Great article, I am in agreement that we still haven’t found that perfect blend, and a mixture of poor form and injuries have stalled us just when Evertonians start getting excited.

I have been pretty disappointed with Yobo, Neville and Carsely this season, we need them to step up for us.

Give Yakubu time, I think Anichebe, Vaughan, McFadden and Johnson will keep him on his toes, you don’t become a bad player overnight.


Peter Roberts
2   Posted 09/10/2007 at 12:28:45

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Decent article, good summary of events so far.

They say the table doesn’t lie, but the fact we’re in 10th merely acts as a catalyst for the D&G merchants to spout their diatribe about how things are not going well at this club.

I’m dreading the derby, I cannot bear to think what will happen if we lose and drop into the bottom half of the table.
John Maxwell
3   Posted 09/10/2007 at 20:53:47

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One postion we have been lacking in all season is another creative central midfielder... Ferndandez would of been the perfect partner for Arteta.. With him maybe he would of provided the link and service for AJ and Yakubu...

Yakubu is a proven goalscorer, he hasnt turned crap overnight and I believe he will come good, he just needs the right service, you know those Bergkamp style defence splitting passes.. Its the same for AJ, how many times has the ball been hoofed up to him.. Hes only 5’ 8" !!!!

All in all though, how good was it to watch our beloved team in the draw for the UEFA cup this morning, I felt proud.. Finally we have broken through to gain some priceless european experience, earn tv revenue and put the club on the map again for potential investors...

Shame I cant get the time of work for the first away game, because of the fat Manure fan at work !! Gutted..

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