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The enigmatic James McFadden

By Alex Winstanley :  07/12/2007 :  Comments (16) :
For the first time in a few years I sat behind the goal in the Lower Gwladys on Wednesday night. There was a great atmosphere, but sadly my seat was in row QQ which is the very back row under the Upper Gwladys floor. When everybody stood up, you could only see the Gwladys Street end goal and six yard box... Not exactly value for money. So, I decided after 15 minutes to go and find a seat a little nearer the goal.

Fortunately for me I found a single seat which was unoccupied and ended up pretty near to the pitch. Before the game I heard that Jimmy Mac was playing and was looking forward to seeing how he, Arteta and Piennar would link up.

Everton now have 3 players (4 when Osman plays) who can run with the ball at their feet and commit defenders ? how we cried out for just 1 player like this a few seasons ago. Of all of these 3 players, Jimmy is the player who not only has the skills but regularly scores goals, often important ones such as Charlton at home last season and Metalist away this season. Having said that there was a section of the Gwladys Street that was intent on abusing Jimmy on Wednesday night.

As a result of changing my seat, I was able to see his reaction during the first half to a couple of individuals at the front of the Gwladys St who were giving him some serious grief when, after beating two men, he lost out in a last-ditch tackle to a third defender. Jimmy was naturally unhappy at this treatment and his facial expresion and gestures to the crowd demonstrated his annoyance.

Now, I am not saying there has never been a moment when McFadden has not had me screaming in frustration at his inability to release the ball at the correct time, but there have also been moments when he has had me out of my seat in sheer delight, or in awe of how he comes out of areas as tight as a telephone box with the ball still attached to his feet.

I for one would be really sorry to see Jimmy leave in January. I fear this is fairly inevitable. As we all know he is adored in his homeland and a move to Celtic or Rangers where he will no doubt be a first team regular, is surely a big attraction. McFadden showed his disappointment at being substituted (and he should have been taken off ? it was not his best game) on Wednesday night and I think we are seeing the beginning of the end of his Everton career. I am sure that certain members of the crowd will be pleased to see him leave.

I will remember the goals against Charlton (which helped us qualify for the Uefa Cup) and the one against Metalist (which kept us in the Uefa Cup), but sadly I think I will also remember his reaction to the treatment he received on Wednesday night and wonder whether, in the end he left us because he felt his skills and goals would be appreciated elsewhere.

Reader Comments

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Glen Strachan
1   Posted 07/12/2007 at 23:06:28

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The near certain annual appearance in Champions League matches must be a temptation for McFadden or anybody else at Goodison to go north if an offer comes in.

There has been little posting on this site on the subject of the Champions League rules that now place 3 of the 4 ?money clubs? in knockout stages but make it harder for the fourth placed club to come through two qualifying rounds.

If MacFadden really believes Champions League experience would help his career , surely the two Scottish giants would represent a decent ambition for him as it is surely most unlikely that one of England?s big four will bid for a player who is being hustled out of Goodison by the fans that you mention , above.

Connor Rohrer
2   Posted 07/12/2007 at 23:02:09

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When has McFadden regularly scored goals? Never. He’s one shy of his 50th career goal and he is nearly 25. He’s showed in flashes that he could command a first team place but he’s shown in even more games that he is not up to it.

Players get abuse everywhere and if they can’t handle it then they move on. Faddy’s not even that badly treated. The likes of Leon Osman, Tony Hibbert and Phil Neville definatly beat him in that category. If he’s not big enough a man to ignore these comments and play to his natural standards then he needs to move on simple as. Look at the abuse Cristiano Ronaldo gets and got in his early Manchester Utd career yet you never seen him let his shoulders drop and continued to play quality football and improve.

Anyway I dont know where people come up with these suggestions that he gestured to the crowd. I watched the highlights and he did nothing of the kind. After he new he had done the wrong pass he looked down at the floor and then apoligised to AJ. From what I seen both at the match and in the highlights he did nothing wrong.

There’s no doubting McFadden has a few skills but the fact that does not make him a good player or a talented one at that. Where’s his pace, strength, first touch, decision making and most of all end product. End product and decision making are crucial in a good player. You look at Pienaar, Arteta and to a lesser extent Osman and you see they all have good end product plus the skill and technique. They get assists because they know when to dribble and when to make the decisive pass and this is very important in a player. Faddy doesn’t have this and at 24/25 its worrying. I’d expect that from 19 year olds like Vaughan or Anichebe but Mcfadden has no excuses.

I dont mind the lad at all but for his sake he is probably best leaving. With Yakubu, Vaughan, Johnson, Cahill, Vaughan and Anichebe ahead of his I dont see where he fits in. The best thing I could say for him was his heart was always in it. He’s never shirked a challenge, never not given a 100% but sadly it just isn’t to be. If he proves me wrong It would be excellent but I dont see it happening.
Barry Butterworth
3   Posted 07/12/2007 at 23:52:03

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Getting on now for 50 years as a blue. After throwing my seat cushion from the main stand in disgust some 20 years ago (another 5,000 seemed to be with mine) I swore I never would have a go at my beloved blues ever again ? through thick and thin!

Against St Petersburg I watched a so-called supporter give Jimmy a right verbal going over. No matter how Jimmy played on the night he didn?t deserve that. Jimmy reacted and the so-called supporter then chased after him with a continuing verbal abuse. I for one was disgusted.

I?ve no problems with shouts from the crowd being negative (I?ve been there at WBA in the 70s when Evertonians turned on each other verbally over the manager) but you cross a blue line that should never be crossed when personal abuse on one of our players is that bad.

I?m not sure how long Jimmy will be with us, and I realise his decision making ain?t great but whilst he wears that blue shirt then he?ll get my support.

Steve Williams
4   Posted 07/12/2007 at 23:51:43

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Connor, McFadden definitely registered his displeasure to a section of the fans on Wednesday - even my 13 year old son noticed it. And it disappointed me. Not just because I don’t like to see that type of reaction, but mainly because, at 25, I think he should be more mature and show much better restraint. I’m sure the baiters must have loved it - they had got at him.

Perhaps that’s the point, and you touch on it. Recently, I thought that he had finally started to sort out his decision making (arguably THE most important attribute a player can have), but on Wednesday he let himself down. I really hope that this is just a blip - a bad game, that everyone has from time to time - because I really believe that he has something. Something different to others in the front positions. But I fear that if he doesn’t prove pretty soon that he has finally matured as a footballer, then he will be on his way which will be a big shame. But to do that he needs more games and I think his next outing will be Alkmaar and maybe one other before the window opens. So already it may be too late.

Over to you Moysie: how much do you want to keep him? And Jimmy Mac, how much do you want to stay?
Kevin Campbell
5   Posted 08/12/2007 at 00:37:24

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I personally would WANT Jimmy to stay.

When you talk about his decision making, realise that you are being overly unfair to him. We have so many other players that make BAD decisions but none gets abused at like Jimmy does. Poor lad.

I remembered when he beat Zenith?s 3rd defender and he was facing the goalie in front, while AJ was on his right. He had to make 2 choices, shoot for goal or pass. If he shoots and misses he was gonna get abused thrown at him (and I guess he wanted to be Mr. Nice guy by passing it to AJ). But that pass failed and he got abused for that as well.

I seriously think some supporters like me and Barry Butterworth are once that will support all our players as long as they wear the blue shirt. But some are just simply idiotic Evertonians in my books.

Remember Simon Davies? The Goodison Crowd really shatterred the boy... his confidence down... look what he has become now at Fulham... an class act...

For goodness sake... imagine Jimmy was your kid playing for Everton.. and you watch him and the crowds attacks him personally... how would you feel as a dad? Come on. Where are the real Evertonians? Not this bunch of hooligans who attack their own players.
Connor Rohrer
6   Posted 08/12/2007 at 01:10:19

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People need to watch the highlights to refresh there memories. Mcfadden didn’t beat one defender never mind three. Pienaar plays him through, the defender catches him for pace and mistimes the tackle and therefore Jimmy is through and his decision making let him down once again.

Kevin C, please dont mention Simon Davies. He wasn’t good enough full stop. He didn’t show an ounce of ability whereas atleast Faddy has. People can talk about tactics but the player needs to atleast show he has the ability and Davies didn’t do that. At Fulham it is different. The expectations are alot lower and the squad strength is lower also. Who has he got to compete with? Hardly anyone and it shows by there league position.

He hasn’t really impressed me in the games he has started this season bar Boro at home we he was really good. Against Metalist yes he scored the goal but he couldn’t stop giving the ball away and kept shooting when he should have passed. Against Newcastle away both him and Anichebe where terrible but even then Anichebe looked the more mature of the two and this proved that as McFadden was replaced at half time. Against Larissa AE he was played upfront on his own and was anominous. Obviously he’s not suited to that role but he still missed two one on one chances. Against Metalist Kharkiv at home his touch was awful and he was generally awful himself. Against Blackburn although he scored he wasn’t having the best of games albeit the service was awful. So I wouldn’t say he’s been very good in terms of performance this season. Against Boro I thought he had really turned a corner and matured. His touch was very good and some of his link up play was brilliant with the likes of Yakubu, Arteta and Pienaar all combining with him but sadly he doesn’t do it enough.

I just dont personally think he has a future at this club. He wants to play week in week out and deserves to but at Everton I dont think that is possible unless we have a major injury crisis.

Fans shouldn’t rip into him or the likes of Osman, Hibbert and Neville but at the end of the day that is football. You get it in every stadium across the country. I think the people who do this are knobs but at the end of the day they pay there money and they have the right to say or do as they like. I personally wish him the best of luck whether thats at Everton or at another club. As I’ve said he’s never give less than 100% and he should be proud of that.
Derek Thomas
7   Posted 08/12/2007 at 03:25:43

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I too go back 50yrs and this stick to our own players is nothing new. I always maintained that if you were to ’beam me down’ to any part of the ground that I could tell you to within a couple of yards where I was just by listening to the stick being given out. We have always had, or so it seems, more, than our fair share of loudmouth knobheads.

Still Macfadden has been around long enough for it not to come as a sudden shock to his system.

There maybe a hint of someone who no longer has to mind his P’s and Q’s.

I for one hope that Mcleish and Stachan think that the Scottish Rooney is worth a third of the English one.
Ajay Gopal
8   Posted 08/12/2007 at 03:36:33

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Connor: I generally read your views with great interest, because they are well balanced and you genuinely believe in them. I agree with most of your views, but in Faddy’s case, I beg to differ.

He has never had a decent run of games to impress. Have you forgotten the Reading game, when he came off the bench and was easily the best player on the pitch? he nearly scored with a delightful chip. The Blackburn goal was also class, we never looked like scoring, until Faddy salvaged a point for us.

I just don’t believe that a player who plays brilliantly for his country (against top-class opposition, mind you - France, anyone?) can turn out to be so poor for the club.

I think he needs to be given a run of games to get back his confidence - but like somebody already pointed out, time may be running out for him. He is too far down the pecking order and too few games before the transfer window to show his worth to manager and fans. I am afraid it will be goodbye Faddy. I for one will be sorry to see him leave.

Lyndon Lloyd
Editorial Team
9   Posted 08/12/2007 at 04:46:07

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I like James McFadden. He seems like a nice guy and, like Andy van der Meyde, I?ve been desperate for him to succeed. I think, though, after four years we?ve probably seen enough to suggest that he?s only going to be a bit-part player in Everton?s future if he stays.

Now, as we?ve seen against the likes of Charlton and Metalist, even his role in Cahill?s equaliser at Chelsea, those bit parts can be pretty crucial and for that alone I would keep him. I also agree with Moyes?s decision to play him against Zenit because he has clearly excelled in an international setting for Scotland and scored a vital goal for us in Kharkov.

But, I think that McFadden himself would be a lot happier playing for one of the Old Firm as I genuinely believe he could go back to the Scottish Premier League and be a star there and would, as a previous Comment suggested, be adored up there. If the abuse he suffered on Wednesday is any indication that he?s going to be the next Goodison boo-boy then it would be in the best interests of all concerned that Everton accept any decent bid for him ? £5m by reckoning ? either in January or next summer and give him a fresh start somewhere else.
Joseph F.
10   Posted 08/12/2007 at 06:55:44

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thumbs up for kevin c and barry butterworth! you are a true fan and hats off for your comments.

every great club fans should have that attitude and shame on some if not most of you who are having a go at your own players. we are the people’s club and i think we should start to act like one and not cronies like shite or chelskis where majority of them would be cursing their under performed players. players like mcfadden would be worshipped if he had played in our 90s team of horne-parkinson-rideout era. reason why some of you are giving the poor chap abuses are purely becoz you are spoilt with choices and you do not appreciate anything less than that. you are taking things for granted. no doubt we should look ahead and think big if we need to succeed but do you think by abusing faddy would do any good to the team? if such is the case then you should abuse moyes for playing him then. its not faddy who is inmature but the fans who are throwing abuses. so what if you are paying to watch the team? does that mean you can go down the pitch and whack any players you like too? you are paying bcoz you support the club and love the club. to love the club, you must learn to support the players we have. if faddy plays elsewhere and you pathetic fans wants to abuse him, then go ahead by all means but as long as he is in a royal blue jersey, i would suggest you get a grip of yourself!!
Neil Pearse
11   Posted 08/12/2007 at 10:19:48

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Faddy is a good impact player off the bench, but we need him a lot less now than we need the £5M to put towards a world class defensive midfielder to replace Carsley. Take the money!
Peter Eastoe
12   Posted 08/12/2007 at 10:27:51

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Two comments on the two James McFadden threads regarding the neanderthal abuse of Faddy and both removed ?

Why not call it ’Toffeepravda’ if you only allow the authentic voice of TW authodoxy ????
Lue Glover
13   Posted 08/12/2007 at 10:30:13

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I agree that Jimmy Mac can infuriate but we are supposed to be supporters of this club. I support the team through thick and thin, like many others and I will NEVER give a player any stick no matter what. I may groan on the inside but I would never let that demonstrate itself through abusive language or gestures directed at one of MY team.
I didnt hear or see the incident as I sit on the Church side of the LGS but I did hear a very young child, probably about 7 or 8 maybe, sat with his father (I presume), calling Neville a fucking tosser. I turned around to see father and son continue the tirade at Phil. I was stunned by such a display of venom from someone so young. Sad, really sad.

Okay, I pay my money but that does not give me the right to be abusive towards anyone, if I go into a shop and I’m not happy with the standard of service I’m getting, does that give me carte blanche to hurl abuse at the staff? Anyone trying that would be locked up for threatening behaviour/assault/whatever.
Why is it okay to be aggressive and verbally abusive at a football ground?
Yes, it’s bloody annoying that players are unable to play to the best of their abilities all the time but no one has any rights to be abusive whether at a football match or in any other public place.
I always think of Jimmy Mac like one of those gadgets you have at home, not really sure what it’s for and very rarely need to use them but for some reason are reluctant to get rid!
Gerry Western
14   Posted 08/12/2007 at 10:15:34

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Steve a well balanced appraisal of the Mc Fadden dilemma which attempts to explore the heart of the problem. He’s criticised for being inconsistent and seemingly for failing to score regularly.

I may be missing something here but I tend to believe that one can only level such criticism at a player when he’s afforded the opportunity to play week in week out. How can you score regularly when your not even on the park. Strikers rely heavily on confidence and that comes with playing games its never going to happen if all your offered is a bit part every four weeks.

Mc Fadden made a real impact when introduced early in the Uefa campaign. Sadly the reward he received was to restored to the bench. Contrast that with the reception he receives in Scotland were the manager believes in him and the fans really get behind him what a difference.

As for his decision making in the Zenit game I would not look to single out Mc Fadden here.
It was a high tempo game and much of our passing broke down in the final third. Andy Johnson seemed to spend the entire evening running down blind alleys I would imagine Mc Fadden would have found this very frustrating but I have to say he never stopped trying. To be singled out and lambasted by section of the crowd must have been galling for the lad.
Not surprisingly some of his fellow team mates aware of the situation made a point
by going over to him to offer support as he left the field in despair. Why Johnson was not substituted at this point I’ll never know.

It really is time the lad was given a run in the team if he fails to deliver then it may well be that we let him go but I believe that outside of Yakubu he’s the best natural finisher we have if only he was given a chance.
Paul Daly
15   Posted 08/12/2007 at 22:47:51

Report abuse’s a thought.....let’s twist this a little......Jamie Mc is Everton’s fourth/fifth choice fill in the blanks.....the header says it all- "the Enigmatic...".....isn’t it a great thing that Evertonians are devoting their time to discussing the 4th/5th striker compared with the days of "Duncan Ferguson will miss another 3 weeks" and sweet fuck all....think about it.......
Rob Hollis
16   Posted 09/12/2007 at 02:43:44

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Against Fulham in awful conditions Yakubu flicks the ball sideways to an Everton player who does not read it. yakubu can?t turn fast enough to recover and Fulham get possesion.

?Yakubu, you lazy fucking prick!" comes the motivational call from some pratt behind me. This is after he has scored two and we are playing well. God knows....

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