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COLUMNIST PAUL TRAILL

Faddy: Was he really given a fair crack?

By Paul Traill :  19/01/2008 :  Comments (11) :
I for one am a bit disappointed to see James McFadden leave Everton. Whilst I certainly can?t argue with the money Everton have received for the lad, I can?t help but believe that he was never really given a fair crack of the whip whilst at Everton.

Having looked at his stats I feel they are a bit misleading. The media have him as making 139 appearances for Everton netting only 18 goals. Now for a striker this isn?t a good record at all; however, of these, Faddy started only 79 games. Of those he started, he actually only finished 21 league games thereby further decreasing his playing time. With these 79 starts, he netted 18 goals for us with only I think that cracker vs Charlton Athletic coming from the substitutes bench. This equates to just under a goal every four games. Take into account the amount of times he?s been played out on the wing also (and many of them bizarrely the right wing) I don?t think that?s a bad tally at all.

My main gripe is that he?s never really been given a decent run of games. When he signed in August 2003 he was only 19 so perhaps a big run of games wouldn?t have been too beneficial for him at that tender age and so bringing him in gently may not have been a bad move anyway. That said, the team did so badly that year it was perhaps no surprise he seemed to lose his way a little bit then. Anyway, that season his consecutive appearances record amounted to just four games, none of which he finished, and no goals scored, although he wasn?t given a crack up front until late in the season when I recall he excelled against Spurs.

The 2004-05 season saw him have an even lower run of consecutive games although the team did so fantastically well that year it was easy to see why. I reckon his confidence was pretty damaged that year as well though. I remember early on in the campaign he was through on goal against Middlesbrough from the half way line. He ran into the box and tried to round Mark Schwarzer, only for the Aussie to jump on the ball at his feet. I remember the groans from the crowd and the image of Faddy with his hand over his mouth now. He never seemed to get going again that season, although with nasty rumours circulating about his private life and the crowd resultingly getting on his back it was easy to see why. Still at 20/21 years old you could still see a bright future for the boy.

His biggest run of games came at the tail end of the 2005-06 season when, with safety more than secured and any chances of silverware long since frittered away, Everton had their then traditional end-of-season slump. Faddy nabbed himself a run of games, starting 11 in total, 6 of which he finished, netting four goals ? not a bad return of more than 1 in 3. This included some crackers too, notably a 30-yard screamer against Fulham, a 20-yard snap shot against Villa and a very clever lob away at Middlesborough. This was a better return than anyone else in these games but at the start of the next season he again found himself starting from the substitutes bench?and that has been the way since.

He signed a new contract that summer, I think on the premise that he was to primarily be used as a striker as Moyes played him up there a lot more often since. It always seemed to be the same old story for Faddy however, particularly over the last 18 months. He?d come in and do well, but then still be dropped next game. He?d come on and do well, but then still not start the next game. Sometimes when he scored, he?d play again the next game but it almost seemed the case of that if he didn?t score again next game, he?d get dropped again. Almost as if he was on a hiding to nothing no matter what. Sections of the crowd have never taken to him either which hasn?t helped.

I think his mind was made up this season. I remember him scoring a neat goal at home to Blackburn Rovers only to be benched for the next game at Bolton to accommodate new signing Yakubu. Shortly after he was away with Scotland attaining hero status, only to come back and be benched again. Even this season he had a run of four games, scoring 3 goals (OK, two against then bottom of the Championship Sheff Wed but one hugely important one against Metalist Kharkiv) and he?s dropped again.

Also, all this without a settled strike partner. You may point out that we often play one up front but he never really got the opportunity to do that with us either; I don?t see why not ? it seems to work with Scotland.

I?m just a bit disappointed that someone I believe could have been quite special has been allowed to leave without really being given a fair crack of the whip, and I feel that with better management, this really could have been the case. This isn?t a big dig at Moyes ? I love Moyes as much as anyone. I just feel this is one which could have been handled a bit better.

Best of luck Faddy. I hope things work out well.

Reader Comments

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Michael Hunt
1   Posted 20/01/2008 at 06:38:38

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Well argued there Paul. There are obviously always reasons behind the manager’s team selections though, reasons that we are often not privee to. Perhaps he was not a great trainer and regularly got outshone on the training pitch by rivals for his place in the side? I don’t think many would doubt that Faddy’s best position is striker, but also that we need more reliable goal scorers than he proved. He also lacked other attributes that could save his place in the side when his shooting boots weren’t firing. E.g. Compare to AJ: When AJ is misfiring at least he can run defences ragged, create space for others and is pretty good at retaining possession. However, when Faddy was not his mercurial best, he was like a passenger. Sadly (owing to his inability to turn it on regularly for us over 90 minutes) we were better to cash in. To me, it is still dumbfounding that (after looking like a worldbeater when we battered freefalling Leeds in his Premier League full debut at GP, then put France to the sword in their own back yard in a crucial world cup qualifier) he proved so enigmatic for us. Still, though they were all too rare,thanks for some great memories Faddy.
Keith Harrison
2   Posted 20/01/2008 at 08:59:06

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Are you saying John O’ Sheas’ crack isn’t fair ?????

He was the typical enigma shrouded in mystery. I thought he was the jock Rooney on his debut, but he never really came through.

A game that summed him up for me was when he destroyed Danny Mills away at Boro in the Carling Cup, and then missed his penalty in the shootout to send us out.

Driving back in the freezing fog I thought that there is always a flaw somewhere in the guys game. You notice when he loses the ball how his head goes down and he shuffle-jogs half heartedly after the man in posession.

His chronic lack of pace found him out here, and, whilst wishing him well, think his best move would have been back to Scotland.
Nicholas Marsh
3   Posted 20/01/2008 at 09:18:57

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I think Faddy should be praised for his loyalty when you consider his limited time in the team over the years he never pushed to leave; however, I think we need to draw a line over this now, Yakubu got dropped not long after signing for us and look how he responded. You cannot base your team arround someone who occasionly shows glimpses of class. The lad has gone and we did well out of the deal stop thinking about how well Faddy is going to do and lick your lips at the thought of vaughny and anichebe having the same limited chances as Faddy but doing more with them.
John Andrews
4   Posted 20/01/2008 at 09:56:21

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Nicholas, I would gladly praise McFadden for his loyalty if only he was not getting £20k a week. It must be a real hardship having to survive on £1M a year! I will accept that this was not the case originally but he was probably still on considerably more than most folks. £.5M?
I believe he was given 29 starts in the 05-06 season as well as appearances as sub. I don?t think he really grasped the nettle and showed any consistency whatsoever.
A fair crack of the whip? I think he had more than that.
Having said all of that I would like to wish him well in the future even though he frustrated the hell out of me by many indifferent performances.
ps: Birmingham have been mugged!
Nicholas Marsh
5   Posted 20/01/2008 at 11:04:44

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I know what you mean John, my point I guess is that he could get that money anywhere, im sure he would of rather been playing but he wasn't as much as he wanted to but for a long time fought for his place without instigating a move away. As a player I thought him to be very poor.
Ian MacHenry
6   Posted 20/01/2008 at 11:17:45

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I can?t get my head around all these threads about McFadden " Faddy: Was he really given a fair crack? " & " Enigma in a blue shirt "

He was with for 4½ years, as far as I?m aware he trained most days under the watchful eye of Moyes and started his fair share of games ( to many for my liking ) you could count on Homer Simpsons hand the amount of good performaces he gave.

He stated that he didn?t like playing out wide and that he considered himself a forward, but he hasn?t enough pace and strength to play up top of on his own and playin behind the forward would mean occupying the role Tim Cahill is so effective in.

Would you drop Cahill for McFadden ??

The lad just wasn?t good enough to start for us week in week out.

To compete at the top you need players firing on all cylinders week after week McFadden just didn?t do this. He had enough chances he just didn?t take them.

Nothing against him as a person, I just don?t rate him as a player.
Tony Ateman
7   Posted 20/01/2008 at 11:43:56

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I was a pretty crap footballer in the school teams and Sunday League, but I enjoyed and tried hard. What did do my head in was the guy (there would always be one) who thought he was ACE. So off he?d go trying to beat the whole opposing team on his own and not pass it, despite the protestations of his team mates. Of course he?d lose the ball.
Now IF this lad was any good maybe he could do it all on his own. But he wasn?t that good. However HE THOUGHT HE WAS, and his stubborness and bullheadedness meant he would never change.

McFadden is one of those players. He is not as good as he thinks he is. He has not changed or improved in all the time he was here.We?ve done a good deal getting rid of the ball hogger.
Phil Bellis
8   Posted 20/01/2008 at 11:57:29

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A: Yes
Art Greeth
9   Posted 20/01/2008 at 11:51:33

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Paul... I too like Faddy and wish him all the best in his future career. Aside from his abilities as a footballer, he seems a thoroughly decent human being, as seen in his comments and actions following the sad demise of young fans and his goal celebration at the Boro in memory of the Motherwell player. I respect him enormously for that.

That said, I can’t fully agree with your piece questioning whether he got a fair crack of the whip or not. He was with us, as you state, for four and a half seasons, from the age of 19-24. That, for many professional footballers, constitutes a third of their footballing life in the big time. In that time he appeared 139 times for us. Even taking into account that he had long spells out injured, that still works out to 30 appearances a season. Plenty of opportunities to make an impact and cement a place in the side.

I take your point about the number of actual starts he made and the number of games he completed of those. But then... don’t those spotty stats beg the question:

"WHY wasn’t he an automatic choice?"

And I have to say, quite simple... he wasn’t good enough. Surely, if he HAD shown the ability that we have all seen glimpses of on a more consistent basis and for longer than a nano-second in a match, then... he would have been a fixture in the side.

Maybe Brum will benefit from playing him all the time (although he only came on as sub against Chelski yesterday). But I think for all parties concerned, it constitutes good business. A nice bloke gets a chance to put his club career back on track, Everton get a good price, Vaughan and Anichibe are effectively being told "we have faith in you to progress" and hopefully, we can further strengthen where best needed - in midfield.
Paul Cristopher
10   Posted 20/01/2008 at 14:19:19

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And if he squared it they probably would have scored. That’s the problem with him.
Ron Leith
11   Posted 20/01/2008 at 19:52:12

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At 24 years old McFadden?s best years are ahead of him. Moyes wanted to keep him and it is only good news him leaving if we get somebody better. At present our strikeforce looks a little thin with Yakubu away. I can not see £6milion will buy anybody better. We will probably have to spend £10million or go for an untried youngster. Also with moneybags Newcastle, Spurs and Man City etc also in the market things don?t always work out so well. I think McFadden will look great once he has an extended run in a team. Remember Yakubu needed about 10 games to get going. Unfortunately for McFadden Birmingham are not a top team.

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