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Once in a Blue Moon

By Christine Foster :  07/02/2009 :  Comments (21) :
Being an Evertonian isn't easy. We have to watch as the high spenders take the good players and take the barbs of the reporters who think we live in the shadow of the other club in the city. Today, I feel like I used to many years ago, watching the team I love play wonderful football.

This is why I am an Evertonian. We wait for years for a blend of skill, a way of playing that is uniquely ours. We can rightly claim on days like this to be the School of Science. There are probably millions who have watched the team in the past weeks and given us some respect for playing well. Yesterday we converted another million into family.

We played so well, the football was so good. When did we last see an Everton player showboating as Arteta did yesterday? Where in the world is a better Spanish midfielder? Why he isn't in their national team is disgrace.

We did more yesterday to sell merchandise than any shop or fancy marketing deal could; we did more to bring quality players to our club than a new buyer could ever do; we did more to fill a stadium than any new home could, than any silver haired impresario would have you believe.

We played attractive football, the stuff that happens Once in a Blue Moon. The stuff that makes you an Evertonian;

Gone was the hoof ball, for the first time since I can remember (need a whiskey to help me remember), the team looked balanced. Jo, I think he believes his Christmas came late, but Santa arrived with a Scottish accent carrying a pan of scouse. What a difference a quality striker makes, he may have had a bad time at Man City but their loss is our gain.

It was the skill with which we played yesterday that dominated not just Bolton because it wouldn't have mattered who the opposition was, when it comes together it's a joy to watch. The players are on top form. Confident and enjoying their football. They are a unit, a team... and boy was it good to see.

I went to the papers and the news expecting to see major earth shaking headlines for a fantastic performance. There wasn't any. But I know how good it was, the players and the manager know how good it was. The other managers in the Premier League know how good it was and I bet they will be checking the fixture list and praying they aren't next. It's Villa next isn't it? ? I wonder how they will feel seeing it? Sick?

Praise for the team and the manager is well deserved. That was as entertaining a performance as I have seen at Goodison and I have seen quite a few. But not many of late; that's why I fell in love with this club. Every now and again you see things as they were, as they used to be and why you fell in love in the first place. Somewhere, someone else fell in love with Everton last night, I hope the pleasure you feel now is as great in the years to come, as it has been for so many of us.

They say you have to endure hardships to appreciate the highs, we have and we do. We know how much it means to the club, to us and to our future.

I went to sleep staring at a Blue Moon last night with a tear in my eye for knowing how privileged I am to be an Evertonian, knowing that, for all the frustrations we have felt, those of us who have had to endure poor quality, poor attitude, poor management over the years, we keep the faith and sometimes do get to see a fleeting glimpse of the future, of what can be.

We know that for all of those supporters who didn't understand what it is to be an Evertonian, you do now.

Reader Comments

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Nathan Snell
1   Posted 08/02/2009 at 10:07:01

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nd mailing houses.
This is a fantastic piece Christine. I was saying to my wife the other night that I typify Everton Football Club. This is a bit self indulgent but bear with me there is a point to this. I have supported Everton since I was a wee boy (I am now 30). Growing up I was perceived as the average Joe. Never top of the class academically. I was lucky as my Family and Friends loved me dearly but they never had high hopes that I would have a successful career. Some people used to say that I would never leave my home town and learn more about the world as I was too used to routine. Essentially another statistic in the world we live in. Throughout the 20 or so years I have been in love with Everton Football Club I can remember very similar synergies between us. Apart from 95 we have been involved in relegation battles and top 12 finishes at the very best. People couldn?t understand why I would waste my time watching an Everton game as we would almost certainly lose when they were televised. However like Everton FC (over the last six years or so) my life has developed. I have moved 200 miles away from that small Town and bought a lovely house. I have travelled the world (twice), and I am married to a beautiful woman (who is 9 weeks pregnant with my child). I have been promoted twice and I am now working in a Senior Position within a company who respect me as a person. Things do change when you make it happen and that is exactly what happened and continue to do so with Everton FC. We are now a football club who is both respected and appreciated for who we are and what we have achieved. Allot of people regard Everton as ’their second favourite club? and I love it! We have developed through life together and long may it continue. A relationship with unconditional love!
Steve Hogan
2   Posted 08/02/2009 at 11:13:04

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Message for Nathan, don’t ever leave the commune gates wherever it is!

Shit, you seem to be living in an earth bound utopia of happy happy people with a great job to boot.

My jobs crap at the moment, any chance of you having a word with the commune boss and getting me a piece of the action?

Nathan Snell
3   Posted 08/02/2009 at 12:09:51

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Steve I’ll put in a good word for you!
Phil Bellis
4   Posted 08/02/2009 at 12:25:12

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Nice one, Christine
The single thing that will improve the finance, prospects, future fanbase and profile of our great club is success on the field. It’s so bloody obvious!
What a sad situation we are in now where the Board prefers to hoard what little money we apparently haven’t got to blow on a desperate, short-term, projected fix.
I would prefer, as do you, that any success is achieved playing the proper Everton way, with style, rather than a la Graham’s Arsenal
In little cameos yesterday it was like watching Harvey...out to... Morrissey...through to Royle...on to Husband!
I’m glad it’s not just me
Alan Kirwin
5   Posted 08/02/2009 at 12:24:53

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I’m tempted to say "behave, you soppy old tart" :-) but of course I won’t because I understand the emotion. It is a pity of sorts that such a fabulous football exhibition gets 10 mins on MOD and a couple of blithe comments from the pundits. Such is the loss of light & perspective when one is not top 4 (or Tottenham).

I don’t go in much for jealousy and usually take what’s available. But I confess I have a thing this season about what basically amounts to Villa taking our place. By a combination of self-induced disasters early season (sorry DM, but much down to you) and quite unprecedented fortune for Villa, we find ourselves perhaps 10 points adrift of where we might realistically have been.

When our team is playing this well and thoroughly deserving of both results and plaudits, it’s becoming tedious to observe that we remain so far behind what I feel is an inferior team. I do feel that this is the best & strongest and most valuable team we have had for over 20 years. If we qualify for the Europa league, even by winning the FA cup, it will still have the tinge of being almost a lost season.

Looking ahead, we have countless "eminently winnable games" between now & end of season. There is perhaps a scintilla of a possibility that we might catch FC Lucky, or even Chelsea, in the unlikely event that either or both stutter. But it’s increasingly looking like 6th (assuming we’re not caught by West Ham) and whilst I’m content with just about everything about the club at the moment, I’m left feeling that the door was open this season and it may not be next season.

This is not a hankering after money & transfers. Just a regret that our manager lost his soul for a few months and, in so doing, caused unnecessary unrest & confusion at the worst possible time. His demeanour now is a million miles away from what it was then and he is self-evidently back to being an Evertonian to the core.

if you do believe in angels then maybe, just maybe, fortune will correct itself and something exraordinary will happen between now and May. We would not be undeserving.

Victor Johnson
6   Posted 08/02/2009 at 13:23:44

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Parallels with the 83-84 season anyone?
colin potter
7   Posted 08/02/2009 at 13:46:19

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the last man to showboat at Goodison, and in my opinion sh ould be playing along side Arteta, is Fenandes, but where is he now? and more to the point, why not ?? Alan Kirwin made a very good observation.
Dave Wilson
8   Posted 08/02/2009 at 13:04:33

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I think it was Jack Nicklaus who said "the harder I practice, the luckier I get".

I?ve been wringing my hands in frustration at Villa?s luck, but after watching our game again, I watched Villa?s on Football First this Morning; sure enough, Blackburn had at least two very strong penalty claims turned down....however, that didn't tell the hole story.

Villa were unrecognisable from the Jammy sods I?d seen at GP earlier this season, they have a bit about them. The aquisition of Heskey along with the return to fitness of Carew gives them a lot of muscle to go with the pace the have up front.

I liked the article, Christine, but don't underestimate Villa, a monumental effort is required if we are to progress in the Cup.

Brian Waring
9   Posted 08/02/2009 at 18:28:37

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Excellent performance yesterday. Good shout there Dave, I watched Villa and even though we were unlucky to lose against them, they looked a totally different outfit against an in-form Blackburn. The cup game is not going to be easy as some prople are making out.
Roger Osborne
10   Posted 08/02/2009 at 21:24:09

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I was one of those at Goodison in 1983, against Coventry, on a cold winter's night, when it felt like we almost reached rock bottom. We were 14th in the old first division that night, Howard?s head was on the block ? but things were changing. Reid had recently joined the first team, Gray had joined from Wolverhampton, Harvey stepped up to the first team coaching staff, and the rest is history.

I don?t think another Everton team will be as low as we were then, and go on to win as much as we did in a 18 month spell, I don?t think we will ever see that again. This will be the 25th anniversary of Ratcliffe lifting the cup after the Watford final, could not go for that, although I was at Highbury for the Saints Semi-final win.

How great would it be to go back to Wembley after a quarter of a century and do it all again. There are people not just on here, or in Liverpool, but indeed worldwide who?ve never know what it feels like to see Everton as league champions, maybe even as FA Cup winners. I suppose I can say the same myself regarding the Dean years and feats of the great man, but video archive is a great thing. I think we will have a clearer indication of where our season is going by this time next week.
Rob Hollis
11   Posted 08/02/2009 at 23:07:34

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Everton have been playing some good football for a long time now. For the most part, hoofball had already gone.

I think you take too much notice of the media.
Christine Foster
12   Posted 09/02/2009 at 00:31:32

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Rob, Hoof ball left us when we had no strikers to hit. For the most part of the season that what we have been doing until we only had Tiny Tim up front. Since we have been playing on the deck the quality of football has increased tremendously.

As for looking at the media, I am like any other fan who reads the press, I just don?t believe much of the stuff they print, however when a team is playing well one expects others to see it too. The bias to the Sky 4 excludes anything else in the main.

One other thing too, the gulf between how we played at the beginning of the season and how we are playing is vast. Long may it continue.

However, we are billed as a tremendous defensive unit and that's what people have come to expect from us, it's good to see that there is a quality of football going forward too. I for one think how we played the other day (indeed the past month) deserved more credit than we got. Instead it focused on how bad Bolton were. We made them look bad. That's what good teams do.

Christine Foster
13   Posted 09/02/2009 at 00:39:15

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I was brought up on a tradition of how good football should be played, that includes physical contact! The team enjoyed themselves on Sat, they played some great stuff and although you can?t touch a player these days, the defense was uncompromising as any team in the Premier League.

It's sometimes hard to express what we want as supporters, we want to win, yes. But its important to many of us that we win (or lose) attempting to play the type of football we love to be associated with.

I don?t mean the type that Chelsea have bought, they are a set of 11 players bought for their individual skills but not as a team. Man U and Arsenal are better teams without necessarily better individual players than Chelsea. Liverpool have neither the players nor the team to justify their status and position in the league. But they keep winning.

Everton are a team. No expensive individuals just a bloody good unit. Playing football with passion, enjoyment and belief in each other.

Villa have rode their luck this year but you make your own luck too, Villa are a force and also a good team and I think it will be a cracker of a game next week. But I sort of know we will prevail.

I hope Big Vic is somewhere trying to understand that there is no "I" in team, you play when you deserve to play not when you believe your own hype.
Dave Wilson
14   Posted 09/02/2009 at 06:39:30

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Not really sure why you chose to introduce VA to the thred, but I hope he is considering his future elswhere, whether he proves good enough or not, he was on the receiving end of a hate campaign long before the events ? whatever they where ? of last week.

If you KNOW we?ll beat Villa next week, I?m guessing you?ll get odds of about 4-5... fill your boots
Christine Foster
15   Posted 09/02/2009 at 09:06:00

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Hi Dave, I drew a contrast to Vic being more concerned with himself than doing a job for the team. The TEAM is playing well and obviously slotting together. Vic wasn’t and thats why the comment.

As for beating Villa, sometimes you feel it in your bones, must be the Irish in me and a fair double of Irish Malt :-)
Christine Foster
16   Posted 09/02/2009 at 09:10:27

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Dave your right too, he was, and still is, on the end of some pretty hateful mails, I for one don’t believe all I read in the media and nothing I would read in the Sun.
I don;t think you have to be a rocket scientist to appreciate that DM played it the way he saw it and to some degree Vic through his toys out of the pram.
Just how far he threw tham and what was said is conjecture but it does seem a major rift and I honestly can’t see him putting on a blue shirt again. Which is really, really sad.

But you can’t unsay things that have been said. You have to grow up and accept the consequences of your actions. He will learn eventually, but propbably not at Goodison..
Christine Foster
17   Posted 09/02/2009 at 09:16:24

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Forgive the typos,, doing this in the dark.. power down with the heat wave.
Kase Chow
18   Posted 09/02/2009 at 11:47:30

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Nathan Snell,

Good on you mate, turning it all around.
Neil McKinney
19   Posted 09/02/2009 at 17:52:53

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Great piece Christine.

Just to pick up on the point you made about press recognition. The papers didn’t exactly talk us up, but (and you guys at the game won’t have seen this, I was stuck in Leeds) on Sky’s Soccer Saturday, Paul Merson could barely contain himself.

I recall words like "excellent" and "world class" being uttered by the man (I appreciate he is not the most articulate). He waxed lyrical about us, especially our first half performance saying (and I quote) "that’s possibly the best first half performance I’ve seen this season". I kid you not, he was so excited I thought he was going to have to go and change his underwear.

I was dumb struck. So strange is it to hear the media give us any real credit, let alone talk us up the way Merson did, that I didn’t quite know what to do.

I must agree however with the Villa sentiments. They have been so lucky this season and have on occasion been atrocious, yet they continue to win. Add the fact that Carew seems to be back and Heskey is obviously enjoying the new challenge, and we would be foolish to think they will just roll over.

Rob Hollis
20   Posted 11/02/2009 at 09:40:10

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Why do people keep making reference to Villa being lucky? I think that does sound ’bitter.’

All teams need a bit of good fortune and the fact that they are breaking into the top four, as I expect us to do shortly, is something to be applauded.

They have a bit more cash than us so are able to move a bit faster but we have comparable managers and clubs.

Villa will do well in the league and will soon not have the distraction of the FA cup to concern them. Don’t begrudge a club success if they have not simply bought it.
Patty Beesley
21   Posted 11/02/2009 at 11:33:45

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Nathan, You are right!! A lot of supporters of other premiership sides do regard us as their 2nd favourite team. It amazes me how many people say that to me ? mainly Arsenal supporters and definitely no Liverpool ones!!!

Rob, People make reference to Villa being lucky because they have been this season on a fair few occasions and I mean LUCK ? not luck as we get it!!

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