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2009: A Vintage Year?

By Tony Marsh :  11/02/2009 :  Comments (35) :

Those of us old enough to have been going the games back in the Glorious 1980s will always remember the Bayern Munich game at Goodison Park as the most memorable for the atmosphere the fans created. I was in my early 20s at the time of the Bayern Munich tie and never thought that night would ever be surpassed for passion, drama, and an atmosphere you could cut with a knife and taste... Well, I was wrong.

Last Wednesday night at Goodison Park has got to be the greatest night of them all in my book. I feel sorry for those fans of ours who couldn't be there against Liverpool last week because the telly coverage didn't do what went on justice.

The atmosphere on the night was so electrifying to an extent that hardened Kopites who travel all over the world watching Scandanavia's favourite sons were telling me the next day they had never seen or heard anything like it. As the Liverpool team cowered on the pitch, so did the usually cockiest fans in the country off the pitch. The whole Goodison experience was too much for the lot of them ? and that's what makes it all the more enjoyable. I am still smiling about it a week later. Night games at Goodison are something else.

I don't buy in to this notion either that the games against Liverpool were awful and lacked any real substance as a football matches. To me, the FA Cup tie at Goodison Park was a battle in a war that had to be won at all costs and I loved every minute of the three derby games we played.

The final stand at Goodison Park, were we finished off a weary and frightened Liverpool side in front on 6,000 mouselike away fans was something I will take to the grave with me. Just to be there was a privilege and watching our lads fight and scrap for every ball like men possessed filled me with so much pride. "This is what it's all about!" I said to my lad.

So from me to all the players the management and our amazing fans its a massive pat on the back for a job well done and a thank you for having our pride re-instated after so many miserable years. don't ye just love beating the Shite?

Another thing I have been noticing of late is the way hoofball is being slowly but surely replaced by some nice flowing on-the-carpet footy. Some of it has been a joy to watch and I must say nearly all the players are playing there part in the Renaissance that is happening at Everton Football Club.

This leads me to a couple of questions though. Why hasnt this attitude and style of play been put in to place sooner? Why was hoofball order of the day for so long? Can we continue in the same vien?

I have often been at loggerheads on this site with some of our fans who could not take my critical comments regarding Moyes and the standard of football on offer. "You need money to play decent football" was the common defensive reply... but now that defence is dead and buried. The same players who have kicking balls the length of the pitch for most of their Everton careers are now showing what they can really do.

The team that took to the field against Bolton on Saturday is basically the same side that finished last season so poorly and started this one the same way. If you swap Jo for the Yak then no money has been spent on new players ? it's just the same ones doing the business correctly.

I always knew we had the tools to do the job properly but at times the manager didn't have the belief to go for it. This issue now appears to have been resolved and long may it continue. Please don't let me hear the "we have no money, that's why we play hoofball" argument ever again.

If we can maintain the way we have been playing for the remainder of the season then there is no way poxy Aston Villa will stop us at the weekend, strikers or no strikers. Villa's luck has to run out soon and why not at Everton in the FA Cup? If we get through this tie then I truly believe we can go all the way to Wembley and I don't care who we draw in any future round of the competition.

The 2008-09 season started off in a nightmare fashion and has now fashioned itself in to a season of possible glory. We have the forward momentum at present and it's a case of more of the same.... We all have to keep the faith. We have to keep believing we can keep it going.

Moyes has to believe in himself as well as the players he has at his disposal. I think blooding the youngsters in big games has worked wonders for the squad and the fans so keep it going and who knows where we might end up? At the end of season 2008-09 we may well of had a vintage year.

ps: More playing time for Jack Rodwell, PLEASE. This kid looks a class above the likes of Osman and can go on to become a real player given the chance.


Reader Comments

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Dave Wilson
1   Posted 12/02/2009 at 06:27:01

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A great read recapturing the elation of last Wednesday.
Your right, the telly did it no justice at all, I’ve been going to GP for about 45 years and Wednesday was right up there, absolutely magical

I feel it’s my duty to remind the RS I work with, that they threw there big guns at us THREE TIMES, but on each occasion they were found wanting.

I really never have felt more like singing the blues
David Chait
2   Posted 12/02/2009 at 06:39:51

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Yeah... from someone who couldn?t be there ? great to hear!

One point should be made though ? we have seen this flowing football before. Remember for some months last season we were playing some of the best football in the league ? and it wasn?t just Everton fans saying this. But for some reason it vanished. We have been down this road a few times ? has Moyes learnt this time and got the confidence not to revert to type (like so many times before)... I fucking hope so!
Ped Pearl
3   Posted 12/02/2009 at 08:14:08

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Well.... Mr Marsh, that was a great read, thanks!

I think we should remember that Moyes has put this ?team? together over the last few years and they have been given the chance to grow and develop together. They have all improved ? and those that havent have moved on.

Will the real Hibbo please stand up... how good has he played since he got back in the team? We are really clicking now ? playing for each other ? it?s all been said before but Rodwell, Fellaini, Gosling, Arteta... If those lads are all still here in a few years time and develop how we want (and expect) I can't wait!!!
Art Jones
4   Posted 12/02/2009 at 08:17:43

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I?m actually surprised with myself because I agree totally with a ?Tony Marsh? article. I too was at the Bayern game and last Wednesday?s ? the only others that I can recall coming even close to these for atmosphere were Fiorentina and the Man Utd game in 2005 when Dunc scored... All night matches. As far as our recent brand of football, I?m wondering if Steve Round?s influence has started to take effect? Is he our new Colin Harvey? I hope so. Onwards and upwards. COYB
Gareth Humphreys
5   Posted 12/02/2009 at 09:05:47

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Tony, I don?t know if your bi-polar disorder is a good thing or a bad thing; however, it is certainly entertaining. Totally agree with you about Wednesday ? you always know it's a good night when the Top Balcony shakes when a goal goes in.
Anthony Fitzpatrick
6   Posted 12/02/2009 at 09:21:44

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Tony, with all your football knowledge and experience, I am suprised you are asking why we are now playing expansive football (it?s not a dig at you). We all knew we had the players in certain areas but the area most important to a team when they need to retain the ball is centre midfield. For the past 4-5 seasons we always had an axis of Carsley/Neville/Cahill/Osman etc. All very average players at retaining the ball.

Now I know a lot of fans think the turning point was Neville?s tackle on Ronaldo but if you remember the horror show at Wigan a few weeks later then I don't think this is the case. The turning point was the Spurs game and moving Arteta to centre midfield. Since that game, we have matched nearly every team for retention of the ball. The only notable exception was the Cup game at Anfield where we could not string 3-4 passes together. COINCIDENCE???

John Sully
7   Posted 12/02/2009 at 10:05:40

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Great article, Tony, summed up my feelings exactly.

Also agree with Anthony Fitzpatrick, I?ve been saying for longer than I care to remember that Arteta should be in centre midfield. It's a myth to believe you need to be a ball winner to play in the holding role. Pirlo has been one of the best in the world in that position and certainly isn't a tackler. Arteta dictating play can take us on another level.


Patty Beesley
8   Posted 12/02/2009 at 10:16:58

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Blimey Tony - all bouquets and no brickbats.... whatever next!! Nice to see you in a positive mood for a change but you couldn?t resist that last sentence dig at Osman but this time I agree with you!!
Wali Tomos
9   Posted 12/02/2009 at 10:19:33

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I am a bit older than Tony and I also found myself comparing the match last Wednesday with the Bayern game. I think that the Bayern match was the best for atmosphere mainly because we fell behind in the first half and needed 2 goals to go through. Also in the Bayern match I remember policemen dancing and chanting after our second and third goals went in.
Last Wednesday was fantastic with everybody walking away with a wide smile on our faces but it’s still the Bayern game for me. Sorry Tony!
Graham Davidson
10   Posted 12/02/2009 at 10:32:14

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I?m not so sure to be honest with everybody?s recent love for the kid Rodwell. Yea, he's young and looks good but I think people are starting to forget a little quickly how poor and uninvolved he was at the start of the season.

The lad is still yet to sign his pro contract despite talks going on and questions have to be asked if his heart is at the club. I hope everyone is correct and he does become a world beater but this I can pretty safely say unfortunately will not be at Everton.

Joe Rourke
11   Posted 12/02/2009 at 10:38:06

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Heres my two cents:

In my humble opinion the injury to Joey Yobo has been the most crictical thing to happen to us this season because it forced Moyes to move Lescott off the wing and create a properly balanced defense consisting of his best four defenders playing in their natural positions... I recognise Joey Yobo has been a loyal and at times very good player but something in terms of overall communication and balance was missing in the defence when he a permanent fixture ? we have this now in his absence and it has given the team the basis for what they have achieved.

Oh good article Mr Marsh.
Connor Rohrer
12   Posted 12/02/2009 at 10:41:58

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Poor and uninvolved?

Can’t agree with that. Even at the start of the season Rodwell looked promising. You could tell there was a player there and he had the physical attributes to play at this level.

He was let down by the players around him, no one was taking responsibility and helping him out. He was playing alongside Jagielka (centre back), Baines (left back) and an out of form Arteta playing wide right.

Any player would have struggled, especially one who’s 16/17 years old. He never shied away though and was always looking for the ball, that’s the sign of a good young player.
Paul Gladwell
13   Posted 12/02/2009 at 10:58:41

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My mates down London are mates with that Chelsea youth player who got into the England squad the other month, his words were that Rodwell is the best young Englishman coming through by a country mile and everyone in the know agrees. That Derby match proved a lot for me about him, forgive me for saying it, but he had similarities to the red shite's Captain Marvel. It?s early days but he just seems to have all the qualities needed.
Guy Hastings
14   Posted 12/02/2009 at 13:13:47

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At the risk of getting back to Tony Marsh?s point (something I never thought I?d write but fair dos, TM), down my neck of the woods you?d have thought we were playing at fucking Anfield. The ITV soundman must be a RS as every five minutes we got another round of their Rogers and Hammerstein bollocks. Not even Johnny Keating?s finest moment.... Disgraceful.
Brett Bradshaw
15   Posted 12/02/2009 at 13:17:07

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Great read Tony, I also enjoyed every minute of all 3 games. I watched all 3 with a few RS mates and I have to say they just got quieter and quieter from the start of the first game until you just couldn?t get a word out them at the end of the third. Lost for words they all knew they were beaten by the better side (in the end)

As for the hoofball and no money argument. I think the main reason why hoofball was the order of the day before was simply because that was how David Moyes saw us getting the right result at the time. All it will take is a few losses, lack of form and consequently confidence and we will once again resort to hoofball. On the flip side, if we do Villa and go on an extended run, just watch the skills!!
Jim Thompson
16   Posted 12/02/2009 at 13:58:02

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James Boden
17   Posted 12/02/2009 at 14:04:01

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Good article Tony. The quality of football has improved greatly. I think the turning point in that aspect was the Wigan game as we were so awful that something had to change. And you could see the difference the next week at Spurs as we were far more organised and the passing and movement was very good. Even though we lost last minute to Villa the next week we battered them too and we haven?t looked back since.

Now if we beat Villa Sunday and we owe them 1, then theres no reason we cant win the FA Cup. COYB FTRS

Dermot Dinan
18   Posted 12/02/2009 at 15:08:15

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Thanks for sharing your experience of Wednesday night?s atmosphere, Marshy, you?re quite right about the telly, it never does justice to Goodison.

I think we can all join in with your optimism for the rest of the season. The key word you put up (imo) here is momentum. Maintaining it is crucial to the ambitions of the team and fans alike. So I guess it?s time to put my trust in Moyes, that like us, he can see the reasons for our rejuvenation and just allows the boys (injuries permitting) to keep playing.

That?s quite a turnaround from what I was saying about him in November I admit but results with good performances all round have dictated this.

I don?t think Villa fancy playing us one bit!
Alan Clarke
19   Posted 12/02/2009 at 22:01:50

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I don’t think the lack of money argument has been put to bed at all though, Tony. It has proved that we can be the best of the rest with not a lot of money but we are still 6th. We beat Liverpool because Moyes got his tactics right but we did not by any stretch of the imagination out play them.

The 5 clubs above us all play better football than us and all have a hell of a lot of money. Perhaps if we finish top 4 then the argument of us not having any money will be put to bed.
Brendan McLaughlin
20   Posted 12/02/2009 at 22:41:48

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?I always knew we had the tools to do the job properly but at times the manager didn?t?

I mean this from a man who has slaughtered individual players and then went on to preach that with a team of midgets, we weren?t going anywhere. I ?m always drawn to references of the glory days of the mid-80?s. Truth is in his first few years Howard Kendall had a torrid time, was on the verge of the sack and then literally, with one great escape, took us on an unbelievable journey. With hindsight I believe Kendall was always convinced that he was on the right path and never wavered in his conviction. I?ve always harboured a hope that David Moyes will be the ?Moyesiah? and just now that?s starting to turn into a little faith.
Mel Jones
21   Posted 12/02/2009 at 22:46:46

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They have more debt than us not more money. The cracks are showing in two of them. If oil boy takes his ball home that?s them down the river. They are an ageing side that needs another £150 million spent on them in the next two years. Is his heart in it. This is one ruthless bastard make no mistake, his wifes been dumped along with Ranieri, Mourinhio, Grant and Scolari. He has loaned this money to Chelsea not given it, what does he really want?

Arsenal have a new stadium can they afford it? Is it worth the blues losing GP for a derogatory £6 million an year. One Titus Bramble type character for all that history. Let's see out this storm it will pass history dictates that all great dynasties fall. The Sky4 are not even a dynasty but they will fall, once they start to drop they will not stop. Look where Leeds are FFS. Goodison Park on an evening game wow !COYB.

Jay Harris
22   Posted 12/02/2009 at 22:20:23

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I?m usually 80% of the way with Tony?s views and find myself similarly placed here.

I dont think for one minute that any of us think the manager and team are not producing miracles week-in, week-out at the moment and I think we all appreciarte it more because it was so unexpected (If we?re honest).

And as one of the fortunate ones to have seen the Kendall and Catterick teams achieve great things feel qualified to say we are on the right road but a long way from being a a "full shilling".

I really hope I?m wrong but I think the strength of our squad compared to others around us, not just Villa and Arsenal but City, Wigan and even Spurs, may tell on us by the end of the season.

That is why I am enjoying the moment but not getting carried away.
Gary Hughes
23   Posted 13/02/2009 at 00:46:13

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Good read Tony & I agree with most things you say but I have to agree with David Chait, Last season we played some of the best football I’ve seen from an Everton team for 20 years & yet for some reason it vanished overnight. My main critisism of Moyes is that the next slump is always just around the corner. Sorry to be the eternal pessimist but I’ve been dragged back down to earth kicking & screaming one too many times to get too carried away. Incidently I was 14 years old in the street end against Bayern & nothing will ever beat that night.
Danny O'Neill
24   Posted 13/02/2009 at 04:40:02

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I generally disagree with you, but on this occasion, who can? As you say, nothing like winning against our colonial cousins and agree with your point that I think much of the media missed the point regarding the standard of football on show. No it wasn?t Real Madrid v Arsenal, but I thought it was a gripping encounter from start to finish (and wasn?t it the perfect finish?!!).

All I will say is that it takes time to convert a club that annually fought relegation into one that finishes comfortably higher up the league by grinding out results. It takes even longer to create one that does that by playing great football. Your previous rants against Moyes and the team have been short-sighted and not looked at the bigger picture.

I am just as made up as you by last weeks result, but at least I can say I have had the patience and footballing nounce to see what foundations have been slowly put in place over the past six years that will hopefully (nothing guaranteed) will come to fruition in the not too distant future.

As they say, Rome wasn?t built in a day.
Andrew Cunningham
25   Posted 13/02/2009 at 12:43:07

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Tony, sounds like a great game but I was watching Swansea.....

Stewart Littler
26   Posted 13/02/2009 at 12:57:31

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Good article, TM. Have to say to Jay Harris though, in terms of depth of squad, we will prob play Howard, Hibbert, Baines, Jagielka, Lescott, Neville, Arteta, Osman, Gosling, Fellaini, Cahill sunday with bench of Nash, Yobo, Jacobsen, Rodwell, Van der Meyde, Anichebe, Baxter. That?s with Valente, Pienaar, Yakubu, Saha, Vaughan all injured and Jo cup-tied.

We have the momentum, and some of these players to come back in, and wiv the games we?ve got left, I think we will be putting the fear into the Arse, Chelski and Villa before long, not worrying about City and Wigan ? not even dignifying the suggestion that Spurs are a threat to us, 14 points behind with 13 games left!!

Regarding the way we?re playing, are we really that surprised? As some people have commented, we were playing superb stuff last season until it all went wrong. As the manager, you need to do what you have to do to pick up points ? if key players are out or confidence is low, that means you won?t be expecting your players to pass and move in the fashion we have been doing recently.

And re no money, this for me makes Moyes such a good manager ? picking up players with potential for a couple of mill, like Jags, Arteta, Cahill, etc and turning them into world class players.

Finally, let?s put Villa in their place on Sunday, and have another cracking atmosphere.

Paul Joy
27   Posted 13/02/2009 at 16:03:06

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Spot on with this. That is exactly as I saw it too.

From someone who has gone toe to toe with you pretty much every time you post something and who has taken many swipes at you along the way I take my hat off to you.

I get edited these days so I can?t berate you as I have in the past (or MK) so I am off for a lie down after agreeing with everything you have said. God help me.

It was one hell of a night wasn't it. And yes I am still smiling at the thought.
Clyde McPhat
28   Posted 13/02/2009 at 17:07:35

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TM... well written... I?m excited for you!

Anyway, back to Rodwell. I have watched it a number of times as I have saved it on my DVR. At the end of the match Rodwell hugs Gosling at least three times, and he is so, so chuffed. So, if he hasn?t signed his deal yet, let?s have the club call him into the conference room and have him watch his face when THAT game is over. He is so young, and he hasn?t been tarnished yet. So unlike that shite who left us.
Roger Osborne
29   Posted 13/02/2009 at 18:46:19

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People go on about the Bayern Night, but in all fairness "epic" nights like that at Goodison since then have been few and far between.

I always remember Gray’s marker going off with a broken nose during that game, and the German manager said to Howard -"Mr Kendall, we do not play this way in Germany, this is not football" or something of that nature.

Howard told them to Fuck off and the sum total was that thanks to Sharp, Gray and Steven we made our way to Rotterdam. That year always rankles with me for being denied the chance of the treble.

And of course the tragic events of Brussels and what followed.
Laurie Hartley
30   Posted 14/02/2009 at 09:39:28

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Tony you wrote - "don’t ye just love beating the Shite?"
Answer - more than anything else in football.
Tom Hughes
31   Posted 14/02/2009 at 13:02:21

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The atmosphere last Wednesday was great, but not Bayern standard. There were about 16,000 more blues in the ground that night, which would be like doubling the size of the current end stands and filling them...... also packed terracing seemed far more intimidating and atmospheric too. I can remember at one point the entire Gwladys Street, Enclosure, Paddock and Park End bouncing in unison, as 50,000 blues roared our name. Wednesday was great though.... perhaps if we had scored earlier and got a second we might have got there! Maybe we?ll get there against Villa...
Gary Francis
32   Posted 14/02/2009 at 15:09:11

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The memories came flooding back after reading your piece, Tony. That Bayern game was frightening; I was in the Main Stand with me dad half an hour before kick off and the ground was bouncing with 50,000 Blues ? except for a few hundred Krauts in the Top Balcony. I'd never seen Goodison packed on all four sides... 50,000, my arse ? more like 60,000. I remember speaking to me mate a few days later, who is a red by the way, and said he could hear the singing from Aintree train station. I don't think that atmosphere will ever be beaten but I hope I'm wrong.
Colin Wilkes
33   Posted 14/02/2009 at 17:27:23

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Great read Tony and totally unexpected coming from you. While we have got a long way to go, I have always felt that Moyes was laying good foundations for the future. I just hope you don?t turn on one bad result and neglect the hard work that both the manager and players have put in over the last few seasons.

As extra time began, I am usually as pessimistic as even you, Mr Marsh, especially with the potential of penalties looming. But as extra time began, it became evident that we were much the fitter and more positive of the two teams and there was only one possible outcome.

Unfortunately, I never experienced the Bayern game but this game for me was magical and definitely up there with my best nights at Goodison. I don't think I have ever hugged so many strangers in all my life. Not usually an emotional man but I certainly was that night. I couldn?t stop bouncing for about half an hour after the goal and I mean literally. Don?t think my body has ever experienced so much adrenaline and joy.

Having arrived home from the match missing MotD highlights and Everton site highlights still unpublished, I managed to see the full game again on shite tv. I have never and I am pretty sure I will never again enjoy watching LTV as much as I did that night. Seeing Roy Evan and Gary Gillespie trying to muster some pathetic excuses was priceless.

Can?t wait for tomorrow's game ? hopefully more of the same.

Simon Church
34   Posted 15/02/2009 at 20:59:41

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I thought this was a great article which pretty well represents my feelings on all things EFC at the moment. Chuffed to bits.
Alan Smith
35   Posted 16/02/2009 at 16:19:11

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Can I remind supporters that, as of yet, the team has not won anything so far; some fans seem to think our name is already engraved on this year's trophy, when in all probability we will not even win it this year.

Of course it has been an impressive last month at the club, the games (or results) against the red shite deserve recognition and, after yesterday's beating of Birmingham?s biggest fish, we now have a berth in the last eight of the "greatest knockout competition in the world ... ha" ? and with it a real opportunity to make the semi-finals since that epic afternoon against Tottenham in Leeds, Amokachi et al.

Moyes has already done wonders for us, but no silverware to mention although the Scotsman could well break his duck this year with an FA Cup victory, but with some regret, I can?t see it happening for us this year.

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