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Enough's enough

By Craig Walker :  18/08/2008 :  Comments (15) :
In conversation with my girlfriend last night. she asked me "why do you love Everton so much?" Normally I would waffle the usual retort about our great history and the first time my dad took me to Goodison and the Everton way of playing, Dixie, The Holy Trinity, The School of Science, the 80s etc etc. I've been churning this rhetoric out since I was about ten... Last night I was stuck for answers.

This summer for me has taken my love of the game to breaking point. When you see players like Lampard and Adebayor kissing the badge after trying to engineer lucrative moves to clubs around Europe with the agenda of hiking their pay up to obsene amounts then you have to wonder why we subject ourselves to showing devotion to the self-proclaimed 'Best League in the World - trademark Richard Keys'. I for one have realised that the girlfriend/wife/mate who just doesn't get it is the one who has the right attitude.

Normally I despise pre-season. It stems from my Summer school holidays when, if you were lucky, a World Cup would prolong your insatiable football interest for another month and the rest of the time would be filled in kicking a ball about from 9am til 9pm. This summer I was talked into watching the Wimbledon Men's Final. Reluctantly I agreed. I saw more drama, skill and sporting prowess in one match than I'm likely to see in a whole season at Goodison. Normally I'd shy away from other sports like tennis by saying that it was nothing but a middle-class game with the same players winning all the prizes. Errrr. That argument doesn't stand up nowadays.

Back to Football. Clubs (other than us) are spending money they don't have, to guarantee mid-table mediocrity, a la Portsmouth... and for what? To get thrashed 4-0 against Chelsea. There are so many teams chasing so few prizes. In this marvelous age of Sky football, a club would rather finish 4th than win the FA Cup. Try explaining that to some non-football fan.

Last night I heard Man United fans moaning on a phone-in because they only drew 1-1. "We need Berbatov and a more dynamic midfield". It would be laughable if I could see the funny side of it!

Let's face it, a club like Everton has had it, whatever they do.... even if we don't like to admit it. Supposing:-

1. We get off to a good start and build some optimism which carries on to another good season. I didn't see this happening even before Saturday. I remember the excitement when AJ broke into the team and we'd just hammered the Dark Side. This season, AJ will be turning out for Fulham despite having signed a contract extension for us. There goes another great Everton hope then.

2. Rodwell and Baxter become first-team regulars and Everton greats. In will come the Sky 4 and away they'll go. Haven't we been here with a scruffy Evertonian prodigy from Croxteth?

3. Kenwright relinquishes his fat control of his train set and we get some investment. What would this give us? A better chance of beating teams at our level maybe? I wouldn't want to be in Man City's shoes for all the money in Taiwan.

4. We build a decent team, gain progress in the league and attract better players through our league standing. This has been my sole hope for about 15 years and we are at that point now but what have we done? We didn't grasp this opportunity when we finished 4th or 5th so what next?

5. We get a new stadium and improve the club standing in general that way. I think DK has emphatically proven that this isn't the way forward either. There will always be too much opposition to relocation etc, and the powers that be have categorically stated that a redeveloped Goodison isn't feasible.

6. Platini or someone overhauls the game to restrict foreign players and hence increases competitiveness. Therefore clubs like Everton with homegrown "talent" like Lescott, Jagielka, Baines etc. grasp their opportunity. Wouldn't the Sky 4 just recruit the best English players?

7. We don't move forward. Moyes holds back from signing his 60k a week contract until a big club vacancy comes about and off he goes. Kenwright goes on regardless and promises us nothing but the best. In comes Allardyce or Kendall Mark 4 and down we go like Forest or Sheff Wed.

Someone please tell me there is a way that we get back to the summit where we (like every other club) believe we belong because I can't help feeling that a good forthcoming season would be a top ten finish and a great derby performance.

"Why do I love Everton so much love?"

"Habit"

Thanks for listening.

Reader Comments

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Paul Hennessey
1   Posted 19/08/2008 at 05:02:15

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You love them because of Nuremburg away, because of Duncan Ferguson against United (either time) and the 3-0 derby - you love Everton because you have to and because whatever the rubbish you have to put up with (and there is loads) and all the pathetic business at our club at the moment - they are still our club.
Pat (Fulham fan)
2   Posted 19/08/2008 at 05:12:28

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Good article, I’ve really only been watching the game on a regular basis for 12 months. The relegation scrap for us last year was exciting, nerve racking and at times just downright depressing. If we get towards our goals of mid table obscurity I’m not sure whether I’ll be able to enjoy the game in the same way.

That said, I still count down the days and hours until Fulham kick off and will be getting up in the middle of the night to watch the Arsenal game. Gotta love football, well... until I’m continually exposed to the diving, cheating and unfairness that seems to exist whenever the big 4 play.

Trevor Lynes
3   Posted 19/08/2008 at 05:03:19

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Good comments..I agree with most of what you say and when I read of EFC being linked with stop gap signings like Lundberg, Bullard, Smith etc I really despair. The quality signings we were promised have been briefly mentioned and now vanished..Arshevin, Moutinho, Love and M’Bia...they are about as elusive as Bin Laden !!
Im afraid to say that after over 50 years of watching the blues Im being hooked into enjoying Wimbledon, decent cricket and the olympics..I watched Chelsea take apart Pompey and it was brilliant..every Chelsea player was top class, ball control, passing etc etc..I felt depressed as I thought of the inept display of last saturday at goodison..it was as if we were playing a completely different game...Draughts to Chess for example. I am not the slightest bit excited over the prospective dross we are supposedly interested in signing to bolster the numbers of lets face it DRONES..we are assisting other clubs in off loading players they no longer wish to pay..If this is quality then I am disgusted..we seemingly have no ambition or foresight..The crowd need and deserve someone to spark and excite them, a hero like we used to have in Vernon, Young, Collins, Ball, Kendall, Harvey etc etc. We now dine on journeymen instead of feasting on the likes of a Moutinho or Arshevin. When we played Zenit it was obvious that Arshevin was a star in the making and we could and should have bought him then...now he is too costly so we missed the boat. Ronaldo was spotted in a Utd tour game and they snapped him up before anyone knew about him...that is foresight and good business acumen....we dither all the time and in the end make some poor signings eg; Beattie who could not get into a poor Soton side at the time. I feel we are still making the same mistakes when I see Bullard and Smith mentioned..both have had bad injuries and are just shadows of the players they were.
I too am pretty disillusioned.
Stephen Stuart
4   Posted 19/08/2008 at 05:12:45

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I watched the ?Golden Vision? again last night. It seemed older than it?s forty years - I watched it first time around. I remember going to watch the Blues play Wolves who has Peter Knowles in their side. He was notorious for espousing his belief as a Jehovah Witness. Anyway, Alan Ball and Alex Young made mincemeat of him that night. I remember them teasing him with the ball - the likes of which you really saw then and don?t see at all now - it was magic, part of the magic that was ONCE Everton. It?s not like that anymore. This programme shows how far football has changed AND how far Everton FC have fallen.

I cannot see much change for Everton FC in the future. Poorly managed and poorly directed, the club is a laughing stock - I?ve been saying it for years. I have other interests which take my time and pleasure. I still follow the scores and still have a passion for Everton. But it?s not the same as years ago and I would rather keep my memories of good times intact than soil them with the angst of the rubbish on display these days.
Jason Lam
5   Posted 19/08/2008 at 06:04:18

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1. Agreed, especially with the current state of the squad - no new players or replacements.

2. If we don’t get new players, they WILL be first team players, unless the game’s changed to 7-a-side. Everton greats? Not unless they win anything with us, and it just looks more and more unlikely that would happen anytime soon. Get snapped up by sky4? If the’re good enough I sure they would be. If only Everton could match the ambitions of its good players heh?

3. I would. We’ll get to see Jo in a Everton shirt, a player we were HARPING ON ABOUT during the summer. Fancy signing a player being linked to us?

4. Either we’re skint or the management are cowards. It takes balls to smash the statuo quo. Which is why I admire Mourinho so much. He came - and won. Didn’t give a shit about Manu and Arsenal. Look at the legacy he left at Chelsea - fighting for every ball, defending like their lives depended on it. Bullying the opposition to a pulp.

5. Can’t comment

6. Yes

7. Yes
EJ Ruane
6   Posted 19/08/2008 at 11:36:06

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Paul Hennessey - spot on.

I believe there are certain occasions, during certain games, that NO other moments IN LIFE that can compare with.

I realise that when people are asked ’when and where were you happiest?’, there are certain stock answers that are you hear and if those asked aren’t Evertonians, I’d have no reason not to believe them.

However if they’re Evertonians answering something OTHER than ’at Goodison watching a derby winning goal’, I’d have to assume they were simply trying not to offend wives, children and or family members.

There is simply NOTHING in life to compare to the total wild abandon and ecstasy of a ’Duncan moment’ or a 3rd goal against Bayern.....in my opinion.

Things at the moment are shite and I would happily see BK dragged around the streets of Goodison ’western style’.

However I’m not ready, right at this minute, to give up the idea that I’ve had my last such moment of extreme ecstasy watching the blues.

John Maxwell
7   Posted 19/08/2008 at 13:10:38

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I dont know whether its my age ? but my interest in modern football is waning..

I’m 36 and have been going to games since the days of terraces, getting into the ground at 1.30pm to get a good spot, the atmoshpere around games in those days was fantastic..

FC United of Manchester were formed by the average football fan tired of being priced out of the game and big money men taking the sport away from the man on the street..

I would suggest to go down to your local non league side for the experience, I did and ok so the football isnt great, its just like the old times and if you can find a few mates to go with, then its an experience you will never forget.
Steve Rewth
8   Posted 19/08/2008 at 12:53:41

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I too grew up with the great sides of the sixties and early seventees. But that was when the competition for league and cup was far more open than today. Winning the league was a rare and treasured event for most and not the sole and boring preserve of a few. Cup finals were more exciting and less predictable. I know this smacks of the summers were sunnier, pies nicer, beer cheaper, coppers older, syndrome but I still think expectations were more measured and the match day was a more entertaining experience - the shouts and banter was deffo cleverer and funnier. It was also a lot more bloody affordable and spontaneous - could decide to go a few hrs before KO even with the hangover. Yes a lot has gone from the modern game - but I’m still seduced by the same call of the Blue as Messrs Hennessey and Ruane and can’t and won’t shake it off - so see ya der on satdy boys, COYB!!
Tony Anetts
9   Posted 19/08/2008 at 14:10:41

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Craig I think for some of us the answer to why we love Everton so much is simply 42!, as it brings meaning to our lives.

I, like many others, left Liverpool as a young fella for the sunny climbs of Australia with my parents - kicking and screaming at the time because Everton were being left behind. Some 36 years later I am no less addicted to all things Everton than I was as a boy - in fact I’ve regressed if anything. My kids, constantly resplendid in their Everton shirts and sitting up with me late into the night to catch all things Everton live, don’t understand why they do it either - other than it is what you do - it certainly seems more real than any God we have been asked to believe in.

I have been lucky to have had some limited success with my chosen profession, where those who work for me just cannot undersand why the ’boss’ is so besotted with this thing called Everton and always seems tired and pissed off on Mondays. When they ask the reason why - and they do so consistently - I always answer 42. When my wife tells me to record Everton and I just ignore her and settle in for another late night I realise she doesn’t understand it anymore than your lady does.

Some things are just meant to be - and part of the relationship with Everton apparently requires suffering - so maybe we are all married to Everton - now that makes sense to me.
Phil Harris
10   Posted 19/08/2008 at 16:23:56

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I totally agree with Stephen Stuart’s comments. Football is not the same these days, Evertonians including me live in the past because the future does not look good.
Andrew Brown
11   Posted 19/08/2008 at 16:56:11

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I couldn’t agree more Craig. I think the future for any team trying to break into and stay in the top four is bleak. They have too much money and apart from Arsenal, no wage cap. Too many badge kissing mercenaries around now and we’re all looking for an Abramovich. But that too has it’s dark side. After working in Edinburgh in the 90’s, I adopted Hearts as my ’other team’. I too applauded the purchase of the club by Romanov and the team that won the Scottish Cup and finished 2nd in the league in 2006 was brilliant. But the man has ruined it for everyone by playing armchair manager. The great players left, George Burley left and the club is in tatters. The future was bright and the old firm had been split from their usual 1-2. Be careful what you wish for,we may get one just like Romanov!
Jay Harris
12   Posted 19/08/2008 at 18:35:20

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Hang on lads while I get the suicide pills out.

I too have followed them since 1958 and did the Goodison road (Terrace)with dad,uncle and granddad,then the boys pen (think it was a shilling.. what’s that now 5p)
then the real excitement Gladwys Street jampacked in with about 65000 others at a derby match so tightly packed people would pee where they stood and just shout "mind out lads".
Then queuing up all night outside GP for cup tickets.(painful)
Into the 70’s bit more money now and better contacts Season ticket near the directors box.
80’s - unbelievable - the experience of my life - all the cup finals and trophies - all my birthdays came at once.
90’s - still full of hope at the start still hanging with the top 2 or 3 - Season ticket in the new Park end - magic.
Despondency soon set in as we flirted with relegation.

But the only thing that was certain was that nothing was certain.

It’s a real rollercoaster of emotions from high to low but I believe our time will come again.

I just hope it’s in my lifetime.
Matthew Lovekin
13   Posted 19/08/2008 at 19:41:56

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I’m glad I’m not the only one that has been feeling like this.

I feel the reason for this is the flirtation with improvement. As soon as the club shows they are moving forward, we get knocked back again. The 4th placed finish followed by Collina and the terrible start to the next season. The Carling Cup semi-final where conceded a stupid last minute goal. Now, the 5th placed finish and looking forward to taking on Europe and getting into the top 4...followed by this summer, a squad that has to include 7 teenagers in it’s match day squad for the first game of the season. Even turning the Blackburn game around after starting terribly, getting a goal ahead, then to lose it in the last minute.

It always seems to be the same, why can’t we just have a tiny bit of success, why can’t we get to enjoy the good times long enough?

The worst thing is, the longer it goes on, the more unlikely to get success. The big clubs are getting bigger, stronger and wealthier. All the other clubs from 5th placed down to 92nd in the league are falling further behind and struggling just to survive as a football club.

The interest not just in Everton but football in general is disappearing.
Brian McGowan
14   Posted 20/08/2008 at 00:39:32

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We suffer today for the sins of yesterday. We as blues have seen false dawns before. I am a BLUE because of Alex Young @ Turf Moor in Burnley, Carter et al were the pre-cursers to Sky. The ’Sky 4’ are there in every advert.Why are we ’THE PEOPLES CLUB’ not there?
The glory years of the 1980’s were pre-ceeded by the 14k at ’Gods own place’ by for Watford. Inchey at Oxford.
Bill Kenwright for all his ’intentions’ IS NOT IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE BLUES’
Will the EGM change anything???????????
Only we can. But how???????????
The dark days are ripidly approaching. Davey.....Contract not signed.
Players... 13 days left of window and Custer no where in sight.
Money... Got up & gone.
Solution?
Answers on a postage stamp. (Post card too big)

Summary Blue Bill ....Please walk

If you dont Davey WILL

Choice? ...What choice.

Kenwright ..Please for the future of THE PEOPLES CLUB...........GO GO GO

NOW
Mike Oates
15   Posted 19/08/2008 at 20:30:16

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The one thing which has been clearly demonstrated to me, thousands of other Evertonians and unfortunately to Moyes and his players is that, IF ? and it's a big 'IF' ? we ever manage to finish in a Top 4 position, the current board and administration management team are nowhere good enough to keep us there.

This summer's fiascos ? from a penny pinching transfer strategy, Kirkby , CEO resigning, Umbro relationship, Chairman stating he hasnt a clue, poor communications, etc ? must be contributing to Moyes's unsureness about signing his contract.

He must know that, however well he and the team do, the managers above and around him are a bunch of amateurs, and will never get the finances and support systems to a level of competing with the 4 there now.

We'll are have a clearer view come midnight Sep 1st.



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