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I am in love with 11 men!

By Alexa Dunne :  24/08/2008 :  Comments (19) :

From the middle of preseason, namely the game against the Chicago Fire, I have been hearing more and more of the same sorts of statements and to be quite honest: I am sick of it. Like any blue out there I am frustrated with the way our transfer window has gone. I am annoyed as heck about the lost signings, the constant mumbling, transfering of blame, lies and dwindling time. I want to yell at several people who quite frankly don't have what I consider to be the teams' best interests at heart. Yet in the week since our season opener, the people at whom I wish to yell has drastically changed. Fellow fans have done nothing but moan and complain about how we are going to crash and burn this season. Well enough!

I am in love with 11 men. 27 if you wish to include the whole squad and David Moyes. Let me tell you why:

I was born to a Liverpool-supporting father 26 years ago but by the time I was 11, and starting to appreciate watching footy, I spent most of my time around an Everton supporting Uncle-through-marriage. By the time I was 14 and moved into my Father's house in America, I was a True Blue. I have long been the underdog, in school, in sports, in life. I know how it feels to be written off and I know how it feels to want to prove people wrong. Everton's situation resonated with me and I stuck to my love of all things Blue, even requesting (and, it should be noted, receiving!) Everton gear as presents.

My first live Everton experience was given to me by my Father. Due to several reasons I stopped participating in many of my hobbies for a few years during college. I kept only a slight eye on what was going on with Everton, yet even then I considered them my team and wished the best for them. After the 2006 World Cup, I was completely hooked on footy again.

I found ways to see the Toffee matches over here in the states. I found fellow blues online to talk with about the goings on. I found once more how much pride I had in my "Underdog Team". The "Big 4" supporters were the ones I met for a while, and the mocking only secured my belief that I supported the right team. We had a small squad last year and look how we did!

I found a bar in NYC that fellow Blues go to, and from the Fiorentina home-game-heartbreak on, I became a regular there. I saw the players get the wind knocked out of them, and with a slight slip in form I watched as media and fans alike pounced:

"Here we go again, Everton falling!"

It was said with such glee, such passion, such obvious enjoyment. I got angry but kept my ideas mostly to myself. I continued to pour every bit of prayer and trust I could into following the team and I was happy enough with the ending, considering everything. When people would ask me why I bothered with Everton I would tell them this:

"Those players are as proud of being a Toffee as I am of being a fan. When our lads get on that field they bleed the same blue blood that we do."

Pretty much all the players wear their hearts on their sleeves. I wasn't a fan when we signed Yakubu, and while it will probably raise many people's ire, I admit I'm still not 100% sold on him. I want players that love our club and have pride as much as we do. I don't want cheating scum on my team no matter how "great" a player they are because in the long run their attitude is a cancer.

When so many of our team started signing extended 5-year contracts it warmed my heart! "Finally!" I thought "Here are men that believe!" I took such joy in watching them want to win, and also in seeing them react to the crowd. They seem to take as much joy in the fans as we do in them What's a woman to do when faced with men like that? Love them all that much more!

So this brings us to the past week, we lose in a horrible last minute way after coming from behind. Was it a dashing of hope? Certainly. I was as upset as the next fan that we couldn't hold on, but that's football... A game can go either way! I shrugged it off as "well it happens, we'll learn from it and move on."

Then I started to speak with more people, read articles through the week and frankly came up against an attitude that, to me, was a breach of faith in the lads on the field. So we lost some players and haven't managed to bring in new ones yet, so what? 11 men had to step onto the field to face West Brom and all the talk I heard and read was how we are doomed, the season will be a complete and utter failure, Everton is once more the crap club of the Premier League, we may as well give up now and so on. How much more discouraging can it get!

I started speaking up and telling people off in my own sort of way. Those men who put on that Royal Blue and step out onto the field go out there for US. They are NOT responsible for the lack of transfers. They are NOT the reason our squad is small -- how can they be when they are PART of the squad! They are the men who lifted us up so high last season, the men who gave us great hope for this season. They deserve our faith. They deserve our support. They deserve our optimism.

I knew going into today that we would win against West Brom. I can't tell you how, but I knew. Not a single other fan I've spoken with had any faith in that outcome. Now, I will grant you that I don't get to speak to a large number of fans, but if I'm 1 in 30 with optimism, that's just horrible.

Our boys in blue are NOT to blame for "The Great 2008 Transfer Window Fiasco." They more than anyone see the long and arduous season ahead of them. To know going in that they have no real options if people are injured must be torture. They came out slowly in the first half, lackadaisically if you will. My only thought was that something needed to change, that we as fans needed to lift their spirits, to show them that we are 100% behind them on the field.

When Vaughan came in, I started to see his same hunger for a goal, belief in his ability to help and his desire to prove himself as last year. It was the spark we needed: His attitude seemed to be infectious. It filtered back, through Yak and Arteta, all the way to the backline...

The players seemed to stand differently. Confidence started to emerge. (As a side note: the change in Arteta post surgery is incredible! The man was running his arse off the whole game, and stepped it up even more after Vaughany came on!) I was very happy to see the Everton supporters corner so full and audible on the feeds. Yakubu even ran there after his goal. That was a true blue thing to do.

So here's my challenge to you... Stop Complaining: For 90 plus minutes, when our lads are out there playing with their heart on their sleeves for us, be behind them 100%. Support them with everything you have inside you. Believe that they will give 100% for us. Trust them. Talk about how great they are, how much pride they have and all the good things they bring to the team. Focus on the positives. If luck favors us, we will have an amazing season which will inspire more pride.

If it doesn't, then we at least know the players are not the culprits. We have Vaughany back now, even as a sub that makes me more confident. Anichebe will be back from China any day. Timmy Cahill will be back mid-September and in my opinion will add a great spark to our attack. We have some young lads that for their first and second Premier League games showed such promise.

We have some strong leaders on our team including Neville, Lescott, Yobo, Osman, Arteta and The Yak. We have a manager that cares as much about the players and the fans as he does about his own well being, if not more. And after meeting several EFC employees in Chicago, I know we have many men behind the scenes who do everything they can to help the entire club.

I will be angry at the appropriate people, but I will NOT let pessimism infect me for this season. It's going to be long, hard work and that's ok. If it's worth winning, it's worth the extra effort. It's worth doing with pride.

So yes, I'm in love with 27 men, and I'm proud of it! Come On You Blues!

Reader Comments

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Ajay Gopal
1   Posted 24/08/2008 at 17:12:30

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Fantastic article, Alexa ! You have made my day.

I admit it - yesterday, I posted on this web-site that the Toffees would lose yesterday against WBA, and that would officially be the end of the DM era.

I am glad that I was wrong.

I know that I won’t make any difference to the fortunes of the team sitting here in India - thousands of miles away. But, there is only 1 team I will ever support.

COYB !!!
Michael Hunt
2   Posted 24/08/2008 at 17:16:12

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Spot on Alexa! A great example of the positive passion that the team needs, spurring the blues boys on to victory where it matters :-)

There certainly seems too much ’doom and gloom’ at times...as another eternal optimist, anytime you wanna share some positive thoughts on the team that shall forever be the pride of merseyside, feel free to drop me an email (mike1878@gmail.com)...COYB!
Mike Evans
3   Posted 24/08/2008 at 18:06:07

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Congratulations Alexa on such a heartfelt and inspiring post. I am glad also that the first two responses have also been positive. Fantastic to think that Ajay is willing us on in India. Beware though you may get a few cynical sneering comments too. Don’t let that bother you however vitriolic or patronising they may be. The doom & gloom merchants do not have a monopoly on football knowledge. I’ve supported this great club for over 30 years. It’s a tough job being an Everton supporter for many reasons. However Everton is in my heart and I refuse to kick her now when she needs all the support I can give.
David Chait
4   Posted 24/08/2008 at 19:12:24

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Great post mate.... and realistic... it doesn’t deny the issues, but asks us rightly to leave that behind once the players walk onto the pitch.....

Every player deserves our support to the fullest and showing our distress during that time would do nothing to help the players giving there all...

I love all 27 you call them and am proud to say it!
Amit Vithlani
5   Posted 24/08/2008 at 23:36:34

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Alexa

I think it is only a very small minority of fans who have had a go at the players (certainly on Matchdays). I was at the Blackburn game and the Anti-Neville and Osman brigade could be occassionally overheard. However, you may have seen a thread on TW yesterday where those fans were slaughtered, particularly for labelling Osman a Championship player.

Further, I don’t think it is a question of "loving" or "hating" 11, 27 or whatever number of players we have in our squad. We frankly have no choice but to back everyone of the players. With such a small squad, every player’s contribution this season is vital. It looks unlikely that a significant influx of players will arrive before January.

That said, there is a groundswell of anger towards the management. This will manifest itself of matchdays, particularly if the team lose. Should such a poisonous atmosphere persist at Goodison throughout the season, it makes me fearful that the players will struggle with the pressure at home.

On the whole, however, I am in agreement with your sentiment. We must back whoever is out on the pitch as, even if they do not play up to the standards demanded by the shirt, there is unlikely to be anyone on the bench who will be able to do better. And that is where the problem lies.
Christine Foster
6   Posted 25/08/2008 at 01:08:30

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Hi Alexa, Great article and lovely to see another post from the fairer sex! I admit to feeling quite the odd ball out at times. Your passionate about the blues as I am and you know, there is nothing wrong with passion at all, some people should remember that the word Fan comes from fanatic, so if your not passionate about the things you love them don’t get up in the morning!
We have a wonderful team and a great manager, yes the club has problems but once they cross the white line then its 120% full on support time.
Keep the thoughts coming Alexa, because like you we are proud to be a blue!
Martin Cutler
7   Posted 25/08/2008 at 02:04:56

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In a word: FANTASTIC ARTICLE ALEXA .... best I?ve read for awhile and I agree wholeheartedly!!!

Thanks!!
Julie Naybour
8   Posted 25/08/2008 at 05:57:14

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Hi Alexa and Christine,
Loved both your articles. It’s great to read something positive and supportive for a change.
I couldn’t agree more with what you said Christine about not dancing on Moysey’s grave. I do not believe this dreadful position we find ourselves in is not in fact his fault. He is just showing his usual strength of character and shouldering responsibility.
Sadly such integrity is not typical. I do believe we are suffering from greed and lack of any honour and indeed honesty so widespread throughout the not so beautiful side of this beautiful game.
He and the players need our support and backing as never before. That does not mean we are happy to accept mediocrity but understanding and loyalty is as much a part of support as wanting and demanding more. I cannot believe how some are prepared to forget or in fact not even recognise exactly how far Moysey has taken us with so little resources. I know I won’t change some peoples minds but I for one am indebted and grateful beyond words.
I am not suggesting we don’t keep asking questions, keep wanting for more, keep demanding the best, but booing at the players and calling for sackings is surely the way of other clubs. We at the Peoples club are better than that. As much as knowing what we haven’t got, (sadly all too obvious) we need to recognise what we do have and work towards keeping it.
If Moysey was to walk I’ll be in as much doom and gloom as the next person, So please, please lets be different from the norm, ride the storm, show our support, and I honestly believe we’ll be rewarded.
Lue Glover
9   Posted 25/08/2008 at 08:45:21

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Great post and says what many of us feel - don’t get at the lads, give them plenty of support. The last thing we want is for them to be afraid of playing at Goodison. Also, great to have more women posting on here. Where’s Patty?
Andy Spence
10   Posted 25/08/2008 at 11:52:42

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Alexa,
great post, warms the cockles of my heart to read it and also makes me a bit ashamed of the times when I have slagged my team off in pure frustration.Same as Mike said, drop me a line to talk all things Everton spenceandy@hotmail.com
COYB
Alexa Dunne
11   Posted 25/08/2008 at 12:34:18

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Thanks everyone. For my first submission I couldn?t have had better comments.

Just to clarify a point: I haven?t heard excessive bashing of players etc. I just haven?t heard anything good about them. Everything has been swallowed by the transfer disaster and issues with management. I just wanted to say "come on, focus on the game for a while and forget the tedious business side"

Glad to know there are others out there still keeping positive for the lads on the field. Until the next game, we can get back on managements? arses about bringing in a few good men. :)
Phil McKracken
12   Posted 25/08/2008 at 12:56:12

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A much needed post Alexa, I’m tired of the negativity too. I tried to leave it all alone for a while but the pull is too great, nice work.
Marlon Wilson
13   Posted 25/08/2008 at 16:03:20

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Great Article Alexa.....
it has been hard of late to fight the negativity but we all know Blues are born not manufactured and we will ALL support the boys come kick-off next saturday against Pompey.

Just seen we’ve signed a Danish right back??? thought we had 2 in Pip and Hibbo already...
+-+Oh well 1 down six to go


C O Y B
Brendan McLaughlin
14   Posted 25/08/2008 at 22:09:20

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Hi Alexa - Great post. You write football the way it should be played - beautifully!!!!
Tony Marsh
15   Posted 26/08/2008 at 14:26:55

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Absolute drivel mate. You havent got a clue. It's well and good telling us all how much you love the club and we should all shut up and stop moaning and get behind the team yes its really admirable on your behalf.

There are those of us however who can see the bigger picture which is a former giant of the English game being run like a corner shop and slowly dying on its feet. What would you have us do ? sit back say nothing and just pretend it will all go away? Is that really the way you treat something or someone you love?

Those of us who are voicing our concerns about the future of the club have every right to mate. I have been going to Everton games home and away for over thirty years now and I will have my say. If more of you woke up and relised what is happening at EFC we might make some progress but while shite like this post is being lapped up we are doomed.

Being positive is great but when it becomes blind loyalty we start to get problems. Pscyophantic drivel is the last thing we need at the minute. We need need some backbone and some balls and BK and Moyes need to get their arses in to gear or fuck off.

All this "I love Everton so much it hurts" bullshit makes me laugh. If ye loved em so much you wouldn't put up with all this nonesense we have at the moment would you???
Alexa Dunne
16   Posted 26/08/2008 at 17:09:27

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"Being positive is great but when it becomes blind loyalty we start to get problems."

I?m not asking for blind loyalty. I am not asking to ignore all the things going on with management, that aren?t really acceptable for a top flight club... any club really. All I?m asking is that you don?t take your anger and frustration at management out on the men who give their all on the field. Right now they are the only bright spot and I think they deserve our support.

Between games, question away, complain about management, get on their cases. Have your say. But shooting the messenger (in this case the boys on the pitch during a game) for the crimes of the sender (management) is unacceptable IMO.

I don?t think anyone here doesn?t want the best for the club. But at the end of the day, wherever our boys are playing, I want them to win. I want to cheer for them, support them, and be grateful that I have a passionate team to support. That doesn?t (for me) include management at the moment, which is sad. There?s some serious changes needed, I just don?t have the knowledge on what and how those changes should/could be.
John Kelly
17   Posted 26/08/2008 at 18:45:13

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Tony Marsh : Wind your neck in, give the girl credit where its due.
She’s a "glass half full" type of person and has showed she has utter love,as most of us do for Everton F.C.
Personlly I enjoyed reading her obviously enthusiastic optimistic piece which is far better than some of the whinging whining pessamistic crap that some post on here.
I’ve been a blue for all of my 52 years and believe that all blues are better than the shite and that means respecting each others views.

Marco Bonfiglio
18   Posted 26/08/2008 at 21:27:41

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Ah, Tony Marsh, long time no hear. Really missed the reasoned debate, especially your opening salvo.To be frank, I thought Alexa erred slightly on the side of optimism, but that’s no great flaw in these straitened times. It looks as is the lads erred on the side of optimism at the Hawthornes on Saturday, and managed to turn an Alamo situation into three points.

You’ve been watching them for thirty years, Tony. Believe me, the early seventies make today look like a golden age. (Actually, the late nineties make today look like a golden age.)

Until Warren Buffet or Bill Gates discover some inexplicable need to pump some money into a struggling piece of history, we’re going to need to cut our cloth accordingly, and our cloth, right now, is thin. That entails getting behind our eleven against their eleven, whatever the average age on the field or the bench.

If Jack Rodwell, or Jose Baxter, or any of Moyes’ other kids are logging on and reading some of the content on these threads, would you blame them for thinking about giving Paul Stretford a call?

I’m all for reasoned debate. I find football gossip entertaining. But when push comes to shove, none of us is proxy to what Moyes is up to right now. We all remember the August 31 coup of four years ago. I’m hoping for a repeat, but slightly concerned about the unsigned contract, in view of the fact that the soon-to-retire Sir Ferg is looking for a replacement for Carlos Quieroz.

The Fat Lady, folks, hasn’t even begun to sing yet. She’s only just warming up.
Bill Hawker
19   Posted 29/08/2008 at 03:11:29

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Outstanding post Alexa.

Cue Tony Marsh rant in 5...4...3...2...

...oh wait, what’s that? He already has?


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