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Paul Wilson

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I thought this might interest you and other Evertonians. I emailed Paul Wilson of the Observer last Sunday, criticising him after an article he wrote in that day's paper. I unexpectedly got a response today. My original email and his response are below:

I don't know if it will be Paul Wilson who reads this email, but I'll assume that it is.

  After your latest condescending article about Everton today, I felt I had to respond. As for 'not equating the FA Cup with success' I notice you did equate it with success in your article on 8th February, 'United the Only Team for Fergie's Mission Impossible'  when you were asserting that Manchester United could win everything.  I also remember the week after the Semi Final, you stated that Everton only won 'because a top four side stepped aside to let them pass.' Is it because Everton were the club who ended all hope of 'the Quintuple' that you take this attitude?

  If you really are an Evertonian, you have a funny way of showing it. Even when Alan Ball died, you used the occasion of it coinciding with a defeat by Manchester United to make more derogatory comments about Everton's status as a club. You might say I've got a long memory, but I remember about ten years ago,  when we were about to play Newcastle away, you seemed to delight in the fact that it could be the game that consigned Everton to relegation.

  If it Isn't Paul Wilson reading this, could you forward it to him so he can possibly respond?


  John Hunt

Dear Mr Hunt,

I am replying because you asked me to. Otherwise I can't really see the point you are trying to make. I don't remember using Alan Ball's death to have a dig at Everton, I was under the impression I wrote quite a poignant piece and a lot of people complimented me on it, including several Evertonians.

As for the rest, surely it is true that Everton are in the FA Cup final because Manchester United did not take the semi seriously enough. I cannot be the only person to have noticed or remarked on that. It is also the case that you cannot win a treble, quadruple or any other multiple without winning the FA Cup, so why pretend otherwise.? And why do you think Arsenal did not play Arshavin in their semi? Could it be that Wenger did not want to go all out for a trophy that doesn't really count for much any more?

I am afraid the way top four teams think nowadays is that the FA Cup looks good next to the league title or European Cup, but does not equate to a successful season on its own. The only teams who believe it does are those that can no longer win anything else - Everton, Spurs, Pompey and all the way down from there. Sad but true.

Man City would have been in that group before their takeover. Now they have so much money behind them they will find themselves mocked if all they can manage is an FA Cup.


Paul Wilson

John Hunt, Liverpool     Posted 27/05/2009 at 14:21:15

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Robbie Kirkham
1   Posted 27/05/2009 at 20:35:12

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Typical nobhead journalist how can he say Man City would be mocked if all they won was the FA Cup they’ve won fuck all for years!!!
Paul O'Hanlon
2   Posted 27/05/2009 at 20:43:35

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He?s right though with regards to the importance the FA Cup holds these days. Whilst it?d be a dream to beat Chelsea on Saturday and deservedly win our first trophy under Moyes, I don?t believe all this "it?ll put us on the map" crap. What map did it put Pompey on?

I also remember people saying the same after our ?95 win. We were after Gazza and Collymore, we got neither. The fact is the FA Cup is a brilliant trophy to win in it?s own right, but it doesn?t guarantee anything for the future.

Nick Entwistle
3   Posted 27/05/2009 at 21:45:53

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Yep, I?m with the journo on this one... not that I?ve read his articles.
Andy Lloyd
4   Posted 27/05/2009 at 21:48:49

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I bet United wished they’d put out a full strength team in the semi now!
Kevin Gillen
5   Posted 27/05/2009 at 22:09:42

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Sad but true I?m afraid. It could be remedied by having the fourth Champions League place allocated overnight. Nevertheless I think we?ll qualify for the CL next season barring injuries.
John Hunt
6   Posted 27/05/2009 at 22:24:08

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Paul Wilson’s been saying things like this for years, though. I remember in his match report for the1995 FA Cup Final; the gist of it was that we only won because Eric Cantona was suspended.
Keith Glazzard
7   Posted 27/05/2009 at 22:10:18

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United started with Ferdinand, Vidic, Anderson and Park, who started tonight, plus Tevez (who played the second half) and brought on Berbatov and Scholes for extra time - so that’s 7 of the 10 outfield players who played in Rome tonight.

We didn’t overcome an under-strength team in the semi. They put out the one that they thought could win, as they did against Hull last Sunday, but we were better than them.

The journo is only right in that, for Thatcher’s children, money counts and nothing else - and that means the CL. But for the soul of football, the Cup has still got a life of its own.
Marco Bonfiglio
8   Posted 27/05/2009 at 22:30:27

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John, I was one of the Evertonians who e.mailed Paul Wilson complimenting him on his article after the death of Alan Ball. He replied in gracious, even grateful, terms, and we maintained a subsequent correspondence.

What I got out of that correspondence, was that - while a definite Blue - Paul Wilson is a sports journo, whose duty is scepticism, and a cold eye. He?s not an Everton journo, he?s a sports journo, and a good one.

Darth Ferg put out a good team in the semi - with his resources, how could he do anything else? - but he didn?t put out his best team, because the Prem and the Big Cup were still in his sights.

Let?s face facts: at the time of the semis, we were the only team in those ties for whom the FA Cup was the last chance of silverware. We wanted it more. I love the FA Cup, and am looking forward to Saturday, but while I was disappointed not to get it in 1985, it didn?t seem like so much heartbreak in view of what we?d cleaned up in the fortnight before...

Steve Mink
9   Posted 27/05/2009 at 23:16:40

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I tend not to like his articles, but agree with him here.
Sam Higgins
10   Posted 27/05/2009 at 23:22:46

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Yeah he?s a journo so his job is to be objective - not pro-Everton in each and every article!

On a different note entirely, wouldn't it be great to have a midfield that consisted on Iniesta and Xavi. That Xavi geezar has been marvellous for years.

I think the Sky 4 need a bit of a spanking to get their head out of the clouds. Barca did 50% of the job tonight, hopefully we can do the other 50% on Saturday. It's good for the game. Barca reminded me of what can be so majestic about the game.
John Hunt
11   Posted 27/05/2009 at 23:33:45

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As I recall, what I took exception to in his article after Alan Ball’s death, which was also his match report from the game against Manchester United in 2007, were his comments along the lines of ’Everton’s status has diminished since Alan Ball’s day’ and that Wayne Rooney was a comparable player to Alan Ball, but he simply had to leave for Manchester United to realise his dreams or ’fullfill his potential.’ It was the way he put it that really grated. A lot of his articles and reports on Everton have a similar tone to this.
John Hunt
12   Posted 27/05/2009 at 23:33:45

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As I recall, what I took exception to in his article after Alan Ball’s death, which was also his match report from the game against Manchester United in 2007, were his comments along the lines of ’Everton’s status has diminished since Alan Ball’s day’ and that Wayne Rooney was a comparable player to Alan Ball, but he simply had to leave for Manchester United to realise his dreams or ’fullfill his potential.’ It was the way he put it that really grated. A lot of his articles and reports on Everton have a similar tone to this.
James Green
13   Posted 28/05/2009 at 01:19:08

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To be fair John, if that's what he said in the Alan Ball article, it's pretty true. However, we are a better team without the Shrek-a-like!
Smon Kirwan
14   Posted 28/05/2009 at 01:47:07

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"Surely it is true that Everton are in the FA Cup final because Manchester United did not take the semi seriously enough" - Yes Paul, that's right, we didn't face The shite Twice, High flying Villa, Mac, Boro etc etc. Yes Paul, we didn't manage to get the same result, a draw after 90 mins against United strongest 11 this season. I don't think he intends to antogonise, I genuinely believe he?s just ignorant. Sigh.
Martin Cutler
15   Posted 28/05/2009 at 02:27:16

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The bottom line guys (and gals) is that WE WANT to win the FA CUP Final, it does mean the world to us, win or lose it will not solve whatever problems we may have as a club (not that there’s many problems mind...basically just a lack of money - that’s all!).
Winning the FINAL will not provide unlimited money albeit it won’t hurt to have our name out there for awhile and some extra cash as a result.

Personally, although I’ve never read any article by Mr Wilson, I would neither care one way or the other or be offended by "his" opinions....especially as his paid for his opinions. He’s entitled to say whatever he likes....and I don’t mind saying I shed a tear or two when EFC sold Alan Ball so his comment there was probably right. And whilst most of us detest Rooney one has to agree that in his eyes Rooney was probably making the right choice for himself...and to him that’s all that mattered. Whether we want to agree or not it was HIS choice to make (and the money from his sale helped the club).

Anyway, that’s besides the point........shame on any person or team who think less of the FA CUP simply because they think it’s a lesser is not. I think it’s prestige has lessened somewhat over time but only in the sense that football dominates TV, a billion games played, the money involved, the focus on the Champions League itself and so on ... in it’s own way the FA Cup competition is still one to be won...and as to any negative comment about Man Utd’s lineup for the semi-final - that’s utter bullshit. We can only play what Ferguson puts out....and who’s to say we would have lost had he played his full team (it didn’t do them much good tonight...they were bloody awful).

So, roll on Saturday and regardless of the money, and whatever happens afterwards or next season let’s hope for a FANTASTIC win and a BRILLIANT end to SUPERB season for the boys in blue!

Jamie Crowley
16   Posted 28/05/2009 at 05:07:38

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Blah, blah blah

Can we just win a fuckin trophy please?
Wally Melwani
17   Posted 28/05/2009 at 07:45:35

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I’ve read all the posts here and can say that although the FA Cup does not bring the financial rewards of the Champions League etc., Everton Football Club has to go out and win the trophy no matter what ...............
for us, the fans.

We, the Everton Supporters, have been starved for silverware for much too long.
Gavin Ramejkis
18   Posted 28/05/2009 at 08:11:14

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Well write to him now his beloved Man Ure have been systematically pumped in the CL final by and I quote ZRALEX "the better side" ask him for a "poignant article" now
JL Slap
19   Posted 28/05/2009 at 10:31:03

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Said it before but I’ll say it again. I like to read news and form my own opinions, these opinions I will then discuss with friends whos opinions I respect.
Newspapers in my lifetime report on about 10% actual news/facts and the rest is advertising, poilitical play & opinion of journalists I neither know or respect.
So I dont buy newspapers, as a suggestion you should do the same. They’re shite!
20   Posted 28/05/2009 at 10:56:15

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Can’t believe that so many of you are listening and actually agreeing with this "knob rot" of a journalist.

Now, my first point, is in reply to his comment "surely Everton won because United didn’t take the competition seriously" whooah, hang on there mystic fucking meg, how do you know that we wouldn’t have won with United fielding a full strength side? Granted it may have been a different game but were not Barnet or some arse end team, we are a Premier League team with Premier League players - and 5th best in the whole league? S how lazy a journalist and easy is it to jump on the assuming bad wagon?

Secondly, the reason the FA Cup has been devoyed of prestige is cause of so called media darlings building up the Champions League. It has actually come to a point where United would rather win that than the League? This is why our own domestic game suffers and so many half wit foreigners are taking the piss and ripping millions out the game.

To agree with this half whit journalist is signing up to the theory that domestic football is no longer good - and if that the case we might has well all go and support a Tranmere, Stockport etc were football still means something...
Matty Dawkins
21   Posted 28/05/2009 at 11:22:36

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I’m no expert in Man U’s team selection so I may not be spot on.
As far as I was aware there were only 4 first team regulars missing for the semi!!!
Van Der Sar

Were we at full strength????
were we fuck!
Matthew Mackey
22   Posted 28/05/2009 at 11:46:17

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I believe all Evertonians and our club should adopt the siege mentality here.
Fuck what everyone else thinks, the FA Cup means a lot to US and that?s all what counts.

The reason it didn?t spur Portsmouth on when they won it was because they couldn?t maintain their high standing in the league and so their win was categorized as a ?flash in the pan?

But winning the FA Cup on the back of a 6th place finish and two 5th places consecutively shows (to me anyway) that we are definitely banging our head on the ceiling of the Sky 4 and that with the right investor or even just a few more quality signings this summer we can mount a serious challenge to them next year.

As for the journalist in question and many sports journalists who mock our traditional ways and our ?Peoples Club? approach ? I wouldn?t piss on them if they was on fire.

(Try telling Chelsea that Saturdays game is meaningless!)
Paul Joy
23   Posted 28/05/2009 at 12:22:47

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Sam Higgins

A journalists job is to be objective ? are you having a laugh.

His job is to help sell newspapers mate and very few are objective about it. Many journalists deliberately put forward views that can be considered controversial ? end result more circulation/listeners/watchers.

This is something that all sections of the media do these days ? why get worked up about it.
Brian Thomas
24   Posted 28/05/2009 at 13:40:19

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I would suggest 88 clubs (and even the ’top 4’) still believe the FA Cup is important - when Neville leads us out on Saturday it will be fantastic - what we have been craving for years - sod the media lets win it and celebrate

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