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It's tougher when there is something to lose.

By Alexander Mather :  29/10/2009 :  Comments (10) :
I went to my first Everton match at Goodison in 1982 when I was six years old and for the rest of that decade went the game when my Dad wasn’t working or my Uncle could take me. I had the bug and loved going the game but it wasn’t until the start of the 1990-91 season that I truly started going the game, that was the first season I was allowed to go on my own or with my mates from school.

I very rarely missed a home game and when, I had the cash, got to a few away games, mostly with Phil, Tim or my cousin Dave who all had the same addictive Everton bug as me. The decline of Everton from Champions of England for the 9th time in 1987 had already well and truly set in by the beginning of the 1990-91 season, the 2-3 defeat by the newly promoted Leeds United on the opening day, coupled with Big Nev's goal-post sit-off and Neil McDonald hitting the corner flag from a penalty at the Park End should have really sent warning signs of the next decade to come, but being young and naïve and already addicted the above really didn’t register.

The next decade went by with a declining club producing dire teams producing dire football. The odd exception being Beardsley, Kanchelskis and my personal hero Duncan Ferguson. For a time, these players gave us pride back from what had been a very quick and sharp fall from grace, but through all this I went the game and very rarely complained and I think the reason for this was I had gotten used to dire football.

There was nothing to really hang on to, the run of Derbies undefeated under Joe Royle was a highlight and winning the Cup was amazing... but, apart from this, nothing was being built for the future: no squad, no young manger with a vision — all we had was Holmes and Watson in the same side and there was nothing elementary about that! (Sorry)

Fast forward to the Moyes era; even if you don’t like his management, the man has given us hope over the last 7 years that we could get back to winning ways and be a major force again. He basically has given us something to hang on to... it's been built slowly and with a few bumps along the way but before the season started we had a squad we hadn’t seen the like of for decades. We had the made the Cup Final and Evertonians had a spring in their step... well, I did anyway. But just 3 months on, it seems to be slipping away: injury crisis, negative tactics, getting thumped by Arsenal and Benfica.

Most of all, the architect of it also seems to be getting fed up. Moyes looks forlorn and depressed and maybe he has had enough and is ready to walk. I suppose my point is in the 90s the decline was just terminal and nothing was being done to arrest the problem but now we have something to hang onto, a foundation. But to see it maybe starting to unravel makes me feel sick.

Maybe it's because I am older and (wiser) that I think about things more (maybe too much) but, if all the work Moyes has done comes to nothing because this last few weeks could unravel it, then that would be more sickening than any last day relegation fight in the 90s.

As the title suggests, when you have something to hang on to, it makes it all the more harder when it's yanked from your grasp when you're about to see fruition. I just hope that we can get back to winning ways very soon, get the players back we need in time so the foundation that has been built doesn’t crumble and give us a decade like the 90s again. Up the Toffee’s

Reader Comments

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Alun Jones
1   Posted 29/10/2009 at 14:52:19

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Good post and I am inclined to agree with you. Success breeds heightend expectations and for a few seasons Everton have been knocking on the door... and now, when it seems like the door is going to be locked, people are naturally frustrated.

There is a theory that managers have a finite lifespan, in other words they get so far and then hit a wall, or get demotivated or lose the dressing room. I think it's possible that some people feel Moyes has reached this stage.

But personally i am not so sure... all it takes is one victory to change things, just look what Liverpool did against Man Utd to change the perspective. I have read a lot of vitriol on this site against Moyes and some of it I feel was totally unjustified from people with short memories.

Let's take stock at the end of the season, not in October... we still have every chance of competing at the top end of the table this year as it's clear the top 4 are not going to run away with it so much this season and I do believe it will be a much closer race for 4th/5th/6th with it going right to the wire, we can still be in the mix.

Jimmy Changa
2   Posted 29/10/2009 at 16:00:45

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7 year itch.
Mike Green
3   Posted 29/10/2009 at 20:41:29

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Great post, Alexander — and great replies, Alun and Jimmy — you said it in 3 words I reckon.

For me, it's like the "Big 4" have their heads above the water, sucking in clean air, swimming freely and pushing their feet down on the heads of those below them. We’ve popped up once and gulped down some Champions League air but been pushed straight back down without even getting our shoulders up.

Moyes and the boys have fought to beat it, have pretty much been the best of the rest for the past four out of five seasons, got fucked over by a Champions League draw v Villarreal, reached an FA Cup Final v a team that took the piss out of us like it was a training season. But we still got to a cup final and we got into the Champions League (just... sort of... but not for long).

Personally, I think that's why we’re all disillusioned — the thing is, I hope Moyes and the boys probably aren’t.

If they aren’t, that's what Champions are made of.

Back to the mescaline...
Mike Green
4   Posted 29/10/2009 at 21:08:21

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Back from the mescaline...

I don't know, I really don't.

Don't know.

Ian Tod
5   Posted 29/10/2009 at 21:25:40

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I agree it would be sickening if we allowed this progress to slip and went back to mid-table mediocrity or worse. I don’t think that will happen though.

A strong second half to the season will see us in the chasing pack for the top six come the end of the season and we will continue where we left off last season as one the likely lads to break into the top 4 at the start of 2010/11.

We were playing some fabulous joined up football last season and even certain games this season (AEK, Blackburn, Hull and Sigma) and, once we get our full set of players fit, we have got one of the strongest teams in the league... we are just in a ridiculously unlucky situation right now which has forced us to play hoofball as we are missing our three most creative players (Arteta, Bily, Pienaar) and we have been defending poorly as we have not had our best defenders out there (Baines, Jags, Yobo).

Once we get 3 or 4 players back we will go from strength to strength. Don’t get too overwhelmed by our last 3 games.

Dick Fearon
6   Posted 29/10/2009 at 21:41:43

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My freinds grew up supporting the dark side and enjoyed a lifetime of League and European championships. They have endless tales of exotic continental nights and a never ending supply of honours.

Why was I the odd one out? Why did fate decree that I was to be an Evertonian?

It was all the fault of an ancient curse, I tell you... My mam should have bought those blasted pegs.

Craig Wilson
7   Posted 29/10/2009 at 22:44:36

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Yes it seems all doom and gloom at the moment but try to be optimistic and without opening myself up to total ridicule and laughter, my wife has booked front row tickets for next May to see Michael Buble. I have had to inform her I wont be able to go as I will be in Hamburg!!!!
Dennis Stevens
8   Posted 29/10/2009 at 23:08:02

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Good post, Alexander — it’s not the despair that get’s you, it’s the hope!
That hope is a cruel bastard!
Mike Green
9   Posted 30/10/2009 at 10:23:37

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Craig - I love Michael Buble! If we get to Hamburg can I have first dibs on your ticket?
Craig Wilson
10   Posted 30/10/2009 at 12:59:53

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Mike Green - Yes of course the only catch being you will have to take my wife!!! Trust me you want to be in Hamburg.....

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