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What a funny old season

By Tom Owen :  14/03/2010 :  Comments (15) :

Throughout the season, I have wondered where the turning point in our fortunes would come. Last season, the famous Phil Neville tackle on Cristiano Ronaldo seemed to spark the team into life; we went on to Wembley and to finish strongly in the league. However, this season it’s been stop-start.

After the 6-1 drubbing at home by Arsenal, many thought we had got rolling after the horrible start to the season with wins over Athens, Blackburn, Hull, Pompey and BATE away. We were to be mistaken; we went to what as become Evertonians’ most dreaded city... Lisbon, where we were humiliated by Benfica. Then we crashed out of the Carling cup and we were slowly crashing out of the Europa League. The fear of relegation was looming and the way the team was playing, some of us started to lose hope.

November proved to be a pivotal month for Blues; however we only picked up 1 win and conceded 4 losses. We went into December and salvaged our Europa League campaign with a win away to AEK Athens. Thanks to Billy and a strong Everton performance, we won, and again we all thought, here we go lads, onwards and upwards. It started looking upwards with the heroic comeback against Spurs, being the only team to take away points from Stamford Bridge.

We scraped past Carlisle and then harshly came away from the Emirates with just a point after it seemed we fully deserved all three. We then went and played City off the park with a 2-0 convincing win. The feel good feeling was once again back at Goodison. We had Europe in our sights and confidence was back. But then again, we suffered another kick in the teeth, dropping out of the cup on our own turf to Birmingham. The confidence came crashing down; when you just thought things were looking upwards, we were straight back down. It’s been the story of our season.

However, we picked up with wins over Sunderland and Wigan. Liverpool was next, arguably in their worst state for a few years now. They were for the taking. For the first time in a while, a sense of confidence filled Evertonians going into the game. But hey, another humiliating defeat. It depresses me talking about that game now. The fact that we created so little against 10 men, it was awful to watch. Our fantastic support went into the Chelsea game expecting to be defeated by an in-form Chelsea. However, Everton surprised us, like they have done so often this season with a 2-1 win against the possible champions-elect.

We welcomed Sporting to Goodison, not sure what to expect from them but we played fantastic for most of the game but stepped off the gas nearer the end letting Sporting dictate play. It gave us a one-goal advantage for the second leg. From Sporting’s performance at Goodison, most Evertonians’ were not too worried about the away goal they picked up.

Our Mancunian friends were next at Goodison. What a thrilling encounter, the atmosphere was electric at Goodison, it gave you a real good feeling. It certainly washed the humiliating defeat at Anfield out of the system. That was behind us we all thought. Everton showed that we could give anyone a game when we wanted to. We all thought; why we didn’t play like that in the Derby? We all went into the Sporting away tie with confidence, eagerly anticipating a nice trip to Atletico Madrid. How we were very wrong.

You can blame tactics, luck or the players. Everton, the club we support and love sent us crashing down, again. All season, we had talked about picking up the season after a convincing few good results, but it really hasn’t happened for us. It’s been stop start from the beginning. You can blame absences through injury or players settling in but Everton shouldn’t be finishing mid-table. And again, after a lovely Everton performance against relegation candidates Hull, we give away a two goal lead to Birmingham and draw 2-2. A game we needed to win. But it shouldn’t have come down to this, needing to win against Birmingham to salvage our season.

I may be mistaken, we may yet finish in a Europa League place, we all know Everton now don’t we. We don’t know what to expect, what team turns up on the day. We have seen sterling performances against the big boys of City, Arsenal, United and Chelsea while witnessing some shocking performances against the likes of Liverpool, Wolves, Hull and Sporting. It’s been that kind of the season, many ups and downs. But despite humiliating defeats, we still go back. We pack out nearly every away end, even if it’s the other side of the country. We sometimes wonder why after paying good money to watch dreadful performances like we have witnessed this season and many other seasons. Let’s just hope we have strong finish to the season, and just maybe there will be a slight chance of beating Liverpool to 7th. Now that would make up for some of the awful performances. The spirit seems to be there and we continue to bounce back after defeats, most teams would have crumbled under pressure by now. COYB!

Reader Comments

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Steve Higham
1   Posted 15/03/2010 at 12:07:23

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Good account of season far Tom. As you say you just don’t know what Everton team will turn up at each game.This was summed up at B’ham first twenty minutes superb football.B’ham score goal totally against the run of play and we resort to hoofball. Coming away from the ground felt like it was two points dropped.
Mike Green
2   Posted 15/03/2010 at 12:13:05

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Good read Tom, nice one.

The most frustrating part of it all is the FA Cup and 4th place were there for the taking this year and we chucked our chances away.

I’ll be interested to see how we go on now that Donovans gone and just hope we can start next season with a bang and really make an impression.
Ken Buckley
3   Posted 15/03/2010 at 12:36:17

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Mystifying season formwise. The only common thing I can find is that we seem to bottle it whenever we are in a presure situation, Europa cup Sporting away, FA cup Birmingham home The derbies and Birmingham away when we needed the points to overtake them. Take the pressure off and we give display’s like Arsenal away City Chelsea and United home. Maybe an ’anti-jitter’ coach is called for.
Eugene Ruane
4   Posted 15/03/2010 at 11:39:10

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The most frustrating thing for me is the throwing away of EASY chances to climb the table.

Now I know every team’s supporters could say "If only..." but fuck me, my ’if only’ is not a lot to ask.

"If only we’d got all the points in HOME games against Wolves, Hull and Birmingham AND got a point away at" - see?

Hardly expecting a Champions League Final win is it?

I mean without setting the world alight, or having to have a ’large cash injection’, we’d now be seven points better off (nb: above ’them’).

7-10 points better off if we could have just shown a tiny bit of guile against a bunch of hard-working but clueless puddins’.

7-10 points better off if we hadn’t reverted to the welly each time we conceded a goal.

7-10 points better off without having to beat the 1970 Brazil side or the 1962 Real Madrid.

That’s how easy it would have been (and that doesn’t include failing to hang on against Arsenal away).

As I said - VERY frustrating.

Phil Bellis
5   Posted 15/03/2010 at 12:59:15

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Spot on that man
I’d have settled for 1 (just one) of the derbies and, therefore, 6 points closer to the spawn
Albert Dock
6   Posted 15/03/2010 at 13:33:14

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Probably the wrong thread I suppose, but given that this is a funny season, I can get some satisfaction from it if the RS don’t get into Europe.

Could someone please put me out of my misery and explain why the BBC Premiership table currently has fifth place bracketed by dotted lines?

Is this yet another hitherto hidden subterfuge to allow them lot in due to it not being a leap year or Easter being when it is?

Right now I’m a temporary Spurs, Villa and Citeh fan - anything to put a spanner in their arrogant works.

Ian McPherson
7   Posted 15/03/2010 at 13:42:15

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Agree with you Phil. We should have taken a least 4 points from the shite. I think they are the only team in the top 7 that will slide and give us a shout at Europe. The first half of the season was still not excusable for some of the performances of players in a Everton jersey though.
Ian McPherson
8   Posted 15/03/2010 at 13:42:15

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Agree with you Phil. We should have taken a least 4 points from the shite. I think they are the only team in the top 7 that will slide and give us a shout at Europe. The first half of the season was still not excusable for some of the performances of players in a Everton jersey though.
Colin Potter
9   Posted 15/03/2010 at 13:55:16

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I think they put 5th between dotted lines because that is a definate Europe league place.

Dave Smith
10   Posted 15/03/2010 at 15:13:06

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"If only we’d got all the points in HOME games against Wolves, Hull and Birmingham AND got a point away at" - see?"

I get your point, but didn’t we just beat Hull 5-1 at home?
Kunal Desai
11   Posted 15/03/2010 at 15:37:51

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Think you must mean Stoke at home instead of Hull.
Eugene Ruane
12   Posted 15/03/2010 at 17:53:41

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Erm...yes that’s it.
Spragg Johnson
13   Posted 15/03/2010 at 22:54:10

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Now we all know what it’s like to be bi-polar huh??
Timothy Sebastian
14   Posted 16/03/2010 at 00:52:46

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Real waste of time talking about ’what-ifs’. So what if we’d got results against Wolves & Birmingham at home, or against Hull away from home. What if, instead, we had lost to Chelsea and Man Utd, or drawn with Man City. It’s all moot isn’t it. Afterall, results all balance out over the course of the season. I’m sure there are Chelsea blog sites were their fans are doing the same thing, i.e. asking ’what-if’ they had beaten Everton home and away ! So let’s stop doing’s like masterbating, it feels good, but it really doesn’t mean anything !!
Neil Steele
15   Posted 17/03/2010 at 09:01:01

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I’m with Eugene. It has been a disastrous season full of wasted points and missed opportunities. I can’t find it in me to be at all philosophical or positive, it has just not been good enough. Early season we threw match after match after match away, and instead of David Moyes getting into the players and getting them focussed and motivated, all we heard were weary. Absolute disaster of a season as far as im concerned, culminating in the embarrassing shambles in Lisbon.

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