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Mugs away...

By Eugene Ruane :  30/07/2010 :  Comments (32) :
This morning I had breakfast with a mate in London (Pimlico). He's also from Liverpool, also a blue. We're both 51 and have been mates since we were 11. We played football for the same Sunday side (Acrehall FC, Business Houses, 77-80) and have both been following Everton since we were tots. Home, away, abroad, reserves, friendlies.

The reason I give you this background is that there was an old feller at the next table to ours and later on I thought that old feller's probably going to be telling his mates... "You'll never guess, viss morning I 'eard two scaaasers towkin, and veese two absolutely HITED footbaw".

If that is the case, I don't blame him. Because there was nothing joyous about what we were saying. We were incredibly negative but...neither of us could find anything to be positive about.

The World Cup? Shite.
Brazil? Shite.
Brazil again? Cheats.
Most Premier League players? Shite, over-rated, greedy, thick.
The Champions League? Dull, shite, cheats

And on and on we went...

There was a moment when I said "Is this because we're old and just getting more...um...'old'?" My mate just said "Maybe... but they ARE a bunch of cunts and the Champions League is as dull as fuck" ... On it went.

Sky, Ferguson, Benitez, Chelsea, money, Kirkby, Kenwright, contracts, refs, something my mate had seen where United fans got jumped in Stanley Park, Soccer AM, wags, tabloid shite, Sky stats ? we could find nothing in football that even was 'alright' or 'ok'.

Then my mate said "So who's our first game again?" "Blackburn" I said; "That should be three points" he says... "Yeah it'd be good to get off to a good..." Pavlov's blue dogs.

Force of habit, institutionalised the pair of us,

Sorry ? you want to know: Is there a (FUCKING!!) point to this??? Not really, but I wonder if there are any 60 or 70 year olds reading this? If so, I'm curious as to what happens to us in the next 10 to 20 years.

Does this bitching and moaning just get worse? (better?) Do we stop going to the match? Is it just us two?

When I was 11 we won the title; then nothing for 14 years. It was frustrating but I was always sure winning another was possible. Now I KNOW (the way things are set up) winning a title is impossible. Consequently, the idea of another season where 'really good' would more than likely mean us finishing 5th or 6th, doesn't have me (as I used to be at the start of a season) excited or expectant.

I just feel ? 'sigh' ? here we fucking go again.

Reader Comments

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Jimmy Hacking
1   Posted 31/07/2010 at 00:47:27

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Its not just us, Eugene. I must have the most geographically varied bunch of close mates humanly possible, supporting Citeh, Man U, the Red Shite, Celtic, Chelsea, Spurs, Villa, Newcastle, Wigan (?) Stockport County and Bolton, and every one of them is a proper moaney old git when it comes to football, and in particular their own team. Yes, even the Chelsea fan.
Gavin Ramejkis
2   Posted 31/07/2010 at 01:23:19

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Ten years behind you and it's just as bad from back here, I used to get excited as a boy but more so because it was a much more level playing field, you could see sides who all had their own decent players and not just a small group taking the piss every year.

I used to coach kids years ago and that was more exciting than the EPL today, they all played hard as they could and every last one of them loved it and came back week after week in all weathers just to get a game.
John Clarke
3   Posted 31/07/2010 at 03:26:44

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EPL very over rated. An advert here in Australia for Fox sports which shows the EPL has a photo of three Man U players, one of them Rooney, the caption,
' 150,000 pounds a week, worth every penny.'

After going various shades of Blue with anger I cancelled my Foxtel subscription. 150 grand a week. Twats.

Until some semblance of reality enters the game that sort of obscene nonsense will continue.
I and millions like me, pull our collective tripe out and might just earn that in 4-5 years.
We live in a democracy and I suppose we can vote with our feet or remote controls. But, yeah, it is difficult to break the habit of a lifetime. I don't have Fox now, but I've gone for Everton tv.
Incidentally, Blackburn are in Sydney, I have seen them play AEK Athens, lost 2-1, Glasgow Rangers, lost 2-1, they play Sydney fc tonight. My God, if that's the quality of an EPL team your in for a dreadful season. They were dire.
Three points straight off!!
John Clarke
4   Posted 31/07/2010 at 03:26:44

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EPL very over rated. An advert here in Australia for Fox sports which shows the EPL has a photo of three Man U players, one of them Rooney, the caption,
' 150,000 pounds a week, worth every penny.'

After going various shades of Blue with anger I cancelled my Foxtel subscription. 150 grand a week. Twats.

Until some semblance of reality enters the game that sort of obscene nonsense will continue.
I and millions like me, pull our collective tripe out and might just earn that in 4-5 years.
We live in a democracy and I suppose we can vote with our feet or remote controls. But, yeah, it is difficult to break the habit of a lifetime. I don't have Fox now, but I've gone for Everton tv.
Incidentally, Blackburn are in Sydney, I have seen them play AEK Athens, lost 2-1, Glasgow Rangers, lost 2-1, they play Sydney fc tonight. My God, if that's the quality of an EPL team your in for a dreadful season. They were dire.
Three points straight off!!
Mike McLean
5   Posted 31/07/2010 at 05:27:05

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My dad passed on at the of 93 about five years ago. Every morning at breakfast, there would be the sermon about football, its faults, failings and the grotesque unearned reputations of its exponents.
Then there would be ten minutes on Dixie, five minutes on Bally and then he'd drop off asleep again.
So, Eugene, you'll end up eating mashed food, dribbling, and telling the whipper snappers how good X was when you were a lad. Buy that bib now.
Derek Thomas
6   Posted 31/07/2010 at 05:31:40

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Eugene, I was going along with you , yeah, yeah, yeah, me too, fuckin right on that one etc etc.

Then you asked what happens in 10 20 yrs are there any 60-70 yr olds etc etc... shit thats me now, how the fuck did that happen, who stole my life when I wasn't looking, well what happens is---

You are looking in the mirror ( no not the paper ) maybe shaving or something, and all of a sudden the penny drops, shit! I'm lookin at me Dad, I've turned into my fuckin Dad.

It's not new, some ancient Greek bloke was on about it 3000 yrs ago, the world, Country, youth etc etc has gone to the dogs. But, as you say, then the addiction kicks in

So you get old one day at a time, but don't knock it coz the only eventual cure is worse.

As for the addiction, well the same applies, one day at a time.

Hi Eugene, my name's Derek, I've been an Everton addict for 52yrs
Guy Wilkinson
7   Posted 31/07/2010 at 09:32:31

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I realised that I was becoming my dad when I started listening to Radio 2.

Dead right about soccer AM which as far as I can tell is a program for people who are retarded and never go to the match.

Gavin Ramejkis
8   Posted 31/07/2010 at 10:28:14

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Hey Guy, I forgot about Radio 2, except for Sarah Kennedy who I can't stand
Brian Waring
9   Posted 31/07/2010 at 10:36:56

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Gavin, I'm a sad fuck, I once had a thing for Sarah Kennedy, thing is, I think I still do!
Michael Brien
10   Posted 31/07/2010 at 10:51:50

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Eugene - you say " When I was 11 we won the title; then nothing for 14 years. It was frustrating but I was always sure winning another was possible." Sorry I reckon we have a better chance of winning the title now than we had in some of those years between 1970 and 1985. Do you remember Bernie Wright and Rod Belfit ? Two of the worst players ever to play for Everton and in Bernie Wright's case possibly one of the worst ever players to play in the top division.
And for a time the goalkeeping spot was between Dai Davies and David Lwason !!!! Neither of them were really good enough.
5th or 6th at best doesn't sound great but I tell you what it beats the hell out of some of the medocrity I had to endure when I was at secondary school in the 1970's.
Peter Hall
11   Posted 31/07/2010 at 11:03:11

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I'm sixty and I've never been more excited about a new season than this one. As for 'PL shite' and all that I don' t get it - it's more exciting than it was in the 70s and 80s, though nothing beats 62-63 when I was a kid in the boys pen. I remember when Grobelaar would have got the most comleted passes stat because RS passed to him all the time if they got a lead. Even the rules have improved.

OK World Cup was disappointing, OK Cahmpions League dull. But Everton for years have given 100% and pretty well everyone admires us for it - and now we've got a good squad at last. I'm really looking forward to it

Even TW isn't full of the usual nutters saying we'll be lucky to escape relegation, amazing. Never seen that before.

Maybe time to change the beer your drinking?
Or you (or your pal) get some more cheerful company?
Stephen Kenny
12   Posted 31/07/2010 at 11:11:15

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The business of football is so far removed from the game it's difficult to give a shite about players, International sides etc.

When every man and his dog can see that a football(jabulani) is stopping great teams playing good football, yet they still refuse to swap it purely because of money, that's how we know the game is fucked. And because of this and so many other shitty issues it feels like our game has been hijacked.

Likewise the money players earn is constantly rammed down our throats, which is fine unless you have friends or family who are lifelong supporters who cant afford to go any more.

Then last but by no means least we compete? In a league that we have no realistic chance of winning and the one ingredient we need to have a chance isn't a good coach, Good young players coming through or good fiscal management off the field, it's spending close to a Billion to get up there!

Ps I'm only 26.
Dick Fearon
13   Posted 31/07/2010 at 11:04:17

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I guess there are two levels of football enjoyment and Gavin touched on one of them when he spoke of coaching a kids team.
I can only watch the Blues via TV and over the years I have been getting more and more despondent about the professional game.
If truth is known all that keeps me glued to the box is the challenge of beating the the likes of the RS and others of the same ilk and I don't give a stuff how we beat them.
The modern game is undoubtebly faster and more skillful but neath the beautiful stuff is an animal toughness and a whatever it takes attitude.
In that respect It has changed little since we kicked cobs of each other in Princes Park all those years ago.
I have spent half a lifetime trying to coach the finer aspects into kids of all ages. When they are near to entering the grown ups side of the game I included self defence as part of their schedule. I felt that was neccesary even at amateur level.
Which of the two levels is most enjoyable?
I give it to the kids who play for the sheer fun of the game. The other level is a harrowing nail biting agony.
Eugene Ruane
14   Posted 31/07/2010 at 12:11:50

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Peter, you are an optimist and I would never knock anyone for that - enjoy it.

Michael, yes I remember Bernie Wright and Rod Belfit and Dai Davis and Lawson (and Tiger McLaughlin!) which is why you'll notice my moans above were more to do with 'the game' now rather than the quality of Everton players then and now.

With regards winning the league, the difference between then and now is that EVERY team then had their Rod Belfits and Lawsons (ok not many had Bernie Wrights but..)

Now however there are three/four teams who can afford to have squads containing almost 2 international teams.

Three/four teams who can buy the world's best players and afford to pay them

Three/four teams basically in competition with each other.

The facts are impossible to dispute - teams with money win the league.

Can we beat these teams?

On a given day - sure, but not over a season.

It kills me to see it and to say it, but we're part of a race of also-rans.

We can SAY we compete for the Premier League, but we're only really competing for a place.

Unlike years ago, we simply can't compete on fair and equal terms and I repeat have NO chance of winning a title until there is some vast change in how the game is administered.

And that's not going to happens soon, given the people who run the game are about as much use as the left side of the clock on Countdown.
Phil Bellis
15   Posted 31/07/2010 at 12:31:15

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Not just you EJ, are the Tram and Marquis of Granby still going?
I know exactly how you and you mate feel
I grew up on Gwladys St with a gang of lads who are still mates, less hair, more belly
Home and away 60 - 76 until mortgages, responsibilities kicked in

I love Everton, always have, always will
I used to like football; my Dad used to say I'd watch 11 penguins v 11 donkeys!
When football on TV was limited, I loved watching European finals, the World Cup, live at 4 in the morning; it was different, the clash of styles and continents
Men like Bally, Ramon Wilson, Colin Bell et al who'd play for England for nothing
Like EJ, I was Business House before blossoming in my mid-20s; one of the bleakest days in my life was my last competitve match (Livingstone, 1999) when my knee finally exploded
Now, I hate football, I don't have a `soft spot' for another team, haven't got a 2nd favourite team, wouldn't watch England if they played in Sefton Park, cheered when Hutch and Sheedy scored against them and shouted "c'mon Landon", getting death looks from one-every-2-years England fans
"Just go out and play son - enjoy yourself and twat `em' was the best coaching I ever had
I saw the documentary on Clough t`other night - I always liked him; watching that was like listening to the echos of a bygone age; great manager, great belief in how to play the game; he'd have been on here moaning with the rest of us, without a doubt
Michael Brien
16   Posted 31/07/2010 at 13:10:17

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Eugene - I don't think anybody else had a Bernie Wright !!! Yes the dominance of mega rich clubs has been very bad for the game. But I don't think that dominance will last. Sooner or later financial reality will catch up with the likes of Man Utd,Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Man City. Look at the state of the transfer dealings this summer - it's only really Man City that are splashing the cash. Even the likes of Man United and Chelsea are having to offload some players if they are to make major signings.
A few seasons ago that would not have been the case. For instance I doubt if Chelsea to could afford to make another "Shevchenko" mistake. The debts that the likes of Man United and Liverpool are carrying will eventually have an impact upon their transfer budgets. Back in the 1970's Leeds United looked a cast iron certainty to rule the roost for many years to come.Yet by the end of the decade it was beginning to fall apart.
The dominance of the Sky 4 or 5 will not last, the cracks are beginning to show already.
David Hallwood
17   Posted 31/07/2010 at 13:21:56

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The fact that you're on TW means that you still follow football Eugene. I think that it's a combination of factors; as I get older, I'm not as excited about going on holiday or going out, or as passionate about politics and football. World weary is the phrase I believe. And then there is football itself, and like just about every other football fan, I fucking detest the greed that will one day kill the game, the fact that coming 4th is considered an achievement, because it's all about the money it brings in rather than silverware, to the point that most clubs would rather come 4th than win the FA cup-weird!
The fact that there's so much money in the prem, is warping club's thinking; a team like Wolves know that they haven't got a hope in hell of even qualifying for Europe, but they want to stay in the honeypot, so they tailor their football accordingly; dull boring spoiling against the so-called big sides and hope to nick something from the rest. However they know they need better players who are reluctant to go to a team that will be struggling, and this is where the agents come in, because they effectively hold the club to ransom by demanding over the top wages that they can?t afford but have got to pay if they?re to survive in the division. Too much money, too little good football played-there that?s my moan over with.

Eugene Ruane
18   Posted 31/07/2010 at 13:48:54

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Think you're probably spot on David.
Steve Edwards
19   Posted 31/07/2010 at 14:37:54

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Great article Eugene. Next time you and your mate are having a chat give me a shout, I'd fit in very well with you. I've found myself getting very cynical about everything as time goes by. I'm 59 next week and I've done that looking in the mirror thing and seeing my dad, it almost frightened the life out of me!

I absolutely hate what the Premire League (Sky) has done to the game. I would at one time watch any football on the telly. I went to every Everton home game and went to Anfield and watched Liverpool if I couldn't get to the Everton away game. I looked forward to all the England games, even the meaningless friendlies. Now if England were playing in my back garden I'd close the curtains. I don't watch any of that Champions League shite. The only time I'd watch Liverpool is if they stood a good chance of getting stuffed. Match of the day, only if Everton have won. I record it and go to the last game which is usually us. I pick and choose my home games basically because Sky have made it too expensive for ordinary people to afford. If they had not come along we would be only paying about £15 to go the match, the same as they pay to watch top class football in Germany. I'll always love Everton, its in my heart and in my soul as they say but I do believe the game has been destoyed by greed. I also think that people are taken in very easily by hype. I think when you get older its not so easy to be taken in. You've seen it all before, you can see through all the bullshit. I want to get on that grumpy old men series on the telly, I recon I'd be a big hit!
Michael Evans
20   Posted 31/07/2010 at 15:28:54

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Eugene - Thank you for putting into words what I have been thinking for some time.

It's like a gut wrenching ennui, isn't it ? I'm soon to be 48 now and the Catterick era came too soon for me. With youthful enthusiasm, I approached every new season with optimism but to no avail. My Father had seen all the "If you know your history" greats and judged the 70's /early 80's players as falling badly short by comparison. Football "Isn't the same" and his ennui was expressed on many occasions.The "glory days" in his opinion had gone never to return.Thankfully, our "Howie"" and his team disproved that.

Sadly my Father is no longer here and I have faithfully carried on the legacy of supporting the blues. The optimism ? No longer there really. Where my Father would talk about Vernon,Young,Wilson etc, I will talk about Steven,Sheedy,Reid etc. I'll now tell anyone who'll listen that football "isn't the same" and feel sorry for younger Everton fans.My ennui is not resisted but rather expressed without inhibition.

Perhaps your article could have been entitled "Those were the days". However, somebody told me recently of a speech that Churchill gave post-war in which he was expected to speak for several minutes. Instead he got up and essentially said in a few words "Never give up " thanked his audience and sat down.

So every season I approach with the feeling that supporting Everton is on a par with sticking red hot pokers up my arse. However, as with my Father, I shall somewhere within me retain a small amount of hope and shall enjoy the glory days if ever they are to return.

Phil Roberts
21   Posted 31/07/2010 at 16:06:34

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Right place to comment?

Listening to all the bits yesterday about Marlon King and would you want him in your team etc etc.

Lots of if he was a joiner would you stop him working again but for me the whole thing is the Rooney bit from Australia. I think it would be great if Marlon King came back into football as a refomed person, but what upsets us most of all is that he will earn the best part of a million a year. More in a year than most of us in a lifetime. And that is what is turning us off this game, the obscene amounts of money they earn when most are only average.

P.S. Mikkey worth £3m a year?
Peter Laing
22   Posted 31/07/2010 at 16:51:03

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You bunch of old farts, you need to have a communal love-in in the lower bullens, back tier, couple of bovrils, moan about the shite on offer and how it was great back in the day of hobnailed boots !
Jeff Armstrong
23   Posted 31/07/2010 at 17:44:49

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Lower Bullens? you mean the Paddock son, thumbs under lapels ,pies thrown at the
st johns ambulace mummys boy,
Ah... those where the days.
Eugene Ruane
24   Posted 31/07/2010 at 18:16:49

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Peter, I remember us beating Coventry 6-0 at home.

With a couple of minutes to go someone (memory gone) missed an easy chance.

The HUUUUGE moan that went up from the Bullens at this miss, actually got a laugh from the rest of the ground.

I was about 17 and remember thinking "Now THEY are hard to please!"

David Price
25   Posted 31/07/2010 at 21:12:07

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Eugene, i think you end up as a season ticket holder in the Upper Bullens and being called Dr Doom by some innocent 10 year old who thinks his team is perfect when you complain. Or else that's what i did in the 70's to some moaning old fart. However looking back he had a point, with a defence of Darracott, Bernard, Lyons and Kenyon with Dia the drop hovering behind.
Thank God for Moyes !!
Eugene Ruane
26   Posted 31/07/2010 at 22:52:46

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I like the idea of 'Dr Doom'.

Maybe i'll get a Dr Doom costume made and be like one of those 'character' fans so beloved by Sky.

(or as they're sometimes known, Geordies)
Gerry Morrison
27   Posted 01/08/2010 at 04:47:55

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I think we can safely say that nostalgia isn't what it used to be.

I am the same age as you Eugene, and recogised the conversation you had with your mate, (maybe footballers were always a shower of twats, we just never heard so much about them.) but I must admit that I still get excited at the start of every season. Hope springs eternal they say. What else would we believe in if we weren't Evertonians? We have no choice; it is out of our control.
Eugene Ruane
28   Posted 01/08/2010 at 07:54:59

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Gerry on a positive note, the breakfast was great.

I think the place was called the Vauxhall cafe and was in Tachbrook St which is just round the corner from Pilmoco tube.

The sausages were great (not the usual sawdust filled shite) and he did the best fried bread I've had in a long time.

Big mugs of coffee too! (nb: not mochafrappacappalatteccino)
Charles King
29   Posted 01/08/2010 at 15:42:30

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What a great article.
Whilst I remenber as a kid in the 70s hearing old boys moaning about the game it tended to be about players hugging and kissing after goal scoring rather than their ability.

But I miss the competitiveness of the league and unpredictability of the FA cup, the fact that every team had a really good player or 2 and they'd stay at their clubs for more than 5 mins.
The atmospheres were raucous reflecting the excitement and as for entertainment it was lightyears ahead of the fare on offer these days.

For what its worth the dreadful world cup we've just endured indicates its a global problem.

In my opinion the game needs either bigger pitches or fewer players there's just no space for attacking skilful football to flourish given the athleticism of todays player.
Eugene Ruane
30   Posted 01/08/2010 at 16:49:23

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Charles, I know EXACTLY what you mean about the athleticism.

In the World Cup, during one of the games involving Germany, there was a period of about 5 minutes (non-stop!) when all that happened was the defender passed the ball to a player in the middle, somewhere along the halfway line.

However as he had an opposition player 'stuck right up him' (as in "get fuckin' stuck rarruppim") the only ball that could be played was back to someone in the back four.....who would then pick out another midfield player, with someone right up him.

Nobody had a chance to turn and when they did - foul.

I have absolutely no solution for this, but it's fucking horrible to watch.

Plus (in theory) I suppose it's possible that players could become EVEN more athletic, meaning watching even longer periods of dull getting-nowhere 'possession'

Lucky for me I'll be dead fairly soon.
Jay Harris
31   Posted 01/08/2010 at 17:41:34

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Eugene,
I was a longstanding ticket holder in the Park end until last year when business interests abroad and a disenchantment with Kenwright and DK took over and I gave my season ticket to a mate and now only go to selective matches when I am back in the "Pool.

I am now 59 but believe I still have the same emotions that I've been living on since the 80's recovery period eternally optimistic that we are still only a "cycle" away from returning to greatness but amongst my matchgoing mates there is John "the referees mate" who is highly cynical about everything apart from the referee always being right, Mark who, like me, loves Everton the the core and is hopeful of a return to Glory and Nigel who is totally cynical that football is no longer football and has been heading South since he was a kid in the 60's.

So I think we all have different feelings about the game no matter what age we are but I do think our memories are selective in only living the good moments from the past.

I guess it hasnt been the same since they stopped providing cushions for the old stand seats which you could then throw on at the end of a shite game or a "Kenwright" protest.

I remember Alan Ball saying how the game had changed since he stopped playing that "My God, the supporters used to applaud the players, now its the players applauding the supporters".

Well I've got news for Bally (RIP) the players actually hold the supporters in contempt today.

Unfortunately it is not only gootball that has been ruined by money and greed.

I guess that is me growing old and cynical after all.
Gareth Humphreys
32   Posted 02/08/2010 at 08:35:01

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Eugene, I am 15 years behind you but feel the same way. So much so that this year is the first year since I was 13 that I will not have a season ticket and it is solely because the game is shite.

Dan Gosling summed it up for me perfectly. Sod the 2 clubs who have given me a chance - I'm off to earn a bit more elsewhere because my agent has sorted it. The following also piss me off:
(1) The most negative world cup I have ever seen.
(2) Spain being praised to the hilt yet never getting near the opposition goal - just keeping the ball. Give me the failed brazil of 82 any day of the week.
(3) "Big" clubs not being arse about the league cup - when I was a kid I used to be devastated when we went out.
(4) "Seedings" in the Champions league to keep the tv and sponsors happy. (5) Cup semi Finals at Wembley becuase the FA need to pay for it. (6) Penalty shoot outs in the FA Cup - nooooo, give me 5 replays. (7) Monday night football. (8) Saturday night football. (9) Ronaldo being worth more as a footballer than EFC are as a club (10) Fireworks at Cup finals. (11) Sky Sports News - what a crock of shit. Papers struggle to fill 5 pages during the week about Sports News yet these fuckwits go on 24 hours a day about only the sports they cover. (12) Referees having agents. (13) Pundits = 3rd nostril. (14) Suarez getting slated for handballing on the line - its a penatly and a sending off and the lad missed, get over it. (15) Fair Play handshake - Jesus. (16) Football now being a game of monopoly for a few billionaires. (17) Jim Beglin. (18) Arsenal fans wanting rid of Arsene Wenger. (19) Cup Final ticket allocations. (20) Jo.

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