My condition was sparked by the glory of 1995. Winning the FA Cup wiped out the misery of the previous few years and promised, to a naïve 14 year old, a future of silver trophies in blue and white ribbons. I still haven?t forgiven the club for not putting the Charity Shield on the official team photograph that pre-season. But back then I imagined a trophy trail that would gradually get more significant as time went on and that would culminate in the inevitability of the European Cup. Don?t laugh. I was 14, and I bought every word that Peter Johnson uttered. I can still remember being glued the club?s This Is Everton videos, and watching Agent J, in between shots of Anders Limpar doing keepy-ups on Formby Beach, waxing lyrical about our club?s Champions League potential and his intention to spruce up the Main Stand with ?batteries of televisions to allow fans to enjoy replays and close ups?. I know...
Just last week, my dad handed me a pile of ?my stuff? he had found in the loft and asked me to sort through it. There in the back cover of a Year 9 Biology file was the master plan: 1995 FA Cup Winners and Charity Shield winners; 1996 European Cup Winners? Cup winners; 1997 League Cup winners; 1998 League Cup winners and UEFA Cup winners; I gave the boys a year off in 1999 before they embarked on a run of post millennium Premiership titles and finally captured the big one in 2005. I got a bit carried away imagining fluking a second half comeback and winning it on penalties, but you get my drift.
Back to reality, and the following year, around the same time Paris St Germain were actually winning the European Cup Winners? Cup by beating, of all teams, Rapid Vienna, Denis Irwin was actually winning the latest of his numerous winners medals. Not long after Cantona?s magnificent winner against a bunch of clowns wearing cream suits, I recall an interview with Irwin in which he talked about how he had silver replicas made of all the trophies he won; he had them displayed in his snooker room in a glass cabinet. I remember thinking what an enormous amount of satisfaction that must have given him and I aspired, not just to having a snooker room, but also to having similar miniatures made of all future trophies Everton would win. I may not have been blessed with an ounce of football talent but there was no reason why I couldn?t bask in Everton?s forthcoming glory. Fifteen years later, having decided not to trouble my local Timpsons for a replica of the 2002 Match Day Programme of the Year award, my snooker room remains uncluttered by miniature trophies. And, if I?m completely honest, there is no snooker room.
Similar bouts of medal envy have occurred since and I am not afraid to admit that I have been beguiled by the personal honours lists of managers like Mourinho and Ferguson, Ryan Giggs?s stockpile of silverware, and Clarence Seedorf?s record of Champions League trophies with three different clubs. So-called great players whose medal collections don?t amount to much can not be classed as 'great' in my eyes; I struggle with the fact that my favourite non-Everton centre forward of all time, Shearer, only has one medal to show for all those goals. Symmetry and uniformity are also important factors, to this end, Dave Watson?s record of one medal from each of the three domestic competitions is particularly satisfying to me. As it is to him no doubt.
Throughout my teens, Sensible World of Soccer and Championship Manager gave me the opportunity to make my Everton master plan a virtual reality. But back in the real world, Everton trophies have been virtually non existent. Save for the aforementioned 2002 accolade.
2009 is of course the closest we have come to picking up a pot. That run of finishing 6th in 2007, 5th in 2008, and 5th and getting to a Cup Final in 2009 awakened the inner 14-year-old in me and gave me a chance to replicate my Biology file etchings, on an admittedly less ambitious level, on the back of post-it notes during boring seminars at work. The fact that we haven?t continued that upward trajectory in the two seasons since is a source of, dare I say it, bitter frustration. Alas, my thirst for seeing the Blues parade trophies seems now as far away from being quenched as it ever has.
But then, is there anything unique about the state I find myself in? What kind of fans don?t support their team?s quest for cups? Isn?t the pursuit of winning trophies every football fan?s raison d?etre? Not necessarily so. There are some peculiar types who appear to have a perverse love of wallowing in their own club?s struggles; or others who claim to prefer early elimination from cup competitions in order to ?concentrate on the league?. I don?t understand fans who claim that they would prefer Europa League or even Champions League qualification over the winning of a cup; because their argument is always that European football would bring in more money. Yes, but more money for doing what exactly? Winning cups by any chance? Exactly. Providing you don?t get relegated, final league positions are forgotten come kick-off the following August. Seasons that end with silverware are etched on the memory forever.
Money in football is worthless if it doesn?t result in success. I believe we are in danger, as Evertonians, of losing sight of this. Kenwright has become so vilified in some quarters, and our lack of finance so bemoaned, that if ever the time does come that we get taken over, it is conceivable that many would celebrate as if we had won something. That would not be so. Granted, we may then have a better chance, but a day at Wembley seeing Everton win a trophy is a day at Wembley seeing Everton win a trophy, regardless of how much is in the club?s bank account.
Whether it be with a fabulous team via the back pockets of a billionaire or with a team of try-hards via a goal off the backside of a referee, the end result will be the same: silverware.
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1 Posted 08/04/2011 at 15:58:09
2 Posted 08/04/2011 at 16:41:35
3 Posted 08/04/2011 at 16:53:27
4 Posted 08/04/2011 at 17:08:12
5 Posted 08/04/2011 at 17:18:50
6 Posted 08/04/2011 at 17:53:37
7 Posted 08/04/2011 at 18:31:45
I do agree though, there isn't a feeling in the world that can beat winning. Trophies are what it's all about.
Rooney's stupid comments about us wanting the septic tanks to breaks the RS record brought this home to me. As if any of us REALLY want to see anyone other than EFC winning.
I still imagine how many trophies we need to become No 1 in England, then Europe etc.
Funnily enough, I still want us to do it the right way, I wouldn't be as happy winning things the Man City/Chelsea way, although I'd take it over the current situation.
I don't get the sense that in this current side we have players who love winning ? strive for it every day, think about nothing else, single-minded, determined, focused men who would do literally anything for a trophy.
This is a lot different than someone who hates losing which is all I think we have in our side.
8 Posted 08/04/2011 at 18:54:24
9 Posted 08/04/2011 at 19:45:25
10 Posted 08/04/2011 at 20:02:59
and it is where we are, a potential cup side.
I agree it would be great if we could win a few cups,
it's not done Spurs any harm for the last 40 years.....
11 Posted 08/04/2011 at 22:28:30
12 Posted 08/04/2011 at 22:38:40
13 Posted 08/04/2011 at 22:50:41
14 Posted 08/04/2011 at 23:19:43
15 Posted 09/04/2011 at 00:12:47
I too had the This Is Everton videos. I absolutely loved them, only got rid of them 2 years ago. Limpar on the beach talking about Imre Varadi!! Brilliant stuff. That team was MY Everton team. Big Dunc, Andrei, Anders, Graeme Stuart and all the rest.
I had such high hopes back then... not anymore! Maybe I am getting old?
16 Posted 09/04/2011 at 07:19:19
17 Posted 10/04/2011 at 14:49:32
18 Posted 10/04/2011 at 14:52:01
19 Posted 11/04/2011 at 10:13:14
I'm not saying we give up but I'll be infinitely more proud of Everton if we win something using the current 'build a team' model than if we do it the Citeh way.
For me, the best fans in the world are those of Athletic Bilbao. Their team is built exclusively with players from their own region ? Basques ? and their pride in their team is palpable. They will never win the trophies of the Galacticos or the Barcas but I have had the pleasure to stand amongst their support at the Bernebeu and when they sing that their team is the greatest, they actually do mean it and no amount of stats will convince them otherwise.
When the day comes that Football comes back to the people, we will be all the stronger for it... but, until that glorious day, I'm afraid money is king and we will do well to finish top half.
We should have won the FA Cup by now though!
20 Posted 13/04/2011 at 12:17:53
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