The season is coming to an end. And it has been ever so... well, underwhelming. A million and one reasons will be given for this, more often than not these reasons are along the lines of Martinez being the root cause.
As valid as such arguements are, I would like to explore a different angle. That is, our famous Midget Gems: Osman, Pienaar and Cahill.
During the Moyes years, when, in spite of what revisionists like to say, we played some of the best football of my lifetime (29 years old). Heights such as the Man City victories, some admirable performances against Arsenal (who always won with some anti-Arsenal goal, mind), Fiorentina at home and quite a few more.
We played some delightful stuff, and had in these player three midfielders who offered creativity and goals. A bit light-weight at times, not quite top-4 quality, but in my opinion, players we desperately miss.
Let's start with Pienaar. Ever since he arrived, his movement and link-up play with Baines took us up a level. Good at set-pieces, determined, and someone who enjoys the game were other attributes that made him stand out. But the most important element was his excellent technique which enabled him to keep possession high up the pitch.
This gave the likes of Cahill time to position themselves, and Baines time to join him in what was a devastating left-side attack. This ability to hold and keep the ball also enabled us to organize the defense against any counter-attack. His absence has been devastating, but at 34 what could we expect.
Osman: much criticised throughout his career, many claim he 'is not a Premier League player'. If anyone still holds that opinion, well sorry, you are an idiot. Is he world-class? No... but neither are we.
Consider this, at 18 he was the next big thing. Then disaster struck: cruciate ligament damage (and 15 years ago it was much more serious than today). The years followed and the ship seemed to have sailed, like with so many before him. Then, after some decent loan moves, at 23, he comes into the team. This alone shows the man's determination and spirit, which every team needs.
Beyond this, over the last 10 years he has been a consistent performer. Often played (and wasted) out wide, when played in the middle he would show his prowess. Excellent technique, good, forward passing and the threat of a goal.
When he has played this season, the team has been better for it, but at 33 his time is coming to an end. I hope he remains on the substitutes bench for a good 2 years; I'm sure he has much to offer (especially as mentor to young players like Ledson).
Cahill: we did love Tim, a modern legend whose goals were key during this period. His workrate and determination made up for his lack of technical ability, and for me, he is exactly what we need now as a No 10.
We will never sign (and keep) an Erikson type (Cahill + technique), but Cahill just behind a striker like Lukaku would be remarkable. Cahill's movement could pull defenders and create space for Lukaku, while also shouldering the burden of goalscoring.
These three lads are sorely missed from this team, and we lost them at pretty much the same time. That is a hard gap to fill, especially with our resources.
Three cheers to the Midget Gems. And fingers crossed the next generation comes along ASAP.
Reader Comments (41)
Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer
1 Posted 19/05/2015 at 18:45:24
2 Posted 19/05/2015 at 19:48:25
Regardless the physique and toughness of opponents, Timmy get stuck in. He would never allow himself to be bullied off the ball.
3 Posted 19/05/2015 at 20:46:58
4 Posted 19/05/2015 at 20:44:47
5 Posted 19/05/2015 at 20:58:05
IÂd never think of Cahill has a short arse, that said, I guess like Gary Speed, he had the ability to out jump players who were easily over 6ft tall.
6 Posted 19/05/2015 at 21:15:37
7 Posted 19/05/2015 at 21:12:49
Seen as though his only real skill was popping up with a goal now and again, he kind of went missing for the entirety of 2011 when he failed to hit the net all year. He also did a pretty good impression of the invisible man during his last season at the club. He was utter pish, scored about twice and got sent off in the last game. That was the sum total of his Âlast hurrahÂ.
IÂve got nothing against Cahill...he was a good (sometimes very good) player for us...but itÂs unfair to lay that MIA charge against the other two, whilst conveniently overlooking the fact Cahill didnÂt constantly fire on all cylinders himself.
8 Posted 19/05/2015 at 21:50:48
9 Posted 19/05/2015 at 20:44:36
I think weÂve missed Pienaar massively this season, quite frankly the replacements have been dire. I think itÂs time he hung up his boots, apparently he considered it during his injury and given heÂs not played since his cameo I doubt his body can recover.
I donÂt think we should consider him for next season, he gets a right good kick-in every game, I remember the united away game, four or five of their lot hammered him and that was that. We were strolling in that game, Baines misses the penalty and when they go 2-1 we hammered them and De Gea saved them.
Pivotal game that one, Stones got injured and bit of belief was lost.
10 Posted 19/05/2015 at 21:32:23
Osman is another that always wants the ball and even when having a bad day, never shys away from having responsibility. The only problem with Ossie was that he lacked in stature and it was emphasised when he faced the likes of Obi Mikel, Gerrard et al. He just wasnÂt top drawer but that shouldnÂt detract from what he has given Everton over the years. Contrary to popular belief, he can shoot from distance (remember Larissa?) and he was like a leaping salmon at times when going for a header (Scoring the winner against City few years ago)
Cahill was, well Tim Cahill really. Loved having him in the side, he gave everything for the blue shirt and whilst others have correctly pointed out his limitations, he maximised what he did have.
What all 3 have in common is that they gave/are still giving everything for the club and for that alone I am grateful. True Pienaar shouldnÂt have gone to Spurs but he soon realised that the grass was not greener and returned.
Good post Fran, happy memories from all three players
11 Posted 19/05/2015 at 22:17:19
I would argue that, right now, we need exactly the opposite. A player whose primary attributes are great technical ability, vision and the ability to play a defence splitting pass. Cahill possessed none of those things. Workrate and determination are always admirable, but thatÂs not what weÂre lacking when weÂre struggling to make the breakthrough against stubborn defences. Stracqualarsi also had desire, determination and would defo have offered to carry Frodo Baggins up a big fuck off mountain, but those qualities (commendable as they are) donÂt translate into a top class link man/chance creator. All the top teams have tricky, technically gifted, almost sneaky players performing that role for a reason. They often make the difference in tight games, against defensively well drilled opposition, wheras a more blunt instrument can be rendered about as much use as a cock on a chocolate mouse if it comes up against some brick shithouse simply willing to stand toe to toe.
12 Posted 19/05/2015 at 22:33:18
14 Posted 19/05/2015 at 22:50:46
Ward probably thought it stood for My Wheels.
15 Posted 19/05/2015 at 22:52:51
Pienaar was also a good buy as well as ÂÂbuyingÂÂ many freekicks but has not done well on his return to the Blues.
Osman has good feet and a really good brain but for the most part lacks in the areas that the team needed to get most from him in the middle of the park. Speed and tackling is not part of his game and it was hard to figure out what position was best for him if any.
Personally I think his time, like PienaarÂs has come and gone, as neither have the consistency to be starters in future Everton teams... but, then again, RM has his own weird ideas.
16 Posted 19/05/2015 at 23:20:06
ItÂs a pity we are getting into nostalgia so soon after Moyes, but it has been the worst season in at least the last five years. I think we should add Arteta to the list above as he was another great player in a team that never managed to lift a trophy.
LetÂs hope Martinez turns things round and we are talking as fondly about McCarthy et al in ten years time, though hopefully with at least a cup final win to look back on.
17 Posted 20/05/2015 at 00:31:11
18 Posted 20/05/2015 at 00:46:41
19 Posted 20/05/2015 at 03:38:09
20 Posted 20/05/2015 at 07:57:39
We do need a "Mata" or an "Erikson", a man who can get on the ball, with good vision and the ability to open-up defences.
Ossie only really lacked a bit of beef to withstand the bigger units out there, and a bit more power in the shot. Although I have slated him at times for being knackered( he may well have been playing with an injury), the team functions much better with him in a central role, putting his clever little passes through, opening things up on the edge of the box, and scoring lovely goals like the one at West Ham.
He seems very popular with his colleagues too, keeping team spirit buoyant Â– much needed this season!
21 Posted 20/05/2015 at 08:57:20
22 Posted 20/05/2015 at 09:58:48
Naismith does a very similar job to Cahill behind the striker so I donÂt understand why everyone says we miss him so much. Naismith had a good run in the side earlier in the season, did okay, then incurred the wrath of the ToffeeWeb ÂfaithfulÂ (as everyone does) when he started to look like a dead horse being flogged.
Pienaar was written off early in the season, so IÂm glad to see people now recognising the movement, intelligence and craft that he brings to the side going forward. Osman has always been worth his place in the squad, but has sometimes struggles physically, and has been a player who should only really play 60-70 mins most times for a while now. Some of his criticism comes from his managers not realising this.
23 Posted 20/05/2015 at 10:20:09
24 Posted 20/05/2015 at 11:58:20
25 Posted 20/05/2015 at 20:15:44
I agree with the posts about our next most important signing. I hope itÂs going to be a midfield general, who can distribute killing passes, hit the ball well and if poss, run the midfield and take a game by the scruff of the neck. A Bobby Collins mark 2 would do nicely.
26 Posted 20/05/2015 at 21:34:20
28 Posted 20/05/2015 at 21:54:00
29 Posted 21/05/2015 at 15:24:46
Incidentally we had a top fullback for a short time in Kenny Sansom who was about 5-ft 4-in but he was still a very fine fullback.
30 Posted 21/05/2015 at 21:11:52
It always riles me that Duncan McKenzie was preferred to Ring in EvertonÂs Hall of Fame and I know it is all about opinions but there was no comparison. Tommy Ring was pure class, McKenzie turned it on now and again.
31 Posted 21/05/2015 at 21:35:48
Having played at a decent level myself I always loved players who could do things I could not. That is why I liked that early 60s side, it was filled with flair.
CatterickÂs best signing would have been Kay if only he hadnÂt been banned as he really injected steel into the midfield and could pick a pass too.
32 Posted 22/05/2015 at 10:59:10
Mate, go search "Tim Cahill" and "Everton" in YouTube. Suggestion: leave the goal at Stamford Bridge 'til last.
33 Posted 22/05/2015 at 11:59:46
34 Posted 22/05/2015 at 14:05:54
What would you like me to say? That he was extraordinary and one of the greatest players to ever don the royal blue of Everton? That would be pure, unadulterated, hyperbole bordering on total hippo-bollocks. He was good at what he did: ghosting late into the box to grab his fair share of goals and putting himself about a bit. I'm not knocking that contribution, but neither am I about to cum in my pants over it.
When I said this current team needs a more skilful, technical, playmaker performing in the number 10 role....rather than a simple Cahill clone....I meant we're currently crying out for someone who can open up defences with a bit of trickery, an incisive pass or through ball. Cahill, for all his endeavour and fight, didn't possess those attributes. I mean... come on...if I wanted to have a dig at the guy, I could've just said he wouldn't be a very good fit for a team that likes to retain possession because his passing was almost as shite as Superman's dad's in the Man Of Steel when he was swept away by a half-arsed hurricane and his adopted demi-god son just stood by and watched like a slack jawed meff with his dick stuck in a mousetrap.
I don't need to go search for Cahill's goals on YouTube. I watched them all live at the time and some of them were very important goals in fairly big games, so are consequently burned into my brain. I liked Tim Cahill as a player, but that doesn't mean I have to look back through a haze of nostalgia and hoist him up onto a pedestal his actual ability and performances don't merit.
36 Posted 22/05/2015 at 18:24:28
37 Posted 22/05/2015 at 18:27:23
Cahill was just a more polished, better version of Naismith but not a great link-up player, and I think Osman would've have done a better job in a creative sense.
This is a good article by Fran, but I can't believe he's left Arteta out of his list of 'Midget Gems'. Arteta was probably the most creative, gifted and influential midfielder of the Moyes era and is the kind of player we are crying out for at the moment.
38 Posted 22/05/2015 at 18:39:55
40 Posted 23/05/2015 at 00:14:57
Really we need to go out and spend 20 mill on two players to replace Osman and Pienaar, but Martinez won't. He'll go out and buy Tom Cleverley plus another useless winger on loan then spend the season moaning why his two 35 year old creative midfielders aren't fit enough to play 90 mins of every game.
41 Posted 23/05/2015 at 01:47:16
Barkley has to move back to reach his potential. Maybe we can get Areta back as it looks like Gooners are moving. Areta only laced with us the first year I became a fan.
Add Your Comments
In order to post a comment, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.
Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and Talking Points submissions across the site.