Seriously: What just happened?

Jay Wood 08/12/2019 80comments  |  Jump to last
On Wednesday, at half-time in Michael’s live match commentary thread, when we were trailing Liverpool 4-2, I posted the question:

“Can somebody - anybody! - please explain what the hell are we watching here?”

It was shocking in the extreme how, with not even a full-strength team, Klopp and Liverpool brutally, but brutally, exposed Marco Silva and his tactics that night. The long goodbye was drawn out the next day, but – finally! – the right decision to remove the Portuguese was made.

Who would have thought, just 4 days after that debacle, that the self-same sentence I plaintively asked at half-time on Wednesday could be repeated at the end of Saturday’s game with Chelsea, but with a near polar-opposite meaning?
Seriously: What just happened?

To quickly recap chronologically.

Everton have been dreadful this season. The football ineffective and insipid. Totally lacking in passion or energy. Impotent in attack. Santa Claus generous in defence. The team lacked nark and leadership. Nine defeats in 15 games. Three consecutive defeats before the game with Chelsea. A total humiliation at the hands of the old enemy.

Only at 7pm Thursday evening was it finally announced that Silva had been dismissed and Ferguson, assisted by Jeffers, Ebbrell and Kelly, would be caretaker manager. Lots of incredulity about that.

On Friday, what with PR duties, Ferguson had only half a day’s training with the players.

On Saturday, his team selection drew plenty of groans and criticism.

Four minutes and 15 seconds into the game, and Goodison explodes. And what a good goal it was. It was arguably the most fluent, the most incisive football played by either team across the 96 minutes.

Chelsea take a throw-in up to the half-way line. Holgate challenges Abraham. Sigurdsson picks up the loose ball with Kante in close attention, playing a crisp 20-yard pass into Calvert-Lewin’s feet. A one-touch lay-off to Richarlison in close proximity. The Brazilian takes a touch then lays a perfectly weighted and directed ball into the path of the overlapping Sidibe. The Frenchman delivers a deadly cross which Richarlison follows in and both he and Calvert-Lewin challenge the isolated Chelsea centre back. LIFT OFF!

All of that was made possible by the way Duncan Ferguson set up the team. As the half unfolded, it was very evident that somehow, in the short time he had to prepare the team, Duncan had totally transformed and simplified Everton’s game plan:

  • Totally abandoned playing out from the back;
  • No centre-backs split either side of the 6-yard box within the penalty area, waiting to receive a short goal-kick from Pickford;
  • No Schneiderlin or the like coming short to the centre of the penalty area to receive the same;
  • Pickford kicking it long, from goal-kicks or from hand. No short roll-outs or throw-outs;
  • No isolated striker with no-one within 30 metres of him. Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison played within 5-10 metres of each other;
  • Little possession. Little joined-up passing;
  • Everton pressing and fighting like tigers all over the park.

And so the drama continued into the 2nd half. Another early goal to make it 2-0. A quick-fire response by Chelsea. A well-timed 3rd goal to lower the stress levels.

Now some describe the 3rd goal as ‘scrappy’. I heartily disagree. Yes, Chelsea contributed to their own downfall with first a poor pass out by the keeper, quickly seized upon by Walcott. But very good football from the Blues followed from that.

Walcott ran at Zouma, drawing him to the ball, then played a cutting ball between two Chelsea players to Calvert-Lewin running left to right. One-touch control then good awareness to play the back heel to Tom Davies behind him, adding further confusion to the already out-of-position Chelsea defence.

Excellent feet and close control by Tom under heavy pressure from Chelsea defenders. Excellent follow-up and alertness by Calvert-Lewin, finishing sharply with the best option available to him in the situation.

It was NOT a scrappy goal. It was a superb one with no little ability at every phase of the play.

And that was just infield! On the touchline, there were so many cameos to enjoy. Two ballboys joining in the pile-on when Calvert-Lewin made it 2-0, whilst simultaneously Duncan goes nuts, picking up and swinging another ballboy around! More of the same with the 3rd goal when another ballboy leaps into Ferguson’s arms in celebration. Then shortly after, the goalscorer and creator, Dom and Tom joining Duncan for hugs and kisses!

Now those ballboys looked an age that it is highly unlikely they ever saw Duncan Ferguson play, or even know much about him. But the positive vibes the Big Man transmitted to his players and the crowd evidently touched them also. It wouldn’t have happened on Moyes’s or Allardyce’s watch!

There are probably protocols and instructions they are given. Not to engage with or talk to players, etc, etc. But those ballboys joining in with the goal celebrations, with player and manager alike was so… SCOUSE, for me.

Scouses have never been a tribe to quietly conform to social norms or passive acceptance of rules and regulations. And the reaction of those ball boys represented a continuation of that tradition, in my opinion. It was glorious.

I also laughed aloud watching Dunc in his broad Glaswegian, yelling above the raucous crowd, giving instructions to the Brazilian sub Bernard with his 3-words of English. I'd love to know what was said and comprehended by both parties!

Taken all together, I am hard-pushed to think of any other quick-fix managerial appointment making such a dramatic impact in such a short time. In a half-day training session, Duncan Ferguson:

  • Totally – and effectively – transformed the team formation and strategy;
  • Transformed mewing kittens into snarling tigers;
  • Had the stadium roaring and shaking to its very foundations;
  • Reignited belief and the relationship between the team and its supporters;
  • Restored pride in Blues everywhere.

And it’s not just Blues that took note of what happened yesterday. Many a media outlet is reporting that a Sleeping Giant stirred yesterday.

Not since Farhad Moshiri’s first game at Goodison Park after his takeover – against the same opposition, the 2-0 FA Cup Quarterfinal win over Chelsea – have I seen him so evidently joyous as he looked at the final whistle yesterday.

We are not out of the mire yet. There is evidently a lot to do. Injuries continue to pile up. It is far too premature to believe the Big Man should be given the gig full-time, or even to the end of this season.

But possibly, what Duncan Ferguson did yesterday was give Everton the most precious of commodities.


That performance, that result, suddenly makes it less pressing to find a new manager NOW! IMMEDIATELY! We can now be more studied, less anxious or pressing, about finding a new manager.

Some want a safe pair of hands to come in. Others want to be bolder. I share the Paul Tran line of thought:

We need a fire-starter, not a fire-fighter. Yesterday, Duncan Ferguson showed what a fire-starter can bring to the table.

Duncan, in one game, has proven himself to be a lot more astute football coach then many imagined him to be. Football is a stupidly simple game when stripped down to its basics. Ferguson did just that yesterday.

Every aspect of that performance yesterday makes totally redundant the calls for a Moyes return, or someone of his ilk. Duncan has already shown that tactically he can organize a team as some believe Moyes can still do. In one single game, he has given us more joy and passion on the touchline than Moyes gave us in 11 years.

I would hope that the ‘suits’ watching on were given pause for thought and realised there is no need to stampede into another iffy managerial appointment.

And amongst those suits, I wonder what Marcel Brands thinks of all this and if it will influence his thinking about a replacement for Silva. I fancy, like many of us, it was a totally unexpected bolt from the Blue.

Thank you (again!) Duncan Ferguson for giving me my Everton back, even if it is just for one day.

You, the team, the stadium fans... you were all majestic.

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Reader Comments (80)

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Jon Withey
1 Posted 08/12/2019 at 15:38:48
Nice article, thanks. I wish I had been at the match.

To be fair to Moyes, it's like some don't remember how bad we were at the end of the Walter Smith era. Not that I want him back, that ship has sailed.

Joe McMahon
2 Posted 08/12/2019 at 15:42:44
Jon, he was here for 11 years (please just think about that). The last few seasons of the wonderful 11 he was being paid £4 million a year.

£4 million a year... but never won at Anfield.

Terry McLavey
3 Posted 08/12/2019 at 15:46:23
Good article Jay, it's amazing how the departure of one person can make such a transformation!

The first time I've seen Moshiri smile at a match, maybe he'll be more prudent with his next choice? Picking someone who's been sacked from two posts for failing is hardly a recommendation for a successful future…

Ditto your statement "Thank you, Duncan Ferguson, for giving me my Everton back, even if it is just for one day."

Hopefully it will be for more than one day!

Mike Gaynes
4 Posted 08/12/2019 at 16:05:23
Good article, nicely reflects how I feel about the day as well.

I've never been a Ferguson admirer, quite the opposite, but like every Evertonian I feel like he gave me a gift yesterday, something I can cherish if the winter produces more dark days ahead. The memorable images mentioned here -- the emotions, the ballboy hugs, that incredible Goodison roar -- will linger and be savored for a long time to come.

I don't yet quite share the optimism that he has given us more time to find the right manager, because I remember a similarly inspirational effort by the team in Rhino's first game as caretaker in 2017, and that one splendid victory was followed immediately by disaster. But if Dunc's charges can produce another committed performance at OT, I will fully embrace that value proposition -- we do need to get the next manager right.

However, I must say that the third goal was scrappy. It was certainly preceded by a touch of class -- the DCL backheel -- and the effort by Tom and Dom was relentless, but there was never even a shot. The defender tried to play the ball out an instant before Dom's foot arrived, and he provided the impetus for what was actually a blocked clearance that shot back between the keeper's feet. It was magnificent because of the sheer work involved and the meaningfulness of the goal, but it was definitely scrap.

And in response to Jon and Joe's posts, my take is that the Moyes debate, brisk as it has been, has also been utterly irrelevant. I have never believed for a moment that he was, or is, under consideration for the job. It's a media invention IMO.

Jay Tee
5 Posted 08/12/2019 at 16:19:38
1st time in years I have heard us make so much noise for so long, it was brilliant.
Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
6 Posted 08/12/2019 at 16:20:09
That article does make it sound like Deja Vu

Idolised former Everton Centre Forward takes over when we are in the relegation zone and brings passion and belief. He is Everton through and through. The team comes out fighting, tackling anything that moved (which included a paper bag being blown across the pitch) and beats one of the Sky darlings at home by 2 goals and we all knew from that moment on the corner had been turned and it was going to be different.

Add 7th December 2019 to 21st November 1994.

Could history really repeat itself and we beat City at Wembley in May?

Tony Hill
7 Posted 08/12/2019 at 16:20:43
He enabled us to rediscover our soul. I don't believe that it will be easily lost now, whether Duncan stays as manager or not. So the fire has already been started.

Let's loosen up a touch and get out of our own way. I think things are going to fall into place.

Mike Gaynes
8 Posted 08/12/2019 at 16:24:38
Interesting point, Phil! I like your perspective!
Ajay Gopal
9 Posted 08/12/2019 at 16:27:23
Great article, Jay! I must, however, say that I could follow Marco Silva's English better than Big Dunc's heavy Scottish accent. Bring back Marco, I say!
Rob Halligan
10 Posted 08/12/2019 at 16:32:05
Great article, Jay. One thing that Duncan has changed, as you point out, is the ridiculous short goal kicks inside the penalty area. We simply don't have the players to be able to play out from the penalty area the same way that man city do, although at the moment they appear to be struggling with their defence.

As regards the result yesterday, it been made all the more important with three results going our way today. Villa, Norwich and Southampton all losing. If we can show the same passion and commitment next Sunday then I see no reason why we can't come away from old Trafford with some kind of a result.

Ciarán McGlone
11 Posted 08/12/2019 at 16:34:46
As scrappy as scrappy gets. The lead play was superb... however, Tom's footwork was more of a failed attempt than masterful close control.

I can't disagree with the rest of it though. Duncan gets it while we bide our time.

Paul Tran
12 Posted 08/12/2019 at 16:37:05
Nice article, Jay. The handbrake was released yesterday. Let's keep it off and see if there's a manager that consistently plays on the front foot.
Derek Wadeson
13 Posted 08/12/2019 at 16:50:31
A friend of mine a Chelsea fan emailed me this morning to say well done you deserved it. This was my reply.

Chelsea were in the wrong place at the wrong time yesterday. Srange atmosphere walking up to the ground, very subdued but after Wednesday's mauling who could blame us.

It started to change when the siren, then Z Cars blasted out. I think everybody just gave vent to their feelings and roared. The players seemed to get the message and Big Dunc had obviously roused them in the dressing room.

4-4-2, tackle anything that moves and you have Joe Royle's dogs of war. The game has moved on they say, but the tippy tappy of the last few seasons were chucked out the window and the fans were onside. I think this is what your Frank was alluding to in his after match comments you have to earn the right to be on the field and then impose your style once you win the early battles.

Looks like we have knocked a few quid of Zouma's price in January now that your ban has been lifted.

John Pierce
14 Posted 08/12/2019 at 16:53:00
That game will be more memorable than any Silva ever had. That is telling. Sadly Silva will be forgotten as quickly as he arrived.

I do think Ferguson will get us through Xmas, vitally I think he will also get us past Leicester in the cup.

If the board waste the galvanizing affect he has had on the fanbase by coming up with a weak managerial choice then the ire and focus will most certainly fall on Moshiri.

He’s at the point were another failed pick for manager will reflect sorely on him. He had to let Brands do his job.

Ha! The third goal not scrappy?! A wasted paragraph or two trying to make a silk purse from a sows ear. Call it straight. It was endeavor and spirit, that’s what gets us out of our seat.

So much for putting the cones out eh Dunc?! 😂

Kevin Hudson
15 Posted 08/12/2019 at 16:57:33
Big Dunc punching the air wearing a smart whistle accessorised by a Royal Blue sweatband on his wrist was the defining image for me.

The fighting spirit a template of what is needed going forward.

Paradoxically, the player’s pissed me off yesterday as that sort of grit & graft has been lacking far too often this campaign. That the Pavlovian Theory kicks-in the moment the manager gets booted always irks me.

Regarding the new manager, I’m genuinely baffled as to who we might get, or who fellow Blues would want; the media touting a new name with each passing day.

Would love to see a ToffeeWeb poll on all the potential/ possible/ reprehensible/ fictional candidates out there..

Derek Knox
16 Posted 08/12/2019 at 16:58:22
Good and in depth article Jay, just when spirits had flagged to an almost unprecedented low, although there have been a few over the years, which I have selectively chosen to erase from my memory banks.

Of course the big question is, what happens next? Well I suppose it will be a " Carry on Duncan " (for the time being) Ooh Matron, you are awful, stop messing about!

For the next few games at any rate, while the Board have a Pow-Wow, fill the calumet and pass it round. I can envisage Mosh saying to Jabba the Hut after exhaling, " hey that's good shit man " where did you get that dude? Can't get that in Monaco! "Hey Ms Dynamite get your kit off you're on next!"

Then after the amount of wampum has been counted in the kitty, they will decide if a foray into the Transfer Market will be approved or not.

Next on the Agenda, after they had a review of the situation, and decide whether Duncan stays in temporary, or should they appoint a more experienced campaigner?

This Conclave could go on for some time, whilst the Goodison faithful, and the Everton Fanbase by virtue of SSN or whatever Media TV, will watch with a keen eye on the chimney. The big question on everyone's lips will be, is it White Smoke or Black?

Paul Birmingham
17 Posted 08/12/2019 at 17:05:11
Top article and read, Jay, that captures the salvation yesterday has brought Evertonians, albeit briefly, but this has brought hope and conviction that had been lost all s arson.

Long may it last, let’s see whose available for United. I hope the same tempo is taken there and Everton can definitely win.

Feed Sidibé and those pinging crosses are Richarlisons lunch.

Same again next week please. Duncan Ferguson a talisman on he pitch and now as an inspiring Everton manager.

Jay Wood

18 Posted 08/12/2019 at 17:12:55
On the (very academic) alternative views about the 3rd goal, I don't see anyone questioning the skilful plays of Theo and Dom in getting the ball to Tom.

What seems disputed is Tom's contribution on the ball.

Look closely. It is not a case of the ball randomly pinballing off the shins of several players. Tom is in control of the ball with 3-4 deft touches, skillfully retaining possession and keeping the ball alive in the most fiercely contesțed and defended area of the pitch.

What is 'scrappy' is the Chelsea attempts in stopping, blocking or clearing the ball, NOT the plays by Everton players.

Even the predatory instinct of DCL to follow up and react exactly as he does to score is a skill.

There was plenty to admire in that goal from the Everton perspective IMO.

Paul Tran
19 Posted 08/12/2019 at 17:17:50
Agreed Jay. Good skill and persistence from Tom & Calvert-Lewin. That goal was, in my view, the result of the cumulative pressure we put them under the whole game. It creates doubt. It creates mistakes nearc the end when the other team is knackered. We must do it every week.
Stan Schofield
20 Posted 08/12/2019 at 17:23:19
Good article Jay. Organisation is everything. When it's not there, players can spend a lot of time running around to no avail. But when it's there, the running around is effective.

After yesterday's game, reading ToffeeWeb does make it look like we've never had Goodison fired up in the recent past. It's true that it's not been fired up like yesterday, but there have been occasions where we've played well under Silva, with very good organisation, and everything has been fired up. The problem with Silva was consistency, and the number of times we were fired up, based on good organisation, was very few.

Yesterday was great, but of course the real test is whether good performances can be sustained consistently, including in away games. If that test is not passed, Ferguson will no doubt be subject to as much criticism as the other managers. But if the test is passed, it would then appear that we'll have turned a real corner rather than witnessing another false dawn.

Tony Hill
21 Posted 08/12/2019 at 17:35:10
Yes, the 4-0 United game is an example, Stan. But yesterday felt different and had more pressure on it.

The third goal also showed a bit of luck for us. Normally, I'd have expected Dom's toe poke to have hit either the defender's or the keeper's shin and veer away from goal. Through their legs and into the net, though. Will the gods now smile upon us? It seems only fair.

Stan Schofield
22 Posted 08/12/2019 at 17:40:05
Tony, yes, we're overdue some luck, but maybe what happened yesterday is the start of making our own luck, via effective organisation. Chance can favour those who are well prepared.
Andy Crooks
23 Posted 08/12/2019 at 17:55:15
Cracking article, Jay. Duncan saved our season. He is not the future, in my view, but he is the here and now. He has bought us time and, hopefully, kept out Moyes. What a great day.
Charles Brewer
24 Posted 08/12/2019 at 18:07:42
Duncan Ferguson is, without question, an inspiring figure to most Evertonians who watched the team in the period 1990-2010. Whether he was any good or not is immaterial, he could always be relied on to get the crowd and his team mates fired up, and a team and its supporters fired up are a far more formidable opponent than one where the crowd groans at every misplaced pass or whenever the ball is lost.

Everton from Martinez Season 2 to the end of Silva has tried to play a kind of moneyball statistical game where it is assumed that there is a direct relationship between money spent and position in the table. They mistook correlation for causality.

But any army with all the money on the world (the US in Vietnam) or with massive technical superiority and experience (the French in Vietnam, Algeria, Belgium 1940) will frequently lose against a highly motivated, aggressive and spirited opponent. While "the big battalions" is a good bet, it's not a certain win.

Yesterday, and to some degree which we cannot know, Duncan Ferguson substituted spirit and action for reliance on a relatively passive "system" in which the willingness of players to "get stuck in" was totally discounted. It appears to have been the assumption that a well-drilled team playing to a specific programmed approach would prevail over whatever was in front of it. This has now been decisively disproved.

So despite having something less than half a day to organise the team, and with a vast array of critical players out injured, Ferguson brought about what was in the end an easy win over Chelsea.

That the first goal was one in the finest style of Ferguson himself must have been an inspiration - there are few goals finer to watch than the centre forward hammering home a header with the goalkeeper looking like a dead cod on his line. My expectation would be that the players would have felt that this new approach was not just working successfully, but that it was fun.

If I were on the Everton board, I would very much want to continue the approach of inspiration over calculation, work over reliance on formation, and aggression over insipidity and to see what happens. If it all falls apart in the next few games, then recruiting an organiser and tactician may be sound, but if Ferguson's approach of aggression and gung ho continue to give results (and a happy crowd), then the future of Everton may be better served by a passionate and inspiring leader than by another bloodless European calculator.

Dave Williams
25 Posted 08/12/2019 at 18:12:17
Excellent article Jay and I agree re third goal. It was a result of very good play by three players – nothing fluky, nothing given away to us – credit where it's due!!
Jerome Shields
26 Posted 08/12/2019 at 18:19:04
Great article pin pointing the changes for the good that occurred during Big Duncs first game. It was as if Everton had rediscovered its soul. As was said by that hateful pundit, it was the Everton you exspect.

It's obvious that Big Dunc has been working out how Everton should play and how the players are told how to play in this system. What happened was that Big Dunc got the opportunity to Manage Everton. Half a day was all he needed to inspire and tell the team out he wanted to play, with individual instructions to individual players, because he had been thinking for years now it should be done, probably coaching and talking to players at every opportunity. He probably eats, drinks and sleeps it.

It will be extremely interesting to see how he set up and motivates Everton for the next fixture, how to play away from. home. He has probably thought how to do, millions of times over the years.

Barry Rathbone
27 Posted 08/12/2019 at 18:21:39
Football is about the simplest game on earth played best "off the cuff" with the aim of always getting on the front foot. It is no surprise the "new manager bounce" exists as the first few games are played instinctively with players released from mind-numbing tactics.

The post-match interview with Theo was illuminating – the brief of 'get at them when possible, play to our strengths and be committed' is the basic formula of all successful sides throughout the history of the English game.

I do hope we appoint someone who understands this rather than another "philosophy" merchant who thinks the game is won on a whiteboard.

Stan Schofield
28 Posted 08/12/2019 at 18:25:28
Charles@24: I would say that BOTH inspiration and calculation are necessary. Each on its own will only get you so far, but both together can be, and usually are, formidable.
Charles Brewer
29 Posted 08/12/2019 at 19:23:19
Stan, no question. But for a significant period we have had one and not the other and it has been a period of the most miserable and depressing football. At present, I think that a simple system ('Dogs of War II') with the quality of players we have and with an inspiring leader will take this club quite some way.

Also, if I have the opportunity to see DC-L plus Richarlison plus (as of yesterday) Tom Davies plus maybe even Tosun, who we know has the right attitude, battering through the centre of defences or crashing crosses into the goal rather than a midfield kicking the ball back and forth 30 yards out before lobbing a gentle cross into the middle of a packed defence I'll take it. I'll also take a big powerful defence facing up the pitch and getting in the way of, and flattening oncoming forwards rather than having to turn round and chase whippets.

I agree that you can't just have spirit, but you certainly can't do without it. Which has been the story of Everton for the better part of 10 years at the least.

Peter Mills
30 Posted 08/12/2019 at 19:34:08
Good article, Jay.

For various reasons, I was in the ground at 11.20am yesterday, I must have been one of the first supporters in there. It was pretty strange, but atmospheric in a thoughtful kind of way. It gave me the opportunity to reflect upon many occasions there with members of my family present and past.

The ground gradually filled. I watched it with some enthusiasm, but also with trepidation. I had no idea what Duncan Ferguson would bring to the situation.

You know what he brought? Corny as it sounds - Love.

I have racked my brain for far too many years now, how do you motivate millionaires? He provided the answer. Show the players something that can be more satisfying than money. We saw how the players reacted to him, how the fans did, how the millionaires interacted with the supporters, ball-boys. That’s how to do it.

Difficult as it may be to acknowledge, that is what the guy across the park has tapped into. He has emotional intelligence. Our previous managers have not possessed it, even though Martínez purported to. Howard Kendall and Joe Royle understood it. The great mangers have had it. Whoever we interview or consider for the managerial post, it should be one of the main criteria.

Phillip Warrington
31 Posted 08/12/2019 at 19:43:28
The real test is the next game. Didn't David Unsworth win his first game 3-1 then loose the next 3?

But the players must've really hated playing under Silva because they have never showed that much commitment or pride under Silva.

Ian Bennett
32 Posted 08/12/2019 at 19:52:38
Throw back football, 442, get it forward and compete. Man marking at corners, work the channels.

I don't really understand why mediocre teams abandoned this type of football. Yes city can play it, but I don't get why the other 19 try and follow it.

Winston Williamson
33 Posted 08/12/2019 at 20:09:21
I’m not over-stating by saying that that game has re-invigorated my love of EFC.

The desire, passion and determination is what I envision when thinking about EFC.

This has been severely lacking for years!

Stan Schofield
34 Posted 08/12/2019 at 20:25:08
Peter@30: That is a great post. As Alan Ball once said, "I love this place".
Peter Mills
35 Posted 08/12/2019 at 20:26:47
Ian#32 - I couldn’t agree more. Why would you try and take on City, or Barcelona, at their own game, when you have inferior practitioners of it?

Present them with a different challenge. Stop them playing their own game, then hit them where they don’t like it. If you are defending a corner, get your centre back to attack the ball. If they have a class defender, give him a bit of a kick on the ankle. And, as others have said elsewhere, stop frigging around at goal kicks.

Once you’ve mastered those basics, then develop your game.

Dick Fearon
36 Posted 08/12/2019 at 20:43:41
About that glorious scrappy goal. I forget what pundit/player? said, "Even if it rebounds off my backside it is still as good as any other."

In 1966, from close up behind the goal at Burnden Park I saw another so-called scrappy goal scored against Man Utd that put us into the FA Cup final.
In the midst of a hectic massed penalty area scramble Colin Harvey took a shot that came off his heel and totally bamboozled Man Utd's Irish keeper Harry Greg and bobbled into the opposite corner of the net.

Christine Foster
37 Posted 08/12/2019 at 20:44:49
Football is a simple game, but over the years the tacticians, the highly paid coaches and players have all tried to complicate it, adding frills where there was never a need. There are no frills with Duncan Ferguson, direct, no nonsense football.
I have often wondered what would happen if a team were to revert to football as its been played for a hundred years.. in your face.
Could the premiership teams cope or crumble with a team playing 1970s football on that showing it has to be said no.
And I am pleased.
Because just as was said above, we are not Barcelona, Man city.. so for Christ sake stop trying to compete the same way.. no, in your face football is the answer.
It may not work all the time, but its in our DNA, and I for one, even for this one day, saw that football is still a simple game after all, that sole reliance on tippy tappy football is alien to scousers, that if we had played with those same instructions a few days before the result may have been so different.

That one game will be a hard act to follow.. whoever the next manager is.

Duncan Ferguson has long been derided by many on this site, for his lack of influence in producing a striker of note.. but here is the thing.. Get the ball into the box as quick as you can.. the law of averages will take over, mistakes will be made under constant pressure.. goals will be won..
Under previous managers that basic premise was lost in favour of possession football.. going nowhere slowly.. sideways only.

Duncan Ferguson told his team a few home truths.. if it moves chase it down, direct football scares the crap out of defences, don't let them play... and you will win the game.

He was right. and I am so pleased for the big man...

Martin Mason
38 Posted 08/12/2019 at 20:47:13
The key thing was to revert to a simple formula that can be effective but his master-stroke was to realise that our two square pegs (Sigurdsson and Schneiderlin) fit perfectly into this formation. Two massive problems like how to fit these misfits into the team and how to get any value out of their seemingly obscene transfer fees.

The other master-stroke was that it seemed to solve the Calvert-Lewin problem and find possibly the best place for our magnificent Brazilian who is looking like a snip at what we paid Watford for him.

The problem now is what to do against sides that can counter the 4-4-2 and who can pressurise us when we play away. All of a sudden, on Saturday, we looked like a great squad and I pick out Sidibe and Holgate for special praise. It's too good to be true.

Andy Crooks
39 Posted 08/12/2019 at 20:50:48
Pete, @ 30, one of the best posts I have read. For whatever reason you were in the ground early you experienced something special. It wasn't corny, you old cynic, it was perfect.
Dave Abrahams
40 Posted 08/12/2019 at 20:54:36
Christine (37), you know what I'd like Duncan to do? If he gets the credit for Calvert-Lewin‘s improvement in leaping for and heading the ball then I'd love him to start working on Michael Keane.

Michael always starts his leap from a standing position, never wins many heading duals. Nobody has worked on improving Michaels heading ability, if they have he's not taken any advice on board.

Andy Crooks
41 Posted 08/12/2019 at 21:04:22
Dave, spot on. Michael Keane always seems to be under the ball. Never attacking it, which might be due to bad positioning. Somebody seen something in him that we don't. It's not pace, it's not reading the game. I really don't know.
Laurie Hartley
42 Posted 08/12/2019 at 21:07:23
Peter # 30 - I must admit I was quite moved when the big fella gave Tom and Dom a fatherly hug and a kiss on the head. That is a side of him we certainly haven’t seen before. Those young blokes obviously think a lot of him.
Christine Foster
43 Posted 08/12/2019 at 21:38:06
Dave 40*,

I think you are right, Big Dunc will know what sort of centre-halves he hated playing against, and coach that into Kean.

With respect to Calvert-Lewin, I think he told him to let every defender know he is there... Shearer on MotD highlighted it and it improved his overall performance by 50%; no wonder he scored twice, he deserved it.

Basics... Balance between skill and desire... Sapphire and Steel!

Stan Schofield
44 Posted 08/12/2019 at 21:40:23
There's a bit of an irony when posts express a desire for 'simple in-your-face football'. This is Everton. In my memory the greatest Everton team was the one that won the 69-70 league title. That team played football that was arguably ahead of its time, and unequalled by any other team at the time. It's that quality of football that led to the phrase School of Science. It was utterly magnificent, the beautiful game at its very best.

But that team was also as hard as nails. Fair and sporting, but hard, and would take crap off nobody.

It's okay focusing on blood and thunder, in your face, football. But that served a purpose yesterday, given a real need to motivate the players to compete hard after recent events. In the longer term, we of course need such motivation all the time, but the approach to the football has to sustainable. Blood and thunder won't always be the order of the day, especially if we really want to compete at the top.

Peter Mills
45 Posted 08/12/2019 at 21:49:03
Stan - Labone, Hurst, Kendall, Harvey, Morrisey. Truly excellent footballers, hard as nails.
Ken Kneale
46 Posted 08/12/2019 at 22:08:48
Peter - How do we get you on hen interview panel?

Seriously, a thoughtful post in a week when I suspect many have us have reflected what a big part of our lives Everton is. We definitely must have a Catterick/Kendall/Royle type who feels the same

Mike Gaynes
47 Posted 08/12/2019 at 22:11:21
Pete #30, eloquent, my friend. And elegant. Football is love.

With regards to what you and Ken have said about our next manager, the problem (as I posted on Paul Tran's thread) is that we won't know whether we've landed another Catterick until he's well into his tenure. The question of whether a manager can impart a new, vibrant culture is dependent not just on the man himself but on the club, the players and the fan base. Some of the greatest coaches ever have failed at some of their stops along the way, just because the fit or the timing or the feeling just wasn't right. And sometimes the magic appears but doesn't last, as with Ranieri.

So much of what comes next will be determined by good fortune as well as good judgement.

Andrew James
48 Posted 08/12/2019 at 22:27:57
Dave @ 40

Very pertinent that. I went to see us away at Stoke before they went down and was amazed to see Jags marking Crouch and not Keane who is about 4 inches taller.

Jags was leaping for high balls early and getting a head on them or putting Crouch off.

Given how many goals Van Dijk scores, it is disappointing how few our massive centre halves get.

Len Hawkins
49 Posted 08/12/2019 at 22:47:09
Dick #36

A mate of mine who is a Man Utd supporter of 60+ years still moans about that goal at Burnden Park.

Since yesterday, we have been exchanging emails about the turn around and he remarked wouldn't it be funny if Dunc becomes another great Scottish Manager like Busby, Alex Ferguson, and dare I say it Shankly: no-nonsense Scots who demanded success even though Ferguson had a dodgy start. And he even admitted a Duncan led Everton might just turn things round.

I hope he gets the rest of the season and becomes a fixture, yesterday could be the Oxford Utd moment, I certainly hope so. One thing is clear after yesterday the players took his example and played their hearts out for him, how long since anyone saw that?

Steve Ferns
50 Posted 08/12/2019 at 22:53:28
Good article Jay.

It was great to see Goodison rocking and have a win and a performance to celebrate when we’ve been down in the dumps for a while now. You’re families are probably all commenting on how much happier you are! Mine certainly is!

As regards the new manager, sorry but Duncan is not the long term answer. And I disagree with all the stuff about how we are loads better because we went direct and didn’t play out from the back.

Before yesterday, I was hoping for someone like Leo Jardim (the current Monaco manager). His excellent record at developing players like Mbappe, Thomas Lamar, Bernardo Silva, Fabinho, Bruno Mendy, and our own Djibril Sidibe had me dreaming of what he could do with our youngsters (Kean, Richarlison, Gordon, Calvert-Lewin and Davies). He’s also a proven winner (defeated PSG for the ligue 1 title in 2017) and overcame the odds to take Monaco to a champions league semi final in 2017 as well.

His style of play, and even his use of (a very direct and attacking) 442, would fit in well. But after considering what Duncan brought to Everton I think Jardim might not the answer. He’s a calm guy. Very nice. And whilst his record is better than Silva’s, we need someone with a nasty streak to them. And Jardim doesn’t have that.

Marcelo Gallardo seems to be a very real possibility and a favourite of Brands. And also the guy championed by a few on here for a while, such as Sam Hoare. He would be a real coup for Everton. Everything I can find out about the guy implies he’s perfect for the job. His tactics, his style of play, his directness, his teams fight and desire, his ability to predict events unfolding on the pitch and react quickly.

One thing I can’t find out is whether he has a nasty streak. But let’s not forget he’s manager of River. He’s Argentinian. River is not a place for shrinking violets. Neither is Argentinian football. And he was an Argentinian international player. None of them could ever be accused of being nice or soft. Even Ramiro Funes Mori had a bit of needle about him. Same with the big Strac. I hope Brands does his homework on this before appointing him, but he seems to tick every box.

If you go through the rest of the top managers on the odds and look for someone who is both a winner and has personality then you can cross every name off but one. And amazingly this is a guy I initially dismissed. Vitor Pereira. He’s no Silva mark II. He’s not half the coach silva is. He’s more of a tactical manager. But as for being a nasty bar steward, he’s certainly that. Consider this man had the balls to take on the Saudis in the their own country when they tried to dictate how his press conferences should go. Don’t know about the rest of you but if I was employed and working in that country I would toe the line, you wouldn’t want to receive 100 lashes! He also had a habit of getting into trouble in Turkey where again, being employed in that country you might want to be on your best behaviour. In Portugal he was one of the more animated coaches. So whilst he scores less on some aspect of his managerial skills his personality might be more suited to Everton. His style of play in China shows he has moved on from the more possession based game (very Martínez) he had at Porto. But unlike Martinez he lost 1 game in his 2 years in Portugal (winning 2 titles). It was in Europe where his results were mixed. He lost out on the Everton job in 2013 as he didn’t speak English. He does now. It was his primary language in Turkey, Saudi Arabia and China. So we can’t hold that against him.

We need a world class coach. Not a novice. We can learn a lot from Ferguson and put his best qualities up as boxes for the new guy to have to tick as well.

Mini YouTube documentary on Gallardo Link

Nicholas Ryan
51 Posted 08/12/2019 at 22:54:33
Re: the 3rd goal... there's no such thing as a 'scrappy' goal. I hate to quote Bill Shankly on an Everton website; but the great man once said, when asked about a striker, scoring such goals: 'Don't tell me HOW, just tell me HOW MANY'.

And in cricket, the Aussie batsman, Steve Waugh, was accused of scoring scrappy, lucky runs, he replied: "I must be the only batter in history, to have scored 30 'scrappy' Test hundreds!!"

Tony Hill
52 Posted 08/12/2019 at 22:54:56
Stan @44, very true. Funnily enough, that sort of football, the stylish stuff, is what Silva was trying to find and which we saw in flashes.
Paul Hewitt
53 Posted 08/12/2019 at 23:07:54
We have tried the foreign route, it hasn't worked. We need someone who understands the club. Understands English football, doesn't make a simple game complicated. That man it Duncan Ferguson.
Anthony Murphy
54 Posted 08/12/2019 at 23:43:46
One thing Duncan tapped in to on Saturday was the identity of Everton. It's been missing a while and he knew the fans felt that too. He showed a lot of emotional intelligence and the wristband was a clever, subtle visual link to the past for the fans. He played a blinder and I do wonder now how challenging it might be to step him back down should the good run continue.

I think it may be almost impossible to not allow him to continue if that happens. My personal preference would be Gallardo (from those we could realistically get] but a few more barnstorming victories and we have a proper dilemma.

Imagine if a new manager is appointed after a few more big Dunc specials. Fans of Everton need a talisman who feels what they do. It's not a foregone conclusion for me that Duncan won't be kept on.

Steve Ferns
55 Posted 08/12/2019 at 23:50:27
Has this been commented on:


Duncan Ferguson was wearing Howard Kendall’s watch, given to him by Howard’s Widow!

Jer Kiernan
56 Posted 08/12/2019 at 00:20:15
Great montage of big Dunc on MOTD2 there. I always have found it hard to criticize the man like some regards his role at the club as coach etc .

Watching from the successful 80s and the demise of the club into the 90s he for me is always a welcome presence in the club to remind all, what it should mean to wear the jersey. (Once Everton touches you etc.)

When we had nothing to cheer mid 90s he grabbed the club by the scruff and as pointed out by many Saturday just had the feel of the start of Big Joe's reign for me, hopefully he can go on a run and deliver a cup who knows ?

My head says I don't feel he has what it takes to deliver long-term but I would love to be wrong, lets wait and see.

@55 Steve

Thanks for that; very poignant. It has been a rollercoaster of a week to be a Blue, full of emotion. In fact, I can't remember one quite like it in a long time.


Andrew Dempsey
57 Posted 08/12/2019 at 00:23:59
I don't think we need a World Class coach, Steve. Not now. It's not the level we're at, on whole, as a Club. We need someone like Ferguson right now. See what he can do until May, I have a feeling he'll make himself indispensable. He may even win the FA Cup. That's the dream anyway. And isn't what this is all about?

When did football have to become cold and analytical? Playing this way with someone like Big Dunc, who transmits pure tribal energy and emotion, could get us into the Top 6 regularly.

When you're a steady team, possibly picking up a Cup, possibly even sneaking into the Champions League, that's when you appoint your so-called World-Class manager (not really sure what this means or why it's a particularly good thing) if it's needed, and Dunc can't handle the higher level.

To appoint this foreign profile of coach now is dumb. It's just a money grab, they know the second they get here they won't be able to transform the Club to their way of doing things without losing some games initially. And, if it costs them their job or not, they still come out smiling.

This is the real, important side of football management, it's not about their formations and credentials. It's about - what I've said on here many times - can you manage Everton? Can you adjust? Can you save your job while trying to implement your style, and how easy will it be for you?

Big Dunc can manage Everton right now. It's happening, don't ignore it. Will he be successful? I have no idea really. But those feelings on Saturday, they're not bollocks, this is what it's all about, don't forget it.

He changed a lot of people's minds about him instantly on Saturday. It was powerful stuff, and it would be stupid to ignore or diminish it in any way. He's our spiritual leader. Don't dismiss his abilities to lead this Club. There isn't anyone better qualified to do it right now in the whole world of football.

Derek Knox
58 Posted 09/12/2019 at 00:27:46
Steve @55, I believe Silva wore Mickey Mouse's!
Jay Wood

59 Posted 08/12/2019 at 00:33:03
Steve @ 50.

It's funny you mention 'families commenting on how much happier you are' after yesterday.

The game KO at 9.30am for me, and the missus knows better than to hang around and get any sense out of me when the game is on, so she disappeared to the in-laws.

The whole street knows when Everton is playing. I get a bit...vocal, shall I say. So apparently during the game one of my sister-in-laws must have passed by as Everton scored on her way to visit the parents also.

How do I know? Because when the wife returned after the game had finished, she reported her sister arrived at the parents and said 'Jay seems very happy today.' Why do you say that?' my wife asked.

'Oh, I just passed the house and he was laughing like a crazy man and singing.'

'That can only mean one thing,' my wife replied. 'Everton is winning!'

As for the manager's position, it is way too premature to assess Duncan Ferguson's abilities as a coach or to believe he is a genuine candidate for the post.

I don't think my opening post or the general reaction from the Everton tribe is focused on that. I believe the bigger story here is just how galvanizing a force the Big Man has been in such a short space of time.

Tactics, formations, sports science, etc, are very much part of modern day football. But also important is the intensity and the passion that Ferguson instilled in his team yesterday.

I can understand an aversion to aspects of the modern game and how heavily coached and commented on it is these days. It appeals hugely to many disenchanted Blues that Duncan found spectacular success immediately by going back to basics and perennial good habits. All the more so given the despondency and poor performances that went before.

I am sure nobody is advocating a Khmer Rouge like return to 'ground zero' feudal football. Passion and hard graft is an essential component of a successful football team and can certainly help in adversity, but those qualities alone will not sustain or improve a team long term.

But something remarkable and very special happened yesterday which almost transcended football itself. And the conduit for the remarkable day was down to one man.

Duncan Ferguson.

More than 24 hours later, I'm sure I'm not alone at still being in awe of the many extraordinary unifying and uplifting events of yesterday.

As for your other comments on potential managers Steve, as I commented, I believe the lift Ferguson has given the team, the club, the fan base, has bought the owner time. We don't need to stampede into an immediate appointment. Thinks are not looking as stark and bleak as they did on Wednesday evening.

I'll just comment on a couple of things about Gallardo, who as I told you previously, I only know from whenever River Plate plays Brazilian teams as I don't follow the Argentinian League.

On the question of whether he has a mean streak, you can rest assured he will have. In my travels I have played casual, but competitive football, in Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America. Without doubt, the hardest bastards I've played against are from Latin America. They have a hardness about them forged in the favelas - the shanty towns - where from an early age every day you get through is a fight for survival.

He simply could not have survived 5 years at such a high profile club as River Plate as he has without being 'well hard'.

He is literally worshipped by River Plate fans. Some fans have mini-altars dedicated to him and the team in their homes that they pray to daily. Such devotion will be further confirmed tomorrow with the unveiling of a 7 metre high statue of the man outside the club stadium.

Think about that. Dixie's statue was erected 20 years after his death at the turn of the century. This year, the Holy Trinity statue was unveiled nearly 50 years after they played for Everton.

How many sitting managers have a statue dedicated to them at a club before they've even turned 44? He's special.

River Plate play in the Argentina Cup Final next weekend, after which - provisionally, according to some reports - he is a 'free man' as he has a one year rolling contract with River. Astonishingly, really.

Ed Prytherch
60 Posted 09/12/2019 at 00:37:02
Andrew #57 - Spot on. I hope that Duncan gets an extended run to see if he can maintain the intensity that we saw yesterday. If we need more "science", then hire a scientific assistant.
Jay Wood

61 Posted 09/12/2019 at 00:42:53
Wow, Steve @ 55. Just read that post about Howard Kendall's watch.

Seriously, who has bought the film rights for this tale?

Derek @ 58. Behave, you wicked rascal you!

Andrew Dempsey
62 Posted 09/12/2019 at 00:52:39
Don't forget too, Ferguson has seen four managers be sacked, he's picked up a lot, but he's also noted everything they've done wrong and how ignoring that vital connection with supporters has created a lack of atmosphere within Goodison.

On Saturday, he almost reversed everything that was bad about the four previous incumbents in one game! After one training session! And, a deliberately brilliant performance on the touch line. He just let himself go, I'm not saying it was rehearsed, it wasn't, it was pure wild abandon, and to us, it felt like connecting with a real person.

He gave us what we wanted, in every respect. But, it absolutely all came from the heart. There were good defensive tactics and shape too. It was all about getting their first, and blocking like your life depending on it. You have to ask yourself: Can another manager do better than this with these players? The hunger and desire lasted all game – how can that of been injected into this side so quickly?

Someone else will come in and just slow it down again, and then we probably will get relegated.

Steve Ferns
63 Posted 09/12/2019 at 01:01:40
Jay, on Gallardo, everyone keeps saying this guy is special. I have seen two games he’s managed. I have no idea other than second hand information. Everything is geared towards this guy being something else.

If we had long term serious injury to Theo Walcott and Bernard and had no one to play right wing, and the window was open, would we say don’t buy a world class right winger and play Anthony Gordon instead?

Sure, it’s different players and managers. We don’t know how good Duncan can be. He only had half a session and two meetings. He didn’t change set pieces and went with Marco’s system so as to keep things simple. So maybe he can go beyond simple with a week to work with players. Maybe he can go out and get some proper top level coaches other than Alan Kelly, Francis Jeffers and John Ebbrell, and add their expertise to compliment his lack of experience.

Gallardo is a gamble. All managers are. But if this guy is special. If he really is the next big thing, if he really will come to the club, can we really pass on this opportunity and “give it to big Dunc until the end of the season”? Gallardo won’t hang around. He’s out of contract now. It’s likely to be now or never for him.

Ed Prytherch
64 Posted 09/12/2019 at 01:02:18
Anyone on TW who thinks he knows more than Duncan Ferguson about what it takes to Make Everton Great Again is naive and/or pompous.
Derek Knox
65 Posted 09/12/2019 at 01:06:50
Jay @59, great post as usual there, I'm glad you made reference to Marcelo Gallardo, I have done quite a bit of research of my own recently when it was apparent that Silva's days were numbered.

Of all the possibles and probables, excluding the definite noes, and the highly unlikelies, he would be my choice, if it were down to me, unfortunately it isn't but he definitely fits the bill.

I believe also that his Contract which he has thus far failed to extend or renew, is due to run out very shortly.

From what I can glean, he feels that as he has won every possible thing at River Plate. it may be a good time to seek a new Challenge.

Whether we would meet his criteria is not information that I am privy to, or could even hazard a guess, but I would be over the moon if he was approached and invited to be interviewed.

The only downside to all of this would be, where would Duncan fit in? Like Unsy after his stints as Caretaker would he go back to Finch Farm? Perhaps he could be Mr Motivator on Matchdays?

Would Gallardo accept such an arrangement or would he, as most do, want to bring his own team with him?

Ed Prytherch
66 Posted 09/12/2019 at 01:16:38
I doubt that many think of Claudio Ranieri as a tactical genius but he had an infectious optimism and enthusiasm that he gave to his players and the pulled off perhaps the biggest heist in the history of the Prem. Klopp has it, Pep has it, Duncan has it.
Albert Perkins
67 Posted 09/12/2019 at 04:59:52
I have been asking for some time for us to put a few up top and give the ball some air and let our forwards fight it out as the ball bobbles around in the opposition's most scary area in front of their goalmouth. Watching the games this last week I'm surprised how many goals resulted from long balls. The derby game is a sad expression of this tactic. The top tikki-takka teams went long for many of their goals.

I'm not suggesting that our style should be all hoof ball, but a lot more getting the ball quickly to our forwards instead of passing it eternally around until the winger gets a chance to center and the odds are against us. By being more direct the odds get better for us, especially when we have at least two up top to pick up scraps.

Utd beat City with quick incisive balls to the forwards. City fannied around and hardly had the ball in dangerous areas at all.

Play the ball quickly forward and expect the strikers to make something of it. I would like to see more diagonal balls into the danger area and less passing it around waiting to get a difficult cross from the byline.

As Fergie showed, the manager job is easy.

Brian Porter
68 Posted 09/12/2019 at 06:53:47
Dick #36, I may be wrong but I thinj it was Alan Shearer who said something about the ball going in off his bum and he was right. The striker still has to be in there for the contact to be made.
Regarding Big Dunc, as Napoleon once said, "He may be a good general, but is he lucky?"

Duncan showed in one game that he just might be a lucky leader and, that's what we need right now. If he can continue to get the same commitment from the players over the next game or two, then we should consider giving him the job for the rest of the season. Depending on how that 'luck' holds up he should then be given serious consideration for the full time job.

We don't need another Silvaesque technical or tactical genius to further confuse the players. We need a WINNER, and if Duncan can prove himself to be a winner then the board would be bigger idiots than we already think they are if they ignored such evidence.

Let's see how he does at Old Trafford first. One thing's for sure, Duncan Ferguson will not be intimidated by the crowd at Old Trafford, but the Old Trafford crowd and Solksaer's team just might be intimidated by Duncan's reborn version of the 'Dogs of War'.

Stan Schofield
69 Posted 09/12/2019 at 10:12:28
There's something to be said for not fucking about too much with a football. I think perhaps Spain and Barca at their best have done a bit of a disservice to football. It's not their fault, but lesser teams technically have tried to copy them, and kids too, because of its high profile nature and fashion, and usually it doesn't work very well.

Looking again at Everton at their very best, which for me is the 69-70 side, the magnificent and unusually skilled football was of a different type from that of Spain and Barca. It was very fast through midfield, using first-time touches and fancy flicks to cut through opposing midfields and defences. This is why Ball scored so many, just like Young and Vernon earlier in the 60s.

We can have great, beautiful, football, but it can also be blood and thunder when required. A great team can do all parts of the spectrum from a complete slow passing game, toying with the opposition, to fast intricate movements, to direct balls from defence to attack, depending on what is needed at the time in each game.

We have very skillful players, which is why a lot of money has been spent, to play a very skillful game. But as Duncan showed on Saturday, we can also compete fiercely and go direct if we need to. We have flexibility, which is surely needed to compete with the different styles in the Premier League.

It's going to be interesting to see how Duncan uses the players he has. If he can keep us competing fiercely and he's retained further in his current role, it will be very interesting to see what he can do when our injured players start returning, giving more options.

Jamie Crowley
70 Posted 09/12/2019 at 10:30:28
There are probably protocols and instructions they are given. Not to engage with or talk to players, etc, etc. But those ballboys joining in with the goal celebrations, with player and manager alike was so… SCOUSE, for me.

Scouses have never been a tribe to quietly conform to social norms or passive acceptance of rules and regulations. And the reaction of those ball boys represented a continuation of that tradition, in my opinion. It was glorious.

As an outsider who’s taken an odd, maniacal, and inexplicable interest in a culture, I have to say I agree with your take on the ball boys.

Those two paragraphs are near-favorites of anything I’ve read on TW.

And it was, without question, glorious. Absolutely glorious.

Steve Shave
71 Posted 09/12/2019 at 10:47:06
Hi everyone, I've been a TW reader for many years but this is my first post. I largely enjoy reading through your comments and feel like I know many of you without having met you.

I'd like to echo the sentiments raised by the article author, something (I don't know what) changed on Saturday, the team seemed (possibly for the first time in a very very long time) to be united and galvanised. I don't know why but it feels pivotal somehow. Technically it's one good performance in a sea of shite ones, one win after a string of poor results.

Yet (whilst I am firmly managing my expectations) somehow it felt the players were saying something, a message to the fans. What that was exactly, I do not know. It certainly raises queries around what the actual fuck it is they have been doing for the past few years, to put a shift in like that is our main expectation every game.

One of the reasons why it has taken me so long to post is because I find the inherent negativity of some posters on this site compounds my own as a supporter of this club, yet I read it everyday nonetheless, so I thought I may as well start contributing too. I don't know "what just happened", Jay; what I do know is we need to harness it, bottle it and unleash some more of it in the next match. A draw at Man Utd would be a good result.

I have been, for the first time as a Blue of nearly 30 years, stumped as to who I think our next manager should be: the Portuguese fella from China whiffs slightly of another Silva; Kovac has pedigree; Marcelino has form with underperforming biggish clubs; but, on the basis of Saturday, it has me thinking of Arteta again (I grew up with him as my God) with Big Dunc as his No 2. Arteta has tactical nouse (apparently) and knows the club, is a legend. Let the big man keep whipping the crowd up... surely got to be under consideration?

Steve Ferns
72 Posted 09/12/2019 at 10:57:50
Welcome Steve. The site can only reflect the views of the contributors. If your voice is a more positive one, then get stuck in and be a positive voice. You'll actually find the site reflects the results. When the blues are going well, the voices are nearly all positive.
Steve Shave
73 Posted 09/12/2019 at 11:11:56
Thanks Steve, not sure I will be a more positive voice, I meant that when I am suffering too along with the rest of the other TWers, trawling through the comments can feel like purgatory! I'm happy to be here nonetheless.
James Newcombe
74 Posted 09/12/2019 at 11:19:52
I love Duncan, even more so after Saturday! I actually really like the idea of him being an Everton manager, but on the flipside, I also know that eventually these players will let him down big time... and he'll be on the touchline just like Martinez, Koeman, and Silva: unshaven, blank faced, and staring across Goodison questioning his life choices. And that's not something I want to see.
Paul Tran
75 Posted 09/12/2019 at 11:40:11
Welcome Steve. The more the merrier on here!
Mike Gaynes
76 Posted 09/12/2019 at 12:55:30
Steve #71, welcome. We always need another Steve contributing!
Jay Wood

77 Posted 09/12/2019 at 13:16:56
Jamie @ 70.

Funnily enough Jamie, as I wrote those lines about the ballboys, I thought those scenes would appeal to the Irish rebel in you!

Got around to watching any of those 'Boys From the Black Stuff' yet? Gorra be done, lad! Gorra be done!

Jamie Crowley
78 Posted 09/12/2019 at 16:05:01
Not yet Jay. I'm in Boston for a wedding, the Irish rebel came out, I'm in a bit of pain, and will be flying home back to warm weather around 4:30 p.m.

The rest of this week I'll be recovering, so no better time to fire up something on the computer. 😉

Kase Chow
79 Posted 09/12/2019 at 23:54:56
Still buzzing, and I mean BUZZING, from Saturday.

I've hated my club for a while without understanding why: but it was the rubbish football, the passivity (how could we lose 5-2 to Liverpool reserves and the scoreline flatter us? Can you remember Robertson deliberately landing on Davies in the first few mins? Or Trent Alexander 2-footed lunge - into Richarlison?)

And we just took it. We just accepted the loss and didn't even battle.

And then Saturday...

And then Ferguson...

Those Liverpool players were up for the fight in the derby and we weren't. That wouldn't happen under Ferguson. He wouldn't let that happen. I've hated us for a while but Ferguson got me loving us again.

He was like a lightning rod for all our emotions and love and connection and by god it worked.

I'd love to see him on the touch line against Klopp putting his face into Klopp. I'd love to see us play them at Goodison under Fergie.

I'm tired of being spanked like a dog. Fergie has got me believing again...

Ivan Varghese
80 Posted 15/12/2019 at 16:10:47
Jay Wood. Good article Jay, spot on. Still ball over the top when they lose possession is a problem. Need a different strategy, perhaps not such a high press and force offsides or faster central players. Today shows that going back to basics worked well against Man U's speed.

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