Three Bedsheets Outside Everton, Moshiri

“This didn't put an end to shit, you fucking retard; this is just the fucking start. Why don't you put that on your Good Morning Missouri fucking wake-up broadcast, bitch?”

John Daley 06/07/2021 67comments  |  Jump to last
If you can just look past the punch, my lads sure put on a purdy spread” – Chelsea Bun McGin, Food & Beverage Manager, Jonestown

When it came to comfortable and convenient Catteries, ‘The Well’ was without compare” – Little Johnny Flynn

Fame has been good for Joey. Fucking loves it he does. Just hope he doesn’t get a big head hahaha haha *hurghhh*……Giz a groat and you can gozz on him!” – Tom Norman, penny gaff proprietor, Whitechapel Road

….the tried-and-tested, proven experienced manager and stellar name. If that is what Moshiri still wants, Benitez is an obvious choice” – Jamie Carragher, phlegm-firing football pundit

Rafa Benitez. An obvious choice.

It’s like a Metropolis gardener (LexCorp Landscaping, like) maintaining green kryptonite is the glaringly obvious radioactive element required to complete Superman’s glorious ornamental rockery. Given the multitude of big stones – shiny or shite-encrusted – in the known galaxy, why go all out for the one option guaranteed to cause the most adverse gut reaction?

Starved of success, entertainment, excitement and hope, for some the only definable identity Evertonians have remaining is being different to them… the red horde. Rightly or wrongly, a deep-rooted mutual loathing of Liverpool FC and everything they and their maudlin, smear-proof media image represent, is the one thing a majority of Evertonians have been able to readily buy into and agree upon in recent times.

The club themselves have not been above playing into this ‘profound difference’ either, promoting themselves as “The People’s Club” on Merseyside, positing that (unlike some of a more plastic persuasion) Evertonians are “Born, not manufactured”, laminating Brian Labone’s famous “One Evertonian is worth twenty Liverpudlians” line and leaving it hanging on the wall in the inner halls of Goodison Park, and gleefully adopting Grand Old Team with its “We don’t care what the red side say” lyrics as a pre-match anthem.

Now the above can be conveniently disregarded as it has suddenly been decided one of this ‘different’ breed was an obvious choice to be declared Everton boss. Rafa Benitez. Not just a former manager of a rival club, but a man synonymous with the red shite.

A man whose face adorns a flag on the Kop along with Shankly, Fagan and Daglish.

A man who Everton’s official club website carried a statement about, opining “Somehow we just expect more of a Liverpool manager."

A man whom, when in charge of Chelsea, had to be told by the club captain to stop carping on about Liverpool.

A man who, upon returning to Anfield, visibly welled up when the tourists started scarf-waving to that droning dirge, despite the fact he was sat in the fucking opposition dug out!

A man who held out hope for years that someday he might get the call to go back, and had his media pals like Guillem Balague let it be known that ‘Rafa would love to be Liverpool manager again at some point… in a time of crisis, all they need do is pick up the phone to Rafa’.

Well, they didn’t… but someone else with the same area code did. He was the ‘obvious choice’ after all. Why?

Because he’s “experienced and still lives local”? Selection criteria as comprehensive as 18-year-old Wayne Rooney’s when settling on that ‘auld slapper’. Because he won the Champions League 16 years ago?

We just witnessed a guy who won it three times (and more recently) serve up ball-shrinkingly boring, safety-first shite for most of the season, along with the second-worst home record in the club’s history, while looking completely clueless and wondering out-loud why we expected modern magic when all he had was methods from the Mesolithic age.

Because of his more recent managerial history? A 5-year win percentage of less than 40%; dismissal from Real Madrid after 6 months – said to be due to unpopularity with both supporters and players; a record at Newcastle that stacks up to Steve Bruce; and doing just enough to pull Dalian Professional through the dark days of the Chinese Super League relegation play-offs by leaving Shijiazhuang Ever Bright in the shade.

And they had the cheek to call Carlo ‘Fantastico’? Fuck me!

What else? Because he’s a “stellar name” like Carragher suggests? Currently such a prize catch that he had been a free agent for over 5 months and, of the last two clubs to take him on, one was in the Far East and the other was falling toward the Championship.

The press love to say we’re going for a ‘big name’ – except we’ve never actually pulled it off without having to first frantically brush away layers of dust and dirt like on a fucking archeological dig.

Following the superhero theme, Everton employing Benitez because he’s ‘a stellar name’ is akin to producing a Spiderman movie and casting Adam bloody West in the lead role: “Admittedly Adam’s best days may be long behind him… in fact, we’ve literally just had to dig the bloke up… but chuck his still decomposing corpse against a wall and he will stick like a clammy bastard and – complete bonus – free webs!”

He certainly wasn’t ‘an obvious choice’ on the basis of the immediate unifying effect his employment would have upon supporters. Anyone with an ounce of sense and a head not chokingly smothered by arse cheeks could foresee this would be an appointment inherent with widely alienating potential.

Even before confirmation from the club was forthcoming, a schism was already forming, with fuming (or forlorn) fans saying they feel so strongly about this selection that they will refuse to set foot in the ground while Rafa is there, along with fellow Blues replying with “Well, fuck off then”, “Good riddance”, “You won’t be missed” etc.

Evertonians turning on each other over a red relic and arguing the merits of a man with possibly outdated methods who our local rivals moved on over a decade ago, who ran this club down in public, and whose last job was sweating his plums off in China while perusing a Saga Holiday catalogue.

A man with a history of dull counter-attacking football, pugnacious public pronouncements, and a propensity for in-fighting.Playing down his (admittedly, in the distant past) public proclamation that Everton were piss-ant by retroactively reasoning “that isn’t what he meant, it was taken out of context”, just because he tried to worm his way out of it years later, when it suddenly suited, as the idea of a Premier League job close to his gaff being a convenient gig began to germinate and he was generously given the opportunity by Carragher to state his case on Sky TV.

Or people say “What does it matter? He called us a small club, so what? Grow up!” etc. While it may be convenient to paint objections on that basis as petty cavilling, proceeding straight to blithe dismissal of such a concern does not make you the ‘bigger man’, ‘a better Blue’, or more reasonable. It just means you’re ready to swallow and stomach what someone else finds unpalatable.

For some, his words will still matter here and now, these many years later, and in this particular situation because, if that is what he believed then, it is likely that is what he believes now (considering the club's on-field fortunes have mainly been on a downward trajectory in the decade plus change since then, we recently finished 10th and 12th under a supposedly world class ‘winner’, and the board conspires to make itself look like an utterly slipshod operation during every shambolic new manager search).

If your own manager – the man tasked with fronting your operation and being the public face of the club – deep-down reckons you’re a poxy, second-rate shower of shite not fit to lick the shoes of your local rivals (but you’ll do as a convenient stop-off point on the road to retirement), then how can he be expected to inspire and imbue others with pride in the shirt, or convince them that this is a club they should feel privileged to represent, one which will provide them with a platform to reach their true potential and possibly compete to pick up tin pots?

Let’s not kid ourselves. We’re not bearing witness to an advanced case of apostasy on Rafa Benitez’s part, but rather pure and blatant expediency. He was desperate for a Premier League job; one materialised not far from his door that would be most handy for him… murky history be damned. All the talk of being tempted by ambition, hunger, proving a point etc, is just the usual smoke and mirrors manager-speak.

Fans of a club who, in recent times, have invited a litany of chancers to rock up and take the piss, irrespective of contemporary track record and/or true suitability to the task at hand, are hardly going to be falling all over themselves to welcome someone of similar faded profile to the last failure… and that’s before you throw in the fact he previously managed your arch-rivals and publicly poured scorn on the club’s standing while sporting a post-match titty lip on live TV.

As a display of malcontent, disapproving bedsheets draped outside a football ground may carry a distinct whiff of mouthy bellend (and one left ‘menacingly’ close to the target’s home taking things much too far) but they are still symptomatic of a sense of disenfranchisement that has been swelling over the past five or six seasons. The influx of a benefactor’s billions was supposed to propel Everton to bigger and better things, but it has merely heightened frustration with continued calamities and failures, while abrading away harmony.

When the club had a lack of funds to fall back on, fans could at least be comforted by the conciliatory belief that players in a blue shirt would, at a bare minimum, bring collective passion and fight to the effort, and for their part supporters would back those on the pitch through thick and thin. That reciprocal relationship has receded to such an extent that occasions in which it is felt in full flow, such as the few games Duncan Ferguson was in charge as caretaker, immediately stand out as raucous rarities.

Now, players are pegged as overpaid mercenaries coming to Everton for a cushy, comparatively pressure-free Premier League gig, considered talented but not pulling their weight, or having the heart for a battle, or lacking talent and written off as ‘Championship at best’.

We’ve seen the sending off of Ashley Williams being met by cheers, Schneiderlin and Delph being booed by their own supporters – the first while coming on as sub following a litany of lethargic displays, the latter getting some back after online arguments with Blues, blasting his own team-mates for being “fucking shit” and telling Holgate to “have some fucking respect, you little prick”.

We’ve had a manager informing one of his own players that it would be a waste of his potential if he spent his career pissing about at Everton, loyal away fans who follow their team all over the country forced to sing “Fuck off, Sam Allardyce” to try and convince the club owner to belatedly blot clean a stain he should never have brought upon the club in the first place, and the last guy to be paid mega bucks basically shrugging his shoulders while saying ‘This shit’s got nothing to do with me’.

We have an owner in Moshiri who already has form for not only ignoring the wishes of a large section of fans for the worse, but also for acting the embarrassing fuckwit:

  • Whacking off WhatsApp messages to his mate Jim White and phoning him live on air while sounding arseholed on mulled wine.
  • All the “Hollywood of Football” waffle when he admitted to appointing Koeman because he simply wanted “a star to stand on the touch line”.
  • Claiming Lukaku vacated the premises because he’d been pissing about with “voodoo”.
  • Employing the Equalizer’s elder brother as the club’s first Director of Football due to his unique Chief Scout / PE Teacher past.
  • Saying the club cooled on signing Sissoko because he happened to catch Oliver Twist on Channel 5 one night and couldn’t help telling James McCarthy to consider himself ‘one of the family’.
  • Futilely chasing after Marco Silva just 8 games into his Watford contract before walking away and employing the vastly different and disgraced safety-specialist Sam Allardyce.
  • Justifying the appointment of the aforementioned ‘chuddy chewing, cleaned-up Desperate Dan due in court’ looking dinosaur by saying he rabidly followed his career, read his book, and regarded him as the most underrated manager in the game.
  • Bigging up the bag-of-queefs quartet of Tosun, Sigurdsson, Bolasie and Rooney “as our own Fab Four”.
  • Bizarrely sending season ticket holders a survey asking them to rate ‘Big’ Sam’s managerial performance so far on a scale of 0 to 10.
  • Going back for the unemployed Silva after Watford sacked him for being a shite flash-in-the-pan and still ending up paying £4M in compensation to his former club.
  • Bringing in Marcel Brands to oversee all football operations and implement a consistent and sustainable strategy, before immediately ‘John Wayne Bobbit’ing the bloke by taking the biggest decision out of his hands and hiring whoever he happens to have a hunch about as first-team boss. **

Now Rafa Benitez is the ‘obvious choice’ of managerial balm to rub into these wounds and bring everyone back together?

I can readily believe that most Evertonians who were mildly to moderately opposed to his appointment will now be of the mindset to give the man a chance. After all, he’s since been handed the role and, as a fanbase, we like to think of ourselves as fair, reasonable and above rank and file fulmination.

However, we also know it doesn’t take much for football supporters to skew from a shared state of equitability to a splintered throng of flagellating fume. Benitez will be given time, but it will be time as tokenism and likely to be a lot less than would be given to someone lacking his unique baggage.

Unless he’s going to walk in and get off to a great start and then maintain that start, he’s going to get shit. There’s no getting away from it.

You can write the crowd reaction for the early games already. There will be polite applause. The odd gobshite will give him grief right from the start, only to be told by those nearby to knock it on the head, before having to make do with sitting there glaring menacingly like that monobrowed baby off The Simpsons who wore a meffy white hat and thought Maggie was a wanker.

First few bad results, though, and the gobshitery will grow, shouts to ‘shut up and give the man a chance’ will shrivel, murmurings among the more reasonable will start, followed almost immediately by the Family Enclosure becoming the Evertonian equivalent of the ‘Five Points’, circa 1862 (except… err… edgier and with less elaborate headwear… along with a much more theatrical villain named ‘Bill’).

Gabby Agbonlahor was speaking recently about his time playing under Alex McLeish when he became Aston Villa boss, after previously being in charge of rivals Birmingham City. He mentioned that, every single time Villa were losing a game, the atmosphere swiftly became “poisonous” in the stands and this pressure made it doubly difficult for the players to perform. For him, it was never likely to work and the fans were always going to turn, as there had been resistance to the mere possibility of McLeish being in charge, even before pen touched paper.

If the atmosphere at Goodison Park does take a similar rapid turn for the worse, then you wonder (1) how long it will take for our players to wilt and begin to wrangle for change; and (2) how long Benitez will bite his tongue and refrain from taking a pop back, as was his wont in the past. My worry is that the answer to both will be ‘not long at all’.

Displays of disaffection and disillusionment are not simply going to cease and disappear for good just because Benitez has now landed the gig, to the chagrin of those opposed. They will simply be put on the back burner until the first opportunity to bemoan a bad decision, or a dodgy run of results, and then the buildup of bile is likely to pour straight back out.

Or, as they put it in the film from which the title for this article was filched:

Reporter: “As sad as the spectacle of these billboards might be, this reporter for one hopes this finally puts an end to the strange saga of the three billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri.”

Mildred: [drives by and shouts] “This didn't put an end to shit, you fucking retard; this is just the fucking start. Why don't you put that on your Good Morning Missouri fucking wake-up broadcast, bitch?”

** I spent a few days sick as a dog after starting to write this and came out of a fever to see Farhad has been at it again, handily providing his reasoning as to why Benitez was ‘an obvious choice’.

Clearly I was wrong to suggest he has gone against fan opinion in the past. In fact, it’s the complete opposite. Moshiri has always, always listened to the fans in the past, sometimes to a fault, but this time he’s going it alone, going with his gut.

Not only that, but he is also the ‘biggest Everton fan’ of them all (cut to Bill’s head exploding like the bloke from ‘Scanners’) and everyone else will eventually come to see it his way when they get a load of the new guy’s unbelievable work ethic – conveniently forgetting he came out with exactly the same rhetoric about Allardyce:

“I know he [Allardyce] is a man who gives it his all and is focused 24 hours a day on the Club.”


“The man [Benitez] will be first in, last out at Finch Farm, who gives everything.”

Still, if that wasn’t reassuring enough, confidence levels must surely have been sent through the roof when Moshiri revealed that Rafa “on his computer has maybe 3,000 players' details.”

Cut to: Benitez booting up his Dell and Moshiri’s mouth dropping open in amazement:

“What voodoo is this? So, we are the blue circles and who are the other circles again? Look how fast we are… and this name here has ‘wonder kid’ next to it. We must sign him, Rafa, we must, before word gets out!”

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Reader Comments (67)

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John Crawley
1 Posted 06/07/2021 at 17:43:59
Written with wit and verve, not only brilliantly funny it sums up the whole fiasco better than any other article on ToffeeWeb.
Darren Hind
2 Posted 06/07/2021 at 18:11:37
Clever, hard-hitting, funny and unerringly accurate.
Tony Abrahams
3 Posted 06/07/2021 at 18:13:29
I think if Lyndon or Michael could shorten this up, to make a little bit more sense (sorry John!) then it “should” be compelling reading for someone like Moshiri, who obviously must have wanted to keep Allardyce, for him to send those questionnaires out to the fans in the first place (I'd guess).

I've said before that I used to despise Benitez, but something obviously changed, because I'm even prepared to give him more than a token chance now. My biggest interest is to see if the manager is backed, and to see who he can shift out the club in the next few weeks, and this might maybe even tell us why Moshiri wanted Benitez in the first place?

If he's backed, they must want him because they feel he's the best man for the job, and want him to try and take Everton forward. But, if he's not, then I'd say they must first and foremost see him as an experienced steady hand, and a man to steady the ship, and to try and reduce the wage bill, after years of reckless spending.

Jeff Armstrong
4 Posted 06/07/2021 at 18:17:22
“Fantastic read, Daley nails it once again” (EFC Official website)
Brent Stephens
5 Posted 06/07/2021 at 18:23:39
Great piece, John. Unlike the film, the little man (us) gets fucked – again.
Brendan McLaughlin
6 Posted 06/07/2021 at 18:27:18
Haven't read an article recently that made me laugh so much...nor one that made me feel so pessimistic for the future.
Dale Self
7 Posted 06/07/2021 at 18:35:29
A good read John. The focus on Benitez did finally turn to Moshiri which is appropriate. The selection itself could have avoided toxicity had someone taken the uncomfortable position in front of the microphone and said a few obvious things with some composure and discretion.

Just to get well dug in on a complex situation, this was a business fix not a football solution. This does rhyme with your notion that Benitez was a necessity. It may be an argument for him that with our international and veteran roster could respond better to him than some others available. The mismatch between his preferences on defense with our present lineup is a concern. Here we get right back to what seems to be a recurring carousel problem of only being able to back a manager as we ship out previous managers' misfits.

While Rafa is complicit in signing up for this gig I'm rather focused on Moshiri for the time being. Rafa gets a chance to do his thing without a peep from me until results roll in. To be clear, I am not preparing a Rafa dart board.

Returning to the main complaint. Moshiri should have come to the mic if he wanted us to believe that he and Alisher were on a cleanup mission. This is a couple of business types puffing up at the table and getting some reputation rehab opportunities. Masters of the Universe strike again.

Don Alexander
8 Posted 06/07/2021 at 18:35:46
Nothing new here, many have recently pointed out Moshiri's fault and responsibility. Good to get it off your chest though.
Barry Hesketh
9 Posted 06/07/2021 at 18:44:25
Jamie Carragher, a more than active member of the 'Benitez for Everton' campaign will be sitting back and eating popcorn, whilst Simon Jordan has said on record that the only business that Benitez has an interest in is the "Benitez business".

One week to go and I still hover over my season ticket renewal button, unsure about whether to press submit or walk away. I'll probably submit both physically and mentally and be at Goodison on 14 August.

Will I be looking forward to it? Not really. Expecting a host of new hungry players? Not really. Expecting to see the players who are on international duty and doing well in Everton kits come the start of September? Not really. Expecting the whole thing to go pear-shaped by Christmas at the latest? Very much so, Everton have become a bit of a reality show type club – and Moshiri didn't even have the foresight to sell the live footage of it all to a TV producer somewhere.

There's always next season or the one after that but there are not too many of them remaining at Goodison Park, we have to find a way to see off the old place in a fitting manner, but, somehow, we'll probably just leave with a whimper, with only a few old souls who remember what it was like to see the glint of silver with the backdrop of the Archibald Leitch criss-crossed stands.

If Benitez still occupies the managerial seat when we move from Goodison, it'll come as a major surprise to most of us, but stranger things have happened, especially to Everton.

David Pearl
10 Posted 06/07/2021 at 18:52:11

I hope you feel a bit better having got all that off your chest.

We have, for the most part, all been thinking, saying and feeling the exact same things. Moshiri has been just awful for us, and how he has gone about it is puzzling to say the least. I'm pretty sure he doesn't drink, even mulled wine.

The only thing that makes me feel a little better is seeing that picture of him standing next to Duncan with a cap on with a big Everton badge on it.

Alan J Thompson
11 Posted 06/07/2021 at 18:52:57
Interesting, amusing in places and exactly to the point.
Tony McNulty
12 Posted 06/07/2021 at 18:56:04

Wonderful and I believe entirely accurate description of the likely crowd attitudes towards Rafa (from "You can write the crowd reaction... " onwards)

In the case that the results start going mammeries up, a lazy journalist might wish to cut and paste some of your words now, since I am sure they will absolutely come to pass.

No pressure Rafa. You really do need to pull your tripe out and fast.

Andy Crooks
13 Posted 06/07/2021 at 18:56:54
Nothing new here, Don? How about wit, intelligence, insight and a writing style rarely seen on ToffeeWeb. Great stuff, John. Thought provoking and fun. Wish I could have written that.
Lynne Jennings
14 Posted 06/07/2021 at 19:05:13
Brilliant John - a witty and intelligent piece of writing. A powerful read.
Barry Rathbone
15 Posted 06/07/2021 at 19:11:35
I thought you nailed the predicted crowd reaction perfectly. I would add he has already missed the first opportunity to get much needed brownie points and delay the almost certain train wreck due in at Xmas.

I said elsewhere, he should have put the boot into the shite with a convincing "mea culpa" over his notorious jibe but the initial presser came and went and he couldn't bring himself to do it.

Another Carlo / Koeman nob'ead who has no idea what's needed here.

Jerome Shields
16 Posted 06/07/2021 at 19:12:48
I was getting optimistic, but back to being realistic. Parachuting someone into an area that you have not prepared and have no knowledge of is dangerous and may be foolhardy.

A very high-risk strategy, which is thought of as not being high risk by Moshiri & Usmanov, with other parties already positioning themselves for failure.

For, to stand any chance, Everton needs a unity of purpose, which it can only have by change within the Club. As Don#8 says, this has been the case from the start of this saga. Moshiri is not the only party to this saga.

As Mao said in his Little Red Book: 'A leader a mile in front of his Army is a fool'. Moshiri may need Usmanov to push the button on the weapon of mass destruction.

Peter Mills
17 Posted 06/07/2021 at 19:14:09
John, that’s a great piece, and a very clever analogy with “3 Billboards”.

I’ve been trying to retain some positivity as that is all I can bring to the party, but it is similar to the kind of positivity I exhibited when I felt compelled to stay until the end of a 0-5 defeat in a derby. Forlorn.

Martin Mason
18 Posted 06/07/2021 at 19:22:54
He didn't call us a small club. He said that is what small clubs do and that was taken completely out of context. Yet more EFC myth. If an Everton manager had said the same after a Liverpool game, we would have lapped it up like cats in the dairy… yet when he doesn't even say it, we whine about lack of respect. Respect… in this game?
Peter Warren
19 Posted 06/07/2021 at 19:34:53
I agree mostly with all said but remain optimistic. No real reason other than by law of averages some manager must do good - throughout my period watching the blues (since circa 1994), all our managers have been poor. Perhaps more realistic is that Liverpool and Newcastle fans generally thought he was ace.

For me, he's always seemed a negative manager – that's why I was against him… but hey ho, let's see. What's clear is Moshiri ploughs money in but has no clue about footy.

James Flynn
20 Posted 06/07/2021 at 19:47:25
Good stuff JD.

"Jamie Carragher, phlegm-firing football pundit"


John Keating
21 Posted 06/07/2021 at 20:03:42
Can't argue with any of that John. Good funny piece

Martin I think we all know exactly what he meant, however much people try to interpret it

Christine Foster
22 Posted 06/07/2021 at 20:35:12
Fantastic brain dump, absolutely disconcerting, painfully not funny despite the wit. Frustratingly bang on. Scarily depressing, a true view that cut through the bullshit.
Derek Knox
24 Posted 06/07/2021 at 23:50:35
Good post, John D, as always. I love the sardonic wit whilst still conveying a very poignant outlook on our current manager situation.

I am ambivalent, I suppose, I always want Everton to do well, but will have to through gritted teeth should his tenure prove to be successful, which – as you alluded to – is a great doubt.

My stand against him was not solely based on who his ex-employer was, or indeed his 'small club' remarks, but purely on what he has achieved in the last few years, and where his ambition for Everton to do well would come from. We craved a wealthy investor for long enough but, if the last few years are anything to go by, it has been more of a curse than a blessing!

Don Alexander
25 Posted 06/07/2021 at 00:02:36
Andy (#13), I read it as a TW piece on Everton Football Club's current situation, and not a dissertation on the author's writing style.

FYI, I, and various others, have recently been saying precisely the same thing as John, but with admittedly way less embellishment.

Frank Wade
26 Posted 07/07/2021 at 00:27:05
Brilliant writing, John, as always, very funny tragicomedy piece.

I'm with Derek #24, hoping for the best. We certainly thought the arrival of the millions would have produced more results and more comedy than tragedy.

Derek Thomas
27 Posted 07/07/2021 at 00:30:26
*Doffs cap*

Just when I had drifted from the 'rs rafa can do one' camp to, 'he's here now, so I suppose we'll have to just see how he goes, because you never know' camp... you come along and blow me back on course.

We used to be NSNO, now were the RSRC - Red Shite Rafa Club.

This is our 2nd (in a very, very, long line of contenders) worse decision ever, the worst being – Not paying the rent increase in 1892.

It will all end in tears.

Jamie Sweet
28 Posted 06/07/2021 at 00:45:14
Great article. Piss funny and thoroughly depressing in equal measure. Shall also be proven in time to be absolutely spot on, I fear.
Gerry Morrison
29 Posted 07/07/2021 at 01:07:11
Superb. Well done John.
Jack Convery
30 Posted 07/07/2021 at 02:03:11
A Roman Centurion would be oh so proud, of how you nailed all things shite and bluetiful at Goodison these days. One of, if not the best pieces, I have ever read on TW. Funny, witty and bang, bang, bang on the Everton Cross, we all carry for better or worse.
Roy Johnstone
31 Posted 07/07/2021 at 07:52:10
Magic article, John. Sums up my feelings better than I ever could in words. The Gaby Agbonlahor comments are the most telling of all I have heard in this entire shit-show. And Benitez will crack and pop back at the fans… Fact.
Kenn Crawford
32 Posted 07/07/2021 at 08:57:39

Very witty but scarily so close to the bone and frighteningly true. You nailed it, unfortunately.

We are not getting any better with this appointment.

Mike Hughes
33 Posted 07/07/2021 at 09:05:40
Enjoyed reading it but I’m not sure whether this article helped my scrambled brain over this development.

My neighbour (a red who I haven’t seen for a couple of weeks) asked me yesterday what I thought of the Benitez appointment, adding that he is viewed as a “good manager”.

My reply was that Adolph Hitler was supposedly a “good artist” but I don’t want his pictures on hanging on my wall.

“Unclean” just about sums up how I feel at present.

Steavey Buckley
34 Posted 07/07/2021 at 09:21:51
Everton fans should get behind Benitez until it's not practical or feasible.

Yet, there was none or very few available with the experience of Benitez, who always got Liverpool into the Champions League when he was manager, who has about the same amount of money for transfers with Everton that he had with Liverpool. How many managers available have got that on their CV?

A Top 4 finish is the best Everton fans should wish and hope for, which is doable under Benitez.

Eddie Dunn
35 Posted 07/07/2021 at 09:37:05
I loved every word of that, John.

Like Tony, I had reconciled myself to hope for the best. It will obviously turn to shit pretty quickly. Christ! Carlo had us top of the pile and look what happened to that.

Who the feck do we think we could attract to join our bunch of second-rate mercenaries who have let every manager down, bar Dunc's short tenure?

Depressing that we are owned by a moron who makes Blue Bill seem a football genius.

Dave Abrahams
36 Posted 07/07/2021 at 09:46:29
I know you don't come on here much, John, not sure but didn't you say you would be leaving ToffeeWeb to concentrate on writing a book, or am I getting you mixed up with another poster?

If I'm correct, how's your book coming on?

Brian Harrison
37 Posted 07/07/2021 at 10:20:48

Your post encapsulates my feelings completely. There have been many excellent posts on ToffeeWeb over the years but this is the best I have ever read.

I would just go a little bit further and say I could well imagine, when he finally leaves, then the reasons for him not being successful will be:

"The board promised to back me with substantial funds but that never happened." There will be a side-swipe at the players either not good enough or not buying into his style. Then finally, he will tell the world and his wife the fanbase never gave him a chance and made it impossible for him to be successful.

How do I know? That's simple: it's what he has said about practically all the clubs he managed and left.

Dennis Stevens
38 Posted 07/07/2021 at 11:11:40
If Benitez is motivated to guide Everton to success, I can't help thinking his motivation may well be to prove to those luvable reds that they were wrong to get rid of him all those years ago. Sadly, I suspect he's more likely to prove that they were right.
Derek Knox
39 Posted 07/07/2021 at 11:45:19
Brian @ 37, your post makes a lot of sense, but I heard unofficially (of course) that was one of the reasons Carlo left, as he was promised a decent-sized war chest for the then, upcoming Summer Transfer Window, and was then told that players would have to be sold for that to come into fruition.

Again, that was unofficial, and may have been hearsay, but just about anything our once magnificent club does would not surprise me one iota. As I referred to in my previous post on this thread, our long-awaited windfall has turned out to be more of a curse than a blessing!

Being the Devil's Advocate here, but Rafa has a reputation for not tolerating any form of lethargy or free-loaders, and that goes from top to bottom of those he has control over (obviously not the dysfunctional Board), so he may, however long or short his tenure is, be able to flush out some of the miasma and detritus that has pervaded us for too long now.

I believe, like many have said before, that there has to be something drastically wrong, we have had m,any players and Managers, through our seemingly revolving door at Goodison Park and Finch Farm. Basically with the same, or similar disappointing results and final Premier League positions, in addition to minimal desires to extend any cup runs, which definitely do not reflect the amount of money expended.

I know Bobby Brown Shoes had defensive issues and a poor season prior to his sacking, but what have we done since? In the meantime, he was so poor he landed the Belgium job and, until recently, they were considered the World's Best Team. I think, had he been given adequate funding, things could have worked out very differently. One thing is for sure, we couldn't (hypothetically) be any worse and £500M blown than we are now!

Andy Crooks
40 Posted 07/07/2021 at 11:50:39
Didi Hamann, who has somehow got a column in the Racing Post, wrote today "Classy Rafa can win over doubters". He also says, " A handful of Everton fans are complaining",

I would love to share John's article with him.

Another ex-red, devoid of any journalistic ability, stealing a leaving with asinine, witless observations and gormless betting advice.

Brian Murray
41 Posted 07/07/2021 at 11:55:32

I think you're looking too deep into it. He's done what all modern-day sport mercenaries do on and off the pitch. He knew the job was too much for his very average vision and ability and just done one soon as.

As for being told he had to get the likes of Delph, Gomes, Bernard and Sigurdaaon off the books, I doubt that would be a reason. In fact, if clog-gob does the job he's paid, he will find a way to get rid of them… albeit at a big loss. Especially Iwobi.

Raymond Fox
42 Posted 07/07/2021 at 12:53:40
Moshiri's brain must be scrambled by now with the money that has been wasted.

What his strategy is now god knows, the real stars won't sign for us, but a couple of top players are just what we are short of.

Danny O’Neill
43 Posted 07/07/2021 at 13:58:39
A very clever, if somewhat complex and artistic work of word-smithery, John.

Pretty much sums up a lot of feelings and sentiment. Many didn't want this and remain uncomfortable and as you say, see it going toxic early if things don't go well quickly.

But, having gone with what he wanted and got his man, the owner has to back him. He has passed the line of departure as they say on military operations and there is no going back now.

I personally wish we would drop all this "People's Club" and "History" sentiment as a driving factor in our branding. I'm a big believer in heritage, history and tradition and very proud of it, both personally, with the city of Liverpool and Everton Football Club. But history is built on past achievements. Forget the FA Cup, we haven't achieved anything notable that made the football world sit up and take notice for 34 years.

We need future achievement to continue those proud histories and traditions. Like our iconic new stadium, we need to be looking upwards and outwards, not continuously stuck in the past or wrapped in nostalgia. I'm terrible for it, but it should be a reference point and something people like me reminisce on late into a Saturday evening / Sunday morning watching Howard's Way for the 1878th time. Not the basis of our identify. Let's give the younger generation something to bore their kids with.

Make history, don't just live in it. Shamelessly stolen from Chelsea fans' mockery of Liverpool during the first Mourinho stint in response to the "you've got no history". I'm tired of being nice and plucky little Everton who other big clubs "don't mind". I for one, want to be disliked. In the UK, we have a particular culture of resenting success. I want Everton to be resented.

That took me a few reads, but thank you. By the way, I wasn't sick as a dog, but my dogs have been worried sick about my state of mind these past few weeks.

James Flynn
44 Posted 07/07/2021 at 14:02:38
I'm going with the notion that Rafa knows this is his final shot at the big-time and will want to make the most of it.
Darren Hind
45 Posted 07/07/2021 at 19:39:08
Andy Crooks

This "Daley accuracy" seems to be catching.

Your description of Didi Hamann reminded me of an old Robin Hood scene. Talk about splitting the apple.

Yet another ex red "living stealer" who has trouble hiding the fact that he has been stained by the brush of gobshitery

Derek Moore
46 Posted 07/07/2021 at 20:11:24
There's not many I things I read these days I wish I had the verve and ability to write, but this was one such piece.

You articulate the case for the impending embarrassment that will be the "Benitez era" far more clearly and logically than I think was perhaps your intent John.

This isn't going to end well because it quite frankly has no fucken chance whatsoever of going well. Nothing actually sums up how unfit for purpose our owner actually is than this appointment – Moshiri is an utter spud and it's easy to see why he has quite literally wasted hundreds of millions of pounds. And will almost certainly continue to do so.

Thank you for writing this, John, I cannot agree with it enough.

Phillip Warrington
47 Posted 07/07/2021 at 22:32:15
It's got to the stage where I don’t really care who the manager is, we just seem doomed to fail – even last season and every season under Moshiri's era. Every time there was a chance to succeed, we blew it, and now we are at a stage where whoever comes in inherits a group of players that are overpaid and near impossible to move on.

This makes it near impossible to bring in big names, even if they wanted to play for Everton. Even the top players we have would rather play for their country than Everton. This season, I believe, will make Everton or finally break the resolve of the supporters of Everton.

Jamie Sweet
48 Posted 08/07/2021 at 04:55:40
The "Benitez era".


If we end up looking back on this era more fondly than we do the "Allardyce era", then Rafa will have exceeded my expectations.

I've set the bar that low.

Brian Murray
49 Posted 08/07/2021 at 05:54:14
As the days and weeks go by with no sign of transfers, it's looking like we are clinging to the usual last-minute hope of generating funds... in this case, by selling Moise Kean. The FFP argument is getting a bit thin.

It's up to Brands to get buyers for Bernard, Iwobi, Gomes, Sigurdsson… even crock Tosun etc. Albeit at a big loss but at least get them off the wage bill. Failing that, the Benitez era will be no different with this group.

Danny O’Neill
50 Posted 08/07/2021 at 07:24:43
Maybe the Euros is delaying the transfer market, Brian? Even if we aren't shopping for players involved, there is usually a sequence of events involved in all transfers, which has a domino effect in other players being released and moving.

It does feel dirty doesn't it Jamie?

My bar is higher. If I maintain consistency with Ancelotti and take into account this is a manager that has achieved (albeit in the past), then I expect European football to be our target next season, not survival.

I want him to succeed in doing that.

I'm off to shower. I shall use bleach rather than shower gel.

Brian Murray
51 Posted 08/07/2021 at 07:54:20

It doesn't delay the likes of Leicester who have a plan, a strategy. It's called acting like pros instead of reacting to one crisis after another. (I'm still waiting for the Lukaku reaction! As in "Find a striker, maybe"). Anyway let's hope I'm totally wide of the mark.

Danny O’Neill
52 Posted 08/07/2021 at 08:12:50
I tend to add caution to getting carried away with players who have good international tournaments Brian, but I've seen a few who caught the eye in this one that fit our needs.

I agree, we hope (that word again) there is a strategy. I'm hoping (again) that maybe the Euros is just holding things up.

Striker; Schick. Not just his performances for the Czech Republic. He's been under the radar at Roma and Leverkusen for a few years now.

Stryger Larsen, the Danish right sided player who can slot in as right back or wing back and Dumfries.

Still need an attacking midfielder, but can't think of a realistic one right now.

Anthony Dove
53 Posted 08/07/2021 at 17:37:46
Brilliant article. There’s a lot more talent on ToffeeWeb than there is the Everton Boardroom.
Paul Tran
54 Posted 09/07/2021 at 22:32:45
Darren #45, the irony around Hamann is that Racing Post readers regularly face his 'selections', while his past includes severe gambling debts from his playing days.

For the recent record, old Didi proclaimed England would easily fall to Germany, then Denmark. I'm sure they keep employing him so readers make a fortune opposing his tips.

Paul Birmingham
55 Posted 09/07/2021 at 23:11:11
Great sketch, and rational John, your article is superbly written and thought, and is outstanding.

I’m believing, in Everton but it’s got to the Bob Hope, No Hope stage, with this preseason. Surely Benitez is on a genuine mission rather than a covert mission to whack Everton.

I believe his intent is genuine, and the first Derby will be great and some interesting times lie ahead for next season.

The supporters keep me going, the past success, keeps me waning, and hope eternal in all matters Everton keeps me alive.

It’s a Biblical tale, and who knows, but the European Championship, could deliver some good transfer targets for Everton at market rate, decent prices.

All have a Ball this weekend.

Bob Parrington
56 Posted 10/07/2021 at 13:44:33
So John D. the man whose postings I tend to admire, what "positively" is the point you are trying to make in this article?
Eugene Ruane
57 Posted 11/07/2021 at 10:51:31
1) Superbly written, a fantastic piece.

2) My guess is 5/6 months from now, TWers will look back at this article and say "But how could he have been SO accurate? It's like he could see the future."

3) The word 'dumb' is one that I find myself constantly saying/thinking re Everton and it's been this way for years. That pass, that attempted short-corner, that free kick, that substitution, that director of football, that ground in Kirkby, that manager, that owner, that song, those supporters, me - dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumbdumbdumbdumb. So given this appointment (for all the reasons JD mentions) is about as dumb as it gets, maybe we can take some crumb of comfort for being incredibly consistent. Consistent how? Everton, like Ivan Ackerman in Annie Hall, ALWAYS..


Andy Crooks
58 Posted 11/07/2021 at 16:51:23
Paul and Darren; the word has come down from Delphi to Didi
In his Post column to today he muses that the Italians will not cope with Wembley. It will be a high scoring game and England will" win handsomely". I have decided to ignore the wisdom of the master but have backed Maguire to score first @25/1 and to score in 90 minutes @10/1.
I tried to find contact details for Didi to forward John's article to him. Quite wisely, however, the lamentable tipster is unwelcoming to feedback.

Dave Abrahams
59 Posted 11/07/2021 at 17:08:05
Eugene (57) five or six months from now T/W’s will look back and say “ But how could he be so accurate, it’s like he could see the future”, I think plenty of fans are saying the same thing as John, but not using as many words, we could know by Christmas, or it could take longer or maybe Raff could surprise a lot of fans, now wouldn’t that be nice.
Eugene Ruane
60 Posted 12/07/2021 at 06:49:18
Dave #59 - "I think plenty of fans are saying the same thing as John, but not using as many words."

But imo it's the 'many words' (and how they're put together) that give this piece impact. It's why the article is memorable and something (nb: I know for a fact) that many Evertonians have sent to each other with the instruction 'read this!' (that's how I was made aware of it).

Remember Shakespeare (on 'Ye Webbe off ye Foffee') could have said "It is what is is lad..swear down on our baby's life, know what I mean like?"

But he he decided on..

"To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub."


Dave Abrahams
61 Posted 12/07/2021 at 09:38:42
Eugene (60), Eugene, Ah yes Shakespeare, he wasn’t bad was he, went on a bit though didn’t he and I didn’t always grasp his meaning, but sometimes he was very good, always liked Brendan Behan, he always got to the point very quickly and I understood him perfectly, but each to his own Eugene.

Anyway Eugene you were up early this morning, or maybe you were going to bed after a good day and night yesterday, hoped you enjoyed it anyway, as Gareth Southgate said last night “ For want of a shoe a horse was lost, for want of a horse a battle was lost” Or maybe he said. “ I didn’t half fuck it up choosing those penalty takers” Cheers Eugene, when are coming back to ToffeeWeb on a regular basis? You are missed you know.

Eugene Ruane
62 Posted 12/07/2021 at 13:14:11
Dave #61 - 'Anyway Eugene you were up early this morning.'

That's age.

I'll be 62 on the 20th of this month and find these days I have very little influence re when I get to wake up and get out of bed.

Now every 4 hrs or so my bladder shouts "TIME FOR ANOTHER SLASH YOU OLD TWAT, GET UP!" and I do as I'm ordered.

Ageing isn't kind to most people but particularly hard on me, a man once described* as Huyton's Great Gatsby.

* by me.

Andy Crooks
63 Posted 12/07/2021 at 13:40:48
I know, Eugene. I used to be puzzled by how many, what I considered to be, old folk, were roaming the streets at 7 am. It's all clear now. So many decisions to make; lie on in defiance, get up with eyes closed(risky), stop too soon, make the GP appointment( of course it will be with some slip of a girl!.)
You know what, too much is made of being blessed to be old enough to have seen us win a trophy.

Dave Abrahams
64 Posted 12/07/2021 at 14:06:18
Eugene (62), every four hours, fuckin’ hell you’re a marathon pisser, sometimes I’m on my way back to bed, from the toilet, and I’ve got to turn round for another go!! Years ago, when I was alive, it was a lot easier, we only had an outdoor toilet so you just got out of bed and used the bucket that was on the landing.
Tony Abrahams
65 Posted 12/07/2021 at 14:23:59
I used to love making you a cup of tea with that bucket, Dave, so you weren't as alive as you thought you was mate!
Dave Abrahams
66 Posted 12/07/2021 at 15:00:28
Tony (65), yes very funny, and no doubt you would have made me a cup of tea out of piss, except you never lived in a house with an outdoor toilet. You've been spoilt and molly coddled all your life, you never had to rough it like your dear old dad. You'd have snuffed it when you were about 3½ if you had!!
Paul Traill
67 Posted 18/07/2021 at 08:56:43
Brilliant piece, John. Sums up my feelings exactly. I couldn't have written it any better myself. Well done mate.
Keith Harrison
68 Posted 28/07/2021 at 20:48:43
An excellent piece, John. Great to see you back on here (not that I'm frequenting it much, by the way). The re-appearance of Eugene as well reminds me of Barnstoneworth United in Michael Palins 'Ripping Yarns' series. (Check out 'Golden Gordon' on Youtube -it's brilliant!)

Are ToffeeWeb rolling out all the revered literary stalwarts in a time of crisis such as now?

A (very lengthy!) microcosm of what the vast majority of us are thinking, and even more so a few weeks on after a so far underwhelming transfer window.

Has anyone else noticed that Everton women seem to be signing 2 stellar foreign signings every other day while the men's targets diminish from Denzil Dumfries down to Phil Jones? Is DBB now Director of Footy, or does Moshiri think that the Women's team winning something will erase the 26-year agony ??

I renewed my Season Ticket on the understanding (mine) that Benitez is bulleted before he takes us to the Championship, and so I can have dibs on a seat at Bramley-Moore Dock when it's good to go.

By the way, Eugene, welcome to the '62 club, where you can easily piss 4 pints for every pint of Guinness drank.

A ToffeeWeb poll of whether we would rather be poor and proud pre-Moshiri, or minted and Moshed up as now might be in order.

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