The title is the phrase I used messaging a few people on the way home yesterday.

I categorised this as a Match Report, but Lyndon, Michael and Paul offer more detailed analysis than me. I still don't know how Michael gets those reports online so quickly. Respect. Mine is as much about the day out with a few observations about the match itself.

It was an eventful weekend. It started with a meet-up with my sister and brother-in-law on Friday, who were down from Liverpool. Always good to see them, even though he's a red.

Into London on Saturday to take in a theatre show. I recommend the recently started Bonnie and Clyde in the West End for those who like the theatre. And it's not one of our famous Evertonian's productions. I was a late starter to the theatre and took some convincing for years, but it's a great day out if you're ever in London. New York also.

Anyway, I digress. Up nice and early on Sunday to get the dogs exercised. Then into Uxbridge. I sometimes get the nearby mainline train into London, but decided to play safe and get on the Metropolitan Line as it goes direct to St Pancras.

I had time for a quick pit-stop to get some breakfast and considered going for something healthy at Pret à Manger. I was magnetically lured and took a left turn into Gregg's before I got anywhere near Pret and polished off a bacon baguette before getting on the train. What's the phrase: you can take the boy out of (insert place), but you can't take the boy out of (insert place).

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Another random one, but St Pancras has to be the grandest train station in the world, both from the outside and the inside.

Enough time to pick up a few drinks from M&S for the journey. No free plastic cups. I don't like drinking from tins or bottles, but not a problem, I can always grab one from the onboard cafe.

Onboard cafe closed due to staff shortages. So I wandered up into First Class. They'll have some. They also had no service although I spotted glasses in the kitchen. The very kind train manager let me have a glass (a real one) and even told me to take a seat in first class free of charge. Bonus. It was a very busy train and there were a surprisingly large number of Forest supporters on it.

I got a message from Neil Copeland, which rendered my first world problems insignificant as their train from Crewe had been cancelled. Great respect for that group's dedication and improvisation to simply refusing to not attend.

Got to Nottingham after a short delay to meet with Jim Burns. I always like putting faces to the names of the people we meet and speak to on here, so it was great to meet him. We headed off to the City Ground. Jim went straight in.

I decided on a swift one and wandered straight into a Forest pub. Unsurprising really as it was right next to the stadium, and I do have form on this type of thing, so should know better. I stood in the corner, drank up quickly and headed off. Here we go!

Big thanks as always to John Raftery and pass that gratitude on to Harold. I spotted the unmistakable figure of Rob Halligan downstairs before the match, so went for a chat.

The atmosphere was building, the supporters were in great voice, and we both commented, as I always do, on the number of young supporters generating it. Their passion is something ours and the older generations can only admire and have the utmost respect for. Especially given the current situation we're in, let alone the fact they've only had scraps to feed off for their entire Everton lives.

If anyone feeling down about Everton wants to feel positive, I recommend you go and stand amongst those kids. Both in the concourses and in the stadiums round the country. They make us proud. They make me feel proud.

How did I see the game? We were pretty much in control, especially in the first half. Seamus rolled back the years yet again. How long can he keep doing it?

I thought Tarkowski was commanding and Michael Keane, in fairness, had a decent game; in my view, that partnership worked well yesterday.  

Onana is frustrating. Yesterday, he was even more elusive than some have recently observed; he was hardly in it. I say 'frustrating' because, when he is in it, he can be a very good player. He just needs to get involved more consistently or we need to involve him.

I thought McNeil had a good outing again and Iwobi was better than he has been in recent weeks. And although I saw a few comments, I thought Ben Godfrey did okay; it is good to see him coming back from that injury.

Demarai Gray did well and worked hard, especially as he was leading the line in the absence of a centre-forward and being asked to do that job. He put a shift in for the team. Maupay's cameo didn't give us the third but his effort was notable. He was buzzing around like a wasp.

Forest inevitably came out on the front foot in the second half and we started sitting deep and backing off, which always concerns me.

Which leads to Doucoure. In my view, he seems to have taken the mantle for some of the remarks I made about Iwobi a while back. He runs around a lot and often seems confused.

The irony being that the player who put us back in front and on the way to 3 points, then plays a pass directly to a Forest player near our own box, which subsequently calved us open and led to the equaliser. I couldn't believe it. Despite their pushing and my nervousness about our deepness, I hadn't really felt threatened. Jordan Pickford didn't look happy at all.

So, an individual self-destruct mistake just as victory was in touching distance. But importantly we didn't collapse after that, gained a point, and Forest didn't pull away although, when 5 minutes went up, I sighed deeply. We couldn't afford to lose that, both in terms of the points and psychologically. We didn't.

It's still well within our gift to catch those currently above us. They will drop points, we will gain them and we're showing enough to suggest we can –  regardless of who we're playing. I don't care who we've got to play, to be honest. It never works that scientifically.

Sort out Dominic's body or state of mind, or whatever the issue is, and we will be in a good place for the challenge ahead. And we will be there with them. Every single one of us, every step of the way.

On the crowd, sold out again and speaking to Brian Murray, he seemed to think it looked like we had more than our allocation. It certainly felt like that. There were a strange bunch of home supporters to the top right of where we were stood. They seemed more obsessed in us for long periods than the match or their own team.

I know there's banter and you get that in a lot of places, particularly at the London clubs. Chant's of "You're going back to a shit-hole"? I'm guessing a lot of them live in Nottingham, which is hardly Kensington, Chelsea or Westminster? It was met with retaliatory chants or "Scabs" and "Fuck the Tories". All very entertaining and I thought I was back in the 1980s!!

The trip back was quiet… but I guess that's because I was asleep for most of it. I had time at Marylebone waiting for the train home, so had another swift one before heading home to let the dogs make a fuss of me and have a relatively early night.

Brentford at home next. We need wins and they're going to come. Do it for those fantastic young Everton supporters. They deserve it more than me. They believe in you. Keep believing in yourselves. You're turning the corner and showing spirit.

Spirit. Forever.

Reader Comments (38)

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Jim Bennings
1 Posted 06/03/2023 at 16:34:43
The problem is none of our central midfielders are careful when in possession of the ball, Doucoure, Onana and Gana, my Lord the passing and ball retention is awful.
Will Mabon
2 Posted 06/03/2023 at 17:02:39
Great report, Danny, thanks. Takes me back, it's been a while.

I'd say you pretty much captured the game itself as I saw it. As to breakfast, you made the correct choice for health; "They" are not going after meat and eggs for nothing. The "Healthy" stuff is being left alone and pushed... but that's another story.

John Raftery
3 Posted 06/03/2023 at 17:17:51
Great report Danny. I have passed your thanks on to Harold.

We are not the only team who have found it difficult to put Forest away. They have the resilience to stay in games even when being outplayed. Hence they are unbeaten at home since September. That includes a recent 1-1 draw against Man City.

We face a similar sort of challenge this week against Brentford who have lost only four matches this season. They are draw specialists with eleven so far. It will be another really tough game for us. We need to make it difficult for them. Hopefully Fulham will undermine their confidence tonight.

Rob Halligan
4 Posted 06/03/2023 at 17:23:07
Good report on your day, Danny. Like I’ve done many times in the past, I like to see how other fans day out pans out, rather than just reading reports on the game itself. As we were saying before kick off, the amount of young fans downstairs, sitting on their fathers shoulders, trying to start the singing was great to see. I swear, no other club could still generate a following like we have, having had to put up with some of the dross we’ve suffered for years. For the young fans, their time will come. We will survive this season, play the last season at the Old Lady in the premier league, then move into BMD. Our second season at BMD will see us back in Europe, to which you are cordially invited to join “The Gang” on another European tour.
Mike Gaynes
5 Posted 06/03/2023 at 17:29:54
Danny, you're a helluva journo, as you lot call them. Nice reporting.

Agreed on Keane and Tark. I was impressed. Keane really is much better positionally than Coady.

Regarding Onana, of course he's inconsistent. I'd be astonished if he wasn't. He's 21. He has played fewer than 90 professional games, fewer than 60 at top level, and he's had five managers and multiple roles to fill in that time. I think we have a superstar in the making, but much patience will be required.

Agreed also on Godfrey. He's not a left back and he's not game-sharp after the long layoff, so his positioning was sometimes horrible, but I thought he did well overall.

Re Doucoure's mistake, I saw an interesting analysis on NBC that showed he wasn't 100% at fault. When he got the ball, both Iwobi and Gana ran forward between defenders, and neither stopped to make themselves readily available. And there was an opponent between Duke and a potential layoff pass, so he had to try to squeeze the ball through. It was admittedly foolish and poorly done, but his teammates didn't help. Jim is absolutely right, the current midfield is a turnover disaster. IMO Iwobi needs to be moved centrally, and he too must be more careful with the ball.

Personally I was delighted with yesterday's performance if disappointed by the result. We were committed, passionate, confident on the ball (sometimes too confident, right, Duke and Keane???) and played maximum hard every minute. No dithering on the ball, no hesitance and looking around on defense, no lack of forward commitment. Performances like that will keep us up.

If we can just eliminate some of the mistakes.

John Raftery
6 Posted 06/03/2023 at 17:40:57
I hope you are right Rob. Looking back those European trips were the best of times for us since the turn of the century. We’ve had little else to enjoy but the days and nights in places like Kharkiv, Nuremberg, Alkmaar, Bergen, Minsk, Athens, Krasnodar, Wolfsburg, Bern, Split and Nicosia were brilliant. Every trip felt like an adventure. It’s a terrible shame that Putin has now made Europe much smaller but of course there are many more important issues at stake than football.
Tony Abrahams
7 Posted 06/03/2023 at 18:04:15
A very enjoyable read Danny, and something that has got me pining for both Everton and your adopted city, which I absolutely love.

The kids are fantastic fanatics, and my young godson is the one who is keeping up the family tradition right now.

As you know Danny, I’m a little bit torn at the minute, but I sense better times (I’m a lunatic- hopefully I’m not a jinx) and being back amongst the travelling blue army, is something that I need to begin to do on a more regular basis once again, because being amongst the fanatical Evertonians, has always been special 💙

Dale Self
8 Posted 06/03/2023 at 18:32:21
Yes Danny, well done your spirit comes through in your prose. I’m not much for the personal experience so if I read it through it is because you have some style. “Even though he’s a red” kept me going. You epitomize the Everton Away fans indomitable character and surely it is your type thosegood kids are following.

Just as others can’t see us staying up I cannot ser us going down and I lopk forward to you teporting why we didn’t. UTFT!!!!!

Rob Halligan
9 Posted 06/03/2023 at 18:47:19
Definitely, John, but there’s one or two you’ve missed off that list………Reggio Emilia (Where we played Atalanta), Lille, Lyon, Florence, Olomouc, Kiev, Ruzemberok. I know you missed the last one, but I’ll give you Krasnodar, which I missed. Word of warning for Danny though, I hope you like walking tours, because John and two of the lads I go with will try and lure you into the walking tours they do!
Tony Abrahams
10 Posted 06/03/2023 at 18:56:52
When we get back in Europe that I hope we get Ajax, just for you Danny!
Nick White
11 Posted 06/03/2023 at 19:22:14
Great article Danny! Love to see more of these! St Pancras is amazing, only been twice, to and from Bruges via Brussels but what a gem!
Danny O’Neill
12 Posted 06/03/2023 at 19:27:58
We will stay up and we're going to Europe.

Rob, glad to accept honoury membership of the gang. You'll probably be shaking your head at me, as I'm prone to the odd walking tour. I'll try not to bring a guide book.

Tony, Ajax would be fantastic. I've visited their training ground and watched the youth teams train.

Get back on the road Tony, you don't need me to tell you you'd love it.

Let's get over the line again and then reset.

Country Road before we march down the Fulham Road. We can do this Everton.

Andrew James
13 Posted 06/03/2023 at 21:17:00
City Ground being the only place closest to it's rival's ground than us I believe??? Not that they ever play each other.

I haven't been to matches since Covid because I'm in the highly vulnerable group but, before the pandemic, it did used to annoy me how opposition fans always chant the same stuff, especially away. Council houses, unemployment etc

Watch Boys from the Blackstuff and you will know these are serious generational subjects and not to be trivialised in a stupid chant.

But Danny, I know what you mean about some of these fans from certain clubs taking a weird fascination in us. Leicester fans have been similar. I think they sense that we're one of the old guard that they want to overhaul.

Andrew James
14 Posted 06/03/2023 at 21:31:09
Mr Halligan,

Did you go to Alkmaar in 2007?

Also, you mentioned Florence, a city I have run marathons in and really like but reportedly our fans got really badly treated there when we played them in 2008...

Eddie Dunn
15 Posted 07/03/2023 at 07:32:03

I love reports of the whole day out, be it home or away, so well done.

I also am heartened by our battling performance. I think Dyche is succeeding in instilling more resolve and better habits in our team.

As for Doucoure's lapse, it's just like Gana's last week. I'm afraid that our players just lack a bit of quality and as the manager keeps going on about those "small details", it is those things that separate wins from draws etc.

Now let's beat Brentford.

Tony Abrahams
16 Posted 07/03/2023 at 08:13:06
There's a Brian Clough WhatsApp doing the rounds right now, Eddie, and it says, "Tactics don't lose you games, players do!"

Thank god we never lost on Sunday but I read something in the Echo last night about how many goals we have already conceded during Dyche's short period which have stemmed from our own mistakes.

I do believe hard work covers a multitude of sins against most teams, though, so this is finally giving me a little bit of belief in this team.

Jim Burns
17 Posted 07/03/2023 at 08:19:18
Great write up, Danny, it was good to meet up and share the torture for a while! I'm still getting my head around the fact that you turned up and watched the match without a coat – respect!

I don't post on TW very often but do try and follow most of the threads so it was good to make your acquaintance. I agree with your general view of the game and share your general outlook on our current predicament.

It's clear to me the players are slowly re-gaining confidence – and at least had sustained forward momentum from the start – duly rewarded with the penalty... but the nerves are still apparent – particularly when we found ourselves a goal up each time.

I commented at the time we seemed to lack the will or confidence to continue pushing on and killing games off – ultimately paying the price with the usual unforced error in our own half.

I felt sorry for Doucoure - whatever else he isn't -he clearly shows the passion and effort we need to get us through this- he just needs to calm down at bit.

I sense Dyche is in their heads now and belief is creeping back – I just pray the decision to leave Frank at the tiller after the debacles at Bournemouth won't come back to haunt us. I'm convinced had Dyche been appointed then, our results just after the break would have been different and we would have fought clear by now. Still… might have, could have etc.

I remain optimistic we will scrape clear of this if we continue to grow the belief required – staying calm, in and out of possession, now will be a real challenge for the players who are clearly still on edge.

Your observations about their crowd, Danny, were spot on – a real throwback to a different era. Walking back to the car amongst them, and overhearing their chatter, I was struck by how concerned they are at their own predicament. They are clearly still very worried they remain in a relegation battle and I took some heart at that.

There are still potentially 8 or 9 clubs in this scrap and we are as well equipped now as any of them to scramble clear.
Keep the faith, Danny, and my grandson and I are looking forward to seeing you at Goodison on Saturday.

Rob Halligan
18 Posted 07/03/2023 at 08:57:51
Andrew #14…

Yes, I did go to Alkmaar. One of the coldest nights I've ever experienced at a football match. It was absolutely freezing.

As for Florence, you're right, the treatment of us was appalling, culminating in being met by a long line of police outside after the game with water cannons. I don't really think they needed to give us a soaking, as it had been pouring down all night and we were soaked right through!

Mark Murphy
19 Posted 07/03/2023 at 09:01:17
I'd love to do a full away-day-out report but unfortunately, by half-time, I'm that pissed I don't remember the second half nor how I get home…. Age is a curse in the drinking classes!


Mike Morgan
20 Posted 07/03/2023 at 09:05:21
Why didn't we make the loan of Chris Wood part of the Gordon deal with Newcastle? Surely we would have had the upper hand in any negotiation.

He's just the type of player for a relegation battle and would have covered for Calvert-Lewin and allowed us to play 4-5-1 with a proper target man. Not one for the future but we could give him back.

What were the board doing? How did they let Nottingham Forest, one of our rivals, out-manoeuvre us? Not rocket science!!

John Keating
21 Posted 07/03/2023 at 09:27:57
It certainly is great going to European games; however, some of the best times I've had are pre-season games.

The weather is usually nice, bit of a holiday atmosphere like family days out, no real pressure on and – like Europe – always lots of bevvy and laughs!

Robert Tressell
22 Posted 07/03/2023 at 09:32:00
Mike #20, we did show strong interest in Wood.

As with the other targets, it looks as though we didn't have the financial clout to get it over the line.

Martin Mason
23 Posted 07/03/2023 at 09:35:35
I love to read these real life accounts of trips to the match and I'm really hoping to get to see some of the matches at the bitter end when I get back from Malaysia.

Mark (19) needs help in either helping him past half-time and back to Horsham or helping him drink all that beer and dancing back to Horsham.

Peter Mills
24 Posted 07/03/2023 at 09:38:05
Rob #18, that has just reminded me about a little incident in the concourse under the open stand at Fiorentina.

As you say, it was lashing down and everyone was taking shelter. A little window in the wall opened, and there was an Italian gentleman selling plastic cagoules. A very long queue formed. I was standing near the back, and a guy wandered past wearing his new raincoat and carrying a few more.

Someone asked him how much they were, and he went into a fume; “A rip-off. 15 euros each. Bastards. And I got one too many, you can have it for 12 if you want”. The deal was done and the purchaser went off, happy with his bargain.

It turned out they actually only cost 3 euros each! I'm not advocating ripping off fellow supporters but it did make me laugh that the spirit of Del Boy was alive on a pretty grim night.

Christopher Timmins
25 Posted 07/03/2023 at 09:43:35
Danny, try and make the article a more regular feature, it never ceases to amaze me the efforts that so many put in to see their team play.

I read Martin O'Neill's book while on holidays in the Algarve in early February. Cloughie's first words to his players on arrival at the City Ground were not to complicate things, pass the ball to one of your own players and then make an angle to receive the ball back.

We are making silly mistakes due to a lack of quality and are being punished. If Garner cannot push himself into contention for a start given the lack of quality in mid-field, full of players who give the ball away far too easily, then he must go down as another poor purchase by the DOF.

Patterson must be close to a return but, given how Seamus is performing, I find it hard to believe that the manager could consider dropping him at present.

Brentford have not been beaten in the League since the New Year and, just like Arsenal when they came to Goodison, they are due a beating.

Brian Harrison
26 Posted 07/03/2023 at 09:46:20
Danny, a really interesting read, how you keep so positive all the time is a lesson for all of us.

With the way the railways are run these days, you must be checking timetables constantly as trains seem to be cancelled at the drop of a hat, well certainly in the north they are.

While it's a rarity for me to go to an away game these days (an age thing), I always marvel at how many youngsters I see going to Goodison every week. I sit with my 13-year-old grandson and have quite a few youngsters around us in the Upper Bullens.

I am lucky I have seen us win League trophies on numerous occasions, cups, and had an enjoyable time in Rotterdam when we lifted the Cup-Winners Cup. But these youngsters have seen no success, and the younger ones have only witnessed relegation battles.

Yet they are there every week passionately supporting the team, just a pity that, in my opinion, they are having to watch one of the worst Everton teams I have seen in my lifetime.

I hope, in the not-too-distant future, these youngsters can see Everton again winning trophies, it will take time for that to happen but if any group of supporters deserve success, it's our brilliant fans.

All I have heard from the media over the last 10 or more years is how wonderful Newcastle supporters are because of how long they have gone without a trophy and their fans still turn up in their numbers.

Maybe the media would look at our supporters who for years have filled the away end at grounds – irrespective of where or what time the games have taken place.

Eddie Dunn
27 Posted 07/03/2023 at 09:54:28
Peter- that guy was an entrepreneur!
Jay Harris
28 Posted 07/03/2023 at 10:02:14
Great to see a report from you.
Your infectious enthusiasm lifts us all.

I have to disagree with you on Michael Keane though.

When we scored early it was noticeable that we dropped deeper a symptom of Keane’s game but more importantly he loses concentration in key moments and could have done a lot better for both goals.

The first one he lets Yhe player play the ball and then run in behind him for the return.

The second one although Doucoure was at fault for the turnover he still had to get through defenders and Keane didn’t even attempt to block the shot, something Coady has been good at.

Other than that great read of the “Adventures of Danny O’Neill”.

Jon Harding
29 Posted 07/03/2023 at 14:00:48
Great stuff Danny - Greggs is always the right decision.
The Spirit of the Blues was so loud and clear on the telly in the first 10 mins that I bet those rotters at Sky then chose to turn down the effects mics near you away fans.
But the pedant in me can't let you get away with "calved" us open, which brings a very different mental picture from "carved" us open!
Have a great trip next Saturday vs Brentford.
Jim Burns
30 Posted 07/03/2023 at 14:18:28
Hi Brian - whereabouts are you in the UB? I’m near the away fans with daughter and grandson.
Neil Tyrrell
31 Posted 07/03/2023 at 14:58:39
As one following the Blues from overseas and only get to a match about every 5 or 10 years, I love these reports that include the full match day experience. Can watch most matches on TV, but don't get any sense of the pre and post match adventures there. So please keep 'em coming!

Peter Mills, great story! I should have seen the punch line coming but it gave me a good laugh.

Paul Kossoff
32 Posted 07/03/2023 at 19:10:47
Turning the corner and showing spirit Seriously? If, and it's now a big if we stay up, then and only then can you say that this team has turned the corner and in doing so, showed spirit.
I watched motd show how many times Everton gave up lost or misplaced passes and possession. It was embarrassing that the pundits pointed that out as to why Everton are in the bottom three. We are leaking goals so Dyche hasn't sorted the defence out at all, and we don't score enough. So save the turned the corner ideas until we have achieved safety not before. Praise due when earned, and at the moment, praise is one thing this bunch don't deserve.

Danny O’Neill
33 Posted 07/03/2023 at 19:15:37
Thanks for all the kind comments all.

I write because I like sharing my Everton experience.

Some great European recollections from John, Rob and Peter. Hopefully more to come soon when we get through this.

Jim, see you and your Grandson at the next one.

Thank you all, glad you enjoyed it. Hopefully the next one will be talking about a victory. We can beat Brentford at home.

Paul Kossoff
34 Posted 07/03/2023 at 00:03:21
Danny 33, you and all the supporters of these over paid charlatans deserve praise. Why do we put up with it? I used to get really upset if we lost one game but now I'm just resigned to the fact the players don't get upset so why should I.
Paul Birmingham
35 Posted 08/03/2023 at 00:39:46
Rob, at Alkmaar, that at the time to the Dutch stewards who let’s us in, well early, in the Dutch side, of the station, said it was -14 0c.

I had a coffee and it was cold within 50 seconds.

Some night, and many fine Everton tours, home and away, over the years, but that was the coldest football match ! Ive been to, but at that time of the year., it was colder than expected, so the Kloggs told us.

After the game it was an Ajax, friend, giving a lift back to the Dam, and and early hours flight back to Liverpool.

But a good game and result.

John Keating, weekends for decades, were the Ordinary, and Summer Holidays, were the preseason tours.

Finest days, and more memorises to be made soon by Evertonians.

Let’s get this season, secured, I really hope but I think, this is the tightest of Seasons ever.


Danny O’Neill
36 Posted 08/03/2023 at 11:51:12
Sorry to come back to this one. Midweek and most of my thoughts are on Saturday and Brentford.

Paul K, we are turning the corner but haven't turned it and hit the home straight. I'll give you that. But we can and will.

Great memories, Paul B. You've got me dreaming and planning.

Neil Copeland
37 Posted 08/03/2023 at 22:26:54
Danny, a nice report and summary of the game. I agree about the number of young supporters, always amazes me too.

Thanks for the mention by the way. There were another 13 lads stranded at Crewe by the train cancellation, who ordered 2 x 7 passenger seating taxis. I got very lucky and filled the last available seat. Funnily enough it cost us £30 each from Crewe to the City Ground. I have claimed a £37.20 refund for the train ticket. So, turned out well and huge thanks to those fellow blues.

Anyway, onto Saturday and starting to feel more confident with the ongoing improvements in team performance.


Mark Murphy
38 Posted 09/03/2023 at 11:13:42
Ha - Martin! I’m cured of drinking! I got a certificate to prove it!! X

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