I have written match reports for ToffeeWeb before but this, perhaps, is the most difficult to write. I am a true Blue brought up on Ball and Kendall, Harvey, West and Labone. We deserved our motto in those times. Yesterday we were as far from that motto as I can ever remember.
Living near and working in Hull I rarely get to see my beloved Blues. Even when I do make my annual pilgrimages back to Goodison Park the restricted views at the back of the Lower Bullens don’t afford me much of a view of my heroes. Still, I thought, with a naive optimism, I’ll get a good view of them at the KC stadium and we’ll put this paltry shower to the sword.
Earlier in the year I watched Everton’s first team beat Hull’s second team 4-0 in the Carling Cup. I wondered if it might now be Everton’s second team against Hull’s first team given the respective injury situations of the two teams but I thought no, Bullard and Olofinjana were both out for Hull and having watched them earlier in the season fold tamely to Birmingham City with a similar team I thought surely we will beat them. Yakubu £11 million worth of striker, Johnny Heitinga, reputedly the best paid Evertonian of all time, Stephen Pienaar, the totem of the world cup hosts Bafana Bafana – surely we would be too good for this lot.
When I watched the Blues in the Carling Cup earlier in the year I sat amongst the Hull fans in the West Stand but this time I was sat with the Everton fans near the front to the left of Tim Howard’s goal in the first half. I was looking forward to some scouse banter and a certain amount of bonhomie amongst the Everton fans assembled.
The whole experience was deeply dissatisfactory. First of all I had to put up with this fan in front of me who would not sit down, so for half the game I spent my hard earnt £25 watching the back of his Adidas tracksuit top whilst gently cajoling, politely asking then firmly demanding that he sit down. I expect a certain amount of camaraderie and co-operation from fellow Evertonians when I attend Everton matches but none was forthcoming from this pig ignorant jughead.
The stewards eventually had to intervene but this idiot was quite keen to run the gauntlet of disguised compliance all evening, just falling short of behaviour likely to get him ejected. Shamefully when a black steward came to fulfil his duties in front of this idiot and his pals he was subjected to childish sniggering and derision with an ugly racist undertone. I’ve seen this before with some elements of the Everton fan core and I must say, I was deeply ashamed.
What was going on in the first thirty minutes on the pitch was also of great concern. Everton were overrun by an enthusiastic Hull side who counter attacked gleefully when Everton’s patient build ups inevitably broke down. Stephen Hunt, a man with a point to prove to Everton, scored after Tim Howard had made a good save from his international colleague, Jozy Altidore. He celebrated in front of the Everton fans who rather disgustingly spat at him, spraying their bile everywhere other than at the player himself, and mostly on their co-supporters.
After twenty minutes we were two down. Yobo was penalised for a foul on the edge of the box and the journeyman Dawson fired a pinpoint free kick into the top corner. I couldn’t believe it. The referee seemed incapable of deciding what was a foul and what was not. At times he would allow physical contact and at others he wouldn’t. Yakubu coughed the ball up three times and then stood rooted to the spot like a spoilt child while Hull marched up the pitch with the ball.
Heitinga could not find a blue shirt in the opponent’s half and Cahill was totally anonymous. Baines and Pienaar attempted to get play moving up the left and Rodwell and Neill similarly on the right but were having little success. Saha was causing some consternation and through skilful play was earning free kicks in promising positions, but he was poorly supported. Distin had a clear header from a corner and really ought to have done better.
For the first time in my life I considered leaving the ground early after Hull’s third goal went in on 27 minutes, a deflected shot from Marney finding the corner of the net. The anger of Everton fans all around me was very evident. I think I’m right in saying that this is the first time Hull City have scored three goals in the first half of a Premier League match. I can’t say they didn’t deserve it. Yobo, Distin and Heitinga together collectively could have avoided all three goals. Only after the third goal went in and the possibility of a defeat of Wigan like proportions enter the head of the eleven on the field did those three begin to defend with anything like the required urgency. You could see the shock and fear on the faces of the Everton players and there was little likelihood of any constructive play before half time. We were instead treated to some agricultural hoofball gobbled gleefully up by Zayette and Gardiner.
At half time a text from my pal in Liverpool informed me that the Kirkby project had been unsurprisingly rejected by the Government. Kenwright was seen at the KC Stadium and my lifelong pal mused that the news had possibly had a deleterious effect on the players. I could not have felt more abject. The halftime talk was all about the possibility of Moyes walking (“sacked in the morning” the Hull fans sang).
Everton were out on the pitch early and you could see that some of these players were playing for their Everton careers. What struck me was that despite the injury situation those eleven players should all have been playing so that when the injured come back they would retain their places. There was no pride and passion from the kick off for the jersey and there was no leadership on the pitch. Cahill did at least try and manfully provide that in the second half, demanding the ball and putting his body on the line but for me, it was too late, this abject performance will linger a long time in my memory and I suppose it also will in the manager’s.
Somebody will pay for this. My guess is Yakubu, he is either a long way off fitness or a shadow of his former self. Either way in the first half he was hopeless. Heitinga also left me dumfounded. He is a central defender playing in the midfield, it’s obvious, he doesn’t even resemble a midfielder. He makes Pip Neville look like a world beating pass master. I would rather play the kids. If he is one of the best paid Evertonians ever, could he please refund me and my family’s entry fee for this match, like the Wigan players did.
Everton actually played some football around the halfway line in the second half. Baines and Heitinga conspired to get a cross in and Zayette put past his own keeper. Saha scored a well earned penalty. When we had got the score near to some form of respectability the drive and determination to go on and draw or win the game deserted us. Baines and Pienaar wasted several free kicks and corners by failing to beat the first man. Do they practice at all? Clueless officiating and pantomime cheering and booing of Barmby and Kilbane followed. Time rolled down and we were spared the ignominy of a 4-2 defeat when Howard made a stunning save from a shot from Garcia.
On the way home my sons sat silently in the car and I thought to myself what a terrible product Everton Football Club is at the moment. I am a David Moyes fan and he was witheringly honest about our performance on the night in interview on the BBC website. I don’t blame him for the performance of the players on the night, they showed in the second half that they were clearly capable of outplaying Hull City.
I reflected that this year I will not at Xmas be purchasing Everton kit or memorabilia for the children. I will not be going across to Liverpool to watch Everton play in that dinosaur of a stadium described this morning as the grand old lady by the curmudgeonly KEIOC character on Radio 5 this morning. To his credit he didn’t gloat.
I am neither for or against Destination Kirkby but something has to be done about the customer experience at Everton FC and I await a swift and urgent Plan B to be embarked upon now by the board.
I would like to say this to some of our own fans though. Don’t expect the players to play with pride if you yourself cannot conduct yourselves with a little more restraint than that behaviour that I observed last night. It was a minority, yes, but it encapsulated the worst elements of our society I can think of. I won’t subject my well mannered and well behaved upright young boys to it for a long time to come, it was like the TV programme Life on Mars for football fans.
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1 Posted 26/11/2009 at 08:51:55
Firstly congratulations to KEIOC. Now this post is not a knee-jerk reaction to last night's shocking display, these are facts and reasons why we are playing so fucking shite.
- Balance: we have zero balance in the team or the squad, i.e a midfielder gets injured, he is replaced by a defender.
- Tactics are shocking: 4-4-2 away to Benfica, then 4-5-1 at home to Benfica when we need a result. Pathetic.
- Motivation: this use to be one of our stronger assets, but where has that gone? no fight no (team spirit as they say)
- Basics: My god, why can't we pass the ball on the deck? After 8 years we are no better, in fact were getting worse much worse.
- Players who seem undrop-able: Osman, Cahill, Neveille, Felliani... unreal!
There's only one man to blame and that's David Moyes.
I'll start with balance, we don't have one wide player at the club, not fucking one! Osman likes the hole behind the frontman, as do Cahill, Pienaar and Bily, so no wide men. Great!
Center midfield, we have... erm Rodwell, Felli and Arteta, two of those who are now injured, Arteta long term. We are overloaded with strikers and defenders: Jo, Yak, Saha, Anichebe, Vaughan.
Defenders: Neville, Distin, Yobo, Johnny, Hibbert, Baines, Gosling, Jags. Remember we only play one up front so why the need for 5 strikers? why no wide players? why know PROPER midfielders?
Tactics: well we could go on and on, couldn't we? Rodwell right midfielder? Enough said really.
Motivation: we're too fucking soft! Where's the crunching tackles, workrate, drive, passion? It's all gone.
Basics: well I'll admit I'm a football purist. I like to see pass and move footie. You can't get that with 7 defenders on the pitch, not to mention the complete lack of pace. I'd love somone to explain to me why 9 full internationals last night couldn't string two passes together? Why when we get the ball do the players look so uncomfortable?
Players who are undrop-able: This just proves that Davey Moyes is a weak manager. Cahill, who has been shocking this year, doesnt get dropped, he gets the captain's armband, FFS!
For the point above Moyes has to go. This is not just about a few bad results — even when we win it's a struggle. The square pegs and round holes are embarrassing. The negative footbball, sorry hoofball, is sore on the eyes, problem is we can't afford to sack Moyes, we don't have funds to replace him with a new manager. Thanks for for some highlights Davey Moyes but it's time to go, you have now become UNDEFENDABLE.
2 Posted 26/11/2009 at 10:42:33
I have spent many an hour reading posts on here, but this is the first time I`ve submitted my own... please be gentle with me guys!
I have always thought of myself as someone who is on the middle ground with my Everton views. I know we`re not playing attractive football, and haven`t been for sometime, but in the past I have tried to balance this with our injuries, our transfer budget, our rivals' budgets, our wage structure etc, etc...
There is no doubt at all that David Moyes and Bill Kenwright have not only rescued us from our annual relegation battle, and raised the bar to such an extent that we crave that next stage.
I like David Moyes and thoroughly believed that lately a lot of post on here were very harsh and wide of the mark. This guy has not only taken a team full of pensioners and transformed it into one of our best squads since the 80s, but he has done so on a miniscule budget, with a strict wagew structure.
At times we have played great football, but unfortunately most of the time we have played some bloody dire football masked over by results and league position... and that' s the crux of the matter!
I think that now David Moyes is being found out. Tactically he's very one-dimensional, takes a fecking age to change things when it's not going right and far too often plays people out of position because they "must" be in the team!
It is time for this guy to hand in his notice, we have reached the point where he can take us no further, whilst I don`t think he`s lost the dressing room he has run out of ideas and cannot motivate the team any further.
Mr Moyes it is time to go, we cannot and will not tolerate results and a performance like last night, do the decent thing!!
Oh... and take that arse of a Kenwright with you please.
3 Posted 26/11/2009 at 23:14:33
Secondly, I’d like to see what Moyes could do without the financial restrictions he’s had...
But I certaintly agree with the rest of Sean’s post...Moyes has failed dreadfully with the resources he’s had this season...and has an inability to learn rom his mistakes which I fear may be terminal...
I’m not quite at the ’sack him’ stage yet though...
However this argument is futile - there’s no chance he’ll walk or get pushed. We’re stuck with him whether we like it or not.
4 Posted 27/11/2009 at 10:18:01
Idiots in the front row with an unobstructed view spent the entire game on their feet. This resulted in everyone behind having to do the same.
Myself and others around me were hoarse screaming abuse at those moronic front rowers. There was real danger of some serious aggro erupting.
For years my wife and I looked forward so much to once again seeing our beloved Everton only for morons to put a damper on it.
Makes a farce of all seating stadia eh.
5 Posted 27/11/2009 at 12:59:29
6 Posted 27/11/2009 at 14:45:41
To Kevin Gillen: this is why we have 1 of the least vocal away supports in the country. What do you expect at away games?. Most people who go to away games are vocal fans. First of all why are Liverpool so loud in european games?. Because theres 13 000 fans standing. That's why we have some of the least vocal fans in the premiership. I accept you pay your money but doesn’t the blame land with Everton?.
Sunderland have a section that stand at away games and a section that sit. Isn’t that the way forward. To all the people who are speaking about racist abuse. This tag of our fans being racist in simply down to Liverpool being a 98% white city. This is why im thinking about giving up as nowadays a very small minority of our support sings both home and away. Bar a few grounds such as Anfield and GP where there are restricted views if people stand most people can still see. Thats why my dad never took me to away games or took me in the street end until i was taller.
7 Posted 27/11/2009 at 15:52:52
8 Posted 27/11/2009 at 17:21:28
Being born in Bosnia I do know about serious racism Sean in terms of ethnic cleansing. My grandparents are Bosnian Serb on one side, Bosnian Muslim on the other. But I struggle to think of a way to stop it. You can outlaw racist chanting but that doesn’t solve the problem.
Racism and Religious differences will never go away unfortunately in this world. The small minority that openly abuse players in a racial way are largely ignored and 99% of Evertonians dissaprove of their racist beliefs.
9 Posted 27/11/2009 at 22:26:40
10 Posted 28/11/2009 at 14:10:37
Considering we stood 115 years, seems a bit stupid that people get so offended. This is the clubs fault. At West Ham, Kevin, people who wanted to stand stood in one section and those who sat were in another. I disagree with all away standing.
But really it wrecks two people's day Kevin. It wrecks your day as you want to sit down and it wrecks the person's day who wants to stand. Younger fans and those of an older generation of the terraces want to stand.
On the other hand, children and those who want to sit also go. The clubs are causing this by failing to recognise many clubs allow supporters to stand the whole game. The reason they choose to ignore this is because they do not want a more vocal supporter or working class supporter as they are not the ones that spend £30 in the megastore.
I would like them to have designated standing singing areas and designated seating areas. At Spurs for example the Everton fans stood most of the game in the lower tier. Spurs fans in the South Stand lower also did the same. Then, just before half-time, the stewards started asking just Everton supporters to stand forgetting the Spurs fans standing a matter of centimetres away.
Kevin, the law is that all stadiums must be be all-seated. There was never any law banning people standing in front of their seat. Football supporters pay their money but get no choice how they want to watch the game.
11 Posted 29/11/2009 at 02:29:28
12 Posted 29/11/2009 at 17:34:52
We lack a travel club such as SoS of Liverpool for away games. This means you either go on one of the out-of-town coaches, official travel or Happy Al's — neither particularly good. Nobody is banned for bad behaviour on Happy Al's for thuggish or racist behaviour which puts me off.
Dick, it requires cooperation and understanding such as when clubs take both tiers at Goodison the lower usually stands and the upper sit and fans know this. The trip to Wembley was a perfect example of our disorganastion.
Well Dick, I am not a rude person and if somone behind asks me to sit, I do... others would refuse. What is the point of standing for a corner or an attack but not the whole match? It has been succesfully applied in countries such as Portugal and Germany. It is the club's faults for not informing fans.
At away games and in certain parts of home games, fans do stand for large parts of the game. Spurs have said standing persistently does happen but are unwilling to tell supporters who have not been before where it occurs.
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