I first went to Goodison Park in October 1960. I am an Evertonian, born into an Everton family going back generations. I cut my teeth on sides with Alex Young, Roy Vernon, Kendall, Ball, Harvey and the like.
I was there the night we beat WBA to clinch the title in 1970. I was at all three League Cup finals against Aston Villa in 1977. I was there when we beat Watford in the FA Cup Final in 1984, and lived through the next two magnificent seasons with probably the best Everton side I have ever seen. At all of these games, and countless others, I?ve shouted myself hoarse to get behind the team.
I also lived through the Gordon Lee days, the Mike Walker days, the last-ditch ?we must win to avoid relegation? days, but still I kept the faith.
I?ve become increasingly disillusioned over the last few seasons because the football we play under David Moyes is, more often than not, turgid. I think Moyes is risk-averse, and here I?m being diplomatic; others might use harsher adjectives such as ?cowardly?.
The School of Science is well and truly dead under Moyes. Oh yes, people will say we?ve gone from perennial relegation strugglers to mid-table and that?s true, but paying good money and travelling 450 miles round trip for every home game (as I must do), it doesn?t seem unreasonable to expect some entertainment.
Moyes?s negativity in on-pitch matters also extends to the transfer market. We?re on our uppers now but, even when things were less severe, he consistently failed to understand the market price for players; it?s what the seller is prepared to accept and the highest bidder is prepared to give, it isn?t some arbitrary figure plucked out of the air by Moyes.
For me, his biggest transfer-market sin came the year we qualified for the Champions League. That was a glorious opportunity to attract a better standard of striker than we had enjoyed for many years, but Moyes dithered and carried on dithering until we were not only out of the Champions League but even out of the Europa (Uefa) Cup.
Against a backdrop of my disaffection with Moyes, the final straw came for me at the opening home game of this season: one-nil down to newly promoted QPR (languishing sixteenth in the league as I write), Moyes takes off the one recognised striker we had on the pitch and replaces him with a midfielder. People ready to leap into print to point out Beckford wasn?t good enough needn?t bother ? Moyes chose him. People about to tell me Cahill is a striker needn?t bother either: he isn?t.
I left Goodison that day vowing never to return until Moyes was gone. I haven?t used my season ticket since.
By the time I arrived at Wembley on Saturday and caught the buzz of fellow Evertonians, I really thought I would renew my season ticket after all. By half-time it was almost a certainty. Then the team emerged for the second half, doubtless having a ?motivational? talk from Moyes. They proceeded to sit back and defend a slender lead and the inevitable happened. Where I come from, if what you?re doing is working (all other things being equal), you keep doing it. You don?t change tactics when the opposition is unchanged and your tactics have been working.
I don?t claim to be any more hurt by the defeat at the hands of a, let?s face it, lacklustre Liverpool side with a third-choice keeper, but what I think does set me apart is that I had an epiphany on the way to Wembley Park station. I was queuing with my son in the underpass. We were surrounded by celebrating reds. I looked around and I saw scarves and flags with ?Kop? or ?You?ll Never Walk Alone? and suchlike on them. I heard the Kopites singing songs I?d never heard before about their history, and suddenly I realised.
I?ve been deluding myself for about 20 years. We?re no longer a big club. We?re just small-town boys with long memories or delusions.
Many people don?t even know where Everton is; I?ve had people tell me they thought it was in the Midlands. Sure, when Z-Cars starts up at Goodison, the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, but who outside of Everton links us to that tune? It?s exciting when Evertonians sing along to it at Wembley or away games, but ?der der der? is never going to appear on shirts, scarves or above gates is it?
We say ?If you know yer history?, but what is that history? Our last league title was decades ago, our last FA Cup 17 years ago. We?ve never won the League Cup, even since people stopped caring about it. We boast about being the first team to have numbers on our shirts and other such mundane ? or laughable ? things, but I?d rather we could boast about being the first English club to win a European trophy, or even to have won the European Cup once or twice. That?s history. Being a recognised household name with traditions acknowledged in England is something of a history. Bragging about stuff like being the first club to install dugouts is just plain embarrassing.
Our record of having more league points than anyone in history has long-since disappeared, as has our record of more FA Cup Semi Final appearances than anyone else. Our record of a longer unbroken run in the top flight than anyone other than Arsenal is impressive, but let?s be honest, it doesn?t sell season tickets or shirts in Asia does it, let alone attract bigger sponsorship deals.
We are a mediocre club giving less than mediocre entertainment and I?m heartbroken to have realised it.
Of course it?s not all Moyes?s fault, and I?m not suggesting it is. To achieve the position in the table he does each season given the funds at his disposal is laudable. The manner in which it is done is less so. I could cite years of mismanagement or the way Sky money has ruined the game. All of the above contribute to the EPL having been turned into something akin to the Scottish PL but with five rather than two contenders, none of which is Everton.
So I?m gone. My attendance at Goodison is history. As I write, I?m surrounded by Evertonia. None of it matters any more. Nobody I know is renewing their season ticket. I feel bereaved but resolute.
No doubt many Evertonians will respond to this article by telling me to ?do one?, or even suggesting I?m a Kopite and no loss. That?s up to them. Older ones will know better. To the ones that do respond that way, I?ll just say this: I?ve actively supported Everton for over 50 years. I?ve raised money for the club, spoken on its behalf at corporate events and introduced new fans to the club for as long as I can remember. If you think that kind of supporter is no loss you?re even more deluded than I have been for the last two decades.
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241 Posted 16/04/2012 at 14:22:02
243 Posted 16/04/2012 at 14:30:12
246 Posted 16/04/2012 at 14:31:36
I respect your call, but you can never leave. Welcome to the Hotel California
248 Posted 16/04/2012 at 14:30:36
I wouldnt cross the road to watch Moyes team anymore. If there was an end product in sight and there was a light at the end of this dull grey tunnel, I would have hope that he will turn it around... but, after 10 years, we are still bending over and baring our backside to the bigger sides ? and now, even the shite!
249 Posted 16/04/2012 at 14:22:37
I have been dissatisfied with the way the club has been going, for a long time, on and off the park. And Saturday just brought home to me the lack of ambition, by both playing staff, and boardroom.
As a fellow fan said on one of the previous articles, we will start getting the usual apologies, from players and staff, and be expected to just carry on.
But I have had enough, on the journey back on Saturday, the faces of Blues Young. & Old old told its own story, Getting beat was bad enough, it was the way we played that did it for me.
250 Posted 16/04/2012 at 14:28:59
If we are a mediocre club, then where does that put those clubs?
I understand your frustration; maybe you will call me deluded ? I have been an Evertonian since 1964 (and an exiled Blue since 1981 as I now live in Lincoln). For me, if we had played Liverpool off the park and won the Cup, for me the real downer would be that I have only been able to make it to 3 matches this season. No 4 will be v Fulham. Everton mad? Yes, I readily plead guilty to that.
I understand your frustration but to call us a mediocre club is a bit insulting. And as I said, if you think us mediocre then what does that make Villa, Spurs or Newcastle ? with ONE League title between them since 1981.
263 Posted 16/04/2012 at 15:11:48
Next pub outside the Sussex Leicester Square, six scousers on the next table; no colours, no talk of the game. I said to my wife, "Blues," She said "How do you know?" I said, "I know." Two minutes, later on the other side of the street ,a bloke walks by in,a Po from the Teletubbies suit. Six scousers all start singing, "Red and white shite Red and white shite hello." Po waves, we all laugh, And I say to my wife, "That's how I know."
264 Posted 16/04/2012 at 15:12:40
273 Posted 16/04/2012 at 15:30:50
278 Posted 16/04/2012 at 15:32:58
The semis had an extra importance because it was Liverpool at the new Wembley (the destruction of the old providing some reason for the domestic cups' demise and equally the location itself) but had we won in 2009 what would it mean today? Relatively little.
What have Birmingham, Boro, Portsmouth, Blackburn gained from their tin pots lifted in the last ten years? Who cares they're not big clubs.
Fact is you're not big unless you're in the CL because then you're not going to get a class of player to compete for the league. Like all the others we're competing for the scraps.
I'd also put Liverpool in that bracket too because the Fat Spanish Waiter essentially relegated them from the CL places and they're now screwed. They can win the domestic double for the next ten years but you think they'd be happy finishing where they are now for all that time? No, because like us, they'd be a former big club wishing they were better.
Right now the two Manc clubs are big, Arsenal and Chelsea. The new Sky 4. Spurs have a chance to dislodge and become big and Newcastle too, because either you're in or you're out.
I for one hope they do so because financial implosion on some of these bigger clubs who budget for CL is probably the best chance to instigate a meritocratic competition that sadly dissipated in this Sky era.
So for what ever reason you thought we were big when for the last ten years we've been second to last on MOTD every week you've deluded yourself.
290 Posted 16/04/2012 at 16:09:10
I agree with your sentiments and voiced them a couple of years ago under a "Psychology of Everton" article.
One comment I received was that we are 4th most successful club in English football. But it's all ancient history - 1890, 1914....etc.
In my lifetime, we've finished above the reds on 4 occasions (I'm 45). We used to be neck and neck with them regarding derby victories when I was a kid but now I know I'll never see that again if I live to be 100 as we're so far behind.
I remember people saying the 70s was a barren spell for us. Well, this past 15 years has been Death Valley.
Saturday was a chance to stick a big shiny nail in the red coffin lid and give some credence to a power shift in Merseyside football. But what did we do? We bottled it, jumped into the coffin instead and closed the lid behind us.
Still, once a Blue always a Blue. It's been a painful journey, particularly with our ASBO-loving neighbours, but just a trophy, some winners medals soon please.
295 Posted 16/04/2012 at 16:02:51
We've never had a dynasty like Liverpool and Man Utd have/had.
We've never even won the League Cup. 15 major trophies in over a 120 seasons certainly doesn't sound like a club who "expects" success.
I know what others have said about the history of most other clubs can't match ours is probably true.
But it doesn't mean anything to me.
I posted on here a couple of years ago that MY Everton have never been a big club. I started supporting in 1990. We all know how shit it's been siince then.
I also said that being from outside the city I think I realise how far Everton have fallen more than those Blues who live on Merseyside.
I never hear anyone talk about our great teams of the 80's.
Or Kendall,Ball and Harvey as the midfield trio to beat.
In fact,until Moyes took over,everytime I said who my team was I was roundly ridiculed.
Sadly, we are just another team who now makes up the numbers. Nobody really respects us,modern fans think we have always been also-rans. And certainly nobody fears us.
We are just kind of "there".
Nobody hates us because we aren't successful and because we never do anything controversial. We just amble along. Quietly minding our own business,trying not to offend anyone.
I sometimes wish Moyes,or anyone from the club,would come out say what we really think about the "victims",or the referee bias at Old Trafford,or the play acting of cheats,etc,etc.
Just something. Anything that shows we have bottle. Nerve. A pair.
Just because we can't win anything doesn't mean we aren't allowed to at least show some backbone. We're just TOO nice.
302 Posted 16/04/2012 at 16:29:40
I couldn't understand why we were only one up at half time when they had their third-choice goalkeeper on the field. Surely we could have taken advantage rather than sitting back and inviting them to come at us?
I haven't renewed my season ticket. Early bird deadline is Friday and I was waiting till my nephew (Steve's son) was able to give me a definite answer about renewing. If he couldn't renew I was going to move to another part of the ground to sit with a friend. After the way we handed the semi-final to that lot on a plate I will not be renewing.
My season ticket money is sitting in a savings account. It will stay there to be called upon when we have a manager who knows the meaning of the words Nil Satis Nisi Optimum. Moyes, unfortunately, only knows the meaning of the first word of that motto.
313 Posted 16/04/2012 at 16:46:47
I remember the joy of Adrian Heath's winner in the Semi Final v Southampton, at Highbury ( my only visit there) - what made it all the sweeter was that I could recall the heartbreak of the Semi Final defeats of 1969, 1971 and both games in 1977 and 1980. I have been an Evertonian since 1964 - I can't think of any club that has has had total success in that period.
As I said if it's guranteed trophies that you want then Celtic Park or Ibrox is where you should head.
And I have seen nobody as bad in an Everton shirt in the last 10 years that was as bad as either Bernie Wright or Rod Belfitt. Semi Final defeat - yes it's awful - but nowhere near as bad as it was in '73 when we got beaten by Millwall at Goodison. Or the 1971-72 season - when as one of my teachers said "your team scored nearly a quarter of your goals for the season in one match !!! "
340 Posted 16/04/2012 at 17:24:12
However in 71/72 a championship WINNING side had just broken up.
New players (who weren't on that much more than the average Joe) were being tried and coming and going, and our manager had been in and out of hospital (a manager who had given us 2 titles and an FA Cup)
Plus we might not have won anything for 14 years but we DID at least look like we were capable of winning trophies in that time and we DID eventually put a side together that got there in the end.
Not a hope in hell.
You say 'nowhere near as bad' now?
1000 times worse imo.
It's not about 'guaranteed trophies' it's about competing and not (see last three derbies) being beaten before you start.
356 Posted 16/04/2012 at 17:44:01
I grew up watching Terry Darracot and Jim Pearson. Who can forget Mick Ferguson.
During those dark days I had my dad preaching Alex Young and Tony Kay. While all I could grab hold of was Andy Kings derby strike an Bob Latchfords 30 goals. Fuck me I even got of on Duncan Mckenzie being able to throw a golf ball the full length of the pitch.
Don't ever give up Steve. Someone will replace Moyes and Kenwright and we will win something again. Otherwise all those years of hurt will make the bitterness you feel right now sink into your bones.
Remember the 80s and that great cup run in 95. Those are the days that make it all worthwhile. Those days make you look back with pride at Terry Darracott et al and realise why it is a privilege to have supported this great club. It is in your blood mate. Fuck Moyes spurs can have him.
577 Posted 17/04/2012 at 07:14:20
1. Billy Bingham - I reckon that with the signings of Rioch and McKenzie he had turned the corner. In my opinion his sacking was poor timing and if you read several accounts of our history the very poor handling of the situation re Bobby Robson was another missed opportunity to put the situation right.
2. Gordon Lee - the 3rd place in 1977-78 held great promise for the future,thanks to poor management it didn't last remember the signing of Mickey Walsh?
3. Howard Kendall - yes he gave us great success but we went through some dark days early on. Even in 1983-84 - e.g. I recall being one of the 13,000 or so at Goodison for the match with Luton Town in October 1983. At that time 2 Wembley Finals seemed a million miles away and not just a few months as it turned out to be.
4. Our last trophy success was in 1994-95 season - we didn't win in the league until November I think it was( 1-0 v West Ham God Bless Gary Ablett) typically I was over from Lincoln for the previous match 1-1 v Arsenal but not for the Hammers as it was midweek.Anyway did any of us really imagine back in October 1994 that we would end the season with Wembkey glory ?
We have shown that we can comeback and I believe that we can and will comeback. I totally agree with your sentiments about competing - but I put that down to an over cautious manager. In recent weeks Wigan have beaten Liverpool, Man United and now Arsenal - I think if they had David Moyes in charge the best they would have done would have been to draw those games.
I don't hate Moyes but he is really frustrating. We never beat the teams like Man United, Arsenal, Liverpool away from Goodison with his over cautious tactics. I am not advocating a gung ho all out attack at Old Trafford - but if we sit back and let them have the territory and possession then we will lose. It is no wonder some of our players look shattered - playing those ultra defensive tactics is very tiring. Moyes may have a stack of coaching badges but he lacks common sense.
It's a simple game - as somebody once said " He who dares wins" Not he who dithers Mr Moyes please take note. Yes we know our history and tradition - a great shame that our manager doesn't seem to.
685 Posted 17/04/2012 at 11:42:35
I first went to Goodison in 1958, so I know exactly how you feel.
For me, Everton still exist, even if I'm sorely tempted to go down the same road as you.
You see Everton are only BK and Moyes for a relatively short time. After all, the Toffees were founded before the above 2 were even a glint in the old man's eye!
I'm afraid the words below were nicked from Rudyard Kipling
" If you can dream and not make dreams your master- If you can think and not make thoughts your aim.
If you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those 2 imposters just the same...
Your's is the earth and everything that's in it.......
I haven't put the last line of that poem because it's not appropriate.
U turn if you want to,or need to, but I'm not for turning...
What did Winston say?:
Never give in-never, never,never,never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, NEVER GIVE IN, except to convictions of honour and good sense.
We shouldn't support the blues through fear, but we shouldn't fear to support them.
No team is easy to support and if we won everything all the time, we'd probably get tired of that too!
696 Posted 17/04/2012 at 12:21:23
What they have done is remarkable work on tapping the corporate market, who basically see sports sponsorship as a more effective form of advertising in terms of exposure.
Football clubs now are big MNCs, some valued over Â£1bn, with turnover of Â£250m+. We're some way in the middle, just below Â£100m turnover, valued at... well. Many of these clubs now have offices or representatives all over the world, and a corporate management team to maximise their revenues.
Everton is still run like a corner shop. We've got very loyal fans, but ultimately if you treat them shabbily or they don't feel they're getting value for money, they'll drift away.
So until Bill Arkwright sells, and takes Granville-Moyes with him, we're fu..fu...fu...fu...fu.. lumbered.
703 Posted 17/04/2012 at 12:46:22
880 Posted 17/04/2012 at 17:32:32
I could give other examples - but how about looking at our own history?
1st FA Cup win 1906 the next one was 27 yers later. The 3rd one was another 33 years down the line !!
League Champions in 1939 and then the next one was in 1963.
Champions in 1927-28 ( of course the Dixie Dean season) and then 2 years later relegated !!!
All I can say is God bless those Evertonians from bygone days who kept the faith !!!
363 Posted 19/04/2012 at 00:52:46
If I quit, however, it lasts forever.
367 Posted 19/04/2012 at 01:02:14
Lance sums winning at sport up even better..
When my opponents are sat at home on Christmas Day eating their dinner and drinking.. Im on the bike riding....
We should get him in to give the players some motivation. Drenthe.. he would feel ashamed..
369 Posted 19/04/2012 at 01:08:06
We've just never had a dynasty, just sporadic success - perhaps due to losing 3 great sides due to two World Wars and Heysel
Even 4 days later, how I am feeling after THAT performance reminds me of how I felt when I lost my first love
Like you, I've found the last 4 seasons in particular, going to Goodison has been a chore and duty rather than a pleasure
Only thing I can take issue with in your post is to say no amount of kopite scarves, songs and trophys would ever impress me - tossers the lot of `em
374 Posted 19/04/2012 at 04:05:14
730 Posted 20/04/2012 at 10:42:57
My response to him was, "Dad, I have been alive for 26 years and in that time Everton have won 1 trophy, the FA Cup in 1995. I understand you have to take the rough with the smooth but it seems to me we are having to deal with a lot of rough and very little if any smooth."
His response was "But son, you haven't been around long enough to've had the smooth. Our time will come again and it won't be far away." And I believe him, it will be our time again soon enough... and then we will have the smooth again.
In the meantime, I will never back down and never quit on Everton. If you do, Steve, it will be your loss ? and deep down you know it.
913 Posted 20/04/2012 at 17:55:34
Coming back on the coach last Saturday after that abject surrender, I looked at my young son (aged 8) and my nephew and his mate, and said to my brother "I could cry for them, I really could; they've seen nothing... At least we've seen a modicum of success.
I'm 53 nearly and remember the 1969-70 Championship-winning side. After that, it all went tits up. Then along came the team of the mid-eighties and, an FA Cup win apart (1995) er... that's been it.
My brother went through all his senior school years without seeing us winning a derby; even I wasn't that unlucky. Oh yes, it's painful when you've got to listen to them gloating bastards and as I'm typing this, I'm looking at a house with a Liverpool flag flying outside...
Believe me, Steve, it's not the football that keeps me going; it's only the social side, and seeing people I'd probably lose touch with if I stopped going. That may sound a bit shallow but it's the way I am.
Great read, mate.
930 Posted 20/04/2012 at 18:56:56
However for me ultimately what one rests their hat on with this club - with any club, in the long run - is hope. It's not about the glorious past, or the trophy cabinet, or how we compare with any other team. It's about - for me, anyway - the next game, the next chance to win (and let's be honest in the current climate: win well). I do find the media bent toward certain clubs facile and annoying, but when we beat Chelsea, Man City - and one day Liverpool again - and when we beat Wigan or Stoke or Wolves too, I don't give a shit what anyone thinks. It puts a spring in my step and at that point I'm not thinking about how many trophies X has or whether fucknose from titsville thinks we're from Tonbridge Wells. It just makes me happy - surreally, marvellously, and to a point incongruously; happy.
It's both the magic and the tragedy of football. Tragic especially when you don't win; you don't win against Liverpool in an FA Cup semi-final; and you "don't win" as badly as that.
196 Posted 21/04/2012 at 20:44:16
976 Posted 23/04/2012 at 21:40:36
Chris Fisher....Steve knows you're right son.
983 Posted 23/04/2012 at 22:28:40
YouÂ´re all commenting on what you know. Fair enough. But what you donÂ´t know, is that Everton will come good in 2013 when we will be Premier League Champions.
You heard it here first! :)
632 Posted 26/04/2012 at 13:13:38
Only to get your Wembley ticket, while some of us missed out.
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