Everton 1 - 1 Tottenham HotspurAt last our season starts and the Room of Nonsense is soon abuzz as matchday friends meet up and discuss the goings on of the close season. The majority of opinion is: let us let the dust settle and see how the squad looks after August 31st and how we are shaping up by Christmas. Appointing a new manager is always somewhat of a gamble but it would have been an even bigger gamble not to... It seems to be a three-year project so making the first observation of any discernible sense of the direction we are headed is best left to the first check mark of Christmas and then how we are looking during the run in.
The Stones transfer was on the agenda and the popular thought was that he had not been playing for us since he put his transfer request in and had it turned down; also, he did not seem to relish receiving advice on defending from the Park End.
Friday night games were discussed and mixed views on those. Crystal Palace (H) is our first one so a reminder to you to beware of flying roof slates in Goodison Road. It seems to be always windy when we play them at home.
It was how we would line up and start the season that was uppermost in most conversations; if we had formed a selection committee, it would have been chaos as so many permutations were put forward. We had to wait for official confirmation of the starting eleven and subs and believe me, you didn’t need a clock or watch to know 2:00pm was almost upon us as heads went down to palm of hands in eager anticipation of our team being electronically transmitted to those hand-held appliances that would tell all. At first glance, it was noted no Lukaku or Coleman, which was a blow, but most agreed the line-up was the best we could muster; so, until reinforcements can be acquired, we go with what we have got.
The walk up was carried out in good spirits with a warm glow both inside and out. On reaching Goodison Road, the familiar outlets were all back and thriving: the Fat Van heaving but still no bacon; Blue Dragon had a queue. A quick glance at the stadium and work is progressing with the facelift, as indeed it is inside the stadium, the walls were that white, sunglasses should be provided.
We all had our new season ticket cards and determined what picture was on the back. They also had new card readers and apparently these were malfunctioning and queues quickly built up. Still into the ground and Z-Cars rang out. For the players’ handshake, new music accompaniment this season and to me it was more suited to a funeral than a footy match. Each player got a grand ovation as his name was called; then the new way of kicking off was demonstrated by Spurs.
From the off, we looked to be at it and last season’s 3rd-placed team was being pressed, harried and bullied. "How long they can keep this up?" I mused. Within five minutes, Mirallas was making ground at pace and was impeded by Wanyama; our Ref, Mr Atkinson, awarded a free-kick outside the area on the Bullens Road side. Barkley delivered a cross that had players rushing toward the goal but it just floated on and into the net and goal. It was such a goal that there was a split second between ball hitting our brand new white net and the roar. (White nets are better than those dark blue ones!)
No sitting back after the goal as we continued our pressing game and, with just a further 10 minutes passed, we almost had the second. Wanyama felled Mirallas once again. It was further out but Jagielka got his head to it and looped the ball goalwards but the Spurs keeper turned the ball over the bar. Our new man, Idrissa Gueye, was catching the eye more and more with his seemingly tireless chasing, harrying and tackling and, along with Barry, Spurs were not getting things their way. Walker did on a couple of occasions give us a glance at what damage he could do with speedy marauding runs but Baines coped rather well again with some help from Barry and Gueye. When a Spurs man did get through and threaten, Jags was strong and resolute and blocked his run, well-timed tackle that.
During the odd Spurs breaks, it was fascinating to observe our back line as it seemed to go from a flat back four to a three or even a two-and-two as the type of threat evolved. The half moved on with Everton causing the most trouble but Spurs needed marshalling on the break. They had one good effort but our man Stekelenburg handled well. Mirallas and Deulofeu were always a thorn in their side and some speedy movement was getting them where Spurs did not want them to get and a Mirallas shot had to be turned around by the keeper. Toward the end of the half, the Spurs keeper Lloris had to go off with what looked like a hammy and be replaced by Vorm.
As the half was almost done, a poor backpass by a Spurs defender had Deulofeu pounce and go in on goal one-on-one with the stand-in keeper who came to narrow the angle but Deulofeu, who had time on his hands to try to move away to create an angle, chose to shoot but straight at the keeper who blocked his effort away. "Oh, we could have done with that." I thought as the half shortly ended.
The half-time chat was almost exclusively regarding the difference in philosophies between the Dutch man and the Spaniard. People were liking what they were seeing but were agreed we are a long way from the team he wants to build — but a start is being made.
Second half and it was to be quite different to the first. Spurs straight out of the blocks probably with sharp words ringing in their ears. We were being pushed back but that desire to work, tackle and press was still there and a breakaway was sought whenever possible. The Spurs manager had seen enough and on the hour mark our ex-player, Dier, was replaced by new signing Janssen. He started in bullish mood and looked for a healthy tackle whenever he could. He cut one back for the nark Dele Alli to entertain the crowd by skiing it rather high.
In Spurs' next attack, though, disaster struck for the Blues when Walker made one of his runs, Baines didn’t get close enough to him, and he was able to flash the ball across the 6-yard box; Lamela got in front of Holgate and directed a header expertly into the corner of that white net. "Damn and blast" came to mind! This took the wind out of our sails somewhat and we were getting a little ragged but great effort was put into trying to keep pressing and tackling and trying to fashion breaks but it was at this point you understood our manager's comment that the players are only 70% fit enough for his tactics. Where Barry, Gueye & McCarthy had been tireless and determined, the load was taking its toll and Spurs were now with the upper hand.
Where last season, we probably would have folded, our players soldiered on and our new keeper, Maarten Stekelenburg, took centre-stage with two huge saves. Spurs were gaining corners and from two of these he made excellent saves. First, a close-range shot from Janssen was blocked by his body; from the scramble ,the ball went up in the air and he was up and after it and palmed it away. He then showed excellent reactions when an incoming missile was diverted over the bar.
We were under the cosh and, with some extremely tired players, our manager lent a hand by making subs that would help. First, on 70 mins, Deulofeu was replaced by Kone (not the Sunderland one); then on 75 mins Lennon replaced Mirallas, and finally on 85 mins Cleverley replaced Barry.
The subs were of value as they helped the duo of McCarthy and Gueye do their best to stem the Spurs tide; even though those these two were on their last legs, they dug in and helped see out the game with three added minutes. Just after our last substitution, Barkley was seen lying on the ground but, after a word with Mr Atkinson who was enquiring after his health, he got up and carried on. Whistle went, we all cheered and people were leaving the stadium with smiles on their faces as bright as the L4 sun.
MotM: Jagielka. A rock from start to finish and didn’t flag.
A good day out and a game that left this fan quite optimistic that an upturn in fortunes is a possibility with this new manager.
Of our new signings on view, Gueye was a bundle of energy and showed terrier-like tendencies. He was a little like Bracewell, who earned the nickname ‘dog shit’ because he was everywhere, and so was Gueye today. With a few games under his belt, I can see him becoming a firm favourite with the faithful.
Stekelenburg had a tidy debut. His kicking with either foot was fine; he came and caught crosses; and when required showed excellent reflexes. It was said that Joe Hart’s agent was at Goodison today so, if any truth in that and something happened, the England man would have to earn his place on today's form.
The walk back to our watering hole was pleasant today as most seemed happy and thought we could progress. I sincerely hope so.
WBA next. Hope Lukaku is fit. See you there...
UP THE BLUES
Reader Comments (62)
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1 Posted 14/08/2016 at 00:28:12
"... most seemed happy and thought we could progress." Spot on, and my thoughts exactly. We didn't win, which was a shame, but the green shoots of recovery are certainly showing!
2 Posted 14/08/2016 at 00:36:31
3 Posted 14/08/2016 at 01:47:48
Koeman must be given time to stamp his mark on the team, but I fear the damage done by a certain Spaniard in the last two seasons will take a little longer to eradicate.
He knows he has to improve the overall fitness of many of his current crop of players (and he will), to avoid the current 'hands on hips' that many of the players seem to be suffering from after 70 minutes.
At the moment, we are definitely at the 'work in progress' stage but the signs are promising.
5 Posted 14/08/2016 at 03:15:36
6 Posted 14/08/2016 at 03:35:57
7 Posted 14/08/2016 at 03:47:29
8 Posted 14/08/2016 at 04:51:26
9 Posted 14/08/2016 at 07:40:42
Klopp had is lot doing double shifts and endurance training and they improved. To compete, they have to be super fit at this level and I fully expect we will see this over the coming weeks.
Not sure I see a role for McCarthy or Cleverley and would have preferred to see some kids on the bench. As for Kone, 6 goals in 42+ games tells the story... take away the hat-trick and it's very poor indeed.
10 Posted 14/08/2016 at 08:12:54
I thought we looked comfortable and though they were targeting Holgate he coped well until the goal - one shot on target? The goal followed a short passage of play when we stopped pressing as closely but two or three passes went astray from our right across to the left whereupon the cross bought Holgate out. The first collective drop in concentration? It will get easier.
More than one comment pointed out that Williams would not have conceded.
Not so sure striker is first priority. A better provider of crosses in open play and quicker midfielder to get up for the crosses on the break seem important for this style of play.
Green shoots indeed.
11 Posted 14/08/2016 at 08:35:04
12 Posted 14/08/2016 at 09:00:49
13 Posted 14/08/2016 at 09:11:03
We now need much better than Kone, Lennon and should get better than McCarthy, Cleverly. Deulofeu tried hard but that miss cost us all three points and he just doesn't see that first time cross, loses too many one-on-one with keeper/weak shot - we no longer need to wait for young players to develop while playing them in the first team.
Who to make way for Williams & Kone? Holgate & Funes Mori but Jagielka phased out this season, ditto Barry but both very good yesterday.
14 Posted 14/08/2016 at 09:54:06
15 Posted 14/08/2016 at 09:58:13
On the evidence of a dodgy stream two thousand miles from the action, I go with Ken's verdict a promising start.
Have to say I'm a bit suspicious of so much dough being spent on tarting up the Old Lady. Almost certainly to be trotted out as a sop for not delivering a new stadium in my lifetime!
16 Posted 14/08/2016 at 10:08:41
Wonderful to have your (real) match report to read again.
However, "The Room of Nonsense is soon abuzz as matchday friends meet up and discuss the goings on of the close season. The majority of opinion is: let us let the dust settle and see how the squad looks after August 31st and how we are shaping up by Christmas."
Surely this "Room of Nonsense" of which you speak is nothing of the kind!
Indeed this is a veritable "Conclave of Sages"!
18 Posted 14/08/2016 at 10:31:38
19 Posted 14/08/2016 at 11:54:35
I left The House in New Brighton very early. Excited. More than that. New season Ticket in my wallet. A New Season, a New Start. Maybe A New Era.
On the bus through The Tunnel, headphones on – Beatles, some Soul and Van The Man – I was already in an ecstatic, ethereal mood with Into The Mystic Floating around in my head... Let Your Soul and Spirit Fly Into Into Into The Mystic.
Off at Scotland Road and a walk through my childhood haunts: Smith Street and Westminster Road, where I walked to the match in the late '50s and throughout the '60s...
Suddenly, I stopped for a moment and looked into the distance. There it was, shimmering under a Blue Sky, The Dark House and above it the Roof at Goodison. I was moved and touched at once; I felt like Wordsworth when he first encountered London and wrote of his vision in The Prelude, The City glistening and shimmering before him as he stood on The Bridge.
I went into a flower shop and bought some sunflowers, obviously for Sandra. San and Tony are great to us Blues at TDH.
I entered... John Potter sitting at his stool as always, but unusually The Irish lads in very early – like me, I guess, couldn't wait.
I saw Sandra and walked towards her with the sunflowers; she was in white... Dylan's words somehow flew out of my mouth:
"Suddenly I turned around and she was standin' there,
With silver bracelets on her wrists and flowers in her hair,
She walked up to me so gracefully and took my crown of thorns,
Come in, she said, I'll give ya shelter from the storm."
Within a moment, a glass of The Golden Nectar in my hand, a drop running down the side like John Mill's beer in Ice Cold In Alex.
Camera out of the bag – Week 1 of New Season/Age/Era... Felt good. Felt so good. Felt so good I blew a note on my harmonica a la Van.
I for one am feeling optimistic, but I generally do about Everton. The general feeling before and after the game in TDH was optimism. Most felt Gana/Gueye was MotM, but special praise for Holgate.
Everyone knows this will not be the starting 11 within the next few weeks, but a decent start. Good energy and work rate, much to be added, but off to WBA next week and we shall see.
If you would like to see photos from TDH, go to FB Page "The Dark House Blues", posted every week.
20 Posted 14/08/2016 at 11:55:59
21 Posted 14/08/2016 at 14:24:16
Jagielka and Barry were both very good yesterday, brave and watchful, but their age is catching up. Jags has been criticised for lack of leadership (other than by example), blocks well but not a passer, and can be dominated by quick or big attackers. Great value for money but we are no longer shopping at Tesco's.
We no longer have to squeeze the last drops out of slowing veterans, no matter how good. They should see less action this season if we are aiming top 4.
22 Posted 14/08/2016 at 14:42:28
Then, I don't think too many of us are expecting 'top 4' this season as you are!
23 Posted 14/08/2016 at 14:53:14
Time for cautious optimism.
25 Posted 14/08/2016 at 15:16:21
Great stuff George.
27 Posted 14/08/2016 at 15:33:13
28 Posted 14/08/2016 at 15:56:31
I thought Gueye was MotM closley followed by Maarten and Jags.
But overall it was good to see us shake off the Martinez "methods" and start to play with proper tactics and formation.
29 Posted 14/08/2016 at 16:17:43
Great start to the season. More energy and yes we struggled towards the end. Time and patience is required by all. New methods are being implemented with new formations, players, and change in mentality coming through.
Koeman is a manager who will tell it the way it is. He wants to succeed and with a sense of realism. He is ambitious and the board know it.
Patience is the key.
31 Posted 14/08/2016 at 16:30:13
Anyway enough of that. Great report as usual, Kenneth, but what watering hole is the Room of Nonsense?
32 Posted 14/08/2016 at 16:36:23
Gana MotM for me. Agree that Barry and Jags were both very good. Clutching at straws, but I saw Ross doing more than ever before in terms of chasing and competing for headers and some tackles. Just work on the decision-making now.
Loved that flexibility in composition of the back line. Back 3, into 5, into 4.
33 Posted 14/08/2016 at 16:38:18
Report seems to be on computor but not on mobiles.
34 Posted 14/08/2016 at 16:42:11
35 Posted 14/08/2016 at 16:53:01
36 Posted 14/08/2016 at 16:57:32
That man should never play for Everton again if we are to achieve anything.
37 Posted 14/08/2016 at 18:16:55
Can't say I remember that particular nickname for Paul Bracewell, although I have heard several other players referred to in similar terms over the years .
38 Posted 14/08/2016 at 19:38:43
George McKane, thanks to you for a journey into the ether, I would love to think that our players were also listening to those prophets of rock as they prepare for battle. I daresay that Baines would have been tuned in to Tame Impala, and perhaps Ronald would be listening to Focus, and planning his tactics to the sound of the "Hocus Pocus" album. I certainly hope he can conjure up some clever strategy for the months ahead.
39 Posted 14/08/2016 at 21:09:28
Have to have a small disagreement though: my MotM would have been Gana.
Roll on WBA indeed.
40 Posted 14/08/2016 at 21:15:27
41 Posted 14/08/2016 at 21:21:07
I'm guessing your that little bit older than me by saying you were going in the late '50s early '60s. I'm 57 by the way. But hey ho. Brilliant that, George. Really enjoyed it.
42 Posted 14/08/2016 at 21:26:20
43 Posted 14/08/2016 at 21:40:51
I love Jags.
I bloody well do.
Jags would get into the Everton sides of each successful Era.
Jags wears "The Royal Blue Jersey" with dignity.
He defends from the heart and honors Brian Labones Corinthian Spirit.
He plays his football cleaner than Sheedy's shorts.
I fuckin' LOVE Jags.
44 Posted 14/08/2016 at 21:54:38
46 Posted 14/08/2016 at 00:15:03
Eddy (#38)... Focus now THAT was a band.
Onwards and upwards for our Blues!
47 Posted 15/08/2016 at 00:56:40
Good to see you haven't lost any match sharpness over the holidays Mr Buckley!
Let's hope the squad can get from 70% to 100% in a week.
49 Posted 15/08/2016 at 07:18:54
Can I come too??
Tony Draper - totally agree re Jags - can't believe people wanted to ship him out to sunnerlan!
50 Posted 15/08/2016 at 07:27:02
You do realize that Mark Lawrenson hates that band and their most famous track, because he can't pronounce it?
Herkus Perkus by Ferkus!
51 Posted 15/08/2016 at 08:05:41
Hopefully we will build on a promising 1st half, Up The Blues!!
Special praise for Tony Draper and Monday morning smiles. :-)
52 Posted 15/08/2016 at 08:17:51
I try to make Match Day something really special for myself and my friends bit of madness, bit of poetry and acting soft always play "Its All Right" by The Impressions (Curtis Mayfield) on my way to the game.
The Dark House is a very lively football pub. See you there. hopefully. Written from Astral Plane 7.
53 Posted 15/08/2016 at 08:26:22
54 Posted 15/08/2016 at 08:39:01
55 Posted 15/08/2016 at 09:20:35
You're dead right mate, he would have been in line behind those true greats, and no shame in that.
He would still have picked up a medal, much as our unsung duo Kevin Richardson and Alan Harper rightly did.
My point really is that Jags is desperately underappreciated by far too many. Eleven footballers of his quality and dedication would have won us silverware by now.
Some of our youngsters "could do with a pint of his blood". Being great doesn't always require being or doing the incredible.
56 Posted 15/08/2016 at 09:41:11
Your mentioning Brian Labone reminded me that he was, I believe, booked only once in his entire career. I remember the game, against Newcastle at Goodison, an evening game. The ref gave a dodgy decision against us, and Labone, who'd picked up the ball, bounced it in frustration. It looked innocuous, but the ref decided to book him.
The ref was then surrounded by players protesting against the booking, but the remarkable thing was that they included Newcastle players. You would have thought it was one of their players they were defending! Such was the esteem with which Labone was held.
57 Posted 15/08/2016 at 09:43:30
Although I do have to say I moved seats this year back to the old haunt of the upper Gwladys St from the Main Stand the level of negativity up there is poisoning. I cannot believe the fans up by where I am. I found myself asking why do they even bother coming? They may as well have been sat in the away end.
And to top it off, they where all adamant that Mirallas had had a good game! Now I don't know whether you've been brain washed for the past couple of years and your standards have dramatically decreased but anyone that thinks he had a good game has sadly succumbed to accepting bang average! Worst player on the pitch for me and must do a lot better if he remains playing for this club! COYB
58 Posted 15/08/2016 at 10:01:56
And if Everton are going to progress this season, attack minded players need to be found. And other questions should be asked, why is the academy only producing defenders and midfield players for the first team and not attackers?
59 Posted 15/08/2016 at 10:15:17
'Watching the moth catcher working the floodlights in the evenings
And meeting down by the pylons
As the wireless played Radio Luxembourg
In the days before Rock and Roll.'
Thanks for re-kindling the memory!
60 Posted 15/08/2016 at 11:03:47
Your mention of "Luxie", floodlights and the earlier references to Dutch Rockers Focus brought to mind the Golden Earring classic that crackled away in my earphone (singular BTW kids, not a pair) on my "trannie" (a kind of small radio kids, not a kopite).
61 Posted 15/08/2016 at 12:04:59
62 Posted 15/08/2016 at 12:12:27
But as Van says in Hyndford Street "There is only now".
Been some really nice comments and views on this football, music, bit of poetry bit of lyrical thinking what more can you ask for?
Oh yea Everton to win a Trophy!!! Ahh Take Me Back Take me Way Way Back to The Holy Trinity before and so on.
Cosmic grooves all the way friends.
63 Posted 15/08/2016 at 13:10:33
64 Posted 15/08/2016 at 13:38:05
Thanks for the nice comment.
Keep cool, keep cosmic George.
65 Posted 15/08/2016 at 13:52:30
Lets hope we finally have a trophy win for you to write about at the end of the season!
As for the match, I am cautiously optimistic for our chances with our new gaffer, and I am looking forward to him making this team and squad his own.
Baines was a concern for me, and looked a shadow of the player we know and love, but hopefully with a few more sessions with Big Ron Koe, he will be back to his best.
Brilliant stuff also George – some quality tunes on your way to the game there my friend, no wonder your sprits were high!
I may have to make time to travel to the Dark House on matchday and get a dose of cosmic grooves.
All the best for the season blues!
66 Posted 15/08/2016 at 14:30:22
67 Posted 15/08/2016 at 17:46:31
The one failing? His lack of presence on the pitch? I don't know. Just because you don't shout, doesn''t mean you're not being heard. Also Ron has intimated he will remain, as captain too, so it seems there is appreciation where it counts.
He has also come back from severe knock backs, cruciate ligament, cold shouldered by England so many times but he just keeps on turning up, performing, and repeating the act .
A great player and captain who leads by example and not the megaphone.
68 Posted 15/08/2016 at 18:59:03
It has reminded me of the occasion when my Uncle Joe went up to St James's Park, meeting up with his old Geordie army pals. He was standing in the paddock with them, and Ray Wilson put in a crunching tackle on their winger. One lone Geordie voice shouted out a complaint about the tackle, and another one came back "Shut up. That's Wilson. He doesn't foul".
Put's the imaginary card wavers to shame!
69 Posted 17/08/2016 at 13:15:14
Keep the faith.
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