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Fans Comment

Splendid Isolation?
Andy McNabb writes from downunder

9 February 2002


The human mind is an incredible thing.  Having emigrated to Melbourne, Australia on 10 September 2001, my body clock now automatically wakes me at 4am on Sunday mornings.  At 11 hours ahead of UK time, I creep into the next room and, struggling to focus on the screen, make the internet connection to view the Everton score with a knot of fear in my stomach.  More often than not it's an unpleasant way to start a Sunday morning.  I crawl back to bed after about 15 mins and briefly discuss the scores with my wife before trying to get back to sleep with visions of the League table dancing before my eyes.

So, is it easier supporting Everton from the other side of the world?  The answer is probably "yes," in that there are no colleagues and kids to taunt me on a Monday morning at school and I avoid the horrors of Radio 5 on a Saturday afternoon with it's gut wrenching phrase "Now we go over to Goodison Park where there has just been a goal"  (Apart from his being a Mancunian, was there ever anything specific that we did to deserve the vitriolic nonsense that spouts from the mouth of Stuart Hall?)

Maybe not perhaps he is simply as fed up as the many others who turn up to see dross week in week out at the School of Science.

This week I read with sadness the article by Peter Fearon.  My first thought was to criticise him what good would getting rid of Walter do at this stage? My own thoughts towards the man have varied between wanting to personally pay for David Moyes' taxi fare from Preston, to realising what a stabilising influence he has been at the club, without whom we would have been Man City incarnate.

But then, who am I to make a comment at all?  I don't attend every home game I don't have to put up with at best, mediocre football and I don't shell out hard earned money for the 'privilege' of doing so.

My last experience of Goodison Park was a seat in Row ZZ on Easter Monday last year, surrounded by baying Rednoses and THAT goal by McAllister.  As I stumbled out of the ground, numb with disappointment in the knowledge that it was the last time I would stand/sit in the Gladwys St, I glanced over to Anfield Cemetry.  My Grandfather is buried there; you can see the top of the Bullens' Stand in the Autumn and Winter from his grave.  He died in 1988 and thankfully isn't around to see the state we are in now but surely that is where the 'truth', unpalatable though it may be, actually lies.

There have been some excellent articles written on this website over the last few weeks and one of them hit the nail on the head when it described our achievements over the last 30 years.

My earliest memories of Everton are of visiting my Grandparents in West Derby on a Saturday evening and hearing of another capitulation at Goodison Park.  As a 10-year-old, I remember being bemused by an article in The Echo which described the Everton supporters singing - "We only sing when we're losing"  Typical Scouse humour yes.  But also indicative of the team's performances in the 1970's.

Here's the real truth guys: we had 3 and a bit good years with Howard Kendall and a good run in the Cup under Joe Royle.  Apart from that, we have been 'pants' for the last 30 years.  That's something we can't pin on Walter or Archie.  We have been 'also-rans' for season after season the only difference these days is that we are now impoverished also-rans and can't even enjoy the short-lived hope that a new 'top quality' signing brings.

Football supporters are an unusual breed.  I lived in London in the 1980's and FOR A WHILE it was a joy to go and watch Everton away (apart from that awful plastic pitch at QPR!).  I saw the best and worst of the Everton fans: laughing until I almost cried at the comments in the pouring rain at a rain-soaked Plough Lane; cringing with shame as I stood at Spurs beside some Everton supporting Asian lads, whilst all around us Everton fans sang lustily, "There ain't no black in the Union Jack"

My point is this: we are (myself included) actually the worst qualified to make any sort of decision about Walter Smith.  The whole issue is too close to our hearts we care too much.  Am I right in saying that, if this was a crime (bad example, I know) and we were Police Officers, then we would not be allowed to investigate due to our personal involvement?

I sympathise completely with the likes of Peter Fearon and their understandable frustration.  It's a bit like watching a horror film as a kid.  You can't look away and yet you know it's scaring you out of your wits.  I desperately want to be at Goodison for every home game and yet it is torture.  If it were a divorce case, we could all sue the Club for mental cruelty... and yet we keep coming back for more.  I have never understood someone who returns to an abusive relationship and yet we do it all the time!  We could say that the person is not in a fit state to make a balanced decision and we are the same.

I don't have the answer and yet the cold facts are as follows :

  • Division 1 is a bad place we don't want to be there.
  • Who will we replace Walter with? (let's be honest - whoever it was, we would be writing like this about them in two years time...)

At the moment, rather than showing blind faith, Bill Kenwright realises there are no real alternatives.  I wish I could suggest some name, some solution which would magically change the whole situation but, like it or not, Walter Smith IS the only option at the moment.

Andy McNabb

PS.  For those of you saying, "It's alright for him".  I think you ought to know it is actually raining here at the moment!

PPS. Could I make a suggestion that ToffeeWeb stops with immediate effect all Player of the Month/Year/ Season awards?  I am not at all superstitious but can see an alarming trend building up here.  It used to just be compulsory for us to sell our Player of the Year.  Now it is happening as soon as we nominate a Player of the Month!

©2002 ToffeeWeb


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