Ian Mills has witnessed Everton's run of four successive defeats
 and he is definitely not happy

 Royal Blue Mersey

So the Christmas period is almost over.  We've stuffed ourselves with turkey and ale, and were ready to enjoy ourselves on New Year's Eve, before we all get back to our everyday lives.  Christmas is always a great period.  No work, relax, eat, drink and have a good time.  But us Everton fans have had to endure some ridiculous performances from the team we love and spend hard cash on every week. 

The Christmas period saw thousands travel up to Leeds and see a first-half performance that was awful.  Fair do's to the lads because in the second half we went at Leeds and almost forced a come-back.  We are not up to the standard of Leeds United and we did deserve to get beaten, but the hard work the lads put in after the break was great.  

Then, up nice and early to go to Sunderland.  We can definitely get something here.  So we arrive, fuck about in the snow and get inside.  Half the team looked asleep, the other half looked like First Division players.  Like Leeds, our second-half performance was better but we deserved what we got.

So on come, United.  Now, even after their mini-revival, we could really shake them up.  And that's what we did.  For 70 minutes we played them at their own game and we really looked like we could grab a winner.  Then Smith does something I still cannot figure out.  He takes off two wingers and puts Duncan Ferguson and Paul Gascoigne on.  Now Gazza is not going to run through a midfield of Beckham, Giggs and Scholes and produce a wonder strike, and Duncan is not going to get any decent service with no wingers.  So Idan Tal sits on the bench with the now-departed Niclas Alexandersson and Jesper Blomqvist, whilst the team on the pitch have no width which was where we had looked so good during the match. 

So, from the back, the old Route One service comes up: Weir to Ferguson, Xavier to Ferguson, Unsworth to Ferguson, Naysmith to Ferguson, Watson to Ferguson... and the midfield who had worked their socks off are now chasing shadows.  United must have been loving it.  They then went down the now exposed wings and crossed two balls into the box which resulted in two fine goals.  

Come on Smith!  What's the logic?  We looked every bit as good as they did and we looked more likely to score than they did, and you sit back?  You take our wingers off and play Route One?  We were on top of that game until you told them to sit back!  So that's three straight losses...

Bring on Charlton.  A freezing cold day and the crowd didn't look into it from the start.  Radzinski struggling with an injury, just our luck, take him off Smith.  But no, Smith asks him to carry on while ALAN STUBBS WARMS UP!!  WTF Walter?  Radzinski then takes matters into his own hands and stands by the touchline until the ball goes out of play.  

So ok, Duncan's on...  Now the width does its job.  Give it to the wingers and let them feed Duncan.  Half time and were 1-0 down.  Blomqvist is just not getting the ball.  Either he has slept with every players wife or they just ain't noticing him.  Alexandersson must have the worst first touch I have ever seen.  Second half, bring Tal on and play him on the right, Alexandersson is not worth the boots he is wearing today.  No, second half starts but Smith has made no changes.  Slight improvement.  Blomqvist is getting some good crosses into the box but Alexandersson still ain't doing much.

Gazza now looks to be coming on, great, but its taking 10 minutes for him to do so?  Why?  Shit 2-0.  Game over.  Smith then decides that its time to stop Gazza warming up and bring him on.  Off went Alexandersson to a small chant from the back of the Gwladys of "YOUR NOT FIT TO WEAR THE SHIRT".  Booed off, he taps Gazza on the head as if to say "Your turn".

Blomqvist then goes off for Tal.  Seems sensible.  But we are now doing fuck all.  Passing ain't working, crosses ain't working and now the whole team are just utter shit.  3-0.  Our defence allowed them to mess about with the ball on the edge of our own penalty area and then score.  Ridiculous.  Then some gobshite behind me shouted "JOE-MAX YOUR BOLLOCKS!"  That was it then.  I ain't having that.

I turned around and told this guy that Joe-Max Moore has ran his damn heart out today, he's been everywhere.  He said that he's not feeding off Duncan; "Well if Duncan f'n ran a bit instead of standing still, we might actually see some room for Joe to f'n move"  As I turn round, Joe is chasing the right back right in front of me, putting him under pressure; no one else seems to be running.  A few arms raised at Joe from the Gwladys as if to tell him to f*ck off, that ain't deserved. 

Full time and the boos came.  For the first time, Duncan actually sprinted and ran down for his shower "SPRINT NOW WONT YA, YA WASTE OF F'N MONEY" I shouted.  I don't get it.  Duncan is worshipped by the fans but he has done nothing since we bought him back.  Our best season was 1999/2000 when he wasn't here.  We buy him back and he scores the odd goal and knocks in two penalties.  Whereas Joe-Max Moore sits in the reserves for most of the season, and when he plays he works as hard as anybody could, runs around the pitch for 90 minutes and he is made the scapegoat.  Some people have to look at themselves in the mirror and ask themselves, 11 Duncans in your team or 11 Joes?  Think of it that way.

The odd 'Smith Out' chant was heard and I agree.  He should go.  But he is only as good as what he's got... and what he's got is not very good.

Sure his tactics are bollocks and playing Unsworth left-wing and center-mid is bizarre; and yes I would give McLeod or Hibbert a go, but whilst this club is under Bill Kenwright's leadership, we are going down.

Here's my e.mail address now for anyone who wants to complain about this column but this is bollocks.  I ain't sitting back and keeping my thoughts to myself.  ToffeeWeb let me write my thoughts on their site, and that's what I am doing.  please send your feedback to not any other ToffeeWeb address.

Kenwright is obsessed with this new stadium and in 5 years, if this goes ahead, we'll be hosting Stoke and Luton in it instead of Man Utd and Arsenal.  No disrespect to Stoke and Luton but we shouldn't be playing teams like you.

Money is there for the stadium, I do not believe we are paying nothing for it, and that money should be given to Walter Smith to spend on the team.  Once we have a good team who care about the crest, who care about the fans and the club, then we are moving in the right direction.  But the team we have now will not last in the Premiership.  Tomorrow, Abel Xavier is free to sign for another club and Thomas Gravesen has already said he wants to leave.  The likes of Barmby, Dacourt, Collins and even Stephen Hughes were right to leave this club; they see the direction it is going in and they want no part of it.

Smiths tactics are useless.  Kilmarnock and Hearts may be beaten with five at the back and players out of position, but this is the best league in the world, and the best teams in the world are walking all over it.  It was a sad day when the Kopites beat us 3-1 with no real difficulty, but that's a reality slap.  Liverpool are on the up and they are going to walk over us every season from now.  Yesterday was a kick in the bollocks but that's a reality check.  Teams like Charlton who work hard for each other and give a shit about their club and their fans will walk over us every day of the week.

As I said, my e.mail address is above, any criticism goes to me and none of the ToffeeWeb team.

Kenwright and Smith Out!

Ian Mills - Happy New Year

On 1st January 2002 Think of Abel Xavier and Thomas Gravesen who will be sealing luxury moves to good teams; think of Nick Barmby, Franny Jeffers, Olivier Dacourt and John Collins, who have made career decisions to move away from this club.  Then think of Walter Smith, who is probably cashing his 30k-a-week cheque in his local branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland....

30 December 2001


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