After the match, we hung around in the Main Stand as Sascha was keen to see the last few minutes of a cup match on TV in one of the boxes just above . He hates Rapid Vienna so much that he refers to them (as I had to do) as the other team. They were 0-0 against a lower league team, with the prospect of a penalty shoot-out looming.

I spotted Bill Kenwright on his own further down the stand, so went over for a chat. He didn’t remember me from our previous meeting some years ago. Unperturbed, I came straight to the point and asked him about Baines and Fellaini. He replied that he didn’t get involved in those matters.

We split up and I drifted down to join a few Evertonians with 3 players (Jagielka, Baines and Robles), who had come to the edge of the stand to sign autographs and pose for photos. Incidentally when Sascha saw Robles later he wasn’t impressed by his Burberry man bag. I wanted to do a Basil Fawlty impression and say he is from Barcelona (OK, Madrid), but it would have been wasted on him). I asked them if they were going into Vienna (yes, I know, you are thinking here come the tourist brochures!), but they said that they were flying back to prepare for Accrington Stanley.

Graeme Sharp was also there chatting to some Evertonians that he knew in the stand. I heard Blue Kipper mentioned at one stage. Interviews with EvertonTV were taking place, notably with Roberto Martinez.

A big cheer went up from the back of the stand, from which I deduced that Rapid had been knocked out of the cup (5-4 on penalties). I was not too concerned, even though I am a closet Rapid fan. When I came to live here I needed to have a team to follow, so chose Rapid as we beat them in the Cup Winners Cup Final. Also I was not overly impressed by Austria Vienna playing in purple and changing their name every few years. So Rapid it was.

We then moved round the back of the stand and found ourselves in a compound with the players coach and executives vehicle. I saw Bill Kenwright move towards fans who were outside the railings to talk to them. I chatted to Robert Elstone, who seemed very approachable. I said how pleasantly informal it was and he agreed. He added that it would be good to play football during the summer. We agreed that Robles had a fine game and that it had been a good workout for the players.

Shortly afterwards a clearly exasperated Bill Kenwright came up to me and said They are still going on about the Arteta money. I subtly changed the subject and asked him if he knew ToffeeWeb. He said he did, but never looked at it. I said just as well. He went on to say that Howard Kendall was told to avoid all fanzines when he came to the club as manager. He added that he doesn’t even look at newspapers these days. Pressure?

We then chatted about Vienna. He asked me if I enjoyed living here. He had lunched in the city centre and was very impressed with what he had seen. He thought it was such a clean city. Living in London, as he does, that is hardly surprising.

He asked how good were Austria Vienna, so I brought Sascha into the conversation. He, very honestly, replied that they were the second best team in Austria the best being Red Bull Salzburg, who they beat to the title. I told Bill Kenwright about the other team thing, saying that at least we call our hated rivals redshite. I told him that on the way to the ground we had noticed a fan wearing a new t-shirt. On the back was the league table from last season. Everything else was normal apart from one thing. In the Rapid Vienna points column, and in a brighter colour, it stated simply -25. Yes, they had 25 points less than their city rivals.

Any ideas? No, I don’t think -2 has quite the same impact!

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Reader Comments (13)

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Patrick Murphy
1 Posted 15/07/2013 at 16:47:50
So Mr Kenwright lives in a bubble, that explains oh so much. A good Chairman would keep himself up to speed with the thoughts of the fans and the media, not every detail, but he would sense the mood, and he may well have discovered that his friend the ex-manager was likely to leave, sooner than he thought.

John Brennan
2 Posted 15/07/2013 at 17:02:31
Sascha could have stepped out of the sewers of Vienna and met you on the giant funfair wheel spinning slowly above the sleeping city.
"Look down there, he said, look at them all, mere ants, mere cockroaches.
What did this country ever give the world other than cuckoo clocks, Mozart, Hitler and avalanches?"
Robert, listen to me. Sell. Sell. Sell him.
Who, I said, who, in the name of God??
Sascha turned, his dull, dead eyes full of hate and loathing, and the words were spat out as if he had eaten a KFC nutbucket--- "You fool, you'll never understand.
"I mean Nais----- they were the last words Sascha ever spoke as the bullet tore through his right temple and exited via his Rapid Vienna tattoo on his left cheek.

Robert Workman
3 Posted 15/07/2013 at 18:16:46
Brilliant John. You have taken ToffeeWeb to another level. I know a lovely lady in Liverpool who has watched "The Third Man" more times than I have had hot dinners. She once watched it with me in Vienna along with a handful of officianados.She was absolutely made up (not just with me). even made me a Third Man t-shirt.

Totally irrelevant piece of information coming - a hell of a lot of Austrians have never seen The Sound of Music - they just don't get what that film did single-handedly for their tourist industry.

James Flynn
4 Posted 15/07/2013 at 19:16:53
Robert - Read all of your OPs. Really good stuff. Thanks for taking the time.
Paul Ferry
5 Posted 16/07/2013 at 16:21:44
Kenwright doesn't get involved in such matters: the future of Felli and Baines?

That is (1) another lie or (2) amazing or (3) feeling fevered and changing the subject as quickly as possible.

None of these put him in a good light.

Love the image of blustering Billy chubby hands on forehead exasperated by the Arteta money.

Very nice stuff Robert; I got a real feel for the post-match atmosphere

Harold Matthews
6 Posted 16/07/2013 at 22:39:07
I believe Jelavic was a real hot-shot with Rapid Vienna Robert.
What are your conclusions to his sudden decline?
Alan Humphreys
7 Posted 17/07/2013 at 00:24:48
In a week of little Everton news, your trilogy has been a welcome source of information Robert. I echo James' comment (975).
Robert Workman
8 Posted 17/07/2013 at 09:32:03
Paul - definitely (3). He was more relaxed later talking about Vienna, as you would imagine.

I considered asking Leighton Baines the same question (about himself), but decided that it was (a) inappropriate and (b) disrespectful, as he had taken the trouble to come and meet some fans.

Incidentally, to be fair to the other players, they also signed autographs and posed for photos in the compound later on. Most of these fans had climbed over the fence in order to get into the compound. Meanwhile a tiny lady, clearly descended from the SS, was blocking one Evertonian from entering at the actual gate! Sascha pleaded with her to let this guy in, but she refused - even when he kindly switched tickets with him.

Robert Workman
9 Posted 17/07/2013 at 10:03:32
Harold - I wish I knew the answer to the Jelavic conundrum. I did see him a few times on TV playing for Rapid. He did miss a few as well as scoring plenty. I was pleased when we signed him, but was surprised - as I believe he was -that he had such an amazing first half season.

I recently watched the highlights of our 3 matches last season against Wigan, in order to check out Kone. Jelavic scored in the first match and the commentator said that made 4 goals in 6 games. So he did make a very good start last season.

I don't think it is just a matter of confidence, as his misses didn't affect him when playing for Rapid - although I accept that there was a lot less pressure on him then. Also he did not seem to get any lift from scoring that great late goal in the 2-0 home win against Man City, despite all the team celebrating with him.

I feel that he will find himself behind Kone, Mirallas and Deulofeu, in selection terms, unless he can recapture some form during the pre-season friendlies.

Kev Johnson
10 Posted 17/07/2013 at 10:20:43
A very enjoyable series of reports, Robert. I doff my hat to you.
Harold Matthews
11 Posted 17/07/2013 at 12:15:50
Thanks Robert. You certainly had a day to remember.

I'm also pleased with your Jelavic report. Cheers.

Matthew Williams
12 Posted 17/07/2013 at 12:22:09
Great report, Robert. Vienna sounds like a top city! I hope the Blues return there soon, maybe to play Rapid again! I've never seen the film "The Third Man", I'll have to check it out like.

Bring on the mighty Accrington, time for some goals, methinks!! COYB

Matt Traynor
13 Posted 17/07/2013 at 13:09:13
Patrick #900, whilst I'm certainly no defender of our Chairman, I think he would be a loon to read the thoughts of fans as to his stewardship of our club. The oft-quoted "Where's the Arteta money Bill?" is a parody - and he'll be getting that thrown at him for the next 20 years!

The Arteta transfer was symptomatic of the situation Everton finds itself in. A shoddy transfer with the usual spin to placate the fans. Mikel's biggest fear was the club would paint him in a bad light (requesting a transfer, taking a pay cut etc) which, judging by a portion of fans booing him on his return when they beat us 1-0 a couple of years ago was well founded.

I was given a hospitality ticket for that game, and after the match a few of the Arsenal senior execs came in to chat about the game (they were staying overnight, traveled separately from the team).

We had a good long chat, and the Arteta subject cropped up. I know a couple of football agents (they're not all cockroaches - just the majority!) and I said that I refused to believe that it was a rushed transfer.

Anyway in a nutshell Arteta didn't ask for the move. He was happy to stay at Everton, but not averse to the move to Arsenal if Everton wanted to sell. There was no last minute rushing around, offering to take a pay cut etc. The contract he signed was for a wage that was less than he was on at Everton, but with a provision for a hike after 12 months. When you factor in the signing on fees, the ludicrous loyalty payments for not demanding a transfer etc, he did rather nicely out of it. The timeline for the transfer was entirely Everton's. Arsenal wanted him in before the start of the season.

I have no idea why our club plays these games with the transfers of some players. If they came out and said we need to sell to cut costs I think the majority of fans would accept it, even if they weren't happy with it.

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