Everything that could have gone wrong...

Paul reports from what he saw of the match at the Etihad after getting caught in the traffic jams on the M62.

Paul Traill 14/01/2016 8comments  |  Jump to last
Manchester City 0 - 0 Everton

Back in mid-December I was told our company AGM was to take place on Tuesday 5th January, neatly sidestepping our home Capital One Cup fixture against Manchester City. With this being the case I, and a few others decided to book tickets for the away Manchester City league game, thinking a quick getaway from work would be in order and then a dart down the M56. I was gutted then when I come back to work after a few festive days off for my boss to tell me the AGM had been switched...to Wednesday 13th January. A clash with our game through no fault of my own.

Still there was hope. My Operations Manager (not quite my boss but almost my boss) told me it would be fine to sneak out of the meeting a little early and I was given a "5:30pm at the VERY latest" promise. I was gutted and pretty angry then when at about 1:30pm today my boss (my real boss) told me in no uncertain terms that there was no way I could leave the meeting early, and that the meeting would finish at 6pm. "You'll make kick off" he said unconvincingly. I knew I had no chance.

In the meantime I was very grateful to Gaz, Gary and Sue for all getting together and waiting at the pub next to the meeting venue. I finally escaped at around 6pm and we made great progress right up the M56 until I saw a sign "30 MINUTE DELAY JUNCTION 6-3". I meekly advised Gaz to get off the motorway and go onto the M6 and I regret not being more forceful in my recommendation. I know the M56 too well and if the sign says delays it's no bluff. We got stuck in monster congestion as the time ticked on.

Reading various tweets, it emerged supporters from both Everton and Manchester City were stuck in traffic on the M62 and M56. Even the trams were down. One report even mentioned that the Eveerton team bus had still not even made it to the Etihad Stadium as kick off neared. Other reports suggested hardly anyone was inside the ground. It felt as though the game might well be delayed at one point but this wasn't the case and stuck in traffic, the game kicked off. Gaz's radio was bust so we couldn't even listen to it. Meanwhile, we finally got to the stadium - or at least where the Sat Nav felt the stadium was - only to find it was the wrong place, so we followed Google Maps the rest of the way (thanks Manchester City by the way, for having incorrect location details on the website).

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We finally, finally, arrived at the Etihad and into the stadium with around 35 minutes played and the score 0-0. We got to our seats for a couple of minutes but tired, thirsty, hungry, and in need of a comfort break, we just headed back down again for half time refreshments, effectively writing off the first half.

Despite the score goalless, I quite enjoyed the second half. It was a very resilient rearguard effort from Everton, and with just a bit of composure in the final third we might just have sneaked a winner but it wasn't to be. From all accounts Manchester City should have had a great chance to steal it at the death when John Stones brought down Raheem Sterling inside the penalty area, but thankfully Roger East pointed for a goal kick when it looked for all the world that he had pointed to the penalty spot. We all breathed a sigh of relief...and then jeered the Man City fans.

Otherwise, Tim Howard, Leon Osman and Steven Pienaar rolled back the years somewhat and it was great to see Phil Jagielka back as if he'd never been away. John Stones showed what a big miss Seamus Coleman is when he's not in the team and the 'Three B's' in the middle of Barry, Besic, and Barkley all complimented each other nicely. Romelu Lukaku didn't quite seem fit but we knew that going into the game. From a negative point of view, Roberto Martinez still drives you mad with substitutions (Kone instead of Mirallas?), and even with Leighton Baines back in the team, we still can't deliver a set-piece.

Coming home was much, much easier that going to the ground and I was home by 11.30pm (kudos to Gaz for the driving). I won't rate the players based on half a game, but from what I saw Tim Howard had to be man of the match. I was pleased for him given the flack he's endured and hope he can keep it up. Outfield I would say Barkley or maybe Besic were the pick of the bunch, though Phil Jagielka's steadying influence can't be understated.

The final word goes to the lack of kick-off delay as with Everton barely making kick off and the stadium barely even half full apparently, with so many stuck getting to the game, surely a kick-off delay would have been the sensible option. Sadly, and this is one of the things which has sucked the soul out of modern football, I doubt the decision lay in the hands of either of the two clubs or even the match official. With an international audience now, and global TV commitments, I imagine the Premier League are more concerned with that than the man on the street paying �42 per ticket.

The game is in a bit of a sad state but we keep on coming, and back I'll come to the Etihad in a fortnight for the Capital One Cup semi final.

Now that night definitely won't clash with a meeting.

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Reader Comments (8)

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Rahman Talib
1 Posted 14/01/2016 at 08:49:13
It all went south when Stones got injured and everybody got worried about Sterling making his runs down the right.
John Raftery
2 Posted 14/01/2016 at 11:27:31
Paul - you could have given this a 'From my Empty Seat' title! We arrived twenty minutes after kick off. Of course there was no question of the kick off being delayed, not with all those City fans in the Far East waiting by their television sets to watch the game. There is absolutely no flexibility on the part of the clubs. Naturally we still had to go through all the security checks in the pouring rain. Once we got inside the stadium there were no match programmes on sale. The paying 'customer' is well down the list of priority considerations for these big clubs.
David Hallwood
3 Posted 14/01/2016 at 12:01:09
Good report, Paul, and the good news is.... You’ve been shortlisted for the Ernie Shackelton never-say-die award. Like John (#2), I think TV has got a lot to answer for and one day it might backfire on them.

Onto the game, from what I saw of the extended highlights, we were a match for them in the 1st half and did a Moyesesque performance in the 2nd.

Quick observation about our Tim. I remember posting after the Wolfsburg game that, when shots are raining in and he’s not dealing with crosses, it seems to bring the best out if him.

When he has long periods of inactivity, that’s when his concentration levels seem to drop, that and crosses; but credit where credits due, great performance from Tim possible eclipsed by Besic who looks like a Keane-esque box-to-box midfielder.

Ian Hollingworth
4 Posted 14/01/2016 at 12:16:01
Got there at half time.

Sums up modern football: money for the tickets already in the bank and TV dictating anyway.

I wonder if the kick off would have been delayed in the days of paying cash at the turnstiles?

Geoff Evans
5 Posted 14/01/2016 at 12:30:45
Howard played well last night.
Christopher Timmins
6 Posted 14/01/2016 at 12:32:52

Is your boss a red?

George McKane
7 Posted 14/01/2016 at 15:19:57
Away Fan Report, Manchester City, Wednesday 13 January.

I drove to The Etihad yesterday evening and left my house at 4:45 allowing plenty of time to get to the game and park up. According to the SatNav, I should have been there at around 6:00-ish and I was laughing saying that allowing for traffic we would be there by 6:30, no worries. I wasn’t drinking and I was happy to park up and take friends for a pint...

The traffic was horrendous. First, there had been an accident on the M62 early in the day and traffic was diverted to M56 – this meant we were just crawling along... but, having left early enough, I still felt no problems and was still saying I would get them to the game for at least a pint.

We got to Manchester City Centre around 6:15 and I thought we would be parked up by the ground by say 6:45. Mancunian Way was totally blocked up – long-term roadworks – and I had to drive around side streets (by the way, these roadworks will still be there in 2 weeks time for the 2nd Leg). At one point, I tried to park and walk but it was all "Residents Only"...

We eventually got to The Etihad at just after 8:00 – missed the KO, then we couldn’t find anywhere to park, but the Stewards and Police were most helpful and guided us into a massive Car Park at The Etihad and also said it was FREE – good on them.

By the time we parked and walked around the ground to the away end, we actually got to our seats 3 minutes before half-time – so I paid £42 for half a match. No blaming anyone really and Man City Stewards and Police were really helpful once we go to the Ground... but why wasn’t the kick-off delayed? Everyone knew about the transport problems... does anyone believe we should ask for some form of refund?

Any similar stories – there were many Evertonians getting in throughout the half-time break and into the second half.

I am a Member and Committee member of Everton Supporters Trust and have posted the above on our Facebook Page – Everton Supporters Trust 1878 – and have asked for and received some comments; any comments, please feel free to put them on our FB Page.

Why not join EST – see our Website: www.est1878.co.uk.

Colin Gee
8 Posted 14/01/2016 at 16:04:22
Guess I was one of the lucky ones; I got there about 7:20 having walked it from Victoria Station, as the tram I had planned to catch was suspended due to some "Knobhead putting his car on the tracks" according to the fella on the platform who was giving out the information.

It took about 30 minutes to walk it; I couldn’t believe how empty it was when I got there, no queue at the turnstiles to get in, no queue to get a pie once inside either!

I walked down to my seat and the stadium was empty, there was hardly any Evertonians in around me. I couldn’t believe that they didn’t put the kick off back 15-20 minutes to allow the majority of fans to get in.

Going to be interesting in a fortnight's time if the same problems occur again.

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