The Writing's on the Wall

Mark Cuddy 17/07/2018 16comments  |  Jump to last

“Lucky mint?”

These were the words my mate’s brother uttered every time we went a goal down at Goodison or the game needed a boost during our most successful spell in the eighties.

The strange thing was, after sucking on these magic sweets, we witnessed a change in our fortunes. Suddenly, Everton would score in the space of a few minutes. We would go on to win the game and often comfortably. When Everton needed a win, out would come the “lucky mints”.


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I can’t remember a time when these “lucky mints” didn’t weave some magic.

And what were these “lucky mints”? Were they purchased from an old Chinese sage in a back street in Hong Kong? Were they stumbled across on a trek up the Himalayas? Were they given to him by a mystic from Outer Mongolia? Did he win them in a poker game against an Aborigine in the outback?

No, he just bought them from the shop on the way to the ground, they were just Trebor Extra Strong Mints. It was all coincidental.

At some point or other, most of us have had, or have got our own superstitions or rituals before a game. We tell ourselves that our team won or lost because of something we did.

These superstitions and rituals can be anything from which sock you put on first, to lucky undies, or to sneaking a pint in at a particular pub on the way to the ground.

You see a mate and you notice he’s growing a beard. You tell him and he replies, “Yes, well, we haven’t lost at home since my last shave. I’m not shaving until we lose,” he answers. I guess he’ll be shaving sooner rather than later; after all this isn’t 1963.

The truth is, we have no impact on the game whatsoever and yet people believe they do.

“We won because the crowd was like a twelfth man tonight.” The happy winning footballer gushes in front of Sky Sports cameras.

This was the same crowd that made the same amount of noise and gave the same amount of support the previous week when the same footballer missed two open goals and the team were shocking and lost 3-0.

Anyway, as you are probably aware Everton haven’t won anything in the last 23 years. The longest we have ever gone without winning something in our history. It is a terrible statistic. But before some of you start getting out your pitchforks and sharpening them for a certain Bill Kenwright (the baddy in the pantomime) let me give you another fact: During the whole of this barren spell at Goodison, I’ve lived with the same woman. The girlfriend who became my wife. Is it time for a divorce to prove the point that there is a correlation between Everton’s lack of success and the life I’ve lived with my wife?

No, I don’t believe it is, I don’t want to, I’m not Stevie Wonder and I’m no longer superstitious. What did Big Nev’s tee-shirt say at the 1984 FA Cup final? Exactly how I feel.

There are many reasons success has evaded us. For sure, some of the usual suspects have played their part, sometimes in a major way, they’ve been written into the folklore, but no ‘one thing’ has been the reason why we haven’t had to employ more cleaners to clean the trophy cabinet.

I honestly believe, it would be a move forward for the supporters of Everton Football Club to start believing again. I don’t mean believing in luck and having rituals. I mean seeing good things and leaving pessimism behind. What’s the point in negative comments all the time? It doesn’t make you more realistic about the club or more passionate, it just makes you sound like the kid who can’t get his own way and wants to take the ball home (well it was your ball anyway, that was the only reason we knocked at your door to be honest, ahem).

When the 2018-19 season kicks off, let’s unite for a change. Let’s link arms, stand together and stay strong because there is a shit-storm coming our way from ex-pros, commentators, media pundits and the press; “They should have stuck with Big Sam. I bet they’re sorry now.”

“Well, they should have kept Roberto. Look how successful he was this summer.”

My suggestion is to stay positive, stay united, believe again and don’t be negative for the sake of it, stop moaning for the sake of moaning and when the season starts and we lose a game or two or when Marco makes a mistake, cut him some slack and try to look for the positives because, this season more than any other in recent times, the writing's on the wall.

Saying, “I told you so” only rubs salt in the wounds.

Now, does anyone want a lucky mint?

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Reader Comments (16)

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David Ellis
1 Posted 18/07/2018 at 04:36:23
Fun article – and yes – I'll take a pack of the magic mints!
Trevor Powell
2 Posted 18/07/2018 at 08:59:16
In the mid-eighties, I had a lucky sweater which I wore to games. I was living on the south coast and along with my mate, Richard, went to games with ESCLA. The beaten up old arran sweater was weaving its magic until the 86 cup final against RS.

I stayed the night at my brothers digs in Finchley the night before. I had laid the sweater out on my bed at home ready for its powers to wreak pain and destruction on RS.

Imagine my horror when I realised that I had not packed it and it was still at home. I phoned my wife and she could not understand why I had left it.

My wife [now-ex], offered to wear it as she watched the final on TV. I immediately banned her from touching it. [NB, she had only been to two matches in 12 years and EFC lost 1-4 at home to Coventry and 2-6 at home to Manure in the late seventies!!!].

Therefore I accept that the undeserved defeat at the hands of RS was down to me, and me alone.

I thought for one moment that I would have cleared my conscious but that game still burns in my heart and I will never be free of this guilt and stain on my character

Dave Abrahams
3 Posted 18/07/2018 at 09:28:49
If I ever missed a game at Goodison (very rare) and Everton lost, I convinced myself they would have won if I had been there. Load of cobblers, but that is how I reasoned it.

I'm with you, Mark, let's think positive, it certainly won't do any harm... I might revise that in November if it hasn't worked out!!!!

Brent Stephens
4 Posted 18/07/2018 at 09:34:51
Dave (#3),

"If I ever missed a game at Goodison (very rare) and Everton lost, I convinced myself they would have won if I had been there".

Me too – I always blame a loss on your absence.

Off to Bury tonight to watch the friendly. Will be interested to see us against a top club (!) rather than that Austrian side.

Laurie Hartley
5 Posted 18/07/2018 at 10:50:25
I agree with your sentiments, Mark, mainly because I believe next season is "make or break" for Everton.

Despite the disaster of the last transfer window, we somehow managed to finish in the top half of the table. It must have been those lucky mints.

Moshiri to his credit has rolled the dice again with the appointment of Brands and Silva and I have a gut feeling that he will back them in this transfer market.

I think the biggest dilemna Moshiri is facing is whether to push the "go" button on the stadium. If Silva and the team perform, he will press ahead with the stadium.

So, with that in mind, I invite you to join me yet again in pushing the Make Everything OK Button

Up the Blues!!! Regardless of how the season starts or progresses we have to stay behind the manager and players.

Dave Ganley
6 Posted 18/07/2018 at 12:20:00
Haha, excellent, Laurie, I have pressed your make everything OK button.

I have an old 1966 FA Cup jersey that I was convinced was jinxed. A mate bought it for my birthday so I was obliged to wear it. We never won the first few times I wore it so I decided to ditch it.

I'm neither mad nor superstitious and I am quite certain that my jersey played no part in the result, yet from time to time I still wear it just to check, we still haven't won!

As to the negativity, I totally agree, we need to be positive and head into the new season with a clear slate. 23 years is a hell of a long time and does need to be rectified, yet there is only one thing that really gets my goat and I suspect most match goers too and that is a lack of effort and application. I can take defeat to a better side but what I can't accept is defeat when the team haven't given their all and that has happened an awful lot over the last few years hence the awful atmosphere.

We Evertonians don't like to be short-changed. Regardless of your opinions about Moyes, his teams generally gave their all, which is probably why he lasted so much longer than he should have. So when the new season starts if Silva gets the players on board and gets them to actually play and be committed then the atmosphere will improve immeasurably at Goodison Park.

John McFarlane Snr
7 Posted 18/07/2018 at 12:34:20
Hi Mark, although I've never had any superstitions, I fully endorse your call for supporters to show a more positive, and may I say, realistic attitude?

Granted it took me years to come to the realisation that anything can happen in a game of football, something I've drummed into my grandson who has been coming to the match with me since he was 6; he's now approaching 14. When I was younger, I expected Everton to win every game; if they didn't, my weekend would be ruined, I don't want him to go through that.

Terry White
8 Posted 18/07/2018 at 16:07:17
All this sounds very familiar. From buying sweets from a shop on County Road to the streets you took to get from where your car is parked to reach the ground. Find another route after a defeat.

Nothing changes. You only need to ask my long-suffering Blue widow. I sit in front of the TV or computer here in Florida, shouting at the screen, wearing my blue and white scarf and my "lucky" blue underpants (too much information I know) and a blue shirt which may or may not have been washed since our last win.

Does it make any difference? Of course! You must be positive in your way of thinking, right John (#7)?

Ian Burns
9 Posted 18/07/2018 at 16:30:57
Mark - another great article which has put a smile on my face.

You have just made me think. Believe it or not, I always put my left sock on before my right and my left shoe or trainer before my right. It is a habit I've had since for years and it has brought both bad and good luck - but I always think it brings me good luck.

I am now thinking I must have been doing this for 23 years - so from tomorrow I will start the other way around to see if it changes our luck!! Right then left! I wonder if I dare?

Jay Wood

10 Posted 18/07/2018 at 16:49:09
My Brazilian missus took two days last week (after Croatia eliminated England in the semi-final) to pluck up the courage to tell me it was all her fault:

She forgot to write Croatia's name on a slip of paper and stick it in the freezer section of the fridge.

Common Brazilian footy superstition. Write the name of the opposition and/or a key player on a piece of paper and stick it in the freezer so they 'freeze' in the match and don't play well.

Meself? I never put my shoes on before me socks, and I most DEFINITELY don't swig me ale without removing the cap first.

Tony Page
11 Posted 18/07/2018 at 16:57:56
Mark, excellent post, we could all do with a laugh, and you've cheered me up.

Let's be positive as you say, and here's hoping.😇😇😇

Tony Everan
12 Posted 18/07/2018 at 18:41:20
Mark, Get rid of the wife this instant, spend your half of the assets on extra strong mints and start sucking.
Jamie Crowley
13 Posted 18/07/2018 at 18:58:16
Agree 100% with your sentiments, Mark, and a very fun and lighthearted contribution. Thank you!

Don't ditch the wife. “In sickness and health, good times and bad, wealth or poverty...”

I have a superstition that I've only used a few times, and usually works like a charm. I toss in a gigantic wad of Kodiak when we need a change of fortune. My inspiration to accelerate cancer and death came from Colin Glassar's “ciggy breaks” on the live forum.

Nothing like a 48-year-old man spitting brown juice into an empty plastic water bottle, usually around 11:30 am, to change the course of the future across the Atlantic Ocean.

Makes perfect sense to me!

But yes, there will always be something to bitch about. But in the main, especially where we are with a new coach and corporate leadership, we need to be positive and patient.

Dick Fearon
14 Posted 19/07/2018 at 00:27:01
That other mob have the Devil himself on their side. We should call on the Almighty to lend a hand. It worked for me in 66
David Ellis
15 Posted 19/07/2018 at 03:40:11
Trevor Powell (#2) – damn you. 86 FA Cup Final... I've never really recovered. That was our time... our turn... and it's all your fault.
Paul Birmingham
16 Posted 20/07/2018 at 19:00:06
After the last 4 years of misery the club has a lot to prove. Is it now or never time? For some of us it will be, for many it’s already passed, for some good times are here and will happen.

To be united in board, boot room, FF and GP is key to any reasonable chance of success. I hope v Seville the atmosphere will be good, and a good smell in5he air on the way to the ground.

God only knows what BMD will become, but success on the park, could be the driving force to all good times for EFC. Let’s hope so.

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