Mugs Away 2

by   |   10/08/2021  31 Comments  [Jump to last]

11 years ago, I wrote this piece for ToffeeWeb just before the first game of the season 2010-11.

It wasn’t a particularly illuminating piece and actually seems to be mainly moaning, venting and looking for answers rather than providing any.

The comments below the article were illuminating and at least let me know that, however (miserable or narked) I was feeling at the time, I certainly wasn’t alone.

At the time, I was 51 and if there was a gist or point (?) it was probably about Evertonians ageing and what the (ie: my) future, re football and Everton had in store.

At one point, I asked: "I’m curious as to what happens to us (Evertonians) in the next 10 to 20 years. Does this bitching and moaning just get worse? (or better?) Do we stop going to the match?"

(Bu the way my first game was against Man Utd at home in 1966, a night game, 0-0.)

Well, here’s an odd thing: I can now answer my own questions.

The last 12 years just whizzed by and now the 62-year-old me can tell the 51-year-old me what happens, which is kind of… freaky daddio.

So, Eugene, you’ll still have a season ticket and you’ll still spend too much time giving a shit what Everton do. You’ll still feel the same about Everton’s chances of winning stuff (nb: none at all!) and you’ll still feel the same about about the hideous corrupt nature of football - The Premier League, FIFA, UEFA, Sky etc etc (ie: I don't believe in overreacting but I hope the earth is hit by a meteor).

But, despite all this, I’m still Pavlov’s Blue. I'm aware that my behaviour makes no logical sense, but I just go with it.

Going to the match now is not something I do because I'm looking for success (which is just as fucking well!!!); it’s now basically something that gets me out of the house, guarantees me a great curry and chips (at least I can rely on The Goodison Supper Bar) and 'the match' gives me a sense of… um... ’something’ (?) that nothing else can really provide.

Home games now are often extremely underwhelming and frustrating and possibly detrimental to one's seven chakras, but occasionally Goodison can provide moments of euphoria and community that can make a 62-year-old feel 16 again.

So, for now, it’s a case of once more into the breach, mugs away for season 55 and... up the Toffees!

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Barry Hesketh
1 Posted 10/08/2021 at 00:13:51
At the start of the season for which you wrote part 1, Everton lost to Sam Allardyce's Blackburn at Ewood Park, but I'd swap most of that Everton side for the one we have today.
Howard, Neville, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Osman (Beckford), Arteta, Fellaini(Rodwell). Pienaar, Cahill, Saha(Bilyaletdinov)

Who could have foreseen that eleven years later or just over half of Messi's Barcelona career, we'd be in a far worse situation, both as a club and with football in general?

The Toffees have spent a king's ransom on not very much at all and us older mugs will still be there on Saturday, match-day routines slightly varied due to Covid, but there nevertheless, hoping beyond reason that the team might excite us, but deep down knowing our fate will be a mix of very occasional highs and far too many lows.

I think our age group does use football as an excuse to get out and about, meet up with our friends and over imbibe for the duration. There are worse things in life, but Everton won't let go and we should all be very philosophical about the results and performances of the team. People of a certain age, shouldn't let the deficiencies of millionaire youngsters spoil their day.

Eugene Ruane
2 Posted 11/08/2021 at 06:37:58
Barry, I think I'd have to agree re that side and today's team (nb: and I was NO fan of Moyes-ball, especially after the 2009 cup final).

If there's any good (financial) statto out there, it'd be interesting to know how much that side cost (cost adjusted for inflation etc).

I really get the impression that Everton players bought in recent years have been bought with the same care and consideration as the favours of golden hearted wantons of the night, purchased by drunken sailors in foreign ports.

Darren Hind
3 Posted 11/08/2021 at 06:54:24
On the surface this OP seems like many other posts - Arl, getting arler Evertonian asking himself "why ?"

That its from one of the sites more skilled writers doesnt matter this time. He's kept it simple...But he's gonna provoke an awful lot of soul searching among the TW community.

What the fuck is the matter with us ?

Mike Galley
4 Posted 11/08/2021 at 09:51:10
I’m very much in line with your feelings Eugene. I’ve lost a lot of interest with football, the toffees apart. It’s all about the social side of the day now, pint, bet, chippy etc.
I think part of what keeps me going is I sometimes feel a connection to bygone days, when my dad used to take me and my brothers the game. We’d meet up with a couple of uncles and dads mates.
That would be about the mid to late seventies for my start.
I worry that I might lose all interest completely when the ground move happens. Don’t get me wrong, I want the move to happen and I feel the club needs it. I just feel a little bit more of the game in general, and Everton in particular, will cease to exist.
Eugene Ruane
5 Posted 11/08/2021 at 10:34:30
Mike - "I’ve lost a lot of interest with football, the toffees apart."

That I understand.

England losing in the final of the euros meant not a tIny jot to me - nothing.

Everton losing a pre-season 0-4 to Utd on the other hand did affect me.

Ok I wasn't like Gordon Ottershaw when Barnstoneworth lost 8-1, but because it was Everton, it did mean something in a way that no other team ever will.



Eddie Dunn
6 Posted 11/08/2021 at 10:41:16
I think you sum up how many of us feel Eugene, I am nearly 61 and I am as disillusioned as I ever have been with football in general, the money, the merceneries etc.
Usually we have been thrown a few tasty morsells which distract us for a few months, and at the start of last season, those seven games made us dream...
This time it seems that there is little to look forward to. Let's hope that Benitez can conjure something up from our average squad. As I have little expectation, I hope I can be surprised.
Mike Galley
7 Posted 11/08/2021 at 10:49:23
Eugene, I was exactly the same when I watched the final. I wanted England to win, but lost no sleep what so ever when they didn’t.
I was never one for supporting England, but I can remember getting quite excited at the 1986 World Cup. For obvious reasons.
Alan McGuffog
8 Posted 11/08/2021 at 10:51:09
It may be an age thing but this disillusionment with the " beautiful" game is not restricted to us blues.
I live in South Cheshire and enjoy drinking with an array of different fans.
Plenty of Mancs, Reds and a few Spurs fans.
Each and everyone loves their clubs and yet despises the modern game. So, the league will be won by City, Chelsea or RS this coming season. And I couldn't give a f*** !
Dave Lynch
9 Posted 11/08/2021 at 11:11:57
It's the hope that kills you.
Michael Lynch
10 Posted 11/08/2021 at 11:13:23
I really cared when I was young, cared less when I was in my 30s and 40s, then gradually found myself dragged back into caring as my other responsibilities (kids, career, mortgage) began to take up less of my head space.

But my priority as a 60 year old is to see my mates, soak in the atmosphere of the match, have a fucking good moan, and - very occasionally - feel the joy of a great win or performance from the Blues.

Football in general? I've no real interest in the European competitions, except maybe from the quarter finals onwards, when I'll watch the odd game in the hope of a thriller. Internationals - I connect more with the current bunch than I have for a long time, and I still think the beauty of playing for your country is that you can't ask for a transfer.

Dave Lynch
11 Posted 11/08/2021 at 11:21:49
Let's face it.

The FA missed a fucking big trick by not punishing the breakaway 6.

They should have been relegated, fined an astronomical fee or thrown out of English football.

Can you imagine how level the playing field would have been this season.

It would have been exciting as hell.

Mick O'Malley
12 Posted 11/08/2021 at 12:02:19
Dave @11 That’s why I love watching the Championship, it’s a better competition with more equal sides who are all capable of beating each other, what chance have we got of winning anything when you’ve got CIty, United and Chelsea capable of spending up to a £100 million on a player, I absolutely love Everton but despise the PL, If it’s not Everton playing I just don’t care,I don’t watch Champions League, sooner watch Rugby League,Horse Racing and I love the NFL COYBS!
Mark Murphy
13 Posted 11/08/2021 at 12:15:23
I was at Wembley last month to watch my home town Saints win the challenge cup. It was a great day out but nothing like an Everton game, even for example the upcoming Brighton away game. I'd love to watch a local non-league game - Horsham FC is walkable, there's a great bar and a lot of my mates go - but without the emotional buzz of an Everton game it's just not that important nor "enjoyable" I really couldn't give a monkeys who wins.

I swore I'd never watch the Blues again if Rafa signed - now I can't wait! It's incurable.

On saying that, how do I get a ticket for the Brighton game under the new system? Will the away to let and travel thread be resurrected on ToffeeWeb??

Andy Crooks
14 Posted 11/08/2021 at 15:50:34
I enjoyed that post, Eugene. It actually sent me looking through the archives to the Moyes Out Brigade days. There were some truly great exchanges, very funny, very powerful.

It was interesting to see the names of the commenters on your old article. No doubt you recall many others; Dave Wilson, Alan Kirwan, Richard Dodd etc.

What astonishes me is how angry I used to get. I mean true, gut-churning rage and disbelief at the "Moyes Boys".

Now, it is mainly, morose, bitter resignation. Or perhaps being more mellow. Somewhere, there is pleasure, I suppose... Of course there is. New dawn, new day, bring on Southampton!

Matthew Williams
15 Posted 11/08/2021 at 16:52:27
I'll be sticking to my guns and completely avoiding the commentary on Radio Merseyside and other stations ta. I'm still seething over our inept owner and his shite appointments.

I will listen to other games just for the hell of it, knowing full well it's a three-horse race this season and the Blues, like other Premier League sides, are just making up the numbers.

The only footy I intend to watch is the Championship highlights on Quest and live matches from the JD Welsh Premier League (which I love).

I still fully intend to read and keep abreast of news on this hallowed site to see what my fellow Blues think, but this season the Premier League will just kinda wash all over me... sadly.

John Kavanagh
16 Posted 11/08/2021 at 17:39:06
Eugene R @ 5. Set me wondering whether I could get a season ticket for Barnstoneworth, as watching Everton is becoming painful and flat screen tellys are soooo expensive to replace every couple of weeks. Besides even Barnstoneworth improved at the end and there's no prospect of that at all watching Everton.
BTW rumour has it that Barnstoneworth rejected deals to take Iwobi, Delph and Tosun as they weren't considered good enough and their star striker already has a wig better than our Turkish maestro's. Their Chairman would be an excellent replacement for ours though.
Ciarán McGlone
17 Posted 11/08/2021 at 21:20:47
The Benitez appointment had me winding up for a massive flounce from not only ToffeeWeb, but from Everton in general.

Clearly that's not happening... we are diseased, Mr Ruane... diseased.

Dave Abrahams
18 Posted 11/08/2021 at 21:32:22
I just looked at your original post Eugene and all the comments, some crackers there, so the humour, despite everyone agreeing the football and everything about it was shite, was very evident.

I wasn’t on ToffeeWeb then, didn’t even know it existed, but me and my mate Mick, sadly up above, I think, when things got dark with the Blues, would look for the funny things and the ridiculous in Everton’s game, and there was, unfortunately, fuckin’ loads to laugh at, kept us sane that laughter. We got to know plenty of good genuine Everton fans in The Upper Bullens Stand and a lot of them are still there, or they were before this lockdown, be nice to see them when I go back, don’t know if they’ll think the same about me, I miss Mick and he’s funny ways so I sit on my own and moan to myself at the mediocre players who can’t find a player, with a pass, to another player wearing the same coloured shirt as himself and getting £50,000 a week, at least, to prove how shite they are.

Then I come out at full time and meet four lads I know, sorry three, one passed away during the lockdown, and we discuss the game, there hasn’t been many happy discussions the last few years. I think it was a lot better when me and Mick just laughed at the fuckers, kept our blood pressure down!!

Peter Mills
19 Posted 11/08/2021 at 21:59:10
Eugene, I read your article early this morning before setting off for a days walking in North Yorkshire. I was in the company of 5 other guys, we are all aged between 63 and 71. All football fans. So I quizzed them regarding your thoughts.

4 of the group are Blues, 3 of whom are season ticket holders, 1 an occasional visitor to Goodison. The 2 reds no longer go to Anfield.

The reds are happy with their lot, they enjoy watching their team on the telly. They accept that they no longer go to the game, and are not worried about it. The one occasional Everton fan doesn’t really like modern football. Nor do the 3 season ticket holders, but we go anyway. We are disillusioned with Everton and the supposed top level game, but enjoy meeting mates and going for a pint. We also carry on attending just in case something good happens, despite all the evidence to the contrary.

We also agreed there is a certain solidarity amongst Evertonians because of the shared misery of following them. We still love the club, which heightens the angst. There was also a grudging acceptance that having the facility for a communal moan is therapeutic.

Personally, I now also attend some Marine games, home or away, and really enjoy watching a fast game with tackles and goal-mouth incidents.

Tony McNulty
20 Posted 11/08/2021 at 22:19:42
Samuel Beckett remarked: "Habit is the ballast that chains the dog to its vomit."

So we'll all be there, feeling sick about Everton's performance until things improve.

Moving forward to 2031, Eugene Ruane on TW: "Ten years ago I wrote the following on TW. "

Still crazy, after all those years.

Mike Gaynes
21 Posted 11/08/2021 at 22:21:34
Enjoyable article, Eugene. Like most of the respondents here, I'm in my 60s, but unlike most here I have virtually no experience with meeting up with mates at the pub for a brewski or two before the match... building long-term footy-based friendships (outside of TW)... hanging out with fans of other clubs. I have no cherished memories of going to games as a kid, dodging turnstiles and projectiles and coppers and opposing supporters. I can't recount icy overnight trips to Ukraine or Colchester for away ties. It's a precious aspect of being a Toffee that as a Yank I've completely missed out on, and I cannot fall back on it now.

So I have to judge the pleasures of being a Blue on the football alone.

Talk about a pathetic situation.

Andy Crooks
22 Posted 12/08/2021 at 09:06:38
Interesting post, Mike. I know that you and Jay Wood for example offer pretty thorough analysis of matches. Could it be that neither of you are distracted by ale, opinionated companions or chips peas and onion gravy.
Then again, you are on the live forum so the second one doesn't apply!
Tony Abrahams
23 Posted 13/08/2021 at 08:54:21
Time moves forward, and time changes everything, except our memories and our loyalty.

One sentence written by Peter M, about watching Marine, and a fast game with tackles, got me thinking about yesteryear. But if I could just change one word Peter, I’d change fast, for “honest” mate, and would even take a guess that this is the real reason you enjoy watching Marine so much now?

I would still say if we got a team of hardworking and honest players, that the crowd would take care of the rest, but the fact is, we haven’t had a team that seem to really care for an eternity, and this probably creates the biggest disconnect for most of us right now.

Danny O’Neill
24 Posted 13/08/2021 at 09:38:50
Keep believing, that's all we can do. One day, it's going to happen again.

Nice piece Eugene and hits home to many of certain generations.

In the summer of 2010 heading into that season, I was not long home from a pretty tough tour of Afghanistan. I came back quite intolerant and, I'll admit, a bit angry. But that's another thing, and I don't want to go dark, it's just experience.

I was 38 going on 39. Prior to that I'd taken my son to Wembley twice in 2009, sacrificing my place so he and my younger brother would get the opportunity to witness what I witnessed in that glorious May of 1984. Not to be. I was gutted for them more than me.

Football and Everton have always been an escape, so as always, I went into the next season you mention with optimism and hope. But I also think that was around the time I started losing patience with Moyes having supported him and stood up for him for years. Maybe that was my newfound intolerance kicking in. I kind of understood what he needed to do initially and backed him for longer than I probably should have done. But that was when my patience started snapping.

This is no logic with us and Everton, so to Darren's point I don't think there is an answer to the question "what is the matter with us"! We just are. Sorry, but that's about all I can come up with! But our generations "are" because we've tasted it and seen it with our own eyes.

I foolishly believe that before my days are done, they're going to make me feel like that 12 year old at Wembley in 1984. Like that 13 year old in 1985 and the 15 year old in 1987 again. I refuse to go to the Lord until they do. And he's had many opportunities to take me. I make half a century next month and will be at Goodison and the TW meet up at Bramley Moore a week not long after. Regardless of the pain they put me through, Everton make me happy. Always have done, always will.

Football will always matter to me. Especially when it comes to Everton. I can't and won't stop caring.

With you on the Goodison Supper Bar, but tomorrow, it's chips, peas & onion gravy. Salt and just a little bit of vinegar!

Jim Lloyd
25 Posted 13/08/2021 at 09:39:34
Dogs of War!
Some memories, and thanks Eugene. all the way back over our lives of watching Everton. How things change. I can remember some professor "Of Football" (he was a R/S by the way) writing and article in the Echo about how "The Top Four" (now morphed into the Big Six) had got on the gravy train to European football, and that Everton were in danger of missing the train.

How true! We didn't even make it to the station! Since the Demise of Sir John, we've wallowed in the troughs a bloody long time, brightened gloriously by the lads of 84-88, then slipped down again and brought some dire times, some mediocre times and a time I think might be relevant now.

When Joe Royle became manager and we escaped relegation, won the cup and just missed out on Europe! Then back down the slippery slope again.

When I look back at Moysie's years, we had some really good (and even great) but usually ended up having to sell them. Then the dire dejection seeing us crumble at Wembley against Chelsea! and through all this time seeing Man U win 55 Leagues! Cups and the RS doing the European Cup bonanza, yet still turning up and looking forward to the start of each season. Going in the old Supporters club on City road before the match and meeting up with friends and fellow blues, lovely!

I think we lost our chance during Kenwright's years in charge, especially the King's dock, and lost the plot with him advising Moshiri for the last five
bought for now, I go along with Tony Abrahams, and want to see a team who will put an honest shift in; and never give in.

It's the comradeship, the friendship and the hope that we'll see a better season. Well for this season, The dogs of war would do me.

Peter Mills
26 Posted 13/08/2021 at 18:49:56
Tony#23, I think you’re correct. There is plenty of speed in the top level game, in terms of athleticism and passing the ball to one another. And there is some very good control of the ball when the pass is received.

Unfortunately those passes are often short, and sideways or backwards, which is not very thrilling for those of us wanting to see something out of the ordinary.

In the lower leagues, the technique is not up to the same standard, so ball retention is not the be-all and end-all. Therefore players are less afraid of taking a chance, and generally want to move the ball forward to try and create the opportunity to score a goal. Which is better to watch.

Tony Abrahams
27 Posted 13/08/2021 at 21:52:44
I never thought of it like that Peter, because I was thinking about how dishonest top level football has become, but what you describe, is why I enjoyed watching Leeds, last season mate, because who doesn’t want to see both the players and the ball constantly moving forward?

The older I get, the more I realize how important hard work really matters, because nothing creates more energy than players working hard, and it’s why I now believe, that the name of the game is creating as much energy as possible!

Eugene Ruane
28 Posted 16/08/2021 at 06:48:29
Last week I posted this piece (above) and finished by justifying why I still go..

"..occasionally Goodison can provide moments of euphoria and community that can make a 62-year-old feel 16 again."

On Saturday, on 76 mins, Abdoulaye Doucouré provided such a moment.

Up the Toffees!

Tony Abrahams
29 Posted 16/08/2021 at 07:18:08
Along with those Toffees who couldn’t control their emotions Eugene, and then our captain, chasing after one of them to give him back his mobile phone!

Life is changing, some things for the better, but a lot of things for the worse, and my mind went back to Eddie Kavanagh, then Highbury when Heath scored, and then hopefully to Wembley next may, because sometimes Evertonians love the team that much, they just can’t control themselves!

Danny O’Neill
30 Posted 16/08/2021 at 13:44:58
I thought he'd lost the opportunity, Eugene, and then he swivelled and smashed it into the top corner. The young boy sat next to me with his new Richarlison top on was bouncing. Him probably about 7, me 49, but the reaction the same!!

We're going to Wembley Tony.

Rob Halligan
31 Posted 16/08/2021 at 14:00:21
Someone sat near me shouted “Hit it” as Doucouré swiveled like a gymnast doing the floor routine. (Not that I know anything about gymnastics, by the way!). "He can't!" I shouted back, just as the net bulged from his shot.

It reminded me a little bit of the goal Thomas Radzinski scored against Southampton a few years back, only because of the sheer power in the shot and into exactly the same top corner of the Gwladys Street goal.

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