I have managed to drag myself up this morning and now sit on the 05:25 train from Lime Street, Euston-bound after a long but worthwhile day.

As always, it started with the hounds stretching their legs and me mine.

I did a bit of work and went into London from Uxbridge to catch a late afternoon train north. I was quite surprised as there were no Tottenham fans onboard. Maybe they went earlier.

I dropped off my bag and headed to Goodison Park. It seemed strangely subdued outside the ground in comparison to recent fixtures. I took in my standard trip to the Goodison Supper Bar before heading to The Brick, where I met up with Rob Halligan. I think we were all cautiously optimistic and it's always good to get Rob's balanced view on Tottenham's credentials as to being a big club.

I thought we played well and matched Tottenham. They may be miles ahead of us in terms of league position at present, but we didn't look miles away from them on the pitch last night. They have a reliance and dependency on Kane, who didn't impress. And I'll be honest, I wouldn't have known that Son was playing. Was he? We are very much playing and fighting as a team.

I find the Tottenham supporters an odd bunch, but I suppose I say that about most supporters who don't follow Everton. They took the three sections in the Bullens Road Stand, but I could see empty seats. I guess it was a Monday evening, but it never seems to affect us and certainly wouldn't if we were pushing for Champions League.

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The Kane-gate incident. Okay, Doucoure got sucked in, but Kane played his part and should have also walked. I guess being England captain has its privileges. He went down as if he'd been hit with a sledgehammer, not tapped on the face with a hand. He should be embarrassed and ashamed of himself.

I haven't watched, but I'd be interested in what the pundits had to say. It looked pathetic and a display of theatrics, that if present (I don't know if he was), our Chairman would have been proud of and applauding, asking for an encore.

I called it last week. Our right flank and Seamus Coleman in particular was deliberately being targeted again. We need to be conscious of that, but Seamus won't stop. He's starting to remind me of that character from the 1980s film Highlander. He's going to play forever.

Keane and Tarkowski are forming a solid partnership. There is real understanding developing between them. I would say that next week will be a stern test for them. I've no doubt it will be, but then they were playing against England's much-raved-about talisman and Son last night, who on his day, is a very dangerous player. Full marks to our centre-back duo.

Gueye did what it says on the tin.

What I noticed was something I wouldn't have associated with a Sean Dyche team prior to his appointment. We were trying to play football. Yes, it was scrappy at times and we gave it away, as did Tottenham, but we don't seem as fearful of the ball as previous. It shows that sometimes pre-conceived ideas aren't accurate. Guilty as charged for me.

McNeil once again worked incredibly hard and continues to grow in confidence. Gray put a shift in and young Simms gave the Tottenham defence something else to think about when he came on. I suppose Gray will move behind Simms for the next one given Doucoure's suspension. Let's face it, there aren't many options.

I would have given Iwobi Man of the Match for sheer effort and resilience, which is a fast-growing trait of this team under Dyche and it is rubbing off on the supporters. We go down to a Harry Kane penalty against Tottenham this time last season and we're toast. Not anymore. Fight to the end and keep believing. Players and supporters.

But the accolades have to go the Michael Keane. My second in a week for our centre-back who has drawn a lot of criticism in the past, from myself included. He gave away the penalty but, that aside, he was pretty faultless.

That goal along – with his Brazilian-like finish against Crystal Palace – sent Goodison into raptures just at the perfect moment. If he wants to think he is a right-footed Kevin Sheedy, that will do me. Carry on.

6 (yes six) minutes of added time. If I thought Chelsea was bad, this felt like an eternity.

The whistle eventually goes but not before Tottenham get a corner. Floor-watching time again. Spirit of the Blues ringing around the Grand Old Lady under the lights. I didn't want to leave.

Prior to kick-off, I said we could get 4 points from the next 2 games. I thought it might have been 3 last night and it wouldn't have been unjust had we taken the points. But nonetheless, it is a valuable point, so 3 at Old Trafford it will be.

What was it I read on these pages a few weeks ago? That we would get nothing from the next few fixtures? Now undefeated in 4, picking up 6 points with a win against the much admired Brentford and tricky fixtures against Chelsea and Tottenham.

Back to The Brick to calm the nerves and let the traffic get away. Elton John's "I guess that's why they call it the blues" being sung out loud as it came on the play list. Fantastic.

It was time to head to the room. No chance of an Uber and I couldn't see a cab on County Road, but managed to get what I think was a private cab stop and let me jump in. I think it was a taxi, but the bloke seemed okay, told me to get in the back and took me into Lime Street. £10 cash. Seemed a fair deal.

A bit of confusion at the hotel as I'd forgotten my room number, so after wandering around I gave up and went to reception. Off I went. I forgot the number again. Back to reception. This time the kind young man smiled and wrote it down for me. He was an Evertonian.

So, here I am, almost back in London. I can still hear the singing in The Brick.

More than life itself. We can do this, Everton.

Reader Comments (33)

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John Raftery
1 Posted 04/04/2023 at 08:55:16
Hi Danny,

I've watched a replay of the Kane incident. The reaction of the England captain and record goalscorer was pathetic. I strongly suspect if the clash had been the other way round, with Kane raising his hand to Doucouré, the referee would simply have booked both players. As England captain, he appears to get a free ticket for all his diving and play-acting.

Jamie Carragher and Danny Murphy have both described Kane's reaction in similar terms. I also had Iwobi as Man of the Match until Keane won us the point.

The equaliser reminded me of one scored by Martin Buchan against us in September 1978 at the Stretford End. We led 1-0 through an early Andy King goal. There were only 2 minutes left when Buchan ran forward with the ball and from outside the box fired a rocket into the net. I think Buchan only scored two goals in his whole career.

Jerome Shields
2 Posted 04/04/2023 at 09:05:35
Thanks, Danny, a wonderful insight into your Goodison visit.

Interesting that you have noticed a trend in attacking Everton's right flank. Seamus seems to be holding up well.

Dyche's teams do play football, which is contrary to popular belief. There is no way he would get the steady improvement in playing stats if he didn't.

Ian Jones
3 Posted 04/04/2023 at 09:35:37
Another great report from you.

I only got to watch the game on TV. Looked an interesting game, always fun to score in the last few minutes. Valuable point.

I was getting frustrated by Iwobi at first as he seemed to be giving the ball away a few times but he did improve. I guess when you watch a game on TV, you don't get to see the full picture of all the other off-the-ball work players do.

Jerome Shields
4 Posted 04/04/2023 at 09:48:32
One thing that occurred to me on reading your report that Iowbi may be moved more central, his favoured position, giving Dyche more options replacing Doucouré.
Tom Hughes
5 Posted 04/04/2023 at 10:15:53
I was very early to the ground yesterday so also briefly ventured into The Brick pre-match for a change. I would've stayed a bit longer but it was about 4 deep at the bar by the time I needed a refill.
Lynn Maher
6 Posted 04/04/2023 at 10:18:44
Good morning, Danny. Thank you for your report. They are always a good read.

Sometimes I take myself away from the relentless negativity on ToffeeWeb. But I always look forward to your posts. My voice is a bit croaky after the match last night. (My singing does leave a lot to be desired.) Ask nearby fans!

Listened to Jason Cundy on way home. What a plant pot. He said Kane did exactly the right thing going down like that and he would have done the same. Great advice for youngsters… not!

Brian Harrison
7 Posted 04/04/2023 at 10:26:17

The time away from your family and dogs, and the money you spend travelling to games, you are a credit. Never seen you write anything other than a positive outlook on up-coming games. I know we are biased but Goodison under lights is a magical place – especially when we feel aggrieved, as we did last night when Doucoure was sent off.

As you say, Sean Dyche is far from the stereotype that many claimed he was, and the fighting spirit he has instilled in this group is quite unbelievable because, under the previous manager, once we went a goal behind, we seemed to throw in the towel.

I don't know if Dyche can keep us up; I am sure you will respond saying "Of course he will!" – but I want him to be our manager next season, whatever happens.

I can only think your wife must be very understanding, as you must see more of Rob and the lads in The Brick than you do of her some weeks. Let's hope we can get those 3 points at Old Trafford at the weekend.

I can well imagine all the other clubs involved in the relegation battle would have been thinking after 89 minutes Spurs leading and Everton down to 10 men, great result. But Keane getting us a well-deserved point will have sickened the other clubs who are down there.

Alan McGuffog
8 Posted 04/04/2023 at 10:41:20
Lynn... I agree with you totally.

I love Everton but hate what football has become. You hear these "pundits" talking about "winning" a penalty. About being "entitled" to go down etc, etc. In other words, cheating is a part of the game... especially when practiced by the media clubs.

Christopher Timmins
9 Posted 04/04/2023 at 10:42:40
Danny, we will do this!!!
Dave Carruthers
10 Posted 04/04/2023 at 10:42:51
As ever, Danny, positive, emotional but actually always balanced.

I agree with Lynn that it's always a great read and makes me feel better about our predicaments once finished.
Two builds from me: Kane was appalling. Why these professional players do this when they know cameras are all over the place is beyond me.

But mirror his reaction with Keane's. Former was at best a slap across the nose but he acts poleaxed for over 30 seconds. Latter could have had his leg broken but was up in 10 seconds. No notion of playacting or trying to get the player sent off. Doucoure would (and should) have gone anyway but Kane's reaction was utterly unprofessional.

My second build was around extra time. Unlike Chelsea, when I was hiding behind the couch, I genuinely wanted the game to carry on as felt there was only going to be one winner. Testimony to the resilience, fitness and belief Dyche has built into the team. When you watch the highlights again, look at Tarkowski's shot in the 94th minute. If it hadn't glanced off the defender, it was earmarked for top corner. Now imagine those celebrations!!

I watched Man Utd on Sunday and they are definitely there for taking – though I would take a draw, I guess. I suspect there will be a direct replacement for Doucouré. Probably Garner with a switching of midfield roles (I would still like to see Onana doing more). If at home, it's maybe Simms comes in, Gray switches wide, and Iwobi more central? Nice to have options… 👍

Finally, said to a mate last night that nine draws probably keeps us up, but there are certain home games that we must target with Fulham the first. Whatever, I doubt any of us want the last game at home to Bournemouth to be a must-win or even a must-draw… 😳

It is obvious that positive progress is being made. 👏

Rob Halligan
11 Posted 04/04/2023 at 10:54:09
Good to meet you again Danny. Sorry I couldn't make it back to The Brick as planned but my lift decided he wanted to get straight off after the match.

Regarding Spurs being a big club, any club must be really desperate to include those world famous Norwich and Ipswich Hospital Charity Cups to boost their honours list. The Ipswich Hospital Charity Cup was actually shared… maybe the doctors and porters actually put a bit of effort into that game!!

Spurs a big club………….My Arse!!

Andy Crooks
12 Posted 04/04/2023 at 11:19:46
Great stuff, Danny.

Hope to catch up with at the Fulham game.

Peter Mills
13 Posted 04/04/2023 at 12:34:00
Danny, I'm made up that Keane's rocket helped make your trip worthwhile.

It looks like Sean Dyche's “Shoot on sight” policy is bearing fruit, although when he's encouraging the players to do so he might just add “No, not you, Idrissa!”

Mike Gaynes
14 Posted 04/04/2023 at 20:48:54
Perfect, Pete! I couldn't believe a professional player with that much space could miss that badly from 18 yards.

Danny, glad you had such a satisfying day out.

Christine Foster
15 Posted 04/04/2023 at 22:15:57
Sometimes people ask me why I bother to support this club, I tend to smile, look at them sideways and mutter to myself that they have no idea. No idea what it means to love a club, not just support them. Danny, your report captures the dedication, love and drive that the hard core of support Everton have. Your dedication and determination, no matter what, to support the boys in blue is humbling. The old adage, "Once Everton has touched you" is not just for those who play for this great team, but for those who fall in love with it.
This life can be pretty crappy at times to all of us, but the stake in the ground is Everton FC. Some people have religion, some people money, other have passion and pride.
You, like so many other here and far flung around the globe, love Everton FC. Every day. No matter what. For many of us, husbands and wives, lovers and friends will fill the years, but the one constant love is blue.
Every report you give is full of your passion and pride in the boys in blue. For those of us so far away, you make us smile and remember what it is to be an Evertonian. Thanks Danny, I owe you a pint!
Barry Hesketh
16 Posted 04/04/2023 at 22:44:59
Christine @15
If you haven't already seen it, I suggest you dig out the interview with Mike Lyons and his daughter prior to last night's game on the official site. There's nothing to learn from it, apart from the affection that Mike and his daughter show for Everton Football Club and that he receives from very many Evertonians.

All clubs and fans believe they have the best club to play for and support, but not many can claim to support a club that is as special as the Toffees, no matter the results, no matter how poorly the officials of the club run it, the club via its fans somehow manages to maintain the thread that has possibly been there since the day it was formed.

Danny O’Neill
17 Posted 04/04/2023 at 22:58:54
Thanks all and Christine, I'll take that pint.

Brian, I'm so sure about understanding. The words confusion and dismay often spring to mind when we discuss Everton in the O'Neill household.

Hopefully this link works.


It's the latest Tunnel Access from the club website. If it doesn't just go to the official site. Worth a watch.

It shows Mick Lyons walking on the pitch. I wish they'd have done that at half time.

Some nice footage of the young Evertonian who suffered a brain tumour. Jordan Pickford arranged for him to be mascot last night and took him into the changing room to meet the players. Lovely touch.

And then a US cohort after the match sat in the Enclosure meeting with Onana and then Sean Dyche.

No other club.

Barry Hesketh
18 Posted 04/04/2023 at 23:10:04
Danny @17
A good link that Danny, it captured the atmosphere at the ground last night pretty perfectly, which isn't easy to do on TV.
Don Alexander
19 Posted 05/04/2023 at 00:44:13
Fabulous clip at #17 Danny, and thanks for that.

Mick Lyons was an all-time Everton great (his attitude would make relegation impossible) - and I'm made up to see him looking so well.

But Jeez, Everton players wearing "Hummel" bibs?

Hummel made the white boots Alan Ball was paid to wear and he later said they were utterly useless. So useless that he said he took to removing the three "Adidas" stripes from THEIR boots and then painting their boots white to mimic Hummel.

Looks like another marketing, erm, "master-class" from our ruinous boardroom perhaps?

Paul Kernot
20 Posted 05/04/2023 at 03:13:52
John #1. Keane's equaliser reminded me of Phil Jagielka's v the shite. Similar distance, centre back & late on too. I loved both for slightly different reasons!
Paul Traill
21 Posted 05/04/2023 at 07:23:57
Great report Danny. I enjoyed that mate.
Tony Abrahams
22 Posted 05/04/2023 at 08:23:53
Barry@16, spinning that on its head mate, I’d say it’s Everton who are lucky to have so many loyal and absolutely fanatical fans.

One of my favourite descriptions of the traveling blue army came from Thomas Graveson. Playing Anderlecht away in a pre-season friendly, he said he thought it would be sedate, when he took a ball onto the pitch to warm up. When he ran onto the pitch he heard a big roar, looked up puzzled and saw about 3000 Evertonians, in the corner of the ground.

It was infamous that night in Brussels, a night when the traveling blue army, were really on form, especially against those horrible Belgium police, who instigated a semi-riot, and lost control!

Danny O’Neill
23 Posted 05/04/2023 at 08:43:27
Tony, not Belgium, but French (same thing almost).

I couldn't and didn't attend, but my son went to Lille a few years back.

He wasn't making excuses but same drill. The Police went in heavy handed at the first sign of what we would normally describe as boisterousness at best.

We often forget how well our Police do actually police matches. I'll give the Germans credit for that too.

Hypothetically, had it been French police on the pitch against Palace last season, there would have been a baton charge and subsequent riot.

As it turned out, the Police handled the situation just about perfectly. Protective cordon around the dugout and let the supporters express their joy at relief.

Pick your battles as they say and don't uncessessrily escalate the situation.

Peter Carpenter
24 Posted 05/04/2023 at 09:44:58
I love those tunnel access videos. You can hear the ball hit the back of the net (15:50). A beautiful sound. What has Demarai Gray got in his right hand as he walks on to the pitch (6:50)? It looks like a watch.
Kim Vivian
25 Posted 05/04/2023 at 11:25:54
Peter - I wondered (and thought) exactly that.
Stephen Vincent
26 Posted 05/04/2023 at 13:03:50
Danny #17, a few of those Americans were in Woolton Village on Sunday evening, the New Jersey contingent, very loud but very interesting.

I was in Lille with my son, we sat in the window of a restaurant just off the main square next to the town hall enjoying moules frites and watching the mayhem unfold. The police were absolute bastards.

The only trouble I have ever had following the Blues abroad was in Sittard where we got beaten up by PSV fans who had visited for a scrap. The Dutch police stood back and let them get on with it. Never had problems anywhere else including Florence and Split.

Maybe because 'we are respected wherever we may go'.

Danny O’Neill
27 Posted 05/04/2023 at 13:29:51
I hope you escorted them to the White Horse Stephen.

I always remember, when English football was tarnished in the 80s culminating in a dark stain caused by the cousins, the Dutch were no saints when it came to hooliganism.

We're trying to arrange a meet up for the the Fulham match, so if you're around let me know.

I don't have a ticket for United and don't expect one, but Fulham home is good.

Eddie Dunn
28 Posted 05/04/2023 at 13:49:58
Enjoyed your write-up Danny. Keep 'em coming!
Stephen Vincent
29 Posted 05/04/2023 at 14:08:19
They were enjoying the hospitality of the Olive (opposite the Elephant).

I'm around for Fulham, Derek tells me Andy is over from Belfast, so yes definitely up for a meet up.

Derek Knox
30 Posted 06/04/2023 at 07:56:15
Good article Danny and a great link, will meet up with you and the others before the Fulham game. Think because of logistics Neil C, Andy Crooks, Peter Moore and myself and possibly Jim Lloyd, Brian W, and Stephen V, will hopefully start off in the Harlech Castle. Not 4 deep at the Bar early doors but it does fill up as the match-time approaches.

Got to negotiate Man U first, watched part of their game last night without any fear for Saturday, take Rashford and Anthony out (possibly Fernandez) and they look no different or better than Spurs. I feel confident we can maybe get ' something there ' and play as an effective unit. Silly question, but are you going to that one too ?

Brian Wilkinson
31 Posted 06/04/2023 at 16:44:52
Good write up that Danny, enjoyed reading that,

I need to add a bit extra from my seat in the Park end.

Yid army, yid army, is this a library, I kept having a little look over and thought any moment now you will wish it was a library, something will happen and the crowd will roar as one.

Still nothing, you’re going down with the West Ham, patience anytime now.

Before the goal came and Everton having a go with ten men, you could hear the crowd it like thunder in the distance, getting closer and closer, until Keane let fly and the roof of the stands came off, as the old lady shook like hell.

Spurs fans deadly silent and not knowing what that roar was that hit then, and boy did Spurs get it both barrels from all corners of the ground.

Is that ok Danny. :-)

Brian Wilkinson
32 Posted 06/04/2023 at 18:45:49
Harlech castle, is that the one we went in last time Derek?

Might meet Steve v in the north western beforehand if he knows where the Harloch is, just to wet our whistle if Steve is around.

Danny O’Neill
33 Posted 06/04/2023 at 18:59:57
I could hear them from the Main Stand Brian.

Is this the Emirates.

I like how we've gone with the originals. Spirit of the Blues, Forever Everton and Goodison Gang. There's 3 generations.

Unique to Everton that no-one can steal. They are ours by birthright.

The originals since 1878.

We are no orchestrated choir, but once Goodison gets going, we are a wall of noise that silences the away supporters into submission.

North Western always the first port of call before heading to County Road.

I'll try to avoid Fulham supporters, but if need be, I will bring any friends I make along.

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