Everton Logo Everton 0 - 0 Wimbledon
Half-time: 0 - 0
Wimbledon Logo
FA Carling Premiership 97/98 - Game 18
Saturday 13 December 1997
Goodison Park, Merseyside
Att: 28,533
« Leeds United (a) Ref: Gerald Ashby Leicester City (a) »
1997-98 Fixtures & Results League Position: 19th Premiership Results & Table
  LINEUPS Subs Not Used
EVERTON: Myhre, Short, Watson, Tiler, Ward (Barrett, 61), Williamson (Oster, 55), Speed, Farrelly, Hinchcliffe, Cadamarteri, Barmby.
Unavailable: Parkinson, Grant, Branch, McCann, Phelan, (injured); Ferguson, Bilic (Suspended).
Gerrard, Ball, Jeffers.
Wimbledon: Sullivan, Cunningham, Kimble, Blackwell, Thatcher, Earle, Solbakken, Gayle (Jones, 87), Hughes, Ardley, Cort (Clarke, 63). Heald, Reeves, Castledine.
  Yellow Cards Red Cards
Wimbledon: None.

Guy McEvoy Commence Operation Goodison
Huw Marshall Preparing for the First Division
Steve Kirkwood Just whose team is this, then?
THE SUNDAY TIMES Beleaguered Everton stuck in drab desert of mediocrity
by Rob Steen
THE TIMES Everton fans see little reason to join in the Christmas spirit
by David Maddock
ELECTRONIC TELEGRAPH Everton's goalless anxiety continues
by Derek Potter
SOCCERNET Link to SoccerNet Match Report
CARLINGNET Link to CarlingNet Match Report

Commence Operation Goodison
Guy McEvoy
In the morning I'd been talking to a Northampton Town fan who was well looking forward to his side's 'glamour' fixture against Preston North End.  He talked of Northampton having a lanky striker up front, who forced the team to play negative long-ball stuff in the naive hope that the player would latch onto it, putting unreasonable burden on him by then expecting him to be good enough to do something with it when he wasn't. Anyway, it turns out that this striker was absent through accumulated yellow cards for the afternoon and so the Cobblers fan was looking forward to his team playing 'real' football.  Without the target man temptation, he thought, the team would be 'unshackled'.  Sound familiar?

I too was looking forward to what I expected would be a display of 'real' football.  The enforced absence of Ferguson finally gave us the chance to see a Cadamarteri/Barmby partnership, something I've wished for a while and have been convinced would set us alight.  That is why I'll never be manager of a football club.  Talk about wrong!!!

The first thing that struck on arrival at Goodison was how quiet it was.  Wimbledon only brought along their usual two hundred or so fans, Evertonians seemed to decide that Christmas shopping would be a better use of the afternoon (they were right).  This was our first sub-thirty-thousand attendance of the season.

First Half

The first half was not even worthy of most pub-league games.  It was bereft of action bar one 'should've buried it' chance by Barmby after Ward floated in a remarkable cross.  Barmby sent it wide.  The other was for Wimbledon who scored a decent enough goal from a corner (yep, beaten at a corner again).  For some unknown reason it was thankfully disallowed.

In between these two efforts the only entertainment was the annual 'Operation Goodison' by the safety authorities.  As far as I can work out this just means testing that the tannoy can work at full blast.  Ding Dong, "Commence Operation Goodison" – this at about ten times the volume that the tannoy is on at half time.  Those of us who hoped this may be some sort of coded instruction to the players that would alter the formation and turn on a display of total football were bitterly disappointed.

I spent most of the half cursing the midfield.   Speed, Williamson and Farrelly must be the worst midfield unit to play for Everton in the past twenty years.   As a measure of how poor they are, there was a spell when I seriously considered that there'd be nothing to loose giving 'Santa' Clause Thomsen another go.  No, I'm not joking, they're that bad.  Half-time was a welcome break.

Second Half

We did lift ourselves moderately in the second half, though only after a couple of substitutions gave us extra width.  First we had Oster replace the lame Williamson, then Barrett came on for an injured Ward.  Oster undoubtedly livened us up.  He ran at men, took risks and showed some invention.  It was astonishing therefore when he made mistakes (and he did make mistakes, I'm not denying that) to hear so many of the crowd around me on his back.  His lively start faded a bit as his confidence ebbed.

Oster's introduction acted as a catalyst for Cadamarteri, finally getting him into the game after doing nothing whatsoever in the first half.  A couple of those runs, a couple of instinctive shots, a glimpse of the hunger.  It wasn't to be his day but what I saw suggests he's still our best bet up front.  Nevertheless the Barmby/Cadamarteri partnership was much like the Ferguson/Barmby partnership – just two individuals with no coherence.

Our half-chances fell twice to Cadamarteri, and Hinchcliffe also came close after a quick free kick from Oster saw Andy's blasted shot pushed wide.  At this point the crowd finally kicked in and some atmosphere came along.  The last five minutes were fraught, with Everton having a run of four corners.   In all honestly, this last five minutes detracted from just how terrible the game as a whole had been.  This was two points dropped big style.  If Everton were bad then Wimbledon were even worse and we still never looked like taking advantage.  The Dons, other than the disallowed goal, did not manage a single shot on goal all game. Terrible... Terrible...  Terrible!

The only comfort I got was a check of the days final scores. My friend from Northampton Town also saw his 'unshackled' team fail to score.

Individual Performances

  • Myhre 7 - Nowt to do all afternoon.  Nice to see him roll the ball out to the wingbacks rather than the hopeful hoof.
  • Ward 6 - Fantastic ball in the first half to Barmby, but other than that I thought his contribution was a bit muted.
  • Tiler 7 - This week he did actually look for the ball once.  It came to him he looked up and his pass was misplaced by a mile.  That must be why he hides!  As usual when the game came to him he didn't make a mistake all afternoon.
  • Short 7 - Make him captain.
  • Watson 7 - Showed good command, not much to do really.
  • Hinchcliffe 7 - One of his better shows. Unlucky to see the quick free kick saved.
  • Farrelly, Williamson, Speed 5 - Three players who do not do it as a unit.  Speed is clearly the best of the three, but yesterday even he made mistake after mistake.  Absent of ideas.
  • Barmby 6 - An under-achiever at our club.
  • Cadamarteri 6 - Offered nothing in the first half, looked our biggest threat in the second.
  • Oster 7 - Made a lot of stupid mistakes, but his willingness to give it go meant that it is no coincidence that us moving up a gear coincided with his arrival.
  • Barrett 7 - Fine.  With Oster helped give us the much needed width.

Just whose team is this, then?
Steve Kirkwood
The worst thing about Saturday – and there were many aspects from which to chose – was the confirmation of Howard Kendall's reported comments after the Leeds game: 'This is not my team yet, I want to stress that'.  We have a manger who has abdicated responsibility; it beggars belief and the question, "When will it become his side?" should be asked. (You don't hear Roy Hodgson at Rovers claiming it's not his side!!!)

Kendall should be walking the plank now, and someone who will take responsibility should take over.  Busby, Heath, Southall – it doesn't matter; Kendall has to go, now!!!

Not that his players did him any favours on Saturday.  My notes of highlights which normally take up two pages, take up four lines.  This was a pitiful performance from Wimbledon, who should have been dispatched homeward, Barmby put one past the far post from a Ward cross, they had a goal disallowed and Short saved a good cross from reaching a red-shirted forward.

That's it!  All the incidents in 45 minutes.  Lots of huff – but the off-the-ball running is slow at best, stationary most of the time.  Two exceptions, Barmby and Speed.  Key points in second period, Oster on for Williamson (poor, poor) and Barrett on for the injured Ward.  Cadamarteri had two efforts saved by Sullivan, Hinchcliffe one, and Barmby a near post header.

Second half saw the first effort on target after 65 minutes.

The Players (Some of them earn thousands of pounds a week... unbelievable!)

  • Myhre 6 NO SAVE TO MAKE IN 90 minutes.
  • Short 6 Two good clearances, but resorted to the long ball along with Watson, Tiler and Myhre too often.
  • Watson 6 Strong, unremarkable.
  • Tiler 6 Unremarkable
  • Hinchcliffe 6 England's left wing back. Allegedly
  • Ward 5 Is he fit? Tries hard.
  • Williamson 4 Nothing. Approaching Thomsen's ineptitude.
  • Farrelly 5 Got around a lot, but off the ball? poor
  • Speed 6 ran his socks off and constantly looking for the ball. Can't fault his commitment. The midfield three require further comment. Together they are crap.  There, that covers it...
  • Cadamarteri 6 Ran a lot, shot when passing to Barmby would have produced a chance. One chance.
  • Barmby 6 Won a lot in the air.  Can't fault his commitment
  • Barrett 5 Lacking in confidence. Sell.
  • Oster 6 Didn't do what he was told, but did add some width when he came on. Tried a few things, and looked crap when they didn't work.

So, Mr Kendall. This isn't my team either, my team are better than this but you have a choice. Walk now. Go and find your team.

Preparing for the First Division
Hugh Marshall
The first half was dire, half time was full of discussions of the Nationwide league etc.  Of the players themselves the defence had a quiet time, bar a disallowed Womble goal from an in swinging corner, I couldn't make out why it was not given, shoving or something like that I think, but as with all other blues in the ground I was relieved.

Myhre looks a decent Goalie, he has command of his box and a presence which evidently put the defence at ease. As far as scoring goes, Barmby missed a peach of a chance following a brilliant cross from the right, it looped over two centre halves landed at Barmby's feet who coolly slotted wide of the post.  At nearly £6 M, he is the biggest waste of money ever.

Cadamarteri looked bright and eager, he was a class above all others in the side.  Midfield was again clueless, passing back to defenders and putting them under undue pressure and failing to supply the front two, as has been the story of our season, this is were the trouble lies  Williamson, Farrelly and Speed are simply not up to it.

Things improved somewhat in the second half.  Mitch Ward went off injured and was replaced by Barrett.  It was my first look at former First Division player Ward: he looked like a First Division player, Barrett almost looked good in his place! Williamson went off unnoticed to be replaced by Oster who livened things up a bit, Cadamarteri had two good shots on goal saved as did Hinchcliffe late on.

The last ten minutes were a nightmare as we threw everything forward, corner after corner, even HK came off the bench and looked animated, he looked as though someone had the stolen the bottles from his hands!!


  • Myhre - 8 in all fairness had little to do, but looks 10 times better than Gerrard.
  • Ward - 6 went off injured but didn't do much, not to clever as a defender and not too fantastic as a winger, a bit like Graham Stuart!
  • Hinchcliffe - 6 He doesn't want to be here.  Made his first tackle in the 83rd minute, often out of position, often out of sorts. Let's cash in.
  • Short - 8 Impressed once again, pity he didn't charge out of defence more often, could he be the answer to our problems in midfield?
  • Watson - 7 he should be captain, ok he's 73, but he's still got it and is a born leader.
  • Tiler - 7 Did OK, good header, the odd pass went astray.
  • Farrelly - 5 he was awful, being in the team at present is doing his confidence no good.
  • Williamson - 5 see Farrelly.
  • Speed - 5 If Kenny Dalglish is seriously willing to part with £6 M for him, he can have him tomorrow, and I'll drive him to St James's Park.  He was constantly losing possession and putting the defence under pressure.
  • Barmby - 6 Showed willing and little else, should have scored in the first half. £6,000,000 ???
  • Cadamarteri - 9.9 Why are they all crowing about the twat Owen?  Danny boy is going to be the biggest thing in soccer since Lineker, his awareness, pace, power, control and reading of the game far surpassed anyone on that pitch today!  With a decent midfield supplying him, he'd score a ton of goals,
  • Barrett - 7 Did OK, his crossing was lousy, but hey what do you expect!
  • Oster - 7 Gave us an added dimension.  He looks to be low on confidence at present, but he has the natural flair and ability that Farrelly and Williamson will never have.

Overall - crap, but the last 25 minutes gave hope for the future.

Beleaguered Everton stuck in drab desert of mediocrity
by Rob Steen, The Sunday Times
IT WOULD be nice to report that Goodison Park's last show before Christmas imbued Everton's devoted followers with a sense of goodwill and hope.  Nice, but sadly unjustified.  In a game notable solely for the copious amounts of sweat and toil expended by a pair of decidedly limited teams, the blue half of Merseyside emerged with a point to cherish but precious little else.  For the Toffeemen, now scoreless in their past four games, life continues to get stickier.

After one particularly unedifying stalemate at Plough Lane during his sojourn at Manchester City, Howard Kendall proposed that the Wimbledon supporters would be better off going shopping than cheering on the Crazy Gang.  One cannot help but wonder what the beleaguered Everton manager would recommend as an alternative to coming to Goodison these days.  Watching hell freeze over perhaps?  With just two points and three goals purloined from the past seven games, the pickings have not so much been slim as anorexic.  The sight of the stands brimming yet again yesterday remains one of the mysteries of our time.

At the end of a week dominated by transfer speculation and an extremely agitated shareholders meeting, Kendall replaced the suspended Duncan Ferguson with Danny Cadamarteri, the dreadlocked teenager whose goal in the Merseyside derby in October helped Everton to their most recent taste of victory, but who was subsequently left on the bench in favour of those more accustomed to the thud and blunder of a relegation scrap.  A couple of dribbles hinted at his potential, but with passes seldom finding the correct neighbourhood, let alone feet, the crowd's restlessness was understandable.

If anything, Wimbledon were worse.  Joe Kinnear recently likened his club's lack of resources to entering a nuclear war armed with bows and arrows, but on this occasion the visitors appeared to have left their quivers in south London.  Stalle Solbakken did find the net with a header from a 26th-minute corner, but the goal was ruled out for pushing, and Thomas Myhre, the towering Norwegian entrusted with filling Neville Southall's capacious gloves, spent much of the early stages of his home debut fielding back-passes.  All in all, to call the first half dire would be flattering to all concerned.

With signs of improvement all but negligible, the natives began to vent their spleen.  The most grievous abuse was reserved for Nicky Barmby, which seemed unfair given that the few Everton moves of any consequence stemmed largely from his running.  For all that, the hosts continued to hold the whip hand and twice in a minute Cadamarteri drew flying saves from Neil Sullivan.

Marcus Gayle responded with a wriggling run but was crowded out as he cocked his foot, whereupon Cadamarteri spurted through again only to fire into the side netting.  A succession of corners in the closing stages engendered a superficial sense of drama, but these were merely mirages in a desert of mediocrity.  The final whistle came as a blessed and merciful release.

Report © Times Newspapers Ltd

Everton fans see little reason to join in the Christmas spirit
by David Maddock, The Times
THE worst thing about Christmas and football, as Victor Meldrew might say, is the pre-match audio entertainment.  During December those hugely original tunes such as Simply The Best are replaced with endless, droning, mock-cheery festive ditties.  It is excruciating.

At Goodison Park, though, the PA announcer is, well, a little different.  In fact, he frequently sounds as though he has stumbled across a particularly strong batch of hallucinogens.  So when he played I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day one could not but help applaud the delicious sense of irony.

At Everton they would settle for Christmas once a decade, such is the desperate state of their club.  The visit of Wimbledon left the poor supporters about as far away from a sense of festive spirit as it is possible to be.  Their feelings were summed up by another wonderfully timed offering from the PA man as the game finished.  Do They Know It's Christmas Time?

Surprisingly, after another dreadful match at Goodison Park, there was barely any dissent from the faithful. It was as if the near-30,000 crowd had already accepted the worst – that their club will be relegated from the FA Carling Premiership.  They are probably right.

We waited until the 67th minute for the first shot on target, a tame effort from the hopelessly lost Cadamarteri, and the 88th minute for the first decent save, a one-handed stop to his left by Sullivan, the Wimbledon goalkeeper, from a powerful Hinchcliffe drive.  We waited forever for an effort by the visiting team.  It did not arrive.

That Everton were the better team – and should have won because Barmby dragged a simple effort wide in the first half – was no consolation to anybody who attended this match.  They were better only because Wimbledon were so bad, and Wimbledon were so bad only because they have lost virtually a whole team through injury and suspension.

"It was a good point for us and a bad day for them," Joe Kinnear, the Wimbledon manager, said.  "We didn't get at them at all but with our injuries, it is about survival.  They had to come and beat us and they couldn't."

Everton could not, because in Barmby and Cadamarteri they had two forwards far more comfortable scurrying out to the flanks.  It is four matches since Everton last found the net, nine since they won a game and the run will continue until they find a forward who can actually score goals.

The suspended Duncan Ferguson is not the answer.  He has never scored goals regularly, so Howard Kendall must buy to save the club.  The fact that he has no money to buy is a minor complication, but one that he still believes he can overcome.

Report © Times Newspapers Ltd

Everton's goalless anxiety continues
Derek Potter, Electronic Telegraph
IT WAS Tommy Docherty who claimed to be the first to wisecrack: "When modern players trap the ball, it goes further than I could ever kick it."

The skill factor was not that seriously missing at Goodison Park yesterday, but the implications of another draw and fourth game without a goal are ominous for Everton.  With three players injured, two suspended and Vinnie Jones nursing a knee injury on the bench, Wimbledon had excuses for their part in a dour game that at least yielded them a point.  But it now looks as if Everton must win probably 11 of their remaining 20 games to be reasonably sure of avoiding relegation.

The incredibly tolerant Everton supporters in the crowd of 28,533, some 10,000 below a healthy average, saw the goal that Everton needed so desperately almost come in a final fling.  Then Neil Sullivan made two stunning saves from Andy Hinchcliffe, one of the players Everton are reported to be willing to sell to finance new signings.

It might also have arrived in the 21st minute when Nick Barmby failed to punish Wimbledon for a rare slip in defence, failing to cut out a cross by Danny Williamson.  Or when Danny Cadamarteri was heavily tackled by Kenny Cunningham in the 78th minute. To his credit, Cadamarteri refused to take a dive for a possible penalty but kept his balance and lashed his shot into the side-netting.

A clean sheet is of some consolation to Everton manager Howard Kendall, whose team have now drawn 11 of the last 39 games, winning only six and losing 22.  It is not a happy return to Goodison Park for Kendall, who has the distinction of playing in and managing two of the best teams in England during their respective eras.

"Our goalkeeper couldn't have had an easier home debut," said Kendall, anxiously arm-waving to demand more width from his team in an improved second half.  But it's another two points gone and we must start scoring," he added.  "We have to think positive.  The players are working hard enough and they want to be out of this situation as much as we all do."

Barmby and Cadamarteri were paired for the first time in the absence of Duncan Ferguson, who began his three-match suspension.  "Fergie's presence is tremendous and he might have been invaluable against a side like Wimbledon, who knows? But I'm not taking anything away from the work and willingness of the two up front," he said.

Work and willingness seem to be the only qualities in an Everton team despite the figure of £43 million that the chairman, Peter Johnson, reckons has been spent during his 3½-year reign.  With only £16 million recouped during that spell under the management of Mike Walker, Joe Royle and Kendall for the third time, Everton are the game's big spenders.  Even so, Everton face a tricky fixture list with Wimbledon having an even more intimidating future with games against Arsenal (h), Chelsea (a) and West Ham (h) in six days over Christmas.

Even the experienced Everton captain, Gary Speed, could not lift his team above the level of mundane.  The Welsh international did little to enhance a reputation which has Newcastle United and Sheffield Wednesday drooling at the prospect of signing him.  Everton are apparently so hard up these days, they may agree to sell for around £3 million.

Report © The Electronic Telegraph

RESULTS  (Game 18)
Wednesday 17 December 1997
Newcastle United 0 - 0 Derby County
Monday 15 December 1997
Manchester United
Giggs (52)
1 - 0 Aston Villa
Sunday 14 December 1997
Bolton Wanderers
Thompson (pen 50) Blake (73) Pollock (77)
3 - 3 Derby County
Eranio (55) Baiano (64, 69)
Saturday 13 December 1997
Redfearn (9) Hendrie (75)
2 - 2 Newcastle United
Gillespie (44, 49)
0 - 0 Leeds United
Coventry City
Huckerby (42, 84) Breen (63) Hall (87)
4 - 0 Tottenham Hotspur
Crystal Palace
0 - 3 Liverpool
McManaman (39) Owen (56) Leonhardsen (61)
Everton 0 - 0 Wimbledon
Le Tissier (2) Benali (54)
2 - 1 Leicester City
West Ham United
Kitson (68)
1 - 0 Sheffield Wednesday

LEAGUE TABLE (after 17 December 1997 )

Club                          P    W    D    L   GF   GA   GD   Pts
Manchester United            18   12    4    2   44   13   31   40
Blackburn Rovers             18   10    6    2   33   19   14   36
Chelsea                      18   11    2    5   41   18   23   35
Leeds United                 18    9    4    5   26   19    7   31
Arsenal                      18    8    6    4   32   21   11   30
Liverpool                    17    8    4    5   30   17   13   28
Derby County                 18    8    4    6   33   27    6   28
Leicester City               18    7    6    5   23   17    6   27
Newcastle United             17    7    5    5   20   21   -1   26
West Ham United              18    8    1    9   25   28   -3   25
Wimbledon                    18    6    5    7   19   21   -2   23
Aston Villa                  18    6    3    9   19   24   -5   21
Sheffield Wednesday          18    6    3    9   30   39   -9   21
Coventry City                18    4    8    6   17   24   -7   20
Crystal Palace               18    5    5    8   17   25   -8   20
Bolton Wanderers             18    4    8    6   16   27  -11   20
Southampton                  18    6    1   11   22   28   -6   19
Tottenham Hotspur            18    4    4   10   14   32  -18   16
Everton                      18    3    5   10   16   27  -11   14
Barnsley                     18    4    2   12   17   47  -30   14
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© Michael Kenrick 1997
Last updated: 17 December 97