But let’s get some perspective. Friday 14th March 2014 marks twelve years to the day since David Moyes took over as Everton manager. Comments I’ve seen from morons, Kopites and – to my horror – respectable journalists (yeah, I know – talk about an oxymoron) indicate that people have just defined those eleven years as “trophyless”. Is that it? How can a period where we went from strugglers to contenders have that line drawn under it when big clubs like Tottenham (one League Cup since 1991) and Newcastle (no, you can’t claim Shearer’s Golden Boot as yours you melts) continue to be big clubs, despite one spending hundreds of millions to win the same amount of sod-all and one being relegated? Either people are naturally prejudiced or (would you believe?!) football isn’t defined simply by winning trophies. Or both.
We Evertonians know a bit better. Moyes’ failure was and always will be attitude. I heard a wise man say once that it isn’t the failures you regret, but the times you never even tried. Recall if you will a Wembley semi-final where Nikica Jelavic ended up at centre back. We went to the team with the best home defence about and one of the best all-round sides, and they exposed us. If you want to accuse Roberto Martinez of anything, it’s of the naivety a young manager who made changes at 1-1 that opened the game up to an opponent that would appreciate it. Then again, when your wingers are tired after an hour and Leon Osman’s the only choice who can run for the remainder, options are short.
People who have given up on us should be given up on. I just read a comment saying “Ive given up on watchin bills also rans”. I’ve found we adopt a defeatist attitude very, very quickly – see the reaction to the weekend’s defeat – and it’s tough to take. Why do people work poor hours in awful jobs through the week and then get to the weekend and moan endlessly about football, the saving grace? Yes, Everton lost. But it distracted you from the fact you’ll be up at 7 on Monday to stack shelves for a whole ninety minutes.
The beauty of it is that Everton are on again next week. But suddenly the defeatist attitude switches to one of expectation. We should rip this lot apart, these are shit these. Martinez’s typically patient style is met with not encouragement or anger, but a latent frustration that makes Goodison quieter than the Tim Sherwood Fan Club. It’s not useful. So enjoy yourself, alright? Soak in that sexy football of ours. It’s painful to miss out on Wembley, and more painful as we believed there was a good chance of cracking Arsenal.
The latest bunch to try and stop enjoyable football occurring are Cardiff City. In true Everton form, we’ve got them after they’ve won a sodding game, even if it was against Fulham. They’re relegation stock, plain and simple. One away win and seven goals scored on the road. Weak defence. A pathetic Bond villain of a chairman. Kenwyne Jones. An unproven manager. Seven defeats in the last ten. Kenwyne Jones. Simply put, we need a vigilant Everton. They’ve won six of the eight games in which they’ve taken the lead, so expect the patient game. If you’re a betting man, that first goal is more likely to come in the 60th minute than the 6th.
Marshall in goal is capable of a great save or two, while Steven Caulker still looks a bargain of a centre back. Turner, Fabio and Declan John are the other likely defenders, and frankly that suits our wingers. Mirallas and Coleman versus Declan John. Think on it. There’s a solid midfield present with the nutter that is Gary Medel alongside Noone, Mutch and Kim. Try not to snigger, children – Campbell and Jones are up front. I said don’t snigger. Wilfried Zaha’s guaranteed to come on and make the defence shit itself at some point.
Tim Howard is back in goal for this one – as much as Joel was nervy, would Howard have kept out those Arsenal goals? I think we were a bit too busy picking out scapegoats. Coleman, Jagielka (possibly, or Stones), Distin and Baines in defence. No problem. Gareth Barry won the February Player of the Month award, which is pleasing, but he has confused me recently. Why would a player with so little pace go so far forward, only to drop back again? Leave it to McCarthy. Barry has always been better as a holding man, an anchor. I have a feeling Pienaar will be rested after a shoddy display last week, so we could see McGeady make a start or Deulofeu could be given a crack, as happened against West Ham. Ross Barkley was all sorts of ace in the first half against Arsenal, and needs to keep it up if he’s going to Brazil. Romelu Lukaku has 2 in 2, which is unbelievable form for an Everton striker. Cue injury (again).
Let’s think about this, Blues. We’ve won the last six at Goodison, and Cardiff and Swansea travel here before Arsenal, Crystal Palace, Man Utd and Man City. They’re more scared of us than we are of them, honest. Poor away form has to be arrested with trips to Newcastle, Sunderland, Southampton and Hull coming up. If we can do that, we can challenge for as high a position as possible. Spurs in fifth are five points ahead, but we’ve got two games in hand. Remember that only the top 6 in the league will reach Europe – let’s make it United.
Imagine Roberto leading us into Europe. Making the sides above us sweat. We’ve got the opportunity to taste sweet, sweet Everton victory eleven more times. If you want to give up on the rest of the season, fine. I’m going to carry on. Allez Allez Allez Oh….