Wednesday, February 06, 2008

What we've always suspected : Everton are cursed

This made me laugh (thanks to Ger on ThePeople'sForum for posting it):

Everton are just unlucky

THERE are times in my life when I'm incredibly grateful to my dad for taking me to see Southend United on my 11th birthday.

It was freezing cold, everything smelt of fried onions, someone urinated on my trainers and Huddersfield won 1-0. But somehow it felt so right.

It was the start of an unlikely love affair with a football team that is doomed forever to wander the lower leagues like a mournful wraith.

Southend will never win anything of note, we will never field England internationals and we are unlikely to launch our own TV station, but my God, it must be more fun than being an Everton fan.

Everton are that bloke in your office who arrives an hour before anyone else and always stays late, but never gets that pay rise.

They're the desperate wedding guest who never catches the bouquet.

They're the house-trained, fully-grown Labrador in the dog pound that never gets chosen because the puppies look cuter.

They are destined to do everything right, but inexplicably fail.

Have a look at the League table, they're in fourth place. Reckon it will last? Of course it won't.

Fractious, underwhelming, underperforming, inconsistent Liverpool will somehow recover and snatch it from them.

Why? Because things like that happen to Everton.

Even when they did somehow scrape the final Champions League place in 2005, they ended up crashing out in the preliminaries.

Everton being Everton, they were inevitably drawn against the only other decent team forced to jump through the hoops, Villarreal, and they lost when they had a perfectly good goal disallowed.

I don't know how the Goodison Park faithful manage to get up in the morning, I really don't.

It was happening again at the weekend when they were denied a perfectly good goal by Sepp Blatter's Offside Clarification of 2004.

Andy Johnson, who scored when he was onside by a comfortable margin, saw his goal ruled out because he was deemed offside.

The problem, you see, was that Johnson was offside when the move started, but was deemed to be onside because he wasn't interfering with play.

Then, when he was onside, he was deemed to be offside, because it was the second phase and despite being offside, but onside, for the first phase, he was onside, but actually offside for the second.

Thanks for clarifying that, Sepp. Keep up the good work.

Another take on the whole thing is this :

Everton paying for pact with devil

Evertonians must like tension – the years we spent on the razor’s edge of relegation weren’t able to be healed by warm, coddled mid-table safety for long. Now we have a different set of reasons to grab every point that we can get.

Whereas in the past we would breathe a long sigh of relief at the season’s end – at the dodgy offside goal we scored (and the ref didn’t notice) – now we count the points struck off our potential final tally by officials in need of dark glasses and white sticks. A point here, a disallowed goal there ... it all counts, and it all makes a huge difference. Like the princess who had umpteen mattresses between her and a pea, a miniscule refereeing mistake can have gargantuan consequences.

Pierluigi Collina’s heart-breaking and unfathomable decision to disallow Duncan Ferguson’s equaliser against Villarreal that stopped us cold at the Champions League qualifier stage still haunts me. This season, however, the gaffes could stop Everton from even getting to that stage.

I have to wonder if the FA charge against David Moyes for his post-derby Mark Clattenburg comments (”Didn’t Clattenburg go to Hong Kong with Liverpool for the Asia Cup this summer? Maybe he wants to be their friend”) was recently dropped because the FA feared where this investigation would focus.

The Merseyside derby result hangs on my back like a black dog, as do the two points dropped against Blackburn at the weekend, when James Vaughan and AJ combined wonderfully, but were denied cruelly by the linesman.

To borrow and bend the Bard: As flies to wanton boys are we to the referees; they cheat us for their sport.

As it is, Everton are in fourth spot but remain uncomfortably close to the chasing pack. If certain results had gone the way the laws of the game intended and myopic refs hadn’t missed legit goals, we would surely be more securely ensconced in fourth place.

Despite a video dossier to the contrary, the knee-jerk reaction of most refs to the sight of AJ taking a tumble is to treat it as a dive, such is his reputation. AJ is forced to chase long balls and lost causes, evade defenders, sidestep his reputation as a diver, stay on his feet despite being fouled, and then score – a thankless task.

The fact that Everton haven’t been awarded a single penalty in the Premier League this season speaks volumes. Add to that the several penalties we have been awarded by continental referees in the UEFA Cup games we played this season, and you wonder if there is a congenital British eye defect inbred amongst referees and linesmen.

Looking back at Everton’s miraculous 3-2 win against pugnacious bruisers Wimbledon back in 1994 – coming back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 in truly amazing circumstances – I always suspected a Faustian pact secured this win. Are we paying for that luck now?

Personally I can't see it, surely if Hollywood has taught us nothing else is that the devil is contant;y looking after his charges...I prefer to think that being an Everton fan is a path full of trials and tribulations that ultimately leads to righteousness. I've got to cling to something I suppose. ;)

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